I have always believed that for a successful event of any kind, one must keep in mind both the sides of it. First is the organisers doing whatever in their level best capacity they can for a successful event, and the other being the audience, or in the case of eSports, the players and gaming enthusiasts doing their part to facilitate the event’s success. While Tranzeneca Gaming League and Havok Nation pulled off a stellar job in the name of Mangima 2016, this time my finger turns to the community itself for many of the problems that seemingly plagued the fest. In this article, I take a look at how Mangima 2016 went in many different aspects.
The Arena. With 10 awesome looking PCs (with equally awesome Star Wars names) in the middle coupled with 2 large projectors on the sides, the main stage was set to rock. On its right were another 10 PCs with enough place behind for eager fans to watch the entire games go down. Behind them was another line of PCs which can be said to have attracted quite a few controversial moments, but more on that later. Credit is due where it is, and full marks to the team at Havok Nation for giving us the best ever LAN event set up in Pune and arguably one of the foremost in India. With the progression of each day, something better kept on adding after experiences with the last day, examples being the addition of more chairs and sticking all wires with cello tape to ensure maximum freedom for everyone to walk (yes this was worth the mention). And a very important aspect in this section would be speakers NOT blasting some useless music, something that has become mainstream in huge events.
Coming now to the technical aspects, there were its own highs and lows again, although the highs surely outweighed the downsides. When ASUS Strix GTX 960s and 970s are powering games, you are sure to hit every framerate mark that is your right in CS: GO. Same goes for the Cooler Master Devastator Combo and the Steelseries Siberia V2. As far as DOTA was concerned, monitors were surely a treat, although being of 60 Hz, a few professional Counter-Strike players did express their displeasure since they are used to sweet 144 Hz monitors. And while the DOTA finals and semi-finals were plagued with disconnects alongside a complete set up of 10 PCs not willing to run any match up, one must realise that this is something concerning India as a country itself, with event organisers having the responsibility of mitigating whatever they can from their side.
On that topic, Counter-Strike went real smooth considering the fact that it was hosted on a local server while DOTA players experienced around 50 to 80 ms pings, which can be said as acceptable on the Singapore servers since games are literally unplayable on the Indian server, another thing not in control of the organisers. However, the storm of everything technical would have to be the PCs that weren’t provided by Havok Nation but were got from outside. With no DOTA player agreeing to play on that set up and their fears not going unfounded, owning much to the high pings later on and a game not starting off too, this I can say was a low key moment. But then, just as I said, the highs surely outweigh the lows.
Before I bring up more controversial topics, first let us bring some hard core facts, unadulterated by my or anyone’s opinions to the table, shall we?
#1 The complete event was organised keeping in mind that around 92 teams registered and hopefully at least 80+ teams will make their presence. However, the reality is far from these statistics, since only 55 teams actually did arrive and play.
#2 Teams were explicitly asked to arrive at the venue 30 minutes before their scheduled time to ensure a smooth event. Day 1 of the event, the first game was scheduled to begin at 11 AM and the first team arrived at 12, and the game finally did begin at 1: 30. Keep in mind that the complete set up was ready at 10: 30 AM itself.
#3 While day 2 and 3 saw more teams punctual comparatively but not spot on, Counter-Strike players took a lot of time to set up their peripherals and in-game settings averaging to almost 30 minutes, which is considerably high. DotA players took much less time, but then they, for very obvious reasons, cannot be compared on similar lines.
#4 When the games finally did begin, quite a few teams were taking rather long pauses.
#5 Spectators kept coming behind players playing at the main stage even after repeated instructions to not sit or stand there, owning to players themselves requesting the organizers to do so due to distractions.
Taking Mangima as an example, Tranzeneca Gaming League has put in a lot of efforts to bring to us, the community of gamers, an event which is memorable and is a step forward in the Indian eSports Scene. Keeping in mind every wish that the spectators and gamers might have, decisions were taken in accordance with that. From partnering with Pune’s premier café to conducting it in Phoenix Market City, from getting food caterers right where the action is to setting up everything down to the last detail perfectly for the spectators, one surely cannot deny the fact that this indeed has taken a lot of efforts and money.
And few players indeed did reciprocate the enthusiasm. Players such as Siddhartha ‘G6 Prasad and Aditya ‘Ad1’ Shah were instrumental in setting up the Counter-Strike servers. However, the majority of the players failed to even pass the lowest possible bar to maintain the quality of the tournament, as it is evident from the facts stated above. Very few teams such as Team Brutality, Havok Nation, and Svaha to name were present before time, or at least a representative or a player was.
Due to many teams being a no show and the teams that did arrive coming three hours later than scheduled, brackets were redrawn. This being a time consuming process as well as a tricky one, since it affects your complete schedule that was pre-planned led to a few teams needing to wait for quite the few hours before even knowing when their match was scheduled. Having to then deal with every team personally with their problem is something that Tranzeneca did accomplish, and for that they do deserve the praise. And I must say, that although we could not uphold our side of the coin, the organisers did plenty from theirs. Simplifying it, due to our failure to keep our commitments for a good event, it was us who suffered from it anyways.
Coming now to a more controversial part, the prize pool. Starting off with facts, Mangima 2016 promised cash, not goodies on their flyers and on the social media from the 1st to the 8th position in Counter-Strike and DotA. However, what happened later was that when the cash prizes were being handed out on the spot (something which is praise worthy for a LAN event in India), winners discovered that from the 4th position onwards, headphones along with cash were being distributed as a compensation. While this is the first mistake, it was only later when a participant decided to remove the price tag revealing its original MRP to be INR 3000 instead of the projected INR 6000 when things began getting ugly. Antec, the provider of those headphones, tried to immediately correct the situation by giving two headphones to the winners.
Given the fact that 37 teams did not arrive, almost INR 55,000 was missing which had led Tranzeneca Gaming League to post such a prize pool. Learning the fact, the organisers were with no choice but to provide goodies as a compensation. However, here it seems that Antec decided to take the shortcut and stick false MRP’s on their products and give it to Tranzeneca which eventually made way to the winners. But that’s as controversial as it gets I’m afraid.
As I near the end of this article, in some final thoughts, this event was undoubtedly well organised and well executed, atleast in comparison to other similar events that happen in India. Participants and winners all walked out happy at the end of the day. It also achieved a near dream for the spectators who had come, and I being one of them couldn’t have asked for more. Given the fact that this was but only their 2nd tournament of such a large scale, and the first including DotA, I’m looking forward to more events by Tranzeneca Gaming League. Plans for the next one are already in motion, and I am sure that they will again be attracting many more teams. The fact that most of the problems that players faced at the event were along the lines of having a 60 Hz monitors and 80 ms ping, is in itself a sign of a better and growing eSport scene, as gamers are transforming from just the ones who would play casually to taking things at the next level. Finally, the right questions are being asked instead of the typical ‘when is the prize money arriving’.