I thought Blizzcon was gonna suck. I am not too interested in new games, not diablo, not blizzard dota, definetly not WOW's "Panda Land" and I surprisingly didn't even care to play HotS, mainly cause its not balanced and it will be tweaked to death. I don't care for dance contests or people dressing up as elfs or demons or dragons, I don't really watch many Starcraft games, I never have, so even the tournament and GSL finals had little value to me, without a bunch of my best buddies and people i usually want to hang out with at events not going (Minigun, TriMaster, Scott F, Socke, KiWiKaKi, Fayth, SLush, etc, etc) and the fact that I didn't have a phone to even get in touch with the ones that were going (i'll mention why later), I was just setting up for a boring-as-fuck depressing weekend.
It all started with me being super busto after IPL, I went on degen mode and lost 4.5k putting me temporarily in the red, then 2 rooms by mistake of the hotels got charged on my card, for an extra 900 dollars worth of damage. I was far from liquid, but MLG was right after, so I spend the last bit of cash I had driving there and picking up drewbie from the airport, we went to Busch gardens the day after as he arrived early but he had no cash arriving from Korea so I spend my last bit of resources, Busto till the end of the month I am! I thought to myself and Blizzcon was coming up...
I decided I needed to save $ so instead of grabbing a cab from LAX to the hotel this time (like a good 100$) I asked my stream if someone wanted to pick me up. Julien quickly volunteered. I arrived in cali Thursday morning, Julien picked me up and drove me to the Hilton, where I stayed for the weekend, he had some good music playing, pixie kicks or some shit i can't even remember the name of it, but it sounded really good, i'll have to double check on that, Julien knew a lot about what was going on or not going on with Barcraft and blabla, and he talked about people by name rather than nickname, which was both confusing and a tad strange, "have you talked to james?" -James??? "Kennigit" -ahh, no?. Anyways, we got to the hotel lobby, not as packed as it would get later in the day, I saw Nestea and MVP chilling, my old buddy Sen and his Taiwanese gang was the first I recognized, "Good to see you again!" Yang Chia Cheng said. "You too!" I yelled back at him, then I got in line to get my room, which wasn't the best plan cause the room wasn't under my name, in line however I saw my good friend Jos de Kroon "When'd you get here? just now? did you eat?" "yes and no not yet" I answered we talked for a bit as a wild Naniwa joined in "Hi CatZ" -Nanidog!!!! I said as I came in for a big hug "we don't hug in Sweden" he said, but I didn't really give a shit about what they do in sweeden and gave Nani a big hug, standard, his last name is Luccessi, very Italian, in Italy, you might just get killed for not hugging.
Shortly after I found out my name wasn't on the room, so we needed to find DRG who should already be in, we went to Nani's room and skyped him "come to the lobby", he met us there, as happy as he always is and we went to the room, we layed down and watched the food network for a while, not sure why we were watching the food network, but we were all tired so no one really cared. after a bit we decided to go back down to the lobby and see if anyone else arrived etc. Found Jos and Audrey again "we're gonna go eat, wanna come?" I asked DRG if he was hungry and he said yes, we had earlier gone to a mexican restaurant that Jos recommended, but this time it was dinner time. "We're trying to find Victor(Nazgul) and then we'll go" so Victor we found, alongside with HotBid, R1CH Kennigit and Eric At this point I got my travel Stipend so I wasn't as broke anymore, we went to the Cheesecake factory, then to PFChangs, then to another 2 restaurants, but the wait was over 1 hour in all of them! I suggested we go back to the Mexican 5$ restaurant and it was being strongly considered, when we stumbled across some Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant, HotBid went in and came back out quickly "We're in!" everyone was happy, I was suspicious. - Ok so either this place is really expensive or really mediocre... we took a look at the menu, it was about 50$ a person for a meal + drink (including tax and tip) that wasn't too bad, so I thought mb it was somewhat mediocre, we went in, had a nice meal, appetizers were really good, main course was alright, DRG had a Lobster + Filet Surf and Turf, he liked it, but he didn't really like the sauce too much, I had a Hawaiian Margarita with my Meal, 11$ incredibly overpriced, it was really simple and not very good, Desert, we all got the same thing, Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle with Vanilla Ice cream, that shit was delicious, DRG didn't get one, but he ended up eating most of mine, idk how good deserts are in korea, but he destroyed the shit out of that Souffle, imagine DRG vs a Bronze Terran, that's how badly he destroyed that Souffle. We were done, we asked for split checks, but then HotBid and Nazgul whispered to each other, HotBid had gotten the secret ok. "We got everyone guys, don't worry about it" Tyler and his wife made a quick stop at the table during dinner as well, Team Liquid and their "heads of staff?" are quite amazing people, fun to hang out with, except for HotBid, HotBid is a HUGE troll.
