Korean BBQ Cooked by Jjakji & StarDust at the mYi Team House in Switzerland!

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Pro-Gamers Cook Korean BBQ

Korean BBQ cooked by professional Starcraft II gamers!

Korean BBQ features heavily in the newest addition to the mYi gaming house series of videos! Follow professional Starcraft II gamers mYi.Jjakji and mYi.StarDust as they prepare and cook a delicious Korean BBQ for the rest of the mYinsanity gaming house.

Enjoy watching from ingredient gathering to eating, including way too much meat (is there such a thing?) and Jjakji heading to a restaurant to procure Coca Cola!

The mYinsanity house is a professional gaming house located just outside of Bern, Switzerland. The residence houses professional gamers for mYinsanity (mainly the Starcraft II team) as well as team management and the occasional guests. It’s a great place to be!

Don’t forget to like, comment and share! :-)

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Gfinity Interviews with JoRoSaR

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JoRoSaR's Gfinity Interviews at G3

Gfinity Interviews from the Epic G3 Weekend

Hey everyone, and hope you’re looking forward to Gfinity interviews! I caught up with Team Liquid’s Bunny and Evil Geniuses’ DeMusliM after their group stage games on Saturday, as well as other folks on Championship Sunday - $30,000 and 3,375 WCS points were distributed at Gfinity G3 and it was pretty epic! Below you’ll find all the Gfinity interviews I conducted throughout the weekend. Enjoy, comment and share!

Gfinity Interview with Liquid.Bunny

 

 

Gfinity Interview with EG.DeMusliM

 

Gfinity Interview with FunKa

Gfinity Interview with HyuN & Reis

Gfinity Interview with MC

Gfinity Interview with Head Referee HyeongJin Oh

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed these G3 Gfinity interviews! I had a blast at the tournament and am really happy I squeezed out the time to speak to these folks while there as well. Please do comment, share and leave any feedback here and via social media! :)

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Gfinity’s G3 StarCraft 2 Tournament Preview

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I’m really excited to be commentating and hosting the G3 StarCraft 2 tournament this weekend in London’s Copper Box Arena. As well as being in the same venue that hosted the 2012 Olympic Games, the event organisation and calibre of players across all the games being played (including StarCraft II, FIFA, Counter-Strike: Global Operations and Call of Duty: Ghosts) is of such a high standard that it’s guaranteed to be an action packed weekend from start to finish.

There are 12 players in the G3 StarCraft 2 tournament, nine of whom are invites and three who got there through online qualifiers. There are $30,000 and 3,375 WCS points on the line, guaranteeing high-stakes, gripping StarCraft action all throughout the weekend.

The group stages will be a round-robin Best-of-3, where one player will be knocked out and two will move forward into the Quarter-Finals. We then have Bo3 Quarter-Finals, Bo5 Semi-Finals and a Bo7 Final for the lion’s share of the spoils.

Let’s take a closer look at the G3 StarCraft lineup. I will also be giving my predictions for what my Head and Heart say about who will advance to the knockout stages.

Group A – DeMusliM, Bunny, StarDust

Gfinity G3 Starcraft 2 Tournament Group A - JoRoSaR's Blog

I’m not sure we can call Bunny ‘up and coming’ any longer, he has certainly improved leaps and bounds in recent months and is making a strong case for himself in mixing it up against some of the best players around. He beat three established Korean pros in Patience, Sleep and Samsung Galaxy’s Armani to earn his place here – which really showcases how far he has come. He’s also beaten both of his opponents before – DeMusliM at DreamHack and StarDust in a HomeStory Cup qualifier, although that was a year ago now.

DeMusliM has been quiet of late, recently losing his Challenger League match against Miniraser. That said, he isn’t up against another Zerg here, and the Devil Terran has a fantastic ability to quietly build himself back up and come back strongly before – he is a true fighting character. I’m not sure it would be enough to top the group, but I think that Bunny’s rise in status has the potential to get tested here if a rejuvinated DeMusliM shows up.

