Yeager183/awakeN's Experience at MLG Columbus 2012
by, 03-26-2012 at 06:45 PM (3319 Views)
First off, I have been around the competitive gaming scene for a good 7-8 years now and MLG Columbus was the 1st big event I've attended. So much like CatZ's blog about the Winter Arena, here we go:
At about 8.15am, I hop into arAndyOnyate's van with Jake "vVv Virulent" and Kevin (Both University of Tennessee-Knoxville students) and begin the trek to Columbus, an expected 6-hour drive. Before this, I had only met Matt "AndyOnyate" and Kevin once before at a UTK SC2 tournament and had never spoken to Jake (Virulent) before. In Kentucky, we picked up David "SinFeo", who I met at the UTK SC2 tourney as well. Despite the fact that we had two Masters (Matt and David), a diamond (Jake), a platinum (Myself), and a gold (Kevin), a majority of the drive's conversation was about strategy in general, favourite players, balance, etc. - pretty standard.
Shortly after passing through Cincinnati, someone needed to make a pit stop. I'm not sure what happened, but we ended up driving around the city for a good 25-30 minutes trying to find our way back onto the interstate with dead phones and no GPS. We finally find our way back and the rest of the drive went smoothly.
We checked into the German Village Inn Motel, stopped by a McDonalds, and headed to MLG. We get off the elevator, and within 5 minutes, we've run into the TSL and mousesports guys. Anyway, we go to check in, and we hit a snag with David's competitor pass as he didn't so a proper transfer and some random checked in as him. After talking to a few admins and getting the okay from John Nelson, everything was finally fixed at about 4.30pm, so neither Matt nor David really had any time to warm-up. Regardless, I start taking everything in, honestly not expecting the huge amount of people. Started to walk around and meet some pros (didn't make a huge effort though as I didn't bring anything for autographs that day and was planning to that the next day), watch some games, etc. David was able to take his first series 2-1 while Matt lost his 2-1 after getting 1-1-1'd twice. We also ran into L.J. aka the 14-year-old that hung out with all the pros, and he actually chilled with us quite a bit (not sure why though - he was the king of MLG Columbus). David went to play his 2nd game, and lost 2-0. Went on to watching Starcraft pretty much nonstop from then on and met up with another group of guys from Knoxville. While watching the MC/Ganzi match with David, someone walks up from behind and starts talking strategy with David while I mentioned my thoughts (lol Platinum opinions) here and there; 15 minutes into the conversation I turn around, realize it is Grubby, and have a bit of a "holy shit" moment. We continued chatting until the series was over, and learn that Matt had been chatting with Destiny at the same time. Shortly after, we meet up with Temp0 and Suspense and chat for a good 45 minutes I suppose (Matt helped with APM) -- very cool guys, and we ran into them a ton over the course of the weekend. I can't recall anything else ridiculous happening that day at MLG, but there were so many great matches to watch and I was everywhere, walking around absolutely too much for day one. Just before the Polt/Stephano match, I ran into djWHEAT and had a quick chat -- was very happy to hear Epileptic Gaming might be coming back.
After leaving the venue with Matt, David, Kevin, and Lobber (yes, the Lobber from Reddit), we start walking around High St looking for a good place for food and drinks. The only place we could find that had both at 1/2am was what seemed to be a gay bar that was crazy packed, and once we realized what it was we left, luckily before I had been groped at all (it's a pretty standard problem for me even in Tennessee). Anyway, we finally get some fast food, get to the motel, and I fall asleep face down on the floor (skills).
First thing after I wake up, I get asked how the hell I can sleep like that. Standard enough, I'm a little strange. Whatever, within 45 minutes we are on our way to the convention center again and this time I had my keyboard for autographs. I had a lot of time to go around and get autographs from pros, but wasn't getting them from everyone I possibly could -- perhaps a little strange, but hey. I talked a little more to Grubby at the beginning of his signing thing at the Sony booth -- I think he found it a little strange that I, as a zerg player, was a huge fan of him and came up to MLG with all protoss and terran players. He's a cool dude, and I feel bad for him doing as poorly as he did at the event. Eventually got my keyboard signed by Destiny, CatZ, Stephano, Incontrol, TLO, and djWHEAT between watching matches all over the place. Matt lost in LBR3, David in LBR4, and Lobber in LBR6. I saw that Heart was rolling through his pool after the open bracket and started watching during his match against Ret. For whatever reason I thought Popcorn was Amies, kinda felt like an idiot, but I guess that kind of thing happens at live events. We ended up chatting for a bit, got Killer's autograph, and was told to meet up with him on Sunday for a mousepad and more autographs - no way in hell I would turn that down.
Near the end of day two, I run into the guys chatting with Temp0 again. While we are hanging out, Day9 is running towards the back stage again, recognizes Temp0, says hey, and runs off before getting swarmed. Anyway, we get invited to a Team Liquid Mafia event thing at the hotel next to the convention center, and figure why not. I learned very quickly that Mafia isn't my kind of thing, being more of the observational/quiet type, and was lynched on day one of both games I played due to being like that. Despite that, Sheth, Nazgul, Temp0, Suspense, Hotbid, Gunrun, Thundertoss, and many others were there. Kevin ended up drinking a little too much and some arguments occurred - was awkward/embarrassing; not too fond of being the new guy with a belligerent friend =(. Other than that, it was pretty chill to meet everyone. Went back to the motel, this time without Lobber, and passed out once again face down.
I woke up with about 15 minutes to check out of the motel. Absolutely rushed, I take a quick shower and throw everything into my backpack. In the rush, I managed to leave my Zerg shirt and a pair of jeans behind (realized this when I woke up today, actually). 15 minutes before getting back to the venue, I get a text from Popcorn, and I meet up with him as Heart prepares to play against DRG on the main stage, get a coL QPAD, and watch the match. Hung out a bit more with the guys and L.J. again, got some food at the food court, and headed back up to watch more games. Ran into Temp0 and friends once more, watched Heart vs Ganzi, and then spent the rest of MLG with the rest of the crowd, eyes fixed upon the main stage.
As the final battle played out and the victor was known (don't want to spoil the finals for anyone if you're for some reason reading this instead of watching the matches), the Knoxville crew headed off before the ceremonies occurred, seeing that most of us had either work or school to attend to this morning after a 6-hour drive. Conversation was less about Starcraft in general as we didn't know a whole lot about each other despite traveling to Columbus for the weekend, but if there will be a Raleigh event this year; we will be ready for it.
Thoughts and Whatnot
Despite being around the competitive scene for the greater part of a decade, it was hard to believe so many people from around the world would come to Columbus to watch SC2. It is so unbelievably easy to meet new people and have conversations with just about anyone, whether they are professional players, or casual players, or just watch the game as an eSport. I feel like meeting people in person results in a better experience than what a forum or chatroom could ever offer.
To be perfectly honest, while lying in my bed last night and reflecting on the crazy weekend, I was sad that it had come to a close. Hell, it bothers me a lot that this was only the first event I have attended. My heart has always been with gaming, and since the CGS closed down, I haven't been nearly attached to the competitive side of eSports as I would like. If anything can be said in that vein, I will do everything I can to attend events like this from here on, and I want (more than anything) to find a way to be more than just a username on a forum.
I guess a blog is a weird place to put this, but thanks to compLexity for being such a badass organization; Jason Lake for sticking with everything and working your ass off to keep the dream alive; Popcorn for being a cool guy and hooking me up with goodies; the players for chasing their dreams and being friendly at the event; and of course MLG for making the event possible.