Major League Gaming has come such a long way. I remember watching Halo and sitting on bleachers! Heck, not too long ago, Call of Duty could barely sell any tickets. This year on the other hand, your three main stage titles; League of Legends, Starcraft II, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 each had their seats filled so tons of spectators were forced to stand in order to cheer for their favorite teams. On top of attendees, each game had over one hundred participating teams and competitors duking it out for that spot on the main stage.
The venue seemingly never changes. You get all the free sponsored junk food you can want and in this case, it's Dr.Pepper and Flipz pretzels. Unlimited. Forever. Till you explode.... And then some. (One can afford to be unhealthy for one weekend, no?).
This year's event booths were rather small. Some of the honorable mentions include a showcase of DC Comic's Infinite Crisis which is a new MOBA coming out for PC as well as an Xbox One dev kit at the Microsoft booth featuring Killer Instinct III. Both games were quite fun and feature the need for that competitive spirit everyone needs to play an eSport-worthy title.
Other than that, not really much. The swag shop was present, as always, for those who want a souvenir and iBuypower, who has supported MLG since the dawn of existence, made an appearance to give away computers to a few lucky winners and set-up pro player meet & greets.
The Tournament Venue
MLG events have always been and will forever be a gaming tournament. The whole event caters to the pros and their ravenous spectators. Everything about eSports has gotten incredibly popular so getting some access time with the players and even the casters, heck, even Riot Games & Treyarch developers is easy if you're persistent enough.
This year's venues consisted of Starcraft II, League of Legends, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. It was a shame that no fighters made the event this year even though they were present at the prior location in MLG Dallas. Might be a timing thing with other major tournaments, I wouldn't know.
This year was a huge sell-out despite the lack of a few titles. I swear, MLG forgets every year that Anaheim breaks records. There were a TON of people standing to watch the games in the back. They could definitely afford to add in a few more rows of chairs or at least not give away seat cushions as part of the ticket for people to reserve their seats with (it was incredibly tempting to just slide everyone's stuff off their chair.... They weren't going notice for a few hours).
It was a shame Rogue Knight Gaming couldn't make an appearance at the Call of Duty tournament since there were a few major roster changes that involved dropping and picking-up new players. You'll likely see us in Columbus, Ohio though!
Anyways, MLG is easy to access and is definitely the premiere location to start for those who want to make it big in eSports, but really, it's not for everyone and it's a tough road once you get in. From 128 to 256 team brackets, making it to the top 16 is not an easy task and despite how well teams do, it seems to be the nature of players to disband their teams with even just one failure. Yea, it's that rough. It's likely the demographic but that's for another discussion.
All you have to do is purchase a team pass, either online or at the door, and you start on day one. If you survive, you'll get the opportunity to challenge main stage teams at the end of the day in front of hundreds of thousands of online viewers and tons of people on-site. Even though people love their top 10 teams, there's always support for a worthy underdog and the crowd will make you feel good about slaying a top-tier pro player.
My advice to those who are thinking about competing is to just stop thinking and do it. Tournaments entires are about $60 per player and that includes the ticket price. All-in-all, there's more value in competing, even for fun, so I implore everyone who reads this article to give it a shot. Fail, so what? The experience of meeting your opponent face-to-face -- someone who shares the same competitive passion as you -- is priceless, at least on most occasions.
My competitive drive is still saddened by not competing, but nonetheless the event brings tears to my eyes every year since it grow so big. Yes, I love eSports that much. MLG Anaheim 2013 was an incredible event. Sure maybe you can't sit around and watch every match, but in the end, there's something for everyone... and ya know, it's also in front of Disneyland, but I digress.