One of the most heated and discussed topic in 2008 was the automining feature that came with StarCraft 2. Hardcore original StarCraft fans playing the game competitively felt it would destroy the macro aspect of the game, while the remaining bunch saw it as something good; now you can focus on micromanagement a lot more.
Automining along with multiple building selection was what the StarCraft 2 haters held as their main reasons for wanting to stick with the original.
However, when speaking to progamers and foreign top star players who actually played the game before they crafted themselves an opinion, they felt that there is already so much happening on screen for StarCraft 2, so dealing with base mining like in StarCraft 1 would be too much.
GosuGamers asked StarCraft 2 Lead Producer Chris Sigaty about a possible 'classic mode' for the upcoming blockbuster, and got the answer that they had indeed thought about it but they came to the conclusion that they should not. «We do not want StarCraft 2 to totally replace the original, which adding a 'classic mode' would do,» said Chris Sigaty.
Automining or not, StarCraft 2 will surely be on autobuy for each and every Blizzard enthusiast.
2008 was the first year we saw a Korean progaming league reach out to the international market. GOMTV Star Invitational marked the launch of the successful English shoutcast of well-known community profile Nick «Tasteless» Plott. GOMTV later on gave Nick a co-host in the form of Susan «lilsusie» Kim. With her fluency in Korean the language bubble could pop and give the non-Korean fans a glimpse in the eSports phenomenon.
Much thanks to dedicated YouTube uploaders the Korean proleagues could be seen by everyone, regardless if you knew how to set up DaumTV or TVAnts. The YouTube sensation also brought up new commentators, like Moletrap and Diggity from SC2GG. The common crowd could now watch all the matches from Korea with English commentary.
2008 was the year the language bubble burst. Never has it been so easy to follow the Korean progaming scene.
All fans love a comeback. While we are still waiting for Lim Yo «Boxer» Hwan to make his real comeback after showcasing in AirForce ACE, we got to see two players who had their prime in 2005 do a comeback — one better than the other.
JulyZerg, who had not entered the winners stand for three years, zergling rushed his way back to the trophies and his fans' hearts in 2008's 2008 OnGameNet Starleague. Performing a 5-pool in game one against BeSt, the God of War said that a best of five series was not about skill, but your mind. A 3-0 victory in his first Starleague final for over three years made sure JulyZerg became the second player next to NaDa to obtain the Golden Mouse by winning three Starleague titles.
JulyZerg's switch from MBCGame Hero to STX SouL helped him to become a better player, as he feels he has no pressure whatsoever from the management.
«JulyZerg stood against that tide with a resilient face and clenched fist.» Check out » Jon «Sp1ralArch1tect» Benn's lengthy article on JulyZerg's comeback.
...Another comeback that did not go so well as the nostalgic fans hoped for, was when » iloveoov returned to the proleagues as a playing coach.
Becoming the first ever to do so, SK Telecom T1's iloveoov entered the ProLeague against Woongjin Stars's ZerO. The activity and shape was not there for the former dimonator, who saw both him and his team go down by the hands of the new Woongjin Stars.
The non-Korean scene also saw a set of temporary comebacks, much thanks to the TeamLiquid Starleague. Former heroes as Nazgul, Smuft and Eriador all came back to life to try and qualify for the playoffs. While they showed dedication on the ladder, none of them reached the playoffs. Only Legionnaire was what might be called a successful comeback, despite being unable to qualify through Round of 32 after losses against GOsia and MIStrZZZ.
And we might as well mention IefNaij's comeback in the TeamLiquid Starleague finals against Draco. Going 0-2 to 3-2 in such a stressed position over 5,000 dollars is quite a feat.
We could have put «DreamprO» here, nickname thought out by Mazor after seeing HayprO winning his second consecutive DreamHack title this summer. Slaying two MeetYourMakers But DreamHack is much more than that. Not only is it one of Sweden's biggest youth festivals, not just the world's largest computer festival; it stands as a classic StarCraft event for the «foreign» scene.
