Bootcamp Stories: Laser Tag with the SC2 Boys

October 18 2016
StarCraft is often known more for its individual aspects than being a team game, but having team mates certainly makes a big difference. We recently had a bootcamp with all our StarCraft 2 players in attendance at Liquid HQ, and the players spent their time theorycrafting and helping each other improve their game.

Our players didn't just practice while bootcamping at HQ though. They had a fun time bonding too, shooting each other with lasers outside of the game. By that, we mean laser tag. MaNa and TLO share their thoughts on the whole experience and just what bootcamping means for them as professional players.




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First of all I must admit, that I have needed a direct focus on StarCraft for a while. I've been going through some stuff in my private life and it always bugged me somewhere in the back of my head. StarCraft practice is not only about playing a game, win or lose, and queuing up another one, repeat. It's about knowing what you want to do in that exact game: prepare the plan, practice it, and fully focus on the task. You want to gain the most you can from every game you play. Team Liquid provided me with the exact things I needed to achieve this state. Comfortable beds, clean sheets, towels, practice room with just enough private space, great computers, perfect internet connection and people happy to help you with food. Greeting us with a Wi-Fi password on the gaming room door so we can use it on our (you guessed it right) HTC phones was a nice touch.

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The practice environment of people around you playing, the sound of mice and keyboards clicking, mobilizes you to do it yourself. There was no slacking, everyone was playing. Every time someone had a cool game to share or needed some advice, we simply asked our teammates and they are right there to help you, so you can see their point of view about the game. Jens' and Bunny's calm and collected strategy and mechanic choices, Dario's creativity and smart thinking, Marc's simple but effective decision making and Kevin's solid build orders sped up the process of learning and the game you had just struggled with would turn out to be so easy when analyzed by a group of professionals.

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I think what's most important about us is that we all get along with each other pretty well. There is no black sheep that you don't want to spend time with. Wait, maybe I am the black sheep. Everyone hates Protoss, right? Anyway. We had our struggles during the KeSPA Cup and WESG qualifiers, and even simple ladder games, but we all gathered to be there for each other. It made it easier to carry the burden of disappointment.

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When thinking about the most memorable moment of the bootcamp I can't help but recall Jens sleeping under the freaking table in 30 degrees Celsius weather, at like 4PM, when the KeSPA Cup qualifier was the next day, rather than going to bed just because he would not walk out of the bed for another 24 hours.

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This bootcamp taught me a lot of new things. The different perspectives of each individual helped me to understand the game better. With all the hard work put in the team house, you need to get some fresh air. We would go on a night walk around midnight, to "catch the bus" even though the last one left around 8:50PM. That's so hilarious; brilliant joke, I know. We also went to the gym together, and played basketball and laser tag as a group. It was so fun to spend a lot of time together socializing with people I talk to most of the time through the internet, but people I consider good friends. From a player perspective and as this was my first boot camp ever I wanted to thank Team Liquid and all people involved for taking such a good care of us and I hope that the increased skill we gained through it will flourish with results.






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It was incredibly important for me to boot camp. I was very unhappy with my play in the past months and it started to really affect my well-being. Now, I feel like I can actually play properly and progress again. For me personally it was also a great experience to find out that I'm able to play 40-50 games a day again without causing any major pain in my hands or arms, at least over a limited period of time.

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When you're surrounded by other players, training all day and talking to each other about the game, it's easy to be motivated to improve. Everyone in TL plus our guest Protoss Harstem is just so chill, no one has any annoying ego issues which makes training and just feeling good about yourself very easy. I think the majority of SC2 pros have a good sense of self-deprecating humour and self criticism, which makes it easy to poke fun at each other and criticize play but without anyone's feelings getting hurt.

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We almost didn't have to worry about anything because the team provided us with catering and Erik from Liquipedia also cooked for us a couple of times. It definitely makes it different when you don't need to take care of every day life chores for a while; there's so many hours in the day to practice all of the sudden. SC2 players outside of team houses aren't used to having everything done for them, and usually we need to take care of things ourselves, so I think we can still appreciate those efforts a lot. I was definitely very grateful and I think the others were too.

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Overall just good vibes all around, lots of games played, lots of things learned and it's always fun to hang out with Grzegorz, Patrick, Jens and Kevin. It's also the first time I spent more time with Marc and I'm happy to find out that he's also a really cool funny guy that fits into the team just perfectly. Whenever we get to hang out as a team I think everyone has a good time. Feeling good about yourself and enjoying yourself helps you play better; it's something that many players neglect occasionally.

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Stress... is probably the biggest enemy of us SC2 players. Anything from outside the game that can distract you is lethal and after the bootcamp, despite the amount of training, I felt less stressed than before. Except maybe the soundtracks of geometry being burned into my brain forever thanks to Marc and Grzegorz. Still, I can't wait for the next time, I hope it's sooner rather than later. ^_^

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