...as posted on myEG.net:
I've just had an incredible 10 days behind me. It's been so enjoyable for me, and I don't only say that because I ended up winning. Although the success and the results really put me in a good mood which I suppose will carry over really nicely into the planned vacation I'll be taking around the end of this year.
To me, "World eSports Masters" is starting to become synonymous with professionalism, excitement and comfort. I see this as the 3rd edition of the tournament that I join (the first being WEG Masters 2006 and the 2nd being WEM 2008), and it keeps getting better. Like last year, the organization has provided for the players very well. There were dozens of translators (chinese-korean-english), nearly all of whom were (English) students at the university at which this event was held. These guys, who happened to be fans of CS & WC3 big-time, also turned out to be really great guys and I have much to thank for with the help they've given. Special thanks to LeBronc (that's not his real name, but they use English names for our convenience) and Alex who ran to get me some food before my semi-finals match.
Although the match format is BO1 and this produces some randomness to an extent, at least the groups were announced several days before my departure from Europe, so there was a certain amount of control a player could have over practicing his specific opponent and map. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who I've practiced with (you know who you are). I'm sure it was mutually beneficial but I am very grateful.
The BO1 format does make things very exciting though, and pushes you to try your hardest. I may have got unlucky a few tourneys, and maybe now I got lucky. Whichever way, I can't describe how happy I am to take the last big tourney before the year 2009 is over. In a final against Moon no less, whom I respect a lot.
We got food provided for every morning, afternoon and evening (if you happened to be around or awake), which although it wasn't haute cuisine, was not spicy and therefore suitable for everyone. It was also well varied, so it helped to keep me at least healthy and fed. There was a special VIP area in a PC cafe (same as last year's WEM 2008) with a very likeable PC Cafe owner who really makes the pro-gamers feel special I think. There were plenty of PC's for every time to practice at any time they liked.
One other thing I really liked was the time schedule. Having one best of one over the course of 1 or 2 days means that you really get a lot of freedom as to how you wanna spend your day. Enough rest and time to eat are important factors for comfort and health. I really like the set-up of this tourney. Maybe that's why I went the extra mile to try and get into the finals. Once I was in the finals, I felt, dunno, redeemed, ecstatic, happy, and privileged to be able to battle out a grand final match once again. Whether or not I'd come out on top was a 2nd concern, which I took very seriously, but wasn't essential for my existence. Having won it, I'm happy that I did =]
Hangzhou really made me feel at home. It felt weird going to the Training Center; there was posters of Sky, Moon, Infi, me and others all over the place. It all felt strangely familiar, as if I was at home or surfing the net. Hundreds of people recognized me outside of the tournament grounds. We even had dinner with some very nice fans after my semi-finals game against TeD. They were students at the university and knew the neighborhood well, and we ended up eating very nicely with some Fusion western-chinese food.
When we approached the restaurant, there was a group of 3 guys sitting near the window. One guy, who looked a bit like Jet Li, smiled congenially and waved enthusiastically. I wasn't sure how to respond. I mean, there's a chance this guy is a fan and I should wave back and smile. There's also a chance that he isn't, and that he's interested in me. In that case, I shouldn't be encouraging him. But we entered the restaurant and it turned out they were all WC3 fans and just wanted to say hi and so on, haha :P
The fans in Hangzhou were really amazing. I really want to thank all the fans who supported me, who gave me the strength and energy to win this tournament. After disappointments at other tournaments, I received nothing but words of encouragement (including from fellow pro-gamers) and this really helped. I really mean it when I say this victory doesn't only belong to me, but also everyone who cheered for me, be it from the live audience or sideline at home. That includes my family, for example my mom, who, when my match with TeD had about 2 hours delay, could hardly work as she kept skipping to the PC to press the infamous F5 (refresh). Thanks for being so involved and supportive, mom.
Needless to say, but I want to anyway, thanks to my fiance, who, although she fell sick with the flu about 5 days ago, has stood by me every step of the way.
Well, there's so much to tell (we've been here for a long time, it seems!), but I'll cut it short here. We finished the closing dinner around 10 PM this sunday, where I was forced to consume large quantities of booze from my Champion's cup not entirely against my will. Fnatic promptly followed on CAN's urgings. I have lived nearly like a monk the last few weeks (months?), so it was nice to unwind and have a laugh and a glass with everyone.
It's 4:42 AM on monday morning, chinese time now, and we're leaving with the bus at about 6:00 AM to go to the airport, preparing for our long flight back. Needless to say, we haven't gone to sleep and hope to do so on the airplane. Hopefully we can! BTW, I thought it was cold here with near-freezing, but it's -10 + snow in NL.. whoops! Going to have a white christmas :p