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  1. Like
    Spike reacted to PrEeN for a blog entry, Work 1 - Vacations!   
    So Now I'm Back! From Outer Space!

    Hello everyone! This is the first blog i'm posting since vacation! And i mainly want to talk to you guys about Vacations in general so the first topic in my "Work" Series will be Vacations. But before i get to that i just want to give you a small update about the show! So i am experimenting with new streaming programs and i am hoping to get a better quality from them. vVvphersghu has offered to help with overlays and I'm really exited to work with him. Also There was a large amount of people that were allowed to enter my "Alive Man" Contest. Details HERE ( Scroll down to Alive man Contest )

    Here is how the contest went:

    Thanks for participating everyone!! Better luck next time! The alive man stays a secret for now!

    So on to the show!

    I Just got back from my 2 week vacation form work and school. I start school at 8 am ( Wake up at 6:30 AM ) finish at 3PM, leave to go to work get there at 3:40 PM start work at 4 PM and finish at 9PM home by 10PM. VERY Long days so a 2 week vacation from both at the same time was awesome! But i had the idea for this blog after getting a 2 day weekend from both. ( Because my 2 days off of work do not follow. Usually Monday, Wednesday ) My main point is it doesnt matter the length of time off, but what you do with that time

    So specifically on these 2 days off that i got, i DID NOTHING! i told my girlfriend i needed me time, video game time, time to relax, and do nothing. It was magical!!!! I dont know if you guys know this. But if you have 2 days off in a row... your lucky and don't waste them! I often see people working on there days off. A common thing is to catch up on homework, cleaning, do chores, garden, ETC. Those are not days off! you need the rest, the zero stress! its so rejuvenating.

    My 2 week vacation was mostly spent with my girlfriend and friends, ( Which was fun ) but not relaxing... i went camping... OUTDOORS! in a very secluded place. NOT RELAXING. you have to plan it out. pack the car, drive there, unpack, put up the tent. and then be pissed that in a few nights you gotta do it all over again... Not relaxing. The best part of my vacation?! was playing video games, and marathoning tv shows. NO JOKE

    You guys might think im crazy, but need to try it. Take the time for you. no stress do as you feel, you don't need to play video games. you might think camping is very relaxing. The point is do what you can FOR YOU. you have 2 days out of 7. relax and take it easy! Have a good summer to everyone and use your time wisely! Im exited to get back into the swing of things with the #vVvCommunity.

    So Make sure to be watching for the next episode of the #vVvCommunity show


  2. Like
    Spike reacted to BabyToss for a blog entry, vLog #2 - vVv Gaming's Aspire.SC2 Team   
    In my second vLog, I talk about my team, specifically vVv Gaming's Aspire.SC2 team. What we are about, what our goals and motivations are, what we require from our players. It's a short introduction of the idea behind the team; rather than it's members.

    Comments, suggestions, ideas, they all are welcomed and appreciated!
  3. Like
    Spike reacted to BabyToss for a blog entry, DreamHack Summer - My personal Test of Courage   
    Published on Thursday, 22 June 2012 01:08 | Written by BabyToss

    Finally sitting down to write down for a bit. I would like to share my experience from Dreamhack Summer & my participation in StarCraft 2's Eizo Open tournament. Now, some quick facts, before I even get to the whole thing. First of all, this was my first international event. I've never had chance to compete in an international offline event before. This is why there were many unknown factors for me in there, I'll go more in depth about that in the write-up itself.

    Second - the first part of my write-up will be purely from my personal view, as a player and participant, the other part of this will cover more summarised review as to how I felt Dreamhack was like, in terms of organization and stuff.

    DreamHack - Being the player!

    The trip, Day 1

    My trip to Dreamhack was long. I didn't fly there, as obviously, the expanses would be even bigger. I had the opportunity to travel along with the fellow Czech people, who are part of the biggest Czech e-Sport club/Team, also known as team eSuba. Needs to be said I had to wake up really damn early in the morning, which I oh so much love, as every nerd. However, I felt this opportunity was well worth the hassle. So, packing my stuff day before, I was all set and ready to go on Friday, 15th June, to arrive at the meeting point with my fellow Czech friends. Me being "lucky" as always, the weather was incredibly hot, despite of whole week's raining before. Some cursing occured, as there's nothing worse than train full of people breathing at you while the damn hot ball on the sky is burning like mad. That awfulness took around three hours, until I arrived at the actual meeting point. Meeting and greeting ocurred, nothing really special there; I'm quite sure that my dear readers are not even interested in reading that. We were supposed to set off towards Sweden past noon, but some people got delayed, so we headed towards our destination three hours later. We had two cars capable of containing at least 8 people, and I was lucky to go in the bigger one with less people.

    I'm generally easily bored and I need some sort of stimulus for my mind to stay focused. You can imagine my mind going all crazy, when I just briefly touched the thought of me finally travelling to Dreamhack. I can't deny that it was one of the most anticipated events in my life. My love for StarCraft 2 and the game becoming part of my life, it all was there, and I was going to be on one of the biggest festivals on the whole damn world. Nothing else mattered for me, not even the fact I'm so damn shy person in real life. Opportunities like that don't come easily to me, so my excitement was probably similar to a kid's happiness while in a candy store. Or a kid looking forward to Christmas. Or a Zerg seeing that their Protoss didn't wall off their friggin ramp, so they can just six pool and laugh like maniacs afterwards. Take your pick. So, based on that mindset, I just needed something to occupy myself with. That, or just sleep over the damn trip. Eventually, I just listened to my music, my mind being completely elsewhere, mostly imagining myself already being on Dreamhack, which had me to fall asleep few times along the way. It's very easy for me to sleep in the car, somehow, I find traveling very soothing and I just fade into mild sleep easily.

    All nature, food and whatever breaks were like pain in the ass. Really. As they prolonged the time which it'd take for us to finally arrive to Dreamhack. I knew I'd be willing to starve just to be there as quick as possible. I also missed my ol' good StarCraft 2 fix, but I'm not gonna admit that without torture. Oh, I just did? Whatever! These are not the droids you are looking for.

    All the waiting was gone after roughly 18 hours of travel, including the 2 hour wait for the ferry boat and 2 hours trip with that thing. Not a fan of sea travel, my stomach usually gets upset.. although this time I somehow didn't pay attention to that. There was more at stake, more on my mind. Too much excitement. Dreamhack was in front of me and I knew that time of personal test of courage was getting closer and closer, each passing minute.

    The tournament, Day 2

    Of course, I have to mention my participation in StarCraft 2's EIZO Open tournament. Dear reader should know, that I'm not too confident person and in fact, I am very anxious and shy personality. It's easy to present myself on the internet, as there's so much anonymity, so there's even place for awkward people like me. Granted, I always do my best to behave at my best, to present myself and my team in the best possible lights, but, when it comes to real life contacts, I just don't cope too well. I want to point out, that I knew, that this participation in the tournament was going to be a huge test for that, as well as experience for me, which would eventually help me in the long run to overcome these issues. I often talk about StarCraft 2 being my personal quest to not only become a good player & role model, but also a quest to become a stronger, better person as a whole. These were to become one of the most tough proving grounds, but I didn't know that yet. I felt my stomach grumbing, as my feet stomped on the Dreamhack's venue for the first time.

    There were some issues by the enterance, as I was supposed to get a press pass & player pass but apparently didn't get either right after I arrived. It took some time to even find out I needed a player band and the staff mostly didn't know about that either. This is where the organization was lacking and you can imagine me becoming all frustrated after running around the venue like a fool, trying to find out how things were. One hour later, I finally got all the correct bands, my left hand looking like a Christmas tree with an event pass, press pass & player pass (funnily enough labelled as "pro-gamer", now it's official, kids!), but I was content with all the organization things being in order now. I brought along my laptop for the event, because I thought this was going to be a regular BYOC tournament and I'd be playing my games hidden in the BYOC arena. I couldn't be more mistaken!

