Hello to you all and I hope you’re having a fantastic holiday season wherever you may happen to live. :-)
It’s been a while since I last posted here and for that I apologise; various real life commitments (including but not limited to processing problems with my passport which has taken way too much time – fortunately it was all worked out in my favour now) have meant I’ve had less time for playing Starcraft recently, although a lot of things that aren’t exclusively about playing have been happening!
The Apprentice Star League
The Apprentice Star League has been restructured and the league restarted. This was mainly due to huge problems with players failing to play their matches and coaches continuously realising they didn’t have enough time to properly coach a team and dropping out. This was always going to be a problem with a free model but Alan (the founder of the ASL) has made the brave decision to cut the number of teams to four with all the most active players on the rosters, and have community coaching sessions rather than a large number of dedicated coaches. I think this is a positive direction for the league and while things haven’t gone as smoothly as possible so far, it was a brave and correct decision for the ASL to make.
I actually fell into the category of active players, but because I was playing from England it meant that the community coaching sessions each week would fall at a somewhat untenable hour for me (something similar to midnight-3am). This wasn’t something I could commit to in the long term so I’ve unfortunately had to bow out of the league.
It is consolation, albeit small, that my record in the league is an unbeaten run. I wish it could have been over a larger number of matches but I have a 2-1, 2-0 and 2-0 (walkover) record and managed to keep all my time commitments to the league. I hope that the new format serves them well and that they enjoy a greater level of success. GoSu.tgun to my knowledge will still be coaching each team’s hardest working players at the end of the season although this will now obviously be reduced to four.
Should you be an improving player who is serious about putting more time into practicing Starcraft II and are able to commit to a league-type format, I would highly recommend you contact the ASL and let them know you can be a committed player. They’re always looking for potential new players and the more dedicated, the better.
November was an incredibly busy month as well thanks to the presence of not one, but two Barcraft events in London. Conveniently located on two weekends running, MLG Providence and Dreamhack Winter 2011 meant that there was going to be little time to rest. The week started off for me on the Friday before Barcraft started (it was a Sat + Sun bar event) – a group of students from where I used to study organised a “Housecraft” throughout the weekend and I made it a priority to visit them as well as play a few games on the many computers present.
As it turns out, I really enjoyed myself and the addition of several computers made an in-house tournament possible throughout the evening. It also meant that the evening was guaranteed to go the entire Friday-broadcast distance (into the early hours of Saturday morning) and so food and drink were obviously required.
The above photo may or may not be me holding a kebab takeaway bag with two wine bottles doing an Immortal impression. I couldn’t possibly confirm one way or another.
The Saturday and Sunday proved to be a lot less tipsy but this was because I was occupied with the epic London Barcraft event for Providence. The sheer number of ridiculously high quality games made the weekend absolutely amazing and I had my camera in-hand to capture the atmosphere at the Assembly House for the MLG Red stream that ended up showing this photo live on-air on the Sunday!
We also had a fantastic team from CNet UK (mad props to them!!) who popped down to do an article on Barcraft and record a video with interviews. Take a look at their report and the sexy London Barcraft video over here.
There was even a lock-in arranged for those who were sufficiently keen (and had no desire to sleep!) to stay up and watch the finals on the Sunday evening into the early hours. Quite a few of us managed to survive the night, and some of the survivors can be seen diligently cheering away long after the mere mortals left the pub.
Crates of wine + Projector = Standard. Obviously.
Dreamhack the following week would prove to be an even more epic affair than Providence was, because of an upgrade from a 91″ projector to a 10-ft behemoth! It was also a slightly more sober affair as I arrived early to help set-up and would also be setting up a live webcam feed of the crowd for broadcast! It was great to see people popping in and out of the stream throughout the day to take a look at what people were doing in London and elsewhere around the world!
The crowd were also honoured to have special guests popping in and out throughout the weekend including Susie Kim from IPL and Dignitas’ team manager Odee all dropping in for a drink or two (or more!).
Graduating from wine crates to old books. We’re getting good at this.
