2. ProGaming History
3. The Current State of Progaming
4. OnGameNet Leagues
5. MBCGame Leagues
6. GOM Leagues
7. Team Leagues
8. How to follow progaming
9. Further TeamLiquid.net Resources
- What is progaming?
Progaming (short for professional gaming, also known as e-Sports) is the term used by people to refer to video games being played in a competitive and professional manner. Progaming is used as a broad term, as there are many video games being played professionally all around the world, such as Counter-Strike, Halo 3 and Warcraft III.
So what does Teamliquid.net do?
Teamliquid.net focuses on the most popular e-Sport in South Korea, Starcraft. We offer up to date results and statistics as well as promoting discussion about every facet of Starcraft Progaming.
Okay, so why does Teamliquid focus on Starcraft?
Starcraft in Korea is nothing but a phenomenon. There are twelve, fully professional gaming teams owned by massive companies called chaebols (with the exception of the Air Force team) which compete in just about every Starcraft competition out there. Prize pools go from $50,000 up to $200,000. Full-time, professional players earn salaries ranging from $20,000 to $200,000. There are two dedicated channels focused mainly on providing Starcraft-related content, and there are even Starcraft camps which parents send their children to to learn more about the game.
Who runs professional Starcraft in Korea?
The current administration that controls professional gaming overall in South Korea is the Korean e-Sports Players Association, known as KeSPA. Currently, Blizzard is disputing this control, and has bestowed broadcasting rights and control over SC:BW leagues to Gretech Corp, the owners of GOM TV. Blizzard has given the two broadcasting companies, MBCGame and Ongamenet, until August 2010 to purchase licenses that will allow them to broadcast professional Starcraft. KeSPA will most likely take legal action against Blizzard in an effort to keep control.
How do you watch live Starcraft matches?
All the information you need to watch live can be found here
- How does a person become a progamer?
There are two ways of earning a progaming license and thus, being able to compete in the Proleague or Offline Preliminaries.
1) You can enter a tournament which is known as the Courage Tournament. The Courage Tournament is held often and is very, very tough to advance through. The number of licenses given out depends on the number of participants. Those who sign up are split up into groups of 64 and one advances per group.
2) You can be given an exemption by a professional team and be 'given' a license. Licenses are given like this in rare occasions where the gamers are very talented, very young, or occasionally, a foreigner. Teams usually have three or four of these to give out every year.
History of Starcraft Progaming
Things didn't really get started in Korea until Brood War came along. Sure, Honest won a ladder tournament, and a few others had been climbing the ranks (notably HOT-Forever, Honest[S.G] and Ssamjang), but Brood War was still dominated by Western/Non-Korean players.
This was about to change, but not yet. Grrrr... (Giyom), a French-Canadian who had always been a top Starcraft player, went to Korea to compete in the Sports Seoul Tournament. He finished 2nd. Around this time the first "Knights Bridge of Korea" tournament was arranged, better known as KBK. A number of western players attended, among them was NTT (Dutch Terran player) who played brilliantly, but lost out near the end. The final was between TheMarine and I.Love_Star, where TheMarine came out on top.
Back in the west, Grrrr... won both the Brood War Season 3 ladder tournament and the massive Blizzard World Championship in dominating style. Soon after this, he moved to Korea to make a living out of gaming. He was massively dominant, beating most of the Koreans and dominating tournaments, including a win at the Hantaro Starleague and the following King of Kings tournament, a winner's tournament OGN (OnGameNet) used to arrange at the end of each year.
Around this time (2000) the first WCG (World Cyber Games, known then as the World Cyber Challenge or WCC) was arranged, with the young zerg GoRush triumphing over I.Love_Star. In the same year the Norwegian Terran/Zerg player Slayer won the 2nd KBK, again beating I.Love_Star. He was the first player to demonstrate extreme dexterity, amazing everyone with his hand-speed and play. After his KBK win, Slayer was offered to stay in Korea and play professionally but he declined, deciding to go back to Norway.
The first official OSL (OnGameNet Starleague) was also arranged in 2000. The zerg star SKELTON made it through both Grrrr... and Kingdom to the finals, but was stopped stone cold by the amazing GARIMTO who dominated him 3-0 and took the first official Starleague title.
Meanwhile, in the Game-Q World Invitational, things were heating up. The popular zerg master Byun was completely dominated by a young terran. With stunning macro, rock solid defense and previously unseen dropship harassment he took the win and made his first claim to the throne of professional Starcraft. With this win, the emperor, Boxer, had arrived.
The Game-Q tournaments eventually died out due to a lack of funding, but even without these Boxer dominated 2001 completely and utterly. He absolutely obliterated Grrrr... in one of the famous "Last 1.07 patch" matches (which are famously known for being the only games that had an entrance fee to watch), then went on to secure the first WCG crown (no longer WCC at that time), the Hanbitsoft OSL, the Coca-Cola OSL and ended the year with a solid run for the SKY 2001 prize, but was stopped at the last possible point by the returning GARIMTO. GARIMTO winning led to the creation of the legend of the fall theory. This theory simply states that a Protoss will win the Fall Starleague season each year.