    I knew my group since Thursday. I knew who I was going to face and I even knew that facing one of these people would be maybe harder than facing Hero from Team Liquid and Merz from Team Dignitas. One person off my group was a friend of mine, also a Protoss player. For me, facing a friend, that was something unknown to me before and it just felt off and out of place. However, I still knew I would have to give it my best. My games were set to start at 6pm local time and I was told we would be playing at the designated Tournament area, so I'd need to bring my keyboard, mouse, mousepad and headset a half hour before start. This was admittedly the big shocker for me. Like I said, I thought that I'd be playing my games in the BYOC arena, hence why I brought my gaming laptop along. These stations also had a huge monitor at the top so the people wouldn't have to breathe on player's necks behind them, while playing. I could feel my heart pounding and my stomach doing really odd things by just thought that people could see my games if they really wanted. The fear was creeping out and I thought that if I knew about that particular thing, I'd probably not sign up for the tournament. Part of me wanted to slap myself for that thought, but my worries were too strong. As the time was nearing, these feelings were becoming stronger and stronger. Each single minute passed felt like an eternity. I knew I couldn't back down, not now, when I got so far and comitted to this. It'd be disgrace not only for myself, but also for my team, wouldn't it? My good friend always reminds me that to be brave doesn't mean absence of fear, but the ability to face it. With that, I was set on doing this, despite of all the difficulties. But I won't lie; it was not becoming any easier for me.

    I knew I should've warm myself up with the time I was given during the setup phase. But my mind was too cornered, too afraid. I'm even ashamed to say this. Because after all, it may be hard to comprehend for many people, that I could feel so worried and out of it, just because of the game. I love the game, it's part of my life and yet, I fail to face small obstacles like that? How could I even think about becoming good? Self-doubts and berating myself in my mind, that's what I was doing, while I stepped away to throw some cold water on my face, to at least force myself to focus and calm down a bit.

    I sat down into the "chair of death" few minutes later, logging onto StarCraft 2, having bunch of people messaging me immediatelly after I came online. Some of them knew I was playing in Dreamhack, despite of me not telling them, so you can imagine me freaking out a bit. Nothing too unusual though, I couldn't be any more freaked out than I already was. The refree was by my side few more moments later, asking me which map I wanted to veto. Mumbling "Antiga Shipyard" more to myself than him, he still seemed to understand. And I was in for more surprises. I was asked by some guy, whose's name I already forgot, if I could invite them into the game, as they wished to stream my game. Can you imagine me so wanting to tell him to not do it? But how would I look like? How would vVv Gaming look like, if they had such a damn coward in their midst? Mumbling "sure", I gave in and sent the guy an invite. Wasn't the official Dreamhack caster duo, think they were from GLHF.tv.

    My first opponent was a Terran player, Dignitas's Merz. Game loading, my hands all cold, my fingers numb, my heart beating as if it was a race. First game was on Daybreak. I managed to not misclick my probes. Good job! However, I misrallied my Nexus. Girl, you fail. Hands still refusing to do what I told them, I luckily noticed soon afterwards. I cannot even describe state of my mind. I was making many mistakes. It's usually called "choking" when you make mistakes you'd not normally make, but all the stress just causes you to play so much worse. Nothing feels worse than supplyblocking myself. Or even blocking my two immortals by other buildings. The tunnel vision incoming, it was so hard to focus. Writing these lines, I feel so ashamed of myself. It just should not happen like that. Mistake after mistake creeping into my play, me getting gases way too early. The brain just shut down on me. I was not thinking clearly. My build, my opening, it all was way too flawled. I cannot find words of excuse or even comfort for myself. Mere drop happened, my reactions were way too slow and I knew the game was lost anyways, my "GG" followed.

    A miriad amount of feelings crossed me, I had to bite my lips to not begin crying. My friend Sophie, she was immediatelly by my side, comforting me, saying I played okay. But, it just didn't help. Nothing would help at that time. I knew I didn't give my best and I just wanted to be gone, to not know myself. It is always important for me to give my best. Therefore, it is just way too easy to blame myself when I don't. I was invited into next game, but I just wasn't ready at all, so I requested few minutes downtime. I knew my mind was way too disturbed, touched by that loss. To be realistic, I could've not take a game from him, I very well knew that, however, I wanted to fight with all I had. And, to my knowledge, I wasn't able to do that, not even remotely. That is why the weight of loss was so difficult for me to bear.

    I couldn't just let them to wait for too long. I had to soldier on. Despite of my feelings. I knew that if I am to become a stronger StarCrafter and a person, I'd eventually have to face situations like that, as they serve as true test of one's preparadness and willingness to fight. So, I had them to begin the second game; this time playing on Cloud Kingdom. I was slightly calmer after Sofie spoke to me for a bit, but even in the second game, I just felt my anxiety striking, causing me to still make mistakes I shouldn't be making. It is really hard for me to write out anything positive about myself, really. If you aim to be good at something, you can't just lie down in comforting yourself. You have to be as critical of yourself as possible, in order to be able to progress further. Merz was able to beat me with two prong attack yet again, as I had no confidence nor means to defeat him. My another "GG" went up, me needing these 10 minutes of break really badly.

    My next game was supposed to be against the korean player, Liquid Hero. All of you probably know him. Most of you would probably even see it as honor to be able to play versus him, as it's something you do not gain easily with a player of his caliber. But, I didn't see it that way back then. I saw it, as if I needed to prove myself, to be able to yet again show my best. It's just how I roll. Always aiming somewhere, always trying to show that I can manage, no matter the odds. But, maybe I'm just lying to myself. Maybe it's just a wishful thinking. Is it wrong to aim somewhere? Is it wrong to want to learn, in order to grow? No matter where the road takes me? Where the end barrier should be? Where is the line between being downright harsh on myself and on trying to learn so much?

    Again, the refree would come, asking me which map I wished to veto. For some odd reason I didn't veto Antiga Shipyard - yes, I just hate that map, so of course, my first game versus HerO would be on that particular map. I admit I was not too familiar with the map at all, due to me downvoting it on the ladder and never really playing on it vs my practice buddies. So yes, a handicap, added up to already existing nervousness. I'm probably really good at making stuff harder on myself, am I not...rhetoric question, dear reader, yes. Protoss versus Protoss... is it late to say that it's my least favourite matchup? All these 1 base thingies, I just don't like those. I prefer a juicy, exciting, fiercy macro game. I have yet to discover a way how to expand early in this matchup, in order to make it worth digesting. My Protoss builds are kind of messy in general, so HerO had it easy, rolling me with no effort with some ridiculous pressure I was apparently supposed to hold no problem. I gg'd out, facepalming really badly. At least these fails weren't streamed, to my and the audience's health! Finding positive here, can you see? Growing an optimist here.

    Another game on Cloud Kingdom followed. Ever felt that you knew a cheese was coming, you scouted the base and then realized you had to make a decision, as to what kind of cheese was coming? Not scouting these things on time usually means a really miserable death. Even a Silver leaguer knows that. I know that. But, that knowledge alone didn't help me. I just wasn't in time to see what was coming and before realizing it, I had HerO's Zealots having party in my damn base. I had to smile on that one, giving HerO a "GG" with a smile sign at the end. I had nothing to lose afterwards. I knew that my next game, the game against a dear friend of mine, would be my last one in the tournament. Well, a set of games, to be precise.

    The burden of fear was gone. I had nothing to lose, nothing to gain. I just wanted to play my last games with dignity. Admittedly, because my last set of games were Protoss vs Protoss yet again, I wanted to change the pace and played really greedy in the first game. Which of course didn't pay off, but I wanted to try it. My first game was therefore lost. But, I wasn't keen on just going without giving a proper fight. Not my style. I took other two games. I don't want to comment on these too much, as I do respect my friend and I do not want that friend to feel any bad. We had good games though, I can say some of these battles just had me going and they reminded me why StarCraft 2 is just so exciting and awesome game. Me and my friend shook hands in friendship, hugging each other right after the game.

