Well, what an AOTC. The legend indeed returned just in time, and Min2002 returned to bring the crown back to the Asia region. Watching that Grand Final was one of the most excited I've ever been this year watching and following Trackmania esports.
This edition of AOTC was the most successful it has ever been, and I wanted to thank all the players who competed, as well as all the staff members and the production crew, working in the background to make this AOTC the smoothest it has ever been.
It's time for the usual post-event personal notes from the AOTC. And oh boy, I got a lot to talk about. Without further ado, let's get into it.
When Min2002 finished his championship-winning round on Technicolor, I yelled at the chat, "WE ARE SO BACK". It's true. After almost a year of trials and tribulations, a lot of missteps and drama over the past year, I am happy to say: we are back.
As you may have remembered, the first half of 2023 hasn't been kind to the whole Asia and Oceania community. From losing one of our top players, to badly run competitions, as well as various other missteps along the way, mostly on my end.
All of these missteps left me feel demotivated for the first half of 2023, which made me burnt out of the game almost entirely. I felt like I wanted to quit, but various commitments in the back-end made me push through. I was still involved with the game and the community in some way, but I was focused more on developing my personal life, and Trackmania was kinda pushed aside for the time being.
That, alongside the fact that the World Tour had such a packed schedule, was one of the reasons why there were no AOTC in the first half of 2023. I felt bad for breaking the promise that AOTC will be held twice a year.
But that didn't matter in the end. There was still one more chance to organise AOTC.
This AOTC felt like it was run on much higher stakes. It felt like a make-or-break event. After the mess that was AOFO, it felt like we needed to give it all, or the Asia/OCE community would risk collapsing.
So we gathered up whatever we had. We made sure everything we planned was properly organised and tracked, we pulled in new people to help with the event, most importantly LinhZVN, to help us with the map pack.
From the backend operations, to graphics and production, to mappack, to all the tiny little bits, we made sure no detail gets left behind, one no one person handled all the burden. We had to share all that workload as a team, and in the end, we had to deliver.
And boy, did we deliver.
In general, from the eyes of the organisers, this has the smoothest AOTC we've ever run. As always, Nadeo's Competition Tool helped us in automating a LOT of the mundane tasks, like preparing servers, reporting results, and so on. Thanks to that, everything was run to near-clockwork precision, with only minimal delays holding us back.
The map pack generally received positive reviews from the participants. Many agreed that the quality of the map pack was the highest it has ever been.
We've also seen the biggest number of players in any edition of AOTC. 41 players managed to check-in, higher than the previous record of 38 players set in Spring 2022. Of all those players, a majority of them (30 to be exact!) are rookie players.
The majority of them are players from the Oceania continent, and I had an assumption that a lot of these players came in from watching the Trackmania World Tour events over the year. Especially the APAC Regionals, which really helped boost the community engagement, as well as competitive drive from all the players in this region.
The World Tour ecosystem, especially the Regional tournaments, really helped improve the competitive drive of these previously-underrepresented regions in the Trackmania competitive scene.
For years, we have fought for the recognition of underrepresented regions, like APAC and MEA. And now that the Regionals helped increase the competitive playerbase in these regions, it in turn also helped the regional community events like AOTC (for the Asia-Pacific region), MEATC (for the Middle East and Africa region), and PATC (for the Americas region). These community events, alongside the World Tour events, are at a way healthier state than they've ever been.
Simply put, these community and official events helped create a healthy competitive ecosystem for each other. And we really hope to see it grow even further in 2024.
When Vicerne, Gamingboy's sister, contacted us and asked if there are any events that are being organised around the time of Gamingboy's birthday (25 August), and if she could help contribute to said event, we responded by saying that this year's AOTC is being run the day after his birthday, and we could discuss on how we could involve his legacy to the whole event.
We initially proposed the idea of making the prize pool fixed to a certain amount that will serve as a nod to his legacy. We picked USD 250.80 as our prize pool for this edition, as an homage to his username, Gamingboy2508.
She responded by saying that she's willing to contribute to the prize pool under the name of Gamingboy's family. It was such a nice gesture that my heart sank when she mentioned it. But of course, we didn't want to put too much of a burden on them, so we agreed on a certain amount of split, and Gamingboy's family was credited as a major contributor for the prize pool of this edition of AOTC.
It really warms my heart that Gamingboy's family realises how much this game means to him, to the point where they really wanted to contribute to the development of the Trackmania Asia/OCE community with a nice gesture.
However, we still felt like something was missing. So the idea was floated around to crown the best-performing rookie player with an award named after him. Hence, the Gamingboy2508 Award was born.
Inaugurating a rookie award named after him was a fitting choice to make in our eye. When we said that he was a young talent that everyone looked up to, it really understated his contributions to the community as a whole.
He tirelessly welcomed every new member who joined the Trackmania Asia/OCE Discord server. If you searched the keyword "welcome" followed by his username, you'll see him do that every single time someone new joins.
He always shared tips and tricks on certain maps, as well as the game as a whole. Doesn't matter how experienced or how new they were to the game, he was always humble enough to share his knowledge to everyone.
He was also a friendly kid, always being that presence that everyone enjoys during VC sessions in the Trackmania Asia/OCE and Trackmania Indonesia Discord.
Simply put, Timothy, as his friends and family would call him, has touched many people in the community with his humility, perseverance, and humor.
However, if the Trackmania community weren't as nice and welcoming to new members as it is, things would have been so much different. So thank you to everyone in the community, who were so welcoming and kind to Timothy, as well as other members in the community, whether they're new or experienced. The community wouldn't be as tight-knit as it is right now without all of you.
It's really thanks to you guys that he enjoyed the game so much and became very very close to the community. Glad he can be a positive influence as well! My mom was like 'ahhh so that's why he plays TrackMania all the time, the people are so nice.'— Vicerne, Gamingboy's sister
When we had the idea for a video announcing the award, it felt fitting to have people that were close to Timothy, on and off Trackmania, to present the award. It felt more personal and really shows how much his present meant a lot to the community, as well as his friends and family.
And we felt that it would be more fitting to announce the award on the 25th of August, on what would be Timothy's 18th birthday.
We're humbled with how the community reacted to the announcement, both on the announcement tweet, as well as during the course of the stream.
Thank you once again to everyone who helped us with the announcement video. We hope that with the Gamingboy2508 Award, we can keep Timothy's spirit alive in this game that he loved so dearly.
And with that, I'm going to talk about how we go from here. As in, what would be the future of AOTC going forward.
I remembered promising a "twice a year" scheduling for the AOTC. I really wanted to keep that promise. However, after observing the scheduling of the Trackmania World Tour 2023 circuit, it felt like trying to shoehorn a second event in the middle of the World Tour circuit would be very hard to do, as most of the competitive players would be full-focusing on the World Tour.
So in the end, we will need to wait for any news regarding the Trackmania World Tour 2024 circuit, and organise our scheduling based on that.
In the meantime, we’re continuously looking for ways to keep the competitive drive alive. There are some ideas thrown around to revive the monthly Asia/OCE Fun Night (AOFN), as our monthly casual, free-for-all event, among others. But of course, nothing concrete as of yet.
As always, follow our social media channels to stay updated on that!
Last but not least, this AOTC wouldn't be as smooth as it is without the help of the awesome people working in the background to make this event possible. So I would like to personally thank these people for their work. You are integral in making the Asia-Pacific Trackmania community become what it is today.
Timotius “Gamingboy2508” A. (2005-2023)
Rest in peace, Timothy. The Asia/OCE community misses you.