The past few days have been eventful for the players attending the WSVG tournament in Wulan, China. In the World of Warcraft bracket, however, there are only two teams representing the United States and one team representing Europe -- the rest are Chinese. Despite being a vast minority, the American team "Pandemic" clearly is everyone's favorite and are expected to walk home with the big W under their belt. With a US standing of #1 in Blizzard's official tournament league, as well as playing in arguably the toughest "battlegroup" in the world, the expectations for Pandemic are no less than winning the entire WoW 3v3 bracket -- much to the anger of their fellow american team: MoB.
Below: Ecilam, Vhell, Noktyn and the MoB GodFather from left to right.
MoB - a team that rose out of the console gaming scene with Halo is also one of the worlds favorites in e-sports, however - competing in the World of Warcraft tournament is a new thing to them. Unlike Pandemic's team who have been playing together for a long time in Blizzard's league, MoB appears more like a "goon squad" who came with the idea they'd win just because they have great players from other games. After last night's match between MoB and Pandemic ending 3-1 in Pandemic's favor, there is finally photographic evidence to lay waste to the popular FPS gamer mentality of thinking there is no skill in World of Warcraft. Fact of the matter is that while the skillsets required for playing FPS games on a professional level are those of mouse accuracy and quick reactions, WoW's requirements are those of having a very deep understanding of the game, it's mechanics, every classes strenghths and weaknesses and knowing every strategy their opponent might use and being able to come up with the counter for it on the fly.
Think of it as chess, if you will. Then there's also the added layer of being able to pull off your abilities the best, remembering to use Line of Sight or even something as simplistic as not fat-fingering keys or double clicking abilities. Using the mouse to click your interface while playing is what most experienced WoW players think of as a handicap and also typical to players new to the game, a game style used by several of the high profile competitors.
Prior, Pandemic also had beat Fnatic.WoW - the European team 3-1 on their climb to the Grand Finale today for a rematch against Fnatic. After the match Curse managed to get a few words with Pandemic coach Jared "Vhell" Coulston. When asked about the experience in China thus far, Jared had the following to say:
China is amazing. It's kind of like we are movie stars -- people come up to us and ask for signatures on shirts, etc. The competition has some flaws though, there's lots of lag for everyone (due to playing on Korean servers on a limited bandwidth connection from China and the method for queueing up 2 teams against eachother).
The event itself is fun as hell, and we went 14-1 score the first day. The one loss came due to a bug with an interface locking up, which sucks.
Fnatic in turn have also beat MoB gaming in a closer 3-2 match victory. When asked about the level of their competition, Jared told us the European team, Fnatic, were a bigger threat than the crew from MoB gaming - something that turned out to hold true seeing as the pair of them are in the Grand Finale today.
Lastly, you may now view the first recording of WoW matches by clicking on this link!
Come back in a few hours as we continue to follow the WSVG in China.