Name: Memento_Mori
Location: Zurich
Posts: 5104
I'm at home, properly sick as the odds were suggesting, and I finally have time to sit down quietly and write down some thoughts. Before writing this, I skimmed through the photos I took, and I let the fresh memories pop up, to make sure these lines would capture what this awesome event was.



The location

The 'District' internet cafe' is a fancy gaming bar right at one of the entrances of a new shopping mall built in Prague 9. The temptation to call it 'District 9' is quite high, suggesting an intentional reference from the owner.

The ground floor is very spacious, with a long row of U shaped sofas facing screens hanging high on the ceiling, the 270deg bar, with a young blond girl who would smile if you leave a tip (funny how they write "SERVICE NOT INCLUDED" on the bills... we only noticed it the last day), and then a large area split in two: one side 6 rows of 5 PC, on the other more sitting place and a couple of fancy racing rigs.

The stairs would lead to the first floor, that would be a platform wide enough to have PCs and people passing, surrounding the central atrium. The place was filled with PCs, and had a closed area for streaming and production.

Overall the atmosphere was pretty adequate. The furniture was modern, with bright colors and clean design. Lights were dim, each space dominated by one color, either techie blue or cozy yellow. Everything was lit enough, except maybe for the PCs under the tables, which you were not supposed to touch anyways, as they all had USB hubs and front port docks. In reality, I saw wision diving under the tables (not for what your are thinking...), as hubs would not really handle well usb overclocking and so on. I heard fox fried a few of those :)



PCs had enough space, and there was plenty of spare equipment to let people improvise a setup if they missed some gears. The only complaints I heard were the situation with the 120Hz monitors and cables which is one of the causes of the stream delays - teams had to unplug stuff and bring it up/downstairs, etc. - as well as the displays in the sitting areas, which were really too high up, forcing people to stretch their neck.

The icing on the cake was the actual shopping mall. Many shops, spacious, with loads of natural light, and despite being newly built was really alive. Shops were on the ground and first floor, and a food court (fast foods) was on the top, with space to eat both inside and outside (which we did not use as the weather wasn't good).


The tournament

A few things about the tournament. First of all, the format was really nice. We should probably thank Quakecon for implementing it, and I really hope it's gonna stay. The format is nice for many reasons.


Moreover, I have to say I really enjoyed the evolution of the tournament. I think my favorite team overall was Team CZE. The reason is, they gave us some of the best matches, and I would point out:
FullyLoaded vs Team CZE: fucking awesome and unexpected match. Fully really gave everything they could and it was so intense. If you haven't seen it, go watch dm14 now. The peek of that map was probably what only two people saw (as the quad pickup made the stream pov go away), which was krysa going ninja on a fully stacked draven who was waiting for BS to spawn.

Many saw that as the deciding moment of the whole match, as indeed, you don't often see a 100 200 BS, and the score was so close. Draven was really upset afterwards, but I think he should not be. He really played amazing. Purri mentioned that that's a typical case where you need a team mate checking the shot room and give you intel.

old 4 men vs Team CZE: Again, go watch dm14. So much stuff happening with the powerups. The crowd in the bar was fucking amazing. I think for this match I staid in the casting booth, with purri and zoot casting, and I could see the crazy shit happening, and wait a few seconds for the stream to catch up and the people going nuts. So fucking intense.

300! vs Team CZE: Again, a very close match, and I loved every bit of it. It's nice when so many teams are close in skills, and you really wonder what's gonna happen. It was hard for me to pick a favorite as I liked 300 a lot, but I think I am happy the home team made it to the third place. Anyways, a TDM match with krysa on one side and purri on the other is a call for awesomeness, and I think it lived the expectations.



The people


Let me say that people are the main reason one should ever go to such an event. Quake is the link, of the best kind, but after all the point is to meet and spend time together.

I was so happy to see people I know, and meet new one. For the latter, I have this tendency of taking a few small details, and picture full blown out characters. This by no means reflects the real state of things, but let me share what comes to mind.




The event

I started actively traveling to events a few years when my girlfriend gifted me the trip to Hannover for the finals of IEM4. I then went to the Gamescom stop of IEM5, to UGC, to a few Dreamhacks, to Quakecon, and to Adroits. All these events have been quite different from one another, but still, every time I would arrive home I would think: this was the best thing ever.

This event was special because I felt it could be the first of a series. If you consider it on paper, the chances with this one are much higher than anything event we had before.

First, this was a community sponsored event. I think nobody really went to this for the money. It was necessary to put some money in so that people would trust this as being the real deal, and for a few people knowing there is some cash to win makes things easier on the travel budget. The main point however, is that here there are not sponsors to be convinced and who may fuck things up (hello Adroits).

Second, this LAN only requires people passionate to the game that are willing to travel and spend some time together. Notice that this is quite different from the "dying Quake" we often hear about. That dying quake refers to the esport business side of things, which of course we all would like to be as healthy as possible, but that really has little to do with what we have here. I am convinced that after the success of this event, even more people will want to come.

Third, the organization and place are great. Prague is cheap and easy to reach, the 'district' is perfectly adequate to host such event (modulo 120hz, which we can try to address), and the organization by wision was top notch. I am not sure how smooth things were for him, as I saw him running all the time, and I can only guess the amount of work he put on this, but as participant, it was really well organized.

Conclusions

This event was awesome. Really. I'm so grateful to every single person who made it happen. I won't name people individually, but thank you all, seriously.

Events like this one make me feel so happy I found Quake, started playing it, and stick to it until now. It's the joy of sharing an exciting passion, to meet brothers and sisters, to realize how what we have in common is a door to understand and appreciate our differences.

I want to finish this column with a picture. It's the group photo we took at the end. I was standing there with my camera, watching all these Quakers coming and sit down on the stairs at the mall entrance. I could not stop thinking these were the people I wanted to be with, the people I belong to, and even if it's just once per year, I wanted to meet them again, to play the game, to celebrate our passion, and to scream once more to the whole world out there that this is fucking Quake. Waaaagh!