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Throughout the last few years, competitive gaming has grown exponentially. Just as the community is the vocal majority about areas that can always be improved upon, I’m really never satisfied. We can do more. I frequently travel by public transportation. During my commute, I have a lot of time to think about improving eSports. All around me are people who don’t even know competitive gaming exists, as I start trying to think from their perspective, there are so many questions that I would ask if I wasn’t involved. Think about how hard it is to describe this thing that we’re all passionate about. It’s not only difficult because of the social stigma and cultural barriers that the media puts on gaming, but also the barriers that we create, as a community. When I say community, I don’t mean the niche group that likes Counter Strike, Starcraft, Halo, Street Fighter, Call of Duty, League of Legends or DotA, I mean as a community from the outside perspective, as competitive gaming enthusiasts. As long there are gamers and people on my train who don’t know what competitive gaming is, any bullshit argument about what makes a game ‘more competitive’ or what titles ‘deserve to be an eSport’ is absolutely irrelevant in my opinion. As we continue to grow as a culture and movement, we need to all start working together towards the bigger picture. Consider this tough-love. Ok, so besides talking to random people on my commute to work or school, how can I do my part, how can I grow eSports while also staying true to the scene? Good question, I have a few ideas, but also want to hear yours as well. I want to create a community produced project (website) that connects curious or new competitive gaming players and fans to the resources of the games they love or may have not even discovered yet, while also giving you, the eSports enthusiasts, the tools and inspiration you need to stimulate growth and create awareness around the entirety of the space. I don’t want to create the next teamliquid.net, ESFI, MLG, Twitch or reddit, however I do want to connect potential and interested pro-gaming fans to these already existing amazing communities, leagues and shows in an authentic and organic way, while also empowering the most passionate fans so that you can do the same. To give everyone just one example of where I got this inspiration for this project, I’m going to talk about the Live Multiplayer Reveal for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, mad yet? Good. During this reveal, the word eSports was mentioned throughout the weekend many times when hastr0, David Vonderhaar and Major Nelson were debuting the new competitive features. Given the stream numbers and reach that Twitch and the Xbox platform provided, you can imagine that this was for many mainstream casual players, their first introduction to competitive gaming. Now, go to google and search eSports. Wikipedia, fnatic video, esfiworld, and gotfrag, think back about perspective and barrier to entry here. Not only do I want this project to create awareness, but I also think it can greatly help the terrible eSports SEO that we currently have and serve as cross-pollination for gamers who enjoy watching or playing a specific genre, to check out sites and communities like Twitch, Reddit, halocouncil, solomid, dataminedout, joindota, teamliquid, you name it. No news, no streams, no ads, no bias – just eSports presented in an easy to understand, read and share project. - (as in the site doesn’t cover news and doesn’t embed streams, but of course it would link to sites that do) If you would like to contribute to this project, please answer the following questions; go into as much or little detail that you think is necessary: 1. What is eSports? 2. Describe the eSports Ecosystem, what does it look like? What is the best way to convey this to a new fan or player? Should this be included? 3. What type of resources should this project have? How deep should it go? For Example, should it list teams, are games listed, and how are those games determined? 4. How were you first introduced to competitive gaming? How did you find the resources that you use today for news, streams, teams, community, etc? 5. Lastly, what else do you think this site should have, should it be a site? The questions above were what I envisioned, but I know you guys will think up some extraordinary way to impress me, as usual. Feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org - Right now I’m messing around with wordpress and my amateur Photoshop skills, any help would be appreciated, but remember I want to keep this true to the scene with NO bias. Additionally, I think the most important aspect of this site will be the content, but having it look good and function well is also extremely important to me. Making ESPORTS accessible, Rob Post on Reddit Share on Twitter My Twitter
In my last blog I talked about Community Involvement. If you haven't watched the I suggest that you check it out before reading this... Now that you know how to get involved if you're already apart of the community, I want to talk about community growth. How do we get more people to play the game? Watch it? Support it? This blog is mainly geared towards console shooters, but can be applicable to any title with a competitive aspect. Strategy & Educational Content As usual, I'm going to be using Gears of War 3 for my examples. This game has a very small skill gap, what I mean by this is that gun skill isn't very hard to master. Unlike most shooters, GoW3 has more of a mental skill-gap, therefore content should be focused on showcasing decision making and strategy just like Starcraft. Many of the decisions players make are instincts, and second nature to them for playing the game since GoW1. This creates a bubble for newer players to get involved if GoW3 is their first title because they don't make decisions based off of experience, and instincts. Amateur Tournaments Although showcasing the best talent