2001 saw Starcraft change rapidly. Boxer put his magic into the terran race, changing gameplay radically. Fortunately, GARIMTO, the old protoss master, came through and single-handedly saved the protoss race from Boxer’s dominance. Two important young players came into the scene, the first one being Yellow. His amazing lurker and zergling combination play and incredible 2nd place vs Boxer (3-2), who at that point was considered invincible, made him the 3rd King of Starcraft.
We also saw the first signs of the greatness that lay within Reach, with his amazing win over Boxer in the SKY 01 round of 16, a massive game where Reach smashed Boxer's incredible metal armies with a tornado of protoss troops.
As they say, the rest is history. You can read about events from here on in our excellent article section. For those of you extra curious about some of the big names of yesteryear check out the Starcraft Players; Accomplishments and Info thread.
The Current State of Progaming
Progaming continues to grow and flourish within South Korea. There are currently two full time cable gaming channels (MBC and OnGameNet) where StarCraft constitutes the main attraction. In addition, online media players such as GOM and DAUM have both served as major sponsors for Starleagues, and are carrying lots of StarCraft content. This section breaks down what competition is available for fans and gamers.
- What tournaments are there at the moment?
There are currently four individual leagues, two for each channel. The premiere leagues, called StarLeagues (OSL for OnGameNet and MSL for MBC) are where the top qualifiers play. In order to reach the top level, there is a complex qualification system that a player must compete in. To read about each process, click the spoilers below. There is also a team league in which the 12 professional teams compete against each other. This is called the Proleague and is hosted by both OnGameNet and MBCGame; information on this tournament can be found below.
- Ongamenet Leagues
All the information you could possibly want for the OnGameNet Leagues can be found in this thread
- MBCGame Leagues
All the information you could possibly want for the MBCGame Leagues can be found in this thread
- Team Leagues
All the information you could possibly want for the team leagues can be found in this thread
How do you Follow Progaming?
Now that you know all about the scene in Korea, how can you watch it? How can you keep up with the scene? Over time, coverage of the scene has moved from text-only to full video coverage. If you are new to StarCraft, you have truly arrived in the Golden Age. Today it is possible to watch live streams of the Korean Leagues as well as watch old games which have been recorded on video. These are called VODs around Teamliquid.net (VOD is short for Video on Demand).
For all the information you need to get watching some top quality Starcraft check out this thread
What else does Teamliquid.net offer?
In addition to video, there are many other resources that allow you to immerse yourself in the world of professional StarCraft. These are maintained by the staff and dedicated members of TeamLiquid. If you like what you see, contribute! That is what keeps the site strong.
- TeamLiquid Progaming Database
The TeamLiquid Progaming Database, or TLPD, is a unique resource in the world of StarCraft. It contains the records of every official game played and counted by KeSPA, the governing body for StarCraft. Inside, you can find team rosters, player records, tournament results both past and present, and a fully customizable search tool. The TLPD is great for history, but it also allows for easy access to the most current results of the leagues of the day. Videos of games are also linked to the Database, meaning you can watch thousands of games from yesteryear, as well as the games from last night.
- Results and Standings
Below the TLPD search bar, you will find a “results and standings” thread for each tournament. Maintained by either staff or regular members, this thread will give you all the information you need to follow a specific league. Our members take great pride in crafting these threads. Upon completion of the league, they are immortalized in the…
- Articles Section
In the Articles Section, the results from all previous leagues can be found, as well as history from the very first StarLeagues. On top of that, you can find interviews, technical information, and guides.
- Starcraft Resources
Don't know where to upload your latest replay? Visiting Korea and want to watch live Progaming but don't know where to go? In the Starcraft resources thread you will find just about every tool, website, guide or feature you will ever need. Neatly sub-divided into categories, all of these links are available to enhance your Starcraft and Progaming experiences; and to make your life significantly easier.
Liquipedia is the official TeamLiquid Wiki. In time this place will house all important information about all things Starcraft. At the moment it houses over 700 pages of Strategy and Progaming content. You can look up an extensive number of builds using this feature and fine tune your own builds with our numerous guides. This is an excellent resource for players who are just starting out in Starcraft.
- Fantasy Proleague
TeamLiquid is full of sport enthusiasts, and as such, we have adapted the traditional fantasy league for Starcraft! There is regular information about this floating around the site, else you can check the Brood War Forum stickies for the latest updates on this. The basic objective behind Fantasy Proleague is to assemble the best team you can with the points you are allocated. Players and Teams score points for winning games and at the end of the Proleague Round the person with the highest score wins a coveted Fantasy King icon.
A final feature on TL is Liquibet, our in-house betting system. Feeling confident about your knowledge of StarCraft? Each season we put up matches ahead of time, allowing our members to bet on the outcome. After a grueling season, a winner emerges, and his name is forever embossed with the coveted Liquibet Trophy. Good Luck!
This is just a taste of the features on TL.net. There is also a great News Page, where the latest results and matches are reported on, as well as our Final Edits section, where our best writers bring you comprehensive analysis of the game. Lastly, we have our Power Rank, showing you who is hot in the StarCraft world right now.
Do you understand now?
Hopefully? If you have any general Progaming questions or questions about Teamliquid.net and what we offer, feel free to post them in this thread without fear of ridicule. It would be appreciated if you could post any questions about the OSL, MSL, or how to watch Starcraft in the appropriate FAQ rather than this one. Here at Teamliquid.net we're always willing to help a fellow fan understand the ways of the Koreans.