Over the weekend NDOORS hosted the 'North American Regional Final' to decide who will go on to the Game & Game World Championships in November. The competition was fierce and in the end, it all came down to two friends battling it out. Check out the events that transpired last Saturday, September 20th in Southern California.
Josh Eaton must really like Atlantica Online. He was willing to drive more than a thousand miles, from Longmont, Colorado, to take part in the North American regional final of the 2008 Game & Game World Championship (GNGWC) in Southern California.
"It's a great game, and I figured I'd get a chance to play and see how I rate against other top players," said Eaton, during a break in the competition, which was held on Sept. 20, at the Cyberia Internet Café in the city of Gardena.
The GNGWC is a tournament for the world's top online gamers, with regional finals winnowing down a field from across the globe into a few elite players. The top competitors from Europe and Southeast Asia have already been selected, with players from South America, Korea and Japan still to be determined. They, plus the top two North American finalists, will all then gather in Seoul, South Korea, on Nov. 4 for the GNGWC Grand Final to vie for the title of world champion. In 2008, the games in GNGWC competition include Navy Field, Silkroad Online, Shot Online, and Atlantica, which begins its open beta on Sept. 24.
"The biggest thing is [Atlantica's] combat. There's a lot more strategy involved. It's not just a grind like in other games."
For Eaton, to take his shot at earning a berth in Seoul, he had to take an impromptu vacation. He saw the email invitation to the North American regional final at 2 in the morning on Tuesday, Sept. 16, and he was leaving a message for work one hour later, asking his boss for a mini-vacation. A few days later he was sitting in his car for 15 hours making the trip to Gardena.
It was a sacrifice he was willing to make for Atlantica. "The biggest thing is [Atlantica's] combat. There's a lot more strategy involved. It's not just a grind like in other games," said Eaton. His journey, however, came to an end in the semi-finals.
Eaton fared better than Ted Warner, who traveled from Redmond, Washington, to join the rest of the field of 10 at this regional final. "There's just such a difference from competing against an AI and competing against other people, especially in a setting like here where you see people face to face," said Warner, who traveled far only to lose in the first round. But Warner remained in good spirits, making a weekend out of having the opportunity to battle it out for the world champion title.
"I'm going to stay and heckle who beat me," said Warner jokingly.
"I'm pretty nervous," said Shiu before his semi-finals match, "almost to the point where I don't like the game anymore."
Shiu then met his friend Anh Mai in the finals, both of whom are Southern California locals who carpooled to Cyberia together. Mai, however, ended up on top, defeating Shiu, 3-2, in a best-out-of-five finals.
But now the carpool buddies will be able to travel together again to Seoul. Shiu is looking forward to it. "Korea is the mecca of gaming," he said.
And hopefully the 13-hour flight will be enough time for him to get over any case of nerves that might hit him again.