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South Korean SC2 scene

From Liquipedia StarCraft 2 Wiki

History of the South Korean SC2 pro-scene[edit]

Background: Pre-beta times[edit]

Needless to say, South Korea has a history of a unique Brood War pro-gaming scene. That's what roughly 99% of Liquipedia 1 is all about.

WWI in Seoul in May 2007 was the place where Blizzard announced SC2 and it's been clear that SC2 aspires to become just as much an e-Sport as Brood War has been in Korea. As such, South Korea has been in a unique position, because the South Korean pro-scene has in a way shaped what goals Blizzard is aiming at.

KeSPA vs Blizzard[edit]

Brood War negotiations and GOM Classic[edit]

Although most of what's been going on between KeSPA (Korean e-Sports Player's Association) and Blizzard is not released to the public, it has been evident that things have not been too amicable between them. In 2008, Blizzard presumably approached KeSPA seeking some kind of co-operation, but they were seemingly turned down. Blizzard then approached OGN and MBC (the broadcasting networks broadcasting Brood War matches), but did not manage to strike any deals there either. In the end, it resulted in Blizzard co-operating with GomTV, and sponsoring the GOM Classic tournament instead.

After Blizzard partnered up with GomTV, several teams announced they were not going to play in the tournament, and it was widely believed that was something decided by KeSPA as a response to Blizzard's co-operation with GomTV.

That was all Brood War. The fight, however, continued into the arena of SC2.

Negotiations for StarCraft II[edit]

In February 2010, the president of Blizzard, Mike Morhaime, visited Korea and wanted to do a small private event where he would deliver the beta to the Korean pro-gamers and teams directly. The invitation, however, was turned down by most of the teams and the event was cancelled. Although Blizzard Korea attributes the cancellation to internal scheduling misunderstandings, an anonymous source from a pro-game team implied that this was a continuation of the power struggle between Blizzard and KeSPA.[1]

In late February 2010, IdrA stated that he was a SC2 player and had permission from his coaches to play it during practice time. Such statements were not, however, made by any other pro-gamers in Korea, something that could possibly be related to the fight between KeSPA and Blizzard.

In April, Blizzard stated that after three years of fruitless negotiations with KeSPA, they were going to cease the talks and begin looking for a new partner in South Korea.[2]

In the beginning of May, KeSPA made a statement about the negotiations in which they disclosed the extent of Blizzard's claims and said they felt the claims were unacceptable. Moreover, they said they had been trying to negotiate, but Blizzard had not been willing unless KeSPA agreed to their demands. Nonetheless, KeSPA was willing to resume the negotiations again.[3]

Blizzard and GomTV become partners[edit]

May 26th 2010, Blizzard and Gretech (GomTV) signed a partnership agreement giving GomTV exclusive rights to broadcast e-Sports matches of Blizzard games for the next three years. Other channels would still be able to get broadcasting rights after having negotiated with GomTV, however. At the same time, mentions of a Global Starcraft II league, Starcraft II World Championship, as well as Clan Battles and Streak Battles were made, with more information to be released later. Also, other parties would be having a grace period until August so that their ongoing tournaments could conclude smoothly.

The day after, Blizzard president Mike Morhaime wrote a letter to the Korean e-Sports fans, explaining the situation. He wrote that KeSPA did not respect Blizzard's intellectual property rights and that they offered no solutions to the problem themselves. With the release date of SC2 approaching, Blizzard decided to give up on KeSPA and turn to GomTV instead, because they have similar values and goals, as they experienced in their previous collaborations.[4]

Sidenote: Negotiations for MSL and OSL[edit]

As Blizzard and Gretech signed their deal, it would seem that the broadcasting rights for SC2 were pretty much cleared up. However, GomTV got the rights for Brood War games as well, and as such, the future of OGN and MBC relied on successful negotiations between OnGameNet, MBCGame and GomTV.

May 31st 2010, KeSPA announced that their main priority was to have a proper relationship with Blizzard before any negotiations about rights with GomTV could commence.[5]

June 3rd, reported that MBCGame began negotiations with Gretech regarding the rights of (Brood War) MSL. Gretech's CEO quickly responded, before negotiations were concluded, that they would allow the planned MSL to take place, stating "The most important thing is that they are willing to come to the table" [6] June 8th, however, FOMOS reported that Gretech had been trying to begin negotiations with MBCGame, OnGameNet and KeSPA without getting any response at all.[7]

June 11th, Fomos reported that OnGameNet had sent a message to Gretech saying that they were willing to negotiate. OnGameNet had discussed it with KeSPA and concluded that negotiations were worth it to prevent a worst-case scenario.[8]

The Beta in South Korea[edit]

South Korea was the only country in the world which had a sort of open beta of SC2. The beta was accessible through so-called PC Baangs, or internet cafés, and anyone with a account could play the beta at those cafés.[9]

In April, it was reported that SC2 would get an Adult-only rating by the Korean Games Rating Board because of "the game's level of violence, foul language and depiction of drug use". Blizzard sent in another version for review and after having recoloured the blood to black and removed smoking and vulgar language from the cutscenes, the game got an Age 12 rating.[10]

Although the fight between Blizzard and KeSPA was raging and (possibly) keeping the Korean pro-gamers from supporting SC2, some former pro-gamers who were no longer associated with KeSPA could freely make the move. In April, GARIMTO signed a 15 month contract with MyM and Aozora was preparing a Korean SC2 team, NEX.

