There will be a before and an after Warcraft 3 Invitational.
Through an event combining nostalgia and exciting announcements in a spirited manner, Warcraft 3 Invitational certainly showed Blizzard will listen to the community more than ever.
Enough to go from survival mode to a smoother state for our favorite game? I'd like to think so.
The presence of 3 long time retired players was a very smart move from the production. Even though we expected the legendary - and still active - Grubby to steamroll the Legends tournament, it gave a nice appeal for returning players that wanted to see their former idols once more.
I mean it was so cool to see Tak3r putting his 3 years of travelling project on hold for this two days event. How did that collide with his plans to visit his 101st country, i don't really know. He was very casual and just enjoyed the moment. He went SH first against Insomnia in what looked like a goofy move; maybe he just revolutionized the meta since Lyn won against Happy doing just that afterwards!
My personal most intense nostalgic moment was when MaDFroG discussed his rivalry with Grubby. "We like... never talked ever". Both sitting on a couch, reunited more than a decade after, they could finally discuss it. From old teenagers to young adults, they can now be good friends and gave us a powerful moment.
Madfrog not touching the game for so long, he could not beat Grubby quite logically. He knew that, we knew that and it did not matter. Still, MaDFroG shared his frustration with his performance and how he hates to lose. He was such a competitor and still is, you cannot change a gamer's spirit, and it was nice witnessing that.
So what about a game for third against Tak3r? "Maybe, I do not know I do not really want, I am frustrated you know... we will see".
Thank you so much for sharing those moments live with us legends!
The warm atmosphere we all felt watching the now famous double couch inside Blizzard HQ would not have been possible without Grubby.
You probably think "well yeah we know, he has a lot of experience now". You are right of course. Still he was an essential part of it all, easing the transitions, guiding some interviews and keeping the flow on point. The bond between him and Back2Warcraft felt real, and we hope it is something we will see again in the future!
Mr Jannes Tjarks, aka Neo was approached by Blizzard to help with the whole planning of the event a few months ago.
I was glad to see all forms of WC3 melee games being explored there from the usual solos/2v2 to the 4v4, FFA and team FFA mode.
Those FFA casting skills are a work in progress though!
Back2Warcraft did a lot to keep this game alive and they finally got the ultimate recognition they deserved, being invited to Irvine and discussing straightforwardly with Blizzard Classic Department on the future of Warcraft.
It was very moving to see them opening the event with 11,000 viewers waiting for them on the front page of twitch. It was like twice their previous record, and the stream did not even start! They peaked at 22,000 simultaneous viewers later on, just mind-blowing.
Not much to add about the Korea vs Europe tournament, it was very exciting to watch. Really refreshing to see Happy participating in a live event once again. He seemed to have a good time and we hope we will see more of him in 2018!
Warcraft family reunion in Irvine, USA
Their future plans were detailed through interviews of Pete Stilwell (Blizzard Classic games senior producer) by Neo and of Matt Morris (Blizzard Classic games lead designer) by Grubby.
Pete Stilwell explains why there had been so much delays between the announcement of a new balance patch in 2016 and the coming of the actual patch this year.
The interview is only 8'40 long and addresses the new widescreen option, the zoom level, their long term patching strategy and battle.net improvements.
Grubby's interview of Matt Morris lasted a little longer since it was not made live. It's a good occasion to get to know Matt a little more and go more in depth with the patch and discuss many cool options, like a new campaign?
You really need to follow Matt on twitter.
That was probably the most stressed message all event, whether it was live or during side interviews. Blizzard wants to take a step by step approach and is listening to the community's concerns first and foremost.
Through reddit's threads, Back2Warcraft or Hive's discussed topics, they seem to be focusing on the prime issue first : battle.net. They lowered the ping. They implemented widescreen. They changed the zoom level and introduced a 24 players option. They are basically bringing Warcraft 3 up to the current standards, giving it a chance to attract new players.
They even helped us bringing all of our hostbots used during tournament onto battle.net. They really want us back there, and we want to go too!
One more step to make this happen would be to strengthen their hack control. Both interviews mentioned it since it is our prime concern. They are aware and we hope for solutions once 1.29 is finally released.
That would not be totally satisfactory though. The ultimate goal in a close future must be to get a unified Warcraft server. Ladders will only be interesting if all players are on one realm. We will not find FFA or 4v4 AT until this happens.
We have always been working on unifying the community, having one single realm would help us achieve that.
Warcraft's future is looking bright! Stay tuned for more news.