I don't follow the StarCraft II scene. I just happen to know enough about the players to passably get by in conversation/game watching and enough about the game itself to troll people. Still, working at IPL3 was too awesome an opportunity to pass up, so I decided to take it.
IGN was really generous to its staff, so props on that. My flight, hotelling, and food costs (for the most part) were paid for--this weekend I pretty much just paid for checked-in bags, extra dining, and other miscellaneous items. I'm also extremely glad that IPL made an exception for staff--spectators had to be 21, and seeing as I'm a bit younger than that I wouldn't have been able to go had New Jersey state law been that strictly observed. Actually, despite encountering every conceivable setback short of a zombie invasion, IPL3 kept on going. There were bumps in the road, but the tournament overall kicked ass. Great games and amazing production--if only all tournaments could be like this.
Anyway people being flown in were dropped off at the Philidelphia airport and IPL had Rapid Rover shuttle service running the hour-long trip for us. I was going to try to take the shuttle with motbob and p4NDemik, but my flight ended up being delayed for a while and they were gone before I got there. Definitely started feeling guilty then, seeing as I was the only one waiting for the next ten person-capacity shuttle to arrive. Turns out I had a mate (Alex Weavers) to endure the otherwise potentially awkward ride with, so that made the trip better. He was a pretty cool guy--talked a bit about SCII and then he started teaching me about LoL. I've never played League since I'm a DotA elitist but it's always nice to learn something new.
I was pretty blown away when we made it to Bally's. My parents are more the camping type, and generally when we go on vacation if we're not camping we stay in random motels that seem like they could be hiding serial killers. Everything was just so... shiny (only encompassing word I can think of at the time). Got my keys, went to the room, dropped the stuff off, and ran into CaucasianAsian and we went to eat. I was still kind of confused at how fooding would work for staff (I was told in an email that there would be a room with catered food for us) but it turns out we were just eating at the place where Bally's staff eats. Seemed mad sketch at first and hard to find as well--from my room in Claridge tower had to take an elevator to the ballroom floor, enter some unmarked door that led to a room storing plates and silverware, take a really old elevator (not inspected since 1980?) down a few floors, then wander around a bit more. Food wasn't anything spectacular, but I actually enjoy eating simple stuff more. They had turkey, tomato, and spinach, so that made me happy enough.
motbob, p4NDemik, and shindigs were down there already. I'd met p4 through Raleigh (hazel eyes~) but shindigs and motbob were new to me. shindigs is a pretty cool guy (you might remember him as the dude marketing the ESPORTS Aviators) and motbob, well, looks like Cillian Murphey... better known as the dude who played Scarecrow in Batman Begins.
He's probably going to kill me after how many times I've said this in the past week.
Would you like to see my mask? I use it in my experiments...
Somewhere down the line we talked about how there should be motbob-esque accounts running around with different vowels. Then shindigs "reached into the ether" and pulled out something that would become one of the week's recurring memes.
Because matbab sounds too much like Batman to some of us.
Obligatory poking fun at motbob aside, after lunch we went to the qualifier area to unpack/set up stuff. Met d3_crescentia there (he's so chill... and reminds me of a giant panda. Insant love) and ended up folding shirts for an hour or so. Can't even keep track of how many white XXXL shirts I folded with that life hack technique.
Rest of Wednesday passed relatively uneventfully. Met the rest of the qualifier staff, sat through some meetings, finished setting up a few last things, and then night hit. Serejai was planning on staying on our floor, so we went out to get him around 11:00 PM. Dude looked so different than I had imagined him... He was a really interesting and insightful person to talk to, though he was still quite the troll. p4NDemik ended up having an extra bed so Serejai stayed with him instead. Wound up in the cheap bar (Wild Wild West) sometime after, and then just killed brain cells until about 4:00 AM.
