From September 6-8 I was in Montreal for Dreamhack and I wanted to talk about the event. First thing is first, if readers have never been to a LAN or a Dreamhack event, I highly encourage everyone to do so because there are a lot of benefits to attendance.
For one thing, spectators can meet their online friends in person. When I first went to an event, I met some of the people that I moderate for. In fact, I met a lot of Starcraft people since that is why we were there. Awesome people like Temp0, Eseipha, ZombieGrub (who wasn’t an official Blizzard caster at that time), Rifkin of BasetradeTV, and WinterGaming were all there that year. It was definitely an event that I’m glad I had the opportunity to make. This was also the first time I had KBBQ, which was a fantastic experience.
I would say the second thing that people go for is the atmosphere. Drawing a comparison, the esports scene is very much like a comic con. People are there for the same reasons as you, and they tend to be quite knowledgable about the game. Also, it’s great to be able to nerd out about the things you enjoy, regardless of your level of play.
The last thing I will touch on are the promotions that vendors have. Sometimes there are discounts on merchandise like at Canada Computers that are only available during Dreamhack. Other vendors will host other types of giveaways. Even further than that, each year there is a treasure hunt that people can participate in.
While there are many benefits to attending an event like Dreamhack, there are certain things that are staple to the experience.
The biggest attraction for many people in the gaming industry are the BYOCers. These people bring their rigs to the event to participate in the open brackets. At the back of the stadium, there is an entire large section devoted specifically for the BYOC players. In fact, they are allowed to sleep at the event and as such, there is a dedicated area where they cannot be disturbed. I’ve never had the pleasure of being part of a LAN where I wasn’t working in some capacity, so I can’t elaborate more on that.
|James “Kaelaris” Carrol being funny|
I would say the next biggest thing about Dreamhack would be the Indie Zone. Many game developers will showcase their games at Dreamhack and they offer players a chance to play. Not only do people get to play the games that might not be out, but they get the opportunity to speak query the game devs. This is a great way to engage with the prospective community, and for players, it’s a great way to discover upcoming games. Once in a while, games that are already released are showcased at Dreamhack Montreal. I say this because it’s the second year in a row that I’ve been meaning to play A Hat in Time and keep getting side tracked by other things. Whoops! Other games like Tech Support Unknown or The Darwin Project (which I did get to try out) have been featured at Dreamhack. As a person in the media, I love being able to discover new games in this way.
|The Rocket League Production Team|
Of course, no event is complete without a cosplay competition. Each year I setup to record the cosplayers because they are amazing. This year, one of my personal favorite cosplayers was the gentleman that showed up as Cayde-6 from Destiny 2. While I didn’t get everyone that was on stage, I did get several pictures and some clips for you guys to see that are included in my video below. Part of the reason I enjoy watching the cosplay contest is because people choose to showcase all kinds of characters, be it from movies or video games or anime. I also enjoy it because of the performances that people have. This year we had two fighting characters, a female Thor, and a brilliant cosplayer that portrayed Hellblade Senua. Not only does it take a lot of work to make these costumes but the performance adds to a cosplayers score. In the end, there are first, second, and third place winners. I’m sad that Cayde didn’t win any of them. (It was all because he didn’t have a crucial item to the character, imo. Watch the video to understand why.)
|Jessica “ZombieGrub” C. and Nathan “Nathanias” Fabrikant|
At every Dreamhack, there are various esports that can be seen. Not only do gamers get to see their favorite esport live, but they get to see the pro players. Sometimes, they can get autographs too!
The major esports shown at Dreamhack were games like Rocket League, Starcraft 2, Rainbow Six Siege, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Brawlhalla, Tekken 7, Mortal Kombat 11, Street Fighter Arcade, and Super Smash Bros Melee. There were areas dedicated to Clash of Clans and a stage devoted to a show match between Team Livid and Miss Harvey in CS:GO. Also, there was a Beat Sabre invitational that I sadly missed watching.
Each esport has their own brackets and Dreamhack had streams set up for many of them. Check out the various Dreamhack Twitch channels to catch up on the games from the last weekend!
I can’t write up something about Dreamhack without talking about some of the vendors and sponsors. As always, Dreamhack is sponsored by Omen, who always has an epic pillar which made me laugh for reasons I’m not going to go into. Also present were staple names like Canada Computers, MSI, Corsair, NVIDIA, Fire and Steel, and Monster (which you could get free drinks), just to name a few.
Of course, Loto Quebec has been apart of Dreamhack for quite some time because they sponsor the Indie Zone.
|Left to Right: Me, FauxPawRL, and Liefx|
And if I could say more more thing about the indies featured at Dreamhack, it would be that some of the showcased games can win awards! One title that had previously won the Pitch Championship is titled Mythic Ocean and they proudly tweeted about it in July 2018. For more information about the types of games that are on the list, please take a look at this site. Also note that on the list is a little game called Buoyancy which we recently reviewed.
Anyways, there are a ton of other vendors like ones that can customize any type of mousepad, pop culture LED lighting, and ModMyMods who have a prototype gaming desk specifically for streamers. A picture of that 300lbs desk is shown in the video below (with three monitors).
I think this year I had the best time at Dreamhack. That may have been influenced by the fact that I had a lot to do, and I was able to watch Rocket League live, for the first time. (I’ve never made it to an RLCS or anything like that – shameful, I know.) I was glad to finally meet a bunch of people in the RL community.
As I said before, if Dreamhack has never been on your radar before, I highly encourage you to attend one. It’s a fantastic time because you will be able to meet your online friends and perhaps chat with some of the pro players!