With Jerry returning to vVv to run things again, my time as President of vVv has come to a close. I wanted to take some time to reflect on how things went. Primarily I feel like I failed vVv in a lot of ways. The ADL stagnated due to my mismanagement and failure to keep people pushing toward excellence. The CoD division was on life support for way too long. As a whole I didn't effectively execute on my vision for making vVv Gaming an awesome place for competitive gamers.
Primarily there were certain personal things holding me back from executing on my vision. The main two were my self-awareness with how I handled my working relationships and my inability to focus. I looked for all kinds of ways to increase my productivity, reading up on things like prioritizing, focusing on your mission, having a clear idea of what it is that you want to accomplish, but none of that addressed the core problem: I was just getting distracted by everything and unable to focus when it came time to do the big, important work. I wasn't lacking a strategy, I was lacking discipline. With my working relationships, I was acting like a complete ass to people without even realizing it. I didn't take the time to re-read what I was writing, or think about how I was coming across to people, and the ways I tried to approach people to "help" them made me come across as a bureaucratic authority who's only help was to tell people "no" or "do things my way". Obviously these two flaws are going to prevent anyone from being a good, let alone great leader.
Thankfully Jerry was able to help me regain my focus and also help me raise my self awareness within just two weeks of returning. In the past two weeks I've gotten more accomplished, felt better about myself and my future, and improved the way I handle my relationships more than any time in the past 9 years. I've even started looking at some difficult problems I've been facing personally and just by asking myself "What would Jerry tell me?" I can usually figure out the best way to proceed and handle things.
So now I just need to return to my vision and remember why it's so compelling for me. As a kid I had to go through some real difficulty trying to figure out how to be gay and in love with someone who would never return that feeling. It's deeply important to me that no one should have to go through life facing difficult challenges without feeling like there is someone there who can help them. I think that within the larger gaming community there are endless opportunities to fulfill that mission. Don't like the way you look? Cosplay as your favorite game character. Bullied at school? Go online and find people who love you just because you share a passion for the same game as they do. Giving up on your dreams? Volunteer your time doing amazing things for the larger gaming community and develop marketable skills to work in or outside of the gaming industry.
There is so much good that we can do together, and I am passionate about making the world a better place than the one I had to grow up in. I sometimes wonder how many people there were in the world when I was growing up who gave up on their dreams to live a normal life. How many hours spent watching TV that could have been spent changing peoples' minds about homosexuality? How many hours spent in closeted sex clubs or on seedy hookups that could have been spent coming out and leading the LBGT awareness movement? How many desperate, needy relationships that distracted people from opening places where LGBT youth could come for help? Not that no one should watch TV, or people should never hookup, or that people shouldn't find love, but what was the real cost to the world when this becomes the focus of a life instead of a way to enhance it? How many suicides could have been prevented? How much bullying could have been stopped?
And it's not just LGBT who have difficult challenges. Everyone has a closet. How many people feel like they have no one to turn to for help when the burden of hiding inside of it becomes overwhelming? How much of a better world could we create for all of humanity if we just took the time to focus on each other? I aspire to be as good as Jerry at finding, identifying, and communicating what people need in order to go from struggling to successful. And I look forward to creating an awesome community for all competitive gamers here over the next few months, and wherever life takes me I will continue on this mission for the rest of my life. If you feel the same way then come join me and let's make this awesome together.
The single most destructive thing you can do to your dreams is try to live a normal life. What is a normal life? It's all those things that take up your time that aren't related to helping you achieve your dreams. Things you do because you feel you're expected to, or because you'll make more money (if being rich isn't your dream), or because they are an entertaining distraction, or because you feel like it's "the next step" in life. And what does it mean for something to be "the next step"? Basically, I like to think of the normal life as a big rut, and the wheel of life goes round and round in this rut as each generation is born, lives, reproduces, and dies. Each turn of the wheel is another life expiring living the normal, ordinary plan that it never chose. For a typical middle-class American, that rut might look something like:
Go to school and get good grades,
Get into college and get a degree,
Use your degree to get a secure, well-paying job,
Get married, buy a house, and start having kids,
Send the kids to school to get good grades, through college, and support them starting their own careers,
Retire if you can afford it and enjoy the last few years of your life doing what you actually wanted.
But beyond just this simple list of a plan for your life, there are the little things that fill our lives. Spend time watching TV, movies, or anime? Not interested in becoming an actor, critic, producer, writer, production crew, makeup artist, etc.? Subject matter not relevant to your passion? Probably shouldn't spend a lot of time doing that.
Spend a lot of time going out to bars or clubs? Not interested in becoming a bartender, promoter, DJ, owner, designer, doorman, bouncer, manager, etc? Not looking for a spouse to fulfill your dream of raising an awesome family? Probably shouldn't spend a lot of time doing that.
Spend a lot of time playing video games? Not interested in becoming a pro gamer, coach, caster, production crew, cosplayer, graphics artist, character designer, etc.? Probably shouldn't spend a lot of time doing that.
Spend a lot of time trying to get laid? Not interested in becoming a porn star, prostitute, brothel owner, pimp, adult sex store owner, porn producer, adult fiction writer, matchmaker, or just being the best lover in the world? Probably shouldn't spend a lot of time doing that.
The pattern goes round and round. People follow it as if by impulse rather than actual conscious choice. As such, it takes a lot of effort and energy to decide that this isn't the life you want. Contrary to popular belief, your life is already laid out for you from the moment you were born. If you want to live an alternate life and achieve your dreams, then you have to expend enormous energy to jump that wheel out of the rut and consciously direct your energy toward your passion. And event hen you are in constant danger of falling back into the rut. Only through the relentless pursuit of your passion will you escape being trapped in a normal life.
That's not to say that you shouldn't ever have fun. Fun and relaxation are necessary and without them you probably won't be as effective of a person, so definitely set aside time for relaxing and having fun. But if you fill your free time with trying to get laid, then watching Netflix, then playing games, then going out with friends, then getting laid again, then watching Netflix again, while working and supporting yourself, then suddenly all your time is filled with the mundane pieces of life that are just there to help you relax and alleviate boredom occasionally.
Set aside the time to pursue your passion FIRST. Then stick to that plan. Didn't get laid this week? Minor inconvenience. Didn't live your dreams this lifetime? Devastating. Planning to put your passion first is the only way to avoid waking up one day on a path you had no intention of going down and wondering what happened to your dreams.
You had dreams once, but what happened to them? How did you wake up halfway through your life feeling trapped in a marriage that doesn't support you, with children who are your jailers demanding more and more of your time away from your passion, and a job that you go to only to pay the ever increasing pile of bills from the mortgage, cable, kids college fund, etc. And then suddenly you are retirement age, but you can't retire because you never did anything at your safe, secure job that would earn you a promotion and a raise to cover the lifestyle you ended up with. All the money went to the kids, the wife, the house, the Netflix and cable subscriptions, the nights out, the endless games played—but you never got out of silver league. So even at the end of your life you were never able to pursue your dreams.
And that's not to say you couldn't achieve happiness with that kind of life, but was that really your dream? To just be happy frittering away your life aimlessly? Surely there was something you wanted to accomplish, to contribute to the world. More than just "held a steady job, watched netflix, got laid"?
I have one more thing for you to consider before I wrap up this blog post. What if, deciding to live a normal life, things don't go exactly as not-planned? What if you get a girl pregnant one night while trying to just get laid? What if your wife finds herself in a loveless marriage and commits suicide? What if you fall asleep exhausted driving to the job you don't love and end up killing someone? What if the example you set causes a child to become jaded and give up his dreams and become a drug dealer instead? What if it's your child? It's one thing to squander your own life, but can you really be so cavalier with someone else's?
Do all the opportunity costs and squandered time really only add up to your own personal nightmare? What about the difference you were going to make in the world? Who loses out because you never delivered on that dream? Is it just you, or is the world impoverished because watching the next season of Breaking Bad was more important than figuring out the cure for aging? Or the solution to viable renewable energy? Or the artwork that inspires the next generation of artists and defines beauty for this time period? What is your dream worth?
So I leave you with this message: fail to live a normal life. You don't have to leave everything on autopilot. Discover your passion, discover your purpose, and pursue them relentlessly. My own personal mission statement is "No one should have to deal with difficult problems alone", which is the result of experiences I had earlier in my life. My own passion is competitive gaming, ever since I was 5 or 6 years old playing Battle Tanks against my brother on the Atari 2600. Instead of a repetitive rut, your life can look like this:
Go to school, but look for opportunities to do things you enjoy until you discover your true passion,
Examine your life and discover your purpose. What is more important to you than anything else? Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
Go to college if it will help you combine your passion and purpose. Otherwise look for opportunities to get started while you're still in high school.
Struggle for a while financially while you pursue your passion and purpose wholeheartedly. It will be worth it.
Discover someone else who enjoys their life as much as you and is also actively immersed in their own passion. Become partners in life in a way a normal spouse could never hope to.
If your passion or purpose demands it, have children. Help them stay free from the rut of a normal life.
Never retire because you love what you do and you've lived a whole and complete life doing exactly what you love.
Sound better than a normal life? I think so, and I hope you do too.
When I was in college, I studied Information Technology in order to get a secure, high-paying job. When I graduated I started working at a company doing work related to the IT field rather than pursuing my dream of working in the gaming industry. My life is very comfortable, but I'm also not content with where I am. I spent a lot of time playing games in the evening, watching anime, and watching movies. I worked out a lot and spent a lot of time talking to guys online trying to find someone to date.
Looking back, my twenties were basically a huge waste of time. I'm now 30 years old and only over the past few years have I started focusing on finding my passion and purpose. The type of life where you live only for your own immediate satisfaction is not fulfilling, at least not for me. You need to find a purpose to serve others and add value to their lives in some way in order to find fulfillment.
Even recently I have struggled with using my time as effectively as possible. For example, I struggle to get to sleep on time a lot of the time. This leads to me being too tired to get meaningful work done the following evening, significantly limiting my effectiveness in terms of what staff work I can accomplish. I've also wasted a lot of time trying to grind staff work every day. I have found that setting aside time on the weekends to play games and spend time with friends and family makes it easier to focus on getting stuff done during the week.
One of the biggest failures I experienced after joining vVv was the death of the Starcraft 2 Division. I lost my passion for the game because I spent all my time doing staff work and wasting time and never took the time to actually play. This is a huge error, because it will inevitably lead to burnout. So finding time to play the game you are most passionate about is a must.
All of the above things I talked about I speak from experience. This isn't all just generic advice, but things I've learned the hard way that I want to share with everyone else so that they don't have to. This is why it's so important to pursue your passion. It's definitely not the easy choice, but compared to the alternatives it's far easier than letting your dreams die. Hope this was helpful.
This weekend I got to experience the power of vulnerability and connection firsthand while visiting with vVv staff and LordJerith in LA. There were five of us sitting around the couches in Jerry’s living room, and Rob was sharing his story. When he finished talking about his experience with the drunk driving accident and how it changed his life and led him to end up in LA working as President in vVv Gaming, Ahryse said that it was really interesting hearing his story and that she felt that she was more connected to him after listening. Of course, this is exactly what Brene Brown means when she talks about vulnerability being the birthplace of connection in her TED videos:
Being my usual oblivious, overly-analytical self, I immediately asked Ahryse “It sounds like you really care about hearing this type of thing and feeling connected, is that one of your strengths?”
I was privileged to be a part of that moment because Jerry immediately interjected and pointed out to me the obvious point that I was missing: that this was a normal human reaction to vulnerability and that to build relationships and form connections you have to be willing to open up, share your story, and be vulnerable with people.
Being roughly 10 years older than Rob I have lived through a lot more and undoubtedly have a lot more stories to share, but it’s pretty obvious to me that I need to start by explaining why it’s so difficult for me to open up and be vulnerable and share my whole self. For that we have to go back to very early in my childhood.
I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never really struggled with or doubted my sexuality. Even when I was 7 or 8 I knew I was gay. I also knew that it was dangerous to tell anyone that you’re gay for a number of reasons. Children get kicked out of the house by their parents when they find out, people get violently attacked, you become ostracized and an outcast, etc. I also knew very early on that the only way to really keep something secret is to never tell anyone. So for the first 18 years of my life that’s exactly what I did: hid my sexuality and told no one who I really was.
A lot of people think that when someone takes offense to a racist comment or joke that they are just thin skinned and shouldn’t take something negatively that isn’t meant to be hurtful. But the real problem isn’t that those comments sting or that someone is going to run crying to their bed and cry themselves to sleep, but that they propagate the silence of people like me. Going through high school and having everyone around me saying “gay this” “faggot that” reinforced the notion that gay people were simply hated and that I needed to hide my true self from the world and stay a prisoner of my own silence.
Who knows if those gay and faggot comments I kept hearing were actually reflective of a real hatred or just a product of dumb repetition? There were openly gay kids in my school (who I didn’t associate with for fear of being found out by association), but to my knowledge they weren’t really verbally or physically attacked. Maybe I could’ve come out and not had my life collapse around me, but there was definitely no way I was going to open up and share myself in an environment where people used my sexual identity as an insult and a way to express their dislike of things.
And this is another thing that sets gay people apart as a minority. When you’re black you’re black. You can’t hide your skin. You can’t hide if you’re a female. You can’t hide your age, or if you’re physically disabled. But if you’re gay you can definitely hide it. And when you hide you find out exactly what people think about you. All those disgusting, bigoted, small minded comments and opinions that everyone has come right out into the open in a grand orgy of ignorance and hate. It happens right in front of you and your nose gets rubbed in it and you have to swallow it like a bucket of vomit and smile the whole time because who would be on your side if you spoke out?
And, on a lighter note, that’s why I find videos like this hilarious:
Back to the heavy stuff.
When I was 18 I found a reason to break my silence that was more important than keeping my sexuality a secret and risk getting kicked out, losing my plans to go to college, and being potentially alienated from my family. It sounds sappy and lame, but that reason was love. I had fallen completely and inextricably for another guy at my highschool, and I battled against that feeling from the start of grade 10 until halfway through my senior year.
