Monday, 10 October 2011

Thoughts on the IPL 3

This IPL has manged to be one the best SC2 tournaments so far which is amazing considering the previous two tournaments were online only events with no live finals, and for this IPL the producers were given relatively short notice to set everything up. This does not show however as the production quality was so high. Whilst I was watching it I didn't see or hear many of the visual or audio problems that so often plague other tournaments, for example one time MLG crossed the audio streams. It's good HD wasn't left in charge of the audio as he always forgot to unmute the sound during the qualifiers. Any problems they had were sorted out quickly or gotten around with some intelligent thought. IPL 3 managed to be great despite having internet problems on the second day at one of the venues. The internet outage wasn't IGN's fault and they did everything they could to get it resolved as quickly as possible and tried to keep people updated with what was going on.
Like most tournaments the IPL had an easy to follow format o_0. 

I thought the casters did an excellent job and I'm glad that there was more than one pair per stream so that they had a chance to rest and so that we didn't get bored of seeing the same people. I find that even Day[9] gets old after an intensive weekend of him. My personal favorite pair was djWHEAT and dApollo as Apollo offered deep insight into the games and they had a great dynamic together. A nice touch was the inclusion of some panels over the course of the weekend, with pro players, that was full of funny banter and worked well despite the language barrier. I especially found the panel with Incontrol, MC, Select and Stephano hilarious; though people that don't keep up with the SC community might have been lost.
MC didn't always understand the question straight away but always had a funny answer.

Whilst five of the top eight players were Korean this is less than in a lot of the recent tournaments so it was nice to see their dominance of the e-sport waning a bit. Who would have predicted that the final would come down to a ZvZ and that a foreigner would take home the cup in such a dominating fashion. If you haven't already go watch the finals, there were some nail biting moments in every game.
Rachel and Anna might have been a bit over dressed but did a great job over the four day event

Rachel and Anna did a really good job at presenting the usually awkward changeover sections and seemed to always know what was going on. The content between sections was also pretty interesting with top ten countdowns and player interviews, though some of the interviews were a bit irrelevant due to how long ago they were done. The advert were a bit repetitive but this usually happens at events this size as there aren't that many to choose from. I'm glad that the adverts were in the stream instead of the awful and unrelated interactive Justin TV adverts you usually get.
Idra had to forfeit his pool play games as he was exhausted after

It's a shame that they didn't show all the games played; though it is understandable for a tournament of this size. I really wanted to watch the DeMusliM versus Ret games, where DeMusliM was knocked out,but they decided not to show them which is nearly unforgivable. What was definitely unforgivable was the producers deciding to put the LoL finals before the end of the SC2 tournament. I don't mind that most SC2 events have LoL there as long as it doesn't get in the way, I don't want to see it. Also because of the LoL finals the grand final was on at a ridiculous time for Europeans, especially those in Eastern Europe.
As the only British pro I like to follow his progress but couldn't see his last game.

I didn't buy Prime but it was great to see the addition of more streams to show play from more angles; so that you could watch from your favorite players perspective. It's small innovations like this that helped make IPL such a high quality tournament. The VODs of the matches were uploaded very soon after the games which is impressive considering that many of the other tournaments take a couple of days to post up the VODs. Next IPL I will definitely consider upgrading to Prime.

Final Thoughts
I'm really looking forwards to seeing if the IPL has a knock-on effect triggering more innovation and better production in the tournament scene; in my eyes the IPL has raised the bar for everyone. This is how a tournament is meant to be done, despite all their set backs IGN has somehow managed to come out on top. It's a shame so many of the seats were vacant for the live show but by the sounds of it a lot of people watched online. Hopefully with more awareness IPL events will be even more successful in the future.

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