StarDust currently seems like he’s on another level. He has cast off his image of the persistent cheeser (‘CheeseDust’, anyone?) and has really grown up in his play over the last couple of months – with devastating results. After crushing his way through San to the most recent WCS EU Premier League championship, it’s hard to argue against him winning this group outright – the real question will be who waits for him afterwards, and who will follow him through.

Head: StarDust, Bunny
Heart: StarDust, DeMusliM

Group B – Zanster, TLO, HyuN

Gfinity G3 Starcraft 2 Tournament Group B - JoRoSaR's Blog

Zanster is one of those players who quietly gets on with it in the background as a member of the Fnatic academy. He wins more than his fair share of Go4SC2 cups, and recently won the E-Sport SM tournament in Sweden with a finals victory over ThorZaIN, who let’s not forget while relatively quiet, recently became the first non-Korean player who win a ProLeague game in 7 years. He has beaten TLO before at a DreamHack, but has lost to him as well – and this is all in the group stages played in the side area. He has no games won against HyuN on record. The G3 StarCraft 2 tournament will be a real test of his mettle and his nerves on stage.

TLO is a pillar of the StarCraft 2 scene and an example of work ethic – he has enjoyed a mini-resurgence of late, employing solid strategies while still incorporate creative and innovative (this word is so used so often but also so appropriate!) in his tactical approach to the game. This makes him a difficult opponent to predict but at the same time not someone you can easily beat in a straight-up game. He also finished 3rd/4th at IEM Sao Paolo, beating players like (qualifiers + main tournament combined) Bomber, StarDust, MaNa and Snute.

The HyuNstoppable force, however, is the third player in this group and is the favourite to take this all-Zerg encounter in Group B. His overall ZvZ winrate is about 10% higher than both TLO and Zanster – and in a mirror matchup where the tiniest of mistakes can prove not only disastrous but VERY QUICKLY disastrous, his edge is a big one here.

Head: HyuN, TLO
Heart: TLO, HyuN

Group C – Grubby, Snute, Jjakji

Gfinity G3 Starcraft 2 Tournament Group C - JoRoSaR's Blog

This group is, in my opinion, the toughest one to predict by a comfortable margin. Jjakji has been a solid player for mYinsanity for a long while now but has arguably slipped into StarDust’s shadow in recent months given his recent success. He will be eager to prove himself here but his group is definitely not easy to progress out of, with two non-Korean players who can both defeat him on their day – and different races to boot.

He has a fairly even recent record against both of the other players in his group as well, trading IEM Qualifier victories with Snute and WCS 2014 Season 1 Bo3′s with Grubby (once in a qualifier, the other in Premier Ro16).

Snute has been an all-round solid performer for TeamLiquid but has lost several of his more recent Terran matches while winning against most of his Protoss opponents, which is currently his favoured matchup. In a group representing all three races of StarCraft, this will be an opportunity for him to show that his all-round game is where it needs to be.

Grubby is one of the most passionate performers out there and his 3rd/4th place in WCS Europe when losing to eventual champion duckdeok last year can still be pointed to as proof he can string together epic performances. I remember his non-stop nail biting 3-2 victories in IEM Singapore (Season 7) where sitting at the desk commentating his games was akin to asking me to keep a heart attack consistently at bay.

Any one of these three players can win the group, and all three to an extent have performances that partly rely on ‘who shows up on the day’. This is an extremely difficult one to call and is definitely the group where I’m least confident in my predictions.

Head: Snute, Jjakji
Heart: Grubby, Snute

Group D – PiG, MMA, MC

Gfinity G3 Starcraft 2 Tournament Group D - JoRoSaR's Blog

Starting with the Australian Zerg playing for Exile 5, PiG gave us a mirror-match masterclass in his qualifier, defeating Golden and then going on to beat Impact 3-0 to secure his hard earned spot at the G3 StarCraft tournament. He has also been living and practicing in the mYinsanity house for the last month, sharpening his skills in Europe in preparation for tournaments like this one – and he will be aiming to make a big impression here.

