Useful Notes: Professional Gaming
Professional gaming, progaming, and competitive gaming are all blanket terms used to describe the competitive, organized, and often financially sponsored playing of games at a high level. Because the competitive scene varies from game to game, each game's competitive scene should have their own section below.
Professional gaming in the Video Game
scene is well established, and many teams and organizations have established popular brands with numerous sponsors dating back to Counter-Strike
, Brood War
, and other classic games' roots.
Some of the more popular teams with multiple branches include:
Real Time Strategy
With player salaries ranging between $20000 and $200000 and games routinely broadcast over three television channels, StarCraft
is far and away the most glamorous form of professional gaming. The most noteworthy StarCraft
tournaments are organized under the Korean E-Sports Players' Association (KeSPA) in the form of the OSL
individual competitions and the Proleague
has been played professionally since 2000, there have been lots of notable players, including:
- The Bonjwas (The indisputable best of their respective eras):
- Lim Yo-Hwan ("Boxer"). Also known as the "Emperor of Terran" or simply "The Emperor", it is said that "Every fan of StarCraft is a fan of Lim Yo Hwan." Arguably the most prominent StarCraft progamer, and widely considered the best player ever (relative to his time), Boxer has invented and popularized many of the tricks that modern players use today. Boxer is considered to be the player that brought competitive StarCraft to prominence. Has since moved into StarCraft II play with his own team.
- Lee Yun-Yeol ("NaDa"). While Boxer was the Emperor, NaDa was the Genius. Holding the highest amount of gold medals to this day, his success is greater than Boxer's though he remains quite a bit less popular. Na Da's success came not so much from brilliant new tactics, but seemingly unstoppable execution of known strategies. Has since moved into StarCraft II play, under compLexity; now retired.
- Choi Yun-Sung ("Iloveoov"). Boxer's Protege, he came out onto the scene destroying everyone with a massive army of units. Nicknamed the "Cheater Terran" for being able to produce so many units (due to his impeccable macro, or production and economy management), he dominated the scene for quite some time.
- Ma Jae-Yoon ("sAviOr"). The Maestro dominated the universe for an entire year, and was a favourite against everyone. Winning four titles, his dominance was undisputed up until 2007. Was one of the players implicated in a matchfixing scandal in 2010 that rocked the progaming scene and destroyed the reputations of many other pro-gamers, including Hwasin and (Fake) Yellow.
- Lee Young-Ho ("Flash"). Considered to be the "Final Bonjwa" of StarCraft I, winning both the MSL and OSL in the same season, as well as leading his team, KT, over their perennial rivals SKT in the team league finals, Flash is considered to be the strongest player ever to emerge. He also holds, with Nada, the record for the most OSL and MSL victories (3 of each) and the overall highest ELO ever, 2443, as well as the longest winstreak for any player. In 2010, Flash was especially dominant, winning 2 OSLs, 2 MSLs, and the team league, while maintaining an 80%+ winrate, and defeating his rival Jaedong in the finals of 3 consecutive individual leagues. Has begun playing the second game with some success.
- Other current stars:
- Lee Jae-Dong ("Jaedong"). The top Zerg player of the era, he holds the 3rd most amount of titles for any modern player, behind Nada and Flash. Considered by many to be an "unofficial bonjwa" (There Can Be Only One in an era). Is transitioning into SCII.
- Kim Taek-Yong ("Bisu"). The revolutionist who reversed the Zerg>Protoss imbalance for a short while, ending Savior's bonjwa run in the process. Bisu/Jaedong/Flash are seen as a sort of triumvirate, ruling the SC 1 scene.
is far more internationalized compared to the insular, KeSPA-controlled Brood War
scene, with Koreans and "foreigners" (Western players) competing alongside and against each other in the same teams as well as in tournaments both inside and outside Korea, although Korean players continue to firmly dominate its highest tiers.
The premier tournaments of the StarCraft II
scene are the Korean GOMTV Global StarCraft II League
(GSL) and the GOMTV Global StarCraft II Team League
(GSTL), with KeSPA's Proleague
gradually making the transition over from Brood War
to StarCraft II
and the OnGameNet StarLeague
(OSL) soon to follow as of June 2012. Major international events to watch out for include Major League Gaming
(MLG), the Intel Extreme Masters
, Iron Squid
, the IGN ProLeague
(IPL), and the North American Star League
In 2013, Blizzard instituted a new "World Championship Series" consisting of three seasons, a Global Finals and a number of non-WCS-but-still-sanctioned ancillary events (such as the ones above). The objective is to gain "WCS Points," which are earned by placing well in said tournaments; the 16 players with the most WCS points were invited to the Global Finals at Blizzcon in November. The spread was fairly wide, with the #1-ranked player, Soulkey, having almost twice as much as #16, NaNiwa (6250 vs 3200). With a few modifications, the system will be repeated in 2014.
