Starcraft II : The year in reflection
GENERAL posted Jan 2nd, 2012
A top six list of the things that made 2011 such an extraordinary year for Starcraft II
2011 was an amazing year for Starcraft II. The scene has kept growing throughout the year, with amazing tournaments, interesting new metagame and endless creativity from the community. Today we take a look at the top six highlight of the development during the year, and how it might affect this one. Let's dive right into it, shall we?
6. Grandmasters League
While the first on the list, the addition of Grandmasters league is no small thing. Announced at the start of Season 2, it separates the 200 best players from the worst, the pros from the noobs, and in some cases the people who happened to be playing at the time from the ones that were not. Nevertheless it gave a new goal to players, and while not all can be good enough to get in, we can at least sing of our hopes.
5. The Drama
Every good sports has it's scandals, and during the year Starcraft II lived up to that. While some of it really hurt the scene, like the issues surrounding the PPSL tournament, most of it was interesting or educating. Clashes between the Korean community and the foreign were laid bare by disputes such as Stephanos near-transferto Complexity and QuanticNaNiwas probe rush, but through diligence and discussion all have been resolved, bringing a greater understanding of how Esports should work with them, giving us a wonderful stepping stone for 2012.
4. The Prize Pool
A lot has happened in the past year in regards to prize money, both inside and outside of Korea. While the Koreans are still in the lead in regards to prize money earned, foreigners are quickly catching up. In the top of individual winnings we have IMMVP, who last year pulled in a whopping 235 000$ (!), whereas foreign players like EGHuK, QuanticNaNiwa and MǂStephano are in the 50 000 – 70 000$ bracket. However, none of this even touches upon the extraordinary total prize pool we've seen this year; 2.75 million dollars – making Starcraft II the best paying Esport there is!
3. Announcement of Heart of the Swarm
Finally, looking forward into 2012 we can anticipate the return of Kerrigan and her Zerg minions. In the all new campaign you'll have access to special upgrades for your Zerg units, such as making your zerglings explode into broodlings upon death or other similarily terrifying things. And while there has been no plan for LAN play, some extra goodies will be available to observers, for example drawing on the map. Let's not stop there, mapmakers get their slice of the cake with new tools for custom maps, including a cinematics editor to add to your immersion. Going into multiplayer we have a few new units that have been revealed, for example the one pictured to the right: The Zerg Swarm Host. While the Swarm Host focuses on giving Zerg an ability to besiege a defensive enemy, other units such as the new Protoss capital ship Tempest is purely focused on dealing tons of damage. All this we know from 2011, who can tell what they will announce in 2012?
2. Charity drives
The Starcraft community cares. On May 22nd TLO proved this to everyone when he ran a 24 hour marathon in favor of Doctors Without Borders. Over 200 000 people tuned in to watch the famous Team Liquid member duke it out on ladder, custom games and even a few Free for alls with community members. Ultimately the event raised about 2500$, making way for many events to come thereafter. Most notably of these was the Charityoff between LiquidSheth and Destiny, where the fight was to the death – or rather of who could have the most donations. Twitch.tv stepped in and matched the highest amount, which turned out to be the 20,000 Destiny managed to collect. The total donations ended up in the regions of 50 000 USD, a fantastic amount that really show our compassion.
And finally, in every corner of the world, during all major 2011 tournaments, fans of Starcraft II gathered to drink and cheer for the heroes they all love. I'm of course talking about Barcraft, the phenomena that arose from o_Oskar and primadogs inconspicuous posts about how fans could come and join them at the Chao Bistro and watch NASL and have a few beers. Since then the phenomena has exploded and reached over 15 countries, from Iceland to Australia, Israel to Brazil. Many events report over a hundred of participants, some almost a thousand, and bars have been filled to the brim with enthusiasts. All of the barowners I've spoken to have been very eager to continue the events into 2012 with even more events and silly special drinks. The Barcrafts during the finals of the NASL were spectacular enough to make it into the Wall Street Journal, a sure promise of a wonderful future for barowners and Starcraft-fans alike. This year, I hope to see you next to me, maybe with a “baneling bomb” in your hand?
... and with that, from all of us to all of you:
Happy New Years, and Happy Starcrafting!