- Jonas Eriksson
- February 16, 2018 | 7 min
The Big Wins Seen in ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018
“USA! USA! USA!”
It’s late January and eight of the world’s best esports teams, along with thousands of fans, have descended on Boston for the ELEAGUE Major 2018. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is the game and over a million more people are watching the ELEAGUE broadcast on Twitch to see who will take home the winner’s share of the $1 million prize pool.
This is the culmination of a three week long tournament spanning two cities, beginning with 24 teams and down to two finalists. The heavily favored FaZe Clan, all European players, are taking on Cloud9, the upstart American team. The crowd is making it known they are pulling for the underdogs.
Who will win?
At Tobii, we create eye tracking technology for a wide range of applications. From accessibility and assisted communication to enhanced gameplay in PC games and VR, we focus on creating great user experiences. At the ELEAGUE Major, we partnered with Alienware and Turner to give viewers at home and in the arena unique insights from professional gamers.
Where do they focus? How fast do they scan their environment? How often are they checking things like the map, clock and scoreboard?
Imagine watching a professional poker tournament, getting the chance to see where the players look to make their reads, and then incorporating that into your own game. Thanks to ELEAGUE and Alienware, over a million people got the chance to learn from the best gamers in the world.
Take a look at this “Getting Technical” segment and be amazed at how quick “Guardian” reacts to his opponent in his peripheral vision and takes aim to eliminate him:
The above clip shows the high quality production by Turner and ELEAGUE. Live broadcasting any event is a challenge that requires incredible coordination of people, hardware, and software. Production teams have to be ready for anything during a live stream because there is no ability for a director to yell “cut” and try another take.
In esports, it’s an even tougher feat to pull off, given the complexities of combining in-game footage with live shots of the players. Just knowing which player’s feed to show the audience is an art onto itself, requiring a specialized role called an Observer. Heather “sapphiRe” Garozzo and DJ “Prius” Kuntz, two formidable players themselves, did an amazing job ensuring most important and relevant action was always presented to the audience.
Here’s a video Prius posted of behind the scenes action to give you a sense of the complexity and pace:
Getting the systems set up and keeping them running is also a challenge. These are professional gamers playing for a paycheck and have very specific preferences for the way their equipment is set up. They bring their own keyboards and mice as well as having specific settings for screen resolutions. Some sit a mere 2–3" from the screen and some sit back in their chair. Ensuring that eye tracking works well requires special mounts that can adjust to these extremes.
When the competition gets intense and the result goes the wrong way, the occasional frustrated player will slam a headset down. In turn, the production crew needs to run out there in between matches to fix anything gone wrong and ensure everything is good to go for the next round.
ELEAGUE’s Dereyck Moore and Tobii’s AJ Waghulde found themselves up on stage more than most of the competitors. Here’s AJ doing work:
FaZe is known in the community as a “superteam” comprised of five of the best players in the world. Several of the best players from competing teams came together to join forces last year. Like the Golden State Warriors, they are polarizing within the sport as their talent level can be awesome to witness but makes it tough for others to compete. FaZe was ranked #2 in the world heading into the Major and looking to cement their status with their first Major victory.
Cloud09, trying to become the first team from North America to win a major, upset SK Gaming from Brazil (the #1 ranked team) and G2 Gaming from France (the #4 ranked team) in their first two matches. Although Cloud9 was coming in on a hot streak, the two teams had played 4 times prior to Boston and FaZe had won each match 2–0, making them the clear favorite.
During the final, Cloud9 raced out to an early 7–0 lead in the first game and the crowd was going wild. Then FaZe methodically came back after seemingly figuring out Cloud9’s game plan. FaZe took a very close first game 16–14.
Cloud9 could have given up at that point as the next map for the match was on FaZe’s strongest map: Overpass. Cloud9 didn’t let this get to them and again raced out to a big 7–0 lead. With the crowd behind them and excellent play from Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham and Tarik “tarik” Celek, Cloud 9 was able to maintain their early lead and forced a third game with a 16–10 win in game two.
Game 3 will go down as one of the greatest esports games of all time.
As someone who has attended multiple World Series, an NBA Final, and four Rose Bowls, I’ll say it was one of the greatest sporting events I’ve ever witnessed live. Lots of lead changes throughout.
FaZe took a 15–11 lead and had four chances at match point while Cloud9 fought back to force overtime. In overtime, Cloud9 then ran out to a 3–0 lead themselves and had three chances to win the match before FaZe equalized.
In the second overtime, Cloud9 finally prevailed 22–19 with a total team effort that included big matches from Jake “Stewie2k” Yip, Timothy “autimatic” Ta, and Will “Rush” Wierzba. Here’s another look at eye tracking from Stewie2k himself:
The ELEAGUE Major 2018 has been called “the greatest final of all time” in the esports community. ELEAGUE, Alienware, and Tobii were able to present it to the audience in a way that should push forward the viewing experience for all sports. We are excited to work with them on future broadcasts to bring the viewer even more.
At Tobii, we are always looking forward and are pleased to be working with Alienware to bring even more eye tracking benefits to gamers. Alienware’s 17" laptops all include Tobii Eye Tracking so that gamers can leverage the same technology from the broadcast to improve their skills at home.
Stay tuned for some more announcements in the coming months from Alienware and Tobii!
CS:GO is a multiplayer first person shooter played with two teams of five competing against each other as the Terrorists (the T-side) and the Counter-Terrorists (the CT-side).
The T-side has 1 minute 55 seconds to plant a bomb and detonate it on the CT-side of the map to win the round. Alternatively, either team can simply eliminate all players of the other team to win the round.
A game is 30 rounds split into two halves of 15 rounds with each team spending one half one each side. If a team wins 16 rounds, then they win the game. If it’s 15–15 at the end of round 30, then an additional 6 rounds are played as overtime, with one team needing a 4–2 advantage to claim victory.