"Sky's Midas touch in China could be Warcraft3's one saving grace as we drawn ever closer to a Chinese monopoly."China is heading towards being the only pole for Warcraft III, with the future of ESWC looking grim, the WCG to be held in Chengdu this year, as well WC3L, PGL and G-League all hosting their finals here in China, this will soon be its final stronghold. Its success and popularity in China is hugely down to the success of one individual,namely Xiaofeng 'Sky' Li.
The importance of Xiaofeng "Sky" Li to the Warcraft III cause is incalculable, with the likes of Yoan 'ToD' Merlo and Seong Deok 'SoJu' Lee already filing for retirement and Jae Ho 'Moon' Jang turning into a marketing tool for WeMadeFox's MMO Avalon Online, his role in the new hub for Warcraft3 is crucial, and well deserved. The creator of the aptly named Sky Push and winner of over $157,000 in prize money, has been in the scene since 2004, half a decade ago, but yet continues to perform.
He has been labelled as a villain by some by resorting to constructing towers for the sake of victory, but Sky's Midas touch in China could be Warcraft3's one saving grace as we drawn ever closer to a Chinese monopoly.
With the success of Chinese stars in recent years, the popularity of Counter-Strike has declined and Warcraft III is the title most highly spectated, alongside Defense of the Ancients (DoTA) another firm favourite.
Like any major sports star, Sky's fame transcends his own discipline, you do not need to follow golf to recognise who Tiger Woods is, or basketball to know Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson. Their influence as well as their ability in their given field of expertise makes them become more than just players, they have become legends. His legendary status will remain regardless of his shape in Warcraft III, with back-to-back gold medals in the World Cyber Games, he has nothing left to prove.
"Sky's fame transcends his own discipline, you do not need to follow golf to recognise who Tiger Woods is"Sky has become an ambassador for Warcraft III, recognised by not only gamers but even the general public. Type Sky into China's most popular search engine Baidu.cn or even google.cn and the first result is his personal blog.
He has carried the Olympic torch, appeared on national television - even making an appearance on Lu Yu a few years ago (a well-known TV interviewer) - appeared in a film about his own life as well as being a protagonist in the Beyond the Game documentary.
At the Blizzard College eSports tournament earlier this week, a battle between the "Oxford and Cambridge of China" - Beijing and Tsing Hua University - the crowd clapped but it was not until the entrance of our protagonist that they really stood up and cheered. His presence was the touch of class the tournament needed, to make it truely a momentous occasion, with his showmatch victory - despite a handicap of only being allowed to use one hand - greeted with a nationalistic pride as if to say "that's our Sky!" .
His second showmatch where he was forced to play Night Elf resulted resulted in a defeat to MoonFish, a female player who appeared in the Steelseries Iron Lady tournament, but he showed no anger, no irritation, he just smiled and joked of his defeat with the presenter, and the crowd loved him even more for it.
Sky fully realises his position within the Chinese community and how much a small effort from him can go a long way for his thousands of fans.Having had the honour to sit down and chat with him, he gave off no air of self-importance or egoism, only pure modesty.
Sky has walked with kings but not lost the common touch, the worldwide fame acquired is second nature to him now but it has not spoilt his character, for these reasons, Sky is essential to the survival of Warcraft III in China.
"He gave off no air of self-importance or egoism, only pure modesty. Sky has walked with kings but not lost the common touch"For those who look simply at his results or his reliance on towers to determine his star appeal, you need to widen your perspective. You must look at the bigger picture, of how he represents the game we love in a positive light to the masses, and more importantly, to prospective sponsors.
Sky is one of few professional players to go that extra mile and give back to the community that enabled him to become great, to be accessible to the writers who have documented his success and to be grateful to the organisers who gave him the platform to succeed.
- Former Razer Editor & SK Gaming Editor-in-Chief
English Teacher at Shandong University, Jinan, China.
Events for Razer [2011 - 2012]
Extreme Masters Global Finals
Moon "MMA" Sung Won Spotlight (SC2)
Kyung Hyun "Select" Ryoo Spotlight (SC2)
Yang "Sen" Chia Cheng Spotlight (SC2)
Yan "SeaKing" Tao Spotlight (DOTA2)
Abdulatif "Latif" Alhmili Spotlight (SSFIV AE)
Razer @ WCG Day One
Razer @ WCG Day Two
Razer @ WCG Day Three
Razer @ WCG Day Four
Events for SK Gaming [2008-2009]
SK 10th Anniversary - Journalist/Commentator
IFNG Cologne - Commentator
NGL-One Finals - Journalist
Samsung European Championships - Commentator
CGS Birmingham UK/Euro Draft - Journalist
ESWC Masters - Journalist
London Games Festival - Tourist
World Cyber Games - Journalist
Extreme Masters EU/Global Finals
WC3L XV Finals
Extreme Masters Chengdu
World Cyber Games 2009
SK Gaming Articles/Features
E-Sports Journalism: Quality over Quantity?
The Rise and Fall of Four Kings!
Variety: Suicide or Salvation for eSports?
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
Where did the all Euros go?
Team Leagues: a penny saved, is a penny earned
Comedy in eSports, why so serious?
Attitude - The Legacy of Yoan "ToD" Merlo
Halo3: A Boy's game in a man's world
No Lyn, Moon or Sky, WC3L still worth it?
Team Spirit: Why WICKED and Mouz deserved the Final
Sky, the man who is helping keep Warcraft3 alive
What would make eSports better in 2010?(Replays.Net)
~ Blogs ~
NGL Blog Thursday
NGL Blog Friday
NGL Blog Saturday
SEC Blog - Hello Italy we are Hungary
SEC Blog - Cast Hard ,Go Pro
SEC Blog - eins, SPEED, zwei, LINK!
SEC Blog - Eins, Fake, zwei, BOND!
CGS Draft Blog - Quad Damage
CGS Draft Blog - Babe Alert
Events for Clanbase [2005-2006]
ClanBase EuroCup XIII
ClanBase EuroCup XI
Sky into final, seeking historic 3rd WCG gold
China's government sponsors CEPL
Grubby talks WCG, WEM and SC2
Cassandra blogs about Grubby and WCG
ReMinD wins first Korean WC3 WCG gold
THE NEW JERSEY