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HALO REACH, SUPER STREET FIGHTER IV, REVIEWS, PREVIEWS AND NEWS ON THE MOST AWAITED TITLES!

ALESSANDRO “STERMy” AVALLONE

PROFESSION PROGAMER

GROSSETO VIDEOGAMES FESTIVAL: A wEEkEND THAT SETS ON FIRE THE MAREMMA PLAIN! ESPORT ITALIA GUIDES: THE BIRTH OF A CHAMPION! FNIGE INTRODUCES ITSELF Vincenzo Acinapura under the reflectors of eSport Italia


Videogames as Sport

ARE YOU ORGANIZING SPORT EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS IN ITALY? DO YOU WANT TO GROW UP WITH US?

YES, WE CAN! AFFILIATION CAMPAIGN 2010 IN COLLABORATION WITH

C.S.A.IN.

Ente di Promozione Sportiva Roconosciuto dal CONI

www.fnige.org


THE EDITORIAL DIRECTOR SPEAKS An impetus towards future Time tends to transform everything. Competitive videogames, as every hobby of success, are changing in all the world at always faster paces in sports discipline, making more and more people becoming videogames athletes and way more fans to invite at their home friends to observe the streaming (or, in some countries, the tv channel) of their favourite competition. The eSport is like a butterfly that finally comes out of the cocoon: a reality that is known and appreciated because it’s full of qualities and fashion. In Italy we have come to the fullest of this methamorphosis, made concrete by the coming in the scene of F.N.I.G.E., that, following the example of what is happening in Sweden, Germany, China, South Korea and United States of America, it has the objective to bring the electronic sports to the same level of the most followed sports disciplines in our country. We can already observe in the reality of our country, been like frozen for different years, that new sports association have been creating, and new sports events, especially IVL, will start to enrich an environment still to draw. All this is possible thanks to the qualities required by competitive videogames, or better videogames disciplines, that reward the athletes that can use better their intellect, their professionality, their initiative, creativity and passion. This is the reason why we are here debating about eSport with you readers, the reason why we are about to live a new reality full of entertainment and surprises. This time, also in Italy, we are ready to embrace the future.

Carlo “ClouD” Giannacco

YEAR I N. 4 – JUNE 2010 Editorial Director Carlo “ClouD” Giannacco Graphic Project XLC Italy Via Manzoni 15 20060 Gessate (MI) www.xlcitaly.com Editing Mattia Lorenzutti Contributors Federico Bruneri, Claudio Nonni, Simone Sassoli, Luca Spagnoli, Fabio Nan Publisher FNIGE P.zza IV Novembre, 4 - 20124 Milano Tel: (+39) 02 67 16 56 62 Fax: (+39) 02 67 16 52 66 info@fnige.org - www.fnige.org Responsible Director: Sebastiano Silluzio

Summary 4 FNIGE introduces itself 6 News 8 Specials GVF: the electronic sports goes in Tuscany 12 Interviews Alessandro “Stermy” Avallone

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14 Specials The DotA phenomenon 16 Multiplayer Reviews Super Street Fighter IV 18 eSport Italia Guides The birth of a champion 20 Previews Halo Reach

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INTERVIEWS

FNIGE introduces itself Vincenzo Acinapura under the reflectors of eSport Italia This month we have with us Vincenzo Acinapura, National Technical Director of Tekken for F.N.I.G.E., and Secretary of the Sports Association Tekken Italia, recently affiliated to the Federation. Hi Vincenzo, welcome on eSport Italia. Your name is well known by all the community of beat’em ups (and not just that). A name that, with the nomination as National Technical Director of Tekken, acquired even more importance. Could you explain us who you are and how your passion about videogames started, a passion that today brought you to take a role of this relevance? I’ve felt myself attracted by videogames since I was a child. I started to appreciate the social values of gaming just when i started to confront with other fans like me. It happened casually, when a videogames store near my city organized a tournament of Tekken 2. I just bought the Playstation, and I played tekken just with my brother. The idea to compete with other players electrified me, and since then I never stopped to play. I met many people, traveled around Italy and Europe, made friends. As it happens for all the sports and generally every passions, the challenge immediately makes us find people like us and keep contact to them. It’s the social dimension that gives importance to the experience: on www.esportitalia.com

this I invested a lot, and today I am still ready to bet on it. As already stated in precedence, you have just become National Technical Director of Tekken and also Secretary of the A.S. Tekken Italia. In what do these roles consist and which are you commitments in merit? They are two roles I am proud about; the role of National Technical Director of Tekken regards, in the F.N.I.G.E. contest, the writing of rules for competitions organized by the Federation and the supervision of all the operative questions that regard the cited competitions of Tekken. The role of Secretary of the new Sports Association Tekken Italia is, instead, a role definitely operative that regards all the aspects of the life of the Sports Association: from the keeping of social books to the participation, in the Directorate, to all the decisions inherent to the life of the Association. I believe a lot in Tekken Italia, and I insisted so it would be decided to transform an huge community, important, radicated in the territory and made by people that know themselves for real, in an associative movement with clear and unambiguous objectives: it promotes the diffusion of our discipline along values of loyalty and honest competition tipic of every sport. Tell us about the discipline of your competence. What’s the hottest point in Italy regarding

