It turns out this weekend was the quarterly MLG major event. The format seemed to change a fair bit. The last time I tuned in the MLG championships were pretty much a big open event. Top seeds would maybe get some byes or start off in a separate pool play while open entrants played double elimination, but the big thing was that anyone who wanted to show up and pay could play. This time around seemed different. They only had 32 people in the StarCraft II event, and it was straight single elimination. League of Legends ran 3 mini-events (12 standard LCS matches, a LCS qualifier from the minor leagues, and a 4 team exhibition event with a top EU team and a top Korean team against two of the NA LCS teams). I didn't watch any of the Call of Duty stuff, so I don't know how that worked. Fighting games and Halo were both dropped entirely. The crowds still seemed pretty big despite not being able to compete themselves, and the games all seemed to be pretty high quality. By getting rid of the whole 256 man bracket for SCII they were able to stream every game which was certainly nice, and they did it on only 2 SCII streams instead of 6 like last time.
The website also changed a bit. It used to be that MLG had their own combination stream thing where you could watch all the streams at once in a tiles layout. This time all of the streams were done through Twitch and the MLG site essentially just had tabs to select the 4 different streams. No way to watch all 4 at once easily. I guess I could have opened 4 web browser windows. It seems like the loss of functionality would be bad, but I actually liked it. MLG events have always had streaming issues in my experience, but this one went very smooth. Maybe that was the switch to Twitch. Maybe it was preventing all the viewers from watching all the streams at once and overloading things. Whatever it was, I liked it.
I didn't really know what was going on in the SCII games. They're using the new expansion that just came out and I didn't have a clue what most of the new units did. Also apparently you can build reapers without needing a tech lab now? Most of the matches seemed to be TvZ which makes me sad as an old Protoss player.
The LCS games were actually pretty great. Lots of the matches pitted a 'top 4' team against a 'bottom 4' team but the bottom 4 team won several of those games. I think maybe all the experience of playing professionally for a month and a half is finally starting to come home for some of these guys.
At any rate, I had a great time just sitting back and watching games all weekend. I also got some tax stuff done during pauses between games, so this may have been the most productive weekend I've had in a long time. Woo!