- Prominent teams:
- SlayerS: Remember Boxer from the previous section? This was his team. Emerging with a roar to win two GSTL titles in a row, SlayerS remained a powerful threat for other GSL teams, and were the first team to exceed oGs in GSL players. Unfortunately, due to embezzlement by the team's manager, it was disbanded on November 2012. A good deal of the players went on to Axiom eSports, a team founded and sponsored by TotalBiscuit.
- Boxer (Of course! Still a competitor, though a fairly mid-tier player, and was the primary coach and talent finder. Currently on hiatus from SKT 1 due to injuries)
- MMA (Heir to the throne of Boxer, handpicked by the emperor after noticing his talent in Brood War. Now on Team Acer.)
- Eve (First female SC2 pro-gamer; now retired.)
- Alicia (Actually a male protoss player, now at Axiom)
- Ryung (now at Axiom)
- Puzzle (switched to League of Legends before returning to KT Rolster)
- Old Generations (oGs): An Exactly What It Says on the Tin team, several old StarCraft Brood War players who have switched to StarCraft II have created this team. Formerly one of the highest rankest teams in the world, with many top-ranked players who regularly land in Code-S or get into the top 16 of the GSL, and formerly the strongest Korean team in the beginning. Was one of the first major, established teams to disband.
Notable faces (Out of over 15 total members, 10 of which have gotten into the top 16 of the GSL at least once):
- NaDa (Moved to compLexity; now retired)
- Inca (GSL second place 2011; now retired)
- Fin (AKA ForGG from the Brood War days; moved to Millennium)
- MC (GSL winner, 2010 & 2011; now with Team SK Gaming)
- Zenio (Moved to Liquid)
- TheWinD (Coach; now teamless)
- Prime: Once an inconsistently performing team notable primarily for losing sponsors, slumping ace players, a shrinking roster, and struggling just to keep itself afloat, Prime has transformed itself into a ruthless murder machine and one of the greatest threats in both the GSTL and the Korean StarCraft II scene as a whole in 2012. Runs an online fashion store, with Prime's own players acting as its models.
- Gerrard (Coach, the other model besides MKP)
- AnNyeong (Team captain)
- MarineKing (Three-time GSL runner-up, two-time MLG champion, and main model; now switched to LoL)
- Maru (The youngest player in the GSL as of June 2012 at only 14 years old)
- Team SCV Life (TSL): A team splintered off of Old Generations, founded by Lee Woon-Jae, a former coach for the now-disbanded Brood War team MBCGame HERO, along with FruitDealer, TricksteR, Clide, and Happiness. A subject of a good deal of controversy surrounding the team's structuring and its coach, TSL is just as well-known for losing top-class talent as it is for cultivating it. As of 2013, it has officially disbanded.
- Polt (Team captain, winner of the GSL Super Tournament; currently an honorary American attending a Texas college and playing under a personal sponsorship)
- Symbol (now AZUBU)
- aLive (now Fnatic)
- Clide (former, first SlayerS, now coaching for KT Rolster)
- FruitDealer (Former, now a League of Legends coach for StarTale)
- JYP (Former, now EG)
- Killer, now Swagger (Also known as SangHo from Brood War. Former, first compLexity and now MVP)
- PuMa (Former, now EG)
- MVP: Not to be confused with the player Mvp, MVP is one of the more laid-back, easygoing StarCraft II teams out there. Formerly one of the weakest major teams in Korea, being held up in 2011's team leagues almost solely (if very well) by their ace player and possible deity DongRaeGu, MVP has improved over time to become one that can hold its own against the cream of the crop with a more-than-respectable roster. Currently partnered with Meet Your Makers.
- DongRaeGu, a.k.a. DRG (Captain)
- Genius (Former, teamless as of June 2012)
- New Star HoSeo (NSHoSeo/NS호서): The dark horse team of StarCraft II in Korea. NSHoSeo lacks any true stars with the exception of Jjakji, but their well-balanced lineup has allowed them to achieve a good amount of success in team leagues, if not so much in individual ones. Sponsored by the Seoul HoSeo Technical College, the team's players are appropriately characterized by their highly intelligent, reactive play styles.
- Sage (Captain)
- StarTale (ST): Headed by old Brood War legend and 3-time OSL champ Park Sung-Joon (JulyZerg), StarTale's culture of strong work ethic and discipline has allowed them to develop a formidable roster, spearheaded by nerdy Protoss monsters Squirtle and PartinG and backed by the Zerg Curious and Terran Bomber. This work ethic has paid off, as on November 18 2012, PartinG won the Blizzard-sponsored Battle.net World Championship. (He cannot retain the title this year, due to changes in how the event is scored and his inability to keep in competition.) In the meanwhile, the team is currently partnered with Quantic Gaming and has had problems with sock theft.
