So as some of you guys may know, I spent this last weekend at MLG Columbus translating for the Korean players at MLG Columbus. It was an amazing experience, and what made it even more amazing was all the close interaction with the staff members and of course, interacting with the Korean players. I can’t thank all of them (both the players and the MLG staff) enough, so I thought the best way to thank them all was to share my experiences with all of you so you can see how amazing the MLG Staff are and telling them bits of their story (aka how I made their life difficult) and the story of the Koreans players. MLG Columbus was amazing and I’m definitely looking forward to Anaheim at this point!
Also I do apologize for the lack of pictures making this a HUGE wall of text. I don't have a camera so
So, one of the questions people asked me the most was how I got this opportunity, especially since I’m not exactly known for my SC2 knowledge since I’ve only started following SC2 since TSL, which puts me behind on the knowledge of the Korean players too. Anyway, Hot_Bid asked the TL translators if any of us were going to Columbus for MLG and if we were going if we could help out as translators. I wasn’t thinking of going before I heard of this opportunity, but I did remember Lemonwalrus asking me if I was going to Columbus since he was going and he was driving. Hotel fees would be split + travel cost would be relatively low, so after talking with Lee a bit, I decided to make the trip. Lemonwalrus booked everything and we were ready to go!
So I spent some time catching up with SC2, learning all the names of the players and especially the unit names in Korean (Since Korean unit names are actual translations now I needed to know how Blizzard translated them). Anyway, it came Thursday morning and it was go time!
So Thursday morning Lemonwalrus and LDK pick me up and we grab a quick breakfast and take off. We stop at McDonalds for lunch at Lemonwalrus’s insistence (“we’re going to a fucking Mcdonalds”) and he kept driving on looking for gas as we were running extremely low on gas. We luckily find a mcdonalds in the middle of nowhere in Indiana (attached to a shell!) and we head over there and grab a quick meal. We talk about starcraft a bit while we’re there and a guy comes up to us and asks if we were going to MLG Columbus. He turned out to be CDRdude on Teamliquid and he had stopped at McDonalds to download podcasts and he overheard us say the word “Zerg” and there was two nerdy guys and an asian so he just assumed it lol
We keep talking and keep driving EXCEPT we suddenly realize that our cell phone time is an hour ahead. We were now in EST and the three of us couldn’t figure out that Columbus was on a different time zone. I was supposed to arrive at 3:30 so because of that I arrive at Crowne Plaza Hotel just in time instead of having an hour leeway. And we didn’t even have to speed!
I walk in the lobby and I see Hot_bid and TLO and I stare at TLO for a while since I forgot what I wanted to say ahaha. The other TL staff are there and we talk for a bit and we head off to the airport to pick up the players with Lee, Josh (Clutch8), Alyssa, the camera guy (sorry I forgot your name T_T) and Wax and R1ch.
We arrive at the airport and we have some downtime since the Korean players were supposed to arrive at 4:30. I was thinking of making signs but instead later Wax and I just decided to use some meme to make them noticeable (we used the Kong Ganji picture). We attracted a few people who were around including the guy who tattoo’d Kong Kkajima on his leg! All the way from Italy :O
As we do this we see Idra. Mr Chae goes up to Idra and tells him that MC is his opponent. Mr Chae later reported in his twitter that Idra sighed when he heard that.
We finally find out where the players will be arriving and we move over there to baggage claim seven. There were some other people here and they joined us as we waited for the Korean players. Now there were two escalators at this area going down and we surrounded the right escalator, but the players actually went down the left so we had to move and cheer and such. Right now I’m still awkward (sorry, that’s just how it is being a UChicago student) but I do manage to introduce myself to the players as their translator for the next few days and we get on the van.
We’re on the van now and we do a quick interview. I’m sure you already heard me butcher Kiwikaki’s name on the interview (and I apologized to him in person later so it’s all okay I hope!!!!). It took a bit to get in the zone to be able to translate but my Korean was a bit shaky overall. It was also very hard to hear in the moving car but I did my best D:
We arrive at the hotel and we get the players to their rooms after the check-in process. LosirA actually managed to lock himself out of his room within 5 minutes of arriving at his room. Anyway, we all met at 7 to visit the venue as it was getting set up. They were introduced to the staff working there and Lee gave the Korean players a tour of the area. During this I realized how much I haven’t used Korean in a bit so I didn’t know how to end my sentences because I kept getting them mixed up in my head. But I think that got better as my Korean got better as the event went on.
Anyway, after we (Josh Alyssa me LosirA Moon Daniel (who is a wemade executive) MMA Mr Chae) got back from the venue we went to the burger place next to the Hotel (Max & Erma’s). July joined us halfway through, and we ordered some nachos as appetizers and got burgers (except MMA who got a pulled pork sandwich at Josh’s recommendation and he got it he was like “The meat is so shredded how do I eat this…”) Anyway the burgers were like 6 oz big and the Koreans freaked out about how big they were. They all liked the burgers and they wanted to go back later but I never had the time later to go back out to the venue to get them these burgers so I’m really sad that they didn’t get to get those burgers again ;; The relay was going on at this time and actually before I came I was planning on getting the Koreans to participate but they were really tired and they just ate so it didn’t happen.
