MLG Anaheim.

I attended my first ever MLG in Anaheim yesterday on June 9th, 2012. Tickets were $35 for the weekend long event; I only attended Saturday’s event and one day was worth the ticket price.

I’m not going to deny my love and appreciation for Starcraft. I grew up with it starting from 4th grade or so. I followed the storyline and I played an outstanding share of ladder and custom games. Upon flying back home a month ago from Berkeley, I suddenly stopped playing. However, I still watch professional gamers stream on all the time. Starcraft is a big part of my life. I kid you not – I often relate the it to international relations, economics, and game theory concepts.

So with that being said, I went to the second day of MLG Anaheim with my sister, Bobby, and three of their friends who flew in from Colorado. The event was held in the Anaheim Convention Center, and there were thousands of attendees that came to witness the very best players in the world fight for fame and fortune.  The tournament consisted of a large pool of players (around 270) fighting for the prize money. The top 16 players received money, ranging from $1000 for the bottom player to $25,000 to the first place winner.

Elimination rounds that determine who faces off in the final brackets. Suppy is from our school… Cal Golden Bears represent!

For those of you who don’t know, most of the top players are foreigners – Korean to be exact. Starcraft players in Korea are considered celebrities – players with successful careers live very comfortably and gain notable attention from the media and fans. There are even two television channels solely dedicated to showcase Starcraft matches.

Two of my favorite players: SeleCT (middle) of Team Dignitas, and MarineKing (right) of Team Prime. SeleCT ended up getting knocked out by our very own Suppy, while MarineKing ended up placing 3rd place.

Watching these competitors play was a very humbling experience. As stated earlier, they’re all professional gamers who get sponsored by companies to play as a full-time job. Most of them practice at least eight hours a day, get critiqued and analyzed by their coaches and adversaries, and many have team houses in which they live and train together. It’s no wonder that they’re the best in the world.

Some of their skills include insanely high actions per minute (apm) – the amount of actions they perform every minute – is off the hook hovering between ~250-400. That’s 4-7 per second. It’s to the point where I’d get carpal tunnel just watching them. They’re also incredible at multitasking – there are multiple fronts which require constant attention and management. These players are able to think and respond extremely quickly to dynamic situations. They’re also adept with creativity and psychological warfare to throw off their opponents.

So, with details surrounding MLG Anaheim: Near the entrance consisted of 200 computers showcasing the expansion game called Heart of the Swarm. Anyone could line up to try out the game. Near the center of the room consisted of 100 computers showcasing the player’s matches. The perimeter was surrounded by spectators watching them play all day long. Notable matches were shown in the back end of the room. The two players were put into separate sound proof rooms with a computer and battled it out against each other on stage. ~400 seats were laid out before them and six large projectors showed what the players’ and commentators’ screens.

The event was damned fun and we stayed until midnight. The food there was extremely expensive, so we went to Heroes in Fullerton for dinner. We shared shrimp and scallop pasta, chicken quesedillas, and a gigantic plate of nachos.

I’m estimating it to be 3x the size of Denny’s nacho plate.

It was very fun filled day. Congratulations to DongRaeGu for winning the tournament, as well as Suppy for being the best performing US player!

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