the Tekken community? What chapter of the series is the most played at the moment? Which suggestions would you give to whoever wants to approach the world of Tekken but doesn’t know how to yet? Tekken is a game that counts a good number of fans, distributed almost equally on the national territory. The hottest places are for sure Roma and Milan but there are a lot of players also in other little and big cities. The title of the moment is “Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion”, a chapter that enjoyed a big commercial consensus and that made many people approach the saga. For the fans it’s a very discussed title: some think that it’s a game that rewards too much who “risks”, some on the other hand think that it’s a balanced game, enjoyable

and well structured. Surely the game mechanic evolved, there’s more deepness, the game is less schematic, the fantasy is often rewarded to the detriment of rigor and discipline. So, wanting to simplify, whoever has a “mathematic” approach to the game found more difficulties to adapt. But it’s a speech to long to be done on this interview… The suggestion I can give to whoever wants to approach the world of Tekken is simple: play with other human beings. Don’t give too importance to the on-line play, instead find people passionated like you, travel, meet yourselves and then take part into tournaments. A world will disclose to you and you will be happy, like it happened to me and to every people I met. The beat’em up is a type of 4


INTERVIEWS

tiano Silluzio, a great sensitivity for the theme and a projectual and operative capacity that until now I never seen somewhere else. I am sure that whoever had the chance to meet F.N.I.G.E. was stunned by the clarity of the intents and the pragmaticity of the staff. discipline among the most played in the world, but always lacked sports events. F.N.I.G.E. proposed itself to turn this tendency and wants to launch both Tekken and Street Fighter in the italian sports environment. It’s a new and ambitious project, in which you will have a key role. Are you positive in regard? How do you see the prospective that a day we will have true professional athletes adequately rewarded to compete in the beat’em up discipline they love most? It’s for sure an ambitious idea, that I fully marry and for which I am ready to commit myself concretely. Seeing as in other countries the electronic game conquered a significant importance is for sure reassuring and stimulating. In Italy, www.esportitalia.com

many of the tematic manifestations are commercial, and the idea of F.N.I.G.E. to bring even in our country the competition to a sports level, dragging in first place the Associations, is notable. I am faithful and I hope that we can find a concrete support even from the software houses that make and distribute games, that already demonstrated an interest towards the fans. What do you think about F.N.I.G.E.? Are you satisfied about this collaboration? What are your sensations regarding the Federation? F.N.I.G.E. transmitted me from the start a sensation of huge professionality and seriousness. I am very happy about this collaboration because I recognize, in the person of the President Sebas-

In the interview to Davide Lunardelli of the last number we had his opinion on why he favors 2D to 3D and which differences exist between the two models of fighting games. You represent the other side of the medal and so knowing your opinion is inevitable: what are your preferences and what do you think in regard? The analysis of Davide was honest and objective. Naturally I am sided on the 3D fighting games mostly because of my experience and taste, but I always admired and played 2D titles like Street Fighter, Garou, King of Fighters and many others. They are two decisively different genres, with an approach and a mechanic necessarily different. In the 3D fighting games like Tekken the rhythm is very high, there’s a lot to study

“on paper” to arrive to a complete knowledge of the characters (I refer about frame list, that can’t be ignored when you play at high levels), the game mechanic is more articulated, the spacing and contrasts are totally different. Probably they are less schematic than 2D fighting ones. Surely they require a different way to think and act, and I know many people that love both the genres because of this. What are the future projects for Tekken Italia? Tekken Italia will continue to organize tournaments and meetings, and will participate at the most important manifestations of the sector. We will commit ourselves a lot to promote our discipline and to make as many people as possible close to Tekken. eSport Italia thanks you for your collaboration in this interview and wishes you to complete your projects in the best possible way. Carlo “ClouD” Giannacco 5


NEWS

by Federico Bruneri

THE ITALIAN ELECTRONIC SPORTS STARTS FROM RICCIONE ANTEPRIMA

il 12-13 Giugno 2010

lo sport elettronico entra nella storia www.italianvideogamesleague.com

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he next 12th-13th June, F.N.I.G.E. will organize the biggest italian sports event on the Electronic Game, called IVL Preview 2010 (Italian Championship of Videogames – Italian Videogames League 2010), in the awaited National Festival of Sport CSAIn, supported by the Presidence of the Cabi-

net and CONI. The IVL Preview 2010 will permit thousands of people to live the atmosphere of the true Electronic Sport, for the first time in Italy, and to challenge in passionate tournaments of FIFA 10, Modern Warfare 2, Tekken 6, Super Street Fighter IV, Mario Kart Wii and a lot more, with a

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total prize pool with a value over 4000€! Everything inside a modern structure of over 600qm, the Palaterme of Riccione, immersed in the fantastic Parco del Benessere “Le Perle d’Acqua”, very close to the sea! For all the informations visit the website: www. italianvideogamesleague.

com. F.N.I.G.E. awaits you in Riccione! Don’t miss it!