It might sound really dumb to fight against something like that, but my fear of outing myself was paralyzing. The thought of what might happen to me if people knew I was gay made sure that I couldn’t approach him and tell him how I felt. Plus what were the chances that it was even worth taking the risk? That he was gay too and felt the same way about me as I did about him? So I agonized through what I can easily call the most painful part of my life, completely in silence and completely alone.
A lot of people dismiss what I felt and call it a crush. But from what I understand about crushes, they are supposed to be cute and silly and you get over them. But what I felt for him, what I FEEL for him, is so amazing and perfect and wonderful, and I know if he walked into the room right now I would still feel the same way I did the last time I saw him twelve years ago. It’s something I carry around with me every day, even though the wound has scarred over and the pain has numbed, it is a part of me and it always will be. So maybe “love” isn’t the right word for it, but I think crush is also the wrong word. Obsession, lust, etc. none of them fit. To me, love is the closest thing I can think of so I’ll leave it at that.
A lot of people I think would describe that experience as hell, but around that time I found a better metaphor due to my being really into Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I think a more apt description came about when Buffy’s crew thought she had died and gotten trapped in hell, when in actuality she had been in heaven and they pulled her back to earth.
To me, having that perfect feeling was heaven. Every time I stole a glance in his direction, every time I got to see any of his mannerisms or the way he walked, or on extremely rare occasions where I actually got to talk to him, was like a little bit of heaven in my life. And then it was over and I had to go back to earth because ultimately they were very brief, ephemeral moments. Being on earth meant that I couldn’t have that feeling anymore and all I had was my loneliness and disconnection because I didn’t feel safe opening up to people.
The relative emptiness of everyday life became increasingly painful and I contemplated suicide. Ultimately, it was the few people in my life that I knew loved me and cared about me that made me decide against it. I knew my mom and best friend at the time would suffer if I killed myself, and so I made the hardest decision of my life. Without knowing where I was going, without knowing what would happen or having any expectation that things would work out, I decided to do the only thing I could: just keep putting one foot in front of the other until I got through it.
I think consciously deciding to keep living is different from just living because you’ve never thought about any alternatives. Ordinarily I think it’s easy to take life for granted, to just keep going on every day without any thought to what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. But when you make a CONSCIOUS decision that you’re going to live, when you’ve faced death and despair and hopelessness in the face and said “not today”, every other fear becomes slightly diminished.
As our senior year approached the halfway mark, I realized that if I never found out with absolute 100% certainty that he didn’t feel the same way about me as I felt about him, I would regret it for the rest of my life in a way that would leave me incomplete and destroyed. One night, after a band concert I rushed out to my car to wait for him. He came out by himself, completely alone, he looked over and saw me in my car and waved. It was the perfect moment to tell him how I felt. I chickened out, waved back, and drove away.
Later that week I knew I had to try again. After school, I drove over to his house, rang his doorbell. His mom answered. I asked if he was home. She went upstairs to get him. Apparently he was taking a nap after school, because I heard him say “I’m tired”. Shortly after that, he appeared at the top of the stairs. Seeing me, he asked, “Need something?” In the loudest, most confident voice I could muster, which came out as barely a whisper, I told him, “I’m gay”. He said, “What?”. I repeated myself, “I’m gay”. His last response to me was, “Okay”.
I can’t describe the amount of soul crushing disappointment that those two syllables can possess. But at least I had what I came for. I had my answer. At least I knew 100% that he didn’t feel about me the way I felt about him. Armed with that information I was ready to keep living the rest of my life.
I drove home and spent the rest of the day with my best friend who I had already come out to after deciding I had to find out about the other guy. When I got home, my mom took me upstairs and told me that the guy had called and told her what happened. So I never actually got to come out to my mom. She wasn’t what I would call supportive, I think she still hopes she can “pray the gay away”, but it wasn’t the horrible cataclysmic moment I had feared for 18 years.
After that I began coming out to more people I was close to. I’ve never really been comfortable talking about it directly with people I don’t know very well (or that I do know well for that matter). I came out in college, but I think half the people I told didn’t even believe me because my mannerisms just aren’t what people envision when they hear the word “gay”. After college I just reverted back to keeping it to myself for the most part and told myself “I’m not going to broadcast it, but I’ll be honest with anyone who asks”. I thought of myself as an open book, even though an open book doesn’t require someone to come along and ask it a question for it to open itself…
After talking with Jerry this past weekend, it became clear to me that it does nobody any good for me to not “own” being gay as part of my identity. I’m entering my thirties and there are a lot of people who struggle with their sexuality and coming out in their thirties. A lot of my friends are also having children now, and I can assume fairly safely that it’s likely at least some of those children will be gay or lesbian themselves. As someone who identifies as gay, I can put myself out there as a resource for these people as well as anyone else struggling with their identity or issues they encounter in their daily lives regarding homosexuality.
I also limit my own relationships by not being openly gay. Not just romantically, but almost every single deep and meaningful experience in my life in some way relates to my sexuality. If I can’t share the gay part of me, then I can’t share those experiences as stories and potentially help people who are struggling through similar circumstances. I can’t build deep and meaningful connections with other people. And also, why the fuck would I want to be friends with someone who doesn’t like gay people? Anyone who has a problem with it, by definition, shouldn’t be my friend in the first place. So there’s no longer any legitimate reason for me to fear being open and honest about that part of myself (unless I want to go work for Chick Fil A).
And even though I feel that I’m already fairly open about my sexuality without calling it out by name, “gay” is still too negative a word for people to assume that I’m gay just because I say things that indicate such.
One last thing I want to cover. Another reason I don’t like sharing my story is because it’s really sad, and I’ve experienced all that sadness already and feel like I have a lot of joy and happiness to experience to make up for it. So I’d like to conclude on a lighter note. TLDR: Sounds gay, I’m in!
I've been looking around lately into what people are thinking about Titanfall as a competitive game. I see a lot of very vocal opinions that Titanfall can't be competitive for various reasons and I want to address them in this blog post.
CoD is a Pro Esport, but what does that mean?
So what does a $1 million payout tournament look like in real terms?
Basically, since teams are four players + a captain, you split each prize 5 ways. This means a million dollar prize pool is already "reduced" to $200,000 on an individual basis. But then you further divide this among the top 8 teams. Ultimately the breakdown looks like this (assuming prizes are evenly split):
8th - $5,000/member
7th - $7,000/member
6th - $10,000/member
5th - $14,000/member (finally crossing the poverty line)
4th - $20,000/member (finally surpassing the annual salary for a minimum wage worker)
3rd - $24,000/member
2nd - $40,000/member
1st - $80,000/member
But what about other tournaments? Certainly with multiple events like MLG and UMG that helps!
Not quite. The payout for the MLG Championships last year was $50,000 for Ghosts. Anaheim looks to be only marginally better with $80,000 in prizes up for grabs. UMG pays out $20,000 or less per event. In fact, in all of 2013 there were only $1,360,000 in total payouts from major events (including the CoD Champs tournament).
So we're supposed to say "Fuck it! Titanfall is done. 20 kids playing CoD can make an annual living wage playing CoD every year. Now that's a REAL esport!"
Sorry if I'm not impressed.
When I think of the various things we can all do in life, I think it's incredibly important for people to find what they are passionate about and do that thing as much as possible. We're all given a limited amount of time, and we're extremely limited in how effective we can be if we aren't spending the majority of our time working on things that we care deeply about. Playing a game that
isn't fun for a chance to be one of 20 kids making a real living off of it doesn't seem very appealing to me. Especially when even the esports athletes playing the game
I think a big part of the issue is that the language being used isn't correct. Titanfall features the following gameplay elements:
- The game is exclusively multiplayer where teams play against each other
- The game requires some measure of skill in order to reach the top of the leaderboards (case in point I'm typically at the bottom)
- Strategic and tactical thinking is required in order to control objectives and win games (unless you play Pilot Hunter exclusively)
- Respawn's first major patch added private lobbies to the game, allowing premade teams to compete against each other
In other words, it's the definition of competitive. Now, does it have features that are needed for ESPORTS? No. It's not an esport in it's CURRENT incarnation. But to be fair, neither was CoD: Ghosts at release. So what are we missing?
- Global spectate mode to allow casters to follow the action
- Competitive settings for private lobbies (banning things like burn cards and satchel charges, allowing a lobby leader to control the settings, etc.)
- A ranked ladder with separate statistics tracking to allow us to get a solid view of how good someone is when they play the game seriously to win (rather than to complete silly regen challenges)
- In-game theater to allow for review of gameplay footage (although technically the built-in streaming feature should allow you to look back over the footage, just a little more clunky and if you don't have enough bandwidth then tough luck)
That's it. Most of this Respawn should be able to include within the next 3 months. Replay functionality is the only thing I can see taking longer. So really it's a small chore of keeping Respawn to task adding the features we want through calm, reasoned discussion to turn Titanfall into a game that's esports-ready. That doesn't sound like a hopeless task at all, in my opinion.
Focus on What's Important
What matters to me is that Respawn has created a game that is fun to play that people can be passionate about. We don't need to worry about all the people complaining that Titanfall isn't an esport because they don't actually matter. If we get enough people who are passionate about the game (like we have at vVv Gaming) then we can build up a competitive scene and influence Respawn/EA to support it as an esport with competitive features and sponsored events with prizes.
The idea that, because there isn't enough money in Titanfall to support 20 kids financially RIGHT NOW or the proper esports features to support casting and tournament settings RIGHT NOW is ridiculous. Why should that be more important than people enjoying the game and pursuing their passions? IT SHOULDN'T! The very notion that 20 kids can't make a living playing Titanfall trumps your enjoyment of the game is INSANE. Follow your passions, play the games you enjoy, and do it for the sheer love of playing and good things will come.
If you don't know where to start, join a professional gaming community that supports Titanfall. At the very least this will put you around other people who share your passion and will immerse you in an environment where people are all looking to grow competitive Titanfall. I <3 Reddit, but you need to make more personal connections with people to share your ideas and make a difference.
So let's get together and make this happen! With the core gameplay as solid as it is, there's no doubt in my mind that Respawn will do an amazing job supporting Titanfall. As long as we are just as awesome supporting Respawn and letting them know what we want in the game, they will give us as many competitive features as we could possibly imagine. On that note, I'm looking forward to seeing Titanfall grow into an amazing esport with all of the passionate Titanfall players here Prepare for Titanfall! (as an esport)
Let me preface this by saying I've been playing games for a long time. Not as long as some, but since Quake came out in the early 90s and massively competitive multiplayer was born. I'm going to borrow on that experience to make my case for why I think Titanfall is the most important FPS of this decade.
The Wrong Questions
I see a lot of people arguing about whether Titanfall is the CoD killer. I'm going to tell you that is the wrong question. CoD has consistently failed to engage its audience since CoD4. The most recent release, CoD: Ghosts is so underwhelming as a title that many CoD players don't actually enjoy playing it. The only reason CoD hasn't died already is because it is entrenched so firmly in the competitive scene that the community will keep playing it regardless of how enjoyable the gameplay is or isn't.
There's no alternative that fills the competitive niche the way CoD does, at least for the competitive console FPS community. Given CoD's history of releasing lackluster titles that do little more than tweak the graphics and add a new set of maps, it doesn't matter if a new game can "kill CoD". The real question is: can a console FPS deliver new and exciting gameplay mechanics that make console FPS fun to play again?
To that question, I give a resounding yes. Titanfall's gameplay is unlike any other FPS I've played. There are similarities to CoD, especially in the aiming and firing of most of the weapons revealed in the beta, but that's about where the similarities end. And it's not just that the gameplay is new, it's also GOOD. It felt natural to run around on walls and double jump my way across the map. Even as a life-long PC gamer who has two-left thumbs, it felt good to jump into windows and climb skyscrapers, or jump on the backs of the huge titans that roam the maps. And it felt natural that I'd be able to do these things in the game.
But is it competitive? This is another question that I see asked a lot. Again, the answer is that this is the wrong question. Name for me one successful game that was designed to be competitive from the first release of the series. In fact, other than Shootmania, there really hasn't been any other game that was designed specifically with competitive features in mind, and Shootmania flopped hard.
One could also argue that Black Ops 2 was designed to be competitive, although as a sequel at the end of a long string of CoD titles it isn't realistic to compare BO2 to Titanfall. Also, BO2 was replaced by CoD: Ghosts. While BO2 was a noteworthy success, developer pressure forced the competitive scene to move on to CoD: Ghosts, the game that no one likes. Ghosts removed all of the competitive features that the community loved. With that kind of history, I think the more important question CoD players should be asking is: why do I think Titanfall will be any less of a success due to a lack of competitive features when CoD wantonly adds and removes the same competitive features almost randomly?
On the other hand, if I list games that were developed with the purpose of creating a fun player experience and enjoyable gameplay mechanics, the list would look something like:
Starcraft, Starcraft: Brood War, and Starcraft 2,
League of Legends,
DotA and Dota2,
That's right, every major successful esport that has endured for the past decade and the biggest esports titles still to this day. Do I even need to elaborate on this point? Who cares if the game was designed to be competitive on release. If the game is a success and people want to play it competitively, then it will become an esport. There is no magic formula or set of features that are prerequisites in order for a title to be successful competitively other than that people want to play the game and see it played competitively. Something that I feel Titanfall delivers in a big way.
The Realism Trap
For a long time CoD has tried to fulfill the fantasy of a "realistic" war simulator. The problem is, the thing they are trying to simulate isn't fun for most people. It takes creativity to make a game fun, not a dogmatic adherence to realism. For example, one of my favorite mechanics in FPS games has always been rocket jumping. It gives you tactical and mobile superiority and makes the game more exciting and fast-paced. No where in reality would you EVER see someone point a rocket launcher on the ground in order to perform aerial acrobatics. It's fun in part because it is divorced from reality. It allows me to exist in a world that is not constrained by the limits of everyday life.
The movement in Titanfall has found a way to faithfully reproduce that feeling of mobility. Along with a few other really cool features (like cloaking), this game is just extremely fun to play. And it's fun to play because it escapes from the "realistic" trope and focuses instead on fun gameplay elements. For this reason, I do not have much faith that CoD ever CAN innovate in a way that meaningfully adds interesting new gameplay elements.
