eSports - Videogames as a spectator sport

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eSports - Videogames as a spectator sport

Postby James » Tue Oct 18, 11 7:16 am

My opinion of eSports
eSports?

Image

Brief introduction - What is "eSports"?

Competitive gaming, professional gaming and cybersports. eSports/e-sports is the new term we're pushing to make the world aware.

Competitive gaming belongs to most games, but the scenes focus on the very best videogames which provide a balanced, intense and last but not least the bonus and pivotal for the eSports experience - fun to watch as a spectator sport. Which also of course includes tools for observing the game.

Competitive gaming and eSports are not a new phenomenon.

The act of playing games for sport has been growing in popularity since the mid 90's. From Doom 2 deathmatch, NetQuake and Descent, to Warcraft 2 on Kali, Diablo and Ultima Online PvP—to say nothing of going down to the local arcade to spend your quarters and wait your turn on Street Fighter 2—people have loved playing each other in video games.

Although eSports has only reached new heights largely due to the growing number of competitive players at organized tournaments like Major League Gaming's Pro Circuit and GOMTV Global StarCraft II League, there is a rich, detailed history of events from the past 15 years.

The vibrant, passionate, competitive communities across several games and genres are, arguably, the backbone of some of the largest developers in the world. Blizzard, Bungie, Infinity Ward, id Software, Valve, Capcom, and Epic all have, behind them, strong competitive gaming fanbases. Players have dedicated their entire lives to being the very best, with skill ceilings you couldn't stick ladders to get to.

- Slasher in a guest article on Kotaku

[spoiler="Select videos from the above article"]For those who don't like to watch other people play video games, give the best moments in eSports a shot. You may very well start.

Fnatic vs AgaiN – Counter-Strike 1.6 – World Cyber Games Finals - 2009 – Chengdu, China
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPt1zrKbviY

Team 3D vs Team Phreaks – Halo 2 – Major League GamingNational Championship Finals - 2005 – New York City
Team 3D, later known as Final Boss, had a run through Halo 1 and 2 that is historic. It's unlike anything that has ever been accomplished by any other team during the existence of the franchise. They have won 18 of the 23 total MLG Halo 1 & 2 events, placing second at the five they didn't win. ... Along their run in 2005, they had a critical Game 5 National Championships Finals match on Oddball Midship against Team Phreaks ... The match went down to the very last seconds, as both teams were tied at 4:58 (of 5:00!). The winner of this map would very likely go on to win the series.

Suggestion, watch from 16 minutes in
http://tv.majorleaguegaming.com/videos/ ... mpionships

Flash vs Jaedong – StarCraft: Brood War - Korean Air OSL 2 –2010 – Shanghai, China
Flash was looking for his third OSL championship which earns him The Golden Mouse, a status only three players had achieved (including Jaedong in 2009). He would also become the second player ever, after Lee "NaDa" Yun Yeol, to win OSL and MSL gold in the same season. He was confirmed as the first player to be in six consecutive MSL and OSL finals. And he was also gunning to take down Jaedong in three straight tournament finals, something Jaedong clearly did not want to happen.

4th game in
Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTA0k_QamZs
Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aol9afJs ... re=related

Daigo Umehara vs Justin Wong – Street Fighter III: Third Strike – EVO World Championships Finals – 2004 – Pomona, California
If you don't know anything about this, you don't know shit about videogames. Time to get your game license.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np_5BHmaSI4[/spoiler]

What do I think of eSports?

I've been actively following Starcraft Brood War & 2, Street Fighter 3 & 4 and Quake 3/Live since 2007. I think the 1v1 format is the best thing eSports can provide at the moment and is highly enjoyable in most games.

The blending and merging of cultures is essential for the growth. The three above titles started at LANs/Arcades and grew when they involved money matches for rivalry. The more we introduce as an active audience can only benefit it for the moment.

It is still a very introverted community, we have problems with such things we're quite ignorant about and the solution is to look at other sports and learn.
e.g. Commentators/casters in comparison to the quality of those hired for other sports such as football and basketball. We can only learn in time and the very best in the eSports world already perform on that level.

Competitive action for most things in this world is a good thing. From Architecture, Apple and Microsoft, to Manchester United and Liverpool. It brings out the best products to trump the other and with the latter the rivalry produces the best atmosphere and some of the greatest moments in their appropriate field. Competitive attitude in development for multiplayer videogames is almost essential for me as they will look at balance which I think is integral for my own personal enjoyment with a title.

It will only grow and grow as long as the we keep it going forth into the mainstream. While it is still not broadcasted on TV, it is a worldwide presence that most people know about - I gurantee that people have heard of competitive gaming in one form or another, and are interested even if it is "why do people play videogames professionally?". With high speed internet and streaming quality we can only drive the existence to new heights. There were 20+ million unique viewers for every MLG season this year and the viewing never fell below 100k concurrent streamers. This rivals/blows UK's cricket scene out of the water before it grew in the 2009 season.