After that we bought them water from the hotel and they went to their hotel rooms. I stayed around until 11 or so since my hotel was 6 blocks away and we were going to go pick up MC so I just sat in the lobby and surfed the web.
So 11 came and Alyssa and I went to go pick up MC. We arrived and I took out my laptop and pulled up this picture and waited for MC. I saw MC and he walked right past ;;; and so I had to go get him. He was really out of it and really tired and we headed back. . I asked him about foreigners and he said that progamers in korea and outside korea are of the same level, but the skill level in Korea is much higher in terms of the ladder players. He seems very knowledgeable about foreigners and asked if Naniwa was there, and then asked if a few other players were there. He then asked if Fuzer was there cause he thought he was a funny guy cause apparently he drunk commentated.
Alyssa asked him what he did on the flight and he said he just watched movies slept and ate. This led to a discussion about a kdrama named cityhunter MC was watching and he ended up summarizing the kdrama for her. That's not something that happens often! Anyway We get back to the hotel around 12:30 ~ 1 AM and he goes to sleep. I give him my number just in case. I walk back to my hotel and that's Day 0.
I woke up about 6 AM cause I couldn't really sleep so I was just lying down and thinking. An hour or so later MC calls me at 7 AM because he was hungry and so I walk over to the hotel. I couldn't call him back and I couldn't find him in the hotel registry (most likely due to the fact that he replaced Bomber on the hotel list). About 8 he calls me again and by then I managed to get to the 12th floor thanks to Daniel and I was talking with LosirA (all the Koreans did not sleep well cause of jetlag). I take MC and go down and take him to the breakfast buffet at Erma's. He says he likes the continental breakfast style so he ate there again the next day.
At 10 AM we meet and I talk with MC a bit and we talk about Idra a bit (he's like "Aren't American players really bm?" and I answered "Oh are you think of Idra? It's only Idra") and then it led to a discussion about Idra and then I showed them the TSL 2 Idra vs Nony game (thanks CTStalker). I also showed the video to Mr Chae before and he laughed pretty hard. The players were like "yeah that's typical of Idra" and such.
Picture of me showing the players the Idra vs Nony game, courtesy of CDRdude who was bored and so he texted me and so he was waiting for the players with me at the Lobby
I buy them muffins and drinks and stuff and then at ten-ish we head over to the venue and they warm up for a bit and then they just started browsing playxp and such. I get introduced to more MLG staff including Sundance (This could actually have been the day before but my memory is hazy) and the commentators like DJWheat and Day9. Day9 is literally my favorite personality I met at the event. He is amazing to talk to IRL ahaha. I also meet Torch and Torch actually went and talked to LosirA and told LosirA that if he wants to play Terran for fun it's okay. Day9 trolled Dignitas team by pressing the arrow keys when the players were playing and Naniwa just gives him a glare. I heard later that Naniwa did that to some other players though. Day9 was hopping around like a fairy between keyboards and pressing their arrow keys while the players were playing. MC was playing MMA off race (MC played Terran and MMA played Protoss) during that time and Day9 pressed on MC's keyboard and MC just laughed but Day9 was very disappoined when he hopped over to MMA's comp cause MMA did not have arrow keys on his keyboard.
Anyway, I noticed that a lot of people complained that there was a lot of downtime between matches. But most of the downtime was used for setting up time for Korean players who are really really sensitive about stuff. MMA and MC I believe just used default drivers but LosirA used a very specific version of a logitech driver and Moon had to uninstall every razer mouse driver before he could use his mouse properly so they just set him up on his own machine later (and LosirA did the same the very last day). They also had to tweak settings before every game to perfection and that took time.
There was actually supposed to be a showmatch around 12 or 1:30 I believe which got canned. It was supposed to be a BO3 2 v 2 event between Koreans and other players. That was a shame. We let the players do whatever and Moon and Daniel left and then I asked the players if they wanted to eat something and they said yes and so I asked Lee where I should take them and he recommended the North Market and so I took them there.
From there the players (MC LosirA and MMA) were pretty overwhelmed by the number of choices there. I ran into a starcraft 2 team who convened there for lunch and one of them (Peter) recommended a few places and the players liked the Pho place and so the players ate Pho and some spring rolls and grabbed Jeni's Ice cream (for LosirA and myself), Vitamin Water (for MMA) and Diet Coke (MC). We head back in time for the fanmeeting. Wax got his forehead signed by Moon during the fan meeting o_o;
I guess this is a good place to talk about the overall atmosphere. Constant requests for pictures and signatures and that was fine for Day 1 but in the later Days I had to bring the players to their next location and they constantly got bombarded and I felt terrible for refusing them so that the players can get to the next place on time because there were so many requests. Not including the fanmeetings I think at least 100 people asked for signature/pictures for EACH player over the course of the event when we were on the move o_o;
Anyway around 4 PMish Korean players start getting really tired. When MC said he's in terrible condition you better believe it: By the time he was in his hotel room and I left it was like 1 AM. He called me at 7 so at most he got six hours of sleep and from the sound of it he's been up way before and combine that with all that airplane bullshit + running around and such. I talked to him after the Idra match and he was like "Augh, my condition sucks, I kept missing the minimap". MMA literally passed out between the matches in the player lounge for like an hour and LosirA kept trying to find times to go to sleep between the matches for like the last 6 hours or so. Games started at 5 and after the game with Idra I asked Alyssa and she got him a can of Nos. MC ripped through the rest of his matches after that.
