Recently, though, Warcraft fans had two of those wishes granted (sorry, but it looks like Blademaster is here to stay). Okay, if you’re nitpicking, Shadowleague isn’t really a Korean TV league but the player list is strikingly similar. Heroes of yesteryear like 'Shore' and Fredrik 'MaDFroG' Johansson make sure that the Trophy of Legends lives up to its name.
But however fun it might be to relive the so-called glory days of Warcraft III is looking backwards really the best choice? The chance to relive classic matches like Jae Ho 'Moon' Jang vs Jae Park 'EvenStar' Lee is undoubtedly tantalising but can it ever really live up to previous encounters? With Evenstar having retired so long ago, the chances are sadly quite slim. We have yet to see a past-meets-present clash, but results in the “classic” groups have been fairly predictable, the one upset being Jung Hee 'Sweet' Chun’s defeat of Hong Won 'FarSeer' Ui.
Could that result simply be down to the fact that Sweet’s career ended more recently? Perhaps future results will tell us. Certainly, the most impressive performances so far have been by fairly recent retirees. Both Zdravko 'Insomnia' Georgiev and Dimitar 'DIDI8' Aleksandrov retired within the past 2-3 years and their game was almost indistinguishable from a modern human-nightelf encounter.
Christopher 'Tak3r' Heil’s opening match against Evenstar, on the other hand, was anything but modern. It was vaguely entertaining to see an unusual strategy from the German orc, but both players’ micro was sub-par and Taker even managed to lose his Tauren Chieftan to creeps. Is that how we want to remember one of the most innovative and enjoyable-to-watch orc players?
Well, now that I think about it, maybe it is. Even hardcore Taker fans would have to accept that he was never world class. He was fun to watch because of his creativity and unusual play style not necessarily because of his madskills or micro. Although I still expect the oldskool players to get destroyed by their modern counterparts when they meet, we can enjoy something a bit different while we still can. Is bad micro a fair trade for variety and ingenuity? In this day and age I’d say it definitely is.
When I opened Word to write this column, I intended to discuss the idea that looking to the past could be dangerous for a game that has often been considered on its last legs. Surely a new league supporting modern players, reinvigorating the scene would help to stave off any thoughts of life after Starcraft 2. But as I started writing, I realised that Trophy of Legends has done just that.
The fact that SC2 got put back again has helped, as has the hugely busy fortnight of WC3 we had recently (MYM, NGL, PI 2.0 etc). But at the end of the day, I should have seen Shadowleague for what it is: a bit of fun and a trip down memory lane. I encourage you all to do the same, if you haven’t already.
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