    There's this sentiment of never giving up, of just going no matter of the odds, as long as you can, to have the old fashioned fun with something you love. This is the very valuable lesson for me to yet learn. To learn to relax, breathe and focus, even when the situation kicks me out of my comfort zone. That is how we learn. It's something, which the participation in this tournament gave me, even though it's something I have to constantly remind myself of. I hope to take more courage with me from this and that this courage would be growing with every single game played. I don't care how many tears I'll shed, I don't care how many hours, days or even years it'll take. A wise friend of mine always tells me "Anything worth having is worth fighting for." By that, I am trying to live day by day.

    Shoutouts & thanks!

    I met many awesome people. Ferry "Darkomicron" van de Pol, Sophie "Sophie" Yngman, who was truly helpful when it comes to mindset and helping me overcoming the really rough spots. Caroline "Guilly" Danielsson, a friend of mine, who is of a kind heart and always so cheerful, Tobias "OneStep" SÖRLING, a fellow Protoss player, who has endless amount of courage and I'd like to have at least bits of that. I can't forget mentionimg some of the famous personalities, like Liquid Ret, who even greeted me and told me he remembered me. Although it still beats me how he could remember me, as I never really met him before? Maybe he was just mistaken. I also met Liquid's HerO and TaeJa. Then there's Aleksey "WhiteRa" Krupnyk, who has really special place in my heart. He is a true role model and an awesome player. I aspire to be like him, in my own way.

    I know following people weren't with me on Dreamhack, but a special mention goes to Allen Rulo, who is an old friend of mine, always trusting in me, always supporting me and always pushing me forward, then to Fraser Bedwell, who is also a good, old friend of mine, always cheering on me, always giving me good laughs and odd jokes. Can't forget mentioning Ryan Rushia & Rob Feeley, who were an inspiration to me, and who taught me a lot about StarCraft 2 and myself, and last but not least, my mom, husband and son, whom I truly love and without them, I'd never really aim anywhere, as I'd not find worth in myself. Thank you for all. I won't let you down.

    I also have to thank my team, vVv Gaming for having me in their midst. I hope that one day, I can make you proud with this passion of mine. I know I'll be trying.

    Dreamhack - the overall experience

    The venue itself was huge. It's really easy to get lost there, especially if you are there for the first time. A lot of the staff crew in place had no idea about the very basic things like as to where the "sleep area" is. That is kind of disturbing. I mean, nobody expects people to know every thing, but there should be basic outlines as to what the staff crew should know. Things like where to sleep should be among those. But, that's just me. I feel like when you are tired, you shouldn't need to spend another hour running across the venue, packed with sleeping accessories, tired from previous day, only to try and find out where exactly you are supposed to rest your physical body.

    I mentioned this issue with having the correct ID bands as well - this should be a non issue, especially if you ask at the Info booth. These people had no idea. I had to talk to an admin from some other booth to be able to get the correct informations and corresponding ID bands and that too took quite a lot of unnecessary hassle. However, to the defence of that kind lady, who heled me, she was truly forthcoming and helpful, once I explained her what my problem was. I didn't even have to wait in that huge queue, as she realized that this was a mistake done by the enterance crew and I really shouldn't be paying for that.

    The tournament refrees seemed to be considerate and knowledgeable of the game. That is always a plus. Nothing worse than having some sort of guy, who has no idea what's going on and they just happen to be there.

    The BYOC arena is not really any good. The tables are way too high and the chair, I just slumped too deep, so if I really wanted to play, my hands would be all broken oddly. I know I am just a midget, but I still think that this could be handled somewhat better. Not to mention that the table space you are alotted. I could barely fit in there. The event like DreamHack should have it really better than some unnamed LAN here in Czech republic, where I have much more space for myself, my laptop and its accessories. On the plus side, the whole venue didn't feel all "breath out", the air was fairly breathable and the temperature was just good enough to not have a headache.

    The tournament area was overall a good idea. You got enough space for your own equipment (mouse, mousepad, keyboard, headset) and you also got enough time during the setup to get comfortable with the settings and set your own if you truly wished to. The organizators should really keep this trend up, it was a good thing.

    Last thing - Massage for the players - awesome, I didn't want to go, but I did in the end, after my friend pushed me to do it - so, again, awesome!


    There are lessons to be learnt, in everything we do in life. Dreamhack, at least for me, happened to be that kind of event. I think, it made me stronger, even if it may be only by a bit. Some of my readers may even ask why do I do all of this. And I already explained that, on several ocassions. I may be a "small" player today. Worried, not having confidence in myself, struggling with myself, but having a big heart for what I do. Rob Clotworthy, a voice-actor, who voiced Jim Raynor once told me a wise thing - "There are no small players. Every journey begins with one step.", and I believe, after looking back, that he is right. We all have to take small steps to grow. If we expect ourselves to run straight away before learning to walk, or heck, before learning to crawl for the first time, we will of course trip and hurt ourselves. I admit I am good at that. I struggle at objectively judging myself. I struggle with finding positive stuff about myself and my games. But I know, more than ever, that this is what I love doing and I am not going anywhere. If I could, I'd attend Dreamhack again. Heck, If I had the money & opportunity, I'd subject myself to the Poland's StarCraft 2's Training house "Ministry of Win" for a month or two, despite of being a shy nimwit, a training house, which I heard have really rigorous training regimen, just to focus on my passion and overcome myself. I know I have to fight for what I love. Right now, I am my worst enemy. I'm going to be facing myself more than anything else.

    Who knows. I certainly do not know what the future holds. The only thing I know, is that the community, StarCraft 2 and this whole journey of self-improvement, learning and growth is going to be awesome. We don't enjoy just the end goal. The journey itself is what is making this so exciting for me.

    I'm not going anywhere. That is a promise.
  4. Like
    Spike reacted to BabyToss for a blog entry, Personality Spotlight: Ryan "coLRyan" Rushia   
    Published on Thursday, 14 June 2012 23:32 | Written by BabyToss

    My habit of randomly (ok, ok, not so randomly) picking up interesting StarCraft 2 personalities is not going anywhere, if dear readers were wondering why the little me was quiet for some time. I've been focusing on some stuff behind the scenes as well as on my preparations for DreamHack. Alas, enough of me, I'm bringing you yet another small venture out, meeting awesome personality, this time a member of compLexity Gaming; maybe not the one in the front lines at the moment, but a compeling, interesting personality nonetheless - a Protoss player Ryan Rushia, also known as coLRyan.

    Why picking Ryan Rushia over someone who's been tearing up recent tournaments? I admit it's for the first time, when it's really, really difficult for me to stay completelly level-headed and unbiased, as Ryan's been a good friend of mine for most of my SC2 'career', however, his warm, friendly personality is one of a kind and he is a perfect example of the fact, that a good player is made of more than just game skills. A good player is defined by their personality as well. That is why and I intend to keep this trend in my "Personality Spotlight" series.

    Ryan Rushia is 23 years old, coming from New Hampshire, and upon first meeting you get to see a smiling, cheerful personality. There's this positive vibe around him, not afraid to show his passion for something, if there's some. An open-minded, witty and incredibly funny guy; that is Ryan Rushia for you in a nutshell.

    Of course, Ryan is quite capable StarCraft 2 player as well. His career started back in SC2 Beta and he certainly wasn't without achievements. For these, he was later on noticed by compLexity Gaming and joined the team. Besides these qualities, Ryan is an entertainer. He enjoys making fun for people. When streaming, you'll certainly have a reason to smile, or laugh even. His stream's signature music is, how he calls it "girly-manly music" - so beware of that, it may be a repelent for some of you.. heck, even I can't stand listening to that... sorry Ryan . His personality is welcoming and his laugher contagious.

    Ryan's huge passion is teaching. That is why he recently finished his studies, that is why we've not seen him tearing it apart on StarCraft 2 much, and that is why he is going to travel to Italy in August of this year, to pursue a career of teacher. The same passion also led to him to being one of the most capable coaches I've have the honours to see in StarCraft 2. He knows the art of teaching and his real-life knowledge nicely interwines with his StarCraft 2 knowledge and his ability to pass it down to others. There's this genuine helpful personality of his coming on the surface.

    Ryan is not afraid of talking with the community. In fact, he interacts with the community on daily basis. You can see him still being the entertainer, attending BarCrafts and still keeping general interest in StarCraft 2. Not to spoil anything, but there's this little birdy, who told me that Ryan is going to be rekindling his SC2 skills, to put them in further use in the near future too. You heard it here first, more in the coming interview!

