Some months ago I started this blog with two emotional farewells to some major players in the StarCraft 2 scene. The Heartbreaking Final Days Of The Swarm chronicled the closure of Team Axiom and TotalBiscuit’s indefinite departure from StarCraft 2, and my Team Acer Tribute celebrated my personal favourite team outside of Korea as they closed their doors. The StarCraft 2 community has been balancing out ever since it’s fall from the pinnacle of e-sports, mostly shouldering losses of players, teams, and community members. But this summer StarCraft 2 is in a very, very bright place.
Total Biscuit is back!
Did you see Total Biscuit’s King of the Hill in July!? Mr. Bain is a master, a force the StarCraft2 community needs, whether we deserve him or not. Go watch ShoutCraft Kings if you somehow haven’t yet. It’s unique, exciting, it’s got Koreans and Foreigners playing each other, it’s everything you could want from a one-day tournament. Oh, and it’s a monthly event! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I’ve been looking for a comment/post Total Biscuit made on social media (can’t remember if it was Twitter or Reddit, can’t find it now though) regarding the importance of narrative in tournaments. Paraphrasing from memory, it was an interesting point along the lines of: generating interest around any event largely comes down to narrative creation by the organizers, and this is an overlooked but vital component to the success of any event. I couldn’t agree more, and there are recent examples to prove it.
The Cynical Brit’s own hype train of participant reveals for the first ShoutCraft Kings kept interest up for this premier over the course of weeks, and the event was a huge success. ESL released player bios and hype pieces leading up the WCS Summer in Montreal. Actually, WCS Summer had some great hype built in just from players alone: Scarlett playing on home soil was huge even before she won a match. Has just being at a tournament is enough to draw a crowd. TRUE‘s “moving across the pond to win it all” story line added a level of intrigue to a championship series that easily could have been written off as another “Two Koreans in the Finals, of course” narrative.
All this is to say that I agree with Total Biscuits claims around the importance for narrative cultivation in regards to the success of any event, both leading up to and during. In the past I’ve produced similar content for ESL and was always pleasantly surprised by how much interest it garnered. We recently instituted the Go4SC2 Spotlight articles for ESL, and they’ve been runaway successes, even though they specifically focus on players who are not well known. It’s easy to forget how important story, regardless of the competitive context, and it’s a shame that narrative building is to often neglected in marketing events. If I had more time to spare I’d love to be cranking out articles of this nature, maybe some day…
Team Acer Team expert!
The forces behind Team Acer have found a new banner to hold high, and Team expert has been established with rosters in 4 Games, with seventeen players. Bly and Scarlett have been re-enlisted under the new banner and personally, I couldn’t be happier. Now if they could coax INnoVation, Nerchio and MMA back, I’d know that I lost my mind and was living in a world of pure fantasy.
Bly and Scarlett are two of my favourite players, seeing them both back on a team that provided them with so much support during their careers is encouraging and exciting. Actually, seeing a new(ly branded) team make an active investment in StarCraft 2 is also very encouraging. Along with Red Bull sponsoring Nerchio, and TING sponsoring Neeb, it looks like the StarCraft 2 scene is beginning to balance out after the lows of the HotS era.
In conclusion, StarCraft 2 seems like it’s in a great place right now with BlizzCon on the horizon. Some interesting new balance updates are being tested, new events, teams and sponsors are engaging with the scene, and the inevitable revamp of the WCS system next year all give some bright lights to look forward to.
Here’s to the future of StarCraft 2,