The Pacific Coast Championship hosted by the Pro Battle League on Sunday May 1st, was the culmination of a three-month season (and a few months of prep before) of cities along the West Coast competing to determine whom the best regional team is.
The execution was undoubtedly flawless but not without some growing pains. There has been quite a bit of growth not just for the PBL but for the Halo community as a whole.
1. Teams developed strongly in the Seattle area because I was quite diligent to find players through different avenues including Halo Waypoint forums, HaloTracker search engine, Twittering, attending live local events, etc. It wasn't a big surprise that they came out on top, not to say they didn't have to work for it. The story of how our 3 teams came to be is actually filled with drama such as competing both against and with members within the team at multiple events beforehand.
2. Teams in Portland have been struggling for a bit but have also seen major growth, they are my next special project to help develop.
3. California developed organically and players got really, really excited. They approached us with full teams, somewhat outside of our organization but open to integration. SoCal eSports has been a top competitor and provided players for the Century City Stars in LA. CCS has become quite the rival for the Seattle Emerald Reign.
4. Mall of America, MN | Houston, TX | Charlotte, NC were all running successful pilot/spectate events in the background on Sunday. Some of the activity happened because they were just too excited to wait another month. Much of the activity in these locations is because I connect to people with passion. These leaders were ready to start forging fires in the hearts of local competitors. Remind me to get you the map of all the stores we already have a great standing relationship with and also the list of stores that are looking to onboard next.
Sunday’s Competition With the history of the regions and teams, the story behind the tournament structure makes a bit more sense. 2 teams inside Seattle/Bellevue/LA battled it out internally to see whom would represent their store. Then there was Seattle vs Bellevue and LA vs San Fran. That was followed by Seattle vs Portland and the finals came down to Seattle vs LA.
Ultimately Seattle Emerald Reign came out on top last Sunday. I have a lot of history with the Emerald Reign and it was great to see this group of great players blossom. A special dynamic of the PBL is the fact that you can watch a local group of players improve as team together. Nugzyy, the captain of the Emerald Reign, commented on the team dynamic during Sunday, “We all got great skill but when we are all playing hype like that it’s like we’re unstoppable.”
A Very Special Goodbye Some of the action that went down in preparation for the event was really what made it as magical as it was. In light of recent events including Jessica Shea's leaving 343i, I was inspired to get a few things done. I had Kenny (@TheSpartacat) legendarily put together a tribute video utilizing his outstanding connections already existing in the Halo Community.
We also had recently grown a relationship with 405th, having 2+ members in each one of the 5 feature stores. This made me think that it would be even more powerful to bring them to the same store on Sunday for community purposes, and pictures of course. Only five locals could make it so I asked if I could buy bus tickets for some to come up from Portland. That gave us our perfect round number of 8 (and one adorable Jackal) to represent. Then I tied the Jessica Shea idea together and thought it would be incredible to give her a 21 gun salute send off. This resulted in my cheesy thought to don her with my Metal Earth Guardian statue that took 4 months to make. (I had turned it into a medallion style necklace for pictures.) In the light of the camera she asked if she was going to be able to keep it (goodbye Edward). Of course, I said yes because I couldn’t be more honored to have it in her hands.
Awesome Guest Caster As if the Jessica Shea sendoff was not awesome enough, DJ connected us with Ghostayame and it was wonderful that he made it out to help cast the event. Of course, everyone at the University Store really enjoyed getting to meet him. It just goes to show that you never know what the PBL has in the works for live events.
Overall, we acquired hundreds of new followers interested in what the PBL has to offer. The interest we are creating is ultimately an amazing way to connect the community and embrace the incredible culture that is Halo.