FNIGE ON FACEBOOK

o come closer to the needs of the fans of Videogames and the Electronic Sports, F.N.I.G.E. has recently inaugurated its Facebook page, that will permit to all the fans and visitors to be always updated on the activities of the Federation, from the supported Events to the Italian Champion-

ships of Videogames. The informations will be given directly inside the Page and through mail messages to all F.N.I.G.E. Fans! The Page is reachable on this link: www.facebook.com/pages/ Federazione-NazionaleItaliana-Gioco-Elettronico/338388593252 (or finding “Federazione Nazionale

Italiana Gioco Elettronico” on the search bar of Facebook). Subscribe now and suggest the page to your friends!

THE GREAT SUCCESS OF ESPORT ITALIA

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great success for eSport Italia! In the first two numbers the only italian magazine on the eSport world caught numerous consensi of the critics and the public, gaining the incredible amount of 2000 unique readers in its opening number and even 3922 readers in its second num-

www.esportitalia.com

ber, launched in March, to testimony the great passion of its readers, fans of the Electronic Sports exactly like all F.N.I.G.E. Staff and the Redaction of eSport Italia that collaborate to the creation of this splendid and unic magazine in the italian6 environment!

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Videogames as Sport

DO YOU OWN A GAMING CENTER? DO YOU WANT TO SUPPORT NATIONAL EVENTS LICENSED BY FNIGE? DO YOU WANT TO BECOME A NATIONAL REFERRING POINT FOR THE ELECTRONIC SPORT?

YES, WE CAN! AFFILIATION CAMPAIGN 2010 IN COLLABORATION WITH

C.S.A.IN.

Ente di Promozione Sportiva Roconosciuto dal CONI

www.fnige.org


SPECIALS

A weekend that sets on fire the maremma plain

Grosseto Videogames Festival: the electronic sports goes in Tuscany

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aturday 22 and Sunday 23 May, over the hospitable Sports Center TCE of Grosseto, happened the first stop of the “Grosseto Videogames Festival”, a great Sports Manifestation organized by the Sports Association ItNS (Italian Navy Seals). The important event, linked to sport and social, supported by the Municipality of Grosseto and F.N.I.G.E., has seen

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even the support of many local partners and Microsoft Xbox 360, putting itself as a splendid occasion for all the fans athletes of the Videogames and the Electronic Sports to confront on the virtual fields of FIFA10, Modern Warfare 2 and Guitar Hero 5 for Xbox 360 and inform themselves on the social activities that surround the Sports Association ItNS founded by Simone Galli. The “Grosseto Videogames Festival” doesn’t

represent in fact just a moment of fun for tens of fans, but it proposes itself as a true marathon for the research on the Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA): a part of the gain of all the stops will be devolved in charity to the Family Association SMA. Two days about social and sports values, very valuable to ItNS and F.N.I.G.E. Coming to the true event, the first impact offers a positive judgement on the manifestation and its organization, with advertising banners and leaflets and a perfectly equipped location: informative desk for subscriptions, online wall charts for the tournaments, with real time updates on the website of the event, an official arbiter equipped with eadphones and microphone linked to loudspeakers of the local, 8 Xbox 360 stations, with all the accessories and divided among them by advertising banners. A winning idea for the FIFA 10

tournament, presenting some “innovative” sides for teamplay in the tournament of Modern Warfare 2, even if the choice to divide the stations answered to the principles of ethic and sports promoted by the Association (the players couldn’t see the screens of other teammates, communicating exclusively through microphone or headphones). Location completed by a beautiful external gazebo, that permitted the players and the families to relax between games, from a bar and a restaurant tipically tuscan at the service of the subscribed people, that had a discount of 10% on the products thanks to the “Fidelity Card ItNS”, a special card that the participants will be able to reutilize in the next stops of the Grosseto Videogames Festival. The event was officialy inaugurated at 9.30 of Saturday 22 May, at the presence of the Major and the Prefect of Grosseto, 8


SPECIALS concert of Senza Respiro came into scene, a notorious musical group that performed in the courtyard of the location with more than an hour of show, giving their contribute to this important manifestation of sport and charity.

of the Sky channel “Maremma Channel”, the Official Arbiter of the event, the entire Staff of the Sports Association ItNS and the delegation of the Family Association SMA, giving a go at a morning dedited to the children affected by SMA that had the possibility to have fun with their families on the Xbox 360 stations, playing titles like FIFA 10 and Forza Motorsport 3. A different morning for them and very important, full of joy www.esportitalia.com

and laughs, because this is also a way to face the disease. At 12.00, at the presence of the National Secretary F.N.I.G.E., Federico Bruneri, the FIFA 10 tournament officially started, in which 12 athletes challenged with their favourite teams in a certainly agonistic mood, but friendly and sportly at the same time. Among the better fought challenges and the easy games, the winner was Filippo “OS pippoas” Burresi, that

after that was the protagonist of a touching deed, applauded by the whole hall: Filippo has in fact refused the prize legitimately won by him, preferring to put it into an auction, in a way the gain could be given to charity in favour to the SMA Families. An important deed that proves once again the spirit of the events organized by the Sports Association ItNS and by F.N.I.G.E.. Before the Grand Final the

