Stay Positive: Thoughts on State of the Game, MLG Dallas, and more

It's really easy to get caught up in dramatic issues, because at the end of the day humans are emotional beings, but this means we miss a lot of cool things that are happening when we're busy moping around. With all this doom and gloom we've seen recently, I would like to point out a couple of things that are going on/soon to happen that are great about Starcraft 2 and its eSports community.

SOTG is back, and better than ever

image Image Source: frequentgamer.com

If you're like me, and could barely stand some of the conversations on more recent episodes of the old edition of State of the Game, rejoice. The new, resurrected version is actually significantly better. As a result of a number of changes in the show's format by host JP McDaniel, the focus of the show has changed from a den of drama to actual discussions about the game.

The most impactful change has been in the guest lineup. In both of the first two of these new episodes, JP was joined by Complexity Gaming's Terran player, Kevin "qxc" Riley, and Dignitas' high profile caster, Shaun "Apollo" Clark. Other guests who have also appeared include Yoan "ToD" Merlo and Juan "MajOr" Lopez from ROOT Gaming, as well as Wolf Schroeder of GSL casting fame.

These guests all have one thing in common that really makes the show worth watching: they all care about the game itself, and that's about it. The hot drama topics do make the show, but they are quickly gleaned over, treated as simple news points and nothing more. However, the show still maintains a humorous aspect to it, as qxc and Apollo specifically manage to be funny without really trying to, like previous SOTG guests would.

image This is what Apollo looked like during old State of the Game (Image Source: dtkingprime.tumblr.com)

In addition, JP has revamped production as well, most notably including in-game footage from GSL games that were being discussed. While not perfect, it gives the viewer some context for the discussion even if they were unable to see the games live or through VODs. All of the little, intangible things are there to add even more quality to the show.

To put it bluntly, if you stopped watching State of the Game because of the drama bombs, give this new version a shot if you have not already. JP has done an admirable job rebuilding his show into an item worthy of community praise, and I hope to see him continue to bring good content like this to the table in the coming weeks.

There is no episode next week due to travel, but expect it to return the following week. The previous episodes have been on Thursday at 4 PM EST, but that could very well change. Tune in to JP’s Twitter (@itmeJP) for details on the program schedule.

To tide you over, check out the most recent episode here:

MLG Dallas On the Horizon

I will tackle the event in greater detail when the full matchups are released, but I want to start hyping MLG Dallas up, as it should be a great event.

image This will be Flash's first major foreign tournament (Image Source: teamliquid.net)

For one, this could be the first time we see foreigners taking on KeSPA players at a live event. According to Axslav, via JP on Stage of the Game, we could see a clash of legends, with Warcraft 3’s greatest hero in Grubby against the Brood War phenomenon Flash.

There are a number of other players who are compelling regardless of who they play against. Acer’s Scarlett will be a player to watch after she qualified for the group stages, and she will be debuting with an interesting series against the StarTale Terran Bomber. She doesn’t make it to many events, so definitely keep an eye on Scarlett.

NaNiwa will be emerging from his training environment to make an appearance, and it will be interesting to see just what he can bring to the table. A dark horse here is ViBE, the American Zerg from ROOT, who qualified through the MvP Invitational, and with a few key wins he might be able to make an impact.

image GSL Champion Life will be looking to make an impact in Dallas (Image Source: thisisgame.com)

Also, let us not forget the most recent GSL champion Life finding his way to Dallas. It’s hard to not see a player like that being the odds-on favorite, but there are so many great players. Team Liquid’s dynamic duo of TaeJa and HerO will be there, along with Leenock, Oz, First, the aforementioned Bomber, and some other GSL stars. You can never forget viOLet as well, and his unique Zerg stylings could be quite effective at a marathon tournament like this.

It should be a great event with the usual MLG production levels, and definitely worth tuning in to. The event will take place next weekend, starting on November 2nd. I will likely be preparing a proper tournament preview for Thursday of next week, so keep an eye out for that.

A bit of a personal statement

I try to keep my own opinions out of my work, but with all of the chaos going around recently, I would like to throw my two cents in.

Starcraft is not going anywhere. It is by far the best RTS on the table right now, and that alone gives it a place in the eSports community, so don’t worry about that. As far as attracting casual gamers and selling copies goes, don’t worry. Blizzard hasn’t gotten this far in their industry without making their games a financial success. In fact, they revolutionized multiple genres with games like Brood War, Diablo 2, and World of Warcraft.

Whether we like it or not, we have to give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt, and believe that they can make improvements that will better both the casual and competitive scene of this game that we love. Our job is to offer constructive feedback in polite terms, not rage about it on social media. Blizzard is not deaf to the community, but they also do not have time to reply to every single person who has something to say about their games. Let them do their job.

Another piece of advice: go play one of these MOBAs, or watch one of their tournaments, and see what all the fuss is about. If you love Starcraft 2, then what’s the risk? I love watching basketball and football, just like I love watching Starcraft 2 and Dota 2. I’ve had tremendous fun playing both League of Legends and Dota 2, but I still prioritize Starcraft 2 above all other games because it is the most intense competitive title out there.

eSports is a global phenomenon, not just because it is all over the world, but because there are different titles out there to pick and choose from. You’re cheating yourself out of an opportunity if you do not expand your horizons, or at least give it a try.

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