The issue he will be facing is that he doesn’t have another Zerg in his group – instead, he has two champions and legends of StarCraft. He has lost 0-2 twice to MC in recent DreamHack group stages and will be looking for revenge here, but this is going to be ridiculously difficult.

MC and MMA have faced off in the WCS EU finals and have beaten each other before (more recently MC in 2014 Season 1). They will be the heavy favourites to advance out of this group, but PiG might fancy his chances of slipping through in light of his recent practice regime and strong overall game. I can’t see PiG winning the group but I can see him potentially pulling off a Bo3 upset (in my opinion more likely against MMA whose form has been more up-and-down of late) to sneak in 2nd place.

Head: MC, MMA
Heart: MC, PiG

A massive thank you to Anders Ingebrigtsen (@ingebrigtsen93) for helping me pull together a wealth of data for this preview article! :D

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JoRoSaR Interviews mYi CEO Cedric Schlosser

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Good evening folks,

As I’m sure you know from my last blog post, I recently returned from an amazing extended weekend away at the mYinsanity house where I got to live, breathe and troll (but of course) the life of a pro gamer.

I can assure you all that there is a good, fun amount of content to slowly sift through - I believe I left Switzerland with over 120GB of video to edit – so am really looking forward to sharing it with you all.

We start off with an interview featuring mYinsanity CEO Cedric Schlosser. Cedric is someone who isn’t normally in the limelight as far as the team goes but plays a critical role in keeping everything together on a day-to-day basis as well as managing the affairs of the team house.

As always with my interviews, I try to ask relatively few cookie-cutter questions and ask more interesting questions that the average viewer might want to know the answers to.

If you’re a member of the StarCraft Sub-Reddit, do visit and share the post here. If not, definitely go and sign up!

Remember – this is the first video of many. Keep checking back for more, or follow me on Facebook and Twitter to watch out for next announcements! :-)

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Big Weekend!

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I’ve been sitting on this for a few days now, but wanted to announce that this weekend, not only am I commentating the Gfinity Starcraft II Elite Division on Friday evening but will then be waking up bright and early on Saturday morning for a flight to Switzerland – I will be visiting the mYinsanity team house until Tuesday!

20140327 - myi-logo

You can find the announcement Facebook post here.

Now, I will be going for a number of reasons, some of which I invite you to dictate:

  • To have fun (hell yeah eSports!)
  • To explore the team house environment
  • To get to know the players a bit better
  • To create content for you guys (including stuff you wouldn’t normally get to see inside the team house!)
  • To stream (either playing or commentating), with or without the aid of decision-enhancing alcoholic fluids.

Is there anything in particular you want to see? Do you have a burning question that you want to ask one of the mYi stars? What about the team house environment interests you the most that I should find out about? Will I receive the mYi blessing and successfully 2-rax everyone on ladder? Do they really just sit around eating Toblerone all day?

Ask me. Comment on this thread or on mYinsanity’s Facebook post, and I will read it and react accordingly if I can.

I’m really looking forward to this – I hope you’ll join me in helping to make my trip a really memorable one!

UPDATE: There is now a Reddit thread here where you can submit both your questions for the people in the house and offer suggestions for other content. I will be checking there, on my blog here as well as on Facebook/Twitter – so however you wish to connect, let me know! :-)

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Gfinity Starcraft II Elite Division – Season 1

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I’m excited to announce that I’ll be commentating for the Gfinity Starcraft II Elite Division starting later on today! Six players will be duking it out in a round-robin format over five weeks, where they play each other once in a Best of 3. The season starts this Friday (7/Mar) at 19.00 UK time and runs for five consecutive weeks, finishing on the 4th of April.

Gfinity Logo

The prize pool is $3,000, split out as follows:

1st – $2,000
2nd – $750
3rd – $250

If two players are tied at the end of the season, tiebreakers are cumulative map wins (i.e. winning 2-1 would give you +1) and then head-to-head.

And the six players are:

Liquid’Snute
Mill.ForGG
Acer.Scarlett
Empire.Kas
Ai.Patience
Acer.MMA

I’m really looking forward to this, with each week bringing three new matchups to entertain and excite! Tonight we will kick off with Patience vs Scarlett, Snute vs ForGG and Kas vs MMA.