This Has All Happened Before...
What I see people in the CoD community saying is the same thing that SC2 fans were saying about LoL in 2010. "The game is too simple", "it's for children", "the skill cap is too low", "it's not as competitive". I think Blizzard has shown us that when you focus your development efforts on creating a competitive title at the expense of solid gameplay, you lose. Just flat out you lose. That doesn't mean that SC2 is dead, not fun to play, or that it's not a solid competitive game, but look at how big LoL has become in comparison. If you aren't focused on creating an enjoyable experience for the person playing the game, then it doesn't matter how many competitive features there are or how high the skillcap is, you won't be as successful as the guy who is creating a fun, engaging game.
So will Titanfall kill CoD? Only in the sense that LoL killed SC2, which is to say, not really. SC2 still has a pretty healthy competitive scene and lots of people follow it and watch the game. But, barring some disaster, I really do believe Titanfall will eclipse CoD in the competitive scene in much the same way LoL has eclipsed SC2. In 10 years I think we'll all still be playing Titanfall or its successors, but I do not believe that CoD will still be around given its current trajectory—with or without Titanfall.
What About Hype?
So then how much of this is just hype and how much of it is real? Believe me, I have been around to see games hyped beyond realistic expectations before and I do not see the same patterns here. Halo Reach was hailed as the game that was going to save the ailing Halo franchise and dying competitive scene, but the developers failed to deliver. Why is that? The sad reality is that, aside from some slick graphical updates, Reach was essentially the same game as every other Halo that has ever been released.
As a spectator, I've never sat down at MLG to watch a Halo match and thought "Wow, this looks way more fun and exciting than the previous version". I can only imagine how repetitive and stale it must have gotten for true competitors who sat down to practice and grind for hours on a regular basis. Without sufficiently complex gameplay mechanics, the game simply doesn't engage an audience that has mastered lining up the crosshairs and pulling the trigger.
The same thing happened with Rift. Everyone hailed it as the WoW killer due to the "Rift" feature that would spawn mini-raid encounters at random locations around the world. This sounds really neat, but when you are operating with the same basic mechanics of target, push buttons, repeat, then even new features seem stale and repetitive. Rift didn't fail to kill WoW because of a lack of new ideas, but because, ultimately, it didn't offer a new experience for the user playing the game.
And that is why I don't think that there is just hype surrounding Titanfall. The gameplay IS different. The experience for players IS good. And with all the wall running, double jumping, and complex titan battles, there will be an enormous amount to learn and improve upon for the competitive player. Maps are no longer a two-dimensional series of boxes and corridors, but now are a three-dimensional puzzle to be navigated and exploited by the smarter, more experienced player. It's no longer about who has the better ping or who can set their crosshairs on who faster, but who can maneuver better and gain an advantage through superior mobility. And it's not enough to just have better gun skill, but which team can manage and coordinate their titans to gain an advantage before having to eject and start over.
Respawn has taken a genre that was previously defined by simple point-and-click mechanics, and created a game that is engaging strategically and tactically. They have taken a genre that was focused too hard on realism and created a game that is fun and complex. They have redefined what an FPS is and what it will take to be a good FPS player. THAT is why Titanfall is the most important FPS of this decade. I hope you'll join us while we participate in this historic game!
So some people have been asking for more insight into what goes on at the staff level, so I figured I should keep a journal of sorts talking about the types of things that I do regularly.
To start with my time has been pretty limited lately. Around November I started experiencing heart palpitations, angina, difficulty breathing, poor circulation, arhythmia, all symptoms pointing toward Coronary and Peripheral Artery Disease. Mostly this came to pass when it did due to changes that began in around 2009 or so when I injured my shoulders attempting to bench incorrectly and had to stop lifting and training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. There's not much you can do in terms of physical exercise when you can't really use your arms/shoulders, so I became pretty inactive. This wasn't good because my diet has never been very good, except for a brief period during college when I had access to the cafeteria and could just pick up healthy things to eat.
Then in 2010 SC2 came out, which I became obsessed with due to fond memories of the original SC1 that I spent a lot of time playing when I was younger. That's how I found vVv Gaming. I managed to control my weight up to this point, reaching 220 lbs around the end of summer, which is close to a healthy weight for someone who is 6'2. Then I got involved in an overtime project at work which consumed my nights and weekends for about three months. This led to me no longer controlling my diet and relying on fast food too much. By January of 2011, when the project was finished, I had shot up to about 260 lbs. I was so burnt out after spending so long working extra hours that I didn't get back into cooking and other healthy habits. I did get involved with vVv's Rift guild, and became SC2 manager. I attribute these two things to getting me through that period and back on the road toward self-actualization. By the time I came to my senses I was about 290 lbs in mid 2011, but was able to more or less maintain that weight (give or take 20 lbs) for the next couple years.
This was fine at first, but I never got back into cooking. Worse, the demands on my time as staff made it easy to shift priorities around. Instead of focusing on getting back to cooking and exercising, I would just order food or pick it up somewhere and do staff work or play with the community. This is my own fault, I don't blame vVv for this, I should've made my health a priority the whole time, but chose not to. Ultimately my health got worse over this time period, with limbs falling asleep more easily, then occasional transient chest pain, and finally the difficulty breathing around the end of November. It was easy to ignore these little signs early on, but it's not easy to ignore the fact that you can't really breathe, or that you're having heart palpitations at night when you lay down for sleep.
So my schedule almost every night since December 1st is to come home, usually around 5:30 or 6:00 PM. Then I'll take a walk for an hour, clean dishes, and cook something healthy. By the time the cooking is done and I finish eating, it's usually 8:00 PM or maybe a little later. This is when things usually start in the community, inhouses, staff meetings, team practice, etc. So Monday nights I'm usually in staff meetings all night or staff meetings followed by app Meet'n'Greets. Tuesday I spend the whole night running in-houses, Wednesday is open but usually this is when I'll schedule pre-interviews, Thursday I have some liberty usually but sometimes things come up. Take last night for example, I was going to spend some time training b4rdo on how to do app manager things, but instead there was a last-minute sponsor event and I ended up participating in that since we were short players. Friday is the night I reserve once per week to just playing games, since if I don't actually just sit down and play LoL then I'll get burnt out and stop caring about managing the community or keeping vVv great.Saturday and Sunday tend to be open, but they also tend to be days I take care of chores for the week such as laundry, cleaning, trash, etc. plus all the things I have to do every day like cooking, walking, etc. I try to get to bed by 11 PM ready to go to sleep, since that's when you're body attempts to dump antioxidants (melatonin) and clear free radicals (important for healing) but usually it's closer to midnight.
Since most of my free time is on Saturday, it's unfortunate that my Dad had a cardiac event shortly after the new year and has been in the hospital all month getting and then recovering from a triple bypass surgery. I did take the long weekend to get caught up with a few things, but with Saturday being my free day every week I've usually been in the hospital with my mom visiting him most of the day. So this month in particular it's been difficult to keep up. In addition Mooch resigned as LoL Division Manager and Hinao is having personal issues that prevent him from executing his duties as App Manager, so I've been having to spend what free time I do have these days picking up those tasks or performing pre-interviews since our first wave of apps who came from the recruitment thread has finally reached the three-month mark. And I'll admit that I'm guilty of getting sucked into the new season hype and playing a bit more LoL than I should when I could find the time for my placement matches.
I do spend a few hours every day at work going through the forums to keep up with things, banning and cleaning up after spambots, and going through the staff email to screen applicants for our EI program, but another thing that happened this month is that work has gotten a bit more demanding of my time, so I've had to keep that to a minimum.
Mostly what I'm trying to accomplish on staff is set up training so that we can bring on new staff and delegate responsibilities more effectively. I have about two dozen TED talks circling my browser that I just don't have time to do anything with because if I focused on that then the LoL division would fall apart within a few months. There's also clarity issues with our current setup, such as the fact that we still reference Doomhammer's post regarding new apps, yet we no longer look at social media for most applicants (<50 follower/like counts) as a standard for how to get in. We miss out on a lot of potential interest and contributions because it's not clear enough that you can be a part of our community without really applying, such as Vultige or A10 Pilot. Yet these members still contribute something of value with their presence that makes the community better for everyone.
So please bear with me while I work to fix things at the pace that I can manage. I am still looking for a replacement LoL Division Manager, but it needs to be the right person, someone who is already a member, preferably plat or higher since they will need to focus on bringing in talent, I think we have people who fit that description already, but they are focused on other areas that are equally important (such as pherz's work on graphics, or wakai's focus on other areas). I'm especially concerned about waiting for the right person because of the recent management failures we've experienced. I trusted someone to replace me as SC2 manager without properly vetting him, and he ended up running a coup and taking the SC2 division away from vVv, erasing two years of effort that I put into building it up. Then this event was repeated just this past December when Legacyyy left to form his own organization and attempted to take the whole CoD division with him. I don't think I need any further evidence to make the case that the next LoL Division Manager NEEDS to be the right fit.
So I hope that clarifies what it is I've been doing on staff. I will try to post new entries as time permits describing some more of the day-to-day that's involved in keeping things running, my Dad will be home from the hospital this weekend and then I'll have my weekends free again. My health continues to improve as I stay focused on doing the things I need to. All good things, and good things will be coming to the LoL Division soon as well. I appreciate all the help you guys have been giving me, especially:
- Jiggy for running Thursday inhouses,
- Martic for gathering feedback from the community and putting in writing all the things we need to work on,
- Criss for moderating the forums and being a good idea machine,
- Mooch for the time he spent helping to run the LoL Division,
- Robz and the executive team for keeping vVv a great place to be,
- B4rdo for stepping up to become app manager
- and everyone else for all the daily contributions you make to keep this place great!
Don't worry if you don't play LoL, this content is applicable to any game, title, or genre. First, if you haven't read the original article, please do so, it contains a lot of valuable information:
I just wanted to expand on some of the ideas and give my thoughts on why these concepts are important.
This is a primary fallacy I see a lot of top teams and players fall into. There IS no top x team or player in any game. Players achieve what they achieve as a result of the quantity and quality of time they spend practicing and improving. There is no magical gene or destiny that makes you or anyone else a top player in a game. If someone comes along tomorrow with a better training schedule and enough time to practice, you're out.
As a species, we tend to get really hung up on the idea of legacy. This is why idrA is still relevant long after he stopped winning tournaments consistently. Instead we should look at winning with a certain skepticism and understand that the truth of mutual funds is the same for pro gamers: past performance is not a guarantee of future returns.
That's not to say there's no correlation between top players and their results, but that a record alone is not enough to rely on to get you the next major victory. Often I have seen very talented players go into matches unprepared because their opponents weren't one of the top players of their game. Here's some news: every opponent has the potential to cause an upset. Complexity's Heart showed us that when he went through the open bracket as a relatively unknown player to end in the top 3 at one of the MLGs he attended.
In summary, there are two truths we should take away from this:
1. Just because you won does not mean you are untouchable. Only your well-designed and followed practice schedule can guarantee your success.
2. An opponent's fame, notoriety, or pedigree (or lack thereof) does not indicate whether he has an effective practice regimen and should be viewed as a threat. Go into every game prepared to play at your best.
Here's another misconception that pro gamers or competitive gamers looking to go pro fall into. It's almost cliche advice to review your gameplay by watching replays after each game, but most people don't take it seriously and just "speed through it" to affirm their own confirmation bias so they can queue up for the next game. This isn't helpful, wastes time, and doesn't result in an improvement to the quality or quantity of your practice.
Instead, notice what the team members of CLG realized: they needed to slow down and review gameplay more critically! Instead of just looking for basic mistakes, you should be keeping an open mind and exploring different ways you could've responded to certain situations in game. You can think out the different game states these possible choices would've led to and brainstorm the optimal solution for future games. The difficulty is this takes much more time than just speed-watching your replays, but the benefit far outweighs the cost. I would recommend competitive gamers take a different approach to reviewing replays and maybe save the top 4 games they felt they played poorly and reviewing them in-depth at the end of the day.
These three paragraphs reveal something deeply critical to all gamers, not just professionals and aspiring professionals. WHEN YOU ARE STRESSED YOU PLAY POORLY. This is universally true. Your brain releases chemicals to deal with the stressful situation that happen to make your muscles become tense and slow to react to fine movements needed to excel in gaming. This is true if you're in solo queue and the guy who wanted mid starts putting pressure on you because you took his role, and this is true if you're in the LCS playing for a salary and a spot in the most prestigious eSports League ever imagined.
THIS is the reason you need to follow the Summoner's Code, cooperate with your teammates, give almost exclusively positive feedback to teammates (almost), and avoid sharing your bad day with whoever you're playing with. Not only does it make you play worse to focus on the stress, it makes your teammates play worse when you stress them out. It's more important to let your teammate know that they made a "good attempt" at a play instead of chastising them for fucking up, because next time they come to make another play they will be far more likely to execute it properly if you didn't add stress to their play.
This is also why players who take long breaks during losing streaks to deal with their negative emotions are hampering their development as potential pro gamers. In a competitive setting you need to be able to calm down within five minutes, preferably within one minute. Additionally, if you rage out a game and then calm down, you're limiting your ability to "emotionally carry" your team, since you will be heaping stress on them all game. On the other hand, if you can learn to manage your emotions then you can immediately calm yourself down and mitigate the negative effects of stress on yourself and your teammates. Thirty minutes to an hour from now is too late for your calm state to help you win your current game.
All this isn't to say you shouldn't care about the outcome of the game. Especially in high-stakes tournaments like LCS, you should WANT to win. You just have to be able to manage your emotional state so that you are not behaving erratically due to the pressure of wanting to win, and the potential consequences of losing.
Well, those are my thoughts on the article. Hope you found them insightful or useful!
In case you missed Part 1 of this series where I discussed the foundations of motivation and how we perceive time limits us, check it out here: http://www.vvv-gaming.com/forum/blog/276/entry-5765-being-driven-part-1-unexpected-roots/
Given how incredible and motivated people with passion are, it may seem like there's some magical formula you need to be able to find or identify your passion. The good news I have for everyone is that there isn't. Passion is actually really simple and easy to understand, and attainable for everyone. I want you to watch the following video, paying particular attention to how the speaker talks about leading people to a passionate life.
