Quick intro as always for those that aren't close to me and what I do, my name is Daniil "CheeseHeadLogic" Pauley. I'm an English/Russian broadcaster for Quantic Gaming and the Collegiate Star League. As soon as you read that, you might think this is some other personality that got an all expenses paid media trip over to beautiful Anaheim, California. I wish....I wish. Unfortunately it was an own dime paid trip to the beautiful Anaheim, California. Even though there are certain aspects I regret of not doing any media coverage at the event, I did free myself up for a wonderful weekend.
Thur Nov 7th - It all begins
8am flight....fuck that. Honestly I don't understand how anyone is able to tolerate such an early flight. No one is fully awake, especially the staff. It was pretty cool though because DIA(Denver International Airport) had K9's sniffing around before you get to the security line so I was able to make record time(9 min) from stepping into the airport to my gate. Didn't have to take off shoes or anything, it was very efficient. Flight only took a couple hours from Denver to Anaheim, during which my bloodshot eyes were glued to the 5...maybe at most 6 inch screen as the news broke out that Seneca fucking Wallace was going to start for Green Bay, instead of signing Matt Flynn(sports fans will relate). Get into Anaheim and we're off on the super shuttle with a bunch of WoW nerds. It's always nice to see people passionate about game as much as you are about another. We get to the Hilton, which I booked like the day before the flight lol(don't ever do that, plan more ahead.........at the same was it probably the best idea I had) and check-in as I try to figure out the days plan. Had to go print my barcode for my pass pickup at the kinkos inside the hotel, of course in the printing room right next to us I see a maple leaf on the back of this guys head. Yes it was Ben "Mr Bitter." Said my hellos and he gave me a pack of WCS cards, nice guy! Unfortunately the badges line wasn't open for few more hours so I met up with one my fellow CSL peeps Chris Bizzel(writer). We ended up walking around for a couple hours around Anaheim, during which we managed to follow a route into downtown disney. We ended up going to the LEGO store(The little kid me would have been in paradise) and ESPN Zone to watch a little futbol. By the time we got back we had to have walked a good ~5-6 miles and I was in a fuck it mood. Thankfully a familiar face showed up.
Yes the legend himself, Aleksey "White-Ra" poked into the Hilton with a trade mark Euro summer look of a tank-top and jorts. Living in America now for ~17 years forced a small giggle out of me but I was very happy to see him. The first time I met White-Ra in person was back at IPL4, and just as he was back then still very benevolent, kind, generous, a hell of a lot of adjectives that describe a humble man that has probably gone through more than any of us can imagine, and just a damn good friend. With him tagged along was a tall guy that looked fairly familiar, but I couldn't place a name on him. Ended up being Justin the director of the StarNation documentary. As I was asking questions, it had to be the few beers in me that spewed out the stupid question "Did you travel with Nick and Dan?" Somehow I connected StarNation to Sons of Starcraft. The good guy he is didn't take any offense to it, and continued explaining that they are getting closer to finishing. I doubt I am allowed to drop an exact % but be ready for a great documentary. As time passed I got the itch to finally get in line and get my badge as they were about to open the door in 20 minutes.
Now for those that have never been in the badge line at a Blizzcon, I hope you never have to go through that hell and torture on your feet. Maybe it was this year but the line by the time I got there was a good 3/4 mile out on the outside. Honestly I'm just happy I didn't jump in 20-30 minutes later, because the line doubled, and then tripled with another 20 minutes. So about 45 minutes in, the line starts actually making some great progress, but IT WAS ALL A LIE. You should have seen the devastated look on my face when we got inside the convention center only to find this ~30 row, 120 foot zig zag of plastic chains. You would have thought that someone announced Blizzcon was canceled by the mood in the room. Fuck it w/e another 45 minutes, I got my badge and was ready to bolt back to the Hilton for some more drinks. At this point the place became alive. Personalities from various Blizzard games and the company itself were mingling among themselves and fans. Pretty much at that moment I gave myself a pat on the back for choosing the Hilton instead of the Marriott. Yes you are welcome Hilton for getting you those couple extra nerds to your hotel from reading this blog haha.