There's rumours of talks that ESPN will be giving MLG a ride for the 2012 season so let's see where TV viewing and money takes us. If South Korea did and still do praise eSports as one of its major national sports, why can't the world follow?

Before 2007 I did follow the competitive scene of a lot of games I played and joined clans, but had no interest in putting effort into it. Watching or downloading replays and VODs were a rare thing for myself. I just wanted to play the videogames. After 2007 I put a bit more effort into improving how I play but the games I played weren't up to scratch and had dying scenes from the start. Starcraft 2 is the only videogame I have ever put more than a few hours into practice and sadly I do not have all the time in the world due to work commitment to follow it completely, but learning it is the best thing I have ever done in relation to gaming.

Something that has affected online gaming culture without you knowing

We all may not remember it, but those who can will recall when the internet said "ke ke ke" and sometimes followed by "Zergrush!"? The internet spread it from the fascination of South Koreans playing Starcraft in racing car fireproof outfits.

임요환 (Lim Yo Hwan), also and more known as BoxeR. The Broodwar Terran Emperor who did not invent but pushed and made eSports a big thing and got it known world wide. While that is not a phrase personally linked to BoxeR - I bet your sweet ass you only know because of BoxeR.

[spoiler="History of BoxeR, recently posted on MLG"]His story begins almost a decade and a half ago in 1998 when the young Korean stumbled upon StarCraft at a friend’s house. Immediately and utterly, the game took hold of Boxer and helped the 18 year old emerge from the “dark tunnel” of his adolescence into a life with a focus and a treasure.

In the then-emerging world of professional Korean StarCraft, Boxer climbed the ladder and became an icon. He won his first cash prize in 1999. By 2000 he was winning multiple tournaments and by 2001 he was a Starleague (OSL) Champion, the Terran Emperor, a veritable celebrity, and was on his way to becoming the most revered man in eSports.

Boxer was initially known as “The Hope of Terran” because he played and won with what was the weakest race at the time. He revolutionized the use of units such as the Vulture and the Dropship, using single units with such creativity and to such effectiveness that his play was and is compared to art.

Boxer was one half of one of the most storied rivalries in e-sports history in the "Lim-Jin Rok". His foil in that drama was Yellow, The Storm Zerg. From a 2001 3-2 OSL final victory onward, Boxer played the champion to Yellow’s eternal second place. Out of game they treated each other like brothers butd the game itself was heartless. In a move that would help to define Boxer’s career, the Emperor bunker rushed Yellow in three straight games to win an OSL semifinal match. This epitomozed Boxer's attitude of toward the game, that he would do what must be done to win.

In 2001, Boxer won two Starleagues in a row. He won a World Cyber Games (WCG) gold medal. He was a global celebrity, the focus of then-unheard of attention in Korea and around the world, he was a gaming icon and an ambassador to the world for his country, for his game and for e-sports. He would go on to play a key role in the founding of the most successful Korean team of all time (SK Telecom T1). He would secure multiple record breaking contracts such as a $180,000 signing in 2003. He would build a fan club of well over half a million even early in the decade. He would return multiple times from supposed irrelevancy to climb to the top of StarCraft and challenge for championships. He would personally find, groom, coach and give rise to the most statistically dominant StarCraft player of all-time in iloveoov. His team would have an environment filled with such camaraderie that when Boxer publically broke down in tears after losing a championship to iloveoov, oov nearly did the same.

Boxer has been favorably compared to Michael Jordan, a man whose influencing power was beyond that of a mere player, a man who transcended the game and helped make it an international sport.

“The greatest significance Lim Yohwan has towards eSports is that he has transformed it from a festival of mere maniacs to a mainstream culture that is now broadcasted by the media,” wrote Seiji from PGR21.com. “His value can be seen as he raised the understanding of what was once considered as a mere childish game to the dignified acceptance by all as part of the mainstream culture.”

Eventually, whether it was due to being drafted by the Korean military or simply old age, Boxer’s skills waned considerably and he fell permanently from the top tier of Korean play. It would take the release of StarCraft 2 for Boxer to be reinvigorated to the point where he was capable of going blow for blow with the best players in the world.[/spoiler]

This man has been pushing for the scene on the East hemisphere and now pushing as hard for the Western hemisphere. The man has earned millions in USD via the videogame, and yet as you can see on this image taken Sunday night after the recent MLG Orlando 2011 event closed...

http://www.imagocentre.com/images/88/13 ... 469_50.png

Passion will drive the eSports movement.

Community

Image

Culture of the scene

Community is of course the center of any sport. For things to catch on they need a following. This generates interest and money which supports the eSports community with growth and stability. This is why they're pushing for it to be a spectator sport.

Like many videogame and sport communities, typical eSports sites focus on the game of their choice and find ways to interact and share their experience with other members of the community.

