I’m writing this while sitting on my first flight towards i46, from Portland, Oregon to Amsterdam. The eXcitement of traveling never really hits me until I’m off to the airport! I’m definitely getting eXtremely hyped for the upcoming i46 event. In 8 hours I will be landing in the Netherlands and meeting Lucky Luke in person for the first time, as well as Qun.
Luke and I have known each other for around 2 years. He has been integral in the development of eXtv and we would both be in a much different place without each other. Luke has matured as a video maker during our time together and he continues to develop the skills that I know will eventually lead to him having a career in editing / media production. There are many eXtelevision videos that would simply not eXist without Luke.
There are many other people who share common goals with me that I’m very eXcited to meet. I’ve attended many LANs in the United States, and flew to Montreal to attend the ETS LAN. LANs always reinvigorate my passion for gaming and eSports. The community is filled with so many great people, and I’m not talking about just the TF2ers.
Meeting and speaking in real life is something that the Internet will never fully convey. With gaming there is the additional perk that being in the same room provides the most pyyyour gaming eXperience possible.
LANs are so important to the continued development of eSports. The TF2 community needs to continue to work together to nurture events at local LANs.
The i46 LAN represents a huge step for TF2. It is the first in person meeting between the two largest global communities, North America and Europe. Over the last 5 years the global communities have kept tabs on each other and sometimes crossed over. While OzFortress, AsiaFortress, South American TF2, and South African TF2 are not represented, this event is a huge step towards a more encompassing global event in the future. Relationships will be tightened, competition will be fierce, and no matter what happens in the tournament, new goals will be set at the end.
While Team Fortress has been around longer than Counter-Strike, it hasn’t had a strong potential as an eSports till the release of Team Fortress 2. Compared to the other eSports out there we are still relatively young. There are still a lot of distance to be covered before TF2 is even more legitimized as an eSport, but we have already come a long way, and don’t show any signs of slowing down.
Within the last month the number of players streaming their gameplay on Twitch.tv has risen dramatically. Also, the population of Team Fortress players has risen drastically once again with the release of Mann vs Machines, a mode geared towards more casual players but requiring a deep level of team work and communication to succeed in. While 5 years old, the game is Free-To-Play, still growing it’s population of players, and the competitive niche is growing as older players look for new challenges.
I46 is going to be an amazing event, for all attendees and for everyone who will be watching the event at home. It is a major milestone and the global TF2 community should give themselves a big pat on the back. This could not have been possible with out the help of many individuals world wide.