Hello Alter Reality Gamers! Your friendly neighborhood Head of Coverage staff is back to bring you a wrap up for the recent ARGCS Columbus event! This was the second ARG Circuit Series event that we have ever had and I don't think it could have gone much smoother. As with anything there were of course some slops to go along with the props, and I will get into those later, but for right now let's talk shop about how the event itself was!
The main event itself actually had a slightly smaller turnout than Fort Worth did, coming in at 306 players. This isn't necessarily a bad thing! In Fort Worth an official Regional Qualifier usually attracts 400-500 players and we fell short of that mark, but Ohio normally attracts between 200-350 players. This means we nailed attendance down hard! Ohio is much more secluded from many of the major population centers of this game (Texas, New York and California) and thus we expected a slightly smaller turnout than Fort Worth had. Looking forward to Boston/Worcester though, I sense that we will have a fantastic turnout and have an absolutely intense event! One should also factor in that Pokemon X/Y came out literally the same day of this event, which most likely kept many players (and several of our staff) busy over the weekend.
Day 1 of the Tournament had 9 rounds of Swiss followed by a cut to Top 16 that played out on Day 2. For each round our coverage team was able to bring you 2 written Feature Matches guaranteed. We were much more consistent on video this time as well! Having a complete 5 rounds of useable video Feature Matches WITH after match interviews with the players currently on our YouTube Channel. Our video coverage sadly petered out towards the end of day 1 again due to some communication issues as well as exhaustion, but the videos we captured were much more consistent than the ones in Fort Worth! Our written matches had a few complaints when one of our writers began to abbreviate a long chain of plays as "dougieing", to which I had no personal problem with until I noticed the frequency of its use. Despite our intense desire to support all forms of the dougie, I personally sat down with the writer and we got that behind us. Going forward we shouldn't have any more uses of intense abbreviation like that so we can bring you the top notch coverage you deserve! Regardless of any issues we had over the weekend I will stand by all the coverage my team put out this weekend, dougieing and all.
Day 2 we had a Video feature match for each and every round (except for 3rd/4th Playoff and the Finals, which I will discuss momentarily) as well as 2 written matches. Most importantly though we had the LiveStream working for the Top 16 matches! Jeff Jones and myself made commentary on the matches played throughout the day on our ARGLive Twitch.tv channel and it was quite easily the highlight of my weekend. This was a huge step forward for our events and something we very much enjoyed setting up. With the huge props from getting the LiveStream to work we took a few slops as well though. There was no life point counter during the entire stream and we didn't have a round timer up until the second half of the day. The audio was also a bit noisy and we had some major lag issues during the finals which was intensely detrimental to most of our viewers experience. We are working to resolve the lag issue for Worcester and are also developing our own graphics to use as Lifepoint counters and timers during the event. Thank you all for being patient with us as we work out these technical difficulties on our end.
As for the event itself, Sean McCabe took first place with Constellars! With an event filled by Dragons and a Top 16 literally dominated by them, having Constellars and Evilswarm be the two decks duking it out in the finals was absolutely amazing! My heartiest congratulations to both Sean McCabe and Eaton Guo! And of course, congratulations to all of our Top 16 players as well.
Before I dive into the full on Props/Slops section of the article let's talk about how the community at the event was. Everyone seemed pretty at ease during the event and people seemed to be having fun in the game! There was an intense amount of salt at times, but that just comes with the territory of a competitive game. One of the absolute coolest things I saw over the weekend were the players that offered to take out Return from the Different Dimension in games 2 and 3 if their opponents did the same! Not only did this save a player from being sacked, but it saved their opponent from being sacked as well. Making the offer was an intense sign of respect for one's opponent, and actually accepting the offer (even after losing the first game) was an even bigger sign of respect. There of course were many who denied the option, but those who did rise to the challenge gained mad props from me over the weekend. It is players like them who strive to make the game better and more enjoyable.
With that out of the way, let's talk about my favorite part of the article. What we did right, what we did wrong and, most importantly, what we WILL do better. If I have discussed one of the following topics in the article above me then I won't elaborate on it unless it is necessary because it isn't any fun to read the same thing over and over again!
Strong and Consistent Coverage
Smoothly Run Event
What I Fell We Did Wrong
Video at the end of Day 1
LiveStream Issues (Lifepoint counter, Timer, Lag, Mic, etc.)
Not enough Community Centered Articles/Videos
This is one I hadn't talked about in this article yet. While we definitely had more coverage of this type than we did in Fort Worth, I still feel that we can improve on it even more! I would like to start a Featured Player segment of coverage in which we follow 10-15 players through the event as well as our awesome ARG Sponsored Players and track their progress and how they are doing. This way we give you all even more players to follow and you can track the progress of your favorite players/decks throughout the events!
Expectations for Video set too high
One of the most frustrating things about Fort Worth and Columbus for the Press Staff has been our inability to bring you guys video at a reasonable speed. Moving forward we will be focusing less on uploading these videos as quickly as possible and thus will have more time to dedicate to editing and creating quality coverage. We are experimenting with uploading these videos throughout the week to give you all the best coverage we can. This will of course be in addition to the LiveStream coverage and the Written coverage we will have available throughout the event. We will be experimenting with the best delivery medium for this form of coverage going forward.
Quality of LiveStream
While a lot of this issue is based upon the internet connection that we have at the convention center, there were a lot of minor improvements we definitely can make. In Worcester we will do our absolute best to have a Timer, Lifepoint Counter and several customer graphics to use between rounds and during interviews and such.
Release TimeTable for Video Coverage
As I mentioned above we will be working on finding the optimal way of releasing the video coverage we take in at the event (separate from the LiveStream) and we will get those videos to you guys as soon as we can.
Example Time Table:
Monday: Round 1 and 2
Tuesday: Round 3 and 4
Wednesday: Round 5 and 6
Thursday: Round 7 and 8
Friday: Round 9
Saturday: Top 16 and Top 8
Sunday: Top 4, 3/4th Playoff and Finals
Example Coverage for Each Day:
Best of 3 Matches for each round (edited and with Lifepoints)
Player Interviews with Winner and Loser (if willing)
Deck Profile of Players (If interesting enough, there are only so many ways to build Dragon Rulers)
Community focused Articles and Videos
As I mentioned, we will be doing even better in our focus on the Community of our game by having Featured Players throughout the weekend and following them throughout our events.
LiveStream beginning on Day 1!
You heard it hear first guys! We will be doing our absolute best to begin the LiveStream of ARGCS Worcester as early as we can on Day 1. We would like to get it up and running before the event even starts and have some pre-game content for you guys. For this upcoming event I will be working with Joe Giorlando, Mike Harris (TheKeeko25x) and possibly one other mystery party (once I know for sure I will let you all know!) to bring you Live commentary as it is happening.
Live Player Interviews/Deck Profiles
This goes along with the previous point, but I felt it needed a specific mention! We will be trying to do live Interviews and Profiles so you guys won't be nearly as bored between rounds!
Well there you have it guys! ARGCS Columbus is now officially in the books and is just another stepping stone along the path of the Alter Reality Games Circuit Series. Where it is today is not the same place it will be a month, or even a year from now. Thank you all for making this journey with us and for your continued support. It wouldn't be the same without our players!
Remember to always of course, Play Hard or go Home!