|Match Date||Tuesday, July 11th, 2006|
|Warcraft - 45.12%|
37 for - 128 against
|Warcraft - 33.94%|
For whatever reason, this here match was the big argument pre-contest. Not the final, which was probably a tossup from day one, but a one-point match in which the winner was guaranteed to lose next round.
Blizzard likes to screw with people in these contests. Everyone knows about Starcraft's run in 2004, followed by Diablo's this-run-makes-me-look stronger-than-I actually-am effort in 2005, followed by Kerrigan and Diablo stinking it up that very summer. And here we were, two years after Blizzard's initial splash in these contests, seeing Warcraft in a bracket for the first time.
Compared to Diablo and Starcraft, at least in America, Warcraft was that forgotten third series that people knew existed, but rarely worried about actually playing. Sure people came over to Warcraft 3 from Starcraft, but most of the Starcraft carry-overs were too stubborn to stick around. LordOfDabu burned out on it after about 500 games, so he tells me. How he's played something like 12,000 games of Starcraft without burnout is beyond me, but that's an entirely different issue. Warcraft 3 being released was nothing like Starcraft, which caused virtually all of the Warcraft 2 players to jump ship.
Anyway, to the point. If World of Warcraft doesn't exist, I maintain that the echelon goes Starcraft > Diablo >>> Warcraft in the United States, and I stand by it. However, WoW does exist, which is the one thing that made this match interesting. WoW was perhaps the ultimate wild card due to its rallying potential alone, what with its 6 million players (though I'm not sure how many of them are regulars; a veteran of the game would know that better than I) at the ready. Not to say that we'd see 6 million votes in a poll, but if Warcraft managed to survive the initial GTA onslaught that everyone knew was coming, then the odds of it losing a close match given the fanbase of the most popular game was slim to none, assuming the players felt like taking time away from their busy raid schedules and all.
The other side to this was whether or not GTA was too strong for the potential rallying to even matter in the first place. Vice City only lost to SSBM by 5000 votes. San Andreas won GOTY on GameFAQs. It can be assumed that GTA3 would also be a machine in polls, but we haven't seen it in one yet. People could cite the character performances as a potential weakness for GTA, but the performance of the games speaks for itself. And the games have always been miles ahead of the characters, for whatever reason. If GTA was able to live up to the potential seen from it in the past, then Warcraft would need one hell of an effort to win.
That said, Warcraft was given a huge break before this contest even began. This thing was originally slated to start on July 1st. The contest started one day late, which pushed this match to a Tuesday. WoW servers are given weekly maintenance and patches and such on Tuesdays, which meant that most if not all of the WoW regulars would be on the forums (because seriously, these people know nothing else; I wouldn't be surprised if half of them forgot how to brush their teeth by now).
One could have called the match over right then and there. And even if you didn't want to go that far, you could have called this match over after it was an hour old. GTA jumped out to an expected early lead via a huge bracket voting rush, to the tune of 337 votes. 10 minutes later, GTA's lead was down to 200. Given the amount of rallying that was to take place throughout this match, there was literally no way Warcraft was going to lose this if the match turned out to be close. Well, it turned out to be close. Cue what was literally the most boring close match of all time, because everyone saw what was coming hours before it happened.
What Warcraft did in this match is similar to how I use Peach in SSBM in that if I get up on you even once, the match is over. It'll all annoying "NONE SHALL PASS!" defense on my end after that. And yes, I can bring up Peach in any rant <3
Anyway Warcraft was able to take away GTA's lead fairly easily. From then on it was a streetfight between the two, complete with massive amounts of rallying on both sides. The problem for GTA is that nothing it had in its arsenal was able to match the sheer numbers from WoW's fanbase. One topic on the forums exploded in views after a blue posted in it, and various such vote intakes for Warcraft would happen all throughout the match. Whenever GTA tried making a move to come back (and it was never down by an unbeatable amount), Warcraft would slap it back down. This match was the ultimate "Does rallying matter?" test given the circumstances, and Warcraft proved that it can. Warcraft would go on to win by 1100 votes, but the numbers in this match don't really matter. This was over the second Warcraft showed that it would be close.
