#Challenge on ETG.
#Challenge on Quakenet.
Wednesday, 16 January 2002 -
As usual, the Challenge Smackdown season was filled with some positive and some not-so-positive results. Due to some 'real life' issues, I spent a lot less time following all proceedings, so the overview won't be very detailed, I'm afraid. On the bright side, that should keep this post pretty short (what is one without hope?).
Its important to realise that the third season got started in a hurry. In Australia for example, there was less then a month between the final of season 2 and the first games of season 3. While, together with the quick and massive registrations in NEU, it shows that teams were more eager then ever to participate, we were not able to really review the problems of season 2 and, e.g., didn't go through the rules to look for problems as thoroughly as we did before. This lead to a bit of trouble in the North European division with one team (Denial) not getting the ranking they expected and contributed to the fuss surounding the semi-final, but I've posted my thoughts on the latter before.
The rush into season 3 was caused by the possibility of having a LAN final in Europe. Apollyon got in touch with Griff of CPL-Europe (aka Griff of SK, brother of Kane) and discussed having the finals on a LAN in Paris. Unfortunately, as we know now, the Paris event got cancelled a few weeks after all practical issues were agreed upon. If anything, it shows LAN finals aren't all that far fetched (within Europe at least). We would still have to find a means to pay for travel of course, but then again, the QHLan showed QW players are mad enough to travel large distances on their own. I still think a few people seperate from the league admins would be needed to help out with finding sponsors though; Apo put in loads of time.
Our backoffice is now working pretty well. While the design of the website stayed identical (logo and all) to that of season 2, I still think its functional. Some more overviews of matches to come or a clearer way of presenting the ranking, especially in play-offs would be welcome, but aren't entierly essential (i.e. are low priority). The main problem was another move of the Challenge Network, putting us out of bussiness for a week or two and causing trouble with demo uploads. While we are getting the hang of it by now, I do hope this was the last move for a long time to come.
Coverage on the sites was pretty good; at least comparable to previous seasons. I've seen quite a few previews and predictions scattered among the news and columns of all divisions. Where we miserably failed was in getting the news out to other websites. While the numbers don't really matter, it's pretty impressive to be on a Qizmo watching a game live together with a few hundred others. To the players too, I believe it gives a nice form of recognition. I think we are to shy and should mail more announcements of our upcomming events around. In the second season we actually appointed a 'PR' person in each division, but even during that season, most of them apparently lost interest after sending out the announcement of the registrations. Somehow I think there must be a few people around who get a kick out of seeing their prose splattered across the major 'e-sports' sites on a weekly basis. We just haven't managed to find them yet.
To me, the most shocking event probably was the end of the South European division. The main reason for the demise of this division was the lack of admins and/or their unreliable connections. Apparently people can be forced ofline for weeks on end without any notice; reminiscent of situations we had here (more northerly) five years or longer ago.
While I wouldn't be any happier if any of the other divisions had collapsed instead (technically Brazil never got beyond season 2), I am especially disapointed that the SEU division was the victim.
The CD we released with the Season 2 results and demos (and more) was a moderate succes. I think by now we actually sold some 20 pieces. While it was an interesting and fun experience to coordinate the efforts to get it done quickly (between Hoony and me), it took way too much time to produce. With the hosting of the Challenge Network now more secure, the need isn't as big anymore and I won't be releasing a CD for season 3. Incidentally, the money we gathered was well spent on a new harddisk for the server. Hoony and Dethkultur are still paying quite a few things out of their own pockets (e.g. our domain), so orders or contributions remain welcome.
That about sums up my thoughts on the last season of Challenge Smackdown at this moment (I'm sure I'll think of something else to add in 2 hours and again tomorrow and the day after). There is no decission about the future of the league, and there won't be for at least another month. In the meanwhile, I'll do some maintenance of the site (e.g. adding the archives) and improve our backoffice in a few areas. I'ld really like to get that 'Smackdown Client' project going again, and quite possibly I'll finally give that a decent try. This other online-gaming related thing I was talking about in my previous update will just have to wait. I'll probably end up just spelling out the idea and hope somebody else runs with it, although that hasn't worked for the client either.