In the day of Sunday 23 May the tournament of Modern Warfare 2 was held with 8 teams of athletes coming from all Italy, busy challenging themselves with their pads, warming even more the hot day. The availability given by the Association ItNS classifies itself simply as sublime, which concerned itself to organize a bus service for the teams, from the rail station of Grosseto to the place of the event, even sending a car to Siena to get an athlete of the team The Snipers that got stuck, making possible for his team to take part regularily to the tournament. At the end the ones on top were the Yakuza, that were awarded with the final victory after an highly fought game against the excellent NKVD Multigaming. To complete the day, lastly, a lot of spectacle and fun at the station of Guitar Hero 5, dedicated to the entertainment and a mini-tourney. An event very well organized altogether, symbol of fun, sports and charity. A deserved approval for the Sports Association ItNS, for the event and its goals, hoping that it will set an example for the next events in the eSport world, and the appointment is to the next stage of the Grosseto Videogames Festival. Claudio “Shadow” Nonni 9


SPECIALS

Interview to “pippoas” winner of the FIFA 10 tournament Hi Filippo, welcome on eSport Italia! Before speaking about your result let the readers know you better. How did you become a videogames athlete? And the discipline of your competence? I am Filippo Burresi and I have 20 years. I come from Empoli and i am a student at the last year of high school. I started my videogames career playing Imperium on PC. Thanks to a friend I’ve discovered the world of Xbox 360, playing and having fun mostly at the disciplines of the FIFA and NBA 2k series. Let’s switch now the sports manifestation that you just took part in: what did you think about this event and its organization? It was a really nice event, without problems, really well organized and managed. Finding a critic isn’t easy, the valuation www.esportitalia.com

as first event is positive for sure. How did you live this event in the difficulties that you encountered and what were your sensations in the moment of victory? Was it the first live competition you took part into? It was my first live event and everything is completely different compared to online. At first I was agitated, but after the first victory I could calm myself and find lucidity in the game. The most difficult opponent I faced was Cesare “TS Leokiller”, a good friend of mine whom I often confront live mostly with bad results. To beat him, even if not by much, was a great satisfaction, from there I really thought I could do it. When I obtained the victory in the final it was really an immense joy, because I won the first live event I ever took part.

We are with you in the emotion of this great result, these are the experiences that make the eSport a magic world to live in first person. Which suggestions would you give to our readers that want to reach this kind of result? I suggest to everyone to play with the primary objective of having fun. I think it’s the most important thing and the success is a direct consequence. A very praiseworthy deed has seen you protagonist after your victory in the FIFA 10 tournament: the decision to put into auction the prize legitimately won by you thanks to your performance and giving the gain in charity to the SMA Families. Explain us the reason that made you do this. My deed was spontaneous in an event that has among

its objectives the contribution to the research on the Spinal Muscular Atrophy and so to do charity. I think I’m a lucky guy and I just wanted to do something more, in my own small way, for whoever is less lucky than me. The joy to win the finals was enough as a personal prize, and the most beautiful prize is the possibility to help the children that need it. We congratulate with you for having decided to pick this choice, thanking you for this splendid example of solidarity and also the Sports Association ItNS that gave the opportunity to us fans of the electronic sport to know and interact with an important reality like the Muscular Atrophy that is often ignored, like it doesn’t exist. Back to us, can you reveal us your future projects in the field of 10


SPECIALS Declaration of Simone Galli eSport Italia aslo collected a declaration, released at the end of the sports manifestation, to our microphone by the president of the Sports Association ItNS that has organized this event, who gave his impressions:

eSport and the videogames world? At the moment I don’t have real project. Recently I’ve been taken into the Staff of XLC, one of the most prestigious italian sites in the management and organization of tournaments and events, and it is my intention to keep going this way. Besides this I will simply continue to have fun online with my friends, maybe finding a FIFA team with which I can be in company and participate to some online events.

“I am very satisfied of the good turn out of this event, especially for its noble aim. All our events will be in this direction, contributing socially and will follow always what are for us the fundamental norms, the respect for the opponent and polite living. As a first step the balance is positive for sure, but we will get better for the future. We know that some things went good and some went less good. For example we should push more the event from a publicitary point of view. As a last thing I would like to thanks the staff of the Association that made all this possible, the Official Arbiter of the event for his precious and professional contribution and all the people that supported us.”

We thank you for your collaboration. The eSport Italia Staff wishes you good luck for the next competitions! Claudio ‘Shadow’ Nonni

www.esportitalia.com

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intervieWS

Alessandro “Stermy” Avallone Profession: progamer

With our highest pleasure this month the interviewed athlete is not definable just as a winner or a peak figure. Alessandro Avallone is a real legend in the eSport environment worldwide, as well as the leading player of ours. Let now speak the italian king of the videogames competition: Stermy! Hi Alessandro, welcome on eSport Italia! In the italian and international eSport environment you are basically known by everyone, nonetheless the first question is ritual: who are you? How did your career as a videogames athlete start? What are the titles of your competence? My name is Alessandro Avallone, in art Stermy, I am 23 and I was born in Andora, a small but beautiful village in the province of Savona. I am a fan of videogames since I was little, when at the age of 3 my parents gifted me with my first console, the Sega Master www.esportitalia.com

System. Since then I’ve grown this great passion until now. I started to play at a professional level in 2001/2002, at the age of 14. All started casually, taking part to the first Lan Party at Florence in 2001, where I knew a lot of beautiful people and thanks to the new friendships and the passion for the videogame and the competitions I started slowly to train to reach the first goals. A year after that, I won the World Cyber Games qualifiers in 2002, going with the italian national team in Korea at the videogames Olympics. From that moment I started to travel more and I kept going with my hobby aswell that, a bit for a chance, a bit for skill, became my job. In my career as professional player I’ve played at 9 different titles obtaining important results at a worldwide level in Quake III Arena, Painkiller, Doom 3, Unreal Tournament 2004, Quake 4, Fifa 07, Fifa 08 and QuakeLive.