"A friends picture when he got to the line late"
As the night progressed, the bar got more and more business from us. I had the great opportunity to meet several personalities that I wasn't close to and was a big fan of. The biggest one of which was Chris "ChanmanV." For those who don't know him, he does the best talk show right now in eSports. Ya ya CHL, but what about Live on 3, and META, and all those other shows? If you haven't had a chance to listen to 'Unfiltered' do yourself a favor and open up another tab. Hell as you're reading this blog open any of the past couple episodes from this youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvKV_Qc64JR8r_N43r2-4dRT1ziZOp5S8 . Basically It's Chris and Destiny and guests who do a show talking about a range of eSports topics, usually within the sc2 realm. There’s a reason it’s called Unfiltered. Anyways, got to talk to him about his show, Destiny, the dynamics of the community, and more. Overall I wish the best for him and everything he does.
As the night continued a couple friends dropped by Skye/Talia. This duo was fun to hang with, a little shy at first but after skye had her second vodka cranberry, she loosed up a little or was tipsy not sure which still lol. Skye if you read this you're a champ! Had a chance to talk to Suppy and HelloKitty. I've casted Suppy like ten thousand times through the CSL, but as always nice to see the guy in person. The dude is tall and it blows my mind, like whenever I watch his stream he just seems shorter. sorry Conan. Even though I have worked with NASL before in connection to the CSL I have never met the CEO of NASL(Add name of CEO OF NASL), and let me tell you this is one funny guy. I'm probably not allowed to repeat 50% of what he said lol. Not to endlessly list people I talked to, but caught up with some of the CSL, and eSports people like Carlton, Julian, Kibblez, and Looknohands. The funny story of the night though goes to Demuslim. We're outside Chanman, Whitera, Demu, Justin, and some other guy. All the sudden this girl walks up to Demu, of course him being him all he has to do is be British to intice a girl. So he opens up a conversation with this WoW girl who is all about the game. I'm talking ALL ABOUT IT. She's explaining to him all sorts of things about WoW, her history with the game, how she's been divorced, and it's just us watching them go about it and cracking up over it. Overall a great night that would set the tone for mornings and nights at Blizzcon. if there was anything else that happened I sure as hell can't recall it.
Friday Nov 8th - Day 1 Blizzcon
9am. Alarm goes off. My head is ringing, my body and feet are sore. First thought that goes through my head, "Man this is going to be a long day." After taking like an hour to get ready I headed down to the lobby to get some brunch. Inside the Hilton there was a little food court area with some Pizza place, a Cali Subs, and a couple other unhealthy options, as well as a 23 million person line to Starbucks. Now at this point in the blog I want to take the time to praise how awesome California Subs is. If you have never had California Subs I would highly encourage you guys to try it. Very wide bread, fresh everything, and a lot of avocado related sandwiches. I made the mistake of getting a 12' sub on Thursday thinking haha this will probably just be like subway. NO, THIS STUFF IS AWESOME and its obnoxiously large!!!!!!!!!! I did learn to get only 6' in a sitting, trust me I'm not a small guy but damn these subs were huge and tasty!
It was time to head to the convention center. Outside it was just a mob of people, but the line moved fairly quick. I felt like nerd cattle getting herded into a nerd barn. You get inside and it honestly takes your breath away, as well as your focus. Within my sight were 2 of the 4 convention halls. The first of which was the WoW/Hearthstone stage. Myself never being there before was in a little in awe that not only was there a spectator area, but also a huge section of computer setup for people to play WoW and try the new expansion. Spotted the SC2 stage, but saved going over there until a little later. The A hall was mainly Diablo III, and Diablo III for PS4. Myself not being a huge Diablo fan, didn't really spend too much time over there and couldn't give you much insight on how the game was. I heard they took out auction house though or something.......lol. Next was the C-Hall. Aside to some of the booths like Newegg, Gigabyte, Nvidia, the Starcraft 2 stage made it's presence felt. With a huge pathway and ten trillion chairs I had a feeling it was going to be an awesome event. Around 11am the event was supposed start in D-Hall with the opening ceremonies, but by the time I found my way over there, the whole place was packed and my best bet for watching would be off of one of the far monitors, so I just went back to the SC2 area where I plopped down in a very nice 3rd row from the front seat to catch all the opening announcements. HoTS trailer was amazing, like out of our seats OHHHHHHHHHHH amazing. Not a huge WoW guy but trailer looked decent, gave a very old school feel, and honestly just seemed like they added a battleground rather than some big storyline. Could give no shits about Diablo sooooo ya. Cool announcements about Hearhstone and the plans the they have for mobile devices in 2014. Rambling a little so lets get onto the important matches.
