The Red Bull LAN in Santa Monica is now in the middle of its third and final day of streaming, and by all accounts it’s been yet another huge success for the gamers involved, as well as for viewers checking out the live competition action.
Having high-level players in the same room with top-of-the-line resources has proven to be an indispensable benefit for the Halo: Reach teams who have taken part in previous Red Bull LAN events, and for this latest LAN, the roster was expanded to include 12 StarCraft II players from around the world.
When it comes to the world of StarCraft II, few have a grasp on the gameplay and the community like Sean “Day” Plott (pictured above), commentator of worldwide events and host of his own web show, Day Daily. An integral part of the Red Bull LAN in Santa Monica, Day hand-selected the invited StarCraft players and is providing in-depth commentary for the live stream. We spoke with him before the broadcast on Sunday evening to get his thoughts on the weekend.
Red Bull USA: What drew you to the project and what were you excited about coming into the start of the event?
Day: What really excited me about the Red Bull LAN is the fact that even though I’m a commentator, my history in StarCraft is as a player, and my web show, the Day Daily, is about being a better gamer -- it’s about the learning, the study and the improvement as the primary goal. For me, this isn’t just analyzing a couple of replays and trying to help the viewer learn, this is a chance for all these players to work together and improve together in the same environment that I’ve been wanting for years myself as a player.
To be able to be a part of it and help the players organize their practice schedule and pair them off and literally watch them get better is an incredible treat.
Red Bull USA: Were the StarCraft players excited coming into this?
Day: A lot of the players were really excited coming into it, and I can’t emphasize enough how blown away all of them have been since arriving here. All the players are really pumped about the fact that there has been no fanfare, no distractions -- just focusing on the gameplay for once. Most importantly, there are just so many good players here to train with in a closed environment, so everyone’s really pumped for the opportunity.
Red Bull USA: How have the players utilized the resources available at Red Bull LAN?
Day: There’s been a combination of the players’ motivations and also some imposed scheduling going on. For instance, we’ll say we want to have a Protoss vs. Zerg and a Terran vs. Terran session. They’ll play for a while, and then we can swap to Terran vs. Zerg and Protoss vs. Protoss, so all the players get a chance to not only play the three match-ups, but also get to intermingle with everyone at the LAN. There are also so many major tournaments coming up, so all the StarCraft players are extremely responsible about self-motivating and self-directing their practice.
Red Bull USA: Do you think this LAN will have an impact on the StarCraft community in the future?
Day: I think there is a huge need and a huge want for exactly these kinds of events. The StarCraft II community is so international -- incredible players are spread out all over the place. If you’re having problems you have to be able to seek out the right people to give you feedback, and that can be an issue for some players who just want to play.
At something like this, the player you need to interact with is right next to you, so you get the chance to really train and flush things out. I know this is a fantasy for a lot of players, to get a pro training clinic on this level.
Red Bull USA: How did you pick the players?
Day: Skill was obviously one of the factors, but not necessarily the biggest. We don’t want to just grab a bunch of the best players in the world and have them play because that’s basically what the tournaments are doing right now. It’s more about what the players can gain from the LAN and what they can contribute to the LAN.
We wanted to get players from different regions and players who employ different styles. You have someone like QXC who is a very unorthodox, very aggressive Terran, then you have someone like KawaiiRice who is a little more standard -- he does have some aggression, but plays more of a by-the-book style. So if I’m a Zerg, I can now practice against these two different kinds of styles.
Also, I picked depending on what tournaments they have coming up and what their personalities are. Pokebunny is a young, up-and-coming player who can take games off good players and has in major tournaments, but hasn’t really had that good training environment which will really continue to step his game up.
The goal was to get a big shotgun-blast of variety in there, and I’m just delighted to see it working out so incredibly well. Players are actively trading off with one another -- there’s been tons of interaction with everybody.
Red Bull USA: What’s your favorite thing about gaming?
Day: My favorite part about being involved in gaming is the community members themselves -- not just the big players and organizers and tournament directors, but the individuals who are just fans of gaming. They’re all extremely nice, really smart and funny and are just an absolute pleasure to be around. They’re passionate about eSports, and they understand that the only way it’s going to work is if there’s a lot of positive support.
Red Bull USA: Any closing thoughts?
Day: Keep supporting gaming. All you have to do is grab a couple of friends, show them StarCraft and get them to love it too, and then we’ll have an epidemic on our hands that will end up in households all over the world, which is what I’ve always wanted.
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