INSOMNIA (i-Series) events are the biggest LAN gaming competitions in this part of the world and the next one kicks-off on Friday 12th November, at Newbury Racecourse, for 4 days. KitGuru will be there to investigate.
Slowly, but surely, LAN gaming continues to grow. Everyone starts playing against the computer. Bots. But if you’re any good at all, then you will start to wonder what the ‘Battlenet’ button does.
It’s a moment of divine revelation when you realise that you’re not the only person in the world who’s sitting in the dark as a fledgling Terran, blasting away at the giant metallic structure housing the Dominion base.
Once you have mastered your mates locally, it’s time to branch out and start kicking arse on the other side of the planet (or having yours kicked by an un-naturally gifted 12 year old StarCraft 2 player in South Korea!). So what do you do next, what’s the next stage in your development as a gamer? Looking into the eyes of your enemy when you squeeze the trigger. And where can you get this awesome rush of adrenaline?
Live LAN events!
For the UK, that means Multiplay, that means the i-Series and, this weekend coming, it means i41. If you’re not sure how popular this kind of event is, try putting i41 into Google and checking the 5 million hits you get.
As KitGuru types, a hundred experts are trailing networking cable, installing $50,000 servers and setting up command bases all throughout the labarynth that is Newbury Racetrack. At the same time, key sponsors like Thermaltake, Demon, Rustlers and Tt eSports (who also sponsor WCG by the way).
Despite the massive reach of Multiplay, the longevity of the i-Series events and the thousands of hardcore gamers who brave the elements to set up camp for 5 days in Newbury, these tournaments at family run events. The Fletcher family is about as warm and welcoming as you can get. After seeing her own brood grow at home, ‘Ma Fletcher’ has now seen generations of geeky gamers turn from nervous novices into fully seasoned combatants and she knows many of the regulars by name.
If you’re at all serious about gaming, then it’s worth a trip down to Multiplay’s i41 event this weekend. Even if you don’t enter this time around, it’s an interesting place to drop in and get a better understanding of why these events have drawn thousands of people down, three times a year, for more than a decade.
If Newbury is too far, then you also have the opportunity to watch online. Multiplay’s sister site is called FilePlay and it will be streaming tens of thousands of games LIVE this weekend.
Watching events live from another city, or even another country, is a relatively new development – but it has really caught on. Recent StarCraft 2 events in South Korea managed to hit 750,000 connections. That’s a live viewing audience bigger than many regular TV programmes can muster.
One of the early StarCraft 2 qualifiers, sponsored by Tt eSports, managed to generate over 5 TERABYTES of video download within 24 hours. Nutz!
Multiplay’s i41 will start at Newbury Racecourse on Friday 12th November and carry through to Monday evening. It’s easy to drive to and the mainline train station stops right opposite the main grandstand.
KitGuru says: Turn up live or watch on the web, this will be a great tournament and the Tt eSports StarCraft 2 championship is expected to draw a MASSIVE online audience. Time to fire up your Flash players!
Chit chat below, full blown conversation in the KitGuru forums.