The GIGA Grand Slams and the German Scene
Around early 2004 there was little to no motivation for me to actually follow any page closely that wasn't broodwar.de. We had our very own gods, namely Mondragon, FiSheYe and the rest of the German pro Gaming wing / Templars we could talk about. There were scandals, insights, interviews, leagues and (offline) tournaments in our language. Korea – well – remained as terra incognita for long, if it wasn't about their finest meeting in OSL/MSL finales. The ordinary everyday casual just did not need to wander off. Most times.
The scene overall felt very familiar. Do no mistake Germans back in the day for a homogenous group, it wasn't like that. You either rooted for Mondragon or for FiSheYe in the important matches, you defended Selector or you hated him. You critized the German National Team and its leaders methods to select/invite newcomers, you – by default – liked to argue against one another, even if it was only about insulting another for playing Fastest Possi Maps once in his life. You could also just stand there in silence and watch dramas and virtual comedy unfold. A microcosmos of its own.
However, as time passed, less and less of the oldschoolers participated in controversial discussions, the scene seemed to shrink with every month. While Brood War was the leading RTS in the German scene, new competing titles such as Red Alert Generic Edition X, WarCraft III and TFT came up, not to mention the emergence of non-RTS titles such as WoW or FIFA. Less money, less public and outside attention. That was bothering, as it made winning harder – if we lost, no more big tournaments.
Around 2004 GIGA was the biggest thing for eSports (not that anyone really thought of it as eSports, but video gaming) held several larger events, the so-called Grand Slams. They threw a ton of money at German speaking video gamers and broadcasted events live on television. But there was a twist: Like any other cooperation GIGA had to make sure they acutally had an audience in the first place. Consequently someone really smart came up with the idea to have gaming titles compete with each other's scene. The more active one would get larger prize pools and more attention, e.g. more screen time and an offline finale at the Games Convention in Leipzig. Dire times were ahead, as – you can imagine – other, more casual titles like Worms or FIFA would have more supporters. What to do?
Obviously, German BW die hards closed the ranks and, that's just overdoing it (while basically being on point), announced a Jihad, holy war to defend the divine title. Anyone in the community was obliged to vote as often as he could for Brood War in polls and/or register as many accounts as humanly possible and/or play in flawed GIGA ladders for hours on end. It worked so-so, we kicked lesser titles on our own, but soon found out we couldn't overcome the more popular titles like FIFA. What to do? Go over to StarCraftGamers and Team Liquid, unite the player bases and rig the shit out of polls, translate account registration forms and make our friends play as well. Suddenly we overtook any other game and even made the overpopulated FIFA scene look unorganized and really small. In your face. Over night we gathered up to 10k hits, the figures sky rocketed and the baffled outsiders didn't know where the vote train came from. Imagine leading with more than 10% and 5k votes, only to see that one single night changes the numbers 20% against your favour.
The result: We secured, with the giant help of our alien friends, tons of money and screen time. A really proud moment for BW nerds.
The Voting Tradition continues
In the years after not too many important polls came up. Most memorable though, WCG. Sometimes WCG had the same idea than GIGA, but faced an overwhelming avalanche of international visitors boosting the numbers of Brood War. It became a tradition to post a call to arms anywhere some BW fans outside of Germany would probably read. It was mandatory to just click whatever, without even gaining anything in the process. Brood War must not lose.
Poll rigging and asking the vote army became „a thing“ for the most unimportant topics ever. If a gaming magazine had a poll about „the best game ever“ Brood War magically won against the newest titles with ease. Not that anyone cared, but it was an option to temporarily unite and see others whining about rigged polls. Yeah, don't dare to challenge us.
Today: Fighting for ONE OF US
Usually, there are limitations for support. Whenever a random 1-Post person asks to fill out his sheet for university/homework related questions, everyone does the opposite and spams. It's kind of like around here. That's just outsiders. But if a somewhat respectable member of our circle does need help of any kind we can provide with ease, we do so. Some thing not limited to bw.de, the Germans, but true for most pages I visit. One of the few things I really love.
The topic at hand, mentioned in the introduction, is related. YesNoCancel, a lumberjack with a manly beard, published a novel and advertised it in bw.de's forums. It wasn't the ordinary advertisment, he also answered tons of questions about the process, the book's content, gave quotes, described problems related to publishing and eventually even signed some versions he sent out. To top it off, he temporarily gave away eBook versions for free. He also showed that he was in Amazon competitions against other newcoming writers. He ended up on first place, without the forum needing to actually go on red alert level, it was just a minor thing.
YesNoCancel - not only a good writer, but also creator of the OT Army sign
However, he is now in some sort of „voting finale“ against more known writers, currently even leading the poll by a few hundred votes and about 3% in total. Not what we want to see. Suddenly the Off Topic (closed for newcomers though) is all in Jihad mode again, calling anyone losely related to the board to vote. Parent's accounts are abused to vote, girl friends and their friends are being harassed, facebook is being swamped, the related W3/D3/WOW boards are asked to mobilize – great, finally the atmosphere is back.
The best part about all that is the guy currently being on #2, trying to close in on our local hero. He has tons and tons of followers on twitter, gets invitations to TV shows and is subject of a bigger media attention. He also has one of these fancy double-surnames. Yet, he wonders how a „non social media user“ can have so many votes – the old baffled look is back. Granted, he does his best to promote himself on public channels and probably will win sooner or later if he keeps up his campaign, but for now, we showed him the power of video game culture.
For anyone interested, the topic about the novel (German only): Wolfsgrau Nebelherz (Henry D. Rottler aka. YesNoCancel) and the vote for Amazon. Not saying you must vote, or you could if not having an Amazon DE account, or saying you should fall the reference trap, but if you want to experience to one time in your life partaking in the infamous eSports Voting Train to hell, you could do that now. For YNC not much money is in, it's just for the pride of featuring one of us. ONE OF US.
TL;DR: I'm still amazed to see the unity our community can display if we want when it gets us not much. Thanks for the read TL ;;
Links again: Wolfsgrau Nebelherz (Henry D. Rottler aka. YesNoCancel)(Discussion) - Amazon Voting
Since Eri asked:
Might help non-Germans. The form above the poll only needs to be filled out if you want to win the entire round winner's book package apparently.