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vVv LordJerith

An Open Letter to MLG

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In my opinion, the job is often over hyped/surplus to requirement and could easily be replaced by a clued up player or a manager who can cover several teams. I also don't see the necessity to have a match coach in gaming either. Team sports obviously need a coach but the way practice and such takes place on Xbl, I don't think it lends itself well to that kind of thing and the term coach in Halo 3 or Gears of War for example, normally just means a guy who can time stuff and increase communication.

That's exactly the problem. Coaching, as it stands, is an extra slot to bring a friend to the event and let them into the pro lounge. Coaching should be exactly what you're describing (someone who understands the game to a very high degree). I think many players are too excited about the prospect of being on the team and sharing in the glory and leading the charge. But having someone who is standing behind, taking in the entirety of the match and making broad decision, someone who isn't distracted by the actual business of playing the game and worrying about controls, a 'match coach' as you described it, is I think something that's seriously lacking from competition.

And as for xbl, yes few games are set up to allow a coach to join. Any slot is filled by a player, and in a scrim what do you do with that extra body on the field? lol. But if there were a way for a coach to be involved, a spectator slot or something I think that would greatly improve training. LordJerith and I wrote an entire article series about teamwork and training, and it's something I feel is seriously lacking. Many, many teams are too personally involved in the gameplay, ego, and personal development to do the kind of team/game/strategy analysis a team really needs to move to next level (not universally, I'm speaking generally).

Take a look at the article we wrote: http://www.vvv-gaming.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=31756

That might help explain where some of my perspective is coming from.

Coaching takes many forms in team sports from improving fitness, tactics, technique, mentality and so on, which is why I don't think it's particularly applicable to gaming.

Yes, there's not really fitness in video game team practice, but I disagree about the others. There are tactics, technique, mentality and so on, all of which apply very directly to any competitive title you can name, and can be taught, trained, practiced and lead by a competent coach.

Just because it doesn't exist in competitive gaming coaching now, doesn't mean it shouldn't exist in competitive gaming coaching.

Almost everyone who becomes a coach doesn't have the same in game knowledge and/or skill as the players within the team. The only truly worthwhile coach I have seen is when Killercrank stood up behind his own team after he died because he truly new the game and his team inside out and could still contribute after dying.

That's a flaw in the current system of coaching, not a flaw in the concept of coaching. I didn't see killercrank coaching, so I can't agree or disagree. But, if we accept for a second that you're correct and he was a great coach, then what if he wasn't playing to begin with, but was just coaching (i'm not arguing should or shouldn't. This is a hypothetical situation). If he were just coaching with his leadership skills and gameplay experience, wouldn't that be an example of successful coaching?

So isn't it possible that it could be replicated?

That's what I'm supporting, the kind of system that allows people like killercrank be recognized and applauded for exceptional coaching work, instead of just as a 'way to add value after he died.'

Just because coaching in gaming is often done poorly, it does mean that it does not have value. I will agree that most coaches in competitive gaming are not trained and do not understand their role, but that does not mean good coaches can't be trained. I think with a proper definition of the role, training etc. . . coaching would become invaluable.

This is exactly is. As it stands, coaching is poorly done, ignored and somewhat pointless. That's not how it should be and not how it could be.

I agree with this point on coaching, because as much as I'd love to compare esports to traditional sports the role of a coach does not seem transfer. I think that a team manager with an extensive knowledge in the game would be much more beneficial than the type of coach at MLG that just times the power weapons etc. ,but I've never witnessed as well trained coach so that could prove more beneficial than both a subpar coach as well as a team manage.

Overall I this was obviously very well written and had a nice mix of constructive criticism as well as the solutions needed in order to fix and promote the growth of MLG.

That's the problem, lol. No one does it, so no one's seen it, so no one believes it could be valuable, lol.

You may be thinking of a 'manager' as a team captain who both plays and leads, but I feel the process of managing/leading/coaching would be more effectively done by someone who was not distracted by trying to personally play the game better during matches/scrims.

It depends on the kind of role you're expecting a coach to perform really.

Yes. Both of you mentioned a 'manager.' Ok, so call it a manager instead :). Or have a coach perform a "manager's" job. One person for multiple teams doesn't work for the role I see a coach performing, but there are a lot of instances where someone not actively on the team, but with a role of responsibility could add a significant value to the team's overall performance and improvement.

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I strongly agree, MLG has been doing tings wrong for awhile they really should listen to there fans. I really hope they see this and take everything you have said into consideration.

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Having read your description of Coaching, I now think more than before that it is an unnecessary step for MLG to take.

