And this was the same way I felt about pro gamers when they tell the community that they can continue because of our support, that our cheers somehow make it so they can continue fighting despite adversity. Despite very genuine examples like Axiom’s Crank being brought back from the brink of retirement by the incredible StarCraft community, I just didn’t believe that we, as fans, could mean that much to the players. I didn’t believe, until I attended the WCS Season 3 Finals live in Toronto, Ontario.
This is the true reason everyone should attend a live StarCraft event, especially one produced by the NASL family. Not because of some plea to save eSports and support our game, but because after one event, you will be encouraged to support it; doing anything else would seem indecent. So what turned my stoic cynicism into heartfelt belief? In a simple word: Love. Specifically, the love that was put into the event by NASL. It was shown in the bromance of Bitterdam and Day9 and Gretorp. It was evident when, right after the weekend ended, the first thing the entire crew did was hug each other, as if it was the best time they had ever had. It was demonstrated every time Day9 left the stage and was swarmed by fans waiting for a chance to talk to him and have him deface their belongings, and despite long hours of casting, he would always address the crowd. I can’t adequately describe to you how amazing it was to see iNcontrol bearhug Rotterdam when he first arrived on stage to do his spot, or how great it is to hear Mr. Bitter in the public bathroom even though the crew has their own private ones. And most of all, I can’t describe how much more genuine it feels when someone like Dear tells us that our cheers and our support really do keep their will strong.
Before the event began, Clutch told a story of how he was made to believe. He had been friendly with MMA through numerous events, and before one of the finals, Clutch was asked on camera as to his predictions for the finals. MMA was a huge underdog compared to his opponent, and almost everyone picked MMA to lose. But Clutch picked MMA, and he went on to win. At the next event, MMA went up to Clutch and was ecstatic about how Clutch had picked him and how he believed in the Son of Boxer all along. Somehow, this story was all the more touching to hear live, even though it was just a filler to keep the crowd entertained before the real show started. These are the moments that you can’t get with any Twitch subscription or gold membership.
But my most favourite moment of the weekend didn’t even have anything to do with the StarCraft games (and don’t get me wrong, Dear vs. Maru was perhaps the best series of the year), but the fans.
There was a lot of love in the crowd, too. Strangers struck up conversations with me, and I even exchanged contact information with a couple of people. But my most favourite moment of the weekend didn’t even have anything to do with the StarCraft games (and don’t get me wrong, Dear vs. Maru was perhaps the best series of the year), but the fans. It was at the start of one of the games in the finals, and the crowd chanted “Let’s go De-ar!”. This was quite normal, as several of these chants had gone up in previous games. Then came Soulkey’s turn: “Let’s go Soulkey!” It’s fun to chant. But then, randomly: “Let’s go Day9!” The crowd took up this chant with such fervor that it outlasted all the previous ones. The lights came on at the casting desk just to highlight
Day9′s theatrically shy reaction as he said meekly, “I’ll see what I can do.” And then, because he really was doing a good job all weekend as well and this friendly crowd couldn’t leave him out, a chant started for Gretorp as well. The plot of the event was suddenly clear to me: This was a love affair between the fans and the NASL. The WCS Season 3 Finals were nothing more but a love letter to the StarCraft community – from the involvement of Scarlett throughout the weekend to Temp0′s energetic performance, it was just NASL showing their fans how much they love and value them.
Passion is a word that is often thrown around. The real meaning of that word is filtered through a screen that adds so much distance to the personalities and players that we watch. But the WCS Season 3 Finals showed me that it’s all real. Our cheers are the fuel that keeps players going. Our support is what keeps the casters casting. And our love is what will keep us coming back.