Thankfully Daniel was there to take care of Moon for the most part so I mostly had to concentrate on LosirA MMA and MC (CSN was mostly taking care of July). But yeah they were getting really really sleepy as the games went on. We all (including Moon and Daniel) eat dinner and wait for the last few games and MMA was crashing in between games at the pro lounge and MC was pretty good with the energy drink.
Also in Moon vs Naniwa: Apparently Moon needed to go to the bathroom in the middle of game 1 and he started slipping after that. He wanted to go to the bathroom inbetween games but he wasn't able to... so he had to keep playing and so that's that story.
And then LosirA vs Incontrol happened.
The LosirA Keyboard problem
So I think this was the main source of the complains about "too much downtime between matches". Anyway, the issue was pretty much LosirA's keyboard which started malfunctioning. Incontrol lagging wasn't actually Incontrol lagging but it was LosirA's keyboard malfunctioning (since his H key would stop working after that). In the first match, they paused and then LosirA's keyboard eventually stopped working completely during that pause. They called me at this point so I had to run from the feature station (was helping MMA) and ran to the main stage. Anyway, since LosirA could not continue after that pause there was a regame. LosirA said there needed to be a regame but his opponent would need to agree with it and Incontrol was a great sport about it and actually gave LosirA the option of a rematch even though he did not have to since it was LosirA's keyboard for some reason malfunctioning at the main stage (it had worked perfectly fine in the feature station and normal computers around, which is why we also swapped computers during game 3 of that match just in case it was the computer). Incontrol was such a great sport throughout this entire debacle and he had all the right to demand a forfeit but chose to go with the regame. So thank you for being such a baller
Anyway, without the details: Incontrol's "lag" was never actually incontrol but it was Losira's comp fucking up. Everytime after the lag Losira's H key would stop working. The first game: Losira's keyboard COMPLETELY stopped working and that's why there was a regame. Losira obviously wanted a regame but he wanted to get Incontrol's permission first, and Incontrol basically said that he thought he was ahead, and so he would accept a forfeit, or a regame. Losira obviously takes the regame, and his H key also stopped working in the middle of the regame but he said that he didn't say anything cause he was winning. More issues with that, and after the second game we pretty much told him we can't stop because his H key stopped working after that and he agreed, but in the middle of the second match Losira's keyboard COMPLETELY stopped working and he was playing mouse only. It actually was not a mistranslation in the interview. LosirA actually said he only played with a mouse after a given point in the game because his keyboard flopped completely during the game. After that Losira thought it was the computer so we quickly swapped the computer but it wasn't (see the lag screen? all that meant was that Losira's shit stopped working) and luckily for LosirA there wasn't a problem other than the H key issue (so he just made hatcheries with mouse). He just said he made all his hatcheries with his mouse. Losira then did a long interview but that was fine cause I knew what he was going to say so I just had to confirm what he was going to say about it.
SOOOO what happened after is that MC finished his game before Losira's second game started so Losira was using MC's keyboard during this time. I also ran into Kennigit and I told him the story and I was like "I'm sure there has to be someone here with a QSENN keyboard that Losira could use...." and Kennigit was like "yeah there has to be" and he was completely and utterly right -- he actually ran into GosiTerran who apparently just got the QSENN keyboard today, who agreed to let Losira use it for the remainder of the tournament! I actually didn't know GosiTerran was SixJax.Major who played with LosirA later since I thought his name was SixJax.Memories or something like that so LosirA didnt know he was playing against the person who lent him the keyboard later. But thanks a lot, GosiTerran, for being a great sport and letting esports happen by lending LosirA your keyboard
Anyway we were walking back after that and Losira felt really bad about the entire debacle so he wanted to say like "I'm sorry for this entire debacle and so to pay the fans back I will play Terran in my next match for a little show..." and then later on decided against it. I told him if he really wants to do it to say it AFTER he wins and gets the interview and do it suddenly so the commentators would expect nothing and freak out like mad. MC then commented like "I could have beaten Tyler with Terran" (The next day I talk to Tyler and he asks me if MC had said anything about him and I was like "... do you really want to hear it" and he says yes so I tell him what MC said and Tyler was like "well he's mistaken". I then told Tyler that MC was counting on him to beat IdrA and Tyler said that "if I beat IdrA he owes me dinner". I told MC later and he was like "why should I buy him dinner it's for his own benefit". Shame this story didn't develop). We get back and the players go back to sleep and get ready for the next day.
To be continued....