Later at the Hotel Lobby everyone started to arrive, and alcohol was flying everywhere, met a bunch of people and some fans, not quite as many fans as I tend to get at MLGs, but enough to keep my ego and heart contempt, drewbie and Leah were there as well as my goot old Edwardo Chang (etchang, former ROOTEdward) the Legendary AskJoshy, Justin Grindles, CatsPajamas, DjWheAt<3dignita's Oddy, Zuccubus, KiLLeR, SeleCT<3 etc. out of nowhere I was also ambushed by a big ukranian, who always seems to be happy and smiling at everything, even though I've known Dimaga for a long time on battle net, I never expected him to be as cool as he is irl, CATZ!!!!! -DMYTRO!!! he gave me a good old handshake and a hug to go with it, "I love your stream man!" I laughed -didn't even know you watched it, I happily replied and continued to chat for a bit, he didn't stay there too much longer.
Jason Lake and Jason Bass were also having a good time, Mr Lake bought DRG and I a few too many drinks, There was this ridiculously good looking gal called Catherine, her brother apparently is a fan of DRG's and I, so she took a few pictures and joined us while drinking, somewhere in between Jason Lake noticed her presence when we were chatting, "wow, wow you're really really good looking.." and proceeded, with perhaps a drink or two too many on him, to try and sell me, it was funny and sort of awkward, but his heart was in the right place "Do you know CatZ?" -we just met, she replied, he was quick to continue: "You know CatZ is a pro gamer, he has tons of fans, he streams and gets X number of viewers, everyone loves him, he's got an eye for talent you know..." -I know who he is, I meant we just met in person. "oh.. ok" he said as the night went on.
'Raegu' isn't big on drinking, he wasn't feeling very well and eventually went back to the room a bit early. I continued to drink and talk with Jason L, went outside for a few cigarretes, in one of my trips I got the biggest hug that you can ever get, "MY BROTHER FROM ANOTHER MOTHER!, YOU GOT GAME I SEEN IT FIRST HAND!, I LOVE YOU BRO!" it was Drunk PainUser, the best kind of PainUser. hang out with him and Ryan for a bit, catching up on life and shit. Later I sat down and had a good old talk on Marketing and other stuff with Mr Lake, and called it a night after that.
woke up Friday morning (yeah sorry that was all just thursday), I put my FML wristband on, hangovers aren't fun, headed out to the SoundBlaster Booth, with my shiny exhibitor badge, that I made no line for and got for free (sorry). DRG was already there, he was first on the schedule to play challengers, AskJoshy was Casting, and Ryan, our new Boss for the weekend (and an incredibly cool dood) was making the crowd yell Sound Blaster really loud for a chance to win our amazing headsets. DRG won a bunch, I played some as well, we were always sneaking out to check on Naniwa and his progress in the tournament, we'd go on break to watch his games and head back to the booth, I learned a lot from DRG this weekend, he is not just mechanically ridiculous, he's also incredibly smart, and most importantly, an amazing person and a greaaat friend, DRG, to the 3-4 ladies that will read this, is the real deal. He gave me a bunch of tips, and was never shy to answer any of my questions. that day he went on to win every single game he played, with a good amount of masters and a decent number of grandmasters in the mist of challengers. It had to stop!. I Challenged my new sensei to a BO5, when I told him I broke even in practice with former MVP's viOLeT he didn't believe me (he's also incredibly honest) "nooooooooooo" "noooooooooooo" is all he said whenever I told him it was true. I won the first game of the BO5, then he 9 pooled me, and then he adapted and played my strat for the next 2 games, I couldn't keep up with his mechanics, and after two nice long games, it the series was over with a 3-1 score for him. we talked about my strat in between games, he thought it was good and I was incredibly honored, we talked about when to use it, and how to use it, and blablabla, I also pitched him infestor drops, to which he replied "noooooooooooo" while shaking his head. but overall I didn't do too bad against who I consider the best Zerg, and possibly all-round player in the world, and I really gave it my all. Then out of nowhere he came to me and whispered "now I believe you, I think maybe, you deserve to win viOLet" had a huge smile on my face, bragged about it all to Naniwa when he came to the booth after he was done for the day. Naniwa was giggly "You're so excited about this" -No shit! I replied.
