While I was there I kind of got a brief "glance" at the event and snapped some photos of the players, although one or two were missing.
I got to see Snute again, and I had a brief conversation with him. Always nice to reminisce on old tournaments, right?
So, the elephant in the room with the locals was "Starcraft without Taiwanese players like Has or Sen? what gives?" However, hardcore fans of the game still showed up. Placing that to the side, there was still a somewhat healthy audience at the event itself, and they employed Hui and SobadRush to be the Chinese-language-casters. You could see the event from start to finish on one screen this year as opposed to the two that were at the venue last year. Trade off is, you wouldn't have a kink in your neck from looking up so much, but if you're far from the center, you've got a bad angle, or if there is no seat available, you might have had a worse viewing experience.
If you were a part of the hard-core audience on site, you were forced to listen to the cast in Chinese, which a majority of the audience could comprehend, but what if you're one of those tourists who stopped by the event? You have no English audio unless you wanted to awkwardly ask for a bystanders wifi and watch on your cellphone in the audience. Not trying to be harsh on ESL, really, but it's a reality. I would personally like to see ESL adapt a system like what GOMTV has where they lend out ear-buds that will allow you to listen to the English casters while you give them some kind of "deposit" (at GOMTV you must lend a staff member your I.D. in exchange for such ear-buds, which you get back when you return your ear-buds).
All in all, 2 days of Starcraft, solid production, solid casting crew, solid venue. I give IEM Taipei...
There's really only two things that stop me from giving IEM taipei a 10/10. The languages casted in vs. what was available on site, and the fact that there were no home-town heroes from Taiwan for SC2. Perhaps, just perhaps, we could see ESL use this as positive feedback in the future. :3
The CS:GO segment of the tournament, however, was amazing in my opinion. Definitely made up for some of the downers of the rest of the event.