Window to Nowhere by Plexa TeamLiquid: Final Edits
Competitive sports are a great thing for us fans, but are even better when we have a vested interest. Just look at the difference between the Shinhan3 and Daum OSL Finals – the Savior-Nada final had more replies (1600 to 700) and views (81,000 to 33,000) despite being shorter and less dramatic. Because the thing is, the scoreboard is more than just a separation from winners and losers; it’s about pride. The feeling that you get when your team, your pride and joy, wins the biggest tournament available is simply amazing. That feeling of nervous excitement that builds up inside you while you watch builds upon the game itself and creates a huge emotional impact on you.
The intensity and drama associated with Shinhan 3 made it one of the best OSLs ever
That feeling we get makes watching fun. If you’re not there experiencing the emotional roller coaster with your team or player then it’s simply just not as great. By creating that extra connection with the player or team playing via gambling, fanboyism or a grudge match, normal games become extraordinary. Surprise tactics become legendary moves. Screw-ups become epic blunders.
It’s all nice and easy when your player is winning.
But when things go wrong, it’s tough to be a fan.
Starcraft is a cruel mistress. The average duration of a Progamer’s career is roughly three years. In those three years, only six months is spent at the top in either of the two major individual leagues. Even when you’re a fan of a bonjwa, it really hurts when they come plummeting back down to earth. All you Savior fanboys know exactly what I’m saying. Savior’s recent games have been abysmal at best and a long way away from the form he showed when he was on top.
Savior fans have to deal with the fact he's not coming back
The pain when your idol chokes in the semifinal of the OSL or MSL is even harder. I signed up on teamliquid as the So1 Semifinals between Boxer and Pusan were being played. I cheered when Pusan went up 2-0. I was ecstatic. Then watched in utter dismay as he blundered and ‘went fishing’ in the 3rd set, then cried out in pain as he lost his shot at the finals. It was one of those days that will stay with me for a very long time.
More recently, we have Stork, a player whose PvP has been my inspiration for years. Basic fundamental errors in the crucial 5th set of the MSL finals cost him a victory against Bisu, and in the OSL he crumbled before the might of Jaedong. Many of you celebrated when these things happened; we Stork fans just went silent.
The good times are still amazing. Just ask LastRomantic when he was saw the epic comeback of Reach against Sea on HitchHiker. The whole game sat on a knife’s edge, but when Reach pulled through and forced Sea to concede, LR went nuts. It was a beautiful moment. Or when Nada triumphed over Anytime in one of the most meaningful and heartfelt victories I’ve ever seen. The Nada fans among us couldn’t help but shed a tear for the man who had lost so much.
There aren't many Shine fans left, but when he wins; she goes wild
It’s difficult to remain a fan of one player for a long time when they continually post bad results, that’s why many of us prefer to support teams. Team games are considerably more dramatic than a Starleague final. Each series is the combined effort of over twenty players in an attempt to win three or four sets. Teams generally post more consistent results – MBC has made the playoffs for four rounds in a row. But when you lose week in week out like Plus did, its really hard to keep that motivation up high, and even harder to keep reeling in the fans.
But those fans were rewarded this year. After many, many years of being the punching bags of the progaming scene, Lecaf broke out and achieved the highest level of success possible. Jaedong won an OSL and his team just won the 2nd round of Proleauge. It means so much more for those long time fans who have been dedicated supporters and not just the “fans” that cling to the current champions.
ACE may be at the bottom of the table, but they still have dedicated fans
A lot of players around teamliquid are subject to extensive bandwagoning. A lot of the time this is really bad. Goodfriend became one of the most hated players in all of Starcraft and for what? His ‘boring’ style of play? What many people failed to realize was that Goodfriend wasn’t as he was stereotyped. Although it wasn’t as plainly obvious as it was with Boxer, he was still an interesting player – very similar to Midas. Not only that, Goodfriend developed Terran strategy over seven consecutive OSLs.
Other times the current bonjwa amasses a plethora of fans simply because he wins every time. Sadly, as the bonjwa starts to lose those fans dissipate as quickly as they had come. Many of these people never experience the extra drama associated when you emotionally invest into a player. Watching Savior against Chalrenge, to them, would simply be a case of ‘wow Savior sucks now, Jaedong for president!’ whereas the real fans fell to the floor in dismay when he squandered his advantages and lost.
The really strange thing about true fanboyism is that average games turn into masterpieces. Look at Savior versus Yarnc on Un’Goro Crater. It was a very average ZvZ, but couple it with the emotional investment that Savior had in the game, in addition to Savior carrying the dreams of his entire team – it was one of the great moments of January. The look on Saviors face after he won was special, just like it was on ChRh’s face after he defeated Bisu and as it was on Nada’s face when he beat Anytime. Those are the moments that define great for any true fan.
When Boxer doesn't qualify, it hurts
The offline preliminaries have just finished, and within those results lay many fans’ broken dreams. These hellish tournaments trap fan favorites for many seasons, and this time is no different. Already we won’t be seeing anything of Stork, GGplay, Iris, Pusan, Reach, Casy, 815, Best, Chalrenge, Rainbow, Yellow or Boxer in the MSL. It really sucks to see some of my favorite players drop out so early on, robbing the TV games of their brilliance.