There was one last Challenger before the day ended for us at the booth, it was Julien! hahaha. he walked up with his head up high, High Diamond/Low Masters is what he claimed to be, High Diamond is what his account said. Zerg was his weapon of choice. I leaned towards DRG and told him, I got an idea . We played Julian, DRG used the Keyboard, I used the Mouse, it was RIDICULOUSLY hard, but we ended up being a pretty decent team, we were about 40 supply behind at one point, and close to GGing, Fungaling is really hard for instance, "Fungal!" "Inject!" "Roach roach roach!" "Drone drone drone!" "burrow!" "T T T" "empty house!" "zergling" "Shift" and of course "NOOO!" were some of the words we used the most to sync our brains, eventually it worked and we made a great comeback, huge high five up in the air as Julien's disappointment and shame spilled over his keyboard, that was the end of our gaming day on friday, but the night wasn't really over yet. we went to the Friday Night Barcraft, to watch the finals a while after that, as we got there, Leah and drewbie were on their way out, "there's no where to sit in there, its too packed" Leah told us, "we're heading off to the main stage" and so we followed them.
that place was also packed, and they almost didn't let us in. Slasher and his gf were on their way out when we got there "It's packed, there's no where to sit, we're heading to the Barcraft thing" he said... my brain facepalmed, but after arguing with the security guards for a bit, Leah managed to get us back inside the venue. For those of you who were watching the stream... Imagine the stupidly ridiculous crowd that you saw for the main stage of the GSL finals, now imagine the crowd there was for the Foo Fighters concert, those were two different areas, and during the finals, they were BOTH full, so basically, Double what you saw on camera, add the ballroom filled with people at the barcraft, that was the actual live crowd for the finals... quiteeeeeeee stupid, now add however many people were watching on stream. That's E-Sports, Progaming or whatever you wanna call it, that's our game, be proud, that shit was insane. (of course on a mood killer note, over half the people watching live aren't HARDCORE on starcraft, a lot of people went to blizzcon for D3 WOW etc, and they all were likely watching too, but hey, im sure at least some of them fall in love with our shit, right?)
After MMA won DRG proceeded to go to bed, I headed back to the Ballroom, and managed to get a couple of drinks from the VIP area before it closed, sponsored by Ed Chang and Nazgul hang out with good old WhiteRaDimaga as DjWheat Slasher and SirScoots were getting ready for LO3, on my way out of the VIP area I found Catherine again! "I was just talking about you!" I said (I wasn't lying). she laughed and we were talking for a bit but then my troll-sense started tingling, HotBid with a HUGEEE grin on his face walks up to us, looks at me with his trollface and says "Im a BIG FAN OF YOUR WORK SIR" I laugh -shut up hotbid "NO REALLY, HUGE FAN OF YOUR WORK" lol fucking hotbid <3. Shortly after she heads out 'i'll be at the VIP party thing next door, I think you need a wrist band but you're a pro so you should be able to get in no problem" -hokay, i'll c u later then hopefully.
I sat down with Xeris and then Mr.Nazgul watching Live on 3 as they 'shaved' their heads, I was expecting razors tbh, but w/e. HD was sitting behind us with his game face on. somewhere in between I found a Steven Bonell II "wowowowow I missed you so much bro I love you brohan" -I missed you a lot too buddy! I replied and gave him a huge hug, we talked about life for a bit and then didn't see him again for the entire event, standard Destiny. Stayed there (at the ballroom) a bit longer and after LO3 I headed out to the VIP party thing, on my way there I found living legend -ATHENE-. I yelled "ATHENE, PLAY THE GAMEZ!!!" "CAT-Z!"(read cat-zee) he yelled back, -what are you up to ATHENE!? "Heading out, I started at that door 1 hour ago, now im here, making progress" (10 feet progress) then I asked him for his wristband, he was quick to give it to me, and I asked for a signature. "I've never asked anyone for their signature before Athene" -I feel honored, thanks for the tips brother, he replied "I GIVE YOU TIPS FOR FREE!" i yelled as I headed inside the party, the 'vip' party was really lame and I didn't know anyone at all in there, tried to look for Catherine but she was nowhere to be found, so I left quickly, as I was heading out back to my room where DRG was sleeping for a while now, I saw her again on her way in, "ahh I was looking for you, on my way to my room now" -aww give me your phone she said, FML i thought to myself, my phone got dc'd for that weekend the payment bounced cause of the atlantic city hotel charged on my card. -Twitter then? "Ok yes I can do that, tweet at me!" -already did, i'll catch you later. and so I headed out to the room, DRG was sleeping and I was kinda drunk yet again, "Hey Raegu... how do I check twitter on your phone, its in korean..." -Chan Ha mi daaaaaa he growled half asleep. I just went to bed, im not sure what he said, but something along those lines.
