“G-League through my eyes” — a post-finals writeup by 17173’s Felix

Original: http://dota2.sgamer.com/news/201303/149412.html

Writer: Felix菜刀刃 of 17173

Foreword:

In this writeup, I’ll only talk about the actual competition at the finals, those that are here for gossip can turn away now.

A few days ago I was able to visit the Mercedes-Benz Center as a representative of a media organization. In name, I was there to report but in reality, I learned and saw more than anything. From the newsroom, to the various nooks and crannies of the venue, to the outer stands, backstage and player/team rest areas, media areas, I saw it all. More importantly, I was put up in 4 and a half star level accommodations, and with it came foreign waitstaff for breakfast, direct rides to and from the venue, and unlimited fruit and salad in the media room. So, okay, I guess you could consider my words below to be ‘soft’ for a reason, but I swear that all of it is the truth.

This is my response to that trending “7 best” piece written by a fan about G-League earlier this week (Dotaland note: this is referring to a satire piece written by a fan that criticized everything at the G-League — will summarize the criticisms in italics for each point)

Ticket pricing

First let’s talk ticket pricing. 100 RMB to go watch G-League, worth it or not? The fan piece compared G-League with StarsWar, WCG, and while this is certainly a legitimate angle from which to look at things, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to look at it. First off, the venue for G-League is none other than the Mercedes-Benz Center. To be able to attend an event at a world-class facility such as this one, no matter if the event is a concert, or a sporting match, or a performance, 100 RMB is the absolute bottom line, or close to it. Secondly, the total investment towards G-League has topped 1 million RMB, and unlike other competitions, G-League does not have Grandpa Samsung, or Papa Tencent — ticket sales are a precious income stream. Third, live attendance at G-League was around 70%, so the argument that the tickets had been incorrectly priced seems to lose its strength based on that figure alone. Ticket pricing is one of those things where each person has their own limit, so let’s just recognize that and move on.

Service (no service at all, bad food, extortion pricing, long lines, everyone went hungry, made worse by the fact that spectators were not allowed to come back in if they went out to get food, and were not allowed to bring food in on their own in the first place)

The fan piece sarcastically pointed out the lack of food and refreshments, this is something that I also felt similarly on. I experienced a 15 RMB combo, which consisted of a piece of pure bread, and a cup of heavily watered down cola, what a rip off. For me, luckily I got to eat and drink as I pleased in the media room in back. Clever fans in the stands would have all snuck their own food in, but those that were too honest would only leave the night feeling famished. On this problem, even if Gamefy wanted to do soemthing, they’d face difficulties. For one, a venue like this wouldn’t ever allow events to freely hand out food and drink and thus affect the venue’s own food and drink business, and for another, it’s not as if Gamefy has the resources and manpower to feed some ten thousand spectators. If you think about it, this kind of thing is pretty common at all events of this size, and the real issue that caused this to be magnified was the fact that the finals competition took too much time, and I’ll address this next.

Competition schedule (long, tedious scheduling from 9am to past 10pm)

Four best-of-5s in a single day has never happened before, as the fan piece claims? In actuality, it happened at TI2. At TI2, for three days straight it was competition from 10 in the morning to 11 at night, for a total of 8 best-of-3s, 14 best-of-1s, and 1 best-of-5. All in all I counted 40 matches, averaging out to 13 matches a day. G-League was four best-of-5s, for a total of 16 matches, and in addition, I’m sure we all realize the difference in time required for an average match in SC2 or Warcraft3, compared with Dota2. So, like this, if the fan piece suggests that those who went to G-League should win an iron-man award, they should only get second place, as the fans in America for TI2 deserve first place. The scheduling was one of TI2’s few weaknesses, and we hear that this next time Valve will make improvements on it. In the same vein, BBKing has promised on weibo that G-League will compress their scheduling in the future as well.

Commentators (poor sound quality, poor hype and excitement, shallow)

This one I mostly agree with the fan piece. The sound quality in the venue had some problems, in some positions (such as where I was sitting), things were hard to hear because of echoing (I paid attention in middle school physics, ha). In most other places it was alright. Another issue was that at certain times, the commentators would be drowned out by the live crowd. Apart from raising the audio level, the commentary was also lacking in excitement and hype compared to Western and Korean counterparts, this has been a long-standing problem in Chinese commentators. As someone who has occasionally made cameos as a commentator, however, I understand that without 100% commitment and talent, it’s very difficult to do, so I won’t say more.

