Size doesn’t matter as long as there’s enough to go ’round.

Respawn registrations full – again!

So we’ve recently run the most successful Respawn LAN gaming event ever. 

In fact, it’s the most successful LAN event we’ve had in Melbourne since Shafted LAN’s Big Day In around 2003 and the biggest that we’ve seen in our venue since 2002.  That’s a long time for the community to pick back up again but to be honest, we’re still trying to figure out what caused the sudden jump in popularity.  Are the games getting better? Do we have more people coming to LAN events for the first time and if so, why?

These are the questions that we’re asking ourselves because it took us by surprise.

We’ve already hit maximum capacity in seven days from opening registrations for Respawn LAN 13.  We didn’t get around to e-mailing our playerbase – this was scheduled for last night as we had to confirm some more details – but it’s amazing that the community has come together so quickly.  It makes us sit and wonder – what if we took things further and actually put the word out there?

From my nine and a half years of being involved with running LANs and over four years at the helm of Respawn,  it’s the first time that I’m personally willing to say that we can pull off another Big Day In-style event.

What I found amusing was when I was mingling with the players (as I like to do sometimes – if I have the time, during the event) and asking them what could we do better, the most common response was to run more often.  We were initially a bit skeptical about this but due to various plans changing, we’re running a cluster of three events, 12, 13 and 14, around six weeks apart and so far we’re seeing an excellent response from the community.  If all goes well at the end of our 14th event, we’ll probably run more of them which should give us more momentum to get that 1000+ player event happening.

Obviously, we’d love to have around 1500 plus but this depends on a lot of factors.  Well, because more, right?

The final challenge we have right now is to reunite a community that’s fragmented.  In the days of the Shafted LAN Big Day In, there were only a handful of popular games – Counter-Strike (1.x), Quake III Arena and a few smaller games such as Battlefield 1942 (now that was a game, Wake Island was an awesome map and I’m really looking forward to seeing 1943 being released).  I believe we also ran a Natural Selection competition but that game was, quite frankly, shit and nothing anyone could ever say will convince me otherwise however if people want to play it, nobody is going to argue… too much.  There was the usual strategy games such as Starcraft and that was about it.

Now we’ve got CS 1.6, CS Source, Call Of Duty 4, Half-Life 2 deathmatch, Battlefield 2 (1942 died a slow horrible death, which is a shame because it truly was an awesome game), Warcraft III (1v1, DOTA), Starcraft (yes, this is HUGE in Korea and consequently in the WCG competition), Unreal Tournament 2004, Quake III – and we still haven’t touched on the explosion of networked multiplayer console games via the XBOX 360 and Playstation 3.  What of Guitar Hero/Rockband as well? The community is huge but catering for each and every group means we will only have the capacity, all things being equal, to take on about 20 people from each sector.

That’s, quite frankly, pathetic.

This is the key thing we will be able to achieve with a larger event – we’ll be able to offer sufficient critical mass where we can have a few hundred players from the main gameplay groups.  Sure, competitively we’ll focus on a subset of the above and a sprinking of whatever is bleeding edge but we’ll also cater for particular communities who want to come along and play games that would be less likely found at a smaller event such as Tribes 2, some of the racing sims such as Live For Speed and so on.

It would be nice to see Quake III Arena make a comeback, too.

In the coming months, we will be trying more and more of these smaller games and spontaneous competitions and we will be dabbling with the lesser accessible communities.  Coupled with increased even frequency, we think we’ll finally be able to reach the wider community.

50 Responses

  1. Hmm, you can’t really dictate what people play or vett attendees first, despite your hardest efforts I think at the end of the day its just kind of random as to wheather a game takes off at a lan, lasts 10 minutes, or never gets started.

    I think if you really want to get good games going maybe a smaller invite only lan with a fairly set game list is the way to go if you want some serious gaming. I’m thinking like 30-50 people. The agreement being that if you come to the lan you must have all the games good to go.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:27 pm

  2. Steve Bogos

    Tristan, what you are failing to take into account, is that many people are involved in many of these games. If the fun comps of the last respawns have proved anything, it’s that people are willing to play in whatever game is being played, so long as there are people playing them!

    For example, in the same LAN, my group and friends and myself will play in the TF2 comp, the HL2 deathmatch comp, the H.A.W.X comp, possibly the COD 4 comp, various, if not all, of the funcomps, and we’ll also play some WC3 custom maps and maybe even some CSS in LoGs. To top it off, every couple of hours we’ll gather around my PC where i have the Wii set up and duke it out in smash bros.

    Now i know not everyone is as diverse as my friends (cough, CSKIDDIES, cough), but the cross-over appeal is definitely there.

    I think you guys definitely have the potential to pull off a 1000 person lan, question is where would you stick 1000 gamers?

    September 1, 2009 at 5:57 pm

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