Tune in later from 19.00 UK time at the Twitch GFinity Alpha stream – see you there!

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Why Heroes of the Storm Will Be a Game Changer

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For those of you who may be more into the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) scene, where games such as Defense of the Ancients (DotA 2) and League of Legends (LoL) have enjoyed incredible success, you’ll be interested in taking a quick look at this. Here’s the official trailer:

Whatever happens, I predict Heroes of the Storm with its new look at fundamental mechanics of this game type will change and re-shape the way we think about team brawler games – and from what I’ve seen so far, it looks to be an exciting ride.

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Tt eSports Theron & Saphira: Choosing a Gaming Mouse for Everyday Use

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As someone who’s in front of a computer watching and playing games a lot, it goes without saying that my equipment is really important to me – but this isn’t something people discuss particularly often. In my personal case I have a back injury which means I’ve done a bit more homework than most regarding my desk height, posture and chair. However, today I’d like to discuss something that at one point or another has come across the minds of gamers everywhere – the mouse.

Evolution of the Computer Mouse

For those of us who have been around a while (food for thought: the newest generation of gamers have never used a ball mouse!), technologically there have been lots of incremental evolutions of mice over the years. We started with ball mice where quality mechanics ruled the roost, then moved on to optical with the odd laser mouse coming into play – all the while with ever-increasing DPI capability.

I’m not going to bother talking about these today; I’d like to come at the question of what mouse to choose from a more practical standpoint. I’m going to start with the assumption that unless you’re a top pro-gamer or have your mouse sensitivity on stratospheric that you won’t notice the difference the last 200DPI makes once you start hitting numbers over a few thousand, unless you’re the kind of gamer that enjoys the fluttering wings of a butterfly in a nearby forest affecting your aim in an FPS game, ha. The things I care about most are comfort and function, importantly in that order.

I will be writing a fair bit here based on my own experience, but generally speaking if you’d like the TL;DR version I will summarise my findings like this:

A bolded point in this article is a key consideration or learning that I took away during testing of a gaming mouse.

I’m also going to avoid super-obvious common sense stuff like “Make sure it’s comfortable!”, as I’m sure all of you will already veto even a fantastic technical mouse if it just doesn’t feel comfy. However, bear in mind you can’t always test mice before buying them as much as you’d like (not just because of packaging etc.) so I’ll try and throw in considerations that can be made both pre- and post-hands on.

The first thing to be very aware of is your grip on your mouse. There is no right or wrong grip, but by knowing how you grip your mouse you can immediately see if a particular model would be inappropriate for how you old yours.

Different Types of Mouse Grip

Generally speaking the palm grip (which is also what I use) is the most common and popular, with the claw and fingertip grips less so. You can already begin to see a few things about what kind of mouse might be unsuitable for some users: for example, someone who uses a fingertip grip might not like a large back-end to their mouse (which may be great for someone who uses a palm grip) as it could press into their hand when they wouldn’t like it to.

Claw grip and fingertip grip folk also usually (but not always) tend to favour smaller mice, as the smaller area of contact between hand and mouse means a lighter one is often easier to flick around and be responsive with.

The two mice I end up looking at in this post are both for me as someone who uses the palm grip.

Determine what grip you use with your mouse, and rule out using common sense any mice that on a basic level just wouldn’t work with your grip.

To backtrack for a second and give a bit of context, this blog post actually started as the result of a design issue I had with a previous mouse (specifically the Tt eSports Black) which I found really comfortable but had two of them with frayed cables within just a few months. It was nothing drastic, but the cable during transport simply wasn’t durable enough for me to use with my laptop because I moved around so often. About to give up, I was challenged by Tt eSports to try a pair of mice and really give them a good test – so I took up this offer and decided to put them through their paces as thoroughly as I could…by using them at work for a few months each in addition to gaming.

