This Week in eSports: May 16, 2012

The MLG teams up with KeSPA, players retire and then un-retire, Raymond "Rambo" Lussier dishes on what Black Ops II needs to be a competitive contender, and Firebathero switches from Brood War to Starcraft II.


Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

Welcome back to our weekly wrap-up of news and events from the world of competitive gaming. Every Wednesday we'll bring you the biggest news, and reminders for the biggest events from leagues and tournaments from around the world.

A Pro Gamer's Hopes for Black Ops II

"What makes Starcraft II so awesome for fans is that when you get on the game itself and play multiplayer, you are playing the exact same thing the pros are playing."

"Making the game fun to watch is a big part of our agenda," David Vonderhaar, Treyarch multiplayer game design director said of the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops II. The team at Treyarch and Activision now clearly seem to believe that the competitive gaming scene has grown to a point where it can't be ignored. GameSpot Editor Shaun McInnis spoke to Call of Duty tournament veteran Raymond "Rambo" Lussier about game balance, game modes, and what he hopes to see in the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Ultimately, Lussier believes that one of the biggest challenges for a game like Call of Duty to become an e-sports juggernaut is the disparity between what fans see when they watch competitive matches and what they experience when they play on their own time. Starcraft II, Lussier says, is a great example of a game that minimizes that gap. "What makes Starcraft II so awesome for fans is that when you get on the game itself and play multiplayer, you are playing the exact same thing the pros are playing. You can immediately relate to them as you are in the same game environment they are when they compete. All of that makes it very easy for a fan to relate to how well a player is doing."

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GSL Semi-Finals

Three-time Terran champion Jeong "M.MVP" Jong Hyeon will meet StarTale’s GSL code S-newcomer and Park "Squirtle" Hyun Woo will meet in the GSL grand finals on May 19. MVP came into his final-8 match nursing a wrist injury, and was considered an underdog against Swedish Protoss player Johna "NaNiwa" Luchessi but was able to topple the Swede in under an hour using a combination of timing attacks, all-ins, and a good understanding of his opponent's play. Going into the semi-finals, MVP took the same strategy against Won "PartinG" See Sak who was a favorite to win the whole thing, and is on his way to becoming the first ever four-time GSL Champion. On the other side, 19 year-old Squirtle swept Team Liquid's Protoss Song "HerO" Hyeon Deok 3-0 giving him a Protoss vs. Protoss record of 13-1 in GSL and 14-1 overall, the best record in the league's history. Combining results from last season’s GSTL, IPL4, and this season’s GSL, Squirtle now has the best overall record of 32-8.

Exclusive Interview with Major League Gaming CEO Sundance DiGiovanni

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"We're the tournament KeSPA players are allowed to play at the moment, by letter of the agreement. Our plan is to work with some of the partners that we have to bring those players there as well."

MLG CEO Sundance DiGiovanni spent some time with our own Rod "Slasher" Breslau this week to discuss the recently-announced partnership between MLG and the Korean e-Sports Association (KeSPA). DiGiovanni spoke of an exclusive multi-year partnership which will see current KeSPA players like Young Ho "Flash" Lee, Jae Dong "Jaedong" Lee, Taek Yong "Bisu" Kim, and Byung Goo "Stork" Song, compete in MLG events. "What this means is that outside of Korea, we're the official partner for KeSPA," DiGiovanni explained. "We're the tournament KeSPA players are allowed to play at the moment, by letter of the agreement. Our plan is to work with some of the partners that we have to bring those players there as well. I'm going to try my best to arrange something with DreamHack as we have a strong relationship with them. We're going to talk to the [Electronic Sports League's] IEM about working with them. Those are the two groups that I've been in contact with and have been thinking about. It could go deeper, but the point of this is that KeSPA takes this very seriously and they want to align with like-minded people." The first fruits of the partnership will be evident at the MLG Spring Championships in Anaheim on Saturday June 9, where a Starcraft 2 exhibition tournament featuring players from the top KeSPA teams will be featured at 9pm PT.

Other topics in the conversation between Breslau and DiGiovanni included market oversaturation, the MLG's past relationship with GomTV, a "no comment" regarding Korean TV deals, and the possibility of KeSPA tournaments at the MLG. How well do you think the Brood War pros are going to do? Let us know in the comments.

DotA2 The International Page Launched, First Teams Announced

The second annual DotA2 tournament, dubbed "The International 2012," kicks off at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle from August 31st to September 2nd, 2012 as part of PAX Prime. Four more teams have been announced: China’s iG, Malaysia’s Orange, Australia’s Absolute Legends, and the American team Complexity; who are the first all-American team to be invited to "The International. Team Complexity owner Jason Lake talked to gamespot about the preparations they’re making for the event and that "Being the first American team invited to an event on U.S. soil comes with special responsibilities and I'm confident our players will step up to the plate and put forward the effort needed to make the local fans proud." Do you think they have what it takes?

WCG Goes Mobile Only, Not

Earlier in the year the World Cyber Games (WCG) announced to its partners its intention to replace the current PC-centric tournament with mobile games. The organization has since gone back on that and expressed that it will return to PC games as its primary focus following outcry from the community. Thank god!

Player News

MLG Spring Arena Player List and Broadcast Schedule

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The MLG has announced its official player list for this weekend's Spring Arena. Artist and MarineKing will be unable to attend and will be replaced with Huk and MC respectively. There will be 32 players in total, with the top eight sharing a $26,400 prize pool, 12 players from the arena and top four from Spring Arena 1 will start in Pool Play at the Spring Championship.

KiWiKaKi Retires…Then Un-Retires

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According to a chatlog uploaded by Hilo to TeamLiquid, Jonathan "KiWiKaKi" Garneau (Warcraft 3 and Starcraft 2 pro) confirmed with former teammate Paul-David "SLush" Pagé on May 7 that he was retiring from competitive gaming. A week later, it was revealed that neither of them were getting out the scene at all; instead they were reforming their old team ROOT Gaming, along with Catz, Destiny, Drewbie, and Fayth. If you're a fan, head to their new Facebook page for updates.

Firebathero Confirms Transition to SC2

On his twitter account, controversial Korean Brood War pro Lee "firebathero" Sung Eun said that he will be competing in Starcraft II, playing Protoss.

Events To Watch This Weekend

MLG Spring Arena 2

GSL Finals May 19

Toryuken Road To EVO Tournament.


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