Here is a list of two prominent websites dedicated to fighting videogames and Starcraft

http://www.shoryuken.com -
The ultimate fighting game community giant. This website boasts rich up to date news, tutorials, data and theory into fighting games. The scene within has been around since the late 90s.

http://www.teamliquid.net -
StarCraft's best resource site. While it has an ugly layout and forum system, the information is impeccable and updated daily. It contains a strong wiki site to help users with StarCraft games, great pro statistic database and brings the community together with a stream list of what is going on in the scene.

Also to note there is thriving communities elsewhere (e.g. 4chan /v/, GosuGamers etc) who each play a role in the big picture.

Culture of a spectator

Sports have a lot to discuss about, be it the games that have taken place or gossip outside of it. There are mouthfuls of positive and negative stories within the professional players' lives and the actual development or changes to the videogames they play on themselves.

Many successful LAN or eSports events are hosted with attendence of thousands of fans going to see their favourite players or joining in with the experience. The best Street Fighter and Starcraft events base themselves on big sports and deliver attempt to bring out the best hype from the audience. From the animated European crowds, to the ritual chanting of the Americas and the slappy sticks of the Koreans.

Another social aspect from the fans was StarCraft's 'BarCraft', BarCraft is a fancy pun label for watching StarCraft at a Bar/Club/Pub etc. Here's a few examples:

http://twitpic.com/photos/BarCraftSE Barcraft Sweden
http://twitter.com/#!/JoRoSaR/status/12 ... 93/photo/1 London
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXa3EXaxGaA - Boulder CO bar interview, compares attendence to rival those who come for Superbowl.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1MNh1Fv_Vc Montreal BarCraft - Get ready to be blown away.

eSports for StarCraft is going to explode and isn't seen to be stagnating at any time soon with the game getting regular planned updates. Expect to see more from it.

I'm going to list a few podcasts from personalities - while they work within the eSports industry their insight is more of a glorified specator with passion to deliver news and etc.

Live on 3 - eSports - http://onemoregame.tv/index.php/shows/lo3.html
Hosted by DjWheat and co-hosted by Slasher. A long running podcast with many iterations between two of the oldest faces in the eSports industry. They discuss the weekly happenings with the hottest new eSports happenings.

Wake up, SRK! - Fighting videogames - http://shoryuken.com/category/podcasts/
Happenings within the fighting community hosted by SkiSonic and friends.

State Of The Game - StarCraft 2 - http://sotg-sc2.blogspot.com/
State of the Starcraft 2 in terms of the game itself and the community, hosted by JP McDaniel.

These podcasts show there is a always something to talk about each week including things that are not directly relating to the competitive scene. This is what makes it so interesting in my eyes.

Culture of the pros

The pro-players are fans too and they're deeply involved with the community. They're gamers like you and I.

At this point of time, a lot of professionals are also united with the community and want the eSports craze to grow for their own sake and benefits. A lot of them are very down to Earth and interact with the fans even if they're streaming for advertisement money. By showing off these Streams they're also helping 'newbie' players understand how to play the game on their level.

Teams or groups are often owned by companies who manage and organise multiple videogame teams within one banner, leading to pros from one videogame getting to know others and maybe competing in two separate tournaments at the same events. This allows each videogame community to grasp and experience other eSports and what they do for events and I personally believe this will help their individual competitive scenes grow.

The personalities and the pro-players play part to something very important...

HYPE!

Image

Expectations

Sports have favoured players and teams. Fans support (or loath) the cyber-atheletes for reasons for them being from the same locale, their fame/infamy (looking at you, IdrA), respect for their performances or simply because they like them.

If you ask anyone withing the fighting game community this question: "Who are the best Street Fighter players from the USA?", you will likely receive a reply of "Justin Wong" in most lists. Wong is a prominent player who has been within the scene for 11 years and fame has followed him throughout. In EVO2010's Super Street Fighter IV tournament, Justin (using Rufus) was playing against Gamerbee (using Adon).
Gamerbee doesn't have much of a following or reputation in comparison to Wong, so he was the underdog. Rufus was also one of the top characters and considered to be better than Adon in testing. A day prior to their match, Justin Wong had this to say about Adon a day prior to their match:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmhOaTkYDk4

A day later, the Adon user wins. See the attached video below for the series:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oxYfdvWQ6I

Another tale was told in the the form of a documentary called Focus, it follows the life of professional Street Fighter IV player Mike Ross with interviews of him, friends, family and fans. It also centers around preparing for a big match - again - at EVO2010.



The full feature length documentary can be streamed here: http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/7 ... -g4-films/

Mike Ross eventually lost to Daigo Umehara and was sent down to the loser's bracket where he earned a respectable 4th position at the event.

Smack talk and ceremonies

Smack talk is hilarious, it ticks people off and generates hype even if it comes up as dickish.