Interaction (weak, forced, lack of interaction and viewing of actual players and teams)

First of all, compared to WCG, the lack of interaction and close-ups with teams and players is something that comes down more to the venue itself. If you’re attending an NBA match, unless you’re at the players’ tunnel or you have courtside seating, you’d also lack any chance to get to see players up close. This is the same with G-League; with the situation at G-League, it would’ve been quite a disaster to attempt to allow ten thousand fans to go up and approach players for autographs. Here I want to make a small suggestion, perhaps we can arrange in the future a day before or after the event itself for player-fan interaction — for example a signing session, to allow room for interaction between players and fans? This could be something to consider in the future.

VIPs (live audience didn’t appreciate the singers, awkward)

It must be noted, our VIP performers were really very gracious. Their final performance was delayed by an hour, yet they still came out and performed all their songs very professionally. Maybe it was because I was in the lower stage and closer to the performance, but it seemed to be pretty good atmosphere down there. I could see outer stage spectators having trouble getting into it though. It has to be said though, Gamefy displayed some bold vision in combining big name performers with a finals event like they did. Additionally, the choices were fitting and suitable, and their styles seemed to match the kind of mentality that ‘esports’ displays — one of independence and chasing one’s own dreams, and the two worked together excellently. Overall, this try at a new thing was quite successful, and other competitions could learn from this.

Promotion (unrealistic, false advertising, exaggerated)

Not much to say about this one — the claim of “ten thousand” wasn’t off at all, no exaggeration there. My own estimate is that at the peak, attendance was around 15000, of course this might not be accurate. But those fans that I spoke with at the event all felt that it was over ten thousand. Considering max capacity of the venue was 18000, and the report was that it awas 70% attendance, these numbers all line up. As for forum fans claiming that only a few hundred people showed up: the inner stage alone held over a thousand people. I believe that the other at least 9000 people weren’t all planted there by Gamefy, nor were they holographic premonitions.

Conclusion

In the past I’d written pieces criticizing ACE League. Even though it wasn’t directed at the organizers, GTV, thinking back on it now I realize that that wasn’t the nicest of things to do, so here I extend an apology to those affected. The other thing was Gamefy’s daily show criticizing WCG. Nonetheless, no matter if it’s ACE or WCG, or G-League, everyone is working hard to advance esports in China, so let’s think from each other’s points of view.

If I were to give G-League a score out of ten, from a competition organizer’s perspective, I give it a full 10. The reason being, for an event like this, execution is much harder than it seems on paper. G-League not only brought to reality an unprecedented level of production, they also went beyond and managed things I had never even thought of before. There’s a slang saying that “if your steps are too big then you risk failure”, and G-League’s accomplishments here have been amazing, so I hope we can all give them more time with the weaknesses.

I don’t know if you all have this feeling, the one where you’re full of hope and energy and ready to chase your dreams, only to find that those around you have succeeded in doing so first. When I stepped into the Mercedes-Benz Center and looked up to see everything on the giant LED screens in the air, that was the feeling I had. It was joyous, envy, and a sense of loss. (Dotaland note: the writer of this, Felix, works with 17173 and G-1 League)

Competition organizers don’t need consolation, nor do they need sympathy, but they cannot lack the support of fans. Players and fans are our true deities, our god.

 

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17173 unveiling new weekly show focused on finding new talent

Original: http://dota2.17173.com/news/02282013/193530686.shtml

With the gradual increase in professional clubs and large-scale tournaments alike, the professional scene is on the path to stability and prosperity, while the playerbase grows with each passing day. Yet one awkward problem persists between clubs and players — where to go to find new talent? How to get into playing professionally?

Clubs and managers alike exclaim that the pro scene lacks infusion of new blood, new talent. Simultaneously, there are players at very high skill levels that are interested in playing professionally, that cannot find a way to contact clubs to get a way in, so they lack opportunities to prove themselves in the scene. The vast majority of professional Dota players currently have all hailed from CDEC (China Dota Elite Community, a prime in-house league and networking group for high level Dota players, now inactive) or through the recommendations of old players. But nowadays, CDEC no longer operates, so eager players and ambitious clubs alike, as a result, are stuck in a rut of lack of communication.

In order to create a platform upon which clubs and players can get to know each other, and build understanding, and in order to to bring more high quality matches to Dota2 fans, 17173 gaming channel proudly presents the “Dota Meeting of Elites”, to air weekly at primetime.