The really awesome thing about passion is that it starts with your interests. We may not all be able to identify something that we are passionate about, but I'm sure everyone reading this article could tell me about their interests. If you don't already know your passion, then start by thinking about your interests.
The thing to keep in mind, especially for gamers, is that it's not enough to just be interested in something for it to be a passion. I say especially for gamers because games are designed to be fun and engaging and to make you want to spend time on them. The problem is, in order for something to be a passion, it also needs to be fulfilling. You may enjoy games and think you want to be a pro gamer, but would a life spent playing games really be fulfilling for you? I think the inevitable answer to that question is that no, just playing games isn't enough to be fulfilled, at least for most gamers.
This is because in addition to being an interest, a passion needs to give you a sense of freedom, allow you to grow, and provide opportunities for you to make a difference and help others. I think the specifics are different for everyone, but those are the core elements of a passion. For example, my passion is driven by a need to grow myself and help others learn from my growth. Others, like Athene, might be driven by a desire to help the conditions of impoverished children or other causes. Many pro players feed off of their fans' energy and are fulfilled by living up to the expectations of those who support them most.
While there may be a driving desire to play games for a living, the reality of being a pro gamer is that you must do much more than just play video games to make your situation financially viable. Many pros spend time on social media, ad spots, endorsements, and representing sponsors at events through attire, interviews, and fan interactions. If this doesn't sound like something you'd voluntarily participate in, then you definitely need to consider whether being a pro gamer is the right decision for you. These activities that take you away from playing your game might make you feel constrained and limited and eliminate the potential for you to be passionate about what you do.
So now we know what passion is and the necessary core components required to allow passion to grow. The next step is finding the motivation to actually pursue your passion. This first requires us to change our perceptions again. Just like with the perception of time in last week's article, there's a prevalent way of thinking about motivation that pervades our culture and keeps us from being successful. Often people talk about "not feeling motivated" or "needing motivation". There's something extremely wrong about these statements, do you see it?
The problem is that motivation isn't some passive thing that is doled out by the motivation fairy when you aren't looking. Motivation comes from within, and each of us has to be driven to motivate ourselves. Instead of erroneously talking about "being motivated" it is correct to talk about "motivating ourselves". We need to find the drive to do the things that we need1 to do instead of waiting for a time when we feel motivated to do them. Finding motivation is actually extremely simple when we consider from last week's article that "right now" is all that exists, and whether you do something now or later makes no difference, since you will always be doing it "right now". In other words, if there is no opportunity cost to doing something, then you should always be doing what drives you toward your passion. It is interesting to note that there is always an opportunity cost to putting something off, so action toward growing a passion is really the only correct decision (aside from obvious caveats like paying bills and getting sufficient rest2).
I should also note that interpersonal relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners should be included under the umbrella of "passion" if such things are desired. The great thing about passion is it doesn't have to be limited toward a career or hobby, but can be applied to anything you want to do or are interested in.
The speaker in the video explains that passions do not happen spontaneously. You have to be interested in something first in order for it to become a passion. It would be really convenient if you could force yourself to become passionate about anything, but sadly that doesn't happen. It's up to you to grow your interest by setting goals and driving yourself in the active pursuit of them. Our decisions about what to do with our time are often unconscious and happen as a result of existing neurological patterns, also known as habits. In order to pursue passion we need to repetitively make decisions that move us toward our goals until we solidify new habits that keep us driven.
One piece of advice the speaker gives is that fear can keep us from pursuing our passions, and we should use fear as a signpost in order to lead us toward our passions. I feel that fear isn't sufficiently specific enough to be helpful. I think a better word might be discomfort. For example, my own experience over the past few months was with indecision in terms of what to pursue as my passion. Indecision is not rooted in fear in a general since, rather, it's a type of fear that making a choice will lead to a result that makes us unhappy and takes us away from what would've made us happy. It might take some introspection for each person to determine for sure what kind of fear or discomfort is keeping them from pursuing a passion, but once identified I feel this fear could be disarmed in most cases through a rational analysis of what is causing the fear.
The speaker's number one point is that you need to start NOW. Once you've identified an interest that can grow into a passion, find a reason either why you HAVE TO do it, or why you HAVE TO AVOID not doing it. This will motivate you even more to stay motivated and keep driving yourself until you form the habits needed to grow your passion.
So now we know what a passion is and how to grow it, but maybe you're still struggling with identifying what you should make your passion or what it is that's keeping you from pursuing it. How do you get past these obstacles? Come back next week and I will have even more great content to answer these questions!
1I use the term "need" here specifically instead of the term "want" in order to emphasize that we need to be driven to achieve our goals and pursue our passions.
2There are always parts of every pursuit that are undesirable. For example, I think it's unlikely that anyone is passionate about brushing their teeth. Yet it's important to brush your teeth 2-3 times per day in order to maintain proper hygiene. Likewise, there are parts of pursuing your passion that will fill this "brushing your teeth" role. Credit to LordJerith for originally explaining this concept.
You may remember a post I made a few months ago about my New Years Resolution being to become driven this year. This is a result of several years of failing to achieve my goals. This along with seeing the power that passion can bring have convinced me that passion and motivation are topics that are CRITICAL to understand, hence I began looking up all manner of resources to help me understand them. This blog series is my attempt to share that research and knowledge with all of you
To start things off, I want to share a video that completely changed the way I think about time as I feel it is foundational to truly understanding motivation and passion. The video is about how language effects savings rates. It has an economic slant, but pay attention to the implications of the speaker's content, especially with relation to future and future-less languages:
The key concept I want everyone to take away from this and start thinking about is more than just "future and future-less language speakers think differently". I want you to think about how a future-less language speaker must perceive the world and time. Essentially, a future-less language speaker perceives the future and the present the same way. I postulate that this is the true and correct way to perceive time.
Let's try a thought experiment to support this. Think about a goal you have. It could be to lose weight, it could be to study more and get better grades, it could be to get better at a specific game, the particulars don't matter. Now I'm sure you've all experienced a time where you can decide today either to be driven to achieve your goal, or you can be "lazy"1 and do other things that won't help you achieve your goal. When tomorrow comes, if you procrastinated, you will probably have the same goal, since you made no progress toward your goal. If you were driven and accomplished what you were trying to do, you might set a new goal, or a more difficult progression to your previous goal, or a continuation of your first goal.
When you wake up tomorrow, whether you procrastinated or were driven and took action, tomorrow becomes right now. You no longer perceive tomorrow as the day some time in the future, because that is what you did yesterday and yesterday's tomorrow is no longer in the future. So your experience of right now is directly linked to whether you took action or failed to take action the day before.
I think this concept is extremely important because to be driven you need to understand that there is no tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, five years out. There is only right now as you are perceiving it at this very moment. The human mind is incapable of experiencing anything other than the current given moment. You can't experience a future that hasn't happened. The actions you took and the actions you take are the only thing that can affect right now. Either you took action to move right now closer to your goals and dreams, or you procrastinated and your right now is standing still while your goals and dreams leave you behind. In order to be driven, you have to understand this concept and tear down the illusion that there is some tomorrow that will magically come when you will start achieving your goals. Tomorrow doesn't exist. Only right now exists.
As a result, you need to be able to prioritize your goals. You need to be able to make a decision about which actions to take and which actions to procrastinate on (let's face it, you don't have time to do everything). You like watching Anime? Great. Does it support your goal to become an animator? Yes, keep doing it. Does it support your goal to become a pro gamer? No, put it off until you have achieved what you need to today in order to reach your pro-gaming goals. This is because every action you take should enrich your experience of the present, which REQUIRES you to put off things that will make your "future" present worse. This includes everything that does not support your most important goals and values.
I know the previous paragraph must sound very familiar, perhaps a parent or a mentor taught you these things when you were growing up. The key is that we need to re-frame some basic things our parents always tried to teach us in a future-less way. We are mostly English speakers and therefore think about a separate future that will eventually happen. The advice I'm giving really isn't different from what your parents gave you, what I want to emphasize is that the future where you will do your chores and achieve your goals is an illusion conjured by our language and needs to be dispelled. That is the foundational building block of being a driven individual.
Earlier in this post I talked about prioritizing goals, but how do you prioritize your goals or decide on a passion? What if you have no passion? I will answer these questions in the next entry of this series.
Week 2 is now live, click the link to go to it: http://www.vvv-gaming.com/forum/blog/276-sugarbears-blog-about-everything/
1It should be noted that lazy is a very subjective term, and further clarification is needed. My understanding of lazy is the absence of action, often described as depression. Activity in the form of playing other games, doing things that don't advance you toward your goals, or other activity can be classified as "work", but should be understood to be "unproductive work" or "improperly-prioritized work". In this case, I use the term "lazy" to mean either depression or the pursuit of unproductive work. More on this in another post.
So there has been a few common difficulties I've found where applicants have trouble getting endorsements. I decided to write a post about how to improve your chances and getting into vVv with a few simple recommendations:
Hang out before you apply
This advice is really something everyone should consider. It can be pretty difficult to get someone to like you in just three weeks, especially if you only come on every week or so. Members will need to spend time with you to determine whether they like you or think you'd be a good addition to the community. People also have their own schedules, sometimes focusing on team nights or soloqueue/league practice. As a result it can be pretty difficult to get enough game time in with the same people consistently enough to get endorsed. By coming on mumble or XBL and hanging out with us on the forums, it gives people a better chance to get to know you before you submit an application. As a result it's much easier to get your endorsements later on.
This also gives you a chance to see if vVv is the right community for you. Maybe you like the idea of vVv but the people rub you the wrong way, or maybe you like the people, but the direction of the organization isn't a good match for you. Whatever the case, it's best to find out before you put in the effort to put in an application and gather endorsements whether this is the place for you.
Make yourself available to play frequently
Getting to know a group of people can be a time-consuming task, especially when you consider you might not run into the same people every night. Wait to apply until you can consistently get on mumble or XBL at least 2-3 nights per week to play some games with people. This lets members retain their mental picture of you from one meeting to the next and thereby allows members to get to know you faster. Having multiple frequent nights of good interactions will likely get you endorsements without even having to ask for them.
You might be a great person that everyone will love once they get to know you, but if you are very reserved or quiet on mumble or XBL no one will get the chance to find that out. Try to inject yourself in conversations as much as possible (being polite and trying not to cut people off, of course) or bring up conversations if no one is talking. Although not everyone can avoid being shy it is something you can work on, and being able to converse with people will translate into a great life skill later on.
It's not forbidden to ask people for endorsements, but consider how annoying it could be if someone were heckling you for something repeatedly every time you talked to them. The best way to go about asking for endorsements is to ask someone if they have any feedback for you. If they have nothing negative to say and generally positive things to say, it might be a good time to ask them to endorse you. If they still say no, accept that they might just not know you well enough yet and wait until you spend a few more nights playing with them before asking again.
NEVER try to buy endorsements
If you hear about someone selling endorsements in exchange for Microsoft points, RP, money, skins, etc. IMMEDIATELY contact a staff member. Do not attempt to purchase endorsements from ANYONE as this is 100% against the rules. We want vVv Gaming to be full of people who love to be around each other and add value, not people who can buy their way into the organization.
If all else fails, find SugarBear (for LoL applicants)
Sometimes people have certain personality traits that make people uncomfortable endorsing them, and may not be comfortable giving feedback like this to you. If you have tried the above and are still having trouble, I will find some time to play with you and can give you feedback on anything that might be putting people off and keeping you from getting endorsements. Please keep an open mind during these sessions, as any feedback is meant to be constructive and to help you grow as an individual.
If you don't make it in, don't despair!
Just because you failed to get the necessary endorsements in time to get your interview doesn't necessarily mean we hate you or don't want you here! It might simply be the case that we just didn't get the chance to get to know you well enough, or want to see you grow as a person a little before accepting you as a full member. Feel free to seek out as much feedback as possible and reapply in a few months if your application is closed due to failing to receive an endorsement.
That's it! I hope these are helpful and good luck with your application. If you're a League of Legends applicant, be sure to join us on mumble every Tuesday and Thursday night for orientation and inhouses starting at 7 PM EST.
Additional advice from vVv NaturaL:
I want to start by stating that vVv Gaming has necessarily remained silent on this issue for a number of reasons. From the response on Team Liquid, it's clear that most people either didn't care or had already made up their minds to believe the negativity in Salvor's post and coming from the Aspire teams. Coming forward with an official response would have been unhelpful since the people who didn't care didn't care, and the people who had already made up their minds would just call any statement by vVv Gaming a lie and a cover up. As a result, we decided that the best course of action was simply to let the threads run their course and die out on there own, which eventually happened after a couple days when they fell off the front page.
It's important to note that after the initial round of negativity, Titan, MurDeR, Hasuu, and RockEr all came forward with a positive and supportive message regarding their time on vVv Gaming's SC2 team. We had not asked them to do so, since our stance was that the sooner these threads fall off the front page, the sooner everyone can move forward with being productive and doing great things to progress eSports. I assume that either Glon or Salvor had decided to contact all of our former players to get statements, and it's important to note that of all the players we officially picked up, only Glon had negative things to say about vVv. There were a few players we were working with toward reaching a level we would feel comfortable sponsoring them, such as Toxsik and Reset, but these were never players we had officially decided to pick up and sponsor.
After taking some time to reflect on everyone's responses, I decided to reach out to a few players who supported us and thank them (Astraea, Titan, MurDeR, RockEr, and Hasuu). I also reached out to several players who had complained about their experience in vVv Gaming. I notified Spectral that we had updated our chop-chop process. We now cross-referencing the chop list against our donation transaction history to avoid chopping players who have been adding value by donating, but may have been less active on the forums. I apologized to Toxsik for not following up with Jerry on sending him a headset, as this was my fault as a manager and not a result of any deceit or lie by vVv Gaming. I also apologized to Reset that we hadn't been able to work together to get him to reach a level where we would feel comfortable sponsoring him.