A light example is the following video is IdrA being interviewed in a better light at the start of MLG Columbus 2011. He beat a Protoss player using their own units against them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2w0V1mNvYM

Ceremonies and celebrations are an awesome additional aspect of winning in sport. The ones from Brood War are God damn hilarious.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwhcJiOX4ck
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwmULCk0VRM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VD9oehvlgZE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0B64HCYgTQ#t=17s

Commentators

Commentators are an important part of any sport, their job is to keep viewers informed and entertain when things go slow.

They steer and sail the hype in the right directions at eSports events. Without further explanation, you've heard of Nick "Tasteless" Plott and Dan "Artosis" Stemkoski right?, aka Tastosis the casting Archon!



Even at an event as lackluster as Blizzcon, they make it entertaining as Hell.

Final words


Last edited by James on Mon Oct 24, 11 9:44 pm, edited 10 times in total.
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Postby Aidan » Tue Oct 18, 11 7:24 am

I would say it's great! but only for RTS or other strategy type games.
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Postby James » Tue Oct 18, 11 8:14 am

Why just RTS and the like?
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Postby Hanover Fist » Tue Oct 18, 11 8:24 am

Watching people own on Gears of War is entertaining to me.
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Postby Gishank » Tue Oct 18, 11 10:07 am

Personally I only enjoy watching if it's a decent strategy game, otherwise I'd rather be playing a game myself. 0,o
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Postby MrBlackDX » Tue Oct 18, 11 10:18 am

It's good when it has production costs to minimise the bad commentary, bad camera work.

The direction SC2 takes is a good one. I think it can apply to any game genre, where competitive. PvP on MMO's for guild wars was always good to watch peoples replays (you could see the last replay fought in your guild arena).
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Postby James » Tue Oct 18, 11 11:58 am

Guild Wars is a special exception to the "all PVP MMOs suck for spectating" rule as you can tell what is going on. Hopefully GW2 capitalises on this and improves the systems.

Have you seen the mess that is WoW Arena?
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Postby synthetic » Tue Oct 18, 11 4:34 pm

Yes, I see no problem with it. Very entertaining, especially if you've been into what ever game you're spectating. If anything, the technology involved is step ahead of what they offer to couch potatoes in general.
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Postby MrBlackDX » Tue Oct 18, 11 5:19 pm

I didn't even realise GW was an exception...

Replay viewing (which therefore enables better commentary) is pretty important, and I think the likes of SC2 really nail it with enough intuitive features to make it manageable.
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Postby James » Tue Oct 18, 11 5:24 pm

It is easy to tell what is happening in GW PVP
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Postby James » Wed Oct 19, 11 7:30 am

Part 1: eSports?[spoiler]

Image

Brief introduction - What is "eSports"?

Competitive gaming, professional gaming and cybersports. eSports/e-sports is the new term we're pushing to make the world aware.

Competitive gaming belongs to most games, but the scenes focus on the very best videogames which provide a balanced, intense and last but not least the bonus and pivotal for the eSports experience - fun to watch as a spectator sport. Which also of course includes tools for observing the game.

Competitive gaming and eSports are not a new phenomenon.

The act of playing games for sport has been growing in popularity since the mid 90's. From Doom 2 deathmatch, NetQuake and Descent, to Warcraft 2 on Kali, Diablo and Ultima Online PvP—to say nothing of going down to the local arcade to spend your quarters and wait your turn on Street Fighter 2—people have loved playing each other in video games.

Although eSports has only reached new heights largely due to the growing number of competitive players at organized tournaments like Major League Gaming's Pro Circuit and GOMTV Global StarCraft II League, there is a rich, detailed history of events from the past 15 years.

The vibrant, passionate, competitive communities across several games and genres are, arguably, the backbone of some of the largest developers in the world. Blizzard, Bungie, Infinity Ward, id Software, Valve, Capcom, and Epic all have, behind them, strong competitive gaming fanbases. Players have dedicated their entire lives to being the very best, with skill ceilings you couldn't stick ladders to get to.

- Slasher in a guest article on Kotaku

[spoiler="Select videos from the above article"]For those who don't like to watch other people play video games, give the best moments in eSports a shot. You may very well start.

Fnatic vs AgaiN – Counter-Strike 1.6 – World Cyber Games Finals - 2009 – Chengdu, China
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPt1zrKbviY

Team 3D vs Team Phreaks – Halo 2 – Major League GamingNational Championship Finals - 2005 – New York City
Team 3D, later known as Final Boss, had a run through Halo 1 and 2 that is historic. It's unlike anything that has ever been accomplished by any other team during the existence of the franchise. They have won 18 of the 23 total MLG Halo 1 & 2 events, placing second at the five they didn't win. ... Along their run in 2005, they had a critical Game 5 National Championships Finals match on Oddball Midship against Team Phreaks ... The match went down to the very last seconds, as both teams were tied at 4:58 (of 5:00!). The winner of this map would very likely go on to win the series.