    You can follow Ryan Rushia on Twitter, to know when he streams and for your amusement & follow his stream - You won't be bored with him for a bit.

    And as always, my interrogation abilities are put to test, in a short interview with Ryan Rushia about StarCraft 2, life and the man himself.


    Hi Ryan, happy to have you - And as always, an introduction is in order, there may be people who are not familiar with you, so briefly introduce yourself. You know, what your name is, and all that stuff. You can begin... now!

    "Hello! My name is Ryan Rushia, and I play for compLexity.Starcraft 2 team as “coL.Ryan.” I am a recent Master’s Degree graduate from the Univ. of New Hampshire, with a focus in Elementary Education. I have been gaming for my whole life, and have been blessed to have something come of it!"

    Thank you, Ryan. Some jump into the past before we move on - you and gaming. I know you used to play WarCraft 3, a common ground for many SC2 players, so maybe you could tell me a little about that? How succesful you were, you know, whatever comes into your mind and feel like sharing?

    "I played Warcraft 3 on a semi-professional level as a member of the (at the time) top-level USA Team “Team Skynet” as OwnagE[skynet] for several years, and I played competitively for team “Knights of Cydonia” as KoC.13.LadyLuck (Yes KoC), which won several prestigious American leagues, and competed internationally against European teams. I ended Warcraft 3 when SC2 came out, and was a player-manager for “Team Pokeroff,” A Russian-based organization that the well-known player Empire.Kas played for. Individually, I was in several solo leagues, but was always a middle-of-the-road player, never acquiring much notice. I was recognized usually because of how long I had been in the scene for."

    What is your gaming background? Which games you used to play besides WarCraft 3 and which one was the most influential for you?

    "I’ve been a gamer for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been a fan of fantasy/RPG games, but my true love lied with RTS genre, and was totally AGAINST BroodWar for a longgggg time (Probably earned some haters right there!) as I wasn’t a fan of the futuristic genre. However, that all changed when I got a beta key for SC2."

    This is about StarCraft 2 personality, so of course, we are going to talk about StarCraft! *grins* The first, common but necessary question - How did you get into StarCraft 2 and why did you pick Protoss in particular?

    "I acquired a beta key through a professional WC3 friend way back at the beginning, and played it simply because it was provided for me; I had no intention of playing it much as I was still into WC3 back then. However, I enjoyed the game WAY more than expected, and instantly fell in love with Protoss, as it reminded me of Orc, the race I played in Warcraft 3."

    Transition from WarCraft 3 into StarCraft 2 - how difficult was the transition for you? Easy? Struggling? What was the most difficult part of transition for you?

    "I’ve always been lucky enough (I believe) to have a slight natural understanding of RTS games. I played all of the Age of Empires games, and Warcraft 1 through 3 growing up, and was pretty proficient in them without much practice. Starcraft 2, however, was a game that took a lot of adaptation, especially after having played WC3 for so long. The entire mentality was different. Even still, I find myself heavily favoring micro-oriented playstyles, and clearly my macro play tends to slip. That being said, I’ve always loved the entirety of SC2, so it’s been a welcome shift in mentality."

    So tell me Ryan, what is your most proud moment in StarCraft 2? It doesn't even have to be a high placing in a tournament, as it may happen that sometimes we are not exactly proud of ourselves, despite of winning. Just tell me about something, which has a high value for you as a person, something you are really proud of?

    "My most proud moment individually was receiving a personal invite to MLG D.C. in the first season of SC2, where it was still a much smaller tournament. My most proud team moment was winning ESEA over EG (twice) with the Pre-ROOT compLexity squad; we were the heavy underdogs but took EG out twice 3-1 and 3-1 in Upper finals and Grand Finals to take the season!"

    Downsides. These are always here, so we have to look at the opposite side of the coin as well. What was your biggest letdown during your SC2 career? Something, which made you particulary sad? Anything you'd want to do differently in order to change it? Tell me about it.

    "My biggest let down personally would have to be my practice habits and time. I’ve always been a player that loves to compete, but puts in less practice time than I’v been able to due to work and outside obligations. As some of you know I took a hiatus from the game to focus on my Master’s Degree, but I would like to get back into the scene and compete at Dreamhack Winter, when I’m living in Europe."

    There are many people who "plan" to "go pro" and make elaborate posts about that, you can see these posts on Teamliquid nearly every day. What it was like for you? Did it just happen that you were good or you actually wanted to reach the top, to become a professional in StarCraft 2?

    "What I find to be humorous, and which some people don’t tend to believe, is that I never went into SC2 trying to go pro. It was merely a byproduct of how much I played. I LOVE SC2, I love playing, and I love the competition and drive I get from playing. Losing in practice or on ladder has never been something that I care about, ortry to avoid, so I’ve always been able to avoid “rage-quitting” or reacting differently after having lost a game. I’m very proud of my personal mentality regarding the game, as the simple act of losing seems to prevent so many players from improving. Obviously at one point I realized I had acquired skill on my own, so I looked to form relationships with other teams and high-level players to continue my growth."

    You are currently part of compLexity Gaming, a renown team, which has developed quite a lot in the past year. Can you tell me a little about how did they find you and how did you feel about being picked up by a professional team? What did it mean for you as a player and a person?

    "CompLexity Gaming is an amazing organization. I was a CS 1.6 fan of them WAY back in the day, so it’s a personal dream come true to be part of their team. Back in SC2 beta I was part of a group called “Team NOVA” with members Antimage, Stalife, RSVP, Firezerg, Ganon, and several others. We were a group of friends that formed a team with our player manager Brett to compete in smaller American tournaments that were forming. Brett did all of the work, he was an incredible manager, and scored us a shot with compLexity. At the time, we were a respected team but not one that was considered a top-level team, so compLexity took a gamble picking us up. However, only a few weeks after getting signed we won the ESEA season, which helped cement our place there. As a player, they’ve been an incredible support for my development as a player and in understanding the eSports team better. I’m incredibly happy here, they’ve continued to support and respect me even in my time where my schooling and work took priority over eSports."

    Being on a professional team is a commitment and not just "playing games", contrary to popular belief. What did change for you, when you joined compLexity? What did you learn from this experience? Tell me about your experience with compLexity.

    "I have never had a negative experience regarding compLexity or by being a professional player. Haters come and go, but the fans and friends I’ve made through it have lasted over the years, and will continue to do so, which I’m incredibly grateful for. Joining compLexity took weight off of my teammate’s and my shoulders, as we are able to practice solely on gaming."

    What is your most memorable moment with compLexity? Share the best one with us, why it does it matter for you?

    "I can’t choose one most memorable moment, as every time I hang out with my teammates at MLG’s it keeps getting better and better. If I had to pick, being with my teammates at MLG Grand Finals Providence has got to have been the best experience so far for me."

    You used to coach StarCraft 2 quite a lot. Let's talk about that for a while. There are many coaches out there, who offer their services, either for free or for ol' good bucks, but frankly, not many realize that teaching something, no matter what, requires more than just a stamp "Grandmaster". What do you think, is what makes a good StarCraft 2 coach?

    "A good Starcraft 2 coach has to be able to explain what they do. A GREAT Starcraft 2 coach has to verbalize and teach it so that the student fully understands what is going on, rather than simply repeating words verbatim back and following instruction. It pains me to see coaches saying “okay now build pylon, okay now build gateway” and so on, as it is only a short-term benefit. When I coach, I strive to change the player mentality of my student, as well as providing them with knowledge and skills that they can continue to develop on their own long after the lesson has ended."

    What gave you the idea to actually coach others in StarCraft 2 in the first place? By the time you picked this effort up, the whole coaching thing seemed to be in it boom and there were plenty coaches out there. What do you think was, what made your teaching style unique, compared to others?

    "I used to coach and help out my struggling friends for free, and have had a natural affinity to it (considering I’m a teacher in real life!). They recommended that I should broaden my search and begin to charge for it, which is what I did, and had reasonable success with it. I was asked to be part of a well-known coaching organization, but it conflicted sponsor-wise, so was unable to follow through with it. That being said, I was rather successful coaching independently. I think my (what I think at least) welcoming personality and ability to work with all level of players draws students to me."

