MLG Raleigh: Streaming Survival Guide
This weekend, thousands of gamers are storming Raleigh, NC for a Major League Gaming event. You don't have to be there to catch the action yourself, though--just read our handy-dandy guide to staying on top of the MLG streams, and you won't miss a single game (or a bathroom break). You can watch the stream from the MLG home page--it should be live by the time you read this.
Stay on schedule. The drop-down menus on the side of the main stream page show you the overall schedule for the whole event. If you're just tuning in to watch a few particular games, switch over to that game's stream using the tabs along the top of the video window to see exactly what's going on that stream for the day. If you absolutely must catch EG.IdrA vs. ST.Bomber, the schedule will tell you it's slated for 5:30PM EST on the Starcraft 2 Red Stream.
Watch in double vision. If you're following Starcraft 2, you'll want to keep up on both Red and Blue streams. You can use this link at Well-Played.org to keep up both streams at once, and then choose which one you want to full-screen (and mute the other one, or else it'll get confusing). That way, you can make sure you're watching your favorite commentators and players at all times.
Look for a nearby Barcraft. More and more sports bars are open to showing Starcraft 2 events to groups of organized viewers, especially since the Sunday night finals can often draw a decent crowd on otherwise low-traffic nights. You can find them pretty easily by Googling <your area> and "Barcraft", or checking this Reddit section. (You typically have to be of legal drinking age to attend, mind you.)
Check out the new games. This MLG event has a few new entrances to the lineup. Starcraft 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Halo: Reach are the current mainstays, but they've also added League of Legends to the list for this event, and there's a special showmatch in the as-yet-unreleased Gears of War 3 between four developers from Epic Games and the 2008-2009 Gears of War 1+2 champion team Th3 Nsan3z.
Be wary of the weather. You probably know that the East Coast is currently in the middle of a hurricane alert. MLG staff is prepared for the hurricane to disrupt their streaming (and supposedly has backup streaming plans in place) but if you're having chronic stream problems, it might be due to the hurricane.
Don't miss it, go mobile. You don't have to let silly things like a social life or real-world responsibilities get in the way of your MLG action. Android users should have no problem using the standard MLG streaming, as long as your device supports Flash. If you're on iOS, don't worry--twitch.tv is hosting low-resolution streams for both Starcraft 2 streams, Halo, and Call of Duty. (You can find links to the streams here.) Starcraft 2 fans can also stay up on the day's events with this handy schedule page, which keeps tabs on each stream and translates the EST schedule to your time zone.
Patrick Miller covers HDTVs, how-tos, and the occasional game for PCWorld. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter.