A few days ago I got invited to the Overwatch MGA 2016 Championships that was being held in London. The following is my recount of the two days.
One of the first things I got to do was play around with some of MSI’s new laptops, and also have a look at LG’s new 38 inch curved screen.
The first laptop was the GT83VR Gaming Laptop.
This 18.3″ laptop has an i7-6820HK quad-core processor, a dual-SLI GTX 1070 with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM and 32GB of DDR4 RAM. There are also dual 128 GB SSD’s in RAID 0, and a boring old 1 Terabyte HDD.
It also has a red LED mechanical keyboard built into it as well as a touch pad crossed with a numpad. The keys pressing felt laggy, although the actual movement of the keys were decent. The laptop screen was very nice, sporting 60 fps and looking very sharp with no noticeable lag. Also on display with the GT83VR was LG’s new 38 inch 21:9 curved display. While this display looked beautiful the image displayed was slightly stretched and blurry. This may be because the laptop was also rendering a 16:9 image on the laptop screen.
The GT83VR is a very powerful laptop that is also VR ready. LG’s new screen has a lot of pixels behind it and hopefully will be better when connected to a desktop and is not rendering two different aspect ratios.
The second laptop I played around with was the GE62VR gaming laptop.
This was a much more lightweight laptop than the very heavy and bulky GT83VR, and at 15.6″ it cuts an impressive figure, as well as the ability to run 2 external 4k monitors if you wish to use it more as a desktop.
It has a i7-6700HQ quad-core running it as well as 16GB DDR4 RAM. There is also a GTX1060 with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM to run its displays. For storage you have a 256GB SSD and another 1TB HDD. To fit with its slim design, there is a full RGB membrane keyboard.
While I do not know the specifications of the panel linked up to the GE62VR it was a large flat screen and was very nice. One thing I noticed is that after around half an hour of constant use, the keyboard felt very warm to the touch, so much so that I was holding my fingers above the keys instead of resting them upon the keys.
ACTUAL PLANNING OF EVENT
The actual setup of the event, with GFINITY having more than 7 years experience saw an arena set up as a converted cinema screen, with the stage just below the cinema screen. It was a very atmospheric event, with extended versions of map music playing, and at one point a string quartet playing an orchestral rendition of the Overwatch theme. I found this very much enjoyable.
Now onto the event proper. At 15:00 on the first day, nothing happened. Half an hour later one of the commentators came up on the stage and said that technical issues were happening and that they were hoping it would be fixed soon.
An hour later they came up on stage again stating that they were still having technical issues, that they were delaying the start of the competition by another hour and a half and that if we stuck around they were going to give something out as a way of saying sorry.
They gave us an MSI keychain.
Throughout this MSI staff were replacing the laptops with other models, and running tests on them. Eventually they cancelled the day and said that everything was going to happen tomorrow.
Right, so the next day arrives, and I get in, grab a seat right in front of the stage and in prime position. The commentators come up to start introductions, the two teams playing for this match (Ninjas in Pyjamas vs. Rise Nation) got to their seats and prepared. The first map was Kings Row; rather appropriate actually, the event being held in London.
NiP was on the attack first, very quickly taking the control point. Rise nation had a few counter attacks, but NiP managed to get to second point with 4 minutes to spare. 4 minutes to push the cart from second to last, and NiP being the ones pushing. Seems like child’s play for a team as powerful as NiP. Rise nation mounted a valiant defence but NiP very quickly pushed it to the final straight. This is where Rise Nation truly mounted a good play, switching to a 4 tank team. NiP was not able to play against this, and was very slow to counter-pick. Ultimately Rise had a quicker walk to the point and had a better team comp, and were ultimately able to hold off NiP and ran out the timer at 4 meters to the final point.
So, second round, Rise Nation needs to push through NiP to get the cart to the final point to win the first map. Rise came out of their spawn with a good offensive, but NiP managed to hold the control point for several minutes with a very strong defence. Nevertheless Rise managed to get the drop and had a pretty uneventful push to second, with all NiP attacks easily brushed off, with a much anticipated McCree ult sadly wasted by a Reinheart shield. Rise managed to push past the NiP front line at second, but a solitary reinhardt managed to distract the entirety of Rise nation, allowing the rest of NiP to respawn and continue fighting. Nevertheless Rise Nation pushed forward and managed to win the round whilst NiP was respawning.
After the end of the game the commentators said that there was a slight technical issue and that they would have a short break. And that was the last we heard of them for the day. An hour later the stream message changed from technical problems to ‘external internet issues’. I was sitting near the front so was able to talk to various MSI staff and players for the next few hours. The issues appeared to be that Blizzard had blocked the IP addressees of the players as spam, and so could not play. 2 Hours later there were reports that they had managed to get the IP’s unblocked, and now they were waiting for a phone call from Blizzard to ensure this would not happen again.
When there is an official event with Blizzard as one of the major players, especially one when Overwatch is played competitively you would expect a Blizzard engineer there or at the very least a hotline to a Blizzard team to fix any problems. One of the rise players informed me that they were playing quick play games, and everything was fine, but they were not allowed to start the stream up again until they got the go-ahead from Blizzard. Remember that they originally had to fit two days worth of games in 1 day, and so should be trying to get as many games in as possible to at least finish the event for the players and find some form of champion.
Nope, MSI and Gfinity eventually called the competition closed, refunded tickets to attendees and stated that the event would be rescheduled sometime in 2017. Various MSI employees could be heard mumbling that some people were getting fired over this, so someone appears to have badly screwed up.
In closing, the event was a well-organised but terribly-executed one, and I hope to see better planned Overwatch events in the future.
Note: Gfinity issued the following statement regarding the event shortly after cancelling the second day.
“As a venue and broadcast partner to host the Overwatch MGA 2016 Championship, it is with regret that we have to inform you that the event has been postponed and rescheduled. This comes after two days of technical issues that were out of our control and which are unprecedented.
All parties involved share the disappointment of fans, the Overwatch community, the teams, players and sponsors. Everyone who purchased tickets to the event has received a full refund. To ensure the integrity of and commitment to the tournament, the Grand Finals will be rescheduled to a future date in 2017.”