Oh and if you watched the stream at all on the first day, you would have spotted me for sure in the third row with a cheeshead on!
The first match that stood out was Soulkey vs Naniwa. Now it didn't pack the whole Hall, but it sure as hell got close. A lot of hype and excitement for the only foreigner in the top 16. When you have a #1 seed vs a #16 seed you should have a good idea what you're about to see. I thought it was going to be a quick 3-0. On my end and just studying up on Naniwa some, I got the last 3 builds he planned to do correct as game 1 was kind of a WTF. All the channeling in that venue couldn't help Nani win, as the C-Hall went quiet when the final 3-1 score popped up. Even to this moment I still consider it a huge privilege to be able to watch the top foreigner of 2013 play only 10s of feet away from me. The dude is not about the money, the following, he just wants to win and I think everyone can respect that.
As much as I would have loved to stay glued all day and just watch SC2, I had.......I HAD to go try Heroes of The Storm. To those unfamiliar with the game, it's the new Blizzard Moba, that was called Blizzard All-Stars, and w/e else they called it before hand. With me was a fellow CSL mate Paul Benson who already had a chance to play and kept hyping me up as we got closer and closer. As we were passing in line, the costume competition was going on over on a huge monitor right next to us. Guys being guys, as soon a male came out everyone had that w/e tone unless it was a really well designed costume. Female comes out and you just hear the 'DAYYYYUUMMM".
We finally made it to our HoTS station. Now preface. I AM A HUGE DOTA PERSON. I'm actually even a bigger SC2 person, but my history and the past year of 1k games definitely qualifies me as a Dota person. So 3 lanes, items, last hits, etc....right right. I mean hell I've a played a little HoN and LoL(shhh don't tell anyone). I pick Nova and a lizard to ride on. So there is my first wtf moment. I get a mount that I can ride around on when not in combat. Not looking at the mini map I ask the other 3 people on our team who has mid lane? Yaaaaaa......I looked stupid. There is no middle lane. We end up going to our lanes and combat ensues. During this time i'm trying to figure out the map, the creeps, some abilities. Moba experience helped me a lot. We get first blood, and our whole team jumps a level. Oh ya CHL there is SHARED EXPERIENCE IN THIS GAME. This is the most CASUAL moba I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE, and I loved every single second of it. Someone said it best and called it the Super Smash of Blizzard. Now one aspect was pretty neat. In the middle of the map on the top/bottom lanes are these mine shafts. They open up after a little time and you go in there and start killing creeps and a boss. As far as I understood when I played it, the more you kill in there the stronger your golem is going to be. So half our team goes in, and we kill everything. 2 minutes later this giant fucking golem and ultralisk come out and they start fucking everything up. I'm talking creeps, heroes, walls, towers, hell if the game wasn't designed for them to be on our side they probably would have done the same with us. Morale of that story was I played a near perfect game with ~15 kills, 10 assists, and no deaths. Fun game guys, be sure to give it a shot. You could probably be drunk, high, pop molly and still be able to function just fine in this game.
We end up going back to the SC area for JD vs Dear. After talking to a lot of pros, people prior to blizzcon many had picked Dear to win it all. I set the score at 3-1 Dear, cause well JD is a great player and should be capable of getting at least 1 game off of Dear. Reminder with Naniwa out the whole venue was behind JD. If another 1-3 happened to a fan favorite, I'm not sure if people would have showed up for Saturday lol. JD though drops the sick comeback, place erupts, emotions are on a high, and a great way to head into the night.
The night was pretty simple, a lot of drinking and mafia. The CSL crew/ close people to the people that work in the CSL came to play. Funniest thing ever was to vote out Jullian and Alan at the very start of the game, just to see their reaction. I was mafia, we won. Still a little bitter through in the middle of the game the other 3 mafia turned on me......assholes.
Had to be like 3am when I headed back up to my room. A grown man wobbled by me getting chased down by Adebisi. I'll spare the details but Robert Ohlen almost had his face squished by the elevator doors trying to introduce himself as he walked out of it LOL.
Saturday Nov 9th - Day 2 Blizzcon
This time around it had to be close to 11am. My body wouldn't will me up any earlier. Hungover once again, we went through the exact same routine as the day before.
Heading into the venue I spotted Tim 'Shindigs' with his gf and caught up with them. With not to much going on in the SC2 area right away we sat down to watch the Hearthstone semi-finals. I'm not going to bullshit you guys as I have only played like a couple days. It was still very fun to watch and gave me more of a chess type of feel than SC2 does. Again all credit to SirScoots and everyone behind the scenes that put on a wonderful production, had a lot of fun watching.