    What do you think is the hardest aspect of StarCraft 2 to teach to a student and why?

    "I know this one easily. That losing a game isn’t the end of the world, and that getting better takes time. People get frustrated without immediate results, or are tooafraid to ladder because they don’t want to lose. Frankly, no one of worth cares about your win/loss rate on ladder, with the exception of maybe one Blizzard event a year. Unless you are THAT HIGH up the ladder that you are even capable of getting an invite, the ladder is merely a tool for practice."

    Any memorable moments during coaching your students? Tell me about them.

    "I haven’t had a specific memorable moment that’s worth mentioning, but what I’d have to say is ALWAYS amazing to hear is that click in a student’s mind when they all of a sudden GET what you are saying, and are a better player for it."

    As a teacher & former StarCraft 2 coach - what do you think is the most important aspect of StarCraft 2 that you'd put before anything else?

    "This answer is different regarding the race you play, but I think the willingness to accept a loss is incredibly important. Mechanics-wise, as a very passive, reactive Protoss player myself, I believe that scouting as Protoss is incredibly undervalued and used."

    Moving onto yet another topic - You are moving to Italy in August, where you will work as a teacher. What do you hope to learn from this experience and what do you look forward to the most?

    "I am looking forward to competing at Dreamhack Winter woohoo! Beyond that, my move to Italy is a chance to travel and see the world, while still doing what I love."

    Speaking of Italy, and here, your StarCraft 2 fans holding their breath now, because this is a question they all would like to have answered from you - Any plans in regards to you and your StarCraft 2 future? Planning to make a comeback? And if so, in which form? Playing, coaching, making content for the community? Just tell me, can't hold the breath for much longer, Ryan!

    "I actually just started playing and streaming again recently. I used to be a pretty popular streamer, but obviously as I stopped playing my popularity has died. I want to train to compete at Dreamhack Winter, as I’ve already stated, as well as MLG events on my return. That being said, I want a full return where I’m a better player than I was before."

    Me and my interrogations. Just endure for a little while longer. Of course, I want you to tell me what your other hobbies are, as we are not only live by StarCrafting... well, some of us! (winks) Any other games you enjoy playing? Anything you love doing in your free time?

    "I’m a huge soccer (football) fan, so currently my life has been work, starcraft, EuroCup 2012! I have a very good Brasilian friend I’ve known forever during WC3 years, and are hoping to stay with him during the next World Cup "

    Obligatory question - your plans for the coming year? Goals, wishes, dreams?

    "I don’t like to set goals as daily things can upset them, but my wish is to become a strong, recognized player in the SC2 scene again."

    Time to let you breath a little. Thank you for your time, Ryan, it's always a pleasure to talk to you. Any last shoutouts, anything else you'd like to say? Anything, really, not going to censor you, promise! (winks)

    "Huge shoutout to compLexity Gaming, my teammates, and our sponsors Creative Sound Blaster, QPAD, Gamma Gamers, Origin, and Crash the System! Beyond that, huge thanks to my ever-so-supporting girlfriend Sarah that always has my back regarding my gaming and nerd habits . Thanks so much for the interview Jana!"
  5. Like
    Spike reacted to PrEeN for a blog entry, Zombie Report 2 - The Horde On The Move   

    I said it before and I'm going to say it again...Zombie Be Real!

    June 10th 2012, Montreal, Quebec: The City of Montreal was in an uproar today when the dead walked the streets. Moans, Groans, and panic where heard from all over. But what difficulties did this zombie horde face during its march for brains? You're all about to find out!

    The day started like any normal day, traffic, smog, terrible driving, construction, everything that makes the city of Montreal so great! But today was no ordinary day, In a cafe 10 minutes from downtown a group of people met at 12Pm, Unsure of what transpired inside of the cafe, the result was catastrophic. 3 hours later what emerged from the cafe was none other then what everyone fears, a Zombie Horde. What could it of been?! A bacteria in the coffee, Someone already infected? Regardless Montreal was about to face a large threat,

    (Exiting the cafe)

    The Horde Moved on, and started to walk the streets, That's when I ( PrEeN ) arrived. The streets were bare, everyone was gone, and only blood was left. I was prepared and ready to eliminate the zombie threat, I had trained for this day. But the traffic mixed with construction had beaten me. And the Zombie menace continued. There first victims where the fools walking on the streets. But the zombies just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Because they ran into a bike marathon.

    (They didn't stand a chance, With no gear, and limited clothes to protect from scratches. They were all consumed)

    How Long could this horde go on for? Was no one going to stop them? The Montreal police department is known threw Canada for being brutal and aggressive ( college students protesting against school fees going up were met with tear gas and rubber bullets. Poor kid lost an eye because a cop shot him in the face...). And with all the protests against the education system the cops were on edge. (Students have been taking to the street for more then 100 days in a row now, protests all over the city) So to say the least, these cops were fed up and ready to murder some zombies. But when the time came, They were nothing... To affraid for there lives, the police never left there cars they just keeped going... ( To serve and protect my ass )

    People running all over the place! Zombies feeding on the flesh, Police abandoning the people. Is there anything that can stop the horde?

    After a long march the zombie ended up on the famous mountain the city was named after Mount-Royal / Mont-Royal in french ( "Mon-treal" in french the T is silent ) And that is when the people fought back. We could not lose the landmark our city was named after! The Zombies were tired, and we took full advantage of it. How you might ask? A Zombie Dance Party of course.


    (Sorry couldnt find a way to direct link the zombie dance party)

    But the zombies figured it out and moved on out. To what some say was the worst discussion they could of made, or the incredible luck that we the living have ran into. Because There is something special that happens on Mount-Royal. The warrior spirit comes out, The people are blessed by the gods, and they fight to the death for pride and glory. They show up every weekend, and they are the ones to thank for the safety, and elimination of the Zombie Horde....


    The Mont-Royal Larpers

    So till next outbreak have a good one

  6. Like
    Spike reacted to michs09 for a blog entry, Blog #14 Real Madrid, Simply the Best? FIFA Fridays (2)   

    Why does everyone use Real Madrid?

    In this week’s FIFA Friday ‘s blog I’m taking a closer look into what makes Real Madrid so dominant in FIFA 12. Without a doubt Madrid has the most complete squad and has multiple balanced players that are interchangeable at each position which provides “Depth”. Why is depth important? Mainly because FIFA players have separate styles and different players cater to different tactics. For instance, a smaller undersized team will excel in pressing and quick passing but may lack the ability to win headers or strength to knock players off the ball with consistency. Below is my “Real Madrid” position Breakdown.

    Regardless if you run a two or three forward set Madrid has amazing Wing / Strikers in FIFA 12. Obviously you have Ronaldo, the best player in the game in my opinion by a large margin. There isn’t a more complete scorer in the FIFA over the past few years… The combination of strength, size, technique, power, and finishing just makes Ronaldo simply a BEAST. His striking partner Benzema adds a second weapon that your opponent has to respect. He shares many of the Ronaldo characteristics just in smaller doses but is an elite striker and deserves his overall 84 rating.

    Game Changer: Both Benzema & Ronaldo are big (6’0 & 6’1) so crossing or fast build up on the ground suits both players which your find is a rare characteristic between strikers. Speed & Size doesn’t come around all too often in FIFA 12.

    In the Madrid midfield you have tons of options, so your final lineup comes down to what formation / tactics you plan on using in the match. I commonly use a 3-5-2 with Real Madrid so that’s going to be our example formation for this blog. The first major change I make is I play Diarra (CDM) instead of playing Alonso because while I sacrifice some offensive shooting and long passing I gain a stronger defender who is much quicker enabling better pressure opportunities. I also play Kaka as a CDM even though that’s far from his natural position. I’m a huge fan of using players out of position if I think it gives me a competitive advantage. Kaka has strong composure on the ball and looks to get forward whereas Diarra sits almost just on top of the defense.

