Finally got back home yesterday. When we arrived at the airport around noon last Sunday we were told by Lufthansa that the flight we were supposed to take got stuck in Beijing so we had to wait around 12 hours for it to arrive in Shanghai. We got a hotel to stay at during the day and Kelly found a mall that we went to so overall the day was successful! Finished the day with eating “Hot pot”!
So let’s get back to the event. Last blog post I wrote was just after our group stage finished and for me at that time the event had been quite good. I’ve gotten some comments about the last post and I want to point out again that what I experience is from a players perspective and not as an observer or caster. If you are having problems watching the stream or the casters are having problems it doesn’t effect us in most cases. I know there was problems with the stream from day 1 and I agree that that isn’t acceptable.
There isn’t much to say about the days between the group stage and the main event. We just were at the hotel, playing pubs or practicing against other teams. Watching replays, trying to analyze what the others have been doing and we especially watched Liquid since we knew we were gonna face them in the first round.
Moving forward to the main event we got on a bus at around 8:15 am that took us to the event. After we got there we were taken to a “pre-game room” where we could sit and chill while we were waiting for our game to begin. If you didn’t play the first match you could watch the current game on the TV or warm up on the computers that were there with your SSD. For me, this is where it starts to go downhill. As you can see in the picture below, noting was plugged in. Sure, there wasn’t any game going on so we couldn’t watch anything anyway but the room was just sad. We didn’t have any computers the first day either so we just sat there waiting for us to be able to go on the stage and setup.
The arena was nice, I like that we could go in from back-stage and go to the stage from there. When you are about to play you want to be able to focus on just the game and having a back-stage passage helps. I think these events should have scheduled signing though to make it possible for the audience to get autographs and meet the players. Anyway, we got into the booth and started to make sure our gear was working. They had a “local” audio system build in and (when it worked) it worked really good. We noticed that EGM’s microphone didn’t work and after some time they had fixed it. Liquid on the other hand were in their booth a bit later, I think they went to smoke before they entered the stage. They said that they didn’t have time to test the audio but after the first draft we had to pause the game for like 15 minutes because one of their microphones didn’t work. In the end of the day, it isn’t Liquid’s fault for not testing it even if it would have been quite good if they had done it, but I don’t understand how these things keep happening. Does the people that set up the audio don’t test it? During one of our other matches we had to pause again, it was either versus EHOME or Complexity, because apparently one of the players had bumped into the audio on their back into the booth so it stopped working. It’s so annoying to have to pause the game – sometimes you even forget where the opponents are on the map so you have to remind each other when the game starts again.
I felt we could easily have won against both Liquid and Complexity but the competition is very hard so just a small thing can change the whole outcome of the game. The draft we had the last game vs. Complexity with Dark Seer jungle, panda mid and Spectre safelane was something we had practice before and it worked out really well. You could see that it was a good strategy when we managed to come back from 1-8 to 10-11 in kills. Unfortunately we picked it against an OD/Potm combo and we didn’t have anything to help out S4 with in the middle lane and there isn’t much he can do about it either. I should probably be quite happy with finishing 7/8th place, we even just won two events straight, but after the group stage and how the practice has been going I felt we could also have won the whole event. But it’s like at the last Starladder tournament where we almost got eliminated in the group stage but ended up 1st place. Small things makes all the difference.
It really sucks to hear what has happened at the hotel even after the event was finished, that they cleared out the practice rooms where people had their belongings and gear (which after that got lost/stolen). It feels like almost all problems comes down to bad communication and that they don’t seem to have someone responsible for different areas (maybe they do but it doesn’t feel like it ^^). What’s sad though is that for every person that fucked something up there were 100 that worked their asses of to try to make the event as good as possible but it’s easy to forget those people. Bonnie who was hired as a translator had to take a big role in the production since they realized it was impossible to make the stream go smooth with switching scenes etc if you can’t talk both English and Chinese. It feels good though for the next event after reading Valve’s statement where they said they will be more involved next time – I’m sure it will be better!
The problem for me that came with that so many complained on social media about everything and nothing is that the hype somewhat disappeared. One of the days when I was checking reddit 80% of the posts where links to tweets about how bad the event was. I guess it sums up about how the tournament was in general though.. :D
Next tournament for us right now is Epicenter in Moscow in early May. Might pop up some other tournament before that but it seems like we won’t be playing so many officials in the upcoming weeks. Epicenter looks to be really good though so really hyped for that!