Back in the SC2 area, I caught up with another CSL fellow Brandon 'Atrioc'. During the rag dolling of Bomber by sOs, Brandon suggested we go try the 2v2 challenge. Of course we end up winning it with no loses by using the same build every game we played lol. Won a bunch of WCS cards....so that was pretty cool.
Post victory we caught up with Skye and Talia to watch the second semis, which just ended up being another rag dolling expect for that game on Frost between JD/Maru. It was finally time to get ready for the finals. Blizz knew what was up as a bunch of employees walk out with boxes of thunder sticks, t-shirts, and WCS esports cards to throw out to the crowd. So after catching my good share I noticed a familiar face sitting next to us.
if I was in a competitive scenario about 6-8 months ago, we might have had a different conversation, but good ole David Kim is actually a really nice guy. Was very happy with where the event was and was very excited for the final. Can't blame the guy for having a grin on his face when all 3 races made the semifinals.
Not going to go through the whole final series recap, but just want to give praise to sOs for being an incredible and creative player. The other 15 players showed up with strats, builds, and plans that I have seen before and had been expecting. I'm not going to go all Tasteless and say this changes how we look at sc2. As a person who loves studying up players and favoring the analytical side of casting, I could only sit back, enjoy, and process the creativity shown in front of me.
Was planning to charge over to the HoTS station, but my battery was low so had to charge it up as much as I could before the Blink 182 concert. Even before Anaheim, I already stated that Blizzard needs to cut this shit out of inviting Tenacious D, and older bands. Just get a Krewella/Knife Party combo and everyone would be happy. No I don't care that one the guys from Blink 182 plays WoW. The concert itself wasn't special really in any way. It was cool to hear some old song that I forgot I listened to back in the day. I mean a small closed off standing area, very loud speakers with poor sound quality, that awkward layout of 5/6ths of the crowd is in a seating area, 3 pop rock icons putting on a concert for a bunch of guys. A lot more wrong than there was right. "Fell in love at the rock show" and we were fucking out of there.
Came back to the Hilton for a few drinks and the intention to head over to the TwitchTV after party. Changed and met up with Elliot(another....yes another csl person) and his friend. After a few drinks we left to the Fire + Ice: Grill + Bar
On the way over ran into Axeltoss, chatted him up on eSports. Because I'm bilingual he thought I came all the way from Russia lol. Funny guy, would see him later inside the Twitch-AF.
Now I would spoil all the festivities when we get in, but that would ruin a little of the appeal coming to these things. Main thing to note is the 2 bartenders doing the open bar were the best.....well best or wanted to get us drunk. "Ah yes rum and coke please." I watch as he fills the glass 90% rum and takes this little jug of coke and literally splashes the glass just enough to change the color of the drink haha. Inside I did have chance to meet a few more additional people for the first time. The first of which was Gillyweed and her bf.....awww she is such a sweet person. She isn't like your typical caster or player, but produces content for the artsy side of eSports. She even gave me a hint on her next show: Blizzcon cosplay! You can check out her stuff at: http://www.youtube.com/user/GillyweedSC2 . Met a couple Quantic members in person, Schamtoo and Kaitlyn. Just like Suppy, Schamtoo you're tall....like way taller than I thought you were, but great guy. Got to finally finally talk to LiquidHerO as well. Next to Parting and maybe Sen I haven't casted and studied up on anyone more than HerO. Through all the up and downs and endless tourneys he has had to play in, it was nice to finally give him some encouragement in person. Yes I shook the Dong's hand as well. You could see the emotional swings of the day took a toll on the poor guy, but he loosened up as the night went from what I could tell. Was very happy to see Clutch. Josh has to be one of the most talented people in eSports with so much range. If Red-Eye was replaced by Clutch, we would get as good of a show if not better. Got to talking to him about what he's up to since I haven't seen the guy in months. Basically he will be traveling everywhere for the next months period broadcasting and hosting as far as I understood with World of War Planes launch, MLG Columbus and doing some WCG work. You can follow him @Clutch08 on twitter. Best for last of course. Ladies if you are reading this get ready to take notes. The pick up line "You look like my ex-boyfriend" isn't actaully a bad pick up line if you say it to someone with good humor. A beautiful girl by the name of Sheila opened up a conversation with me......of all nerds there right? Not out to give all personal information about a person not in the eSports scene, but did very find intresting that she didn't have a personal connection with eSports....say like me and what she was doing there. She definitly made the night complete and I thank her for that........don't get mad at me if I sad anything too much
Lets just say I didn't have any sleep and ended up making my return trip on 26 hours no sleep.
