FLUFFNSTUFF: Blame it on the rain.
The very first thing people pointed out about our team is that we weren't "LAN proven" and that "LAN is a totally different experience". TI2 was, indeed, our very first LAN tournament and there is some truth to statements like those. Although, I have to say, that my experience was more positive than negative.
Perhaps it was the way that Valve tailored and orchestrated the event so very well. Maybe it was because we had comfortable booths or the cozy player's lounge, but I didn't really feel all too pressured. Typically when I walk onto a stage, as a shy Asian male, I would begin to shake or feel butterflies in my stomach. Yet, I didn't seem to notice the viewers scrutinizing my every move or nervous tick. My team also shared the same sentiments, as no one was really being affected negatively by the audience.
Note: As a little bit of insight, I am a rather shy person. I also get nervous, especially when the spotlight is on me. For example, during the Defense 2 I popped open the stream just to gauge the amount of viewers and I instantly started to shiver (for an online tournament!). I understand how irrational it is and I'm pretty self-aware of it all. When I looked out at the audience at TI2, I didn't feel much of anything surprisingly. I believe that the enthusiasm of the audience greatly eased our nerves (expanded on in "C. The Fans").
To dispel any myths or excuses for our team being affected by LAN, the audience and the spotlight didn't greatly contribute to our tournament exit. There was one thing that did irk at me the entire time, which may or may not be considered a big deal. If anyone had taken notice, most of the teams were yelling inside of the booths (as opposed to using headsets and microphones). This greatly affected the dynamic of my team's communication and we weren't prepared to raise our voices (expanded on in "E. The Cons").
*edit: Upon more thought I did remember sometimes blanking out on details when it comes to the drafts. I, sometimes, found myself being unable to think but only very temporarily.*
For the most part my experience has been positive and fun. Valve treated us extremely well and I know that The International tournaments can only see rapid growth going into the future.
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