I was recommended to use two mice in particular, the Tt eSports Saphira and the Tt eSports Theron. I used each one for three months to get a good feel for how I would cope with using them long-term (my job involves me sat at a computer for most of the day when away from gaming). Below is a photo of both mice, which you can see are somewhat similar. The Saphira is on the left and the Theron on the right.

Tt eSports Theron vs Tt eSports Saphira

Both of these have a compartment on the bottom that contains removable weights depending on your front/rear preference for weight distribution. This wasn’t a big issue for myself as I enjoy my mice a bit more lightweight, so I eventually after experimentation took out all or all-but-one weight from both. It’s also worth noting for Starcraft II fans that the Saphira was co-designed with WhiteRa specifically to be used for longer gaming sessions without fatigue. I personally didn’t take this into consideration during my testing but some Special Tactics fans may disagree with me there. :)

The simpler design does come at a cost which might be an issue for some (but didn’t affect me): the simpler design of the Saphira means that the buttons for adjusting custom DPI settings were moved to the bottom of the mouse – on the Theron they are the angled buttons in-between the main mouse buttons. For this reason if you are a gamer that hot-switches between sensitivities while in-game it could get a bit frustrating – I suspect most don’t do this though, so is unlikely to be an issue.

If you need to regularly switch mouse sensitivity while working or gaming, check to see that the switch on the mouse is quickly accessible.

There’s a certain elegance to the design of the Saphira that is becoming increasingly rare in an age where gaming mice are getting more complicated by the week; a smooth, rounded top surface with very simple, flat grips on either side to keep your thumb and ring / little fingers in place. There are no real fancy bells and whistles on-show, and the entire surface (on both mice to be fair) is made of a grippy material which really helps my style of grip in particular.

Especially with palm grip users, having a grippy mouse top surface can make a big difference, especially in games where you need to react extremely quickly like FPS games. If you can’t feel this (due to packaging or otherwise in a store), a good quick-glance method that works most of the time is to see if the surface appears matte or glossy through the packaging.

I know the above seems like a pretty simple point to make, but the number of gaming mice I have seen where (for good looks) they use a really non-grippy shiny surface is surprisingly large. Some mice also claim to have a grippy surface but most that say this and are glossy in appearance still slip an awful lot when your hand sweats even a little bit during a longer gaming session. I won’t name names here, but I’ve used a few mice in the past that did just that which really disappointed me after a few days of use, especially when I’m playing FPS games like Counter-Strike.

After using the Saphira for three months (working weekdays and gaming weekends) one thing I can definitely confirm about it is that after extremely long days I don’t feel like my hand / wrist / arm is tired from using the mouse; it really is fantastic for longer sessions. My only niggle with it came down to something highly personal; I found that after a while I noticed the mouse really came ‘up’ into my palm due to having such a large curvature. While this wasn’t uncomfortable at all, it meant that when I flicked from side to side during gaming I was guiding the motion using more of the middle of my hand, rather than pivoting more from my wrist where my fingertips provide the most movement.

(Optional, as it’s not that big an issue) When you move your mouse quickly, have a little think about the movement in your hand and wrist: where is your movement coming from, is your main pivot your wrist, hand or shoulder? Can your mouse and its shape complement that?

Switching to the Theron also took a bit of adjustment; it’s flatter on top, is in general more ‘sculpted’ than the Saphira and while the photo above doesn’t quite show it, it’s slightly shorter and wider. This actually suited the shape of my hand and style a bit more once I got used to it – I thought the Saphira suited larger hands because of its longer shape and higher curvature, and I felt marginally more comfortable with the width of the Theron as my thumb had a nicer place to rest (note on the side of the Theron it curves outwards on the thumb side so there’s a little bit more of a natural rest point).

TteSports Theron Overhead Shot

My biggest worry with the Theron was actually the buttons for adjusting mouse sensitivity. These are the angled buttons below the mouse wheel that you can see in the image above. I occasionally at work use three fingers (index, middle and ring) on the top of my mouse because I scroll a lot, and two fingers (index and middle) when gaming. In both cases, I thought my middle finger may inadvertently strike the sensitivity setting which would be especially frustrating in the middle of a game (for those wondering how this is possible with just two fingers on the top of your mouse, when my middle finger is on the right mouse button the first knuckle of my finger is still hovering very close to the centre of the mouse).