- July (Captain)
- PartinG (2012 world champion)
- ZeNEX: Created by a merger of the clans Zenith and NEX, ZeNEX is a team that started out strong but fell far due to money issues: a desperate lack of sponsorship until early 2012 was responsible for a gradual exodus of the team's most skilled players. A partnership with and sponsor transfer from Team Legion helped improve the situation, and ZeNEX began to show signs of life with... Life... as their own 'ace' player.
- SuHoSin (Aka Line, Captain)
- CoCa (Former, now SlayerS)
- Genius (Former, moved to MVP and then became teamless as of June 2012)
- Puzzle (Former, now SlayerS)
- TaeJa (Former, moved to SlayerS and now on Liquid)
- Incredible Miracle (LG-IM): A team formed in 2010 by a band of five ex-Brood War pros. Chiefly notorious for its powerhouse duo of NesTea and Mvp, who have won seven out of fourteen GSL titles between themselves as of June 2012, succeeding in an extremely competitive environment where many players struggle to even continue to qualify, let alone win a single championship. Currently partnered with SK Gaming.
- Mvp (Winner of 4 GSLs. Widely considered the Greatest Wings of Liberty player ever, dubbed by fans "The King of Wings"
- Nes Tea (Winner of the other 3 GSLs and the "Nestea" award for 10 consecutive seasons in Code S!)
- Fenix (A Peruvian, one of only two non-Koreans on a major Korean team)
- GanZi (Moved to SlayerS, now in compLexity)
- Team Liquid (TLAF-Liquid`): Probably the most well-known foreign team, they regularly compete in the Korean GSL tournament, with a player in every season. Partner by association of TeamLiquid.Net, the most popular StarCraft II community website. They're partnered with team oGs in their team house in Korea until oGs's disbandment. Like oGs, many of their players come from Brood War roots: Nazgul, the leader, team captain, and founder of both the team and the website, was one of the most successful foreigner players in the dawn of Brood War, once playing a televised match against Boxer in his prime. Ret and NoNy were also two of the strongest foreigners of the "3rd generation" Brood War era.
- Jinro (Two-time Code-S semifinalist, still holds the title as "historically best-performing foreigner" with those two semifinals, when no other foreigner has yet to reach it even once)
- Sheth (People still can't decide if he or WhiteRa is nicer)
- NoNy (aka Tyler, who reverted his name to his Brood War gamertag)
- Evil Geniuses: A team with a lot of players and a varied reputation, EG seem to be everywhere—players in every tournament and every event. They are a true Multi National Team, with players from seven nations and three continents on their rosters. They also have a lot of important former members: two foreign Zerg luminaries, Stephano and IdrA; Grubby—yes, the Grubby, the WarCraft 3 legend; and Nicolas "Tasteless" Plott, one of the two "official" English-language casters for Korean StarCraft. Today, they're a little overshadowed by having Jaedong—yes, the Jaedong—but that's a good foundation to start on if nothing else. They are currently based in San Francisco, where they run a team house.
- Stephano, the highest-earning foreigner in SC 2 history; now retired.
- IdrA, famed a long career of "We Have Reserves" tactics and Rage Quits; now retired.
- Grubby, currently free-lancing
- iNcontroL, also known for shout-casting
- Prominent players:
- WhiteRa. He is a bit of an anomaly in the StarCraft II scene: he's not signed with any prominent team, he's married, he was born in 1980. Known for "Special Tactics" (unconventional and sometimes downright-hilarious strategies), particularly his Warp Prism harrassment, for being an incredibly Nice Guy, and for being a Fountain of Memes, due to being Ukranian and having an imperfect command of English.
- MC. A Protoss player and the only member of the SK gaming SC 2 team, MC is one of the most successful SC 2 players ever. He has won 2 gsl titles, the 3rd most of anyone and is one of 2 protoss to ever win one. He is one of 2 players (Mvp being the other) to win more than $300,000 in prize money with $382,288 as of August 13, 2013.
- Scarlett. A Canadian Zerg player on Acer's roster, she is rising to prominence in the wake of Stephano and IdrA's retirment as the "Queen of Zerg." She is known for cautious play (typically the opposite of the Zerg style) and massive creep spread, a style that has made her not just the best foreign Zerg, but possibly the best foreign player period. There was also some kerfuffle from the scene when she admitted to being a MtF transsexual, which (for good or ill) can overshadow her career's actual merits.