Wings of Liberty[edit]

GomTV and Blizzard were quick to launch an official SC2 tournament shortly after SC2 was released and it became the GSL. It began a month after the launch and featured the biggest prize pool in the history of eSports to that point, 600,000,000 Won. The GSL continued three seasons in 2010 and aimed at one season a month for 2011, with English commentators to cater to foreign audiences. Over the seasons, it attracted several sponsors as well, such as Intel, Sony Ericsson and Coca-Cola.

A short while after Wings of Liberty had been released, some of the famous professional players of BW, who did not currently have a contract with KeSPA, announced their move to SC2. The first one was July, who transitioned to SC2 when he did not renew his contract with STX Seoul at the end of August and he was joined by NaDa in mid-September and by BoxeR in the start of October, all three going for the qualifiers of GSL Season 2. Other professional gamers who did have a contract with KeSPA, however, were banned from playing SC2.

Notable players[edit]

Main Article - Bomber
Main Article - DongRaeGu
Main Article - FruitDealer

Choi "Bomber" Ji Sung is a Terran player. One of the most expected up and coming Korean players in the beginning of 2011, Bomber eventually overwhelmed Mvp's TvT in order to win 2011 GSL May Code A. He also had some successful participations in foreign events, with a victory in 2011 MLG Raleigh, and a third place in DreamHack Summer 2011.

Park "DongRaeGu" Soo Ho is a Zerg player who is seen as the ZvT specialist, and mostly earned fame by his performance in GSTL. He defeated NaDa, SuperNova and MC in a row in the semi finals of 2011 GSTL May. Even though he was less successful in individual competitions, being unable of qualifying for GSL Code A, he still managed to win LG Cinema 3D Special League over sC.

Kim "FruitDealer" Won Gi is a Zerg player who earned a lot of fame by winning the GSL Open Season 1, the first premier event held in Korea. However, he wasn't able to maintain his competitive level, and didn't make any notable achievements since that. His lower level eventually led him to drop in Code A after 2011 GSL July.

Main Article - July
Main Article - LosirA
Main Article - MarineKing

Park "July" Sung Joon is a Zerg player, who was one of the most successful player in StarCraft: Brood War. In StarCraft II, July had less success, but still managed to take the second place of 2011 GSL March, and competed in many foreign events, reaching the semi finals of DreamHack Summer 2011 and North American Star League Season 1.

Hwang "LosirA" Kang Ho is a Zerg player known for his strong macro capabilities. He made his break-out on the Korean scene in March 2011, after he won the 2011 GSL March Code A and all-killed ZeNEX in 2011 GSTL March. He also took the second place of his first foreign tournament, the MLG Columbus 2011.

Lee "MarineKing" Jung Hoon, often nicknamed FoxeR, is a Terran player who took the second place of three GSL Events (GSL Open Season 2, 2011 GSL January, and 2011 GSL World Championship). This young player is considered to have one of the best micro-gestion in the world.

Main Article - MC
Main Article - MMA
Main Article - Mvp

Jang "MC" Min Chul is a Protoss player who won GSL Open Season 3, 2011 GSL March, and DreamHack Stockholm Invitational 2011. Generally regarded as the best Protoss player in the world, MC was the first Korean top player to compete in foreign events on a regular basis. He is also known for being a showman who performs various ceremonies and talks harshly to his rivals such as IdrA. However, he went through hard times during the summer 2011, and became the first GSL champion to be demoted in Code B.

Moon "MMA" Sung Won is a Terran player who made his name during 2011 GSTL March, when he contributed to the final victory of SlayerS by beating Mvp in the ace match of the finals. Two months later, he won again the ace match of 2011 GSTL May against DongRaeGu. He was discerned the Most Valuable Player Gold Card for both those GSTL. In June 2011, he won his first major tournament, the MLG Columbus 2011 and would follow this by winning the 2011 GSL October at Blizzcon

Jeong "Mvp" Jong Hyeon is a Terran player who won 2011 GSL January, 2011 GSL World Championship, and 2011 GSL August. Mvp participated for the first time to a foreign event in August 2011, in 2011 MLG Anaheim, which he won after he knocked-out DongRaeGu and MMA. He is known for being almost unbeatable in TvT, having only lost to strong Terran players such as MMA or Bomber. He is also the first GSL winner to have fell in Code A, even though he managed to immediately get back a spot in Code S.

Main Article - NaDa
Main Article - NesTea
Main Article - Polt

Lee "NaDa" Yoon Yeol is a Terran player, who was the most successful player of the StarCraft: Brood War era, having win 3 MBCGame StarCraft League and 3 OnGameNet Starleague. In StarCraft II, NaDa wasn't able of winning a premier event, but remains consistent in GSL Code S and still have a huge fanbase.

Lim "NesTea" Jae Duk is a Zerg player. He was the first person to win three GSL Championships (GSL Open Season 2, 2011 GSL May, and 2011 GSL July. He is also famous for being the only player who won every single game in a GSL, including the finals, without dropping a single set, and for being the only person who won two GSL Code S consecutively. He is known for his extremely strong ZvZ, match-up in which he was defeated for the first time by a foreigner, DIMAGA, during the 2011 GSL World Championship. He is also one of the oldest pro gamers.

Choi "Polt" Sung Hoon is a Terran player, who won 2011 GSL Super Tournament. Unlike most Korean pro gamers, Polt still studies (in Seoul National University). He was the first player to hold the OptimusPrime Title, given to the best player of Prime Clan.

See also:[edit]