Suggestion, watch from 16 minutes in
http://tv.majorleaguegaming.com/videos/ ... mpionships

Flash vs Jaedong – StarCraft: Brood War - Korean Air OSL 2 –2010 – Shanghai, China
Flash was looking for his third OSL championship which earns him The Golden Mouse, a status only three players had achieved (including Jaedong in 2009). He would also become the second player ever, after Lee "NaDa" Yun Yeol, to win OSL and MSL gold in the same season. He was confirmed as the first player to be in six consecutive MSL and OSL finals. And he was also gunning to take down Jaedong in three straight tournament finals, something Jaedong clearly did not want to happen.

4th game in
Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTA0k_QamZs
Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aol9afJs ... re=related

Daigo Umehara vs Justin Wong – Street Fighter III: Third Strike – EVO World Championships Finals – 2004 – Pomona, California
If you don't know anything about this, you don't know shit about videogames. Time to get your game license.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np_5BHmaSI4[/spoiler]

What do I think of eSports?

I've been actively following Starcraft Brood War & 2, Street Fighter 3 & 4 and Quake 3/Live since 2007. I think the 1v1 format is the best thing eSports can provide at the moment and is highly enjoyable in most games.

The blending and merging of cultures is essential for the growth. The three above titles started at LANs/Arcades and grew when they involved money matches for rivalry. The more we introduce as an active audience can only benefit it for the moment.

It is still a very introverted community, we have problems with such things we're quite ignorant about and the solution is to look at other sports and learn.
e.g. Commentators/casters in comparison to the quality of those hired for other sports such as football and basketball. We can only learn in time and the very best in the eSports world already perform on that level.

Competitive action for most things in this world is a good thing. From Architecture, Apple and Microsoft, to Manchester United and Liverpool. It brings out the best products to trump the other and with the latter the rivalry produces the best atmosphere and some of the greatest moments in their appropriate field. Competitive attitude in development for multiplayer videogames is almost essential for me as they will look at balance which I think is integral for my own personal enjoyment with a title.

It will only grow and grow as long as the we keep it going forth into the mainstream. While it is still not broadcasted on TV, it is a worldwide presence that most people know about - I gurantee that people have heard of competitive gaming in one form or another, and are interested even if it is "why do people play videogames professionally?". With high speed internet and streaming quality we can only drive the existence to new heights. There were 20+ million unique viewers for every MLG season this year and the viewing never fell below 100k concurrent streamers. This rivals/blows UK's cricket scene out of the water before it grew in the 2009 season.

There's rumours of talks that ESPN will be giving MLG a ride for the 2012 season so let's see where TV viewing and money takes us. If South Korea did and still do praise eSports as one of its major national sports, why can't the world follow?

Before 2007 I did follow the competitive scene of a lot of games I played and joined clans, but had no interest in putting effort into it. Watching or downloading replays and VODs were a rare thing for myself. I just wanted to play the videogames. After 2007 I put a bit more effort into improving how I play but the games I played weren't up to scratch and had dying scenes from the start. Starcraft 2 is the only videogame I have ever put more than a few hours into practice and sadly I do not have all the time in the world due to work commitment to follow it completely, but learning it is the best thing I have ever done in relation to gaming.

Something that has affected online gaming culture without you knowing

We all may not remember it, but those who can will recall when the internet said "ke ke ke" and sometimes followed by "Zergrush!"? The internet spread it from the fascination of South Koreans playing Starcraft in racing car fireproof outfits.

임요환 (Lim Yo Hwan), also and more known as BoxeR. The Broodwar Terran Emperor who did not invent but pushed and made eSports a big thing and got it known world wide. While that is not a phrase personally linked to BoxeR - I bet your sweet ass you only know because of BoxeR.

[spoiler="History of BoxeR, recently posted on MLG"]His story begins almost a decade and a half ago in 1998 when the young Korean stumbled upon StarCraft at a friend’s house. Immediately and utterly, the game took hold of Boxer and helped the 18 year old emerge from the “dark tunnel” of his adolescence into a life with a focus and a treasure.

In the then-emerging world of professional Korean StarCraft, Boxer climbed the ladder and became an icon. He won his first cash prize in 1999. By 2000 he was winning multiple tournaments and by 2001 he was a Starleague (OSL) Champion, the Terran Emperor, a veritable celebrity, and was on his way to becoming the most revered man in eSports.

Boxer was initially known as “The Hope of Terran” because he played and won with what was the weakest race at the time. He revolutionized the use of units such as the Vulture and the Dropship, using single units with such creativity and to such effectiveness that his play was and is compared to art.