Happily, it turned out this wasn’t an issue at all. Because of the larger sculpting / depression with the left and right mouse buttons, I found my middle finger when gaming sits more comfortably towards the right side of the button and as a result the sensitivity buttons don’t get in the way. Similarly when working, my middle finger is very rarely extended fully (usually slightly bent on the scroll wheel) and that also means the angular buttons are surprisingly well placed to stay out of the way unless you need to use them.

Something I touched on near the beginning of this blog post that I should emphasise now before I forget: it wasn’t until I switched out the mice and carried them back home / to the office that I remembered the reason I needed them in the first place. For me personally this is an absolute must, but is real easy to miss if you’re just focused on a good technical mouse:

If you use your mouse on-the-go often (like I do with my gaming laptop), I recommend always getting a mouse with a braided cable. This is important as you’re (gently please!) folding up the cord multiple times a day and you need longevity from your equipment!

Braided Cables are Great for Gaming Mice

Finally, something that’s worth mentioning at least in passing is the mousepad / mouse mat – how mice combine with the surface you use them on is incredibly important to be at the top of your game, but with this I genuinely believe that past a certain quality there are significant diminishing returns.

Once you find a mouse surface (whether you like a hard, flat surface such as wood or a metal mousemat etc. as opposed to say, cloth, which I personally prefer) that you’re comfortable with, get something you like and stick with it – but as long as it’s of half-decent quality I would not go round spending a lot of money on an absolute tip-top surface as I don’t think the incremental value is worth it when compared to the importance of being comfortable with your mouse.

At the end of the day, it was ridiculously tough to choose between the two mice. I ended up marginally sticking with the Theron, because (and I love WhiteRa to bits!) although the Saphira had very simple elegance and good stamina about it, I found the Theron overall slightly more comfortable due to my hands not being large enough to take full advantage of the Theron. The more sculpted shape of the Theron combined with the button placement being a lot smarter than I originally anticipated (my fault!) meant that it just felt better for me to flick around.

My biggest surprise – since this was an experiment after all – was how much information I was able to gleam from using these mice in a day-to-day environment at work. I think it isn’t necessary to specifically switch out ‘normal’ and ‘gaming’ mice, and to have something that works in both environments is great for the majority of us.

I hope this was useful to someone perhaps looking for some of the less talked about points (aside from the obvious “comfort!” which I should say for the sake of clarity still needs to come first) when it comes to choosing a gaming mouse. A special thanks as well to Kitty Mach and TteSports for giving me the mice to try out (they don’t sponsor me or anything, they were just unbelievably helpful!).

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DreamHack Bucharest (GameSocial Stream) VoDs

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Hi everyone,

We only stopped casting an hour or so ago, but I now have some VoDs from today’s action on the GameSocialTV stream! Make sure you check them out on Twitter as well (at @GameSocialTV) because their overlays and production value is absolutely excellent. :-)

DreamHack Bucharest 2013

Without further ado (don’t worry, no spoilers – links to Game 1 only):

Liquid’Ret vs Veneration.StatiC
FNATIC.NightEnD vs ENCE.elfi
mYi.DaNa vs prOp.Sjow
Liquid’TLO vs Axiom.Heart
Grubby vs Liquid’HerO
Grubby vs Liquid.Taeja
FNATIC.Harstem vs KTRolster.Flash
Acer.InNoVation vs AZUBU.SuperNova

Playlist for everything here

Enjoy! :-) Special thanks to Nick Baker (@NickGSC) of GameSocial and my wonderful co-caster Adam Simmons (@Madals91). As always, you can catch me up on Twitter @JoRoSaR or on Facebook at facebook.com/JoRoSaR.

