Fans and Audience weighed in at Seattle Red Bull eSports Event
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 4th Sep 2012
This Labor Day weekend at the Red Bull LAN Seattle, the eSports playbook went out the window. At the event, fans of Blizzard Entertainment's global eSports staple StarCraft II and scores of PAX attendees experienced an unprecedented twist to tournament play.
Voting every few minutes, onsite and online spectators at www.redbullusa.com/lan wielded the power to help or harm, assist or antagonize the attending pro-players during live gameplay where two pros were paired up with a lucky audience member as their teammate. At critical junctures in the matches, event commentators, Sean "Day(9)" Plott and Mike "Husky" Lamond, called upon the audience to decide the fate of the players, by dispensing bombs, unleashing demons, summoning vortexes and introduce other game changing obstacles.
For three nights, fans packed a standing-room-only theater participating in the most unpredictable exhibition of eSports ever demonstrated. Eight eSports athletes traveled to Seattle to earn the honor of being the first to try this new interactive concept, created in collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment, Day(9), and Red Bull Gaming.
Teams of two competed, with each duo composed of a pro player as well as a lucky audience participant. These selected spectators hailed from around the world -- spanning from local Seattle StarCraft II fans, to as far away as Brisbane, Australia -- and were thrilled to share the stage -- and gameplay -- with some of the best StarCraft II players in the world.
With the audience voting every four minutes to unleash in-game catastrophes, enemies, nukes and more -- matches were anything but ordinary, and officially over the top. As the spectators became accustomed to their new role, the competitors struggled to stay ahead of the waves of audience interference, delivering gameplay never seen in traditional tournament settings to the roaring crowd in person and online.
The pro's quickly understood that the only way to survive was to win the audience's favor. Teams had the chance to plead their case before matches in an effort to try to win audience favor. As Team iNcontroL prepared to battle Britain's Team BlinG, Geoff "iNcontroL" Robinson used his home turf American advantage to try to sour the crowd on England's own.
Another epic best-of-three match culminated with the audience chanting "NoNY! NoNY! NoNY!" as player Tyler "NoNY" Wasieleski advanced to the semi-finals, along with Chris "Illusion" Lee. How did he manage to survive the onslaught? In a nickname-earning statement, he explained "Nukes can't catch me 'cuz Im the gingerbread Protoss," referring to the flood of nuclear blasts the audience threw at the players.
After their first taste of interacting with the pros, it was clear the fans could not get enough face time with their favorite players. Red Bull athlete Ji Sung "Bomber" Choi joined a BarCraft session at a local sports bar, playing matches with attendees who dared to take him on. As the line to challenge this world-class player grew, fans relished the chance to spend time with Bomber, in a rare opportunity to play one of the world's best eSports athlete.
The closing night of the Red Bull LAN Seattle delivered the largest crowd and the loudest cheers. With the final match comprised of all pro players, Team iNcontroL was supported by fan favorite White-Ra facing off against Team NonY joined by none other than Bomber. With no surprise that both teams played valiantly amidst mind-boggling mayhem, Team NonY was victorious in the final moments of the unforgettable and inimitable Red Bull LAN Seattle.
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