GLHF Magazine (#4) Spring Issue
We’re back! In this issue we bring our journalistic guns to bear on toxic stream chats, we interrogate animation mastermind Jon “Carbot” Burton for the truth about cute stuff, and we uncover a secret plot to clone Day. Two of those things are true, only in this issue of GLHF!
SPRING ISSUE 2013 A BLAST FROM THE PAST THE BEST WINGS OF LIBERTY COMMUNITY MEMORIES GROWING PAINS The evolution of competition TOXIC CHAT ROOMS How can we solve their hostile nature? FROM WOL TO HOTS How teams are reacting to the new style INTERVIEWS Carbot Animations, Felipe ‘cKiller’ Zuniga, EG Machine, Michael “Adebisi” Van Driel GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 1 A SPECIAL THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ISSUE. EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER Ali Vira COMMUNITY MANAGER William Dahlstrom WRITERS Sterling Snead Jon Georgievski Connor Rosine Mark Kotnis Josh McDonald Ben Smith Naomi Ainsworth Richard Lewis Ferguson Mitchell PHOTOGRAPHY Helena Kristiansson Major League Gaming EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jonathan Lee CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ryan Boye EDITORS Ryan Kelly Thomas Cliff Don Tam Brandon Armstrong Ian Wudarski Rano Daoud ILLUSTRATION Joey Everett DESIGN Nicholas Davies SPECIAL THANKS Tom Swanson Daniele Zannotti Alec Sibilla Jacqueline Geller Welcome to Issue 4 of GLHF! That’s right, we’re back with another issue full of fresh new content that we’re sure you’ll love. Make sure to check out some of the exclusive interviews we’ve managed to land this time around, including a complete breakdown on animation mastermind Carbot as well as an in-depth talk with Canada’s own Michael “Adebisi” Van Driel. We also polled you, the community for their favorite Wings of Liberty memories, make sure to check out page 6 for a blast from the past! Finally, we have an excellent feature from Richard Lewis that talks about how the numbers game has negatively influenced e-sports. It has been a busy last few months for not only us at GLHF but for the scene as a whole. I recall there being a great deal of trepidation and speculation regarding the potential success of Heart of the Swarm. However, given the explosive release we saw coupled with an amazing turnout for MLG Dallas 2013 I think it’s fair to say that StarCraft is here to stay. Naturally this is excellent news for us as we’ve spent the last few months doing all we can to respond to your feedback and take measures to solidify the future of GLHF. These measures included registering GLHF as a company, flying out for MLG 2013 to get in touch with our fans and gather content, creating a commercial for Day’s HotS Launch Party, and recruiting some additional permanent staff who will be able to help us churn out content on a more regular basis. We’re also very excited to announce the development of our new live website which we will be using to feature regular content and certain time-sensitive stories. This, coupled with our new permanent staff, means that we can finally respond to one of our most frequenly recieved requests and start using our resources to cover other games. While we are still working out the specifics of what games to cover and when we will start, it is likely that it will coincide with the release of the new live site. We hope to soon be able to achieve our grand vision for GLHF - to be the go-to place for high quality gaming journalism of all kinds. We want anybody to be able to look at our magazine and immediately understand why we’re so passionate about e-sports, about gaming, and about the community. Make sure to follow us on twitter for any developments in that regard. However, despite all these exciting developments, it is important for us to keep in mind that we’re still learning. Every issue presents a brand new set of unexpected problems and challenges that we must invariably overcome, and in order to do that we need your help. Keep sending us your feedback, keep sharing us your content, keep adding your talent to our team, and keep reading. GLHF has and always will exist for the fans, and in that respect everyone has been doing amazingly well. Issue 3 clocked it at over 55 000 reads. I feel like gaming is on the precipice of something big – and although I’m not quite sure what, or why, I know I don’t stand alone when I say that I got shivers watching that latest MLG. Well, whatever it is, wherever gaming goes, GLHF will be there every step of the way. From your overly sensitive founder, signing off once again, here’s to that something big – and whatever it may be, never forget, Ali Vira GLHF. SP RI NG 2013 V OLUM E 2 I SS UE 1 _ 012 Walking the Line: From WoL to HotS Tournament Play COMMUNITY 16 The Killer From the South: Interview With Felipe “Killer” Zuniga An emerging player with an unusual origin tells us about life as a pro. An Interview with Michael “Adebesi” Van Driel One of SC2’s best observers details his craft Tubby Marines and Hug-a-lisks An interview with Jon “Carbot” Burton, creator of the StarCrafts animation Man or Machine GLHF interviews Evil Genius team member Machine EX CL U SI VE S 06 Wings of Liberty Community Memories A blast from the past as we revisit your favorite Wings of Liberty memories. Walking the Line: From WoL to HotS Tournament Play How teams and players are reacting to the new style. 