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Grand Finals Report

Dana Massey Posted:
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Game&Game World Championships 2006 crowns champions in Silk Road and Shot Online

The Game&Game World Championships 2006 were the culmination of months of online play by players from all around the world in three games. After holding in-person regional qualifying tournaments in Los Angeles, Leipzig, Singapore and Tokyo, the winners met in Suwon, South Korea for the finals. There were sixty-two players from sixteen countries ranging from teenagers to middle-aged who competed in Shot Online, Silk Road Online or Gunbound.

The event was put on by KIPA (The Korean IT Industry Promotion Agency) and part of the GoSuwon 2006 yearly festival put on by the city itself. The three games were selected as three of the best suited Korean produced titles by KIPA. KIPA’s goal is to promote small developers and IT companies so that they can gain a foothold on the world stage.

The winning team for the Gunbound tournament received a $10,000 (US) cash prize, while the winners of Shot Online and Silk Road Online went home with $5,000. Second and third place also received cash prizes $3,000 and $1,000 prizes for all three games.

The Silk Road Online tournament was the only of the three where the developers had to create a special scenario for the players to compete in. As Silk Road is a full online MMORPG, for the finals, Joymax had players from the three qualifying teams compete simultaneously in a dungeon laced with monsters. Players received points for killing monsters, bonus points for killing unique monsters and a few more points for killing other players (while the victim lost them). They were paired into teams of two and the team’s score was the higher of its two members, which encouraged all teams to pursue a strategy where one member racks up points, while the other defends them. The scenario lasted for forty minutes.

To preliminary round consisted of three games where the entire tournament competed simultaneously. The winner of each match then qualified their team for the finals. Michael Jordan and Zachary Witeof of the USA, Jiang Ding and Ren JiaPing of China and Fan Yao Tsun and Fang-Sheng Kao of Taiwan all got their teams into the final game.

Things got off to a bad start for the USA when Jordan threw up his hands in frustration as he crashed to desktop just as the game begun. All told, he was only out of the action for thirty seconds, but immediately Taiwan jumped out to an early lead.

That soon changed, as the Americans recovered from their early problems and took a commanding grip on first place that lasted through the first half of the final. Witeof played the point-gathering character, while Jordan defended. They met their most stiff opposition from the Chinese team, which also boasted the only female competitor to qualify for the finals.

At the midway point, twenty minutes in, China grabbed their first lead of the competition away from the Americans and for a time looked like they were going to a hold it. At the eleven minute mark, the Americans returned to the top, only to lose it with 5 minutes left to China.

As the competition wore down, all the competitors gathered in a single room. The strategy had long since stopped being about beating other monsters, but more about knocking the point totals of their rivals down through PvP. Both Witeoff and the Chinese point leader were killed in the closing moments as spells flew and avatars darted out between giant fantasy monsters on the big screen.

With only two minutes left, Witeoff and Jordan returned to first place and valiantly tried to retain their spot as Witeoff simply ran around the room, dodging ravenous enemies. They could not catch him and the Americans grabbed first place by a razor-thin 10 point margin, followed closely by China and then Taiwan.

MMORPG.com caught up with the winners after the match.

Zachary Witeoff is an 18 year-old Aerospace Engineering student studying in Los Angeles, but originally from Ohio. His teammate is the famously named Michael Jordan, a 21 year old chef from Canyon Country, California.

“We decided I was going to rack up as many points as possible,” explained Witeoff moments after the victory.

The two credited their victory to good teamwork and their ability to guess where the unique monsters would spawn next. Jordan told us he figured out the spawn pattern and the two of them used that to their advantage, although he noted that the other teams likely knew this as well since they always seemed to show up just as the monsters arrived.

“It’s observation,” Jordan said simply.

For the tournament, Witeoff used a hybrid spirit spellcasting character to do maximum damage quickly. Normally, he prefers a blader (tank) character. Jordan used a character very similar to his regular persona who had a 1:1 strength to intelligence ratio and could thus cast and fight hand-to-hand. Joymax rep Jung-Hun Kwag noted that many players consider this a “junk character”. Nonetheless, it won them victory on the day.

Both players normally play on the “Troy” global server. While they are not members of the same guild, they do exist in the same alliance. Witeof is a full-strength blader in the Anbu guild named “Cuchulain”, while Jordan plays a 1:1 hybrid spear in the Idle Knights guild named “nightv”.

The only solo event at the GNGWCs was Shot Online. Unlike Silk Road and Gunbound, where players were organized into teams by country, Silk Road players squared off in a series of golf matches until a winner emerged.

Japanese player Watra “moog” Nagasaki faced off against hometown favorite Cheon-Yong Moon of Korea after they upended Randy Herrera of the USA and Jani Pajula of Finland respectively to make it. Herrera eventually took home the third place prize.

In the final, Nagasaki and Moon were tied through the first 8 holes at 7 under par. Japan then grabbed the lead on hole 9 with a clutch birdie. The score remained unchanged until the twelfth hole, when Nagasaki sunk a long and difficult put for birdie and Moon again pared. The exchange left Nagasaki of Japan up by two strokes. They then continued to match each other, eagle for eagle, birdie for birdie all the way to hole fifteen.

On the fifteenth hole, disaster struck for Moon and his Korean supporters. Moon had trouble sinking his final put and bogeyed the hole to move back to -11. Nagasaki, on the other hand, smoothly took home a birdie and jumped to -15 for a four shot lead. There was no looking back.

The Japanese, and now world champion cruised to victory and the $5,000 prize in front of a disappointed, but supportive, Korea crowd.

Of the three titles, only Gunbound is not an MMORPG. It is a side-view 2D turn-based shooter. The teams were organized by country, with teams of three from all over the world, including the United States and Canada. Unfortunately, both North American teams lost in the early stages of the tournament. Eventually, the team of Nguyen Thanh Tuan, Doan Thanh Nha and Do Minh Tien from Vietnam emerged victorious after their Grand Final match against Christopher Kwan, Kiung Chiu Loong and Alex Ooi of Singapore. Indonesia, represented by Riyanto, Bayu Mustika Alam and Saipul Bahri took home third prize.

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Dana Massey