JoRo

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ESETUKMasters / Plantronics GameCom at i49

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I’m sure I’ve said this before but it is massively nostalgic for me when I attend an i-Series event, because all the way back in 2012 (which in eSports timelines is approximately forever) they were who gave me my first opportunity (well, an arranged one anyway!) to showcase myself as a commentator. Insomnia 49 was also the biggest i-Series to date and really brought together so many different gaming disciplines under a single roof, including the huge MineCraft Expo event. All in all, over 25,000 people descended upon Telford throughout the weekend – and unlike a lot of large scale LANs, this is an event that I can legitimately say is a proper gaming festival.

Dinner with Madals the night before casting at i49 startedDinner with Madals the night before commentary started – can’t go wrong with a hearty Italian!

An idea of scale, you ask? Well, this is a photo I took on the night (at 23.00!) before any official events started / took place. This about 1/4 of a hall and there were three in total, not including the main hall (with stage, seating and rather importantly, the bar):

Some of the LAN crowd at i49

Massive shoutout as well to Matthew MacDonald a.k.a. Kharne who brought in the Saints of Sin to play to the crowd on Friday night – and to be frank, not only did they attract a large crowd but were unbelievably good as well. Fantastic music (specifically great original songs combined with amazing covers of older classic tunes) coupled with good drinks – there were Starcraft, LoL, DotA, Counter-Strike, Infinite Crisis, Minecraft, TF2 folks and more all rocking out and having a great time.The Saints of Sin at i49

These guys were experts at getting the crowd going – it was amazing.

The Saints of Sin at i49

I maaaaaaaaaaaay have wanted to sleep in the following morning but like a good shoutcaster, didn’t.

Now, it would be impossible (sadly) not to mention some of the technical difficulties we had, especially on Friday/Sunday where for some portions of the day the internet and indeed the UK national network (i.e. the guys that supply ISPs!) was struggling to cope with the sheer number of nerds out in our little neck of the woods. Happily though these got eventually resolved – I wonder what would happen if next time something like that happens we put a sign up telling people where to tweet for customer support ;-) Kudos to Madals for coming up with that idea.

Friday was reserved for casting WCG where I also laddered when there were any issues with the upload / stream, and Saturday was the beginning of the tournament with the BYOC qualifier well and truly under way. This determined the players who would be joining their seeded counterparts in Sunday’s playoffs and the games were generally extremely exciting with lots of long, macro back-and-forth action.

When games weren’t going on or we had downtime, we enjoyed mingling and chilling with players and passers-by at the ESET stand where we held Starjeweled tournaments and introduced a lot of people to both ESET and Starcraft – in the photo below I highly suspect mYi.PengWin is busy showing us one of his famed (cough…Reaper Viking…cough) ‘builds’…

The ESET Stand at i49

Keeping an entire team motivated to do well and practicing throughout a weekend can be tough though, and here you can see dignitas.r2k doing his best to keep the team fed and watered. Apparently, this broke the till at the branch he visited – not entirely a surprise.

Team Dignitas and KFC at i49

For dessert, Wizzo was on hand with the famous Multiplay ice cream machine, as well as getting creative with his advertising. Whatever he did, it worked – there were queues throughout the entire weekend!

Wizzo's Ice Cream at i49

The entire time we were casting on both the Friday and Saturday as well, Madals and I were using some specialist equipment that we wouldn’t normally get to use and I’d like to touch on this a bit and why it’s so great. Plantronics were also on board in addition to the continued support and sponsorship of ESET for this i-Series, and provided us with the rather awesome and top-of-the-range GameCom Commander headsets that we cast from for the duration of the weekend.

Plantronics GameCom Commander Headset

Now, I’m not just saying this because they sponsored the tournament – there is a really good reason why these were particularly useful throughout the weekend. Very few headsets actually come with a built in condenser microphone, allowing for good sound quality on a broadcast without having an additional standalone mic. The over-ear cups of the GameCom Commander coupled with the mic quality meant that our technical setup to broadcast the tournament was much simpler without relinquishing any quality to a standard headset mic – something we really appreciated.