Stork won't be seen in the next MSL thanks to two 5 pools
With each new round of prelims brings a new wave of gamers. Some will try to tell you that it’s a good thing that we have a good rotation of gamers. I disagree. Of these new gamers that get through, the vast majority of them fail miserably. I’m sure we all remember SkyHigh? After going 16-0 in prelims preventing Silver, Saint, and 815 from advancing to OSC and prevented Reach from entering Survivor. Once he did got into the minor leagues, he went 1-4. Thank you for making progaming a little less interesting SkyHigh.
The prelims are without a doubt the most painful thing for a fan to endure. Big names keep getting knocked out by weird no name gamers, and our dreams go down the tubes for another 4 months. The best example of this is Nal_ra, who was perpetually trapped in PSL for a long time (over a year). Meanwhile, Nal_ra was regularly qualifying for MSL and putting up a great showing.
Qualifying is hard, and it hurts went you don't
There is no doubt that many of us are disappointed by these results. Some days it really does hurt to be a fan. But when your player blasts through Prelims, Minor leagues and the Majors to seize the championship like Jaedong did, the experience is one you won’t easily forget. I wait here for the day when one of my players finally wins something, and when that happens – by god you’re going to hear about it.
So for all you Jaedong fans right now, soak it in. Treasure this moment and they joy of being a fan of someone having so much success and happiness right now. Don't take it for granted, opportunity is a slippery thing. For those of us with players still trapped in the void known as the offline preliminaries; take a moment out from your day, light a candle and take solace in the thought that proleague is just 2 months away.
This pretty much sums up how I feel at the moment, watching saviOr plummet and feeling stood up by XellOs (I totally agree that he comes in as the Flop of the Year). That, and iloveoov being "promoted" to player-coach.
Plexa must be prying into my head, using Reach v. Sea on Hitch as an example. I went apeshit during the latter part of the game, what with Reach going Mudang on Sea's ass and shit.
SkyHigh was arguably exciting, but hype is what was exciting rather than his play, which was a big letdown of that hype. If he hadn't gone undefeated in both preliminaries he would just be some other nobody who kept back someone great. Which means I think SkyHigh is an exception as he added a small amount of excitement for a while.
Eventually some new players have to rise from the depths, but I agree that it's disheartening to have so many big names (and some of my favorites who aren't quite so big names, but have gotten there a time or two) to get knocked out so early.
Also excellent writeup, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Last edit: 2008-02-06 21:17:39
I'm such a good lover because I practice a lot on my own.
wurm Philippines. February 06 2008 21:20. Posts 1737
Awesome writeup Plexa. One of the best TLFE's I've read so far. And I agree with you completely. Whenever KTF loses to ACE, or Flash loses to someone he shouldn't lose to, I get so frustrated that I often stop watching SC for a few days, but when they win (KTF vs MBC/CJ), I brag about it for weeks.
If Flash beats Jaedong in the coming MSL quarters you won't be able to shut me up for days.
That said, I do like new players. Old players get stale quickly. There's few things I enjoy more than seeing the favourite get knocked out by some no-name 16 year old kid. Another similar feeling, is watching the favourite get knocked out by an oldschooler that wasn't expected to win. It keeps the game interesting.
I think the main issue with hype around players is, and I've often fallen into this trap myself, that we tend to look at results, and not at gameplay. If we started looking at the way a player plays, rather than who he beats, we might be able to detect a long term emotional investment, rather than an average player on a hot streak.
HamerD United Kingdom. February 06 2008 21:50. Posts 1922
"Oh no, we've drawn Judge Schneider" "Is that bad?" "Well, he's had it in for me ever since I kinda ran over his dog" "You did?" "Yeah...if you replace the word *kinda* with *repeatedly*...and the word *dog* with son"
semioldguy United States. February 06 2008 21:57. Posts 7264
oh the pain, kind of reminds me of the other FE post by honesttea, only until midnight. it is hard being a fan of one player... anytime, how the fuck could u fall to nada like that???? T____T brings my hope up only to crush it into oblivion. hopefully he makes it out of his survivor and osc groups....
u know whats even more frustrating for individual league? sea dieing yet again >< god it must be so painful when he performs so brilliantly in proleague.
Scorpio2012 wrote: i guess god is about as useful as a protoss scout
fusionsdf Canada. February 06 2008 23:10. Posts 15354
When I saw sAviOr and XellOs winning the 2v2 against Lecaf and seeing their happy faces and them hugging each other, it was one of those moments where I thought "look at these veterans, they were giants once and now being cast away by newer players... but they still have it in them and they just showed it to the world!". God, those 2 were so happy and I was happy with them. I won't forget that moment as I almost shed a tear of joy for those 2 greats of Starcraft. But that's just the way it is, sadly nothing lasts forever
i know exactly what you mean, Plexa... great article! i remember how sad i was when HOT went down and down and almost vanished. But then he came back as 2v2 expert and pwned all with reach! i was so goddamn happy!
and im still casy fan and waiting for him to come back... waiting...
s4rk Philippines. February 07 2008 01:58. Posts 109