36 22 Live Streams and Toxic Chat Rooms How can we solve the hostile nature of stream chats? Growing Pains: Growing Up The evolution of competition through new media How the Average Joe can help E-Sports Grow Some basic tips to help take e-Sports to the next level The Numbers Game Is the current e-sports financial model sustainable? 42 12 26 30 46 32 DEPARTMENTS 10 TECH A Laptop of Terrifying Power We take a look at the Sager NP9370 and discover a beastly gaming rig. 4 GOOD LUCK — HAVE FUN Left: Photo by R Sterling Snead, Top: Artwork by Blizzard Entertainment GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 5 6 GOOD LUCK — HAVE FUN WINGS OF LIBERTY COMMUNITY MEMORIES Wings of Liberty gave us more hours of fun (and anxiety) than any other game, but some glorious moments are destined to stay with us, even as we begin a new era with Heart of the Swarm. We asked readers to tell us their unforgettable moments of WoL: inspired ladder triumphs, moments of true e-sports fandom, or rock-bottom defeats. Hereâ€™s a final salute to Wings: it will not be forgotten. GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 7 IRON When Valerian beating Nestea at MLG. I had Mengsk “slaps” DeMuslim just started trying to play the game more his father across seriously and being a Terran player I was the face with his struggling quite a bit with TvZ, I was rooting so hard for DeMuslim to pull through bold campaign and he did! What an inspiration. against the Swarm, announcing JIMMY H. that he will Well, so my story begins 2013.03.11 around 9 am CET. I was so hyped for the 21h succeed him! stream and the fact that HoTS will be availQuickSaveTV able right after noon that I decided to go through WoL campaign on brutal difficulty level...and then I failed in the first mission and cried for several years. I send this message from the future. We’re ok, the Swarm has been stopped and Toss is still imba. AZARAPHIEL Well I’m a low ranked player but still WoL gave me a lot of fun. Not sure if it can be labeled as fun but I’ll give it a try. In the very begining I had problems with Sentries and their forcefields as Zerg coz it was completly new and I struggled with Protoss a lot. To such degree I had nightmares 3 days a row about that I try to run with my zerglings through the ramp into Toss base, but... I couldn’t! Coz of damned force fields! After third night of having such dream I was really tired... MAEG Apollo and Day9 mindgames - literally fell off chair laughing. Games - MVP vs Squirtle GSL finals. PREM HERRING Playing the Beta with a bunch of my buddies. MARK W NASL Season 1 Finals, Sen vs Zenio. Zenio leaves Incontrol’s handshake hanging to go thug-life it up to Sen who looks up from inside his booth and responds with a smile and jaunty “Helloooooooo” wave. My first Zerg rush! DA R K E R S H A D OW S A N G U . P. I was begging my mom for it, because she was not going to let me get it. And then she drove me over to Best Buy and I was so happy. The simple savory moment when you legitimately win your first ranked game without using a cheese because you suck as a player. DA R R E N HUNTER H. A few of my friends and I had a four way monobattle where it came down to vikings (me) and infestors (friend). I lost but it was the best time I’ve had in a long time. Once upon a time, I blindly droned to 80 and realized my opponent was afk. :/ LINKURI Threw up cause of ladder excitement. PER S. Spending hours upon hours with my friends doing team games. L U C A S T. Climbing the ladder over the course of my time playing into diamond league, before my roommate. ROBERT H. 5 marauder rush in bronze league when I first started playing in 2010! M I K KO K . Time when 1base battlecruiser build against Zerg (originally by Naama) worked and I got promoted to master after that. 8 GOOD LUCK — HAVE FUN PREYMONKIE K U TA I IM.MVP vs oGs.Top GSL finals (epic base nukes.) NaDa vs Puma (I AM NADAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA) Playing it for the first time... in 2012. Simply because I couldn’t afford a PC that could run it. And when I finally could, it was the 1st thing I installed. And I was really happy! Q U I C K S AV E T V When Valerian Mengsk “slaps” his father across the face with his bold campaign against the Swarm, announcing that he will succeed