I have to say that despite early reservations about the weight of the headset I was nowhere near as tired after wearing it for nearly eight hours as I thought I would be. I found that for prolonged sessions detaching the velcro piece at the top (thanks Madals for discovering this!) allows for a more comfortable wearing experience which meant that despite it being a hefty unit, we wouldn’t worry about fatigue towards the end of the day. This could potentially be really useful for streamers who want the flexibility to use both a good pair of over-ear headphones but have a good quality mic which can also be used on-the-move / travelling.

JoRoSaR Using Plantronics GameCom Commander Headset at Home

Lastly, I also wanted to highlight the genuinely awesome way Plantronics supported the ESET UK Masters Season 2 and brought in great community spirit to the i49 qualifiers – rather than just throw money at these online qualifiers (although the prize money was there!) the direct UK qualifiers earned themselves headsets – a GameCom 780 for 1st-3rd and a GameCom 380 for 4th-8th. This meant that players outside the top few seeds also got prizes and help spread the joy amongst the consistent UK scene that perhaps aren’t as well known yet but are fast improving. :-) I hope that more sponsors around the world do this to support eSports in the future, it’s a fantastic way to making these tournaments not only more rewarding but potentially more accessible!

JoRoSaR Madals & DreAm at dinner

One of the great stories of the weekend that I’d like to share has to do with the above photo. Madals, dignitas.DreAm and I went out for dinner before the pub quiz and we successfully recommended the gaming festival to the restaurant owner – and to see her during our commentary the next day with her children was a fantastic sight! I can only imagine there being a few Minecraft boxes and 8-bit swords leaving the convention with them later – doing our little bit to push gaming forward! :-)

Now, Saturday night was the legendary Insomnia pub quiz – which never fails to produce a crowd that is short of capacity and entertainment that is practically unrivalled amongst fellow nerds. This year was no exception, and the atmosphere was AMAZING. I will do my best through the next few photos to give you a glimpse of what it was like, but there are some things (like the rowdy banter, the not-always-PG-friendly things that come up on-screen during the pub quiz and the always-trolling audio and video crew) that need to be experienced in person.

Signage at the i49 Pub Quiz

The Crowd at the Insomnia 49 Pub Quiz

As always, a great gaming theme dominates the pub quiz and one of the most challenging turned out to be the picture round, where most teams know a lot of the games referenced but there were a few that seemed to elude almost everyone in the room – can you spot the references below?

i49 Pub Quiz Picture Round

The eventual winners amassed an incredible score and also celebrated with one leg on a keg – which I have to say is particularly impressive (and also possibly quite normal for an i-Series pub quiz). There was also a bikini-clad Super-Meat-Boy Speedrunner and SC2 Caster coming in at third place (which I will spare photos).

However, you can view the entirety of the pub quiz here – thanks Multiplay for uploading it! (Warning: It’s over 2h40m long – but very worth the watch)

i49 Pub Quiz Winners

Sunday was nothing short of incredible, in a number of ways. I suppose the first of these could be waking up and getting to the venue despite sounding like Barry White with a throat infection, but a good breakfast goes at least a little way to sorting that out!

The bracket stages were fantastic though, watching the players come through after group stages and in particular our finalists Harstem and BlinG make it through as the two favourites, but not before fighting through incredibly difficult competition including JonnyREcco who once again displayed his rivalry with BlinG by fighting an epic Best-of-3 where he went (only just!) to the lower bracket, later to be taken out by Harstem en-route to the final.

You can watch the finals by clicking this link or playing the video below – I will not spoil it game-by-game for those who didn’t watch suffice to say it was one of the most entertaining PvP’s I have cast in a very long time – I highly recommend watching!

There isn’t too much to say after this other than to say the night afterwards was long and full of cheer (not just a code work for drink). It was sad to finish the games especially after a brilliant finals but a fantastic finish to top off a great weekend is never a bad way to end things.

JoRoSaR and StressThe Starcraft and League of Legends casters team up to…drink later! :D

All in all, a great weekend to catch up with old friends, see and meet new faces, and watch an army of gaming enthusiasts enjoy their favourite games whatever they may be. I can’t wait until i50!

Until next time, happy gaming :-)

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