PiG at Heart of the Swarm Melbourne Launch
This event was such a blast to attend! I got into Melbourne earlier in the day and was super excited when I wandered over to Fed Square and was reminded just how awesome this venue was. Right in the heart of Melbourne, surrounded by Museums, Galleries, a historic train station and the stage itself actually in a square that is one of Melbourne's key social meeting places. This is as mainstream, public and accessible a venue as one can hope for and I was so psyched as I stood there watching the ACL guys lug the streaming gear over to the streaming tent, imagining the turnout we'd have that evening.
By the time night came we were all relieved to have the heat of the day finally start to dissipate. It was only about 7pm, an hour to the launch and there were already several hundred people in line for their wristbands to pickup their copy of HotS! By 8pm the square was filled with people sitting and standing waiting for the show to start. There were countless Teamliquid, Starcrafts and Terran, Zerg and Protoss shirts amongst the audience. It was clear this audience loved Starcraft, and there were a lot of people heavily involved in the community there. A friendly guy by the name of Tom told me he was going to get his rock signed by Dustin Browder, and we laughed about the reaction it would get on SCreddit:
The occasional bogan would walk through the area and mutter about "nerds" with a confused expression on their face. They would walk on quickly, much to the crowds approval. One fan for the game struck up a conversation with me and told me he'd never touched multiplayer before, and played it just for the story ever since 1998. Another bloke insisted that as long as Yang built lots of Voidrays he would win his match. Some people asked excitedly if that was Moonglade over there by the stage? Or exclaimed that "Omg it's Dustin Browder!". Other's discussed the story or the lore, or anticipated what prizes were being given out. There were children as young as 9 or 10 years old sitting with their parents. Some parent's faces had looks of bored patience, yet most echoed their children's fascination and excitement.
This event was like no other eSports event that I've ever been to. It was in my home country, and in a city I feel a close connection to. It was in the most public of public places and not only open to all people, but it also catered to all people. There were competitive Starcraft showmatches, there were interviews about game design, balance and eSports. There was the art from the game actually showed being created live on stage by a speed-artist. There was even a cute Starcrafts cartoon. This event wasn't just an eSports event. It was a gaming event where all the fans of Starcraft got to celebrate the fact that gaming is now an all-powerful force in the world we live in. Gamers were given a public space to share and communicate their passion. This space didn't just put up with gaming, it celebrated its joys and triumphs. This was a truly great event for gaming culture, and I'm proud that eSports got to be a part of it.
A massive thanks to Blizzard, ACL, all the event staff and all of the fans that came to the event to make it such an amazing experience.
We were all on stage for the Countdown to Midnight.