Travel - the anti Bonjwa?
by, 04-25-2012 at 03:44 PM (2271 Views)
Effective competition requires that we maintain a fairly consistent environment. This means practicing in a similar way. Practicing similar strategies. Practicing with the same gear and so on. Considering how important consistency is in developing one's skill and building muscle memory and so on it is no wonder that travel has seemingly struck again and again as potential greatness emerges only to strike it down.
Travel is one of the least consistent or predictable things in the life of a progamer. Most of the time we travel to a place we've never been to before via at least one airport we're unfamiliar with. Everything from traffic to the food we eat and our ability to sleep or otherwise plan are disrupted. There are many factors out of our control including delays, seating, and the actual location in which the event may take place. Even if we plan accordingly for everything known many unknown things can happen involving delays, scheduling problems and general administration problems with the tournaments themselves.
It's no secret that almost every single LAN event encounters delays of some sort - but when and to how much they occur is rarely predictable.
All in all travel amounts to a relatively consistent factor that must be taken into account when attending events. More importantly, there are certain costs associated with travel that cannot be avoided. Travel tends to leave people tired, out of their comfort zone, and 'behind' on things that need to be taken care of back home. For a progamer this means lost practice time.
In addition, with the advent of tournaments all over the world progamers are more and more inclined to try winning more events despite the infeasibility of doing so because of travel and the costs associated with it.
Finally, travel has the effect of disrupting the rhythm of practice and life of a progamer. Imagine a time where you were performing at your peak. For progamers one of our main objectives is to maintain that 'peak' period whenever possible both in practice and competition but this is no easy task. Just like a game of Starcraft has momentum so does maintaining a good practice schedule. Once in one it can seem like there's no other possible way to practice - and when out of one it can seem like there's no obvious way to find one.
To summarize: due to disruption caused by travel and the mass of tournaments all over the world potential being a consistently great player is even more difficult than in the era of Korea Broodwar where very few events sent you internationally.
For evidence I point to players like MVP, Nestea, MC, and most recently MKP. Was travel the only reason for their fall? Was travel even the main reason? Maybe not but there seems to be a connection.
The MKP I saw last night in GSL was not the same that I've seen in the past or even over the weekend at MLG.