In light of a lot obviously happening in the next half decade in the realm of progaming, I figured it would be a good idea to compile the next 50 progaming incidents in which our grandchildren will remember. These are roughly sorted in chronological order. I will be releasing these sporadically over the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled for them.
51) OSL switches to Round of 24 format
Since the Hanbitsoft Starleague in 2001, the OSL has kept the format of having a Round of 16 with 4 round robin groups to begin the tournament proper. In 2005 after being impressed by the reception of their initial tournament sponsorship, Shinhan Bank decided to sponsor not another, but 3 more OSL's with an increased prize pool for each of them for the 2006 year.
In response to the increase in prize pool, OGN decided to change up the format to include 8 more players into the OSL, making up 24 players and adding another day of OSL games on Wednesday (along with its traditional 6:30pm Friday time slot). Reception was divided on this. While many liked having more Starleague games on to watch, others were wary that having a larger OSL meant that games would be down in quality and be vulnerable to oversaturation. Others also pointed out that this decision was made when Boxer was eliminated from the Dual Tournament and an additional round was created where he would be given a chance to qualify again - he did so indeed. This is another instance where people have speculated OGN giving Boxer favouritsm in order to boost ratings.
Whatever the case may be - Shinhan's sponsorships of OSL's elapsed in 2007 and moved over to sponsoring the KeSPA-ran Proleague for 4 years and the OSL returned to its traditional 16 man format with the Daum OSL.
52) Letter to the Sky
In July 2005, fresh off a victory in the IOPS OSL, Nada's father was killed in a motor vehicle accident. After already being knocked out of the OSL and MSL, Nada was given a couple of months of leave in order to grieve and collect himself before the next season of leagues. While he did come back and play, his form was not the same as it was before - it was clear Nada was in a slump. As part of the grieving process, Nada penned the short piece Letter to the Sky, a heartwarming piece dedicated to his father.
A year later, Nada made his comeback from the offline preliminaries to the Shinhan S2 OSL where he crushed everyone, only losing one set in the process. Facing Anytime in a very close series, he was able to take victory 3-2 and be the first ever player to claim the Golden Mouse, the reward for winning 3 OSL titles.
Nada's form would not stop there, the next season he would once again make it to the finals, only to be stopped by the royal roading sAviOr. Nada's form would not be what it once was after that final, but he has proven over time to be one of, if not, the only player, to have been able to maintain consitency and relevancy over the span of his career.
53) MBCgame HERO win Proleague with Moneyball
The MBCgame HERO progaming team was formerly known as the Pirates of Space, led by Zerg stalwart July. Despite being owned and operated by the corporate media behemoth Munhwa Broadcasting Company, its salary budget was peanuts compared to the likes of SKT, KTF and CJ.
Despite its much lower budget, in the first half of the 2006 Proleague, they were able to advance to the finals - on the way they eliminated the star-studded KTF team, most notably with Shark eliminating Goodfriend with a specifically prepared build for the game. While they lost to SKT in the finals, the future looked bright for MBC. With a solid 2v2 rotation and young upcoming players such as Sea, Bisu and Light emerging, MBC were primed for a strong run the next season.
Barely squeezing into the playoffs at 6-4, MBC fought through two ace matches in the playoffs to make the finals. There they faced CJ, who placed first in the regular season. Despite CJ having stars such as sAviOr, IriS and XellOs, MBC were able to take the victory and win its first Proleague chmpionship.
The following years, MBC would only be a shadow of its former self. The lower budget of the team meant that it could not retain its stars - most notably losing Bisu and July to SKT, and Light to Woongjin Stars. Core championship players such as Shark and Pusan were unable to find their form again and Sea carried the team until the teams disbandment in 2012.
54) KeSPA Broadcasting Rights Incident
You can read more about it here, but for the purposes of this article I will TL:DR.
In 2005, KeSPA took over Proleague from OGN and forced MBC to merge its Team League into it. Looking to operate Proleague in a way similar to traditional sports, it auctioned off the broadcasting rights for the league in 2007. However, OGN and MBC were rightly pissed off. For a league that the two stations produce and provide the studios for and promoted the league, why should a third party have the right to sell off the broadcast rights to those matches? As part of the protest, OGN and MBC refused to buy the rights to their own product and IEG, the parent company of eSTRO won the rights. Eventually all parties came to an agreement and Proleague resumed as normal, but this incident augmented the 'fuck KeSPA' sentiment that lingered in both the Korean and non-Korean communities.
55) CJ Super Fights
Fresh off its recent sponsorship of the GO Team, CJ's Entertainment and Media division figured in order to promote their players more, they would create a series of showmatches known as 'Super Fights' every month held in a fancy external arena. Modeled after the UFC, the Super Fight would consist of a couple of undercards, followed by the main event. With prize pools of over $10,000 USD per Super Fight, it was hard to ignore the event and filled a void left by the dissolution of the KT-KTF Premier League.