in the game has it's advantages when trying to bring new players into the community, I believe that it's very redundant and only helps so much. Showcase matches are great for communities that are thriving with amateur players working hard to go pro and spectators alike. If the top players even want a game to compete in, they'll start helping the amateur players and creating tournaments with the Amateur player in mind. The reason why finding Amateur talent is so crucial is because it creates amazing stories, drama, and finds players such as Snipedown, RyanNoob, and many more. Communities can't run on 16 pro teams, there needs to be the Amateur community presence who attend events and watch the tournament after they get knocked out. Cameron of Fnatic believes that Amateur Teams are the Unsung Heroes of eSports. I agree 100%. AM Tournaments give players a chance to prove themselves, and gives them the confidence to keep playing and grinding. Props to NJ Rod, Cream, and Goldenboy for creating tournaments like this. They get it. Social Media and Word of Mouth Social Media has been a great tool for eSports and it’s growth these past few years. Having a presence on Twitter, facebook, and YouTube has become mandatory for most sponsors and partners. I’ve noticed many players in the console community not using it to it’s fullest potential. These players are generally the ones saying ‘I need more followers’ or Advertising their twitters on their streams, youtube channels, or xbox live profile. What I’m getting at is that players need to start using their twitters to promote other content that’s not their own. I know it’s important for you to have that Twitter follower number very high, but what’s the point if you don’t even tweet relevant information to your communities growth? For Example, if there was a community ran tournament, montage, tutorial, or stream why not tweet it out? As a top player, your social media activity is looked at more often and by more people, you’re much more influential because of your status in the game. Top Player Etiquette and Manner As a top player or known player in the community you’re looked up to by the amateurs and up and coming players in the community. If you’re starting arguments on twitter or complaining about the game, how do you expect your fans or followers to act? You need to set an example in the community. If a SC2 player acted like some of the Console players do, there would be a 200 page thread on Team Liquid talking about professionalism and maturity. If you want your game to be taken seriously by sponsors, brands, or leagues, start acting serious and think before you post something on social media. The shit talk and blame game doesn’t make the community very appealing to newer players trying to get involved in the community because the people they look up too are acting like 12 year olds. Follow me on Twitter for updates on when I post blogs and eSports news! @vVv_RobZGod
I attended this event for various reasons. Most importantly because it was vVv Gaming’s 5 year anniversary and I haven’t attended an event since Meadowlands 2009. On short notice I signed up to be a volunteer for this event. I was unsure if I could even fulfill the obligations, but wasn’t going to turn this opportunity down. I knew it was a way to my foot in the door, network with like minded people, and experience a different perspective on the event. Leading up to tournament, I worked at my sister’s bar for tips during St. Patrick's Day to pay for my travel. This was a very fun, but interesting experience. I used some clever marketing to get people in the door such as drawing arrows, writing CHEAP BEER and $2 PBR on the sidewalks. All I could think about was MLG Columbus, all the hard work and putting up with the drunks was worth it when I was picked up by vVv Brock, his brother, and Plattypus Thursday night. We were off to Columbus, Ohio with a stop in NY to pick up Rapture. The 12 hour drive had begun, and I was sitting bitch the entire trip. I didn’t sleep. How could I with all of the thoughts running through my head? We arrived at Columbus at about 1pm. I was glad to meet more of the vVv Community and watch them attempt to play Halo with a guitar on a 40 inch screen. Good times. I was scheduled to start working at 5:30, but entered the venue at 4 after eating some delicious Sushi for the first time with Jerry, Doom, and Blazek. I was intrigued when I saw what goes on behind the scenes at events when I was handed my Staff pass. Working as a volunteer, even though it was a small position definitely made me appreciate the work that all eSports event organizers put into this. I was overwhelmed by the size of the event, like I mentioned before my last event was 2009. It was breathtaking to see the thousands of fans, stations, and chairs. (MLG events didn’t have any seating in 2009 ) After getting my pass I did a walk through of the event and saw Compact Killer, and Betty sitting down. This was definitely one of the most awkward moments in my life because they didn’t recognize me at first, and I was overly excited to see them. I told them I was working the Uncharted FFA event, and they decided to play in it because the prizes were very good. My job at the Uncharted event was a referee. I had to write down the scores, make sure the settings were right, and keep the tournament running smoothly with Brian who is an experienced MLG Referee and Carlos who is the Playstation 3 Community Tournament Manager. Volunteering for this event also made me realize just how passionate I was for eSports, I was engaged so deep in the atmosphere and experience that I didn’t notice that I hadn’t slept in 30 hours until after I got back to the hotel. I really enjoyed the work, and hope to attend Anaheim as staff member as well. Photo taken by OZ After getting a solid 6 hours of sleep I was ready to start working again. Today was a full today, 10am-8pm, and man I was excited to work. Once again I was reminded how happiness inspires productivity. When I