    RM = Jose Callejon
    LM = Di Maria

    Both these players have what seems like unlimited pace that compliments with incredible fitness which allows them to run the wings all match and provide crosses for the strikers.

    Last key player: Ozil should be your CAM… He can maneuver extremely well and then drop off easy passes to the strikers for the finish.

    This is Madrid’s weakest point on the squad; they lack true speed and outside of Ramos don’t provide much power on the defensive line.

    Considering I’m only using 3 defenders in my example formation, I’m choosing to use quicker backs rather than larger more powerful ones. If you play with 4 in the back, use Pepe to accompany Ramos in the middle. (CB)

    Marcelo and Coentrao are both natural outside backs and have decent speed but are terrible in the air. You can count on them to catch up to fast strikers, but not Elite speedsters or tackle larger Strikers such as an Ibra or Drogba with overwhelming success.

    However you do get one stellar defender on your team in Ramos (85)… He’s easily one of the best combo defenders in the game winning headers, making strong tackles, and catching up to fast forwards. Make sure to have him always as your last man back if a through ball down the middle approaches.

    Casillas is a top tier keeper in FIFA 12. (89) However for goalies in FIFA size means more than skill sometimes so players like Cech or Hart are much better to have even at lower ratings .

    Game Changer: Casillas is a fast keeper, this allows for him to be taken way off the line in order to cut off through balls and improve angles.

    As always, thank you for taking time to read my blog & if you guys have any suggestions or questions fire them over to twitter @michs09usa

    Next Week’s Blogs = “Why MLG Should Pick Up FIFA13 for the Circuit”

  7. Like
    Spike reacted to BabyToss for a blog entry, Personality Spotlight: Manuel "Grubby" Schenkhuizen   
    Published on Friday, 11 May 2012 00:06 | Written by BabyToss

    As promised, that I'd be writing spotlights of interesting personalities - I'm bringing you another one. This time, we have yet another role-model personality here. I believe, that if you actually follow StarCraft 2 scene, you'll know him. I'm talking about
    Manuel "Grubby" Schenkhuizen, a Dutch Protoss player.
    First, when you go and watch Grubby's stream, you'll notice one thing. He is entertainer. He enjoys making his show fun for the viewers. He talks, comments his games, does occassional giveaways and generaly is a friendly person to follow, when it comes to his streaming. Not only that, he is not afraid to go and interact with his fans outside of his stream. That actually makes him quite unique - a lot of known personalities seem to be distanced from their fanbase and they'd not talk to you unless you were known or you paid them.

    Often laughing and being generally positive, that is Grubby for you. If you haven't watched his stream or his games at least once, you are truly missing out.

    Grubby, similary to White-Ra, is a solo player with personal sponsorship. During 2011, he was sponsored by SteelSeries, but the sponsorship was dropped 'due to lack of enough results', according to Liquidpedia. Currently, he is under wings of Twitch.tv. Browsing into Grubby's past, he used to be a WarCraft 3 player, playing under Evil Geniuses. Looking into his past, this young lass managed to win a total of 38 LAN tournaments, from which, hold your breath, 6 were World Championships.

    Furthermore; Grubby is already married and yet, he still devotes time to his passion. Not many people do that. It is the issue of today's world, when people forget their passions and love for things they enjoyed to do, because of some unwritten 'standard', how one should live their lives. Grubby's wife also fully supports his husband in his endeavours, so he can fully comit to his work, while doing something he clearly enjoys.

    Additionally, Grubby tries to set an example by showing always positive manners. He is what I call, a leader by example, being a personality people naturally aim to follow, due to his warm and positive character. It just emanates from him, even when you see the guy for the first time, and that is a trait somewhat rare in the community.

    If you haven't watched Grubby, I suggest you do fix that mistake, I promise that you will not be disappointed, and at the top of all, you may learn a thing or two about StarCraft 2, playeing Protoss and perhaps, even becoming a better gamer - his stream can be found here - http://www.twitch.tv/followgrubby

    Don't go yet. I managed to catch Grubby for a short interview!


    Hihi, Grubby. Glad to have you. How are you today?

    "Hihi, I'm doing great."

    Thanks. Now, before we move onto different stuff, could you briefly introduce yourself? There are people, who do not know you, would you believe that..

    "I'm a StarCraft 2 professional gamer with a love for eSports. I've begun gaming when I was 4 years old. For the last 9 years I've been competing in WarCraft 3 and then StarCraft 2. I've won 6 world championships from over 40 total victories. I'll be 26 years old in May and I'll still be Dutch."

    Let's look into your past - You are a WarCraft 3 veteran. Admittedly, because of StarCraft 2 being my first RTS, I do not know much about its scene or the game itself. Could you tell me and my audience, how did you even get into competitive gaming and what it was like for you, when you started off?

    "Since I started gaming at such a young age, and have loved playing games on the PC ever since, it was only normal that I'd end up falling in love with competitive gaming. I used to compete (and co-op) in games with my brothers mainly."

    Can you tell me about your very first success in WarCraft 3 and how did you feel after it? First victory usually is something you never forget, so, tell me about it.

    "The first really big success was winning World Cyber Games 2004 San Francisco. I had traveled to Korea 2 weeks prior to the WCG, and wasted not a minute in training. Before that, I'd been training 12 hours a day at home. I still did not believe I would win, but I did think I would make it to the finals. When I came to the grand finals, I was ecstatic, because the semi finals (against Shortround) was harder than I thought. My final match was against the Korean Zacard.

    I basically accepted 2nd place and was satisfied with that placement. I woke up early that morning and came to the venue earlier than almost anybody. I started warming up. As the time of the finals drew nearer, an orange legion showed up in the audience. Our country's delegation was comprised of 30+ players and staff; golden times for Netherlands & eSports. All of them were there cheering for me. Despite myself, I started believing in the possibility of winning. They were chanting my name.

    Still, I lost the first map and it just ascertained my fears; a quick 0-2 defeat would seem imminent. However, I quickly won the second map, and I played better than I ever had in the 3rd.

    An alien feeling followed me around as I seemingly got pulled in this direction and that, a handshake here and a picture there, a sequence of interviews and ceremonies. It was one big blur, to me, I could barely understand what was going on. I remember calling my mom, and I remember receiving the giant check, and my victory contributed to making Netherlands as the best WCG country of 2004. We laughed and cheered on stage, proud. It's great memories."

    Moving forward a bit, you were part of renown teams (such as 4Kings & Evil Geniuses) during your WarCraft 3 career. Could you tell me and my audience about that? How did your life change when you were first offered a spot on a professional team? What did it mean for you, personally, as well as a gamer?

    "When I was first offered a spot on 4Kings being one part of a 2v2 team, I had to make a difficult decision. Where do I want to go in WarCraft 3 and eSports? I was in a friends' team with a good but relatively casual atmosphere. I had to pick between team mates / friends and 'professional' advancement. I figured friends will stay friends but this opportunity could change everything. I accepted. For the first play day of the team league, I had a fever and could not play. I was torn by guilt and fear of leaving my team in such a pickle. The team manager was just like "Don't worry about it ". I was very surprised he was so cool about it, but I still felt guilty.

    Of the first matches, I lost most of them. They kept saying "it's ok" and their tolerant attitude mixed with the motivation of wanting to do better allowed me to grow up and become a better player. Fast forward time, and our 4K team was able to win 4 WC3L's and have the inimitable record of being undefeated for over a year, in more than 40 straight clan wars. 4Kings, though not being very professionally run, had a profound importance in how it shaped my career. Thanks to 4Kings' and Intel's budget, we were able to spend those 3 months in Korea which invested so very well into all of our training and team bonding."

    Can't hold onto it any longer. StarCraft 2 and you. How did you get into it & why Protoss?

    "In a sea of quick sequels and buggy games, Blizzard's games are precious pearls. I've played every Blizzard game (except WC1) and loved them all. Going into SC2 was a good choice. The challenge, excitement and pleasure of competing in WC3 and SC2 has been a complete thrill. I feel like Protoss picked me more than that I picked Protoss. I've always liked close combat units (like the Grunt, Raider, Tauren and Zealot) and quick units (Raider, Batrider, Phoenix)."