We could also have put D as in Dedication, as 2181 StarCraft fans were furious enough to sign a name collection when the DreamHack administration removed their beloved game. A reply from the festival general (it sounds better in Swedish) David Garpenst?hl in the comments at a website said that because of this name collection they would seriously consider StarCraft back as one of the games. And as the next edition of one of DreamHack's side events — DreamHack Skellefte? — kicks off, StarCraft is back where it belongs.
Not since the time of Guillaume «Grrr...» Patry, Bertrand «ElkY» Grospeieller and Daniel «Rekrul» Schreiber has the StarCraft Korean scene been so packed with foreigners, making a living off the scene in one way or the other.
Nick «Tasteless» Plott and Susian «lilsusie» Kim are shoutcasters for GOMTV, while the two Americans top gamers Greg «IdrA» Fields and Tyler «NonY» Wasieleski are each in a professional gaming team. If four was not enough, we also have the SCForAll.com crew duo Artosis and PuertoRican currently residing in Korea giving us coverage focusing on our American heroes.
A reoccurring joke in the foreign scene saw the light of day when Greg «IdrA» Fields gave out his eSTRO schedule, where he said he scrubbed the floors of the eSTRO house. Doing daily chores like that may seem natural to the regular people, but some characters in the foreign scene saw this as a way of throwing hate on IdrA and later on NonY. «All they're good for is scrubbing floors,» and add to that a couple of LOLs and smileys.
Scrubbing floors or not, they are the ones in Korea, chasing their professional gamer dream, showing loads of hours of dedication and improvement while the 'haters' think that scrubbing floors is some slave work that the American aspiring progamers are there for.
Nonetheless, the photoshopped picture of Tyler «NonY» Wasieleski holding a mop and a bucket was quite humorous.
There comes a time when stars stop shining, and in 2008 we saw some of the most consistent stars if not quit then drastically reduce their number of appearances.
Krzysztof «Draco» Nalepka, former member of [pG], MeetYourMakers and Korean progaming team OGN Sparkyz, was despite his second place in TeamLiquid Starleague and his undefeated streak in WCG Poland «retired». While it's no new feat that top non-Korean players say they are retired, but still enter tournaments with scarce practice on the hunt for prize money, it felt like a real 'gg yo' moment when Draco failed to qualify for the playoffs after his tough group in WCG.
Despite losing to Stork and Legend, Draco showed great sense of play in his group stage matches. » Against Stork, Draco gave us a thrilling game, where reavers and dragoons played the main role. Losing hard in the end, nothing can take away » Draco's awesomeness in TeamLiquid Starleague, one game away from winning it over IefNaij in the finals.
Nick «Testie» Perentesis made a short comeback in 2008 for TeamLiquid StarLeague, which caught the attention of many. He qualified for the Round of 48, but dropped out only a couple of days prior to the event. Disrespectful, felt many, but entering a tournament unmotivated putting the hopes up for the mass might show of even more lack of respect. Instead, Testie was replaced and has not been seen in any StarCraft event since then.
GG yo we also say to Face To Face, the Hungarian team who has been on the scene for a handful of years. Also, it looks like MicroGamerZ is singing on the last verse. Let's hope not, so instead we'll grant them a GL HF.
In April 2008, » a new way of finding hackers was revealed to the public.
A guy called Flag in cooperation with the five biggest StarCraft community sites found a way to spot a hacker in BWChart. Most known hacker programs remove the recording of selections on units which are not your own.
Numerous known faces in the StarCraft world was busted, such as Sensei, Push, Localhost, eXeCuToR, Killah, TT1, TroNiC, HayprO and Spades.
Since then, the witch hunt has decreased, since each and every event is more or less played with Anti-Hack Launcher. Some players have rebuilt their trust like HayprO who claimed to only have used the the program Oblivion with in-built hack for observing purposes.