Boxer was one half of one of the most storied rivalries in e-sports history in the "Lim-Jin Rok". His foil in that drama was Yellow, The Storm Zerg. From a 2001 3-2 OSL final victory onward, Boxer played the champion to Yellow’s eternal second place. Out of game they treated each other like brothers butd the game itself was heartless. In a move that would help to define Boxer’s career, the Emperor bunker rushed Yellow in three straight games to win an OSL semifinal match. This epitomozed Boxer's attitude of toward the game, that he would do what must be done to win.

In 2001, Boxer won two Starleagues in a row. He won a World Cyber Games (WCG) gold medal. He was a global celebrity, the focus of then-unheard of attention in Korea and around the world, he was a gaming icon and an ambassador to the world for his country, for his game and for e-sports. He would go on to play a key role in the founding of the most successful Korean team of all time (SK Telecom T1). He would secure multiple record breaking contracts such as a $180,000 signing in 2003. He would build a fan club of well over half a million even early in the decade. He would return multiple times from supposed irrelevancy to climb to the top of StarCraft and challenge for championships. He would personally find, groom, coach and give rise to the most statistically dominant StarCraft player of all-time in iloveoov. His team would have an environment filled with such camaraderie that when Boxer publically broke down in tears after losing a championship to iloveoov, oov nearly did the same.

Boxer has been favorably compared to Michael Jordan, a man whose influencing power was beyond that of a mere player, a man who transcended the game and helped make it an international sport.

“The greatest significance Lim Yohwan has towards eSports is that he has transformed it from a festival of mere maniacs to a mainstream culture that is now broadcasted by the media,” wrote Seiji from PGR21.com. “His value can be seen as he raised the understanding of what was once considered as a mere childish game to the dignified acceptance by all as part of the mainstream culture.”

Eventually, whether it was due to being drafted by the Korean military or simply old age, Boxer’s skills waned considerably and he fell permanently from the top tier of Korean play. It would take the release of StarCraft 2 for Boxer to be reinvigorated to the point where he was capable of going blow for blow with the best players in the world.[/spoiler]

This man has been pushing for the scene on the East hemisphere and now pushing as hard for the Western hemisphere. The man has earned millions in USD via the videogame, and yet as you can see on this image taken Sunday night after the recent MLG Orlando 2011 event closed...

http://www.imagocentre.com/images/88/13 ... 469_50.png

Passion will drive the eSports movement.[/spoiler]
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Postby Kaiden » Wed Oct 19, 11 7:47 am

WoW was an awful Esport and Blizzard have done such an awful job of balancing the game that it's even been declassified as that, not that they'll admit it.
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Postby James » Wed Oct 19, 11 7:54 am

I still find it better than DOTAs - but it is as easy and there's far too much relating to spells/skills etc that make the skill ceiling so artificial.

The effects are nauseating and it simply is just not fun to watch.
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Postby Professor Layton » Wed Oct 19, 11 11:29 pm

I never really understood how people liked to spectate FPS games. I don't really find it interesting to watch people play and shoot eachother like that. There's usually not a lot going on other than the moment they got eachother in sight.

Starcraft 2 though, damn... There's just so much going on, and the several ways things can go just make it very entertaining to watch. Sometimes a player mixes it up with a rush/cheese strategy and it's all about the opponent scouting it / reacting to it properly, which sometimes can be really fun to watch. With a good caster going together with the game, it becomes accessible and fun for more than just the determined players to watch it.
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Postby MrBlackDX » Wed Oct 19, 11 11:39 pm

I would love to watch L4D2 versus replays

Multicam, so you got the option of all 8 players FPS cams + a spectator ghost cam
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Postby James » Wed Oct 19, 11 11:41 pm

Far too awkward, but team perspective isn't too shabby. I loved enjoying listening to my team or myself in L4D series via replays.
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Postby James » Thu Oct 20, 11 8:51 am

Part 2: Community[spoiler]

Image

Culture of the scene

Community is of course the center of any sport. For things to catch on they need a following. This generates interest and money which supports the eSports community with growth and stability. This is why they're pushing for it to be a spectator sport.

Like many videogame and sport communities, typical eSports sites focus on the game of their choice and find ways to interact and share their experience with other members of the community.

Here is a list of two prominent websites dedicated to fighting videogames and Starcraft

http://www.shoryuken.com -
The ultimate fighting game community giant. This website boasts rich up to date news, tutorials, data and theory into fighting games. The scene within has been around since the late 90s.

http://www.teamliquid.net -
StarCraft's best resource site. While it has an ugly layout and forum system, the information is impeccable and updated daily. It contains a strong wiki site to help users with StarCraft games, great pro statistic database and brings the community together with a stream list of what is going on in the scene.

Also to note there is thriving communities elsewhere (e.g. 4chan /v/, GosuGamers etc) who each play a role in the big picture.

Culture of a spectator

Sports have a lot to discuss about, be it the games that have taken place or gossip outside of it. There are mouthfuls of positive and negative stories within the professional players' lives and the actual development or changes to the videogames they play on themselves.