    Transition from one game into another can be difficult. How was your transition from WarCraft 3 to StarCraft 2? Was it easy? What did you struggle with the most during the transition? Tell me about it.

    "In WarCraft 3, the main challenges were: decisions, weighing pro's & con's, micromanagement, battle tactics, when to fight and when to avoid combat, upkeep management, item management, game sense. In StarCraft 2, the main challenges are: speed, economy management, positioning, map awareness, scouting, decisions and unit composition choices.

    The first thing I struggled with was the management of the economy. Just to name an example, in WarCraft 3, when you created an expansion, it was very usual to immediately attack the opponent without truly engaging in a all-out combat. This would buy time for your expansion to kick in and start working to your advantage; or maybe it would even keep your opponent blind to it (scouting was way more costly in WC3 than in SC2). In StarCraft 2, WC3 players were initially trying to play the same; expand and immediately attack and they'd lose. So it was for me, as well. These kind of hard-wired rules of the mind have to be rewired and this takes time, conscious effort and conversation. Sometimes I feel like, because I played WC3 for 9 years and was Top 3 world at it, it was very difficult for me to change my way of thinking. I've already made the final steps of this mental switch, however, and I consider myself a full SC2 player now."

    What you you think about current state of the game? Anything you'd change if you could? What about Protoss? What do you think about state of Protoss?

    "Hard question. I hope to see more developments which encourage micromanagement instead of discourage it. To me, Vortex, Forcefields, Fungal Growth and Broodlord's Broodlings are examples of abilities that deny micromanagement and make fights less interesting. However, Vortex will be removed in Heart of the Swarm (alongside the Mamaship), and at least Forcefields can be broken through by massive units and don't actually deal damage themselves. There is nothing that Protoss or Terran has that directly counters either Broodlings or Fungal Growth. Keep in mind that I do not speak about win rate %'s or relative strength or general balance.

    In WC3, strong spells like Fungal or summoned creatures like Broodlings would be "dispelled" by disenchant/dispell/abolish magic/devour magic. In SC2, once you get fungaled once, you get fungaled twice, and thrice, and 4x, and then your army just evaporates. No matter how many times you press Blink or try to fly your Phoenix away, that's it I have high hopes for Heart of the Swarm in terms of balancing and unit variety (particularly for Protoss because our Air tech becomes obsolete very soon after you start it) because Blizzard rarely disappoints, but I am worried about the Swarm Host, which is basically just a Broodlord under the ground, another micro-denying unit. Changelings + Infested Terrans + Broodlings + Swarmhost Broodlings + Fungal = one big unstoppable wall.

    (p.s.: having Fungal Growth be like Broodwar Queen's "Ensnare" ability, or having it do much less damage, seem appropriate measures to me to deal with this problem a bit. Once again: if that happens, of course other Z things must be buffed or P nerfed and T adjusted accordingly, as is understood of course)."

    Without me actually looking up your results or anything - What do you see as your biggest personal success in StarCraft 2? It doesn't have to be high ranking in a tournament. Simply something, which made you feel proud about yourself.

    "I think the 4th place in ESWC 2011 meant the most, because I performed above people's expectations, and finished above MC. They still haven't paid out the prize money to me yet, though O_O."

    Where there's a positive side, there also is this nastier, negative one creeping in. What do you see as your biggest failure, let down and generally negative thing in your StarCraft 2 career? Anything you'd do, to make it differently and better?

    "As you may know, my record against Stephano is not the best. In Multiplay i44 / IPL Qualifier, I was 1-1 against stephano and had 2 bases against his 1, with nearly double his workers. Two lings inside my base became banelings and blew up more than half my Probes. It was the closest I've yet come to beating Stephano and I think, if I had, I'd have less mental problems about facing him. I should've won that game, really disappointed myself there.

    Actually, I felt even worse when I lost the WCG 2011 Qualifiers to a relatively unknown Belgian protoss "Spoon". It's the first time I had not qualified to WCG since 8 consecutive attendances, and I felt like wanting to sink through the ground and forget about everything."

    Tell me Grubby, why do you remain a lone wolf? I am sure you had plenty offers when it comes to the team. Also, many players would love to team up with you, so, what is it, that you remain on your own?

    "Being independent gives me a chance to work more closely with sponsors, tackle new challenges constantly, and explore all the possibilities that eSports has to offer. I'm happy just the way it's going!"

    StarCraft 2 and it's Mekka - Korea. You've already been there, even though for just a brief stint. Do you wish to return there? Any plans regarding Korea for this year?

    "Hehe, I've been to Korea more than once, probably about 20 times, and it wasn't always brief. I love spending time in Korea. The people are generally quiet and humble, and tolerant and helpful towards me as a foreigner. I try to speak their language and I eat their food, and this gets appreciated. Koreans are a hard working people, maybe sometimes too hard. This is inspiring and motivating to behold. Practice in Korea has always helped me, and the work ethics of Koreans has always impressed me. I would love to return to Korea again some time soon."

    Arguably, most players believe, that Korea is the place to be, if you wish to compete at the top level. Do you personally believe that to be the truth or do you believe that you can become a top player no matter where you practice?

    "Both statements are correct. Korea is the place to be for top level competition and training, but it's also possible to become a top player somewhere else. It's always about the questions: how do you practice? where? with whom? Each player has to answer this for him or herself personally and find the fruits of his or own labor paying off."

    Talent vs Hard work, a topic discussed many, many times. What do you think makes a good StarCraft 2 player? Do you believe there is a thing called 'talent' or do you believe that if someone tries hard enough, they can still become one of the best? What would you recommend to someone, who wishes to devote their time to the passion of StarCraft 2?

    "Not everyone can be the best, talent plays a role. After that, it's all hard work. Without it, you won't become the best either. I think this is obvious. Of course, 'talent' as a phenomenom doesn't actually exist. Talent is just an all-encompassing word to describe the correct parameters of a person's character, intelligence, perseverance, motivation, choices, potential, etc. Not some inherent one-off gene or specific ability to play computer games. 'Talented' gamers would have been 'talented' at something else were they to have lived 100 years ago, before the first PC's. Not like the evolutionary process knew that the world would 'need' progamers in 2012

    To anyone wishing to go pro, I can only speak from personal experience. The fun factor has to remain #1. Is it fun for you to improve any way you can? Then the time invested is never 'wasted', because you had fun, even if you don't make it. If you do, it was fun along the way and not just at the end."

    What keeps you going? Surely there are times when you just wanted to call it quits; so, what ticks you to just keep trying and go harder?

    "I wanted to call it quits about two times. The first time was when I lost a Night Elf mirror 0-2 in the WCG Winner Bracket Qualis in 2003. My brother Arthur kept me going and suggested I change race from Elf to Human because he had seen that I was quite good with Human when playing around with them for fun. I did, and 2-0'd everyone else in the LB including the guy who sent me to Loserbracket initially, winning the rest of the Qualifier without dropping a map.

    The second time was when I was having a particularly hard time at the end of 2007. 4Kings my team was not paying me for the last 10 months of my contract with them, and this was making me extremely stressed. I was going without some major victories and people though I would never win a tournament again. This spell was of course broken when I disproved the nonbelievers, winning WCG 2008 against the best competition in the world, but not before going through blood, sweat and tears. Along the way, my then-girlfriend now-wife Cassandra stood by me and helped me grow up both as a person and a player, and we persevered.

    All throughout, there have been fans who never abandoned me, win or lose. Their continued belief in me and desire for me to do well and be happy has done a lot for me."

    A must question - What are your short term goals?

    "Short-term goals are to do increasingly well in tournaments, to invest more into my training and to do many entertaining things for eSports and Grubby fans (streaming, commentating, playing, microing, and organizing a new tournament series). Personally? To be a good person to people I love."

    Grubby, we've been at this for quite some time now, huh.. alright, soon, I promise this will be over (laughs). Where do you see yourself as a player and person in a course of one year from now?

    "I don't answer that question anymore because I'm always wrong. eSports is an exciting adventure of opportunities - I'll go with it!"