In this show, we will invite groups of high level pub players and grassroots teams. They will undergo a series of matchmaking games to display their pub-king skills and mechanics, as well as engage in clan wars amongst each other to display their understanding, teamwork, knowledge. Of course, there will not be a lack of interactive matches involving the audience.

March 1, we will welcome the first episode of “Dota Meeting of Elites”

For this episode, the focus will not only be on renowned and widely-acknowledged player “king of the pubs” Zexbingo, but also will feature the publicly acclaimed “number one in China” pub team Ti9, running the highest level in pub strategies. (Ti9 have recently achieved top 8 in the just-ended GosuCup, only falling to the eventual runners-up, Mith)

No matter the results, our sincere hope is that this can deliver some Dota2 new blood to those clubs that need it, and that this can be a platform for those determined players to have a chance at proving themselves to the professional scene. Furthermore, we hope that we can bring exciting matches to current and potential Dota2 fans alike.

This Friday, 19:00, “Dota Meeting of Elites”, be there or be square.

17173 live pages: http://live.17173.comhttp://www.fengyunzhibo.com/group/2785-43n84q3s.htm

 

17173 series: G-1 2012 bits and pieces — offline finals days (6)

Original: http://dota2.sgamer.com/news/201212/148391.html

Dotaland note: Felix菜刀刃 helped 17173 organize and plan the G-1 League earlier this year, China’s first Dota2 tournament. These bits and pieces are a series of his reflections and musings on the lead up to the event, the event itself, and surrounding tales. Dotaland translated an earlier entry here.

The fourth iteration of the G-1 League was also China’s first Dota2 competition. It was a first for simultaneous English and Chinese casts, and received high praise and support from Valve and IceFrog, and various foreign gaming media sites fought to get coverage of the event. It’s not exaggeration to say, then, that in terms of Dota’s development domestically, this G-1 League held milestone meaning.

This series documents from my own point of view snippets of the experience from planning and preparation all the way to the ultimate LAN finals, and everything in between, hopefully to bring a more complete and realistic perspective of the G-1 League. And the other hope is to acknowledge and give thanks to the hard work and dedication to esports, given by so many people.

November 17, day one of offline finals

The two days before competition resumed, our various finals teams had already gotten to Fuzhou to participate in the creation of a music video (Dotaland note: this video was the G-1 League theme song, performed by players). And because they had to play in the GEST final, Orange could only make it a day later, landing near midnight, thus missing out on the music video. Pikaxiu and other staff stayed up till 4 in the morning tweaking settings on the computers to be used in the finals, ultimately managing to stabilize pings around 60ms. It could be said that everything was progressing in a clockwork fashion.

The finals venue was an indoor recording studio; the lighting, sound, and stage effects were all excellent, the only drawback was its limitations on viewer capacity. Last year’s G-1 finals were held in Shanghai in partnership with NeoTV. What this meant was that this was 17173’s first time doing this on their own, and relatively speaking, they lacked a bit of experience on the matter. According to Pikaxiu, in comparison with the goals he had set prior, he could only give this event 60 points out of 100, but taking into consideration 17173’s current abilities, that can be raised to an 80.

The second day’s atmosphere was charged and full of energy. Every inch of the venue apart from the stage area was packed with viewers. 2009 and Crystal (SJQ/laoshu) were at the complete mercy of scores of smartphones and their cameras. Our media section was squeezed off to a corner, where we had relied a flaky wireless internet connection. Despite the roughshod accomodations, all the media people there were still very passionate in their work. Especially worth mentioning here is 178.com’s Marbo, who used a handycam to record the entire G-1 music video, thus allowing fans a sneak peak of a ‘ripped’ version of it.

That night’s semi-finals saw LGD facing off against iG, and we saw Magnus. We saw his imba dodging ability, where facing even a three-man gank, Yao would still be able to escape safely. In the end iG seemed a bit clueless in front of LGD’s aggression, and without making much of a resistance they surrendered. Thinking about it, this result shouldn’t be too strange — iG had just finished WCG China matches, and had been busy with a campus tour, so they as a team would still be in an adjustment stage and thus a lack of form could be expected. What was commendable was the fact that despite this, their attititudes remained upbeat. In interviews and from the way they acted after their losses, a sense of professionalism and respect could be seen from them. I guess ever since their experiences in Seattle, they’ve grown a lot. And not long after this, they took the win at the WCG World Finals, displaying once again their aura of kingliness…

In the other matchup between DK and Orange, things were much tighter. Because at the time the two teams were using different internet connections at the venue, their ping was different. Orange had up to 200 plus ping, while DK seemingly only had around 100 ping. In the first game Orange were swept away with little argument, then in the second game when they figured out this issue, over two hours were spent on trying to fix it. At the last after the problem was just barely dealt with, another hour went by as the match went back and forth, culminating in a sad loss for Orange. As for the differing pings between the two teams, it was hypothesized that Orange’s line was shared with a neighboring office. The tests and setup prior to the matches had happened in the middle of the night, yet the matches themselves occurred during peak usage hours, so the high ping only presented itself then. This was something that we as organizers missed. In the end Orange were very patient, and didn’t have that many complaints.

