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‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast

Today’s question comes from Rithel, who asks

A: I think the Korean SC2 scene has been on its last legs and has been so for awhile. There haven’t been an influx of new players for a long period of time and I don’t think the game itself creates any kind of draw for new players to get picked up or for existing players to be supported like they were in the past. If you want, you can think of it this way. When you look at Korean esports in other games like LoL or Overwatch, what you’ll find is that if you literally take the top 40-50 players from Korea and have them move over to NA or EU, within one year’s time you will get another top 40-50 players who are competing around that level. The same can’t be said of the current KR SC2 scene as there are far less players than there were in the past. For instance, I don’t think making Code S is as distinguished as it was from 2012-2015 because Code A isn’t nearly as difficult.

 

As for Serral’s victories, it depends on what you mean. I don’t think this is the hardest era ever (I consider 2013-2015 to be peak SC2 given how many more players were playing with better conditions). But it’s still fairly competitive (at least far better than 2016, which I though was the worst year). The only influence of meaning is if you are trying to compare or rank Serral to players within past ages. That could be a piece of context you should consider.

At the same time though, it’s only one of many. To do it justice, you’d have to break down what has changed in the game between each patch and expansion, how that influenced the different players in terms of what skills/talents were being rewarded/limited at each respective point. Take all of those factors and then watch the games and try to visualize those concepts to compare and contrast them. I don’t think there is any kind of objective answer as to how good Serral is compared to the past greats because so much has changed. The only way to come up with a meaningful and worthwhile answer is to figure out what it means to be good. What are the qualities that make up a great player. Come up with those criteria and then try to consistently judge every player with the exact same metric.

For instance, I’m a big advocate of Mvp despite the fact that his prime was from 2011-2012 and it outside of the most competitive era. One of the reasons for this is because of the type of game he was forced to play in 2012. When I consider Serral, I have to think of him within the context of LotV. WoL and HotS are entirely different types of games compared to LotV and so the ability to directly compare his achievements becomes even harder. So while it could influence the meaning of Serral’s victories, that single factor in and of itself doesn’t necessarily color Serral’s achievements. I haven’t done a large scale investigation, so take this with a grain of salt. I’d say it’s comparable to 2011 in terms of difficulty. While 2011 had more players, there was a lot less raw information about how to play SC2. While in 2018, there are less players, but every pro understands SC2 at a higher level overall which doesn’t mean it’s a higher skill level necessarily (that’s a completely different discussion), but it does mean that it demands more refinement from top level players to stay at the apex (though again not as much as the KeSPA era).

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