The next day, I asked him what that ment, he laughed and said he was probably dreaming of him congratulating MMA for his win, cause the word he was saying in his sleep ment "Congratulations!". DRG and I got ready that morning and headed out to the SoundBlaster Station, on my way there I saw my old friend and teammate, the Manner Beast known as Sheth <3 he was out of the tournament, but he was seeking revenge in the "community tournament" area -Shawn!!!! "Pauloooo!" (he's one of the only people to call me either catz or paulo, almost randomly) "wtf are you doing there shawn lol" -Im about to win a poster!, I facepalmed and proceeded to go to my designated station. The day proceeded normally, but this time we got featured on TL so the stream had a lot more viewers, same old same old, played a few fans and whatnot, and then Shawn came back to our station with his poster, he requested autographs from DRG, myself, askjoshy and Ed, "This is not a progamer autograph poster, its a friendship poster, it means a lot more" he said with a huge smile on his face, per usual. Then Jason Bass challenged Sheth to play DRG, Shawn politely declined, and Bass offered 100$ if he beat DRG in a BO3, Sheth politely, quickly, accepted. after a couple of well fought out games, DRG won and Bass gave him the bounty, DRG wasn't expecting it so he was happy and took Naniwa and I out to Lunch at the Hilton's restaurant. it wasn't cheap so I felt sort of bad, but he explained he wasn't expecting the money and in korea its standard to do that sort of stuff with "free money". He insisted we had dessert, but I was too full. Nani had already lost to Sen and this point, so he wasn't in a hurry, he was also pretty calm, he played well, and went down 1-2 to nestea and 1-2 to sen, no shame in that, but I think he should've won both series, both Nestea and Sen took huge risks to beat him in game 3.
We went back to the booth, I challenged DRG to another BO5, he won the first game, I won the second one, coming from behind, with infestor drops. as soon as the game ended I took off my Omega Headset (which I can't wait to get) looked at him, smiled and asked loudly "GOOOOOOD?????" he noded in agreement while smiling, you right, good. we watched the replay I walked through my strat, as he did many times for me that weekend, explained it as best as I could, he thought it made sense and it was good and viable, and he said that he will practice it and might use it in code S, that made my day. I lost the next 2 games, one to 9 pool again, and the other one to him playing perfect and me making a couple of small mistakes, not even close, he was too beastly. He agreed to be my Sensei and gave me even more tips over dinner, later that night . before that however, when the day was over at the booth, and many headsets and autographs were given out to lucky people who showed their support, I went to watch the Foo Fighters, just for a few songs, as soon as they played "All my Life" I was happy and left the venue for the last time.
The Final Night started off slow, I found SeleCT and Rekrul, in Rekrul's own words, "What's up dude, I am assembling a team of Elite men who are not afraid of woman and are fun to hang out with to go to K-Town, there's a new club there and its fucking sick, I think you fit the profile" I really wanted to go, but I had to respectfully decline, -shit's expensive, and right now mr RekRul, I am not very liquid, so i'll pass. I continued to look for anyone and eventually found myself with DRG and Nani, Ret and his gf found us too "Where is everyone?" Jos asked. "I have no idea, where's liquid at?" -Playing Mafia on the 4th floor "hrmm we could go there?" -I'm not drunk, lets get drunk first. I agreed with Jos' assessment of the situation, but there was a huge line to get anything from any of the 3 bars at the lobby, he found someone to buy drinks for us (he payed) and we got a nice round of redbull and vodka with a few beers, Naniwa went to get his jacket and didn't come back for a while, DRG didn't want to drink as he's not big on that and had a flight at 7 in the morning, so he went back to the room, "Hey Raegu, wake me up before you leave, I want to say good bye to you" -of course! he said with a smile and headed back to our room. Jos and I were getting impatient so we decided Naniwa fall asleep and went to the Liquor Store.
