DewArena Experience – Judge a book by its cover

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Over a million rupees got traded at the MountainDew’s DewArena festival at the Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon on 25th of September in the groundbreaking new event which set a benchmark for the gaming events in India. PepsiCo., the company behind the beverage Mountain Dew, concluded the event swiftly as they handed over the prize cheques totaling to Rs. 10,00,000 INR.

The reporting time to the venue on the final day was 09:00 AM in the morning, the teams, journalists, analysts, casters and the whole crew were asked to report. The doors to the arena opened at 11:00 for the regular attendees. The venue, Kingdom Of Dreams (KOD) was in itself a remarkable achievement for an industry as fragmented as ours. The arena was one of the theaters of KoD, Showshaa Theatre. The lights, ambiance, and the stage looked unanimously magnificent.

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Opening Ceremony

The prominent host for Gadgets360, NDTV, Mr. Rajeev Makhni took the responsibility and conducted the opening ceremony at the event. The hydraulic stage entry extensively supported the mood of the people. Naseeb Puri, the Director of Mountain Dew, was also present at the venue for the entire time. She looked tongue-tied watching the setup and enthusiastically competitive gathering.

Dew Arena gaming championship which regarding in partnership with ESL India which got overwhelming numbers regarding registrations. More than 75,000 gamers registered for the India’s largest gaming championship compared to the predicted records of not more than 35,000.

“We are delighted with the response to Dew Arena, which has made it India’s biggest gaming championship ever. Gaming in India is gaining increasing popularity across platforms, and we hope that Dew Arena will give a welcome impetus to spurring the growth of this genre and helping celebrate our heroes like never before,” said Naseeb Puri, Director-Mountain Dew, PepsiCo India.

People started to turn in for the event at around 12, and the games went live from 13:00 after a few uninvited technical glitches delayed the game. There were 26 finalists from all the different games.  The stage was well set for the entry of the participants such that they had their best moments. The hydraulic stage arrival was one of the finest ceremonies I have ever witnessed. The charm on the face of the participants said it all. They earned it!

The highlights

DewArena had those classy details, and the venue was decorated to look like an international esports event. The top quality management of lights and on-screen visuals added a lot to the overall experience of the visitors.

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  • The green theme; It was these greenish lights all over the stadium, of course, it had to be to the set the tone of the mountain dew theme,
  • Invisible Wings and Beyond Infinity end their journey on a peak as they look forward to their new organization, Entity Esports,
  • Bari Naseer Anwar, the IGL of Beyond Infinity retires from competitive esports,
  • Simar ‘psy’ Sethi along with Raunak ‘Crowley’ Sen will soon be seen on the bottle of MountainDew’s GameFuel,
  • Karthik Gopal’s stunning impersonation capabilities of superhero voices,
  • The event used the international standard noise-cancellation headphones to eliminate any conflicts during the game’s live shout cast,
  • The special guest from Flipsid3 Tactics had a valuable experience at the event.

The games

Street Fighter 4 was the first game to begin the grand finals. The game even pulled some nostalgic childhood moments for most of the crowd. In a best of three regulation of the match, Syed Ahmad Kamal came on top who beat his opponent 2-1. Street Fighter 4 is that kind of game which we have played for at least once in our lifetime, the game successfully adorned the atmosphere of the arena. The second set aligned was DotA 2 between Invisible Wings and Beyond Infinity (both merged into one, now called Entity Esports; read more). The game was cast by Veewak and CloudX from AFKGaming. The first map of the match had its moments with Invisible Wings dominantly winning over their counterparts. The second game even was close, but in the end, Beyond Infinity took it in their favor propelling the grand finals to have a third face-off between the two.

Invisible Wings won the final game and took home the significant share of the pool.

The next game was Forza; it attracted more viewers because of the nature of the match. The racing extinct we all have inside us, the crowd was cheering every time there was a significant drift. Even this was a best of three maps, where Khyat Kanda took it all after the scores leveled at 1-1 in the first two rounds of the game.

FIFAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Cosplayers

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Among all the several cosplayers present at the venue, Iron-Wolverine had the most innovative dressing and features to the suit. Thus, he was declared the winner!

Energetic ambiance at the arena

Whenever it comes to football, Indians don’t disappoint in ‘cheering’ the people up. Such was the aura of the crowd inside Dew Arena when the two last participants faced-off. Running to score more goals from left to right, the atmosphere got uplifted by the crowd as they were committed entirely to the game. Whenever the ball was near the penalty box, the audience would go mad screaming, “GOAL GOAL GOAL!”. The FIFA match was fun to watch as it replicated the most argued battleship. It was between Ronaldo and Messii!!

Bari retires from competitive gaming after DewArena.

FIFA championship was conquered by Mohammad Farhan who flew from Bangalore to attend this mega-fest, he got a championship achievement after his name and Rs. 75,000 in the bank!