Some of the swag on offer that was given away during the Dreamhack weekend. Yes, that’s a Collector’s Edition box in the background!
Huge Screen Is Huge.
London Barcraft have a lot more photos and information on their Facebook page and you can also follow them on twitter at @LondonBarcraft. If you happen to be in England and would like to pop down for a Barcraft weekend in 2012, please do drop in and say hi!
The venue is:
The Assembly House Pub
292 Kentish Town Road
London NW5 2TG
(1 minute walk from Kentish Town Underground station)
Keep watching Facebook / Twitter etc. for when Barcraft events will be organised in the new year!
CatZ vs qxc Best-of-31 Showmatch and the Drinking Game
Warning: Spoilers of the result of this showmatch later on in this section. Feel free to keep reading until you next see this bold text – I’ll warn again exactly when the spoilers start.
For those of you who follow the TeamLiquid forums, you may have noticed in the last week that CatZ decided to challenge qxc to a ridiculously epic Best-of-31 showmatch on the 22nd of December.
The question everyone wanted the answer to – who looks better in shades?
I was incredibly pumped and excited to be casting this event live, and also promised qxc beforehand that I would be around for the entire series – but did not realise what that would eventually entail! Three streams were simultaneously up: CatZ and qxc were streaming their first-person views and I was streaming the observer with commentary.
The event started at 7pm with an odd opening going into a long macro game on Shakuras Plateau. My voice unfortunately felt like sandpaper thanks to the typical winter illnesses that tend to spread everywhere this time of year and I wasn’t able to leave my desk to get to the kettle due to how long these epic games were! :D I’m pleased to report that after the first couple of games people on stream were watching me get myself tea and honey on a regular basis as well as a box of cold-and-flu tablets to chug my way through the cast.
A few London Barcrafters were kindly in chat to moderate because I was completely underprepared for the sheer number of people that would tune in – I believe at one point 1,700 viewers was surpassed (and many more of course watching the player’s first person streams). I didn’t notice this because I was so busy trying to keep track of everything in the games that I barely had an opportunity to even take a sideways glance at the stream.
Firstly, I think it’s appropriate to say I owe an apology to the viewers in the first set of 4-6 games where I was missing some stuff during the cast on the minimap – there were several reasons for this, but two main ones. The first was that I had only just taken the medication that would allow me to keep going for the rest of the cast and it hadn’t quite set in yet (my nose was still completely blocked and my brain only half-working) but secondly because qxc seemed to be so good at being everywhere at once that I could barely think fast enough to keep up!
However, the flu meds eventually kicked in and along with a hot drink (and another metric ton of honey) things were going smoothly from about the 6th game onwards. The sheer number of proxy barracks and proxy hatcheries flying around everywhere also eventually gave rise to the CatZ vs qxc drinking game which I devised with the viewers on-stream. The rules were very simple and went as follows:
- If a Hatchery is destroyed, take a drink.
- If a Command Centre is destroyed, take a drink.
- If an in-progress Hatchery or Command Centre is stopped WITHOUT cancel, take a drink.
- If a Command Centre or Orbital Command is forced to lift up to avoid being destroyed, take a drink.
Starcraft drinking games can lead to interesting times.
This doesn’t look in itself to be that dangerous, but anybody who was watching the stream will know how ridiculous it turned out to be. I would say that in an average game, a drink was being had every 3-4 in-game minutes – and occasionally several drinks (multi-pronged drops and counter-attacks mainly) were consumed within a single minute. With many of the games lasting impressively long (including a 25-minute brilliant match on Novice Blistering Sands…yes you heard that right!) this led to several dedicated ballers in chat exclaiming “JORO Y U GET ME SO DRUNK” (spelling corrected) by about the halfway point of the evening.
A great time was had by all and the match lasted a streamed total of 7 hours and 21 minutes – the biggest break we had throughout the series was about four minutes so this really was a marathon Best-of-31 in every sense. I started streaming at 19.00 UK time and the match ended at about 02.30 the following morning. With various K-Pop related sing-and-dance-a-long’s afterwards as well as a NA-server monobattle that I played with some of the viewers, I eventually packed up the stream at about 04.00 and crawled into bed to crash.