"You pick, im noob at alcohol" ret said. -ok, do you like jack? "not really, what do you drink jack with?" - coke "ok I can do that" -would you prefer rum? "Rum and coke is good too" -ok which one then? "whichever we find first. Captain Morgan 1L was what we found first and so we took that. on the way back to the hotel, Ret started telling me a story about the pool and jacuzzi and how he got kicked out of it at 4am, I stopped him, "Jos... this is the 3rd time you tell me that story during the weekend" -I think we hang out too much, my smoking partner said, I nodded in agreement as we headed back to the hotel. we went to the deck on the 5th floor, grabbed a nice empty table, and started drinking, audrey wasn't helping much, so ret and I started to get hammered as the bottle of rum ran out, sharing stories and talking about life and of course inevitably about starcraft 2. It was for a change, a nice relaxing night, yes I was drunk as fuck, but I was sitting down, smoking and talking, no noise, not much activity, just laughing amongst friends, a great night. Socke of course, though not present in body, came up in conversation more than once, the german pro is not just skilled, he's also hillarious and really fun to hang out with, but above all else, he's our other Smoking ally. Every event where socke/ret or socke and ret are at, I rarely have to go out and have a cig by myself, it sounds like a small thing, but our smoke timers are pretty well synced usually, and I don't think I've ever asked ret or socke 'hey dood go cig?' and got no as an answer. Our cancer-stick bonds go far beyond Starcraft. last IPL, when I got back to my room Bravo was sleeping in my bed, so I went to Socke's room, where ret was sleeping (cause Sheth snored too much) at 10am, knocked on the door, "Giacommo, go gamble/smoke?" "SUUUREEEEE", I remember telling this to ret that last blizzcon night, -hahahaha yeah I remember that, ret continued to sleep, as he had to play IPL later that morning, we yelled "good luck jos!" and headed for the deadly blackjack tables. can't wait to see Socke at Providence.
As we continued to finish the rum, a few people came out of one of the rooms "DUDE CATZ, IM SORRY TO BOTHER YOU AGAIN" it was one of my fans, who before had said he's my biggest fan and im the only stream he watches, he continued "Can you please drink a car bomb with us?" I said - Sure, but it'd be rude if I drank it while jos and audrey watch. "Oh of course, we'll bring 3" -what is this? I asked, to which Daniel replied "Tastes just like chocolate Milk" it really did. but that shit'll fuck you up. Daniel, James (I called him Mike, and im not sure his name is James, cause I just called him Mike, idk why) and Damian stuck arround for a bit and chilled with us for the rest of the night. I asked them if they were local, and Dan said they were, so I asked if he could give me a ride to the airport tomorrow, and he quickly said "Of course man!"
at arround 5 am, Jos and Audrey decided to go back to their room, and so I thought it'd do the same, I thought so anyways... on my way to the elevator, I found me a drunk Nadagast Garret's a good friend of mine and I hadn't seen him all weekend. I still had about 1/6th of a bottle of rum in my hand, he looked at it, I looked at it, and nothing more needed to be said. we broke into the kitchen at the 5th floor in the hilton, there was a table and 2 chairs, all we needed. also unlimited cans of soda ( I had me a sprite zero, why, idk ). I grabbed a couple of tea cups, poured some rum and coke, and talked with garret about life for the next 2 hours or so. Nadagast is one of the most talented gamers i've ever met, but he never committed too much to starcraft unfortunately :/ a waste but whatever, love you bro.
I got to my room at around 7:30 and DRG was already gone, fuuuuuuuuuck i thought to my self, took a quick shower and got in my bed, I was pretty sad I didn't get to say bye to SooHo, the next morning I woke up hungover as shit, I put my FML wristband on, and I found a nice heartwarming surprise next to my bed, DRG had left me a good bye note! i'll write what it says at the end of this.
I went to get some breakfast and called Dan to see what he was up to, the woke up at like 2-3pm of course so the lobby was deserted, everyone was gone, blizzcon was over. Dan answered the phone and asked me if I wanted to go to Dave & Busters with him, Mike(not mike), Damian and Trev. I didn't need to go to the airport until 8 or 9pm so it seemed like a good plan, it turned out to be a really good plan, hang out with dan and his friends all day, went to dave & busters, we got a shitload of tickets playing trivia and other ticket-intensive games. Damian used to work at a chucky cheese back in the day, so he knew all the tricks to get the most tickets, we were as cost efficient as you can be. This translates into spending about 40-50$ to get a REALLY ugly Hippo stuffed animal (not even big) that dan will give to his gf, and a couple of other worthless things from the D&B "Winner's Hall" but hey, it was a lot of fun. Later we went to Fire&Ice for dinner and a few drinks, with the same people + a couple of girls, one of them was a gamer too, and a cute one at that, Dan and his friends are WOW TCG pros, I played that game the first time it came out, and I won a release tournament in peru... by cheating, cause no one including myself knew the rules (so i didn't know i was actually cheating). So it was interesting to hear about other games that are played professionally, Later that night Dan and Trev drove me to the airport for my 10 hour flight, which I just landed from, I thought Blizzcon was gonna suck shit, but thanks to all the people I mentioned in this, I had a really good time, made new friends and got to hang out and get to know a lot of my 'older' friends better, so to all of you, thank you, I love you all.
* SooHo's note:
" Finally, You didn't come back i c so sad... but it was fucking nice time with you CatZ! See you in Providence! My Student! Piece out ~ -DRG."