At some point you must have realized you had the talent to become a champion. In which way did you notice this predisposition and how did the change from a simple gamer to professional player known in all world happen? Honestly it wasn’t a planned thing, in a sense that my only objective when I started was to be able to play and maybe win some games against the best players of the moments, against my idols. This brought me to train even more, to love the competition, the scene, to tighten friendships with a lot of people and to reach objectives along them that were very important to me. At the start there were a lot of sacrifices and a lot of dedication; I wasn’t either paid or one of the best players at a worldwide level, but just the italian champion and maybe in the world top20, a good result for a 15 years old guy but with a lot of more work to do to reach the objectives

I set for myself. With time, organization, the support of my family and a lot of will, in one or two years I could reach my goal and I affirmed myself among the best players in the world. Even obtaining some successes at international level, surely the most important tournament that launched my career was the Electronic Esport World Cup of 2004: at 17 years I reached the finals beating Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel, the best and most famous player of these times. Surely an important goal, something I dreamt for a long time and to reach it was surely one of the best episodes in my career if not one of the most significant ones. From there then I started to be sponsored at a professional level, to travel every month in a different country for competitions and practically to live in foreign countries. Which are the most important placements that you achieved in Italy and out12


intervieWS

side Italy? The experiences you remember with more emotion? In Italy I’ve won all the tournaments I’ve taken part from 2002 to now. Surely the most important tournament for me, as person and player, was the NGI LAN 2002 in Assago, winning the qualifiers for World Cyber Games 2002. It was the first tournament I prepared for for months in an adequate way with an objective and in which I could bring home my first real gold medal. All my team, my family and my friends were there to support me and surely I will never forget that moment, a moment that marked me. All the other tournaments were very nice for sure, like the SmauILP 2004, but not as exciting as the one of 2002. The next dates in which we can see you in action again? I will take part to Dreamhack from 19 to 22 june, maybe at ESWC in France between the end of june and the start of july, Quakecon at Dallas in www.esportitalia.com

august, all the ESL Extreme Master stops from september (probably Dubai, Germany, etc.) and other tournaments. We know very well that in Italy the competition was never at the levels of other videogames realities, like for example the swedish one. The reasons are different, first among them a common ignorance about this world, that on the other hand demonstrated to be in other countries full of potential and that can give an unlimited entertainment for tens of thousands of people. Why do you think we lost the train of the eSport in the past? I don’t think we lost the train, I just think we never took it. We bought the ticket in the first golden years, from 2000 to 2003/2004, but unfortunately I think we were too excited for the vacation that we lost it. Small errors here and there, wrong decisions, very little information from the media, sometimes people that thought too much about their personal

interest. I am sad, because there was a basis and it wasn’t bad, but if everything goes well things will change soon and all the italian players and the fans will have surely something to aim to from this year onward. In this moment you are an affirmed athlete and of great fame, but as for every professional there will come a day in which you will have to stop playing and dedicate yourself to something new. Did you already think about your future in this manner? If yes, do you think to keep working on the eSport universe anyway? I always thought about my future from the first moment I had to take important decisions in my life. I am keeping some very interesting projects going, some of them will be released soon for the italian gaming. Something I wanted to create for my country, for the gaming, for the players, for the people that always supported me, for all the

people that were close to me since I was little and that treated me as an adult, making me grow and reach the goals I was aiming to. I promised years ago that I would have been back and I would have created something and soon you will see the results. Apart from this, I don’t know what I will do 5 years from now. Sincerely I am waiting a new game on which I can start a new agonistic adventure, keeping anyway my participation on the various QuakeLive tournaments, but when I will stop playing I will focus surely on my brand, on the business of the sector and many other opportunities. Thank you for the interview! The eSport Italia staff returns the thanks. We will follow with interest your next successes and we wish you will be an inspiration for many new videogames athletes! Carlo “ClouD” Giannacco

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SPECIALS

The DotA phenomenon

Defense of the Ancients: a game created by its players that reached levels of quality and popularity never seen before. Few videogames overcome the barrier of the entertainment and become a mean of competition among professional athletes: the greatest part of them are the few series of success and their sequels, like Quake or Pro Evolution Soccer, or games of the same genres of proven interest and success, like first person shooters, sports, strategics and beat’em ups. This isn’t the case for Defense of the Ancients, a discipline of which the exponentially growing success was something truly amazing. It isn’t possible to catalogue easily Defense of the Ancients, commonly abbreviated into DotA, in one of the already existing genres: in it we can find strategic, action and role playing components. In DotA two teams of five players challenge themselves in a 5 on 5 format where each player uses an hero. The goal is to defend your own base and destroy the one of the opponents. During the www.esportitalia.com

