As I mentioned previously, I began working as a writer for the Mineski Events Team. Since they cover everything related to eSports and computer gaming, they were of course invited to the grandest stage of Philippine online gaming: the Level Up! Live 2013. This event, which has always taken place in the World Trade Center at Pasay City, has been running since 2006 if I recall correctly. Back then, it was held during the first week of November. I guess LU! didn’t want to compete with other computer sport gaming events such as the Pinoy Gaming Festival that will happen at the last week of October.
I was excited when sir RJ told me that I’ll be going with him as representatives of Mineski. I’ve met lots of friends in the past Level Up! Live installments; it really feels like coming home. It was different this time though. Firstly, I had a VIP pass, which is kind of a big deal because I had exclusive access to the facilities and food(!). Secondly, I had to make a write-up for Mineski — which will be released soon, and I hope I did a good job at it — so I had no time to be idle.
At 22 years old, this is kind of a big deal to me.
I met several people who worked in the industry and had the chance to talk to them. Sir JB from Rapture Gaming Network was one of them, who was very kind enough to let us borrow his camcorder. Although we had to resort to my camera phone in the later parts of the event as he had to leave early. I also met one of the brand managers of Level Up! Inc., sir Chino Yray, who told us some interesting tidbits about the upcoming Pinoy Gaming Festival.
Kinda dark, but it’s better than nothing. 🙂
The first thing I noticed is that the event area is significantly larger today. I think this is largely in part of the Level Up! Grand Prix
, which made the event more eSports-oriented than in the past. Back then, Level Up! Live was mostly a gathering for players as they watch the top teams play. Don’t get me wrong. The side events were fun too and you can get loads of memorabilia as well. But those events were not really centered on computer gaming; they are more of amusement park-type activities that didn’t really appeal to everyone.
I’ve been mentioning the involvement of Level Up! in eSports sparsely so I’ll expound on that. eSports was an alien concept at the inception of Level Up! Live. That has long changed and Level Up! Inc., being the most famous game publisher in the Philippines, wants to push eSports further. Or they don’t want to be left behind. You be the judge. Whatever their prerogative is, their recognition of the impact of eSports only means good things for players.
This year’s LU! Live got a lot of sponsors too. What I’m particularly excited about though is their partnership with TV5 that gave the event more exposure. I hope to see this happening for Mineski and other eSports events in the Philippines, which I think is very possible. Plus this article
even made me more hopeful.
One side event that I thought has fallen off the radar was the LU! City. In the past, I remember booths being extremely well-made that it gave the name justice. This year, I felt that the booths were lackluster; the participants still sold the same items though.
The cosplay competition, an event that I didn’t bother watching before, became more exciting and diverse. More characters from animes, movies, and even comic books were portrayed. I thought the competition was stiffer too, as the participants seemed more innovative with their creations. One participant, for example, made an Ironman suit (or I think he’s cosplaying as War Machine) that looked to be the real deal. I guess we have to thank Animax for that!
And finally… the tournaments. The set-up was one of the best I’ve seen compared to the previous Level Up! Live events. There was a myriad of gaming gears for the participants to maximize, and the screens were positioned in such a way that everyone can watch comfortably. Those are the only positive points that I can find though. My main gripe is that there were a lot of in-game issues and crashes throughout the tournament. The in-game problems even went as far as the Grand Chase Finals being postponed. I couldn’t pin that against the organizers as the problem wasn’t on their end. The broadcast of the matches was entirely their fault however. The commentators/casters/or whatever you wanna call them didn’t seem to know the games that they were calling and talked gibberish most of the time. Still, I gave them the benefit of the doubt that knowing nine games takes months of preparation and they simply didn’t have time. But they could’ve hired different broadcasters for each game to solve that problem. They have to pay more people, yes, but the audience won’t suffer from dead air and generic discussions that will disengage them from the event.
And that’s it for me! It was a tiring event but I am honored to take part of it as a member of the Mineski Events Team. I hope I can have more opportunities like this one!