    Any other games you enjoy playing in your leisure time? Any things you enjoy doing besides gaming and StarCraft 2?

    "Since I started on WC3, I haven't played any other games besides WC3 & SC2 except for Guild Wars 1 (for 2 weeks on & off) and Oblivion (1 week on & off). Diablo 3 could be the next one. As you can see, I love RTS' and a select few RPG's. Besides gaming, I enjoy reading fantasy & science fiction books, going on holidays with my wife Cassandra, and doing active stuff together like Scuba Diving or Snowboarding."

    Last one! Anything you'd like to say to your fans? To the fans here in Czech? Just, anything, really, go go, spit it out!

    "I've been to Czech Republic for skiing more than 10 years ago, and it was a great holiday. I want to come back some time for wintersports, maybe we will! Thanks everyone for reading this interview If you liked it, let BabyToss know and me as well on @followgrubby at twitter or facebook Thanks!"


    Original, Czech article can be found over at PLAYzone - here
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  8. Like
    Spike reacted to BabyToss for a blog entry, On StarCraft 2 coaches & coaching - A good Coach   
    Note: As I've been around the StarCraft 2 community, I've seen about hundreds of people offering StarCraft 2 coaching, seeing many of coaches in action as well, on their streams. It became some sort of a trend within a StarCraft 2 community. You can easily hook yourself up with a SC2 coach, if you look hard enough. Some of them offer their services for free, some of them ask for a hourly fee. Now, what has me thinking is, that a lot of people do follow the formula of 'He is a GM player, he will teach me a lot!'. Many, many posts on that on Teamliquid.net in particular. The question, which lingers in the air is...

    So, what makes a SC2 good coach?

    The answer could be as simple as 'He needs to be able to teach'. Obviously. However, in terms of mostly limited interaction between the Coach & Student, which is usually Skype and the pair meeting up on Battle.net, the coach needs to be extremelly versatile and articulate, being able to understand his/her student from just seeing them play and hear them talk.

    Now, it is no secret, that teaching requires a special sort of personality, skillsets & approach. It can be easily compared to a teacher in real-life. The approach, which the teacher takes heavily influences how fast or slow your Student progresses. Teachers do need to know their stuff, they need to be able to analyze their students and see how is the best way to approach someone's education. It is a common mistake, which I get to see from some real-life teachers, as well as SC2 coaches, who just tell the student what to do, instead of telling their students WHY they are doing it.

    The 'WHY I am doing it' aspect is quite important factor in most people's education. from my own perspective, I have trouble remembering something just for the sake of remembering it. I need to know why I am doing something, to find a logic reasoning behind it, thus, being able to remember it with ease.

    But when I don't know something, I need to be told!

    That statement is only half-true. Of course, if it's a new build order you want to learn, you need to know the necessary steps and timings, to have a very tight openings, as well as gentle macro-mistakes reminders can be useful, to further ingrain the macro into your system. However - often a coach would bring another student of his, to serve as a sparring partner for his student, usually in equal skill-level. That alone is questionable for me a bit, as I personally try to practice with much better players than I am, although admittedly, that can be brutal to one's psychological side and it can take it's toll. Means that if the player is way stronger than you, you'd not see a single win for a week or longer, depending on how much you progress.

    Now, what I do find as common issue among coaches is, that they tell their student during the practice game exactly what to do. Now, to make it clear, I am not talking about the situation when the student is learning a new build order. I am talking about when the student is actually playing against someone, with their coaches observing them. In my opinion, that will not teach you anything. As everything in StarCraft is situational, the longer the game goes. You can't just memorize the game from 0:00 to say 20:00. It seems that my original question then still stands, doesn't it?

    StarCraft 2 Coaching takes a lot more than you realize...

    So again, good coach, please?

    The coach needs to make their student to think on their own. Yes, go as far as asking them questions during the game, give them a hint, say 'You see a pool going down early, what does that indicate and how can you react to the situation?' It may seem a bit like theorycrafting, but, it does teach you to think 'StarCraft'. It teaches you how to react, what your options are, when you see certain situations laid out in front of you. And when you think about it deeper once your session ends, it will even make sense for you! I'd compare that to a man, who doesn't give a fish to hungry one and teach them how to fish instead.

    To offer a bit of personal experience here: I had a friend of mine teaching me this way and sometimes I literally felt like a pupil sitting in class, trying to mumble responses to my teacher, during a lesson at school, but it was totally worth it and it helped some of my skillsets immenselly, when it comes to StarCraft!

    Personal approach - Important!

    Not everyone is capable of learning by the 'standard pattern'. The way coach approaches their students and the way they teach them, it is equally as important as the game knowledge. Some players maybe do enjoy a coach yelling over at them through Skype bunch of commands, as to what to do and when, however, some people are not as versed in stressful situations and need calmer, slower-paced teacher. In the end, StarCraft 2 coaches are not that different from real-life teachers. They require extensive knowledge of their area of interest, they need to have at least basic understanding of who they are teaching, what kind of player they are dealing with; in order to be able to pinpoint their strong & weak points to be able to help in the most effective way.

    What about Coach's league?!

    Yes, getting to that as well. No offence to a lot of GrandMaster players, but I'd not pick them as the best coaches. Yes, I do respect their brilliant in-game skills. But, let's pour a fresh wine here and be completelly honest for a while. A lot of these players are so focused on their own improvement, that they do not have the personal skills, time & correct approach to be able to effectivelly pass down their knowledge to their students. And that is perfectly fine, as they are focusing on themselves, to improve their game. However, as I said, being in GrandMaster doesn't make one automatically a good coach.

    Even in real-life, sport's coaches are mostly not the best of the best. It simply really comes down to the ability to be able to teach. Good teachers do not always come from champions. However, there is need for wide knowledge, as I pointed out earlier, so no, not everyone is cut out to be a coach. Some people lack the knowledge for it and some people lack personal skillsets, such as empathy, patience and overall ability to effectively teach someone by breaking it down in a way their student would understand the principle, as to WHY they are doing something, instead of just memorizing it, which will not help them in the long run.

    For example, look at known caster and personality in StarCraft scene - Sean "Day[9]" Plott. I believe he'd make one of the best StarCraft 2 coaches, because he truly is brilliant in breaking the game down into smallest of smallest pieces, so that it is easy for anyone to understand the concept of what he tries to teach. And, is he a top StarCraft 2 player winning every top tournament nowadays? No. He is not and yet, let's see an extreme example - if I ever had a choice say, between oGsMC and Day[9], Sean would definitelly be the preffered coach for me.

    Knowledge of StarCraft is important...

    Asking impossible?

    Did I just make it sound like StarCraft 2 coaches, if they want to be the best, are to devote time to learning how to deal with people, how to pass down knowledge and how to gain an ability to teach in general? Yes. I did.
    But it takes too long? Yes, that is also true.
    But think about it. A lot of coaches ask for hourly fee equal to a hourly fee of real-life teacher, who sits with you in real life and talks you through things. I believe, that those who ask people to pay them for their service should aim for providing the best.

    And even those kind souls, who try to help other StarCrafters to get better without any monetal reward could think about this. Help in the best way possible, as I believe that is your reason behind wanting to coach others, right? You don't learn to be just a good player. You need to learn how to be a good teacher as well. That too takes it's own time and unique 'practice'.

    Last words?

    In no way I want to discourage coaches and their students. In fact, I admire that some people do reach out to the community and help others. It is something I highly respect and it is something I'd love to do for others, once I feel my knowledge and experiences are good enough. I believe there's a huge reward in itself to see a student growing under one's wing. Seeing my student 'graduate' under my tutelage will bring only proud blush to my cheeks one day. As it should to you, dear reader, if you happen to be a StarCraft 2 coach.

    Good luck and have fun with coaching your underlings!

    Wrote this up some time ago, as a rant on StarCraft 2 coaches. Wanting to point out, that teaching, just like playing SC2 requires some practice and there's the fact, that just because someone's a high league player, it automatically doesn't make them great teachers. wanted to share, both because vVv Ambush asked, as well as I know some people do offer coaching and this may actually help them. Hope you enjoy.

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