The Devil Plays Protoss: TL Lounge

BY Andrew Miesner / July 25, 2011

The Devil Plays Protoss: TL Lounge

by Jacqueline Geller

Any opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of compLexity Gaming or its parent company.

On July 15, TeamLiquid announced that it would be hosting a Pro Player Lounge at MLG Anaheim. The concept is simple: “a special Player’s Lounge located next to the venue. Professional Starcraft 2 players will be able to relax, meet with sponsors, conduct media interviews, and communicate with their fans that are watching from all over the world.” Although I will be producing content for compLexity Gaming while I’m at the event, I am attending MLG as a SC2 fan. As much as I do like the theory behind the TL Pro Player Lounge, I have mixed feelings about it, and there is a good chance it will be either a smashing success or an epic fail.

Who is eligible to use the Pro Player Lounge? According to the TL post, pro players, team management, members of the media, notable community members and sponsors were able to apply to take advantage of the lounge. The specifics were a bit ambiguous. The post states “all pro players participating in the tournament are encouraged to apply” but does not give specifics of who is eligible. Are all players signed on a professional SC2 team eligible? Is there a minimum APM requirement for those pro players wishing to be accepted? As for non-players wanting lounge access, there are no guidelines as to who would qualify. Would someone qualify if they have a weekly SC2 podcast listened to by a handful of people each week? Do sponsors have to be supporting with a certain monetary amount to have lounge access? Although the Pro Player Lounge post encourages those wanting to apply or those wanting more information to contact TL, the post could have been more informative in regards to eligibility, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of people did not apply because the information needed was missing. Those attending the lounge who want to bring guests may also cause issues as the subject was not discussed in the TL post. Are those on the access list allowed to bring a guest? Will a pro player wishing to bring his girlfriend or wife to the lounge be told no? Will a pro player wishing to bring his friends to lounge be told no? I’m sure you can imagine what kinds of chaos and problems guests could cause.

The biggest selling feature of the TL Lounge is that it will be a great place for producing community content. The lounge will give media a place to conduct professional interviews and produce real time content for fans watching from home. Being able to have a quiet, secluded places for interviews to be conducted is a solid plan, but this seems like something that MLG itself could easily provide itself if it were a necessity. Content will be produced and uploaded from the lounge like clockwork in order to provide fresh content for the fans back home. The Pro Player Lounge will be a great tool to interact with fans and to ensure there is consistently fresh content available throughout the weekend. As someone who has watched every MLG from home, I love the idea of having new content to consume throughout the weekend. There can be considerable downtime between games, and what better way to keep the excitement up than to have new MLG-related content to absorb between streamed games?

As much as I do think that it’s a phenomenal idea to conduct player Ask Me Anything’s on Reddit’s r/starcraft and to produce content for those fans at home, what about those fans who are actually attending the event?

As much as I do think that it’s a phenomenal idea to conduct player Ask Me Anything’s on Reddit’s r/starcraft and to produce content for those fans at home, what about those fans who are actually attending the event? I am traveling a long way to attend, and the trip is expensive. Despite the relatively short travel distance, flights from my city to LA have a decent price tag attached to them. Add the costs for hotel, shuttles, food and various other travel-related expenses, it is costing me nearly a thousand dollars to attend the event. As a SC2 fan, I will be heartbroken player interaction with fans. I love the fact that I’ve heard players hang out at MLG with fans, signing autographs and chatting. Will players continue to spend time on the convention floor if they have this exclusive lounge to spend their time in? I can imagine it being quite exhausting posing for picture after picture and signing dozens of autographs, and if players want to avoid fans, the TL Pro Lounge gives them the perfect hide out spot.

When I was on the executive of my university’s ski club back in the day, there was a real issue with exclusivity. The executive, along with its best friends and alumni, kept a close group that was often closed to outsiders. Every New Year’s, the club took 350 members on an epic trip, and the clique was always an issue. On my last year on the club, we even hosted two parties for New Year’s Eve: one for everyone and one for the exclusive clique. The locations were two doors down from one another, and the executive could make appearances at the general party but hide out together at the executive party. The TL lounge reminds me much of that. I have heard about the evening invite only parties at eSports events, but invite hanging out areas? It suddenly turns MLG into a rockstar-esque event with the passes only backstage area where a select few can meet the band. Will TL gift lucky and unsuspecting SC2 fans passes so they can go back stage, take pictures with their favorite players and have epic stories to share with their friends? Will the lounge help to foster an exclusive clique of elite players that few have the privilege of joining?

The NASL had a Pro Lounge at their Grand Finals which gave the pros an opportunity to hang out without hassle if needed, but they were encouraged to spend time on the convention floor, interacting with fans as often as possible. From what I heard, the pros loved the lounge and it worked out well for everyone. I can’t figure out why MLG wouldn’t host a similar lounge if it was seemed as necessary. Of course there’s additional planning, budget, logistics, things to worry about, etc. if MLG hosts a Pro Lounge of its own, but it seems a bit odd that TL would take the initiative to host this lounge itself.

Blizzcon 2010

I attended the TL party at BlizzCon 2010, which was totally different concept all together but a total blast. From my past experience, TL knows how to throw a party, and I have no doubts this lounge can be everything they’d like it to be if executed properly. To be honest, I’m actually quite surprised at the lack of response from the community regarding the Pro Player Lounge. Although the TL post has been updated with new information since its post date, the thread has a mere ten pages of replies, and I haven’t heard much about it at all. I would have assumed that TL would have tweeted about it more or given it a bit more attention over the past ten days. I have not seem much hype about it whatsoever which is a bit surprising.

I am curious to see the content produced by the TL Pro Player Lounge throughout the MLG weekend. This may be an incredible opportunity to produce some of the best interviews and interactive content we’ve seen from a SC2 event yet. As a fan attending MLG, I’d like the players to spend time on the convention center floor and am worried about players using the lounge to avoid in person community interaction. As much as the lounge does seem like a good concept, the execution and the results may be lacklustre. I am truly looking forward to seeing how the TL Pro Lounge pans out, what it will bring to the community and what it will encourage from future events.

TeamLiquid: GL HF.


About the Author – Jacqueline Geller

After years of playing World of Warcraft, a friend introduced Jacqueline to Starcraft early last year. Jacqueline’s relationship with Starcraft started out slowly: a handful of casual dates, a little bit of flirting but nothing serious. She took her relationship with the game to the next level after BlizzCon 2010 where she experienced eSports magic first-hand and realized that Starcraft was the one. Despite being a mediocre player, she has been clambering the ladder at a glacial pace and has spent more time watching Starcraft online than she’d like to admit. In March, Jacqueline made the leap from eSports fan to eSports professional when she was hired by the Handsome Nerd as their Art Director, combining her design skills with her love of Starcraft. Since its start in April, Jacqueline has been a contributing writer for the North American Star League, writing coverage for Division 1. Offline, Jacqueline is a bookworm, a runner, a freeride snowboarder and has a Human Ecology degree with a Clothing and Textiles major.

View Jacqueline’s profile here.
Visit @jacquelinesg on Twitter