MLG (Major League Gaming) holds multiple tournaments throughout the year, but only four Championship event; the Spring Championship 2013 was located at the Anaheim Convention Center. For those who haven't heard of MLG before, these events are where professional gaming teams from all around the world come together to compete for prize money and rankings in their respective tournaments. This event is also a venue where various companies come and present some of their demos to the attendees behind closed doors. There are also many opportunities for individuals to get autographs and meet the teams and players. The affordable ticket price makes the MLG experience quite fulfilling.
I personally got to try two games that were being shown on the floor, the first being Killer Instinct. I was not able to go to E3 this year so this was my first hands on experience with this game and I have to say it was more enjoyable than I expected. Since there was only one arcade machine available for play, there wasn’t much time to try things out, but I was able to get a feel for how the game worked mechanically. Killer Instinct plays similar to something like a Street Fighter game, but has far more ridiculous combos. There were only two characters available for play and with the addition of a line, I really didn't get to try a whole lot out. Despite this, it was fun to get to see a game that will come out on the Xbox One later this year. Hopefully next time they showcase something, they can afford to put more than one machine out on the showroom floor.
The other game I got to experience was Infinite Crisis. Infinite Crisis is a MOBA that has you play as characters form the DC universe. If you are a DC universe fan, you will find yourself immersed in a game that will let you play as your favorite DC comic book heroes, thought there is currently a limited roster. While I am not a particularly large comic book fan, I found this game extremely fun, and getting to personally meet some of the game developers was a great experience. For me it was a refreshing change of pace from the current popular MOBAs that are on the market today, and I am looking forward to seeing how this game will evolve over the next few months. Infinite Crisis is currently in closed beta so even if you do not have a pass and are interested, you can apply for a chance to get in via their website.
The main attraction for MLG for most the audience is not the demos but the games that are being played live. At the event, there were three sponsored events with different level prize pools: Starcraft II, Call of Duty: Black Ops II and League of Legends. I personally spent most of my time watching the Starcraft II games and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Watching games like these with live audiences gives an entirely different feeling to the ESport. When watching RTS games at home, you cannot honestly grasp the powerful energy of the room. For this reason alone I would recommend the MLG experience.
During most of the tournament there were enough seats for a majority of the people attending, but as the tournament approached the grand finals, there was a much larger audience than the seats provided. Most of the people who were not watching from the beginning found themselves standing in the back, but I don’t believe this would entirely ruin anyone’s experience. Hopefully next year they will provide more seating in the areas so more could watch the games comfortably. Overall, even though I’m not a huge Starcraft II player or watcher, I found these games insanely fun to watch live, and am looking forward to future Starcraft II events that I can attend.
My main attendance at the event was the Starcraft II tournament but, I was also able to watch quite a few of the League of Legends games. For me, the League of Legends part of the Spring Championship was far less enjoyable and not just because of the game itself. There were far too few seats for all the people that wanted to watch the event, and the number of the audience that found themselves standing was quite astonishing. There was literally zero chance of getting any seat outside of the back few rows unless you were willing to head there insanely early and never leave your seats unprotected.
Sadly for those who were stuck in the back few rows, the screen was too small to see the fine details. I wasn’t able to tell the values of more or less any of the character's stats, gold, or items. In some cases, the screen was so small and far away that I couldn’t even tell which characters were being picked and banned. Additionally, the sound was extremely loud when it came to blasting dubstep, but was not loud enough when they were actually playing the game. Since League of Legends is the most popular game there, it should be their priority to fix these issues before the next MLG.
Overall my MLG experience was a positive one. I am greatly looking forward to attending future events, but I hope they will fix the seating, visual, and audio experience that were mainly present with the League of Legends tournament. Even with some of the issues I had, this event is an amazing deal for the small price tag of 35 dollars for all three days. If you are within a reasonable distance of one of these events, and have a few friends that are willing to go, I would highly recommend you attend the next MLG and see if this experience is for you. You might be pleasantly surprised.