Many successful LAN or eSports events are hosted with attendence of thousands of fans going to see their favourite players or joining in with the experience. The best Street Fighter and Starcraft events base themselves on big sports and deliver attempt to bring out the best hype from the audience. From the animated European crowds, to the ritual chanting of the Americas and the slappy sticks of the Koreans.

Another social aspect from the fans was StarCraft's 'BarCraft', BarCraft is a fancy pun label for watching StarCraft at a Bar/Club/Pub etc. Here's a few examples:

http://twitpic.com/photos/BarCraftSE Barcraft Sweden
http://twitter.com/#!/JoRoSaR/status/12 ... 93/photo/1 London
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXa3EXaxGaA - Boulder CO bar interview, compares attendence to rival those who come for Superbowl.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1MNh1Fv_Vc Montreal BarCraft - Get ready to be blown away.

eSports for StarCraft is going to explode and isn't seen to be stagnating at any time soon with the game getting regular planned updates. Expect to see more from it.

I'm going to list a few podcasts from personalities - while they work within the eSports industry their insight is more of a glorified specator with passion to deliver news and etc.

Live on 3 - eSports - http://onemoregame.tv/index.php/shows/lo3.html
Hosted by DjWheat and co-hosted by Slasher. A long running podcast with many iterations between two of the oldest faces in the eSports industry. They discuss the weekly happenings with the hottest new eSports happenings.

Wake up, SRK! - Fighting videogames - http://shoryuken.com/category/podcasts/
Happenings within the fighting community hosted by SkiSonic and friends.

State Of The Game - StarCraft 2 - http://sotg-sc2.blogspot.com/
State of the Starcraft 2 in terms of the game itself and the community, hosted by JP McDaniel.

These podcasts show there is a always something to talk about each week including things that are not directly relating to the competitive scene. This is what makes it so interesting in my eyes.

Culture of the pros

The pro-players are fans too and they're deeply involved with the community. They're gamers like you and I.

At this point of time, a lot of professionals are also united with the community and want the eSports craze to grow for their own sake and benefits. A lot of them are very down to Earth and interact with the fans even if they're streaming for advertisement money. By showing off these Streams they're also helping 'newbie' players understand how to play the game on their level.

Teams or groups are often owned by companies who manage and organise multiple videogame teams within one banner, leading to pros from one videogame getting to know others and maybe competing in two separate tournaments at the same events. This allows each videogame community to grasp and experience other eSports and what they do for events and I personally believe this will help their individual competitive scenes grow.

The personalities and the pro-players play part to something very important...[/spoiler]
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Postby ynnaD » Thu Oct 20, 11 9:23 am

I struggle to watch others playing game's in any context, never mind as a sport, it get's me too in the mood to play something myself.
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Postby James » Thu Oct 20, 11 10:48 am

Really?, I primarily watch vids of lps etc and pick up on things I didn't know and want to incorporate it into my own play.
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Postby James » Sat Oct 22, 11 1:48 pm

Part 3: HYPE![spoiler]

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Expectations

Sports have favoured players and teams. Fans support (or loath) the cyber-atheletes for reasons for them being from the same locale, their fame/infamy (looking at you, IdrA), respect for their performances or simply because they like them.

If you ask anyone withing the fighting game community this question: "Who are the best Street Fighter players from the USA?", you will likely receive a reply of "Justin Wong" in most lists. Wong is a prominent player who has been within the scene for 11 years and fame has followed him throughout. In EVO2010's Super Street Fighter IV tournament, Justin (using Rufus) was playing against Gamerbee (using Adon).
Gamerbee doesn't have much of a following or reputation in comparison to Wong, so he was the underdog. Rufus was also one of the top characters and considered to be better than Adon in testing. A day prior to their match, Justin Wong had this to say about Adon a day prior to their match:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmhOaTkYDk4

A day later, the Adon user wins. See the attached video below for the series:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oxYfdvWQ6I

Another tale was told in the the form of a documentary called Focus, it follows the life of professional Street Fighter IV player Mike Ross with interviews of him, friends, family and fans. It also centers around preparing for a big match - again - at EVO2010.



The full feature length documentary can be streamed here: http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/7 ... -g4-films/

Mike Ross eventually lost to Daigo Umehara and was sent down to the loser's bracket where he earned a respectable 4th position at the event.

Smack talk and ceremonies

Smack talk is hilarious, it ticks people off and generates hype even if it comes up as dickish.

A light example is the following video is IdrA being interviewed in a better light at the start of MLG Columbus 2011. He beat a Protoss player using their own units against them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2w0V1mNvYM

Ceremonies and celebrations are an awesome additional aspect of winning in sport. The ones from Brood War are God damn hilarious.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwhcJiOX4ck
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwmULCk0VRM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VD9oehvlgZE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0B64HCYgTQ#t=17s

Commentators

Commentators are an important part of any sport, their job is to keep viewers informed and entertain when things go slow.