wasn’t writing scores down, checking settings, and teaching people the controls, I was trying to get people to come play. I explained the tournament and game hundreds of times to people who seemed interested in spectating the games. It appeared that many people who I explained the tournament to were quick to jump on a station. Many were actually overwhelmed that it was free to enter. Although this may sound boring, doing it while around thousands of gamers who love eSports and video games made it enjoyable. Photo taken by Josh I think that Columbus was the best MLG event to date. The stories, hype, and history are what made it so special. There was a lot of controversy leading up to the event with last minute announcements in fighting games, rules, and of course the Winter Arena pricing. As for history, halo is what started MLG, and without it, MLG wouldn’t be where it is today. I was a skeptic at first to see if the Halo community would show up, but was very happy to see and hear the Halo community at the event. You couldn’t ask for better stories in all of the titles featured. vVv CDjr and his brothers all making it into the top 8, and having to team kill vVv REO for 1st in the last round of the bo11 series. MKP showing that he has left his 2nd place curse in the past by taking 1st at two major tournaments in a row, and defeating the most recent GSL champion in DRG. Finally, halo going to a game 11 coming down to the final kills in team slayer. Fucking amazing. Photo taken by OZ This event was also very special to me personally. It was vVv Gaming’s 5 year anniversary, and I have been apart of this amazing community since the very beginning. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today if I didn’t stumble across vVv Woody56292 in a public game with the website in his motto. The lessons and experience I’ve gained both as a player and person are invaluable to me. Growing up with eSports and vVv in my life has been such an educational and life-changing ride. When talking to Jerry at Columbus it made me realize how much I’ve learned throughout these years from a forum troll, vVv Applicant, Player, MMO Closet nerd, and now Staff member. Thank You. Follow me on Twitter for updates on when I post blogs and eSports news! @vVv_RobZGod
Communication is arguably the most important aspect of any team based video game. With that being said, I feel that it's also one of the most underrated and overlooked aspects. From World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and Socom to Gears of War, I've experienced many instances where this is the case. This has inspired me to write this blog because of how easy and important practicing quality communication is. I have a few strong examples from Gears of War, if you're in a 1v1 with a player and your teammates are trying to support you, but you're unintentionally strafing in front of your teammates shots or strafing out of LoS (Line of Sight) how does the player supporting efficiently call out to the player in the 1v1 to move in the right direction in time for it to matter? You could say, "Yo dude, move to your right I can't hit the guy, or "Come out from cover so I can hit him." How long does that take to say? More than 5 seconds, the point I'm trying to make is that why not just have a definition that both players know, so when you need to call it out, the reaction time and response is instant. Using a word like "clear" or "free" it doesn't really matter, as long as both of you know what it means. Although this may seem very small, applying these small definitions that everyone on the team knows, creates a much faster response time to the clutch key moments in games. Going over-callouts in any game can be the most boring part of team practice. There's always that one guy who gets the troika and kills the team because he's bored. Although I agree it's painful, it's very important to get efficient call-outs that are both easy to remember and say. Using a call-out like "Bad side blue middle box" is very inefficient. Try limiting your call-outs to 2 sylables at most. It honestly doesn't matter what you call things, you could call a piece of cover or hallway a random color or piece of fruit, as long as the team knows that the sandbag is called "Peach." Having a call-out for every place on a map can be hard to remember, but the advantages out weigh the 10 minutes it takes to remember them. "He's in that fucking corner or whatever on their side snipe." or "ROB BEHIND YOU at their side street behind the back car." How long does it take me to react to that callout compared to using some more specific like, "Honda, Red Car, or Car 1?" Most likely not enough time to kill him. Stressing important callouts and communicating pushes with confidence. These are harder to learn, but once mastered help immensely. When you see anything important happen on the map, or you get a clutch kill. Make sure the entire team is aware of the importance. Whether it's saying it in a louder tone or repeating it more than once. If you see an opening on the map, or your gut feeling tells you to make a play, do it. The majority of the time, that gut feeling is the right one. Make sure that your team knows you're making a play. One of the mistakes I've noticed is players playing sneaky in game, don't call it out to their teammates because in game their trying to be stealthy. Communicate everything you're doing so that if you get the kill, or choke your team can process what they're going to do before you die or get a kill. Call pushes and plays with confidence, if you tell your team you see an opening in the map or an enemy player in a wrong position that you want to take advantage of, say it with confidence. This goes a long way because they will think it's the right decision, and won't hesitate. Thank you for reading! Hope someone learns from this and takes into consideration when communicating or going over call-outs with a new team. Follow me on Twitter for updates on when I post blogs and eSports news! @vVv_RobZGod