Realistically, I completely accept that if an extremely competent coach came along, they could get that extra bit out of the team. Although I'd have never disputed that previously.

@Vero, stuff like "Coaches also can help talk to the ref about the next maps or rule disputes and etc and once again it takes the stress off the player" probably sums up my current opinion on coaches and how surplus to requirement they really are. Does having someone to talk to the ref get you a better placement? I don't think so. You might argue that it's that little bit of extra help, and sure, it is, but in my opinion at least, unnecessary. On the psychological subject, I think that is even more unnecessary and surplus to requirement than other stuff you've mentioned. As more and more people wear good quality headsets where they can't even really hear the other people, I don't believe it necessary to try and have someone on the other team trying to put the opponent off. If anything I don't even really like that aspect of gaming. Some do, some don't. It can be amusing but all things considered, I don't think it's very "sport like" which is kind of the values that people are trying to impose on gaming.

"Coaching takes many forms in team sports from improving fitness, tactics, technique, mentality and so on, which is why I don't think it's particularly applicable to gaming." - I think this comment was misinterpreted before. I didn't say that they don't exist in gaming, but rather, those things don't need to be shaped by a coach.

Still, like I said above, I agree that a good coach could be good for a team for a lot of the reasons mentioned. i.e. gets a more broad perspective, focuses on mentality etc. But with that in mind, I really don't think that it is MLG's job or really concern to focus on this. While it might improve overall game quality a bit, as far as I'm aware, there are no calls/complains about the current levels of skill. Essentially it's down to the teams themselves. The problem I still have with this concept is that most coaches will fall behind the players because they won't play. Not only that, the top teams players should be better at all of the above than most/any coaches will be simply because the coaches would fall behind. I think you've got to play a game to have the full understanding of the mechanics and watching is simply not enough, at least in gaming.

When I originally read the post, I thought you were looking at a coach from a more managerial perspective. Someone who MLG would train to get the team to represent their brand better in the public, in interviews etc, almost like a middle man. I don't even think you can really train a coach in the sense that you guys are talking, unless we're talking about teaching them about the game. Essentially, it's down to the coaches of today to grab the bull by the horns. Much like management, it's more a skill that you either will possess or won't and at the same time, it has to be catered to the players individually because what works with one team might not necessarily work with another.

In short, again, I agree that this could one day be the way forward, but like I've already said, I don't think it's nearly as important as what you guys are making it out to be in this instance. Don't get me wrong, coaching in other areas is important; my mum is a trained Life Coach and two of my close friends are Sports Coaches (well, one is a Strength and Conditioning coach) but I just don't share the same view that this is an MLG priority simply because it is not their responsibility to spend time and resources on training people that are not a necessity to their structure. Perhaps this could be a key component to a highly successful vVv team roster, but I think to find a coach that is good enough to take that team the top further, they would have to get a top player to give up playing to do so.

Maybe this will become the norm a few years down the line. I could imagine Walshy being an extremely successful Halo coach one day.

Edited by Mellow

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I really hope this letter reaches both A. People that care. and B. People that can act. because I see a lot of positive value in the suggestions leveled at MLG.

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I know you said you'll leave the coaching talk after the few pages of it, but being in Los Angeles for WCG this week, I wasn't very focused on MLG, and finally got to read this and Arctyc's post on everything now that I'm home. I will say that for the most part, what a lot of people said was tl;dr because I haven't slept a freaking minute all weekend long including red eye's last night/this morning. However, I did read in full Jerry's original post.

Despite the vast amount of arguments and differences Jerry and I have had over the years, I'm proud of the fact that we share the same mindset when it comes to how leagues like MLG can save themselves. While I could type a whole thesis on things, I'll spare you all. However, since the conversation went toward coaching, I went back and read Jerry's OP on coaching:

It was never what a coach did on game day that counted. It

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Also, on the point of GotFrag...

I won't say much like I probably would if I was more awake, but they need to just let GotFrag die, sell it, do whatever they need to to make sure it doesn't just sit there as a dead shell of it's former self.

But to piggy back on that, they HAVE to be more open to other coverage and news organizations. It's impossible for me to do the kind of coverage I did this weekend with MLG. Granted, I have a much bigger "in" with WCG than a lot of people, and well more than I would ever have with MLG, but it's the fact that 1) their content team is incompetent, 2) they play favorites, and in turn kill any other promotion or coverage they could possibly have, and 3) lock you out of everything.

