We spent the weekend at the Electronics & Gaming Expo (EGE) watching some of South Africa’s top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams battle it out for a place at the Electronic Sports World Convention (ESWC) in Paris, previously better named the Electronic Sports World Cup. Spoiler alert, we had a great time and were blown away by the quality of gaming on show.
As we’ve mentioned before, the whole shebang was organised and run by Orena. The majority of the event was held in the continuously buzzing EGE main hall and exposed a lot of non-gamers to the local eSports scene. A few times throughout the weekend, while watching or filming the CS:GO, we were asked, “Who is trying to shoot who?” and, “Are they playing against each other?” They would then snap a quick picture of this crazy new thing they’d just seen and wonder off, hopefully to tell their friends.
For the semi-finals and finals the Orena guys set themselves the daunting task of trying to fill up a 600-seater auditorium. They didn’t quite do it. But even at half capacity the clapping, cheering, and disbelieving swear words constantly falling out of people’s mouths were more than enough to fill the room. It was by far the most people we’ve seen sitting in one place in South Africa watching eSports, so it’s definitely something to be proud of and build on for next year.
We’re underselling it. Hearing the crowd roar when a good play was made was absolutely insane. We could only smile to ourselves as we recorded the audio for the video we’re working on.
We briefly caught up with Luca Tucconi, CEO of Orena (which we’re sure you all know by now), to find out how happy he was with the weekend’s eSportsing.
“On a scale of 1-10, I’m at around 7. I’ll title it as ‘Very Happy’.
All in all I thought the event went well. Our main goal was to progress from our usual casual broadcasting set-up to a more professional one, specifically for Sunday’s final three matches. We wanted to produce the best possible production with the knowledge we had, as well as learn as much as we could for future productions.”
We were fortunate enough to get a behind the scenes look at what it takes to make something like this happen and feel some serious shouting out is in order, starting with Luca. That man worked his ass off this weekend. He was the tournament organiser, tournament admin, player liaison, usher, set designer, impromptu-tech-guy, merchandise-thrower, prize-winner-spotter and PA. That’s personal assistant Dota fans, not Phantom Assassin. Although had someone said to Luca, “This entire tournament is going to fall apart unless we get a Phantom Assassin cosplay”, we’re pretty sure he would have whipped out a black wig, put on some tights and a green corset and done his best Phantom Assassin impression.
The weekend didn’t go off without a hitch, Luca would be the first to admit that. A few tech issues on each day caused delays to the schedule, which was frustrating for players and viewers alike.
“We had issues on starting day regarding software and players losing FPS, as well as some frame dropping on the broadcasting PC. Once we figured out the issue it was easy to mitigate the problem, but it caused us a massive time delay with matches ending at 1:00AM on Saturday morning.
We also had some bad issues with the sound on stream in the first hour or so on Sunday as we struggled to balance the two feeds. Our live audio in the auditorium was perfect but on our Twitch channel you could barely hear the casters. We will be looking to add a couple more hours onto our pre-prep to make sure we get to properly test sound when live.
Once all the initial problems were solved the rest of the day ran pretty awesomely. One of the best feelings of the weekend had to be walking out the auditorium after sorting out some issues and hearing the crowd roar after a mad play during the DC vs Carbon match-up, which was by far one of the highlights of the weekend next to the Grand Final.”
At the end of the day the delays and tech issues didn’t ruin the event, all they did was make us wait a little bit longer to watch some, quite frankly, insane CS:GO.
On that note we should give our second shout out to all the teams that competed over the weekend, particularly to the two finalists, Bravado Gaming and CarboN eSports. They put on a really good show for a pretty tired crowd.
Bravado were the eventual winners, but CarboN put up a hell of a fight. At 14 – 4 up in the second game, Bravado needed to win just 2 rounds and they could start packing their bags for Paris. It would be a bit early considering they’re only leaving in two months’ time, but they could is all we’re saying.
Even if you know nothing about CS:GO, you know that 14 – 4 down sounds bad. Andreas ‘cent’ Hadjipascali, manager of Bravado Gaming, was in the front row wrapped in his Bravado flag, ready to celebrate. But CarboN would not give in and fought back from 14 – 4 down to take Bravado into overtime and eventually win the map. With the game tied at 1 – 1, and CarboN having just played some of the best rounds of their lives, it could have gone either way.
Earlier in the day we’d seen CarboN run riot over Damage Control on the final map, train, but Bravado showed us all why they’re the masters of South African CS:GO having all the answers to CarboN’s infamous aggression.
We realise we’re in positivity city over here and there’s a bit of an Oprah situation going on with everyone getting a shout out. But we love local eSports, so we’re rolling with it.
Another shout out needs to go to the casters and panelists from the weekend. We often compare our production value to that of the international scene. And we often fall short. But not when it comes to casting. Our casters are insightful, articulate and they’ve got jokes. We love jokes.
These guys work hard all year round to bring some professionalism to the local eSports scene and they don’t get the recognition they deserve. It’s a tough job casting week after week when only 50 people are watching you. It’s disheartening, but they do it anyway. Hopefully the crowds at the ESWC qualifiers gave them enough of an ego boost to keep them working until the next LAN.
If not, maybe we can do it. We love you casters! You’re so smart and funny! And good looking! Definitely keep doing what you’re doing and don’t give up! That was a joke, but we do really mean it. You can tell because we used four exclamation marks in one paragraph, and we’re not big fans of the exclamation mark.
“From the usual two-man team of myself and Kyle “Congo” Wolmarans handling the stream and casting simultaneously, we had a team of 11 handling all video and audio aspects on Sundays Semi’s and Grand Final. This allowed me to focus on the logistics while the commentary and production team produced the awesome Sunday show, including some new features such as live player cams and roving cameras. Possibly an SA first? Cheeky plug.”
And then a final shout out to Kyle ‘Congo’ Wolmarans and Courtney ‘Honey’ Timpson for their outstanding work casting the final. To use one of our favourite phrases, they took us on an emotional roller coaster throughout the games and, even after the unfortunate technical delay when everyone was tired and just wanted to get home, they managed to re-inject some energy into the game and make sure the event ended on a high.
Okay we lied, there’s one more bonus shout out to Honey for his nickname. Making Congo sound like a doting boyfriend by continuously calling his co-caster honey brought many a smile to our faces.
We’ve got some final words of thanks from Luca and a little bit of sponsor name dropping. Take note sponsors, support Orena and they’ll do everything they can to get your name out there. And we’re more than happy to oblige in such behaviour, so you keep supporting the local eSports scene.
“I just want to drop a huge thanks to the new commentary, admin and production team we put together. We had a few gentleman who have never witnessed an eSports production put together what was an almost flawless show on the Sunday.
As well to our amazing sponsors at EGE, ASUS and CSGO Lounge for continuously backing us and providing the extra key touches that made the event as awesome as it was!”
We’ll end off by wishing Bravado good luck in Paris, do South African eSports proud, and we’d also like to do some shameless self-promotion by telling you to watch out for the video we’re putting together for Orena of the past weekend. It’ll be out soon.
Our self-promotion clearly needs work. We’ll get on that.