The last but not the least game played, the most intense we call India’s most favorite FPS game, Counter Strike: Global Offensive. The hype surged to the maximum level for the entire day when it was announced that the teams would take their place and the games begin in less than 30 minutes. It was about to be one hell of a match as Invisible Wings were facing their best rivals Team Brutality fighting for dignity prominently. The CS:GO event was responsibly taken care of by the folks at SoStronk with Anish Nemz on the server side and Anand Shanker at the production, Sudhen ‘Bleh’ Wahengbam and Prashant ‘Aequetias’ Prabhakar delivered excellent casting and analysis for the finals.

The first map played was Mirage which is known to be Brutality’s best map. It was pretty one-sided affair for grand finals as Brutality comfortably won the game by 16-7 leaving Invisible Wings in a stature of do or die. The second map and the following one looked scary for the Brutals, a map as strong as train favoring the Invisible Wings side and the final map (if there was any) de_nuke, on which both teams have not been great. The second map which was supposed to be favoring the Invisible Wings side engraved the predicted outcome but in a pretty unexpected root. The game was so close and intense that it drove the people in the audience right into the rough streets as they were booing Brutals side and cheering Invisible Wings (psy being an IGL or Invisible Wings is a Delhi resident, hence the home team). V3nom played out of his mind for the entire map by starting off an ace in the right second round. The game, however, ended for Invisible Wings after Simar ‘psy’ Sethi stood up for his team alongside Mithil ‘MilthilF’ Sawant.

Simar 'psy' Sethi looked tense after losing the first map against Brutality

Simar ‘psy’ Sethi looked tense after losing the first map against Brutality

The third and the final map of the game was Nuke, on which we have not seen Brutality performed earlier but we did see Invisible Wings losing 1-16 against Destructive 5 a couple of days ago at the ESWC 2016 semi-finals. The face-off was pretty well balanced between the two side; they were scoring back and forth. Invisible Wings, however, did manage to eliminate Brutality at the later stage of the map in both occasions. What we could gather from the game was that Brutality were unable to close the matches in their favor even though having a marginal lead against the IW side.

Invisible Wings after winning the DotA 2 championship won the grand finals of DewArena CS:GO as well, beating Brutality 2-1. The majority of the prize pool was entitled to them.

The Winners

GamesWinners
Counter Strike: Global OffensiveInvisible Wings
DotA 2Invisible Wings
Forza MotorsportKhyat Kanda
FIFAMohammad Farhan
Street FighterSyed Ahmad Kamal

The production and the crew

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It was all lead by Gautam Virk, the production head at NODWIN Gaming at the Dew Arena LAN finals. It takes an efficient team to deliver the event at such perfection with precision. The guys at NODWIN surely had their mindset clear during the preparation and planning of the event. The crew at DewArena was pretty big and segmented into different groups each looking after their section of the event. The duties were well fulfilled by everyone present at the event, be it the casters, hosts or the admins for the game. The lead in-house crew of Dew Arena was:

  • Anup Dustakar
  • Gautam Virk
  • Aorin Shariyari
  • Shefali Johnson
  • Vageesh K. Bhan
  • Vishal Gupta
  • Kanwardeep Singh

People failed to turn up

We can’t be on the both sides of the coins; such is your stand when it comes to the development of eSports in India. You can’t be complaining and not attending the event in your city at the same time. The central region of the country disappointed when it came to joining hands and force the change. People didn’t care to be at the venue. It was far from being houseful even when the capacity of the auditorium was below 300. An even of this caliber which saw massive registration numbers of over 75,000 failed to gather audience at the finals? The numbers will look naive if I tell you the concurrent viewers at the venue.

Thankful to those who turned in even though without having the proper knowledge about the game.

Thankful to those who turned in even though without having the proper knowledge about the game.

The maximum number of spectators which recorded during FIFA – CSGO was roughly around 70! At one point in time during the DotA 2 game, it was so frustrating to see a crowd of not more than 24 people. And statistically, the crew (including media, participants, shout casters and production team) of the event was substantially higher than the number of the spectators. I can understand that the scarcity was due to the lack of promotion and being particular about the venue before the event. But when there was the young audience at the venue some with their families and some with non-gamers colleagues, was it a tough job for us as gamers to find out about India’s largest gaming festival and be present there to witness it live?

The answer, of course, is no, and the harsh reality is we as “gamers” don’t care and don’t intend to indulge to support something which needs one. The event was so well organized and deserved to be action-packed. But spectators failed to be there. Surprisingly thousands turned into the live streams to enjoy at the back of their monitor screens. Imagine what will it take to replicate another event of the same level. Would you support something with millions of rupees when the auditorium has 50 people? From a general perspective and as a spectator, it looked like that the event was executed in not less than INR 1 crore and it on-site there were 500+ people in the entire day, take your time and calculate the cost of one attendee.

About author

Deepak

Esports and digital gaming expert.