Manuel Schenkhuizen, better known as the Warcraft 3 master Grubby, has been posting a series of commentaries on great Warcraft 3 matches he played against other high quality opponents, aptly named “The Grubby Commentaries”.
Given that WC3 seems destined to go down in gaming history as the less successful cousin of the RTS behemoth Starcraft (or that game that kills your children for those displaying higher levels of ignorance) you may well be thinking “why the hell should I care”? I feel that it’s my civic duty as a cognizant member of the wider gaming fraternity to explain to you why these videos are worth watching, even if you’ve never played WC3.
A big part of what makes games so enjoyable is the the acquisition of mastery over the game’s rules and mechanics. Everyone who plays games knows that intensely satisfying feeling you get when defeating a particular scenario or challenge that had proven difficult previously. When the challenge is outwitting a human opponent that satisfaction is multiplied exponentially. Being a fan and occasional participant of real world sports, it’s easy to see that exact same feeling mirrored in both pastimes. It’s almost inevitable to wonder why select video games shouldn’t be counted as sports. At their best they’re entertaining contests of skill and fierce competition. What they lack in athleticism (despite 400 APM being beyond the capabilities of the average person) they make up for in mental agility and strategy. Watching two highly skilled players try to overcome the particular flavor of problem the other is throwing them happens to be pretty interesting too. Whether video games deserve to be classified as sports is a discussion for another time, but when played at a high level WC3 is a game that showcases the very best electronic sports have to offer.
Grubby was (is) a player that posseses everything we love in our favorite sportspeople. He was incredibly successful, consistently performing perfectly on the biggest stages with a circa 2003-2009 Federer like record during his heyday. He was personable and literate, speaking very well to the media and was regarded highly as a person amongst teammates and opponents alike. Best of all he played the game with an almost sixth sense. He wasn’t the fastest player, though he was close, but he often overcame opponents who had (slightly) faster reaction times with guile, intelligence, consistency and at times sheer audacity. You had to always be on guard against him or his unmatched knowledge of the game would allow him to exploit a minute weakness you didn’t even know you had. His success combined with a notably resourceful playstyle earned him the fervent support of followers of the game.
In this video series he talks you through some of the greatest games of his career, and by extension some of the greatest moments in the professional WC3 scene. Think MJ talking you through “The Shot”, Maradona describing the “Hand of God” or Ali commentating the “Rumble in the Jungle”. Given that in an RTS’ the action is far more cerebral than in traditional sports, having the player run you through how he approached a game gives you a far greater insight into the nature of the contest than any other sort of commentary can.
What you’ll be watching is a game worthy of high level e-sport status being pushed to its absolute limit. Good RTS’ are notable for their complexity and depth, with literally uncountable in game possibilities, and seeing someone stretching it to it’s capacity is something I think you’ll find engaging even if you don’t follow WC3 very closely. The intense mental war between two incredibly resourceful and intelligent players (and the tangible respect they have for each others skills) is where the whole thing jumps from engaging to awesome.
Last but not least it showcases what’s great about the multiplayer component of one of the best competitive games ever released, and it does it far better than one could summarise in a simple article. They’re pretty long, but if you love games I doubt you’ll end up seeing the time as wasted. If you love competitive WC3 this will likely be one of the most epic things you’ve ever watched.
Five Ten episodes have been produced so far, as more become available I will update this post. Don’t forget to “Like” the videos if you find them enjoyable.
Episode 1 (recommended) – Grubby vs Zacard – Orc vs Orc – Blizzcon 2005 Grand Final – Game 1
Episode 2 (highly recommended) – Grubby vs Zacard – Orc vs Orc – Blizzcon 2005 Grand Final – Game 2
Episode 3 – Grubby vs Suho – Orc vs Night Elf – World e-Sports festival 2006 Semi Final
Episode 4 – Grubby vs Moon – Orc vs Night Elf – World eSports Masters 2009 Grand Final
Episode 5 – Grubby vs Lucifron – Orc vs Orc – Warcraft 3 Champions League
Episode 6 – Grubby vs FoV – Orc vs Undead – ESWC 2005 Pool Match
Episode 7 – Grubby vs Infi – Orc vs Human – Blizzcon 2010
Episode 8 – Grubby vs TeD – Orc vs Undead – NGL ONE Season 6 (2009)
Episode 9 – Grubby vs ToD – Orc vs Human – WCG 2008
Episode 10 – Grubby vs Lyn – Orc vs Orc – eStars King of the Game 2009