April has been an interesting month in the eSports scene. There’s been some very interesting news and of course some fantastic plays. April has been the home of DreamHack’s first stop on their DreamHack: Open annual tour.
For those who don’t know, DreamHack is a Swedish group that started out as a gaming festival. Each year 20,000+ players head to Sweden with their setups for the biggest LAN party of the year. Accompanying the players is an array entertainment and concerts as well as some interesting lectures for games developers.
DreamHack falls under the eSports radar because of their involvement with Starcraft 2. Despite having LAN tournaments in games like League of Legends and Dawn of the Ancients 2, professional Starcraft 2 players have damn good reasons to be at DreamHack.
Throughout the year players gain WCS points along side their trophies and cash prizes. Through this point system, only the very best players are guaranteed to attend the Blizzcon finals. All of the stops on the DreamHack tour gives the pro players opportunities for those important WCS points. Coming first in a DreamHack event is the equivalent to coming third in a premier league regional finals. It’s a big thing!
We’ll be looking at the Bucharest finals later in the article but first I want to talk about some of the ways eSports and games are changing the world in their own way.
While still on the subject of Starcraft 2, at the start of the month a group of Swedish politicians took part in an online tournament to raise awareness of internet laws and eSports. Over the past 5 years there have been riots and protests especially in Egypt and America over government laws restricting internet content.
I find it an interesting topic because games and eSports are on the boundary of what constitutes explicit material. Call of Duty is a fantastic game, however, Modern Warfare 2’s infamous airport scene almost got the game banned. The scene has nothing to do with the multiplayer experience but if the government restricts internet use based on a game’s age rating then it will never become an eSport.
The other side of this coin is the political impact. Was this whole tournament a publicity stunt for upcoming elections? In a country where eSports is becoming as big as other sports, it would be easy to appeal to a younger crowd through games.
Despite the possible controversy of using eSports for votes, it’s certainly a possitive movement across the board. Political parties will now need to consider that there is more to the internet than just illegal downloads and social media.
A New Home For eSports
I’ve spoken about ESL and MLG before as the two defining organisations in eSports. I got wind of this story a little late but ESL are bringing a Dawn of the Ancients 2 (DOTA2) tournament to a football stadium in Germany. The tournament will be held at the Commerzbank-Arena World Football Stadium later this year. It will be the first time DOTA2 sees a crowd of this magnitude which is showing the game’s rapid popularity since its launch last year.
It doesn’t stop there. ESL rivals, MLG have announced the construction of a dedicated video game stadium in China. It’s a benchmark in history as it is the first building of its kind to ever be constructed. China is the home of the largest player base in the world and their neighbours in Korea are the best players in the world. The stadium will house 15,000 seats and finishes up 2017.
In the wake of NaNiWa’s controversial exit during the IEM championships, Norwegian player Snute takes center stage as he battles against the tyrant himself, Jaedong. Fair enough Snute lost the match but he lost 2-1 against one of the greatest Zerg players of all time. Snute shows he has what it takes to be the best European player by making Jaedong work hard for his place in the semi-finals.
In the last season InnoVation was crowned the best player in Starcraft 2. Despite losing that crown the Terran king demonstrated why he was number one in a solid TvT match against European player Bunny. InnoVation chose a Banshee harass strategy and Bunny saw it, built the correct counter strategy and lost simply because of the high skill difference.
Life went toe to toe against Protoss player Stardust. Stardust staying on top of Life’s gold base advantage. A great display of cheese vs cheese strategies and control under pressure. Ultimately Life won through effective macromanagement whilst keeping up with his opponent’s superb micromanagement.
I love TvZ matchups, I can’t express that enough! Life went against INnoVation in a clash of the titans. In match 1, Life obliterated INnoVation with some clever Zergling plays. The second match went to INnoVation for overall better skill. Their last match was anyones game, each player reading and reacting as needed but Life makes the clutch play to secure the spot in the finals.
Impact is a relatively new player to the Starcraft 2 pro scene and is showing off in amazing form in the DreamHack finals. He defeated MC and Jaedong who are constantly fighting over the top spot for highest earning eSports player of all time. Taking down two of the greatest players of all time, Impact is definitely one to watch in the future.
Impact still on top form takes on yet another legend in the form of Life in the Bucharest Grand Finals. Life proved to be a little too much for the un-seasoned player by winning 3-0. Life lives up to his name and memes with his amazing Zergling control. “Life always finds a way!”
See you all next month for the next instalment of the eSports monthly roundup.