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UK Team for Lan Arena 5

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With the initial plans for the Quake 3 UK Team put under such criticism from members of the Quake 3 community, the OGA revised their selection structure which has let actual players be on the selection panel. This has on the whole made the community accept the selection, and now with only a few days before Lan Arena 5, the OGA and the selectors have announced their final 5 from the selected 10 members to part-take in the up coming UK v France match.

While there hasn't been a UK Team for some time now, the experience of the players that were chosen in the 10 man squad was vast, and with many of the selectors having experience of gaming on a national stage. The initial 10 man squad was announced a few weeks ago and consisted of :-
  • Luke
  • Blokey
  • Rude
  • War18
  • Mozilla
  • Chamber
  • Tasan
  • Harl
  • Nocode
  • Zoser
  • While the squad was mainly made up from members of two clans, Unreal and Demonic Core it was generally accepted that out of the people that trialed, the 10 picked were the best 10. However, there were no members from 4 Kings which was a surprise to most, but 4 Kings had decided to field their own team at Lan Arena. A few days after the 10 man squad was announced, 4 Kings themselves announced that they would not be able to attend Lan Arena 5 as a team because of real life (tm). From the squad of 10 the final team of 5 who are to travel to France this weekend for the UK v France series were picked. The team-sheet was made public yesterday and the players below were picked.
  • Luke (Clan Unreal)
  • Blokey (Clan Unreal)
  • Rude (Clan Unreal)
  • Mozilla (Demonic Core)
  • Tasan (Clan Unreal)
  • Without doubt the most striking fact is that the majority of the team are made up from Clan Unreal members. This should, to some extent help out their teamplay. The final 4 who will play have not been announced and some team rotation is expected, however it looks like Mozilla has a distinct disadvantage alongside the 4 members, due to the UNR members having played together more. I caught up with Mozilla to ask him a few questions :-
    [rocker] Do you think the team that has been announced has enough skill to beat the French team this weekend?

    [Mozilla] Yeah definitely, think we've got a really good chance, although its hard to be too sure because I've not seen that much of the French team but the team we have will be hard to beat by most peoples standards. We have the much debated advantage of 4 people who have already played together so that'll help, I just need to be able to fit in with the other 4. I believe that'll tip it in our favour.

    [rocker] This "advantage" you mentioned, do you feel this might hinder your participation in the team?

    [Mozilla] Well it has been brought up, but I ain't going all that way just to watch. With 5 games and 5 players it seems logical to drop a different player each game and besides 5 games in quick succession can tire you, so I'd imagine everyone will be happy for a rest and they have the 4v4 clan competition to play too.

    [rocker] Do you feel disappointed that there is only one member of Demonic Core in the final team of 5?

    [Mozilla] Well, I think the DC players who entered did well, and if they went they would do as well, it's hard for the people who selected it to choose between people and if they consider this 'advantage' important then it's fair enough, especially with the extremely limited time we have to practice maybe had there been more time for the team to get used to playing each other War18 or Zoser might have made the team.
    From what Mozilla said, he doesn't seem too worried about the fact he is the only non Clan Unreal member in the team, however with Clan Unreal already playing in a clan competition at Lan Arena could this affect their performance? Mozilla mentioned fatigue, however could the extra practice might come in handy? Clan Unreal has, up to now not won any major Quake 3 team title since their first Season win in the UKCCL league, and if they manage to pull off a good performance this weekend it will put them up within the top European clans. They have of course the best duelers in the country, with Blokey and Timber both putting in excellent performances at the Babbages CPL event.

    I spoke to Pumpkin who has the general job of being coach to the UK Team.
    [rocker] You are traveling to France with the team, what is your role within the team?

    [Pumpkin] I'm going to be acting as the team's coach in the games, and helping them to come to a decision on what players should play in what maps.