The funniest thing about this match is that GTA fans knew they were defeated, too. Battle cries eventually became "I hope CJayC catches all of the people cheating in Warcraft's favor". Yeah, about that...
From CJayC Posted 7/12/2006 12:06:25 AM #001
As with the last few contests, I'll try to do this whenever a vote is extremely close (under 1% difference).
13 users got axed for egregious vote stuffing (i.e. can't even begin to argue it was accidental, or that their brother, cousin, friend, and dog just happened to vote on the same computer). 12 of them were stuffing for GTA.
And, just for the conspiracy theorists, all the fraudulent votes we caught put together would have added just 600 votes for GTA, still not enough to put them over the top.
Most Ironic Account Name Banned: "SC2K6Champ".
Warcraft benefited from a massive day-long rally, spurred on by World of Warcraft itself, but there were no unusual voting patterns or anything suspect about the vote totals; external influences are allowed, as we simply can't control the rest of the Internet, and you can never underestimate the number of Blizzard fans (although I don't give it a snowball's chance against Mario). There were no unexplained spikes, no mass proxy use, no strange voting patterns, and while traffic was much higher today than for other contests, it was expected to be so and was well within the norm.
Sess, EC and Luster Soldier were three of the people axed. And no, 500 of the 600 stuffed GTA votes weren't Lusty's; he only managed to get in about 50 before the doomhammer caught up to him. Warcraft won fairly, and all of the Board 8 WoW fans were vindicated.
Truth be told, I don't hate WoW at all. Granted it has the worst fans in gaming and has effectively ruined Blizzard, but the game itself would be fine if there were any decent single player options. I'm just not a big fan of the whole "you need 39 other people and 5-6 hours of free time every day to enjoy the best the game has to offer" stuff, not to mention how elitist guilds are. If you aren't level 60, aren't wearing a ton of the best gear and don't know exactly what to do in every fight before going in, good luck actually getting into a good guild. And good luck having anything relating to a social life on top of this, which is the curse of MMOs in general. More games like Oblivion need to exist, posthaste. There's also the lovely fact that Blizzard has worked its way into a corner with WoW; all of their time and energy now has to go into one game, and Diablo 3/Starcraft 2/Warcraft 4 are all going to suck as a result. Assuming Blizzard even find the time to make them in the first place, which they won't. They'll just release an expansion every 6 months and ride the coattails of 6 million shelling out 12 bucks a month.
But on top of even that, my big complaint with this match (and the only one that's actually valid, I'll admit) is that Warcraft won solely because of WoW. I would have loved Warcraft 3 being the reason for all this, because I like it far better than any game in either series. Though because of WC3, you'll never hear me complain about the result or accuse WC of foul play. The better game won =p
Fun fact: Rallying began for Mario/Warcraft after GTA lost. "Warcraft is good, but IT'S FREAKING MARIO" was the response of choice.
Match Trends Edit
The board being so wrong has never felt so right. When the series bracket was announced, most people assumed that, given Grand Theft Auto’s excellent showings in things like Game of the Year polls, they would walk all over Warcraft; some particular stat-heads went so far as to take this match as a personal assault on World of Warcraft fans (hey there Ulti), making loud and brash claims about how they wouldn’t care about this match since they couldn’t get away from their game for a few measly seconds.
Naturally, this blew up in everybody’s faces when Warcraft decided to make a match of it. Abnormally high vote totals led many to declare cries of vote-stuffing, yet the only stuffers that were caught were, ironically, for Grand Theft Auto. Warcraft’s strength was legitimate, and it managed to silence all the doubters and whoop GTA in a tight match. Some analysts think a lot has to do with the WoW servers being down for maintenance on the day of the match, which is certainly possible, but all that really matters is that there was a lot of crow being eaten on the board after this match. Very satisfying (and this from a guy who had GTA pegged with 58% of the vote).