I also began looking at Glon's responses and thinking about why he might feel the way he does. After several nights of reflection, I feel that he is justified in feeling that he was lied to or mislead, but it was not intentional on the part of vVv Gaming to do so. Let's begin by recounting his story. At the stat of 2012, or maybe at the end of 2011, we had been talking with Glon about being a sponsored player and at some point around this time he made it clear that he was looking for a salary. As a result we began looking into ways that would be possible. We decided that internally it would not be possible to provide that level of support for Glon, and that without a significant tournament result it probably wouldn't be possible that another team would either. So we made it a goal to develop him to the level where he could be picked up by a team like EG which would be able to provide him with a salary like he wanted. This was communicated to Glon as well.
All was going well, until we were discussing sponsorship details with Glon at Anaheim (Summer 2012). During these discussions it was brought up that he'd been communicating with other teams about potential sponsorship offers, and that he was planning on accepting one of these offers and leaving vVv Gaming. This came as a surprise to us as he had not come to staff stating that he wanted to pursue other sponsorships and so we had not had a chance to negotiate with him regarding whether we'd be able to provide sufficient support to keep him as a member. At Anaheim it was also brought up that we were intending to drop all sponsorships for SC2 and keeping Glon as our sole sponsored player. It was communicated that we were starting the Aspire program and that as part of this arrangement we'd like him to work with the Aspire team to help develop them into professional level players. In return, vVv Gaming would sponsor him to major LAN events covering travel, entry fee, and lodging. I believe an attempt was made to draw up a contract at the event, but Glon refused to sign stating that he was holding out for salary before signing any contracts.
After Anaheim we met with the team announcing that due to performance, we would be dropping all sponsorships except for Glon and RuFF. Justifiably, several players reacted negatively to this and Glon, caught up in the negative emotion switched stances and stated that he was interested in leaving again, unless we would provide him salary. After talking with Jerry and myself for a while, it was decided that he would pursue offers from other teams, and if he could receive a better offer than we were presenting, he was welcome to take it. After talking with a few teams, he informed us that he would drop the salary requirement and work with us toward getting him to the point where a personal sponsorship was possible.
After all this was settled, Glon agreed to stay on vVv Gaming under the terms that he would work closely with Aspire and that we would sponsor him for MLG Dallas and IPL5 and work with him toward getting a personal sponsorship. During the intervening months, Glon's interest in Aspire faded. On October 20th, 2012, I followed up with BabyToss, the Aspire team Captain about Glon's activity, and she stated that he had not been very active recently with the Aspire team.
At the same time, my passion for SC2 and managing the team also faded. As a result I was not managing Glon as closely as I should've been. This is my personal failing and I feel that I am the weak link in vVv that caused things to fall apart with Glon shortly thereafter. If any negativity is deserved, it should be directed toward me for not properly reviewing Glon's activity and providing him feedback on his performance in time to ensure that we were willing to provide a full sponsorship for Dallas. Alternatively, I could have stepped down as manager, which would've resulted in having to dissolve our SC2 division and Aspire team, while we helped Glon find a new team. I think either case would've been acceptable, but after investing nearly 2 years of my time toward our SC2 division I was too attached to it to make the right decision. It was selfish of me to attempt to stay on and keep the division alive, and I apologize to anyone who was negatively affected by that decision.
During this period, MLG Raleigh happened. As part of my obligations to help Glon find a personal sponsorship, I went around and talked to every single sponsor at the event, getting contact information for as many as possible. Most of them talked about wanting numbers to justify a sponsorship. As a result, I decided that the next step was to work with Glon toward increasing his following via twitter and streaming. If we could show strong weekly growth numbers over a sustained period it would probably be enough to land him a personal sponsorship. I spent a couple nights watching his stream and giving him feedback that would improve his ability to attract followers. I talked about sharing his personality on social media to interact with his audience. I recommended he take a moment between games to check his stream chat and answer questions rather than just queueing up again immediately. All of these things were improvements that I think would help his stream in the long run. I also recommended that he seek out shows that he could go on to get more external exposure.
Then the biggest mistake I made happened. The lack of an MLG Arena before the Winter Championship threw me off and I ended up not realizing the event was coming up until two weeks before it was scheduled to take place. This means we had a minor emergency where we had to scramble to find a decent plane ticket. Fortunately Doomhammer was able to find a good ticket for a good price and we were able to fully sponsor Glon for MLG Dallas. Since I made a huge mistake here by not booking his flight earlier, I even made an extra donation of $235 to offset the cost to vVv Gaming out of my own pocket since I didn't feel vVv should pay for my mistake.
After this event, Glon decided to leave vVv Gaming after talks with our executives Robz and Doomhammer at Dallas. We parted ways amicably and he approved our goodbye post informing our community that he was moving on.
At this point it was clear I needed to find a replacement for myself as I had lost my passion for Starcraft 2 and was not the right person to lead the SC2 division. Around this time, someone with the screen name SalvorMallow came around the forums. One day I mentioned that I was looking for someone to replace me as SC2 manager and he mentioned that he would be willing to fulfill the role. After working with him for several months, we eventually managed to transition the entirety of the SC2 division over to him by January 2013. Before that he had expressed an interest in managing the SC2 team, including RuFF and Hasuu at the time. During that time he also worked with several applicants interested in being a sponsored player for vVv Gaming. One of those players was John "Nubrgini" Kim.
Please note that from this point forward I am only able to recount the story as told to me by Robz and Doomhammer, as I was not involved in working with the sponsored team or any decisions regarding picking up players other than in an advisory or witness capacity. However, with the story so far demonstrating that the worst failing of vVv Gaming was my own mistakes as manager, I would like to think there is no reason for anyone to doubt Robz's or Doom's words.
When we first began talks with John we had discussed his work situation. He let us know that he did have a stable job, but that he had to commute 3 hours each way every day. While we had concerns that this would affect his ability to schedule time to practice and add value within our SC2 community, he assured us that he'd be able to fulfill the requirements, which I should add that he did spectacularly. A few weeks later it was decided to bring him on as a sponsored player with the understanding that he'd be expected to cover travel for his first couple events, which is standard practice for vVv's sponsored players.
Shortly after officially bringing on Nubrgini, he encountered some personal issues and ended up losing his job. This is unfortunate because he would now be unable to cover travel for attending Dallas and also because I believe the emotional stress caused by these events affected his understanding of communications with our staff. As a result, I think some of the communications with him were vague, for example asking him to price out a flight for Dallas without specifying that it was just to determine if we could justify sponsoring his flight. As it turns out, we couldn't, so we offered him entry fee, hotel,and gear.
Unfortunately, since John had previously lost his job he was unable to play for a flight, and so our offer of hotel and entry fee held no value for him. Additionally, during this time Robz was in the process of moving to LA and this was also during the Christmas holidays, so things were moving slowly through management, including some requests for gear for John. As a result of being unable to properly support John, and not wanting to lead him on in terms of providing "free services" for our community, we decided it would be best to drop him as a sponsored player. We offered to move him down to the Aspire team until things settled down in his life and he could get back to a place where we felt comfortable sponsoring him again, but he did not accept this offer.
At this point I believe the negative things that had been happening to John and losing his job caused him to have a strongly emotional response to these events. Instead of coming to us to see if he could get some kind of recompense for all the time he had spent with our community being a stellar role model, he decided to make a very public post describing his negative experience with vVv Gaming. It's unfortunate that Salvor did not have John's best interests in mind or I'm sure he would have cautioned him against making a public outburst and instead trying to work with vVv management to provide some kind of care package that was amenable for both parties first. Additionally, I feel the public outbursts from both Glon and John have hurt their reputations for any team looking to possibly pick them up, as it displays a definite lack of professionalism.
What I hope everyone gets out of all this is that vVv is not at fault for deliberately misleading or deceiving players. The true cause of negativity from vVv's former players should be directed directly to me, SugarBear, for failing to live up to my responsibilities as manager of our SC2 team. If I intended to continue managing a team, I would certainly take these events as lessons moving forward. No one was deliberately misleading players, but due to some unfortunate events and my own mismanagement, some players had a negative experience. In the case of Nubrgini, I was not involved, but I don't think anyone is really to blame for those events except for some bad decisions provoked by unfortunate life experiences and some miscommunicated expectations. I fully accept responsibility for my inability to properly manage players, and have no desire to manage any professional gaming teams in the near future. I hope this clears up all of the allegations and accusations.
Hey everyone! We wanted to make the application process friendlier and more user-friendly, so we've started writing guides on all the methods that we have defined as ways our community members can add value. Today I want to shed some light on what we expect from those who want to be Streamers.
When we talk about a Streamer in vVv Gaming, we refer to someone who not only streams themselves playing games, but someone who really wants to put on a good show for their viewers. Instead of just turning on the stream and playing in silence, a streamer should think about ways to constantly improve the content provided to viewers to grow and keep a loyal audience. Audience engagement is key to having a successful stream. You take your personality and use it to direct your stream content, reflecting who you are in the product you produce. Streamers should also look for ways to get the vVv Community involved in their stream, whether that be through planning, contributing to, or collaborating on shows with other community members.
How Does a Streamer Add Value?
So what's valuable about being a Streamer? Why bother doing it? Well, besides having the passion to engage people on this level, the answer comes down to wanting to provide an amazing experience for your fans and the vVv Community. As a streamer, you can provide educational, entertaining, and inspirational content for your viewers. Finding ways to involve the community, draw new applicants, share knowledge (whether technical knowledge on how to set up a stream or game knowledge), and share unique personalities all make streamers a valuable part of vVv Gaming.
Streamer can be divided into the following levels:
Novice: You enjoy playing your game so much that you decided to start streaming and sharing your experiences with the world! The only problem is the world isn't interested. Still, this streaming thing is cool and on the rare occasions when you do manage to attract a couple viewers, it's a great feeling!
Beginner: You're starting to figure this streaming thing out and have managed to pull a dozen or so regular viewers into your channel. You enjoy interacting with viewers and make sure to read the chat box, either between games or whenever you get a free moment. You've started to define the direction you want to take your stream, whether that be to showcase your antics, demonstrate your competitive prowess, or teach the most effective ways to win.
Intermediate: You've spent a lot of time thinking about ways to improve the quality of your stream for your viewers. You've taken the parts that you and your fans enjoy most of your stream and started doing scheduled shows highlighting those aspects. You've also taken on rudimentary marketing by having your stream listed on popular streaming sites, posting stream threads in popular forums, and starting a facebook and twitter for your fans to follow. As a result you manage to pull in 80-200 viewers regularly. You know you're close to breaking out and really getting recognized by the community, so you spend more time thinking of ways to improve your content and market your show more effectively.
Expert: By now your passion and unrelenting pursuit of excellence has allowed you to break out and just about everyone who follows your game knows who you are. You've gotten the marketing side of things down, and have become a pro at announcing special shows and charity events for your stream. You also collaborate with other big names to enhance your viewers' experience. You regularly get 1000+ viewers.
Professional: Your professionalism and dedication have paid off and now your creative talents are finally being recognized in earnest! Depending on the path you took, there are many possible professional outcomes for a streamer. The most obvious is someone who can stream for a living, getting so many viewers and followers that you can live off of the ad revenue alone. Another option is for those seeking to create an eSports show that could be syndicated by a major organization like Riot, MLG, or even a television station.
Every way of adding value needs skills outside of just playing the game. The relevant skills to learn and master for a Streamer are as follows:
Self-Knowledge: Before you put yourself on display, you need to know who you are. In the age of broadband where anyone can set up a stream, it's easy for someone else to do exactly what you're doing. That's why you need to do the thing you're most passionate about and driven to accomplish, rather than what you think will get you the most viewers. Spend some time thinking about yourself, your strengths, and how they drive you to want to stream. When you have your answer, you'll be able to tailor your stream content to most beneficially reflect on who you are. People will come watch you because you are completely behind what you are doing.
Technical Literacy: As a streamer, it's your responsibility to learn all of the different hardware configurations and software settings that allow you to stream at the highest quality possible. Don't know how to solve an issue with lag? No problem! You're more than willing to ask around and even dig through support forums to find the answer. If all else fails, you can always play around with the settings until you find something that works. You also look for the best deal on hardware upgrades that will improve your stream quality, allowing you to make the most out of your investments.
Audience Interaction: A streamer who ignores his audience gets ignored by his audience. Of course, there are exceptions, but unless you've accomplished something like winning GSL or being the best top lane player in the world, no one is going to put up with your stream. You recognize that those streamers have an intrinsic value add from their reputations, and don't need to interact with the audience for their viewers to get value out of their stream. On the other hand, you have to fight for every viewer. Maybe you're just a gold league noob, or maybe you are at the semi-pro level. Either way, you know that reading that chat box and responding to viewer questions will win you loyal fans.
Advertising Savvy: One of the big things I see with new streamers around vVv is that they think posting a link to their stream, whether it be in the shoutbox or on reddit or another forum, is "advertising". Actually this is known as spamming, and it's not acceptable behavior anywhere. If you want to effectively draw people to your stream, you need to answer three questions for them: Why do you stream? How is your stream different from everyone else's? What do you do on your stream? This will allow people to relate to you personally while also being able to gauge their interests against the purpose of your stream. Examples of why you might stream can vary, for example a caster might stream "to gain valuable experience casting that will allow me to constantly increase audience expectations for what is considered quality casting". A player might stream "to provide insight into my builds and practice methodologies that will allow me to connect with fans who aspire to be better players".
How your stream is different is a more operationally-specific question to answer. vVv SonTran might say, for example, "My stream is a uniquely personal experience where you will get a glimpse of not only my SC2 play, but also my personality and hijinks." SoSleepyy might answer this question by saying, "My stream provides insight into my extensive game knowledge and analysis. Having played over 5000 games over the course of the past several years, I can offer knowledge of why certain strategies, builds, and champions work or don't work in both solo queue and tournament settings." Both of these examples show how their stream experience will be different, one through personality and entertainment, the other through expertise and Q&A.