This weekend, us (GameNation) and LiveonThree were the "official" coverage providers for the WCG National Finals. However, there was also an area for ESEANews to set up, and areas for other smaller news sites to set up. Get Your Tournament (GYT) was there to cover Tekken, (I think) Team Liquid was there to cover Starcraft, EG had all kinds of people there to cover their players and the event as a whole. WCG understands the need for promotion to help their company grow and to help gaming grow, and because of it, they allow anyone and everyone to cover the event. So while we are on the "official" site doing the "official" coverage, it doesn't mean it has to be limited to us. I ran a 3 man crew all weekend, and Lo3 ran a 5 man crew all weekend.

Between all of the games there, and all of the players, and everything involved, there is no way we could cover everything. Lo3 covered mostly CS/SC/WC3, we covered a lot of FIFA/GH/LoL/Carom, but we can only do so much and WCG understands that and relies on the media at large to help out when people like GYT can help do Tekken which is something we couldn't always cover. I think MLG is the same way. They have their small team of just a handful of people that do coverage, but there is SO much that goes on off stream. This was the first time there was a dedicated "non-stream" coverage team, and outside of 1-2 big matches in each game at MLG, you never hear what happens off stream.

I kind started rambling. I'll probably make a straight content-oriented post about what I think they can fix later this week since that's my "field of expertise" if you will.

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Healthy Lifestyle Options

As I often say on our podcast show, nothing is less appealing than an obese, foul-mouthed monster stuffing his fat-ass with Hot Pockets while slurping down a sugary DrPepper, screaming and fundamentally believing that his fat, disgusting ass has value.

I respect and understand the need for sponsors such as Hot Pockets, Doritos and DrPepper. You must aggressively seek sponsors that provide a more positive image. There is a diabetes crisis in this country. Parents and teenagers that are overweight have dietary restrictions. Can you get a fucking water sponsor? I don

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Good read Jerry, and I'd like to apologize about my behavior and creating my #X account. Anyhow news just came down and felt this thread was best since it regards making MLG and I quote "better". After listening to the latest madden voice and hearing the news that MLG basically made a fool of all the sport communities, and is dropping EA titles this year. I'm completely shocked and disgusted with MLG, not only was madden a complete money maker (if ran correctly) larger bracket 248-300 player bracket, it united something that Americans love and can relate too. Yes, most won't relate to the schemes and exploits that madden features that aren't apart of the NFL. If MLG wasn't idiots and demanded money to run the tournaments, and actually used common sense ( broadcasting a game that connects a country, just about anyone who follows madden either as hardcore fans or complete casuals.) they could topple Halo stream viewers and easily could fill a humongous bracket, this creating a flux of revenue and put a game near Halo. Of course they didn't they dropped the game and basically the same as GoW gave the supporters and followers the cold shoulder. Listening to the podcast the same stuff was used when GoW got dropped and basically I've come down to the conclusion that MLG doesn't care enough or have enough nerve to give non-flagship games equal attention. Competing is completing, for most in the madden scene you could have a prize that wouldn't cover travel cost and the bracket would still fill. Now, can you say the same about any current MLG title?

MLG talk starts around 15:21

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/themaddenvoice

Basically they don't want to please/amuse the consumer, and until the community that supports MLG stops it won't change.

Rant/////

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Very passionate and interesting post! I have watched quite a few MLG matches and also find what your saying correct. Also about the image of the gamers couldn't be more true, I absolutely believe they need to get a healthier image at MLG.

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Great post, I particularly agree with the part about setting up partnerships with higher education institutions. However, I think that will come with more people's recognition of MLG as a legitimate sport or competition. It's hard to explain to people why I don't have time to do something between my 18 hours at Georgia Tech, MLG etc. simply because they view my gaming as me just wasting time and being anti-social.

If there were some sort of program in place, similar to current collegiate athletes. Doesn't necessarily have to be monetary compensation but something to help out players that MLG sends into the school's program for gaming/design/etc.

On the topic of the health of gamers, I completely agree. A good amount of people already view competitive gamers as people moochers, packing on pounds, stuffing their faces in their parents basement, all while pwning n00bz of course. Gaming does need a good image, and people's perspective of gaming can change when it's not represented by some undesirable person in their mind. If it's a healthy, relatively normal person talking to them about gaming, then more people will be likely to accept it because it seems more mainstream. May be shallow but that's the way it is. Although not quite comparable, it is similar to the way that women's professional sports are marketed, in that they generally use the more attractive players to try and represent their sport in order to attract the best audience possible (i.e Danika Patrick & Maria Sharapova). Again, not the same but similar.

Edited by vVv Parker

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Cant agree more! played CoD 4 and MW2 on PS3 and wow the admins on GB are SO terrible and childish. I hated GB for a while for this reason alone

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