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Flying high

By Michael 'Zechs' Radford
Nov 3, 2009 13:43

ImageWith all the hatred people show for orc these days, one player still earns respect despite his race. The Zechs Files investigates just what makes Fly so like-able.

Sometimes, writing a column is a real struggle. It’s been a slow, there’s not much going on and inspiration is hard to come by. Sometimes – like last week – the drought is so bad that I’d rather not bother at all than spiel off some half-assed crap.

Other weeks – let’s say this one, for the sake of conversation – the columns practically write themselves.

So it turns out that Weiliang 'Fly' Lu won his second tournament in a row this weekend, and became the highest earning player of the year so far. His fellow countryman, Xiaofeng 'Sky' Li still has plenty of time to catch up, of course, but the orc is almost $2,000 in the lead right now. Fly’s form has been unbelievable on LAN and he continues to have that rare quality of being better offline than on. He has just three losses in his last ten solo games; all three were online.

After nearly two years of orc dominance it comes as little surprise, but even the staunchest forum-trolling orc hater seems to respect Fly’s achievement. It’s like a begrudging kind of “yeah, well… grats… I suppose.” High praise indeed when you consider that every other orc just gets called a patch abuser or worse.
"But the fact that Fly tries something a bit different just makes him more worthy of praise."

It could be that people like him because – like fellow Chinese, TeD – he always seems to be smiling. You never hear a complaint from him and he appears to have the perfect attitude towards the game. Try hard, practice lots, and always enjoy yourself. You can see the pleasure he takes from the game every time he plays. It comes through in his play style, as if you can almost see his grunts smiling while they chop down archers.

But personally, I enjoy the strategies that play style leads to. Lord knows the Blademaster is the most hated thing in Warcraft these days. Anyone who is prepared to use a Farseer is sure to make a good first impression on the community these days. That’s especially if he uses for a nightelf player who will eat him and his mana for breakfast.

Yet Fly makes it work from time-to-time and he does it with style. Okay, not against nightelf, but against human and even orc sometimes he micros his wolves almost flawlessly. It’s a joy to behold and really breaks up the monotony that is an average orc vs human match. Farseer was always an “okay” alternative to Blademaster against mass casters – a well-placed chain/wave can decimate most armies. But Fly made it work against Gryphons in one of the most entertaining pro games of 2009. Oh, and don’t forget that this was against Sky, arguably the best human in the world.

Will Fly’s success push the FS back into contention as orc’s main hero? With the current state of the BM, it’s highly unlikely. That’s another fairly easy column to write, perhaps. But the fact that Fly tries something a bit different, in games which actually matter, just makes him more worthy of praise in my opinion.

The Zechs Files returns next Tuesday.



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