After the day’s matches, a group of friends in the media went out to eat, and bumped into Orange’s players eating at a street-side stall. ChuaN, with friends from Malaysia, we could see that he was truly happy at the time. Old friends from the same places, meeting with tears in their eyes… couldn’t imagine them fighting each other to the death, right?

November 18, second day of G-1 League offline finals

Don’t know why, but the more exciting an offline event is, the more I remember of the bits and pieces outside of the matches. On the 18th the things I remember most were the tense atmosphere, the occasional yells; these are things that no replay would ever capture.

Mushi’s Outworld Destroyer towering like a god, figuratively putting an exclamation point on his professional career. After this competition he missed out on WCG and G-league alike, the rumors being that he had switched to LoL… The final was LGD against DK, and B-god sadly failed to save society. After the match he and his girlfriend quickly left the venue, skipping even the awards ceremony. DK manager Farseer’s expression as he stood in for him on stage was unpleasant to say the least; the last time Farseer had been like this would have to go back to 2011’s first G-League when DK lost 0-3, the opponent at the time I think was also LGD. And on the other end of the stage, after DK put out GG, xiao8 rushed off the stage and hugged team lead Nicho in a release of long-held emotion. In the end, where there are winners there will always be losers, and the stage of esports will not see any perpetual winners.

And so G-1 came to an end. Even though I have no intentions of singing praises and talking things up, but still reflecting back on our achievement here is very satisfying. In the esports world, apart from players, commentators, there are another group of people — competition organizers and planners. They are the staff that set up the night before, and when everything is over, it’s also them that clean up. Even though they may present a cheerful face, their responsibility is still heavy, and their work often goes unknown by everyone else.

The “My First Person View” G-1 League theme song released afterwards had many little emotions and moving parts. The lyrics and directing were done by Yaoyao. Post production was done by Pibao, with Pikaxiu the producer. The strengths of the G-1 staff team is that they’re full of creativity, and full of energy. If there is a good idea, they will go all the way to try to make it reality. Many things look hard to accomplish, but as long as there is a determination to go along with needed ability, then the chances of it happening are good. This is perhaps another layer of the meaning behind ‘compete to your heart’s desire’.

Yaoyao is leaving 17173 after this G-1 League, so let’s commemorate everything, including the end of this series, with the lyrics to “My First Person View“.

 

 

 

Dota2 hits the Chinese tournament scene this month with 17173’s G-1 Champions League Season 4!

Original: http://dota2.17173.com/news/10082012/152252415.shtml

The G-1 Professional Champions League is 17173’s esports brand, with Dota being the game contested. The first season of G-1 League was held in June of 2011, with CCM (former iG) taking the win, while DK won consecutively the Season 2 and Season 3 competitions. In October of this year, 17173 will push out Season 4 of the G-1 Champions League, and the game being competed in will be the successor to Dota, created by Valve — Dota2. This will be China’s first Dota2 esports league, and the competition’s total prize pool will reach 330000 RMB (roughly 52400 USD), setting a new record for Chinese Dota competition prize pool.

Prize pool details:

Champions: 180000 RMB

Runners up: 60000 RMB

Third place: 50000 RMB

Fourth place: 40000 RMB

When:

Mid October 2012 to Mid November 2012

Commentary team:

Chinese: 2009, Crystal, Pikaxiu (Pikachu)

Chinese guest commentary: Shen!, Anleier

English: GoDz, LD

Competition format:

Online portion: Top 10 group stage, elimination stage

Offline portion (in Fuzhou): Top 4 semifinals, 3rd/4th match, Grand Finals

League organizers will reveal the participating teams in two groups for a total of ten teams, the first group of teams participating in G-1 Season 4 is:

G-1 Season 3 Champions, TI2 4th place: DK

G-1 Season 3 3rd place, TI2 3rd place: LGD

TI2 top 8: TongFu

TI2 top 8: Orange

ESWC Southeast Asia Champions: MUFC