Did I mention traveling with a cheesehead on your head is a hit at airports. Put some smiles on the SNA employees with it.
Sunday Nov 10th - Back home
I'm not sure if I was tired, tired and hungover, or some form of the 2, but I could barely speak by the time I got back to Colorado. Shout outs to the family for picking up, because I sure as hell wouldn't have been able to drive without wrecking.
Had a nice pit stop at my parents place that included a long nap and a Fifa 13 sesh with my 9 year old sister. She's funny because she picks up anything she does so fast, and that definitely includes gaming. My family encourages her not to, but the awesome brother I am, I gave my Xbox360 away to her prior to Blizzcon. She could already play Dota2, but by the time I got back she could already take on the AI in Fifa with no issues. Best 2v2 Fifa team in the world!
After a wonderful dinner, I headed home. Get home turn on the light, light bulb burns out. Turn on PC internet gives out within a couple hours. Yeah fuck me. I wanted to go back to Cali soooooooooooo bad.
.........so as I sit here Tue night watching some good College Basketball and counting down the hours until comcast gets their asses out here to fix their line, I have to say it was a wonderful trip. There's always days where I consider leaving eSports because the amount of effort and hours I put into it seems to have no payoff at times. After an event like Blizzcon though, it humbles, matures, refreshes you. So I would like to share a few of the plans I have coming up!
Future Plans -
1. E-Sports cards Opens. I still haven't finalized the details on it but I am planning to give back to the community who didn't have a chance to go to Blizzcon by hosting tournaments for various levels of players. Prizes of which include the WCS eSports cards, the virtual gift card blizz gives to each attendee, some cash, and anything else I can come up with. Mostly there will be a Bronze-Gold, Plat-Dia, ML-GM tournies. If anyone from Blizz or has a very close connection to Blizz can get in contact with me, I'm looking to get my hands on more packs to host more of these tourneys!
2. Rob Simpson just gave me the confirm. I will be running the Russian - Red Bull Battlegrounds stream on Nov 23/24. I am beyond excited to cast Snute, Bomber, MC, Golden, Parting, Scarlett, sOs, and HYUNSANITY!
3. More for the Colorado folks. Announced that I am beginning the framework stages for the second season of our in-state league for Colorado. The first season was incredible with ~$600 in prizes at the finals event. For players in Colorado that are reading this you are going to get a little sneak peak into my mind. First off no region lock, Koreans can qualify........jk haha. I am thinking of offering 3 options for format(same as we had last season(GSL format), Division system with relegation and promotion like in Soccer, or a region system where we will use 4 big cities to represent seeds that go to the finals(very complicated, but it will make sense when I make pretty MSpaint pictures about it). Map pool will be more diverse with some new maps around the scene ive seen, planning a vote to bring one old map back that the community will vote for. Of course a finals event at Clutch Gaming, with potential of a couple playoff events there as well. Also still sitting on the team league idea, but I think that might be asking too much out of the state.
4. Collegiate Star League is about to open up its 2013-2014 season so I will be broadcasting weekly. A lot of high hopes this season as we are more in control of our own organization and what we can and can't do. Seriously check out the website(yes a functioning website!!!!!!): . should be a great year though.
5. Dreamhack Moscow..........unfortunately Robert Ohlen did have to keep the exact date under wraps until Dreamhack Winter, but just the fact that it is an event on the 2014 calendar and in my motherland, expect me to be there one way or another.
Huge thanks to everyone reading this blog. It's not something that will reflect on my twitch numbers or twitter followers most likely, but as with any work highly appreciated when looked at. Thank you to all the gamers and community out at Blizzcon. When I drove home Sunday night just thinking about how nice everyone was, how hospitable everyone acted, and generous the community has always been to me I couldn't help but slip a few tears out.
Great talking to everyone that I got a chance to do so. I'm sorry if I forgot anyone or any event that happened during Blizzcon.....like the post mafia Rock-Paper-Scissors match for WCS cards(that shit was hilarious, we had random people come and watch people play Rock-Paper-Scissors.)
Twitter - http://twitter.com/QuanticCHL