They steer and sail the hype in the right directions at eSports events. Without further explanation, you've heard of Nick "Tasteless" Plott and Dan "Artosis" Stemkoski right?, aka Tastosis the casting Archon!



Even at an event as lackluster as Blizzcon, they make it entertaining as Hell.[/spoiler]
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Postby James » Mon Oct 24, 11 9:19 pm

Part 4: Final words
[spoiler]

[/spoiler]
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Postby Aidan » Mon Oct 24, 11 9:33 pm

*sniff* :cry:

I agree, the enthusiasm of the spectators really won the event over.
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Postby James » Mon Oct 24, 11 9:44 pm

Finally finished the post aswell!, fuck yes.
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Postby Aidan » Mon Oct 24, 11 11:57 pm

James wrote:Finally finished the post aswell!, fuck yes.


Guessing this was directed towards me lol.
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Postby James » Fri Nov 11, 11 7:46 am

StarCraft 2 as a spectator sport.

“StarCraft 2 is only fun to watch if you play it.”

This is always backed up with some statement about having to understand the game to be able to enjoy watching it. Of course, that only makes sense. But its also true for any other mainstream sport.

Let’s look at UFC. When I first watched UFC, I had no idea what’s going on. I see two guys attacking each other, and I couldn’t tell you their style or often times who’s winning.

The same should be true for someone as ignorant about StarCraft. They watch and have no true clue as to what’s going on. At first glance you simply realize that the players are trying to kill each other. Probably not too fun.

My girlfriend really likes UFC, so showed me a couple little videos that she picked out and told me some very rudimentary basics about it. I’m still the most utterly complete newbie watching it, but its far more entertaining now. I guess I’m now equivalent to the guy who realizes that you buy units by collecting minerals and gas, and you have to be careful to spend your money and control your units right.

When you were a child, and someone first told you about Basketball, I bet they didn’t tell you about the shot clock, or the fact that at the highest level, people fall on the ground all the time to try to get fouls called on their opponents. But, they did tell you enough that you could become interested enough to watch it a bit and learn more. The same is true with every sport.

Lots of people ask what they can do to help eSports. Go and show a few of your friends who aren’t believers, and give them an opportunity to try out this beautiful thing that we all already love and know can be huge. If you’ve been to one of these amazing live events, if you’ve been to a barcraft, if you’ve chatted excitedly with other like-minded people about games, then you know this is so possible and close.
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Postby Siva » Mon Nov 14, 11 7:07 pm

Starcraft 2 I can imagine would be great to watch
Quake is always amazing to watch
LoL and DOTA-Likes are not fun to watch because THE GAME IS NOT THAT HARD
CSS I find pretty lame

STREET FIGHTER AND MAHVEL ARE ALWAYS THE BEST
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Postby James » Tue Nov 15, 11 12:50 pm

Protocol wrote:LoL and DOTA-Likes are not fun to watch because THE GAME IS NOT THAT HARD


Plus it has more grinding than an MMO each game when you think about it, the game caters to the player by making them feel good with character growth. It is exactly the same if not worse than WoW arena for playing.

For spectating?, horrible. Far too boring.

Protocol wrote:STREET FIGHTER AND MAHVEL ARE ALWAYS THE BEST


Better in bursts and always action packed but fighters always suffer from stale matchups and imbalances everywhere for long periods of time.

Protocol wrote:CSS I find pretty lame


Matter of opinion but I agreed, CS 1.6 is not only a better game it is also better to watch in my case.
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Postby James » Tue Nov 29, 11 11:12 am

Have you ever played competitively in a videogame other than Deus Ex?
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Postby Professor Layton » Tue Nov 29, 11 11:14 am

I'VE PLAYED COMPETITIVE BEJEWELED ON MSN, I AM THE UNBEATEN HERO
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Postby ynnaD » Tue Nov 29, 11 11:34 am

Me and my old college mates used to go to a LAN Gaming centre on a weekday when our classes was very far apart, it just happened to be the day we were in they ran a COD FFA competition, first place got a week's free game time, second got 3 days, third got a day. They ran competitions for a lot of other games too, just happened we were in around the time they played the COD one.

Funny story behind this, the very first i ever played COD4 was a few months after it had came out, naturally i'd never played it before and was like OMG BEST GAME EVUR, another guy in my class whom i was not fond of at all bragged non stop about how amazing he was at the game and how he always won the tourneys (this was my first time taking part in the tourney and even playing the game), i came first, killed him numerous times, and i thoroughly enjoyed it, he still rants to this day, claiming everyone backed me up to beat him and that i was a haxorz etc, that was a glorious day.

Apart from that, i have little to no experience of competitive gaming outside of normal MP.
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