Until Blizzard builds something similar to the WarCraft 3 ladder and improves it a hundred times, there will be nothing that can match the Russian project that is iCCup.
With over 17,000 players this season alone, iCCup remains as the most successful StarCraft ladder and gateway this year.
Jian Fei, god of the Reaver
When Jian «IefNaij» Fei, shortened JF, won this year's most prestigious non-Korean event TeamLiquid Starleague, he did so with two reavers and a shuttle. Compared to Korea's IntoTheRainbow of their similar success with the reaver, IefNaij showcased a sublime micromanagement with his armor covered worm friends throughout the tournament.
IefNaij himself is modest, though. "If you compare my micro to the amateur Koreans, I am just a norm. Nothing special, really" he said moments after his Starleague win.
Another reaver micro that comes to mind is the one » BackHo showed in the semi finals of GomTV Avaratec-Intel Classic. Not too pretty dropping the reaver in a mine field which causes you to lose the map advantage.
Who says computer geeks can't be sexy? Not the fans of FireBatHero at least. Known for his exceptional ceremonies after winning a game on Korean television, it was predicted that should he win in the ShinHan Bank ProLeague 2008 final, he would do something very exceptional. And indeed he did.
Shirt, pants, shoes off, some krotch dancing and in to the ocean, throw a bowl of rice on your opponent's booth, hand out candy to the crowd. Some more krotch dancing.
Don't believe it? See for yourself.
«If you win that silver, it's like:
'Congratulations! You… almost won. Of all the losers, you came in first of that group. You're the number one… loser. No one lost… ahead of you.'»
— Jerry Seinfeld
Despite his win in the Incruit OnGameNet Starleague, Song Byung «Stork» Goo must be considered the number one… loser. Four silver medals in 2008, including the World Cyber Games Grand Finals, must really sting. The World Cyber Games especially, since he was the reigning champion from last year. However, with one gold medal, a ProLeague title with his team Samsung KHAN as well as a first place in the current KeSPA ranking, Stork probably can hold his tears when it's night time.
It is in moments like these that we are reminded of that progamers are also human beings. During a ProLeague game, MBCGame Hero's Bisu came out with a face mask because he had the chicken pox. His fans was intrigued by the mask, jokingly comparing him to Shredder from Turtles or a ninja.
Luckily Bisu wasn't feeling as bad as » Silent_Control did in a game against Dongrae, where he fainted right before the game.
Being on television you could also end up like » Jae Wook «Lucifer» Noh from MeetYourMakers. He wasn't sick or anything, the chair is simply imbalanced. Nerf please. Drum roll and cymbal.
Not since 2004 had the Netherlands sent a player to World Cyber Games. Along with the Scandinavian countries, the Dutch had for four years had to sit out of the festivities. But in 2008 the Dutch WCG organization granted StarCraft a spot. The Dutch legacy cemented in by Nazgul, Strafe, ret and Twisted was to be carried on by ret.
ret was paired against the likes of Bruce and Jaedong in his group which proved too tough a task for the Netherlander. At least we got to see him play on stage against Jaedong.
Eugin «Strelok» Oparyshev has been MeetYourMakers' main gunner ever since he signed with the Devils in January. Over the year he has taken scalps as the ASUS Spring, numerous Hauppage Cups, but most of all he will be remembered for his bronze medal in the World Cyber Games.
He lost to Luxury in the semi final, but came back strong and was able to destroy LoveTT in dominating fashion, 2-0. Aside from a $3,000 USD check he entered the foreign WCG StarCraft hall of fame, grabbing the eighth StarCraft bronze medal in history.
Here, go watch » a very entertaining interview with one of the most characteristic players in the non-Korean StarCraft, right after his bronze medal.
Six out of Korea's ten highest KeSPA ranked players uses the Protoss race. Same goes for the foreigners' ranking.