Finally, you can talk about what you do on stream. Taking the examples above, vVv SonTran could say, "I talk about everything from my dog to my belt buckles, dance when I get a league promotion, and play Starcraft 2 ladder games at an ever improving level." SoSleepy would say, "I play a variety of champions in solo queue that I believe have strong carry potential, while explaining game mechanics and objectives to my viewers and answer their questions."
As you can see it's very important to answer these questions in order. The why has to be first, partially because if you don't even know why you stream then why are you even streaming? Another reason the why matters is that the other two questions depend heavily on being aligned with the why. For example, if your "why" is to provide an environment that fosters growth for aspirational players, you probably don't want to have a stream where you rage all the time and go for comedic effect over learning experience.
I hope this clears up why it's important to not simply post a stream URL when advertising your stream. In certain social media, such as twitter, brevity is preferred, but you should at least always be answering the "what" if not the "why and how" of your stream in all of your advertising efforts. For example, your tweet should list what you're expecting to stream in addition to the URL to help draw fans, "Diamond SC2 player playing ladder while doing back flips" or "Cpt. Teemo reporting for duty! (2800+ elo)". There's a whole guide to be written for proper advertising and marketing of a stream, but for the purposes of this guide I feel that the above should give you a good start.
Social Media Marketing: Not only do you need to stream, but you need to be able to market it effectively as well. If two other people are producing the same content as you, the only way for you to stand out is through your accessibility. If you're the only one to provide a way to get instant updates as to your activities and what you're streaming, then you have an edge over your competition and can gain reputation points that allow you to exceed them. It might seem like this is a footnote, but with the amount of activity surrounding popular games, I can't stress enough how important this is. Having a solid marketing plan can make or break you as a Streamer.
What is vVv Gaming looking for in a Streamer?
As with all of our ways of adding value, the key thing here is that you have a passion for what you'll be doing (streaming your game in a way that reflects upon your unique personality). As such, if you have no experience as a Streamer we'd like to at least see some efforts within this space. Begin brainstorming ideas and reflecting on what direction you want to take your stream, then record a few sessions. It doesn't have to be perfect, just make sure to start doing something and keep going with it until you reach your goals. Remember that audience engagement will lead you toward success, so the more you involve your audience in the experience the more successful you can become.
So it's an annual tradition for many to go through a process of defining "New Year's Resolutions" at the end of one year and the start of the next. What I think most people do, though, is define their goals poorly or set impossible goals for themselves. Let's take a look at both.
When I talk about poorly-defined goals, typically this means the goal is not appropriate for the work involved. For example, solid, deadline-driven goals are fantastic for project-type work where you have a well-defined start and a well-defined end point and just need to execute from start to finish. These types of goals might be "Wash the car before June 1st" or "organize the garage by January 30th". Where this breaks down is when you have knowledge-based work, such as "get better at LoL". Even if you define concrete metrics and give yourself a solid time frame, like "reach 1300 elo by March 1st", this still presents several problems:
1. You are putting elo ahead of actual improvement, which can undermine the original intent of your goal. For example, you might play only one champion that you play best, rather than trying to learn a few champions for each role, or work on different mechanics like last hitting and map awareness, etc. As a result you could actually hamper your progress and end up losing elo, undermining your goal and feeling no sense of progression.
2. You might come across valuable information that can really help you improve that would set you behind in your actual goal. This will give you the choice of pursuing the information that will help you more long-term, or ignore it and continue less efficiently. Neither is optimal because, even though you might make your goal, you'll be less effective overall. Similarly, you could pursue the information/technique/whatever but feel like a failure for abandoning your goal.
So generally you should think about the type of goal you have. Is it a project that needs to be completed by a certain date, a skill to learn or improve, or something else entirely? If it's not a project-based goal, or one that could benefit from clearly defined start and end dates, then I recommend NOT setting a goal for it. Instead define a value that you'd like to pursue. For example, this year my value is to be driven. By that I mean that I want to be constantly pushing myself to get things done that I want to accomplish. Notice that I haven't set a specific goal for accomplishing anything, I just want to be active with getting things done. I might define mini goals to accomplish for a particular day or week as the year progresses, but I'm not setting some goal to be a driven individual by some arbitrary date. That leads us to the next point.
A lot of the time people define really bad goals like, "I want to get in shape this year" or "I want to be nicer to people". The problem is these are impossible goals. The problem arises when they fail. Say you want to get in shape, and you start eating healthy and going to the gym, but then you go to a party and eat some kind of junk, or you have a bad moment and snap at someone. Suddenly you've failed in your resolution. When this happens enough times you just give up.
Instead of these arbitrary goals that are ultimately impossible to reach, I feel it's better to pursue habits that will help you obtain your goals. If your goal is to be in shape, then maybe a habit you could pick would be to learn new exercises and methodologies to enhance your workout routines and keep things fresh. Then, even if you skip the gym or even miss a whole week or two, you can still work toward getting in shape by picking up again with some new routine. Similarly, you could learn how to cook new, healthier dishes instead of eating out all the time. As long as you are learning to cook new things to add variety to healthy meals you are pursuing your goal.
Going back to my example of being driven, this will more than help me achieve all of the things I want to get done this year. Since I haven't defined a bunch of arbitrary goals to fail at, I won't get discouraged and consider myself a failure as long as I make consistent progress toward getting things done regularly. As a result, even if I find out that my goals are not appropriate or optimal I can switch gears without worrying about missing my goals.
I hope that this article helps some of you who may have not considered your New Years goals beyond just thinking of the things you want, and instead actually gives you a path toward achieving them. Desire and motivation alone are not enough, it takes consistent action to achieve greatness, so I encourage all of you to include it in your plan!
Hey everyone! We wanted to make the application process friendlier and more user-friendly, so we've started writing guides on all the methods that we have defined as ways our community members can add value. Today I want to shed some light on what we expect from those who want to be Socialites.
When we talk about a Socialite in vVv Gaming, we refer to someone who not only makes an effort to stay active on forums, shoutbox, and mumble, but someone people love to spend time around and are excited to see and meet in those places. Socialites have a finesse and manner that allows anyone to feel comfortable talking with them, and a dedication to making people feel welcomed that draws you toward helping new people join the group. Another key duty of socialites is to spend time playing with applicants and getting to know them. Socialites play an important role in providing feedback to Staff about each applicant and whether they'd be a good fit for vVv.
How Does a Socialite Add Value?
So what's valuable about being a Socialite? Why bother doing it? Well, besides having the passion to engage people on this level, the answer comes down to creating an environment where people feel welcome and comfortable. We often talk about wanting to make vVv the best place in eSports. One way we can do that is by fostering an environment where people can exchange ideas and knowledge without fear of being ostracized or excluded in a negative way. For this reason, it's incredibly important for socialites to keep an open mind regarding new ideas, and to stay focused on learning about new people and their goals.
Socialite can be divided into the following levels:
Novice: You are a friendly person and may have even been on the welcoming committee back in High School (or maybe you still are). You enjoy being around new people and are always eager to introduce yourself to a new face. Still, you may not always know what to say, or might be easily put off by someone who rubs you the wrong way. If an awkward situation comes up you don't always know how to defuse it, and people may not always be as eager to meet you as you are to meet them.
Beginner: Interacting with more and more people has taught you valuable lessons on what to say, and more importantly what not to say in different situations. You want people to feel welcome when they apply to vVv Gaming, so you are very active on application forums and on the Welcome forum. You may not be everyone's best friend, but people generally don't mind having you around and your contributions to discussions and in-houses are appreciated.
Intermediate: You're really starting to learn all of the ways you can interact with people to form connections, network, etc. Your passion for people has led you to begin doing more in this area, whether that means recording interviews, producing written interviews, planning get-togethers for MLG, or for nearby community members, planning events for the community to get together online, or others. You want to draw new people out of their shyness and have them experience vVv Gaming in a way that will leave a lasting positive impression.
Expert: Everyone in the community is familiar with you and knows and appreciates the value you add to vVv Gaming. You are constantly coming up with ideas for the community, planning them out, and executing them to make vVv an awesome place. You really love to bring people into the community, and actively do so whenever you see an opportunity. As a result, you have a solid grasp of our culture and can identify whether someone might be a good fit right away. Whenever someone has a question about the community, they frequently ask for you by name.
Professional: There are a variety of professionals available for a socialite. These can range from an event coordinator, a promoter or marketing representative at shows and other live events, an eSports journalist specializing in interviews and player news, a hiring manager working at a gaming company, etc. You'll also have developed the interpersonal skills needed to impress your colleagues during a job interview, giving you an edge when it comes to landing a position in a competitive field.
Every way of adding value needs skills outside of just playing the game. The relevant skills to learn and master for a Socialite are as follows:
Social Aptitude: As a Socialite, you need to be able to thrive in a variety of social situations. Humor, compassion, and empathy are the three healthy methods of communication, but these are not always options (for example, it's not appropriate to be funny in certain serious circumstances). You can identify a social situation and quickly determine the proper way to respond to it with these tools.
Conversational Ability: Another important skill for socialites to possess is the ability to hold a conversation. It's often helpful to have a direction or series of topics in mind to keep a conversation moving. For example, you could talk to an applicant about their application experience so far, then learn about what they are doing to add value, and bring up some news related to that (for example, recent patch changes could be discussed with someone trying to become a Game Guru). You also need to be able to keep a conversation moving without forcing it, which can be a definite challenge sometimes.
Friendly Attitude: As one of the first faces many of our applicants will see upon joining vVv Gaming, it's important that you keep a friendly attitude when welcoming them. This is especially true of strong personalities, as the Internet is not good at conveying complex emotions and you can easily scare new people away if you're not careful about keeping your aggressive tendencies in check. Being friendly and approachable allows you to become a hub for other community members to gather around. This presents the ideal opportunity to run some in-house games or discuss events that could be of interest to the community.
Honorable Gamer: Since you'll be a very public face in our community, it's especially important for our Socialites to avoid toxic behavior and lead by example when it comes to in-game situations. If someone is being abusive, ignore them and recommend your teammates do the same. When you see applicants expressing behavior that they shouldn't, make sure to take them aside and let them know that there are better ways of dealing with their problems. Always be a force for positive change in the community, inspiring others to improve and excel in a healthy and uplifting environment.
What is vVv Gaming looking for in a Socialite?
As with all of our ways of adding value, the key thing here is that you have a passion for what you'll be doing (meeting new people, learning about them, and making them feel like a part of the community ). As such, if you have no experience as a Socialite we'd like to at least see some efforts within this space. A good place to start is by going to the appication forums and welcoming new applicants, and also welcoming people on the Welcome to vVv Gaming forum. Remember that as a socialite you want to be engaging and interested in the people you are communicating with, so just simple one- and two-word replies won't cut it. Another place a socialite will spend a lot of time is on our mumble server. This is the best place to go to meet and get to know other members and applicants and game together as a community.
Hey everyone! We wanted to make the application process friendlier and more user-friendly, so we've started writing guides on all the methods that we have defined as ways our community members can add value. Today I want to shed some light on what we expect from those who claim to be Game Gurus.
Not to downplay the importance of learning, but the first thing I want to point out is that being an excellent Game Guru is about more than just knowing a game. Let's start by looking at the definition of a guru:
Guru - "An intellectual... leader"
So being a Game Guru is just as much about leadership as it is about knowledge. What does it mean to be a knowledge leader? It means taking the initiative to disseminate that knowledge to the larger community. Being active in forums, especially outside of vVv, to offer advice and help based on the knowledge you've accumulated are the things that define a Game Guru. Game Gurus would be those who achieve the coveted blue post on Team Liquid, or those who spend their days on strategy forums not only discussing different ways to play, but also getting people to listen and agree that your builds or strategies have merit. An example of a top Game Guru would be someone like Mr. Bitter, who went from an unknown streamer to a well known caster for MLG due to his passion for gathering knowledge from all the pro SC2 players and disseminating it via his stream.
How Does a Game Guru Add Value?
So what's valuable about being a Game Guru? Why bother doing it? Well, besides having the passion to engage people on this level, the answer comes down to engagement and inspiration. A Game Guru inspires other people to play the game by revealing or teaching them something they didn't know. Everyone has been in a situation where they see someone do something amazing with a champion, and decide to immediately learn how to play that champion ASAP. This is what makes Game Gurus so valuable. They engage and inspire people directly by coaching them, playing with them, offering them advice, theory-crafting with them, or indirectly (by posting threads, blogs, guides, etc.) In the end this cuts down on the learning curve and makes the game more accessible for everyone.
Game Guru can be divided into the following levels:
Novice: You have been playing the game for a bit, and have picked up a lot of useful information. You might not have shared any of it yet, or made just one or two posts on a discussion forum talking about your opinions. You're not even really sure that this Game Guru thing is for you, but you love learning about the game and want to contribute something valuable to the community.
Beginner: You've been posting on popular strategy websites for a little while now. You may not be particularly effective in convincing people that you are correct when you discuss your strategies and tricks, but you've come to love discussing them anyway. Occasionally, you'll even convince someone to try out something you've found, but usually you're learning from others with more convincing arguments. At this point, being a Game Guru is just as much about learning as it is sharing that knowledge.
Intermediate: You're starting to get recognized as one of the "regulars" around the particular strategy forum you've chosen to make your name in. After participating in many discussions, you've discovered that your views are starting to gain traction and people start to support you when you make an insightful or innovative post. You've also started incorporating analysis of pro gamers' playstyles into your own thought process to make your points even more supported.
Expert: At this point you're extremely well-known and respected, not just on one forum, but in the community for your game at large. People follow you and you find yourself making insightful and valuable posts regularly. In fact, people are drawn to your threads because they always contain useful information about the game. You are such a well known community figure that occasionally you are even invited onto shows to discuss your views.
Professional: You could work on the Quality Assurance Team for the company that maintains your game. Your opinions on balance and strategy are so comprehensive that you have unique insights into the game and how it should be played. Not only are you able to pick out blatantly obvious overpowered and underpowered elements of the game, but you can identify the less obvious ones as well.
