Blizzcon 2018 - Day I
If you saw this backpack below around Hall A with someone frantically running round, snapping photos, and writing in their notebook, then you probably saw me trying my best to document every moment. There was never a dull moment and there was always something happening.
The Starcraft Observer scrappy backpack
This publication made the Blizzcon experience different in which I felt more immersed, connected, and engaged with the event. It was a surreal experience seeing the crowd, casters, and players truly captivated by the amazing matches that took place. It also felt like a dream; one minute you will see Austin “Neuro” Filsinger and the next you would see Kevin “RotterdaM” van der Kooi. It was unbelievable seeing the people you grew up watching that casted your favorite games and walking around freely.
I will be recounting my journey leading up to the final events witnessed by everyone from around the world but first….
This was 15 Minutes in line. I got there when it was across from, “The Cave Sports Bar”
The picture above gives you a general idea of how long the line was before the opening ceremonies. I reached the back of the line at around 10:20AM and the ceremonies were scheduled at 11AM…enough time…right? I would of been further up ahead and a lot closer to the venue but because I forgot to double check my days off, I had to work remotely from my hotel room on Day 1 of Blizzcon.
Now, this may have just been me but the only thing I constantly overheard was, “Whoa…where does it end?”. Was everyone bummed that it was long, yes but there seemed to be this mutual understanding of, “No need to rush, we will get there eventually.” type of vibe in the air. Everyone was so patient, relaxed, and excited for what waits ahead.
Convention in sight after about 20 minutes.
With the venue finally in sight, spirits were high. Laughter can be heard in line from people sharing guild/clan stories and what made things a lot easier for everyone was seeing the cosplay community walk on by which was absolutely incredible. As we inched closer and closer to the venue, one could not help but think what was causing this long line?
Metal Detectors at Blizzcon 2018
The photo above shows why and for very good reason. Due to the rising amount of shootings that have been happening, Blizzard took the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the community.
Once past, everybody was finally relieved to be inside.
Front of the convention with Hammond from Overwatch
At this point in the journey, it was 11:05AM…ceremonies have already begun and I rushed inside to hopefully get to the “Mythic Stage”. To my disappointment, the staff closed off the area due to all the seats taken up and fire safety. By the time I was able to find a clear view of the screens I missed Mike Morhaime’s opening speech which was unfortunate and only caught the last five minutes.
Soon after J. Allen Brack would give his five minute update on Starcraft and then I would rush on over to Hall A where I would encounter Jim Raynor
The eSports reel would come on the screens and the crowd immediately went silent. Seeing players competing at the highest level from the many teams experiencing major wins and defeats was very emotional; one that resonated with the crowd and touched the hearts of many. My eyes would soon begin to well up from the sheer emotion felt in the air; the passion is real. The crowd would begin to cheer for their favorite players on screen and many chants such as, “For The Horde!” Or “For The Alliance!” would ensue. The love for eSports was definitely heard.
A little before the ceremonies were over, I was shocked with how quick the time went by and realized that I have been away for two hours (I was supposed to be working). I rush back to my hotel room, see an e-mail that had just come in, troubleshoot an Apache error that a developer was getting, all while keeping an eye on the stream. Bummed that I missed the first match live, sOs Vs Maru, but no worries! Plenty more to come!
Match Day 1
It’s now 2:30PM and I rushed my way back to Hall A, luckily no line and just in time to see Special vs Stats.
I find a spot and I am immediately captivated not only by the game going on but the crowd. Everyone is “tuned” in and paying very close attention. The air during this match-up was charged, something different and unlike anything I have experienced before. You can really sense the excitement and pain everyone feels when Special is defending and fending off attacks from Stats. Stats would go on to take this match. A heartbreaking one for me because I am always rooting for the foreign underdogs.
The next set would be Rogue Vs TY. A nail biting set of matches that had you on the edge of your seat the whole time. What made this match up exciting was that TY would consistently build a proxy barracks and follow up with a bunker at the opponents natural expansion, fortunately Rogue always had a great response. The games were consistently swinging in each others favor, this would eventually it lead us to an “Ace” match. Rogue would eventually overcome his opponent to take the win.
Dark Vs Serral was the match-up everyone has been anticipating; Hall A is full at this point. You begin to feel the air charged with so much energy. Excitement is building up with lots of emotion behind it.
Hall A during Dark Vs Serral
With the match finally underway, every move Serral begins to make against Dark or a counter Dark does is certainly felt throughout the crowd. The multi-tasking from both players is out of this world. So much happening that the observers and casters are having a difficult time keeping up. When Serral forces out the first GG from Dark, Hall A errupts with roars and cheers that are so powerful that it’s almost deafening.
Serral would convincingly sweep the match-up 3–0.
After the first day of matches was over, everyone was finally able to rest easy. Nerves were so tense throughout the day because the matches had such an incredible hold over everyone. It felt like my body was a punching bag and sore all over. I really needed a drink. The best way to top off day 1.
KSL vs ASL
With drink in hand, “Power Overwhelming”, and nerves finally calm, the last event for Hall A was starting. I admit, I have never seen a StarCraft 1 final in my life and when it was all over I felt sad for 10 year old me.
Last Vs Rain was just so damn good. It was amazing to see what high level StarCraft 1 play looked like and how much more challenging the maps are (Sparkle).
I was also blown away when they showed Rain’s first person view and how he plays the game.
Rain’s First person view. Minimized StarCraft window
A big thing that stood out to me the most was how Artosis and Tasteless gave StarCraft 1 a breath of new life as they were casting. They both made it feel as if the game had not aged a day since its release in ’98; They still made it feel exciting. As a first time spectator to a StarCraft 1 final, they did an amazing job breaking down what each player was doing and why.
Artosis and Tastless
Rain would go on to take the series 3–1 and become the champion of the series.