Protoss players swept eight of sixteen Top 2 positions in the Korean progaming leagues, and in the non-Korean scene the Protoss dominated as well in the shape of IefNaij, Draco, White-Ra and NonY.
2008 was absolutely the year of the Protoss. Looking at the second season of GOMTV Avaretec Intel Classic, we find five Protoss players left coming in to the quarter finals, compared to Terran's three and Zerg's zero.
Four of the most influential profiles in the Korean scene called it quit. Somehow.
Nal_rA hung up his mouse after feeling not up to par due to his poor results. Being unable to perform the way he wanted to, the two-time StarLeague champion (one MSL and one OSL) switched gears and continued as a game commentator for the TV channel MBCGame.
Let us remember him as the innovative player he was, with » this hallucination/recall move.
We also saw Garimto quit — again. But for real this time. A failed comeback was what 2007 was for the two-time OnGameNet StarLeague champion Garimto. His only » TV appearance after his comeback was in the ProLeague against free, as he never managed to qualify for the ODT nor Survivor.
Here's another trip down memory lane; from 2002. » Garimto plays ElkY in OnGameNet StarLeague.
Daniel «SuperDaniel» Lee, eSTRO profile, announced in June that he was to step down as eSTRO head coach and instead focus on IEG owned SCForAll.com. Daniel Lee was the one who signed Grrrr, and later on formed Hexatron DreamTeam along with ElkY, Legionnaire and Rekrul. Daniel Lee is one of the main reasons why there's still white boys in the Korean scene.
The fourth on the list of a quitter is Lim Yo Hwan, more known to you as BoxeR. To the fans' joy, the veteran Terran player quit his finished military service in December, and is now set to start his comeback in SK Telecom T1.
«Kick off your boots
And let your hair down
Givin' me the feelin' that you might want to mess around»
— Hawg Wild
Even though StarCraft 2 was announced in 2007, this year has been nothing but a loooong wait for the game to come out.
We've received » lengthy hands-on reports, artwork, screenshots, we found out that » it will be a trilogy and tons and tons of more. Did you miss it, by any chance? You couldn't have.
Telling a little white lie...
In the Ukrainian customs control, White-Ra told the personnel him, Strelok and HoT were professional ping pong players on their way to attend a tournament in China.
«The truth is sometimes harder to believe, especially when you try to convince someone you are a pro-gamer set to play in a tournament,» writes myMYM's Cassandra.
The bear-like creature normally walking the lands of Braxis has had a name change. The cute little bear is now known as Pandabear guy, after being featured in » Nick «Tasteless» Plott's commentaries. Nick got so sad when Pandabear guy died.
To listen to the commentaries in action where the Pandabear guy is around, hop over to » GOMTV.net.
There were a lot of victors in 2008. Stork, Luxury, IefNaij, Samsung KHAN, fOrGG and of course Bisu. Who could forget that » epic make-out session after taking down JangBi in the ClubDay MSL finals?
Pose for the camera, have them snap some photos. But god, get a room, Mr. Trophy and Mr. Bisu.
What's up with 1.16?
The criticism sure wasn't nice on Blizzard when 1.16 was released. Mattias «Lord_of_Chaos» Ylander » sums it up quite well in his blog entry.
The victory of Samsung Khan in ShinHan Bank ProLeague will be remembered as one of the funniest. Because of the ceremonies. » Check out TT and JiHyun's victory over Zeus and Yellow… Rated X, of course.
Yellow's happy face
When the » first pictures of Yellow in his military suit came out, his face wasn't exactly in true HWAITING spirit.
When the Round of 16 made its way in the GOMTV Avaretec Intel Classic Season 2, there was only one Zerg player: HoeJJa. 2008 was not a very good year, not counting JaeDong. Counting with JaeDong, Zerg had four Top 2 placements in the individual leagues. Without him only one; JulyZerg's win in Incruit OSL.