Every way of adding value needs skills outside of just playing the game. The relevant skills to learn and master for a Game Guru are as follows:
Knowledge Acquisition: As a Game Guru you need to know how to get access to the best and most current information and digest it quickly. You also need to spend a portion of your game time experimenting and applying the knowledge you've picked up. Being able to quickly determine what works and what doesn't will allow you to stay on the cutting edge of strategy innovation and development. Sometimes a deeper understanding of the game may be needed, for example in Starcraft it might be useful to look at the math in terms of how many shots it takes for a marine with +2 attack upgrades to kill a zergling with +3 armor versus a marine with +3 attack upgrades. Be good at finding these types of analyses when they are available as it will save you time doing research that has already been done.
Knowledge Dispensation: You will need to pick some way to get your learning out there quickly and effectively. Some people are excellent writers and could go the route of writing guides or articles discussing certain elements of a game. Other people live for video editing and recording footage to show people how things work instead of just telling. Still others have other ways of getting the information out, through replay packs, coaching, etc. It matters less how you produce this, and more how quickly you can get a quality product into the community before anyone else does. By following your strengths you'll best set yourself up for success in this area.
Forum Netiquette: One of the most relevant skills that a Game Guru possesses is a deep and nuanced understanding of forum netiquette. You need to understand the rules in place at the forum of choice before you start posting, or you risk being shunned or banned, making it impossible to develop a reputation as a helpful member of the community in question. Examples of such rules would be using the search function before asking a question, being aware of the rules regarding self-promotion on the site (especially for Reddit), and rules regarding advertising.
You should also be aware that generally spamming links all over forums is frowned upon. The best way to advertise is to make a single post regarding your content and updating it regularly with links to whatever you are producing. Spamming is counter-productive both because it lowers your reputation in the community and also because it provides no engagement or reason for why potential viewers should visit your content. Remember that the key is to be engaging, and you can't do that by copying and pasting links everywhere with no followup plan.
Social Media Marketing: Not only do you need to produce content efficiently, but you need to be able to market it effectively as well. If two other people are producing the same content as you, the only way for you to stand out is through your accessibility. If you're the only one to provide a way to get instant updates as to your activities and what you're working on, then you have an edge over your competition and can gain reputation points that allow you to exceed them. It might seem like this is a footnote, but with the amount of activity surrounding popular games, I can't stress enough how important this is. Having a solid marketing plan can make or break you as a Game Guru.
What is vVv Gaming looking for in a Game Guru?
As with all of our ways of adding value, the key thing here is that you have a passion for what you'll be doing (learning about the game and sharing that knowledge with others). As such, if you have no experience as a Game Guru we'd like to at least see some efforts within this space. Either make some discussion threads on an external (non-vVv) forum and link us, or start producing content and marketing it on an external forum. If you do have some experience already, please link us to what you have done so far so that we can evaluate where you stand and how we can best set you up for success going forward. Thanks for your time and good luck with your application!
I've been playing League for long enough now to have picked up some of the openings and why things are done certain ways. Of course, every lane starts boots + 3 pots (except support), although this may change after the season 3 changes go live. After that, you start to see variations in builds, sometimes to counterbuild another champion, sometimes to build up your own strengths.
Double Dorans into Rabadon's Deathcap
This is your standard bread and butter opening for AP mids. Dorans provide an array of useful stats, such as mana regen, a little health, and a little ability power. The mana regen is the most useful stat, as it will allow you to stay in lane and harass your enemy for longer than you would be able to otherwise. After buying your two Doran's Rings you want to proceed to get a Deathcap, as it's AP boost will make you quite terrifying.
Catalyst into Rod of Ages
The Catalyst is a solid start for a lane that you expect to win pretty easily and want to just sit back and farm. The early game sustain granted by this item, plus the stacking ability power you'll get once you complete the Rod of Ages, make you both tanky and threatening in the mid game, so long as you can complete it by around the 15 minute mark or sooner.
Kage's Lucky Pick into Deathfire Grasp
This is a less standard opener, typically used by burst-assassin type APs such as Evelyn and Cho'Gath. The point here is that you get the early gold boost from the lucky pick to give you a free blasting wand and complete the item quickly to kill your lane opponent, or to roam around getting quick kills every time the cooldown is off. If you feed a couple early kills to your opponent you can also use this to stay in the game and recover from any gold you might have lost as a result of your deaths.
This item tends to be most useful on mana-less champions such as Mordekaiser and Vladimir. Since you don't need early mana regen to sustain, you can use the spell vamp from hextech revolver to sustain you in lane by restoring HP every time you do spell damage.
Chalice of Harmony
Chalice of Harmony is a more defensive alternative to Double Doran's Rings. This gives magic resist and quite a bit of mana regen, allowing you to stay in lane almost indefinitely. This item is especially useful on Galio due to his passive converting magic resist into ability power. Almost any non-assassin can build this first if they are concerned about losing a lane due to a counter-pick.
Chain Vest into Zhonya's Hourglass
This is a niche item more suited to mana-less champions like Kennen in response to an AD assassin mid, such as Zed, Lee Sin, or Talon. The early chain vest gives you protection against getting blown up by the high AD burst damage you'll be facing. It's better to get the early Zhonya's at the expense of mana regen, since you can get blue buff from your jungler for mana regen and this will be a very nice item for staying alive in high-stakes lanes.
Well, that's my short synopsis. I hope someone finds it helpful, especially if you're brand new to League. I would appreciate any input from more experienced players on my analysis as well
We've been doing the new application thing for a while now, and from everything I've seen so far it's been a huge success. Members are more engaged on our forum, people are helping each other learn how do to streaming and casting, people are writing blogs, mumble is thriving, etc.
Not only do we keep attracting people, but we've attracted some of the best people I've seen in vVv since I've joined, with a lot of members doing stellar work for us. I've also noticed a consistent improvement in the applicants we have applying to vVv, with something of a casting think-tank forming between Squall, Razor, SonTran, Fluffy, TheDuke, and a few others. It's great seeing what can happen when building a community of people passionate about their interests and how those people interact to do great things!
Looking back I can see that there wasn't really any way for us to have predicted how the eSports scene would evolve after the release of SC2, which is what I attribute to our old app process staying around for so long. A part of the reason why our SC2 reputation isn't what it could be is that people saw the old app process as just a way for vVv to con people into mindlessly retweeting news and flooding forums with bump posts whenever we went live with something. I feel we've evolved a lot from that point and are in a much better position to take advantage of the growth of LoL as we expand into that scene.
A major flaw in the old system was that people new to twitter would simply create new accounts and follow everyone in vVv, retweeting the same news to the same people who were retweeting the same news at them. By and large, this wasn't a successful way to add value to vVv, and many applicants had a difficult time learning to use social media, even with extensive guidance. I think that when you can choose a way to add value, especially when it's something you're passionate about, that you are much more likely to succeed and will need far less guidance to do so.
This new method also opens up new opportunities for people who previously would've added value to vVv through a variety of means, but weren't keen on the social media aspect. This allows us to better stay true to being the community where the best people come to share the best ideas possible. This also adds to the list of ways our community is diverse, as we now include the method by which each member adds value as a measure of diversity.
Going forward, I want to take full advantage of our application process by steering people toward adding value in ways they can be passionate about. Part of this will also involve reaching out to some of our older members in order to see how they want to add value under the new system. Right now we're in a transition period where there's a mix of members who applied under the old and new system. In order to best support everyone and make sure we're on the same page, we need to make sure that our older members are only social media experts if that is where their passion lies
In the future I'd like to see a new category for ways to add value, which would be anything that an applicant is passionate about that can be applied to vVv. I'd really like the applicants to "sell" their passion, so to speak, and really take this idea to the next level. Specifically, I think a lot of people have been applying under the socialite and game guru roles, and I'm concerned that for many people that these aren't their actual passions, but just the least effort required to join.
In light of that, I'll be working on releasing some guides for each method of adding value, to more clearly define what we are looking for in each category. I'd also like to tie the Experience Initiative project in with our application process somehow, for those aspiring to be professional gamers. The first guides you can expect me to post will be for Game Gurus, Socialites, and those wishing to pursue a professional career as a gamer through EI. These should all be out in the next couple of weeks, so keep your eyes open for them.
In closing I just want to ask the community for your thoughts on the application process and the things I've put here. Any feedback is welcome and appreciated
First off, let me say that this is not going to be a typical interview style article about iNcontroL. This is the story of Geoff "iNcontroL" Robinson as I experienced it starting from the SC2 beta. This means that, although he was a huge community figure during the SCBW days, and no doubt that influenced what happened after the SC2 beta went live, I won't be covering that as I have no experience with it. Sadly, I did not follow SC during the BW period.
The first exposure I had to iNcontroL was an interview he did with Husky (who at the time was THE place to go if you wanted to watch SC2). I was impressed with his personality and also that he was a powerlifter. In the interview he mentioned he could bench press 700 lbs at one point. Now, lots of people love to give iNcontroL shit about being fat or whatever, but if you can lift 700 lbs off the ground you are in PHENOMENAL shape, regardless of how much like a twink you do or don't look. It struck me that he was a role model for gamers, with a great personality and I became an instant fan.
"I'm the kind of guy who's going to sneak into your bedroom at night and make you feel dirty"
But what makes iNcontroL truly special is that he is not only a role model for gamers generally, but he is also a role model for those who want to become Professional Gamers. Unlike many today who just turn on a stream and expect to get hundreds of views just for having a stream live, iNcontroL actively marketed himself. At one point, there was a HUGE opportunity to build a fan base because there weren't hundreds of Pros, Semi-Pros, and aspiring competitive and casual gamers all competing for market share of a viewer base. With the time that others spend crying about how no one watches their stream, iNcontroL did the following:
Went to MLGs and placed very well in the early days when the competition wasn't quite so strong
Participated in beta interviews (i.e. with Husky) and events (i.e. The HDH Invitational)
Got a spot on State of the Game, the largest SC2 podcast show in the West
Casted for a period with NASL, which at the time seemed to be a very promising league
Looked for opportunities to do interviews and Q&As at events (I almost always see him on stage at the various big tournaments, whether it's Homestory Cup, MLG, etc.)
Video commercials representing EG's sponsors
Video walkthroughs of the EG teamhouse
and much more I'm forgetting, I'm sure.
After joining vVv Gaming was the first time I got a twitter account. I have to say that iNcontroL is the only professional gamer outside of vVv that I keep on my private "these people's tweets are important enough to read daily" list. In my time following iNcontroL, he has been a model for how to interact with your fans, sharing his passions on a daily basis:
He's never been afraid to share about his fiance, Anna Prosser, who has also made an impressive impact on the SC2 scene as (in my opinion) the classiest interviewer at IPL events
When he got his dog, Barristan, I was there to see him tweet pictures for all his fans
Whenever he streams, he not only tells his fans that he just went live, but he tries to let people know his schedule ahead of time so that they can plan to tune in
Whenever a league, sponsor, or team event of relevance occurs, he's there not just retweeting, but actually tweeting about these things himself
His twitter conversations about lifting during MLGs with MLGAdam share his love of fitness and lifting
His love of cinema (or at least his appreciation of it as a tool to alleviate boredom during long flights) has been a big topic lately, given all the international travel he has been doing
His interest in Warhammer 40k
This is awesome. By sharing his passions and interests iNcontroL is able to make personal connections with his fans, and by doing so build a fan base that is engaged on a daily basis. This not only makes sure that his fan base keeps growing, but also that the fans he has stay around. As a result, he's been able to achieve over 40,000 followers on twitter, almost 9,000,000 stream views (with 21,000 people following his stream and thousands of people tuning in every time he goes live), he's a household name in the SC2 scene, and everything he does positively effects eSports in some way. Even if you don't care about fans, followers, or eSports, and just care about making money playing a game, I'm sure the stream revenue alone (not counting salary he gets from EG) is enough to interest you. This is what success looks like, and this is what it takes to get there.
Not only does iNcontroL share his passions with us, but also his personality. I think this is great, because the only way people will truly get to know and like you is if you let your personality shine through. As much as a few vocal antagonists hate it, iNcontroL's cocky, respectful, confident, and classy attitude make it easy for the average person to relate to him.
iNcontroL on stage at MLG Dallas, showing his personality yet again.
I'm actually reminded of a quote when I think about this aspect of iNcontroL: "It's better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you aren't". iNcontroL lives that, and I think it's necessary for professional gamers to embrace that idea. You are who you are, and you should be proud of that. Too many people hide parts of themselves because they feel embarrassed or that people wouldn't care or whatever the reason. But this is so critical, it's why vVvSonTran should never be ashamed of his love for magical ponies that shoot rainbows, and why me and vVvBabyToss should never stop ragging on him and gagging every time he posts a pony picture. It's just a fundamental part of who we all are.
iNcontroL on The Losers Bracket
So to wrap it all up, iNcontroL, through his passion and dedication to eSports has led an exemplary life with regards to how players wanting to become Professional Gamers should pursue that dream. I could go on and on about great things he has done for eSports through his passion and humility (appearing on The Loser's Bracket or taking the time to write blogs about lesser known players people should check out http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?topic_id=341623 ). If you wanted to know the reason why it's not enough to just turn on a stream and hope people come, his success is that reason. In closing, I want to leave everyone with another quote:
"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
Although iNcontroL has planted many trees in this thing we call eSports, I really hope he does get to enjoy their shade, but more importantly, I hope that the next generation of pro gamers doesn't just take things for granted and can also leave their mark. We can all make eSports great, and now we have a perfect path laid out showing us how to do that. Thanks iNcontroL!
First off let me say I can't wait to do the video version of this rant.
So I've noticed this trend lately where idiots deem anything that anyone says as trolling.
Guess what: it's not.
Trolling refers to a very specific activity where someone actually tries to ruin someone's day in the most offensive way possible. Usually this person will say extremely offensive and hateful things just to get an emotional response out of someone.
Telling a joke directed at someone is not trolling.
Giving criticism is not trolling.
I feel like this has become the Internet version of Ironic. "Ohhh my goooooooood I was at McDonalds and they gave me vanilla instead of chocolate for my ice cream cone it was so ironic".
Just like the person in the above example you too look like a fucking idiot to anyone with a brain whenever you call these things trolling.