    [rocker] Would the fact that 4 players come from the same clan you yourself part-take in, have any bearing in terms of the teamplay skill, or do you feel the 5 that have been picked have enough experience as a team that this factor won't come into play?

    [Pumpkin] I think the Russians made a good choice in the BWEC, to send a whole clan. I make no secret of this, you get better at teamplay by playing together. I feel given the practice time we had, and the players eligible for selection (those that applied), we are sending the best possible UK TEAM to France. If we had more time to prepare, and so get more time to put a team of players together from different clans, the team may have looked slightly different. Of course, if more 4K players had applied, that would without doubt have changed things as well.

    [rocker] Do you feel the team that has been selected has a good chance of being successful?

    [Pumpkin] Yes, I think regardless of the 4K players missing it is still one of the strongest sides the UK could put out, I think it has a great chance of success.
    So it seems Pumpkin believes there would be a different look to the team if more players from 4 Kings had decided to trial. While 4 Kings have shown themselves to be the best clan in the UK for the past year at Quake 3, they have also managed to earn themselves a much sort after place in the LAN finals of the Clan Base league. Clan Unreal crashed out of the competition in the early rounds, and while many thought German super-clan SK were going to beat 4 Kings (past history being favorable to SK), 4K managed to pull out a good 3-1 win.

    Clan Unreal have vast experience from their Quake 2 days, when again there was another Lan Arena in which the OGA managed to organize another UK Team to take part. Many of the members within that team were Clan Unreal members and they were a successful team. However, that was Quake 2 and this is Quake 3, but the UK Team will go into the game as favorites to win.

    Recently there has been some backlash to the final team selection, and how the trials were conducted. With many originally criticizing the initial efforts of the UK team selection process (myself included), the new process seemed like a small step in the right direction, although not the perfect solution. Many believe that a panel that is voted in by gamers is the only real way to make a democratic process possible.

    Harl who is a member of the 10 man squad for the UK Team has made some comments on his column over at Challenge-UK, which addresses some important issues about the organization and selection of the UK Team. I caught up with Harl and asked him some questions regarding his views on the UK Team.
    [rocker] Your recent column updates show that you aren't happy with the selection process and organization of the UK Team, would you say any one person is to blame for this?

    [Harl] I don't think it's really fair to blame one person, but it does seem there was a "core" of people involved with the decision (not the panel selected) who seem to have made some very disputable decisions without much of a decent explanation.

    [rocker] Would you say the current selection process is a step forward from the one that was originally stated by the OGA? (By the original I mean where the selectors were various people from Gaming ISPs and league admins).

    [Harl] Hmm, I think from my column it's pretty clear what I thought of the selection process... the word "farce" about sums it up in my view.

    [rocker] So you would say it's not a step forward in the right direction?

    [Harl] I think it's probably the worst direction they could have stepped. Especially with Rude's update on CHUK main page - basically saying that UNR were picked because they were UNR.

    [rocker] Some might say these comments are sour grapes because you didn't get picked for the final squad of 5, how would you respond to that?

    [Harl] Well, I was quite surprised to be selected for the initial 10 players after the trials. Making it to the final 5 I was something I was pretty sure I wouldn't make, especially after playing some games - and to be honest, the more I played with them, the less I wanted to go. The whole organization seemed awful online, I just hope it's better at the event - not something I want the hassle of dealing with.

    [rocker] Do you feel the selectors need to be voted by gamers to provide a more democratic system for national teams in the future?

    [Harl] I thought the initial panel of people was quite a nice spread (which would remove any claims of the choices being biased to their personal clans mates), I don't think anyone really had an issue with that first panel. Really it's not that much of an issue how the selectors are picked, so long as there's a decent number of them, they've got some good experience themselves, and they're from a good spread of clans.
    From Harl's view it seems that there was a whole lot of confusion and poor organization, however something which has come to light is that the selection procedure for picking national teams does have to improve, and while teams might be successful it is worth noting that the system itself is far from efficient.