To those who were watching and were continuously giving feedback in the chat, I thank you greatly. I hope that throughout the evening you saw me adopt most of what you guys and girls said to me immediately and I really appreciated your input – most importantly, I hope it resulted in a better show for you! ;-) Kudos as well to those who kept playing the drinking game and hung on like troopers until the end – you will forever be the Unsung Heroes of Starcraft casting. :-D
An extra shoutout to those who took part in the dance-a-thon with various songs littered throughout the cast. I wish I took a screenshot of everyone typing ASCII dance moves into the chat, because that was absolutely epic – sadly I didn’t think to do this at the time. If anyone has a screenshot feel free to send it in and I’ll add it to this blog post. :-) A final list of what was played throughout the evening is below:
- Hyuna – Bubble Pop
- Beast – Shock
- Super Junior – Pyjama Party
- Men Without Hats – Safety Dance
- The Gag Quartet – Internet Medley
Warning: Spoilers Incoming Below!
You all love Microsoft Word clipart, really.
The final results of this epic match then, are listed below. I want to thank Djeez on TeamLiquid for diligently keeping track of and compiling the games to post in the official TeamLiquid thread. I have copied over the results from his post below:
GAME 1 – Catz > qxc on Shakuras Plateau
GAME 2 – Catz < qxc on Novice Steppes of War
GAME 3 – Catz > qxc on TPW Odyssey
GAME 4 – Catz < qxc on Shattered Temple
GAME 5 – Catz < qxc on Metalopolis
GAME 6 – Catz < qxc on Tal’Darim Altar
GAME 7 – Catz < qxc on Antiga Shipyard
GAME 8 – Catz < qxc on Daybreak
GAME 9 – Catz < qxc on Dual Sight
GAME 10 – Catz < qxc on TPW Ohana
GAME 11 – Catz < qxc on Crevasse
GAME 12 – Catz > qxc on TPW Emerald Jungle
GAME 13 – Catz < qxc on Testbug
GAME 14 – Catz < qxc on iCCup Neo Enigma
GAME 15 – Catz > qxc on Scorched Haven
GAME 16 – Catz < qxc on Terminus RE
GAME 17 – Catz < qxc on TPW Overgrown
GAME 18 – Catz < qxc on Steppes of War
GAME 19 – Catz < qxc on TPW Concrete Dreams
GAME 20 – Catz > qxc on iCCup Sanshorn Mists
GAME 21 – Catz > qxc on Crossfire SE
GAME 22 – Catz < qxc on Lost Temple
Final result – qxc 16-6 CatZ
An absolutely wonderful evening and despite the exhaustion I’m pleased to say my throat didn’t quite feel as bad afterwards as I thought it would (this morning when I woke up was a different story though but I won’t bore you with that!). I’m really pleased that I was able to bring some enjoyable commentary to so many people and I look forward to doing it again in the near future.
In the mean time, however, please do check out my YouTube Channel at youtube.com/jorosar as I’ll be posting a lot more replays including the EGL4 London finals (!!) in the coming days. Finally, thanks to everyone who said they would refer me to competitions etc. as a caster – I really appreciate this, and please do e-mail and encourage people to get in touch. I love the game and community, and would be more than happy to cast tournaments big and small if there’s a need. :-)
Thanks once again to qxc (what a multi-tasking baller), CatZ (what a gentleman – and a very insightful interview afterwards as well for the stream, many thanks sir!) and all the viewers for making the evening such a great one.
What Now and The Future in 2012
Looking forward to beyond the holiday season and into 2012, I’m looking forward to really ramping up the time I spend developing my own game and doing an awful lot more casting. With the ladder season five commencing as well, it will be a good time for me to gauge my progress and hopefully play and stream more online tournaments for anyone who cares to watch.
I’ll do my best to make these entertaining of course, and I will be continuously adding to YouTube in-between direct casts and streams. Many thanks for everybody’s support, and here’s to a fantastic incoming year not for me but for the entirety of the SC2 and eSports community!