Let me give some examples of why you are a fucking moron:
"Oh my goooooood Dave Chapelle just told a joke about black people what a troll". He's not a troll, he's a comedian. You, however, ARE a useless fleshbag.
"Oh my goooooood my teacher totally trolled me by giving me a B on this test". No, you're teacher is not a troll, you got the answers wrong. Stop being fucking stupid.
"Oh my goooooood did you read that restaurant review that critic is such a troll". No he's giving his criticism of the restaurant, which is useful both for the restaurant owner to address issues with the food and service and potential diners who want to maximize their dining experience.
None of the above examples would be acceptable to be called trolling in real life, yet on the Internet it seems all three of these things are labeled trolling constantly. Normally I wouldn't care that people are fucking dumbshits, but in this case it presents a real problem with how we decide to deal with people. Let me give a few examples to illustrate my point:
If someone comes on your stream and tells you how much it fucking sucks, that's not a troll. If someone gives enough of a shit to tell you how much your stream sucks then the first thing you should do is engage them and ask what they think sucks and what you can do to improve it. Come to find out, that wasn't a troll at all, it was a future fan. Yet because we are such sensitive fucking flowers, most people just automatically ban their future fans without even trying to win them over. Good job moron.
There are really only two reasons to drop an immediate ban on someone: the first is spamming, the second is bigotry. And honestly, you shouldn't even ban those immediately. First ask the person to stop spamming, then ban. Or in the case of bigotry, make sure they aren't actually an ignorant scumbag before giving them the boot.
Instead of being so sensitive that you can't take criticism, maybe you should take another look at your premises. If someone is telling you that your shit sucks they are providing a service free of charge that many consultants in the professional world would charge you out the ass for. Granted, their approach may be less subtle, but that's what you can expect to get for free.
Now that's not to say trolls don't exist, or that you shouldn't ban them. They are out there. So when you engage the guy who says your stream sucks, if he goes on to say how your mom is a fugly bitch and he raped your girlfriend in the ass before murdering her and leaving her in a ditch, then he's probably not going to offer helpful criticism and you should feel free to ban away. But people who stay engaged with you are not trolls and should not be banned, no matter how harsh their criticism. You don't have to like them or get along with them, but you probably shouldn't ban someone because they disagree with how your show is run either.
And before there was an Internet, people used to tell jokes about each other in real life. Guess what it was called? No, not trolling you shit sandwich, it was called RIBBING. People RIB on each other in real life. On the Internet it's the same thing. When someone insults you, unless it's clear they are trying to fuck with you and make you cry, they are not trolling. What they are doing is telling jokes, not trolling. Learn the difference, so that you can maybe someday have a conversation in real life and understand that when someone who has actually been socialized tells a joke about you, they aren't a hateful troll and you shouldn't run home crying.
And finally, if a teacher gives you a fair mark for getting answers wrong on a test, THANK HIM/HER! In real life, you don't get an F, you get shitcanned, and your choices are move back in with your parents, collect unemployment, or live on the streets. Your teacher is not a bitch, she is helping you understand that it's important to obtain knowledge and be able to apply it. Giving you an F because you're a dumbass is the best, most honest, most caring thing anyone is ever likely to do for your useless ass.
So, in conclusion, Internet, please stop calling EVERYTHING a troll. Trolls are real despicable people who deserve our scorn. If someone does not fit that description, then you are a moron. Have a good day.
Due to the nature of Starcraft 2, many players focus exclusively on playing the game and mastering skills before moving on to practice other things. For example, a player might focus on macro until they no longer feel that they are having trouble with that portion of their game. However, this approach of learning a skill and then neglecting it neither matches with traditional athletic training, nor does it appear to be an efficient way of improving in order to reach the top level as a Starcraft 2 athlete. Skills that are neglected often fail to develop properly, and often regress, requiring future attention from the player in order to address the lack of performance. Even worse, some players may develop a sense of having a good skill, and then when that skill falls into disuse, their perception of the skill remains, preventing them from addressing a critical weakness in their playstyle. Much as a fighter must practice basic punches and combinations regularly to continue conditioning himself for a fight, Starcraft 2 players must practice the variety of skills needed for the game in order to maximize their tournament performance. As a result, a scientific-based approach to Starcraft 2 training is needed in order to maximize player potential.
What model should this be based on?
When considering Starcraft 2 as a sport, the key elements include a need for hand dexterity and multitasking abilities. Many team sports force players into well-defined positions that serve to reduce or eliminate multitasking, whereas certain individual sports, such as tennis and running, simplify the task to the point where it is not necessary to multitask. The best example of a sport that closely resembles Starcraft 2 seems to be fighting sports, and within fighting sports Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) seems to be the ideal sport for comparison. Specifically, the need to multitask striking, grappling, and wrestling skills in a single fight provides the maximum multitasking required in individual sports. Additionally, a strong emphasis on grip and hand strength is appropriate for MMA, as this is required for effective wrestling and grappling techniques.
There are other similarities between MMA and SC2, including long periods between competitions that allow for a structured training regimen (at least in the west, where Dreamhack and MLG prevail as the top tournaments. In the East GSL and OSL tend to focus on broadcasting individual matches per night that extend for several weeks or months, resulting in a more hectic schedule). Also, the maximum length match for an MMA fight is 25 minutes (for a championship fight) or 15 minutes (for a regular fight). Similar time constraints exist for SC2 games, with a typical game lasting anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes, with some exceptions being significantly longer or shorter.
The major differences between Starcraft 2 and MMA include the inability to sustain serious physical injury during competition for SC2 players and the requirement to endure competition against multiple opponents back-to-back (again for western-style tournaments only). As a result, endurance training for SC2 athletes should be a necessary component of training.
Physical training for SC2
In order to produce an athlete that who is prepared to succeed in the highest levels of competition, he must be prepared also for the physical rigors of playing marathon sessions across a single weekend. In order to accomplish this, it is necessary to maximize strength and conditioning of the hands.
I have heard that 23 is the physiological prime for hand speed. Whether or not this statement is true, I think it is clear that no one in the professional SC2 scene trains to maximize hand speed. Therefore, physiological primes are somewhat irrelevant in discussing hand speed and the ability of players of a certain age to produce the necessary hand speed to play at the top level. A player who is somewhat older, but trains hand speed, could easily surpass a younger player at his physiological prime in terms of hand speed, given the younger player does not maximize the efficiency of hand speed training.
Another consideration for physiological primes is the skill-based nature of sports like SC2 and MMA. Although younger athletes may have a physiological advantage, often the skill and experience of the older athlete provides an advantage that outweighs the younger competitor's physiological one. Therefore, although training of hand speed is a critical feature of a training program for SC2 competitors, especially those in their late 20s and 30s, this should be limited in scope in order to maximize the efficiency of training.
Another area to focus training would be breathing. It is well known that poor breathing in MMA will cause opponents to "gas" or become fatigued, which is why sometimes grapplers in the dominant position will place their hands to cover the mouth and nose of opponents to disrupt their breathing. Similarly, in SC2, we would expect that improper breathing would result in premature hand fatigue, as well as potentially poor judgement during games (the "Laziness Effect").
Since posture can affect breathing, comfort, and long-term health, part of the physical training for SC2 athletes should also focus on proper posture, especially hand placement on the keyboard and proper alignment of the spine while seated. With regards to hand and wrist injuries especially, great care should be taken with properly stretching and warming up the hands and ensuring proper positioning of the hands on the keyboard and mouse at all times.
The methodology for physical training should therefore include a variety of strength and conditioning routines in order to produce the optimal athlete. Although a cursory analysis of requirements might suggest overemphasis on strength development of the forearms, wrists, and hands, this strategy is not likely to be efficient or optimal. Scientific study into strength development has shown that when the whole body is strengthened, individual parts of the body are also strengthened, so a general strength routine is recommended. This is preferred to isolation where development of overly specific muscle groups can result in insufficient support in surrounding muscles to further progress in the development, resulting in inefficiency and lack of progress in training. Therefore, it is recommended that the SC2 athlete follow a general strength routine, such as the 2-day split, 3-day split, push/pull split, Bill Starr 5x5, etc. Since strength development is not of paramount importance in training, this type of training should be limited to 4-6 hours (2-3 sessions of 2-hours) per week. Supplementation of grip- and hand-specific strength exercises can be added, however these should not exceed an additional 1-2 hours per week.
Care should be taken when training the athlete in all exercises to ensure proper form and execution of all exercises, however, this is of extra importance when weight training with compound movements. Specifically the bench press exercise should be avoided until a proper coach can be identified and recruited to teach proper form, as improper bench pressing can result in shoulder injuries and postural imbalances. Instead, dips using a weighted vest or weighted belt can be performed safely. Additionally, proper care should be taken in learning the squat and deadlift movements, as these can also result in knee and back injuries respectively.
The question could be asked why strength development is important when an SC2 athlete's most important physical attribute is hand speed. Such a question is likely to arise from pop-culture ignorance as to the nature of muscle tissue, and a belief that strength and speed are incompatible. In fact, muscle can be divided into three types: slow twitch, fast twitch 1, and fast twitch 2. Slow twitch fiber provides a small force but can be activated for greater periods of time and is therefore most prevalent, for example, in marathon runners or other endurance athletes. Fast twitch 2 fibers produce great force, but typically can only be activated for brief periods of time before they must rest and recover and are therefore most prevalent in olympic lifters or powerlifters. Fast twitch 1 fibers lie somewhere in between. Since a greater force is required for greater speed, it is therefore desirable to have fast twitch fibers prevalent in the hands of a SC2 athlete, which means that some strength development is needed. One caveat is that endurance is also needed, so care should be given not to overtrain the hands in the development of fast twitch fibers. More simply put, without strengthening your hands, they will be slower.
For proper breathing, different exercises and techniques can be applied to maximize the efficiency. The first step should be to make the athlete aware of his breathing. Often in close matches, especially under the effects of an adrenaline dump, an athlete can become constricted and breathe poorly, which will result in premature fatigue. It is important, therefore, for the athlete to spend some time paying attention to the rhythm or his breathing during matches. The athlete's breathing rhythm should match his normal rhythm when he is not in a competitive state. For example, the athlete should pay attention to how he breathes when watching a movie, or driving a car, when he is relaxed and at rest. The athlete should train to maintain that rhythm with deep, full breaths, even in competition.
A laymen who has, for example, run a mile, might take quick shallow breaths, however, this is inefficient. The brain sends a signal that not enough oxygen is reaching the muscles, causing the untrained individual to gasp for air while experiencing some chest pain. The athlete must learn to distrust these signals and ignore them, since gasping for air is the least efficient way to recover your breath.
A secondary step should be to provide cardiovasular training for the SC2 athlete. This can be accomplished via a variety of methods, including weight circuits, plyometrics, interval training, sprinting, etc. This training should not be confused with endurance training, which emphasizes long distances and light effort, such as distance running or swimming. Optimally, a heart rate monitor could be used to track progress, however, this is not necessary for this type of training to be effective. The athlete should spend 30 minutes to 1.5 hours performing this type of activity (due to the efficient nature of interval training, less time can be spent on this activity).
Approximately 3-4 weeks before a major competition, the athlete should drop strength training entirely to allow for proper recovery of the central nervous system and to begin endurance training. Cardiovascular training should continue. At this point, the athlete's focus should be on building up endurance as much as possible in order to prepare for an extended period of intense competition. Swimming is the ideal form of this exercise, as it requires the athlete to learn to control his breathing while also being easy on the joints. Cycling is another option that is relatively easy on the joints. Running could be incorporated, but great care should be taken to ensure proper equipment is used, as failure to use running shoes with proper support and cushioning could result in injuries to the legs and knees. Running on concrete and other hard surfaces should be avoided. Grassy fields and hills should be the preferred running surface, or rubberized tracks if one is available. The athlete should spend 4-6 hours per week focusing on this type of training (to replace the time spent doing strength exercises).
During all of the physical training above, the athlete should focus on maintaining proper breathing throughout each exercise. By practicing this habit, he should never find himself lacking energy at critical moments during a competition.
In order to develop ideal hand coordination and finger dexterity, as well as to help develop lung capacity, it is recommended that the SC2 athlete practice a musical instrument. The three ideal instruments to learn are the piano, clarinet, and flute, in all their various forms. The clarinet and flute offer the same benefits of requiring 9 fingers to coordinate in order to play a variety of notes. Additionally, as higher-octave instruments, their music tends to be technically more difficult, which requires greater coordination of hand movements in order to play properly. Proper posture and breathing is necessary to play both instruments, so benefits to posture and lung capacity are provided as a result of learning these instruments. The piano offers similar benefits, however, does not help with developing lung capacity. Instead, the piano does a superior job of requiring posture and hand coordination, and lays out keys in a more familiar level than a wind instrument. In either case, emphasis should be placed on technical development over musical development when learning the instrument. Brass, string, and percussion shoudl be considered less helpful, as they incorporate only 3-4 fingers on one hand in order to play. Time spent on this training should be roughly 2.5 hours per week (or five 30-minute sessions).
In conclusion, physical training should take up no more than 8-12 hours per week for the typical SC2 athlete. Efficient training allows for the athlete to invest heavily in bursts of activity on a regular schedule, with long periods of rest in between for recovery. The major issues include misinterpretation by the athlete of the methodology presented, which makes it difficult to provide a training regimen without close physical proximity to the athletes, such as a team house. Additionally, the manager and coach should be able to observe the athlete's exercise routine in order to track certain key variables, such as relation of hand strength to APM and EPM, for example. Finally, the manager should be able to track performance as a result of the training regimen in order to provide more specific recommendations for each athlete (some athletes may benefit from more or less physical training). It is important to note that strength training can cause fatigue and a temporary drop in performance. This should be considered a necessary part of training, as the long-term benefits of strength development will keep the athlete at his peek far longer than if he simply maintains the status quo for the sake of a ladder record. Emphasis should be placed on the cycle of competition: the MLG schedule for North American athletes, and Dreamhack for European athletes. This methodology is probably not optimal for Korean athletes who must perform for long periods during the GSL tournament, as there will be insufficient "down time" required in order to develop strength properly between competitions.