WCA WCC: Peace Out, Beijing
After 9 days of new sights, smells and food our trip to Beijing, China is sadly over! World Cyber Arena’s World Country Championship was the first event we’ve ever been to (or seen ourselves, though there may have been similar) that brought teams together to compete as a nation rather than as individual teams and it’s been an interesting one. When the format was announced, we were a little sceptical about just how well it would work and at the end of it, I can definitely say that it went better than expected. For the first time in a long time, we had UK teams cheering for other UK teams! And whilst there was a bit of back and forth about who would play what maps as they came out, on the whole, everything was civil and everyone was getting along just fine.
When it came to the games themselves, the maps were drawn randomly by the presenters at the beginning of each day. So 5 of the 7 maps in the current map pool would be drawn out and played in that order. This then left the 3 team captains from each nation to decide which teams wanted to play each of the maps (though teams could only play a maximum of 2 maps per day). There was a tactical element to this though, do you arrange it so 2 teams play 2 maps in a row to let the teams stay set up and warmed up at the expense of playing a map they may not be the most comfortable on? Or do you simply stick each team on the specific maps they want to play regardless of the order? The Chinese and the Russians seemed to adopt the former but we as the UK chose to play the maps we wanted to play as with us all only forming shortly before the event, we knew that we had to play to our strengths and pick the maps we felt comfortable on rather than compromising ourselves. In the end, this lack of preparation caught up with all of the teams and we only managed to pick up 3 map wins (2 for ourselves and 1 for Endpoint).
All in all though, it was a great experience for all of the players involved and as the days went on you could see everyone's confidence growing and the experience playing on stage and at international events (the first time for the majority of the guys in attendance!) will be invaluable to the UK CS scene as it moves forward.
As a final word, I'd like to thank everybody at WCA on behalf of all of us in FMESPORTS (and I'm sure all of the other players in attendance) as Martin, Frank, Daisy and the rest of the staff made us feel extremely welcome and there was never a situation that they didn't help with, even when we needed to get someone to a hospital! I think our non-Mandarin speaking English brains would have exploded without the help that all of the staff gave us so thanks for making our trip to China as smooth as possible. We'd also like to extend our thanks to David and Gfinity as a whole for helping to make the trip possible. It's back to the grind for us though as we compete in Multiplay's UK Masters from Wednesday 26th October onwards so we'll leave you with a great picture of our translator and baby sitter for the week, Martin being the champion that he is.