Name: Memento_Mori
Location: Zurich
Posts: 5115
Introduction

I just came back from The Ultimate Gamers Championship, the event organized by Italy Alessandro "Stermy" Avallone. I though I was going there as Quaker enthusiast, to give a hand during the event. I had some expectations and hopes.

It turned out, this would be the best Quake Live event I've ever been to, and I eager to share with you some of my thoughts.




The location

The location played a crucial role for this event, so I will try to describe it as well as possible for those who were not there.

The GeTour Village is a full served touristy resort, with various structures for sports and relax, several pools, and a charming sandy beach. The event was held inside a large sport hall at one corner of the village, two minutes walk away from the Hotel S. Maria, where most of the QL pros and UGC staff were lodged.

The sport hall space was nicely organized. On one side there was the usual stage with big screen and player workspaces. Each game had its area: the QL area on the right, Street fighter IV in the center and Starcraft 2 on the left. Cod, fifa and the BYOC on the other side, together with a few hardware and demonstrative stands.

At the entrance there was the reception, a small cafeteria which turned out to be our rescuer every morning (at the hotel they would serve breakfast ridiculously early), and the staff office, usually quite busy, with Matteo and Linkin coming and going all the time for photos, videos and so on.

There were about three casters location, two directly accessible from bottom floor, and one upstairs, in a separate area with communicating windows which allowed to visually signal people downstairs when necessary.

QL had about a 15+ PC, all equipped with the 120Hz display (Samsung 2233RZ). Pros and non-pros could sit in turn to practice and enjoy the game. The QL Lan server was accessible from this network only, which meant all quakers would gather around this area, instead of the BYOC one.

The noise level was overall quite low, a true relief compared to expos like Cebit/Gamescom that kill your brain after one hour. The only “issue” was probably TotalBisquit, shout casting Starcraft 2 at such a high volume that people would think he was amplified while actually it was his raw voice. 2GD took it personally and at a certain point –during one of Cypher’s matches on hub? – he started yelling like a madman just to show he could do that as well.

The village would provide lunch and dinner at two different places. While in general the food was not exactly the pinnacle of what Italy can offer, this aspect was largely compensated by the fact that everybody, from pros to casters would go and eat together, creating a lot of opportunities to meet and talk for extended periods of time with the people one usually only sees on stream.
As the tournament progressed, less players had to keep a wise conduct toward how to spend the evening time. Things evolved from tired people going to bed short after a late dinner the first nights, to loads of unhealthy beverages and drunk yelling youngsters wandering around the hotel lounge on Saturday night. Since the high-season did not start yet, the hotel was ours, and everybody was there, some drinking more than others (hello spartie partie), but everybody really enjoying that time together.

Tony

While it may sound weird to make a section only about one guy, I thought of giving a bit of background about him.

Tony has been around since Quake 2. He won the QUIT99, becoming the Italian champion. He then moved to Quake 3 where he definitely was one of the most popular players. He joined Mad (together with Tulls, Dog, XT, one of the strongest Italian clans in the golden era 2000-2002). He has always been considered a true “italian quaker”, because of his skill, unconditional passion and his strong vocal play spiced with Roman accent (a true manhood boost, if you speak Italian).

FFA

I think this free for all can be considered a true representative of the atmosphere at this event. Indeed, it’s one of the best memories. Besides being exciting and fun as a match, it was amazing how all pros welcomed it, and truly enjoyed it. From Rapha sitting on stage, down the full line of PCs until Cypher at the other end, you had quakers of all sorts and skills, shouting, laughing, and enjoying that moment. I think that for the pros this was a nice change of program, compared to the stress of the tournament. And for the randoms, I can tell you that the personal satisfaction of fragging any top 8 is something every quaker should try at least once.

The heart of UGC

Pros go to tournament to perform well, that’s their job. Enthusiasts go to tournaments to see the pros performing well live, with the hope of interacting a bit with them. This was my opinion when I went to the previous events – IEM4 Finals Hannover and IEM5 Cologne. Very nice events actually, great experiences.

I think this UGC stepped up the human aspect of a gaming event, which in some sense is a return to the past. Being all together in a suitable environment, with the proper space and time to live together for four days, is something completely different from what events look like lately. You have time to break the ice, to start knowing each other, to go beyond the standard 2 min chat with the pro which ends up being as informative as a poor interview.

As for Quake itself, this event showed that it is possible to link the pro Olympus with the mere mortals, making everybody feel part of the Quake community regardless of the skill level. As other have said in the UGC comments, with qualifier and so on, a guy like Flash (third in Italy, after Stermy and Spartazord) would have never been able to reach these guys. But he came here, had his game vs. Cypher and Fazz, and despite the loss everybody expected he did very well, getting control back and stuff. Where else was he supposed to get such a confidence boost? And how many Flashes are there? I'm talking about people that are above the average, that can do some decent play even against pros, if you just let them. So, just let them.

We all share a passion, and this is how this should be. One community, with permeability at all levels. This does not mean to be less professional. It simply means we should not forget what we are at the end of the day. You want to run a pro-event? Do it, but then finish it with a FFA, just to remind us all that no matter if we get older, we marry, have children and so on… if we love quake we can always go to a lan and kick some young pros in the butt. Tony did it.



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