Rocket League Finals

A few hours after the RLCS finals I was still very excited about the level of the entire event. I wanted to let the people behind the event know how I felt. But I also wanted to spread the word and ideas to the community as a whole.
These two combined made me create this site. To share my views on eSport and gaming.
So welcome to the SaltyGamer.

The event that changed eSport
The last two days the first ever Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) had it’s finals – and I for one want more asap! It may have been close to 8 hours since the final ended but I’m pumped. 

Eight teams were in the arena fighting for the right to call themselves champions of the 3v3 format. To make it a good fight between continents (gamers like that!) there was four teams fron the NA region and four from the EU region. Before you rage because of the lacking Asian teams I can asure you they’re all busy playing SC2 or LoL – so no worries. This whole sport genre is not too much in their taste as it is.

The show was nothing short of mind blowing. The event was held at the Avalon in Hollywood, a place I mainly know by name as I live in Europe. However this turned out to be a great venue for eSports. While I have no idea how many people was allowed to enter for the event it felt like every single person there was having a good time – and I do understand why.

A very professional casting crew lead the audience through the battle of titans, newcomers and veterans with the stats, jokes, interviews and predictions that go with any eSport show – and they simply complimented each other in a great way. And for once I didn’t even once rage about them needing to learn how to tie their tie… a little thing of mine.

Also they didn’t seem to “fight for the mic” as you see on some other productions.

Going into the finals I wasn’t too scared of how the production team would do as the game has had some exposure within streaming and online tournaments for a good long time. And they proved me right. Sometimes I could be a little annoyed by the choice of in-game camera during games – but since I have played the game myself I know how fast the game can change from a team defending to a full on attack. This meant that sometimes you could miss a little of the action while you were “stuck” in PoV when a general overview would have shown how the game was turned around – more on this coming up.

The good, the bad and eSports
Without calling myself any kind of production guru or the likes of it I do have a few things to say about the event from an online viewers perspective. My background for the critique is based on watching normal sports since I could walk and loads of it. Also I’ve been watching gaming since before eSports as we know it saw the light of day – mainly FPS games in the beginning as Jonathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel and Spirit of Amiga (SoA) kinda woke my interest to watch top players in action (1999). Also I’ve been a gamer myself since I got my Atari Pong tv game at age 4 – this was in the early 1980’s for those who keep count. Since then I’ve played a f**k ton of games in different genres so I do feel I have a general understanding of how different games could/should be presented to the viewers for maximum enjoyment.

Back to Rocket League…

Everything between the games was flawless. No long waits, no throwing the viewers around like they were trapped in a pinball machine. It simply worked.

During games there was a few things I’d like to see improved going forward. The main thing is the choice of camera. Keeping my earlier statement about this in mind I do feel the PoV camera was used far too often. The game is extremely fast paced and even more so if you don’t play the game yourself and know what to look for. Overview camera makes this game so easy to follow for even non-gamers while it also give a better understanding of the player tactics, rotations and the general outcome of a single play.

For replays and some nice rocket-jump-action PoV is the king of views I’d agree. But not when there’s a fight for domination in the corner of the field or a quick counter attack. This is where we need the overview camera.

Imagine watching a regular football game if you watched it in PoV from Messi. You’d never be able to pick up on the genius of the player or the team as you never see the whole picture.

Oh, and dear production team, promise you’ll never ever again go to a crowd camera in the audience right after a goal. There’s one single replay in the game and that’s after the goal. The audience will have to wait – or you could do them picture-in-picture. Just don’t take away the one chance to see the replay.

Warning: This next bit could seem like a rage – but I’m really trying not to go there.

The format of the tournament was double elimination. Perhaps the worst format ever invented in the history of competing. I have this hope that american tournament planers will wake up one day and see how boring this format is.

Look at any major sport in the world – none of them use it! And there might be a good reason why!

Group stages is the key to building finals. Simple as that. If it ain’t broken don’t you f**king replace it with something as brain-dead as double elimination.

The single use for double elimination is if you are having a birthday party for your kid and the neighborhood kids compete at something. You want them all to be able to participate for as long as possible. But this my good people is eSports. It’s a sport, people win and people loose. No point’s for second place. It sickens me how sport has to be inclusive of teams/players who lose. People compete to win – fans and viewers are in it to see winners.

Deep breath…

The Rocket League developers should also get their share of praise here. This game is the best eSport title out there – nothing is even remotely close. It’s like launching a rocket while other people throw rocks at the moon.

Combining the excitement and feel of going to the arcade when I was young with the elements of the biggest sport in the world. Brilliant!

And Rocket League Rumble, this is gonna be amazing! Mario Kart with a ball – a night with the guys will never be the same.

Planing for the future
I’m sure both production team and developers have a list of things they wan’t to improve for the future. Why wouldn’t I give them a few here too – for the eSport scene at least.

Special stadiums
Let’s say a future final (not all season) is played in maybe England. Then you could create stadiums with elements to show that – my personal thing would be a Wembley theme as that’s the national stadium of England.

Interactive crowd
Have the crowd on stadium (the Smarties-kinda-things) be colored by viewer interaction. Set up some hashtags on twitter for the teams in a given game. Check the hashtag use maybe two minutes before the game add team color to the crowd-things in-game based on a percentage. This will give a home team / away team feel to it. Keep the percentages to yourself for all I care – just give me the visual in-game.

I have more on my list but I’m sure that’s some of the same as the developers have on theirs too.

 

Final words of gratitude
Last but not least a big thank you to all the people working behind the scene and setting up this event. If you did the network, served coffee, did player videos, intro or what not you’ve just been part of the event that redefined eSports and took it to a whole new level.
Gamers owe you big time. You set the bar for the future. Thank you!

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