Naturally, as a CJ-ran event, the event would be broadcast on their channels XTM and Xsports. The CJ operation also meant that a CJ player was guaranteed to appear at every Super Fight, and for every Super Fight bar one, sAviOr was part of the main event. Aside from Starcraft, Warcraft 3 and FIFA were also featured at these Super Fights.
After running a total of 5 Super Fights and one Dream Match, the concept folded in mid-2007 as an increasing event schedule for players meant it was not feasible to operate the showmatches anymore. The production crew and commentary staff from these Super Fights would eventually move onto GOMTV, where they would create their own league (will be covered later).
56) 3.3 Revolution
Coming into the GOMTV MSL Final, Bisu was given a 2.69% to win over sAviOr in the best-of-five by MBCgame's statisticians. After winning the Shinhan S3 OSL over Nada on anti-Zerg maps, it seemed inevitable that sAviOr would stomp over Bisu and lay his claim as 'Ma Bonjwa'.
However, Bisu would have none of that. Despite being it being his first finals, Bisu absolutely destroyed sAviOr and swept him 3-0. Coming in with a new style of playing the match-up, using corsairs to control the air and dark templars for harassment, sAviOr had no answer for Bisu's multitasking. As such, sAviOr was denied the Grand Slam (OSL + MSL victories in the same season) and Bisu would be dubbed 'The Revolutionist' for changing the paradigm of the PvZ match-up.
While Bisu won the following MSL season against Stork, cementing his place as the top Protoss of the era and forming part of the Taekbangleessang quadrumvirate, sAviOr would never regain the Bonjwa-level form that led him to the period of dominance he had in 2006. This lack of form eventually culminated into being implicated as a part of Starcraft's first ever match-fixing scandal in 2010.
57) The removal of DMZ
The first half of the 2007 Proleague season saw two new 2v2 maps being implemented with radical concepts, DMZ and Chariots of Fire. While Chariots of Fire had a similar idea to the widely praised Iron Curtain with mineral walls separating bases, DMZ brought creativity to the next level with small main bases, close spawn positions and disruption webs covering attack paths.
With teamplay becoming less of a priority over the years, teams figured out that the only way to play the map was to send in a Terran/Zerg duo and do nothing but SCV/ling/rine all-ins. It eventually came to the point where all 2v2's on the map was whoever could execute this rush better.
After 3 weeks, KeSPA decided enough was enough and withdrew the map from circulation, replacing it with the previous season's Vampire for the rest of the campaign. People widely condemned KeSPA for putting the map out in the first place, noting that despite claiming to have the map thoroughly tested, they could not see this one fatal flaw in the map.
58) The drunk ahjussi at Gwangalli
The 2007 Proleague 1st Half saw Samsung KHAN face off against Lecaf OZ in the finals at Gwangalli Beach - considered the holy grail venue of eSports finals in the country. Overlooking the beach side and Gwangandaegyo Bridge, the venue was one of the most picturesque in all eSports.
Naturally with the event being at a beach, there is bound to be a lot of curious passer-bys that come and go. In one notable incident while doing the pre-game interviews, as Coach January of Samsung was responding to MC Jun, a drunken ahjussi appeared to interrupt the interview.
I'll let the video explain for itself.
Since then, security has tightened up at eSports events and for the purposes of effective crowd control, the audience numbers have been forced to be reduced in order to meet safety and control regulations.
59) The Insurance Terran
Fresh off his victory in the MSL, the world was watching how well he would do in the upcoming OSL. During the group selection, Bisu was thrown into a group with Hwasin, with him lamenting him as 'insurance', recognizing that he was effectively a free win given his poor TvP match-up. Hwasin was naturally infuriated and vowed revenge. Bisu's provocation of Hwasin stemmed from Hwasin giving himself an easy group in the MSL with 910, go.go and keke.
Cue a month later where they face off against each other in the Ro16. Despite nothing to play for in the match, Hwasin was determined to make up for the insurance insult. In one of the most memorable matches in progaming history, Bisu absolutely humiliates Hwasin, firstly with a dark templar drop, and then mass scouts - a unit rarely seen in Starcraft, if at all.
The two would meet once again a few weeks later in the GOMTV S2 MSL quarter-finals and despite a close 3-2 series, Bisu would once again prevail. Since that incident, Hwasin would never achieve victory over Bisu in any best of series until his implication in the match fixing scandal in 2010.
60) Starleague temporarily goes sponsor-less
After Shinhan concluded its sponsorship of the OSL in early 2007, OGN were looking for a new sponsor for the upcoming OSL. However, the Dual Tournament qualification concluded and there was no news of a sponsor. Would it have been possible that OGN weren't going to be able to run a Starleague that season?
For the first time in OSL history, OGN began the Starleague without a sponsor. For the first three weeks, the league was simply known as the 'Starleague 2007 Season 1'. During this time, OGN scurried to find a sponsor for the OSL.
Eventually, the Korean web giant Daum stepped in to sponsor the OSL and that Starleague eventually became one of the more memorable ones of seasons past with different storylines coming from it.