Saturday, July 23, 2016

God's Left Hand - Prelude: Chapter 15

We're almost finished with the prelude guys. After chapter 19 we'll move onto the next act.

Ai Qing thought that something was strange, but didn’t think much of it.
After all, in this group of players, most of them were skilled at playing more than two games.
So having videos of her old matches wasn’t out of the ordinary.  She was one of the best competitive players back in the day after all.

After returning to the hotel room, she was so exhausted that she immediately fell into the bed and fell asleep.
Around 3 or 4 in the morning, Ai Qing awoke to see her roommate, the younger girl, had finally returned, taken off her shoes, and was trying to quietly make her way to the shower.  Ai Qing lazily clutched her blanket and asked in scratchy voice, “What strategy has Dt decided on?”
The young girl saw that Ai Qing had awoken and breathed a sigh of relief.  She tiredly sat on the edge of her bed.  “The most energy intensive strategy.”
“Pure gank?”[1]
The young girl nodded in reply.
Ai Qing let out a long breath.  A gank was the most exciting aspect of DotA.  Ganking and anti-ganking.  Ambushing and countering.  When multiple players appear in a coordinated attack from the fog of war[2] and after killing their opponents in a few seconds, quickly disappear back into the shadows.  A well executed gank can change the rhythm of the battle, constricting the enemy with ambushes which can lead to the enemy’s defeat…...

Ai Qing personally enjoyed watching videos of tournaments where ganking was the main tactic in the match, especially the Russian team.  The intensity of their aggressive playstyle was on the same level as shootouts in an American film.

Thailand's main strategy concentrated on ganking, where they sacrificed four members of the team to protect the fifth.  If the Chinese team played conservatively and maintained steady control, that would have been enough……  Ai Qing pondered about it for a while until her roommate had finished her shower and lamented, “The day after tomorrow will be a very exciting day.”
She had seen many games where one side was on the offense and the other on the defense.
But when a team counters a strategy that focuses on ganks with their own ganks, it becomes an insane race as both sides take the offensive to see who gains the most kills.  Just thinking about it would get anyone’s blood boiling.

The next day was FIFA and 3D table tennis, as well as Slide’s event: Starcraft.
Ai Qing woke up just early enough to make it for Slide’s event.  She wore the first short sleeve shirt and short jeans she saw and made her way to the stadium.  In front of the big screen, two professional commentators were just then happily chatting with Slide, asking him if he was thinking about changing events when he joins the German pro-team.  Slide held a cigarette between his lips and replied with a large smirk.

Ai Qing waved from faraway.  Slide just noticed her from the stands.  Two very tall men by her side greeted her with a “hello.”  Ai Qing smiled in reply.  After they had introduced themselves,  she was surprised to learn that they were members from the best Scandinavian team.  Fortunately, Ai Qing graduated from a high school that was part of a university that specialized in foreign languages, so she had little difficulty communicating with them.
“Are you Chinese?  Or Korean?” asked one of the handsome, blue-eyed man very slowly.  “Sorry I have trouble differentiating asians from different countries.”
“No problem.  I’m Chinese.”  Ai Qing replied with a smile.
Scandinavia was a CS haven.  Over half of all the professional CS players were from Scandinavia.  So when she heard that these two were from Norway and Sweden respectively, she immediately had a good impression of them.
But, why would they come to watch the Asian tournament?
“Oh~” the handsome Norwegian nodded in understanding.  “Do you know of a guy called Dt?”
Ai Qing nodded in surprised, “He’s a member of the Chinese team, part of the DotA team.  Do you know him?”
“Our team was thinking of establishing an Asian team to compete in DotA.  Someone highly recommended him.”  The Swedish man, who had been silent so far, finally spoke and asked her, “Could you take us to meet him?”

[1]:  To those who don’t know what a gank is.  In MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games like DotA, “gank” is the term used for the act when players ambush an enemy and gang up on them.  Supposedly it can also mean gangbang kill, gang kill, or steal.  The Chinese author makes a note that the Russian team Virtus Pro is famous for basically ganking across the entire map.

[2]:  Fog of war is a term used for many strategy games, essentially your team can only see portions of the map in view of your team’s characters and structures.  The rest of the map is covered in a shadow or fog that shows the map, but doesn’t show if any enemies are there until an allied character walks close enough to see it.  Really you guys should just watch a DotA, DotA2, or League of Legends game on youtube to get an idea.