- INnoVation. A Korean playing first for STX SouL and now for Acer. Though he has only been playing professionally since 2011, his recent rise has been meteoric, achieving Code S status in the GSL by the end of 2012note . He then won WCS Season 1, and throughout 2013 had the most WCS Points by a huge margin. For the most part, he was acknowledged the best player in the world.
- sOs. Another newcomer, playing for Woongjin Stars, his rise to fame was almost as meteoric as INnoVation's. Almost unknown before 2013, he began tearing it up that year, taking second place in Season 1 and continuing to tear it up throughout the year, becoming the 12th seed in the WCS Global Finals. There he made it to the top, defeating Jaedong 4:1 to clinch the 2013 championship.
- Prominent Community Members:
- Tastosis is the 'official' name for the "casting Archon" duo of Nicolas "Tasteless" Plott and Dan "Artosis" Stemkoski. Rarely seen casting without the other (hence the Archon part[note]]In-game, an "Archon" is a unit created when two High Templar undergo a Fusion Dance[[/note]]), the two are veterans from the Brood War era as both players and commentators. They serve as the golden example of a caster combo; currently, they are commentating in English for the GSL and living in Korea. Tasteless, the older brother of Day Nine, is a more private individual than Artosis, and is the play-by-play component of the team. Meanwhile, Artosis the analyst hosts "The Artosis Hour", is a pillar of the most popular StarCraft podcast State of the Game, and is the father of a baby girl.
- Husky Starcraft is a shoutcaster who does commentary at live tournaments and of user-submitted matches on his YouTube channel, which has more subscribers than any other StarCraft II-oriented channel. While he quite clearly loves StarCraft, he claims that his play is not the best (by which we mean, he's "only" in Master League, the top 2% of the region). One funny series of videos on his channel is a best-of-3 match between him and professional player Spanishiwa of Team Under Rated; Husky lost, despite piling handicaps on his opponent.
- Day Nine is a commentator and educator. In addition to casting at competitions, he runs a web-TV show, the "Day Daily, where we learn to be a better gamer," in which he evaluates current play and highlights new trends in the StarCraft II metagame. He is the younger brother of Tasteless, and played competitively during the Brood War days, including at least one match in which they played against each other; he has three "smurf" accounts which are all in the Grandmaster league.
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
The first game to overtake Starcraft 2, in terms of viewership, in Korea. League of Legends was crowned the most-played PC game in the world, beating out World of Warcraft, and the first game to get its pro players visas. There is no doubt that League of Legends is leading supremely well in the E-sports industries. The largest and most anticipated tournament every year is the end of season World Championship, where the winning team goes home with a Summoner's Cup and a million dollars.
Notable teams and its current players in their Region
- North America
- Team Solo Mid (TSM)
- Originally a fan-made team representing http://www.solomid.net created by Andy 'Reginald' Dinh and Dan Dinh, it has since evolved into one of the most popular Lo L teams in the world and one of the most dominant team in North America, to the point of securing a spot of all 3 previous World Championship series, a feat easier said than done as other accomplished older team(CLG, CJ Entus Frost, World Elite) could not achieve it.
- Top: Dyrus While originally a support for Reginald's previous team, All or Nothing, he later joined Dan Dinh's former team Epik Gamer as a top laner where he received recognition for both the moderate success of Epik Gamer and being one of the few pro Lo L player at the time to stream his games, at one point he managed to rake in around 30,000 viewers at one time, essentially popularized the idea of streaming among the Lo L community. Loved for his iconic laidback attitude with tons of funny moments in his streams.
- Jungle: The Odd One
- Mid: Bjergsen
- Marksman: Wild Turtle
- Support: Xpecial
- Coach: Reginald
- Cloud 9
- Top: Balls
- Jungle: Meteos
- Mid: Hai
- Marksman: Sneaky
- Support: Lemonnation
- Coach: Dan Dinh
- Counter Logic Gaming (CLG)
- Top: Nien
- Jungle: Trick Z (Not to be confused with the other Trick in the Lo L community)
- Mid: Link
- Marksman: Doublelift
- Support: Aphromoo
- Team Dignitas
- Top: Cruzerthebruzer
- Jungle: Crumbzz
- Mid: Scarra
- Marksman: Imaqtpie
- Support: unconfirmed
- Team Curse
- Top: Quas
- Jungle: I Will Dominate
- Mid: Voyboy
- Marksman: Cop
- Support: zekent
- Gambit Gaming
- Top: Darien
- Jungle: Diamondprox
- Mid: Alex Ich
- Marksman: Genja
- Support: Edward
- Fnatic Gaming
- Top: Soaz
- Jungle: Cyanide
- Mid: xpeke
- Marksman: Rekkles
- Support: Yellow Star
See: Fighting Game