game the hero, picked freely among over ninety heroes available, is capable of acquiring experience points, with which it can gain and power up its abilities and gold with which it can acquire weapons and items; both resources are important to face the opposing heroes, against which they fight since the beginning of the game. Born as an user-made map of the strategy game Warcraft III and initially thought just as one of the many alternatives of the original game, DotA has among its principal features an optimum learning curve, which means that it presents very deep mechanics and wide strategic spaces but still being easy to learn, a continuous and reliable support from its creators and mostly it’s fun since the first approach. For this reason DotA has rapidly acquired popularity, not just online, until it became a separate phenomenon, thanks constant updates and improve-

ments and the frequent introduction of new content. Inevitably, DotA was introduced in some of the most important sports events of the field, like DreamHack, ASUS Cup and Electronic Sports World Cup, and the growing interest made many of the most important western companies, like “SKGaming” and “Fnatic”, add a DotA team to their athletes roster. In this way many competitions were born at a national and international level, which stimulated the creation of stable teams, in contrast with an individual play experience with changleable teams that defined the gaming experience until then: not casual games with random people and teams anymore, but trainings between teams organized to practice strategies and roles in preparation to tournaments. Also Italy, even if for a short period of time, has seen its players arranging teams and chang-

ing from an amateur game to a competitive one and some of them reached decent results, best among them the Inferno eSport team. In the meantime the phenomenon reached Asia, and here it found the most fertile field, making tens of thousands of players enthusiastic about the game and finding space in the most important events of the east asian sector. The evolution of the game conception made the game evolve in consequence. There were born strategies, defined the roles for players, reanalyzed the playable heroes and the best combinations discovering new available and working options. The movements and communication acquired an importance comparable to the one necessary in Call of Duty or CounterStrike - a surprising factor for a strategic game, in which usually few signals are enough to make your allies understand you. But most of all, the choice of your 14


SPECIALS

character wasn’t decided by your own preferences, it was now decided by the tactic, the necessities, the role inside the team and the opponent’s choices. Besides, the upgrades to the map weren’t just new contents or graphic adjustments anymore, they were about game balancing and bug fixing with the will by programmers to make DotA an adequate game for competition. Nevertheless some basic characteristics always made hard for DotA to affirm itself as an agonistic discipline. In primis the lenght of a single game, variable between fourty and sixty minutes and without interruptions, unlike the vast majority of team games in which games are usually divided in rounds. Besides the interesting actions are often very fast and distributed in different parts of the map, making difficult to follow the game for spectators - without considering that it’s very difficult www.esportitalia.com

to understand what’s going on without having a certain degree of confidence with the game, unlike sports disciplines where you can easily understand what’s going on and why. In the end, the old graphic design and the restrictions imposed by the fact it’s a custom map of a different game are among the principal reasons why DotA never retained the necessary importance in the european sports events, even remaining steadily among the most played and followed games, both amateurish and professionally, in the last years. A solution to this problem could be found in Heroes of Newerth, a videogame that copies a great part of DotA’s mechanics and characters and separates them from Warcraft III, transporting them to a new and better graphic design and adding numerous characteristics that make easier and more interesting the game experience. At

the moment the majority of the athletes is still close to the original platform but many known names, like Kim “Drayich” Larsson and Jonathan “Loda” Berg, already decided to give Heroes of Newerth a chance participating to the dedicated tournaments. What’s sure is that we will still hear speaking about DotA for a long time. Simone “aShuN” Sassoli

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MULTIPLAYER REVIEWS

Super Street Fighter iV

The most succesful beat’em up comes back in a SuPERior form. TESTEDN VERSIO

At the distance of more than a year X O XB by the console release of Street

ENJOYMENT

9 9 10 9 cOMMuNiTY

TOuRNAMENTS

SuPPORT

From Street Fighter Alpha there are Guy, Cody and Adon while regarding Street Fighter III there couldn’t be Fighter IV it’s finally available in every missed Dudley, Ibuki and Makoto. store the newest and corrected version of the title that had the capa- These last 6 fighters come from titles with a very different playstyle than the city of launching again the genre of bidimensional beat’em ups at a world IV chapter, that wink at the gameplay level, we’re obviously speaking about of Street Fighter II, but in spite of this difficulty the guys from Capcom Super Street Fighter IV. succeeded to integrate perfectly the But in what does exactly consist different fighting styles to give more this revision of the beat’em up per variety to the fights. excellence? Is it really worth its price or does it represent a DLC, a downlo- Obviously the adds don’t stop here: adable content, decisively expensive? to each character was given a new Ultra Combo that sums to the ones Let’s find it out together. already present in the standard verThe most important news that are sion of Street Fighter IV and seleceasy to be seen compared to its table before the start of the match. predecessor are for sure the 10 new characters introduced in the cast that These new moves don’t just have now form a roster of 35 fighters. Two an aesthetic factor or a variation to completely new fighters were realized the damage done to the opponent in case of good results but they confor the occasion: Juri, the Taekwonstitute a cool way to contrast some doo fightress, the Korean fighting characters that before would have style based principally on the use of legs and Hakan, a curious Oil Wrest- had an edge on ours without many ling practitioner that bases its attacks difficulties. Regarding this, every character belonging to the old cast on throws using the oil that spreads was changed to reduce at minimum over his own body to increment the the presence of some matches reach of some moves. practically impossible that coud be Added to these two new “street encountered in Street Fighter IV. To fighters” old glories of the past are give an example we can find Sagat, presented again like Dee-Jay and T. the old dominant character, to be Hawk from Super Street Fighter II.

