A Tribute to Hitman

I’ve been a big e-sports fan for years now, but I still haven’t found a good angle on how to approach this interest as a blogger. Yesterday was fun as I uploaded my first tribute to a progamer. Hitman is a North American Protoss player who recently managed to qualify for the WCS Global Premier League. It’s a Starcraft 2 league that joins players from regions other than South Korea to have a chance at prize money and a shot at competing at BlizzCon WCS World Finals.

Hitman
Hitman partying in Cologne [Source]
Now, for those of you who may not know Hitman or his playstyle, he plays Protoss, which is a race that is built on the idea of tricking your opponent, a premise that lends itself well to timing attacks. Hitman’s style is pretty straightforward – he does cheeses almost every single game. Cheeses are a form of aggressive strategies that pack a punch. They are hard to stop if not properly anticipated, but very hard to recover from as a Protoss if your cheese fails, as you’re usually investing your resources into very specific units and tech. Now, cheeses sound gimmicky because they are. They reward you with a possibly easy win, but if you cheese through every single game, the players will eventually figure you out and will find a way to shut you down next time.

Hitman’s WCS run is amazing exactly because of how far he got with the strategies he’s known for. In his last game against a Polish player Elazer, the admittedly better player of their group, he stuck to his strengths, his cheese arsenal, and won the series 2:0. The funny thing is Elazer went for safe strategies every game, expecting Hitman’s usual shenanigans. Now, nerves may have played a part in his loss, but there is no denying the pristine execution of Hitman’s strats.

The internet exploded, and rightly so. This guy has been on top of the North American ladder for years. He’s never revealed his face before, so people were generally hyped to see him play in front of a camera. What followed was an uncharacteristic win given the circumstances and given it was the first time for him playing in front of a live audience, which is a pretty big factor for most other players. No, he managed to stay calm and collected, even after him losing the first series against Elazer earlier in the day.

His opponent got really upset. He lost to cheese that he knew was coming. Keep in mind, North American Starcraft 2 players are considered a rank below Europeans in terms of skill. Couple that with the fact Elazer was obviously underestimating his opponent after their first series and that a lot of expectations were placed on him advancing from his group, this was a huge shock to the young player’s ego. Later on it was revealed that Hitman posted his exact cheese strategy in another player’s Twitch channel just before he played his winning series. Furthermore, Hitman played out his matches with cheap gaming equipment, smashing the advertising myth that gaming gear puts the pro in progamers. He played without a mouse pad and his keyboard was a $15 wireless edition!

The excitement didn’t die down the next day. The official player draw for the next round of the tournament made it all that more potent as Hitman got grouped up with Hydra and Polt, two South Korean players that were both WCS champions in the past. The third player in his group, viOlet, is also a Korean player who cannot be underestimated. There’s very little chance Hitman advances over these monsters, but the community took it into the other direction.

“I’m not locked in here with you, you’re locked in here with me!”

This turn of events inspired me to look into Hitman and the first thing I found was a fan club thread on Teamliquid that was created just after his winning series. The original post contained an image of the main character from the Hitman video game series, which I remember playing as a kid. Suddenly, I got an idea for using the game’s mission screens to create a parody of today’s turn of events. I first Googled the internet for background images. Results weren’t that great, so I thought that maybe there was a way to extract the images from the game itself. I thought to myself that these games are old and probably easier to hack than what we have today.

What was waiting for me at the end of this quest was better than anything I could have hoped for. The game was translated to several languages. Due to convenience, the scripts were packed into simple zip files. No hacking required, I just unzipped them, edited in what I wanted and zipped them back in. Game loads, everything works as expected.

To my surprise, the /r/starcraft community received it pretty well. Here’s hoping the guy can actually pull it off. In terms of swag though, this guy is the real deal.

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