Comments were made pre-tournament along the lines of "Warcraft III - is that it?" - an understandable question from gamers across a wide variety of franchises and genres. Having witnessed first hand the sheer logistical nightmares of tournaments in the past which have attempted to pander to multiple games / genres, I certainly do not begrudge the decision to only play one game.
And so to the second question: "Why Warcraft III? *moan*". I can allay any notion of an anti-CounterStrike conspiracy theories right now – the organisers felt it better to crown an individual champion, rather than run a team event. Seeking a game that two heavyweights could battle it out on Kasparov-stylee, Andrew Braithwaite, the tournament manager for i19's ACON4 offering suggested that while games such as Command & Conquer Generals might strike more of a cord with gamers in the west, Asia maintains a special affinity with Warcraft III, which goes a little to explaining it's choice perhaps - in addition to it being a "really superb game".
Warcraft III on the big screen.
And so, after much grunting of Orcs and clashing of swords, the field of twenty was whittled down to just two: [TAG] BoNd and [TAG] PureB@il. Surprisingly, it made for remarkably interesting spectator viewing, helped along by the commentary following the action as the game was relayed to the masses via a projector in the 2nd floor bar area. Having maintained a flawless record during the earlier rounds, BoNd would have to be defeated twice, according to the double elimination structure of the tournament. The match was packed full of drama, and the atmosphere amongst the spectators rivalled a World Cup Penalty Shoot-out. It was extremely close until the final stages, when panic set in and things went a little pear-shaped.
There could be only one winner: BoNd, Alex Bond (sorry mate - I couldn't resist that one!). And like his namesake, Alex, a twenty-three year old computer store manager, is no stranger to travelling the world. I don't think his performance this weekend was Martini fueled, and he wouldn't comment on his success rate with the ladies, but as a member of [TAG] - Team AMD Gaming - one of the UK's few sponsored gaming clans, he has previously attended the World Cyber Games final in Korea, walking away with a silver gaming award for his efforts.
Alex 'BoNd' Bond, winner of the UK leg of ACON4.
Confident for the Final in Shanghai, Bond suggests that there's still a wealth of scope for semi, and even wholly professional gaming teams in the UK. Sponsored gaming is a relatively new concept for the UK, while other countries Europe and world wide have been fielding these teams of super clans for some time - with a lack of events within the UK being as much of a constraint as anything else. We'll be following his progress with interest come the finals, and we wish him the best of luck.