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nerfed at the right point in a way it’s dangerous only if used by expert athletes and with a good knowledge of the title, while Guile, always been at the bottom of the chart, thanks to some modifies is now in good form and ready to fight the once unbeatable colossi. The single player modes were sligtly changed, in fact the “Survival” and “Time Attack” modes were removed in favor of bonus levels present in the old chapters: the car destruction and the fall of the barrels in the cellar. The modes that made it through this title are the unfalling “Arcade” mode, where the story of each character can be discovered through animestyle films at the start and the end of it, the “Challenges” regarding the 35 fighters of the game, useful to

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MULTIPLAYER REVIEWS

Tournament Mode The 15th of June Capcom will release a free DLC on both gaming platforms containing the “Tournament Mode” that consists in the organization of a single elimination mini online tournament composed by 4 or 8 participants and the game host will be able to save the replays of the entire tournament, including the games not played, to be able to show it to his friends. Really an interesting addition to put a bit more competitiveness in the matches!

learn the basic techniques and the advanced ones of each character and the “Training” mode to practice in the use of combos or other techniques. Going to the online department there can be instantly noticed different news as the “Infinite Battle”, a mode “arcade” style in which a group of a maximum of 8 people play with the rule “whoever wins remains” and the “Team Battle” that, as the name suggests, features 2 teams fighting each others composed by a maximum of 4 people, like it happens in many tournaments. Another important add was the “Replay Channel”, it’s now in fact possible to see the www.esportitalia.com

matched of other players playing from all over the world through some filters that, honestly, could be implemented a little better. Replay researches can be set based on the continent of the various athletes or on the utilyzed characters in the fight, however it isn’t possible to filter replays from your friend list or based on player names. Each game can be saved and reviewed everytime you want to, even in friends company, and even slowing the playing rhythm, showing the keys pressed by the two challengers to see exactly what they were doing.

Summing it up, Super Street Fighter IV is a very good title that can’t be left on the shelters by the lovers of the “classical” version. It was reviewed and corrected in its major flaws and was extended with new characters, ultras and stages to offer every kind of player a never frustrating experience, easy to learn in its technical side (and for this I suggest you to read the excellent guides of Dario “Angel666” Bertollini) and satisfactory to play! Luca “Gold Jok3” Spagnoli

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esport italia GUiDEs

The birth of a champion How can a common player become a star? A guide to everything you need to know to do the real quality jump. This month I will write a very special guide, speaking about arguments of great importance for whoever wants to join the videogames athlete that gained the title of “champion” in their career. Even if there isn’t a recipe ready to become a champion there can be done some important considerations in regard that, even if for the best ones they might be obvious, for many aspiring winners they could make the difference. It’s useless to negate that there are some genetic factors at the basis of the exceptional ability of some of the most known athletes. But they are isolated and rare cases. To better understand this argument in South Korea were operated some neurological tests on some professionists of Starcraft to understand what their brain has of different compared to the one of a normal fan of the discipline.

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The only exceptional result was the brain of Lee Young Ho, known as Flash, the best of all times. The rest are just normal people, that during their commitment in a game are concentrated to the maximum and they don’t let their sensitivity condition them. Therefore the innate talent is something that very few people in the world can have in the eSport environment, and it isn’t absolutely the necessary component that makes an athlete succesful. Anyone, with the right commitment and a correct practice, can become a future winner of a gold cup and a money prize. He has just to face the thing in the right way. It’s fundamental to understand that the choice of the discipline in which you want to excel is of primary important. It’s useless to try becoming competitive at Street Fighter or Tekken if you live

on a little island far from the major meeting places of the country. In that case it would be appropriate to pick another one perfectly playable online, like for example FIFA, Starcraft or PES. The choice of the correct discipline is the first important step towards the glory in the eSport world, and it surely has to be done both with the heart and rationally. Once chosen in what you want to compete the first step isn’t to turn on your console or the PC and train until exhaustion. The practice is useless if it isn’t channeled in a correct way, and to do that you have to inform yourself first. All the videogames disciplines are very deep and complex. It’s necessary to know the mechanics of what you want to train to practice with profit, speaking to the experts of the sector, reading on the internet the most useful guides. The best move to do all this is to find the

referring community, to get to the most competent people. Wanting to do an example, if I decided to compete at Super Street Fighter IV I will join the community of Arcade-Extreme, first introducing myself and saying that I have the intention to start interesting seriously in that field. At that point I will read the guides on their portal, see the videos, inform on the next events at which I can be present and, gradually, I will become part of that group of people. This will allow me from a practical point of view to feed my passion for the discipline in which I want to excel and to be always in contact with a group of athletes that practice to get better everyday, to reach new goals. It’s with them that my ability will grow day after day, that I will speak about strategies thought while I go back home from work, that I will share the best moments of my career of

