Sunday, January 17, 2010

Oath and the MLG 2009 World of Warcraft PC Pro Circuit

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the grand finals of the MLG 2009 World of Warcraft PC Pro Circuit in Orlando. I brought my good friend, Repello, out to the event. We learned quite a bit from the pro Arena players, even got to talk to a few of them.

The event itself was impressive; here, Repello and I thought we were just going to the WoW tourney, but it was actually the full Pro Circuit of MLG. There was a Dr. Pepper center kiosk giving away free cans of Dr. Pepper, Stride gum carts giving away free gum, rows of XBOX360's and PS3's playing Madden and Halo 3, and a vast myriad of gamers. WoW got a corner, small, but humble, and I'd like to think it had some of the more sophisticated members of the attending throng.

Okay, perhaps sophistication dwindled down to just me and Repello. The monkeys on the bench didn't know whether to cheer or stare dumbfounded at the screens. Despite this, we saw some great matches, great comps, and learned a lot.

First off, let's take a look at the arena.

The technical side of things. This is where commentary was held, updates to the live forums, and server maintenance occurred.

Lots of wires, fo sho.

Teams had their own sides, flanked with cameras to check out the action live. The people watching on were friends, family, or extreme fans. No, no girlfriends. There's no time for girlfriends when you're the best arena player.

Interesting thing about the rules: no addons or mods. You could bring your own keyboard and mouse, but aside from, the computers were provided, the characters were built on the custom server, and you could only use in-game script to change your UI.

This in mind, it really gives a sense of how “pro” a pro is. To play without addons is a bit foreign to me; I've always required some sort of healing assistant or notifier. Bells and whistles need to go off to help me react, and now that I see how they do it, it makes me consider my gameplay entirely.

Speaking of they, let's find out who they are.

SK:EG is an amalgamation of SK Gaming and Evil Geniuses, two teams who saw a lot of action during the entire circuit. They formed together, I think somewhere in during the Dallas finals, to have a fairly diverse group.

Pookz – Mage
Kollektiv – Shaman
Realz – Rogue
Azael – Warlock

Their overall comp was built on a contemporary idea of control. Enough control and you usually will win. Unfortunately for them, though, they were knocked out by Complexity Red and the Button Bashers, two teams who showed a great deal of promise.

Hearing the commentator, Igoaf, call them “The Koreans” over and over again was a bit unnerving; it's not like the Button Bashers were going to report back to Kim Jong-il about their wins and loses. They're from Seoul. Totally different.

Hiren – Rogue
OrangeMarmalade – Mage
NumberOne – Priest

RMP group, a comp that hasn't been used since the end of Season 5 professionally, but for the few months, OrangeMarmalade and company have cut a swath through the competition. Perhaps you remember the following clips from Germany:

And then an explination of his win:

I went to the tourney with these clips in mind, seeing the fights and being extremely intimidated by Orange. I was a bit let down when I saw them lose twice, but Orange was playing Frost spec more than his Arcane. Hiren was quite impressive too, unloading a ton of damage on targets through fights, but the pressure felt by the other teams, like Complexity Red, wore the Koreans down.

This team impressed me the most. With comps I haven't seen too often, I was really impressed by the amount of damage and control this team was able to dish out. To add more salt in the Sinister Strike, they even ran RMP at one point against verteran RMP group the Button Bashers, winning the matches and taking the lead to second place over the Koreans.

Venruki – Mage
Reckful – Rogue
Snutz – Warlock
Sodah – Priest

The amount of control and anticipation from this group was jaw-dropping impressive. They were also the loudest group at the tourney, Snutz bellowing out a battle cry at every chance he saw he was open for a kill requiring an assist. Eventually Reckful got in on it and so did Venruki.

The first day of the tournament was the all-star challenge. Team captains chose players not in their original team and created new combinations to fight in a double elimination round. With a chance to win an easy $1000, spectators were given a preview at players' skill and comps that we've never seen before. My favorite was two rogues and a priest. Damn was it terribad, but interesting to watch as a dynamic.

Oh look, it's the back of my head and half of Repello's face. Yea, that's our anemic looking group of spectators. The Halo 3 arena was much more impressive with high bleachers, a commentator's box, and large projection screens you could watch from the back of the convention hall. We had two flat-panel monitors. Score.

It smelled like wet dog on those benches. Delight. Dudes, take a shower. WoW less, clean yourself more.

Yo Snutz. You happy you're winning? You're a loud sonofabitch. Scary in the Sewers and Blade's Edge too. Back up with that Shadowfury. I'm your bro. We coo, we coo.

Sodah's looking mighty intense, but most healers usually have this face on them between fights. Makes me a bit apprehensive to heal a 3v3 with One.

I do that too sometimes.

Players would have to take 5 minutes on occasion to discuss strategy. WoW was the only game at the convention that had to do that, which makes me think: Gears of War 2, 4 guys, hardly any talking, just a lot of individual success overall to bring the team through with hardly any assisting, group camaraderie, or cooperation. How is it justifiable to give $75,000 as a grand prize for that? Hax.

Yea, not doing so good. Scream louder, that seems to be working for the other guys.

They should give mages battle shout.

Reckful wasn't nearly as loud as Snutz, but it did give the team morale and brought in the wins.

They weren't making words. They were just yelling.



Complexity Black. The three guys who took it all. They were the most diverse group. Flexx was key in this, running a BE DK, Tauren Warrior as Prot, and most notably, his Enhancement Shaman. Along with the beast mastery hunter, Twix, out the door the wolves were out, the core hound loose, and bloodlust was popped. They targeted one DPS, downed him in half a breath, and moved on. Their comp was scary.

That free Dr. Pepper was awesome.

I felt that way too.

Should have been more, but despite that, they did get $5000 each. Congo rats to them. They move on to spank up some European ass in the international circuit.

What did I learn? Paladins and priests are the way to go for heals. Control is the name of the game. Beastcleave is scary.

And I'm going to be PVPing more.


Anonymous said...

Man, I regret not being there. Seems you boys had a good time

"Matan"- Farstrider: Love Machine

Anonymous said...

actually we were yelling "CHIKA!" which means "DROP HIM!" in korean.

Viagra said...

This game gets so intense!

Elliott Broidy said...

Looks intense!