On the opening day of the tournament, morning shift qualifier staff reported to the venue at 9:00 AM. Working the qualifier event meant only needing to work the first two days, leaving the weekend free. I felt pretty bad--my job was relatively... Trivial? Information staffing--sit behind a desk, answer questions, and play Tetris. At some point, people also started wandering over to mess with the computers. At some point Boxer and some of the other SlayerS walked in and everybody started jizzing. At some point one of the qualifiers staff, crumblekins, pulled an epic [albeit set up] bomb.
Other TL members started showing up so I crept around and snapped pictures of them, but I'll probably dump them at the end. Anyway at the time of opening ceremony, blue shirts (higher level staff) asked for two staff to stay behind to watch the room, so Alex Weavers and I stayed. Opening ceremony ended up getting delayed for quite some while, so I pretty much played Tetris and spammed TL while the countdown continued.
What with all the mayhem, I couldn't even answer a bunch of the questions. Felt somewhat useless since I couldn't leave my desk but half the time I had to run to ask Nick (he was the back end manager--such a bro) or somebody handling the brackets whether or not something was correct--for instance, Haypro ended up being listed twice (and we all thought he was going to have to play Machine first round)... Definitely have to hand it to motbob, d3_crescentia, and CaucasianAsian. Had they not stepped up to the plate (Match Reporter was, on paper, a really easy job... though circumstanecs arose that made it not so simple) to deal with all the incoming crises, the qualifiers would have been completely sunk. Oh yeah, thanks to Phelix (software!) and shindigs for helping me man the desk at times, and to everybody else who wandered over to the info booth shoved in the back of the room to keep me company.
I was going to go back to the cafeteria to eat, but azndsh (what a baller) was like "yo come eat at this really expensive place; it's on me" to about ten of us, including Nazgul and Haypro. I felt so bad--took a look at the menu and just recoiled at the prices. The food was ridiculously good though. Got to thank azndsh once again--I'll treat you to food some time when I actually have money.
I can't remember exactly what happened after dinner for the next few hours but I just remember being really tired. Ended up falling asleep during Lo3 but thankfully Phelix was also asleep so he took the hit instead of me when the casters pointed out the sleeping dude in the second row. Wandered over to the WWW bar again but hit a slight snag the first time when I saw there were actually people carding this time... Ended up exploring the casino a bit with Serejai before deciding to go to bed. Then got out of bed after at around 12:30, redressed, and went back to the bar. Bouncers were talking to some girl so just slipped in right behind them. Probably not a good idea in retrospect since I just ended up being way too tired the next day. Wound up at some 24/7 sitdown restaurant at 4:00 in the morning with Hot_Bid, Nazgul, Mango, p4, Phelix, and Kibibits.
Waking up Friday morning sucked. Finding out that games were "delayed indefinitely" due to the downed line was even worse. Ended up milling around--had a deck of cards on me so played cards with people. By the way, Haypro is probably the worst liar in BS that I've ever met... It's his turn to play, and dude just looks at his hand and goes "...I don't have any sixes." Also Kaila and I > Haypro and Emily in Kimps.
When the afternoon rolled around and internet still wasn't on, it looked like everything was lost. Then Boxer showed up and saved ESPORTS.
Boxer wasn't going to play at first but then I think HuK started BMing him or something so they sat down and pulled up BW. That's right guys--you can play BW on lan. Mad?
HuK won the first game on Longinus with 10/15 and BM'd the hell out of Boxer with statements like "you want my signature?" Boxer was going to only play one game at first (he had some meeting to be at?) but at the end he called re. Everybody cheered.
Second game looked kind of like a random C-/C game you'd see on ICCup... but damn. The atmosphere was crazy. Jessica arrived during the second game and started hitting HuK for delaying Boxer and at some point even covered his eyes for an extended period of time (I can't believe I didn't get a shot of this), and then afterward internet kind of came back on and Jessica/Boxer tried to leave. They got swarmed. I had stuff to sign but felt so bad so I didn't join the hoard, but then afterwards never again found the chance. Sad life, but it's okay.