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esport italia GUiDEs

videogames athlete. A community is like a living thing: the whole works and has a sense because of the parts and vice-versa. The community needs me as much as I need it, and joining it is an inescapable component to become competitive. At this point we have the tools to start practicing correctly. We will start with the most simple things, trying to imitate the playstyle of our favourite professionist, to learn the basics. Understanding your own mistakes and learn how to get better is the basis of this process. For this the main characteristic of the professionist is humilty. The humilty always allows to understand your own mistakes, to never overvalue yourself, to always modify yourself in a better way and to seem also nice to the eyes of the people with who we are practicing. A champion is such because www.esportitalia.com

he can always find its gaps and always fills them. There’s never a point of arrival, you always have to climb. The choice of the opponents is another aspect of great importance. Ideally you should alternate the opponents from the ones at your own levels to the better ones. This because playing with better opponents you learn better strategies, you refine the technique, but it very often results on just losing. Passing to opponents at your own level you harvest the fruits of your practice, and you understand in what you got better and in what you can still get better. And this way it becomes a cycle, hitting the forehead against better players to utilize the ones at your level as a meter to judge your own skills. At the end we will always find ourselves to compete against the same people we practice with, so it’s advisable to

never show all that you got and to keep some secret cards to play at the right moment. The point of arrival is the real sports event, the one in which, winning, you are remembered as a champion. In this sphere you can notice an interesting phenomenon: some athletes tend to give absolutely inferior performances than the aspectatives. The cause is that during a competition all the participants are tense, and a lot of them let their sensitivity overwhelm them. A professionist always takes the competition head on in the best possible mental setup, and in case it goes wrong it doesn’t matter, because there will be another occasion to prove his worth. The biggest error that you could do in this type of context is to let the doubts and ansiety take over your confidence. Even when you are losing the logic and coldness will be always

in favor to turn the table and to bring you to victory, even in the most desperate situations. At the very end what distinguishes a champion from a common videogames athlete is the commitment he puts in what he does, the way he invests his time to get better, the passion he finds in winning and in finding always new goals. A inhumanly high IQ or innate abilities aren’t required to succeed, you just need to apply deeply, looking always forward, never losing confidence at the first difficulties. This is the real fashion of the champion, its weapon against all the obstacles that are put between him and his goal, the source of his inexhaustible will to go always higher, to the summit. Carlo “ClouD” Giannacco

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PREVIEWS

Halo Reach

Is the king of console shooters back? A few days before the multiplayer beta open to public, Microsoft gifted some codes for the press to anticipate the judgement of the masses: we fans are very happy about this gift because we spent our last weeks litterary drooling on a very cool beta and well balanced in almost all its aspects. The biggest disappointment is not being able to create private games among friends, that were the strong point of the last chapters. After this little delusion we will start to fight in their games. In the first place, the game is considerably changed compared to the third chapter. The removal of the battle rifle, the BR, the weapon that was the mark of the series for years, maybe after the initial shock was the best thing that happened to the game. With Halo 3, You could bring an Assault Shotgun and a BR and manage any type of encounter at middle and long distance. It isn’t like this in Reach. The BR has been sostituted with DMR, a new shotgun with a single hit, with half the range from a long distance weapon. The DMR is for a great part unefficient in the short distance, as it should be. Unless you don’t have steel nerves (or a great amount of experience) it will be hard to kill someone with DMR from a close distance. The Magnum gun has had a controversal story in Halo. From being a true menace in www.esportitalia.com

the first chapter to be almost useless in the other ones. It’s good to see that the gun now is what it should be: an important secondary weapon. Now if the shotgun runs out of ammunitions it is possible to switch to the gun and finish with simplicity an opponent with low shields, in close encounters it seems a lot more powerful than any other shotgun. Let’s see now to the sad notes: the granades and the new sistem of hand to hand fight. The granades have a different throwing angle and are like atomic bombs. We hope they will be nerfed in the game. The system of hand to hand combat seems very casual, it’s usual after an hit to lose the orientation on the opponent. It would be enough to do a step back, the old system was

perfect. The globally better improvement with weapons is the fact that now there’s a reason to use them all. The armor abilities are a nice addition to the game. To be allowed to change in game helps the players to adapt at the changing conditions on the battlefield, even if the only ability that seems useful in the competitive settings is the run. We have seen the new weapons, the new abilities of the armor and the “new” shields. Now the question is if this game thanks to the Professional League of Halo, l’MLG, will become competitive.

The answer is… we don’t know yet. Speaking on what was demonstrated until now in the last chapters it could go in both directions, but everything comes down to a deciding factor: the personalization. The reason why Halo 3 was a success even if it wasn’t a competitive game like Halo 2 was that the players could do what they wanted, and playing the game as they wanted; 300% speed and plasma guns? They had them! Of course we can have a starting layout with an armor and an ability, but can we have the control of the weapons that we would have in any layout? Will it be possible to disable these layouts? These are the questions that will tell if this game will be competitive along with a good set of maps. Concluding, the game was further refined but its nucleus remained intact. Therefore Halo remains a certainty in the multiplayer field, although the rivals have become always more fierce in the years. The positive thing is that competition seems to having been useful to this title and its team, which isn’t disposed to fall behind or lose time at all. Fabio “Ne0n” Nan

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