Friday night was fun. I had totally expected to wind up in the bar again, but instead I found Mango and was like "yo let's play Mafia." Ended up in the TL press room with a crowd of 25, and we played some Mafia. Games were so awesome, and the people there were cool--met the CSL kids (hazely so cute and Mark even cuter), some of Mango's friends (Bob, you're a baller and really darn good at Mafia to boot), and a lot of other cool people. By the way, Fake Chill is really loud, and seems like a windup toy with his catchphrases of "Bullshit!" and "Sounds like Mafia talk to me!", and "I'm the Cop!". Kind of sad I didn't get to play much--modded most games and ended up getting killed first night as town. Peopple ended up playing Mafia till like 6:00 AM, and then repeated and brought in an even bigger crowd Saturday night including Naz and Sheth. Hot_Bid ended up trolling the last game of Saturday night by making everybody town... and engineered it so that one sorry fellow, Kyle, had to choose between his girlfriend and Bob. Guess who he chose as Mafia?
Mafia games take forever with 30 people.
Sheth facepalming. It came down to him, p4NDemik, and one other dude. p4NDemik was Mafia and the other dude used really bad logic and voted Sheth.
Pretty much on Friday and Saturday it was Mafia > SCII. Then on Sunday actually watched most of the games. Wasn't impressed with the finals but hey a white person won.
Afterparty after the final was okay--they didn't let enough people in though in general it was too crowded. Fretted for an hour, then just ended up taking shindig's ID (thankfully all Asians look alike) and just got in. There were SC themed drinks... Zerg Rush, Stimpack, and Mothership. Mothership apparently had four or five different types of alcohol. Ended up singing "A Whole New World" terribly off-key with HD. Too many Motherships. Woke up Monday, packed, helped IPL pack some stuff, then flew home.
Overall, last week was a bad week to take off. There's quite a bit of work that has piled up and a few more midterms and presentations to tackle in the coming days, but the experience was definitely worth it. I'm really looking forward to the next IPL in Vegas if I'm given the opportunity to go, and I hope to see you guys there.
Oh to some people (sorry if I miss you this is taking way too long and I'm tired):
motbob - You might be a robot as well as a Scarecrow Batman. Either way you're a really chill dude. Hopefully I'll see you in Vegas.
Serejai - You're every bit as awesome as I was expecting. It was really nice talking to you over the most random stuff, and hopefully you'll show up at more live events. Also, want an apple juice?
p4NDemik - You have beautiful eyes. Sadly our shift differences prevented me from seeing more of them (and dat jaw). Next time!
TheMango - Why so good at Mafia? Also thanks again for the food...
R1CH - <3
shindigs - Your ID saved me. Thanks for being somebody who reminded me we still have work... even though I failed at accomplishing much.
hazelynut/Mark - Both of you are cute beyond words. Maybe I'll wander up to Princeton some time... Also thanks for the scarf^^
CaucasianAsian - Your casting helped save ESPORTS. Don't mind the haters.
d3_crescentia - Stop playing Mafia drunk/super tired. I am still not amused about that drunk cop game.
Tofucake - I'm sorry I rub u and your angry outbursts T.T u r townie
rekrul - When I turn 21 we are doing some cool shit okay?
Mafia people - You guys are all really awesome people. Hope to see you in the future where we can play more Mafia!
Everybody else I met and talked to - You guys made this last week amazing. I wish I could write more, but this already has too many words and I need to get to class soon.
Hmm photo dump time.
Qualifier stage pre-mayhem.
White people can't tell us apart shindigs.
He actually is the nicest person ever.
Sheth, R1CH, intrigue.
Wax, p4NDemik, azndsh, and Phelix.
Sleepy mods -- Hot_Bid, heyoka, and Mango.
Gordon Hayward playing. His games against Temp0 were actually pretty good.
Eating at the Reserve, couresty of azndsh -- Haypro, Nazgul, intrigue, and R1CH.
Serejai pulling a pre-IPL Smix.
Why are you delaying Boxer? I'm going to make you lose now.
hazelynut in Korean fangirl mode.
Bob the Boss,
And just to dump the rest of the Boxer photos here...