him! M AT T IRRE ThorZain winning Eizo Open Stockholm 2012! Playing through the campaign for the first time. Using Tosh to get the inmates out of prison. Playing on hard trying to prevent him from going under 100hp. I walked ahead of the computer controlled squad and SPLAT! Tosh explodes from a few siege tank blasts. So hilarious! ERIC A. L A R S - A N D R E A S F. My favorite memory has to be when I realized that I got GGed by a bot, blew my mind! ANUR S. First Cinematic. Marine gearing up. That video was my intro to the SC2 universe and I loved it. My favorite memory was playing a 3 vs. AI match with random teammates. I was Protoss, as was another player, and the 3rd was a Terran. The Terran built 16 Barracks but NO units, then got demolished by a rush and quit the game. The other Protoss and I came back to win somehow, and it was just the most satisfying thing I did in the first year I owned the game. B E E M YS E L F Since I bought SC2 WoL I only kept playing this game and ignore the other games. YILSER Destiny coming back to play HotS for a few days. Best thing ever! HOPLITESPEAR Wings of Liberty was for me the first game I really wanted to commit to. S E C R E T PA N DA Back in the day before EMP was nerfed, I rushed to ghost on one base and destroyed a Protoss army twice the size, GG silver league. Image by Helena Kristiansson GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 9 tech A LAPTOP OF TERRIFYING POWER THE SAGER NP9370 CRUSHES ENEMIES, AND HEARS THE LAMENTATIONS OF THEIR WOMEN. By: R Sterling Snead Once in a while a laptop comes along that has one specific function: power. It’s not an everyman’s laptop, it’s grossly in excess of what your elderly relations require to check their email, but some people want to swim with the sharks. This is the Sager NP9370/Clevo P370EM 17.3” model. The Sager NP9370 comes in an Nvidia 3D version and standard version, either one a computational force of nature. You can find them through multiple vendors, but we found the best to be XoticPC.com, offering custom skinning options, copper cooling, overclocking, and color calibration. Pros: Dual nVidia Graphics Cards, nVidia 3D Vision 2, rear ventilation, highly customizable, suprisingly portable for a 17.3” laptop Cons: Trackpad is large and not user friendly, moderate battery life, expensive, very large charger first thing you notice about the machine is the nice slick chassis; not as thick as you would expect for a 17.3” model. When the lid is closed it feels thin and very much like a portable machine. Sheer power is one thing, but you have to look good doing it. On the left-side ports you have a Kensington lock, ethernet, 9-in-1 card reader, and a 7.1CH audio output supported by headphone, microphone, Line-in jacks and S/PDIF jack. On the rear there is a single USB 3.0 port, AC/DC power, display port, and one HDMI 1.4a. On the right there are three USB 3.0 ports, 1 x eSATA Port (USB 2.0 combo), and a 12.7mm (H) Optical Drive Bay that is upgradeable with numerous options, whether blu-ray or another internal hard drive. Our favorite features of this laptop? The dual nVidia GTX option, nVidia 3D Vsion 2, and the rear ventilation. This can be utilized upon initial customization, or like most things in the Sager/Clevo brand, can be upgraded later by the user. With the dual SLI GTX 680m we were able to run StarCraft 2, World of Warcraft, Arkham Asylum, and SWTOR the Starting Fully Loaded Aesthetics Performance Overall Image by R Sterling Snead $2,019 $5,000+ 9.3 6.5 7.9 10 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N A FULLY LOADED SAGER NP9370/CLEVO P370EM: simultaneously at maximum resolutions. You might be thinking, “Who cares?” The average e-sports enthusiast might not require the gut-wrenching power of a machine like this, but “average” is a word infrequently used to describe the Sager NO9370. This is a rig for someone that doesn’t want to have to blink in the time it takes to alt-tab between Skyrim and Crysis 3; if power and speed are your thing, this is a portable option that’s difficult to compare. The 3D function is something that might be ahead of its time for e-sports but is amazing for general gaming. SC2 looks nice in 3D but the settings must be set low in order to properly focus the worker count above the Command Center/Nexus/Hatchery. It is also a little disconcerting for the top of the Nexus to be pointing at your face instead of the top of the screen. However when we ran WoW or any other first or third-person game the graphics were amazing and the 3D was immersive. We were able to get 2 hours of battery while surfing the net and around 30min while playing SC2 on ultra settings. The dual ventilation at the back of the laptop is extremely powerful and the computer barely got warm. We even ran some high end engineering software and the Sager NP9370 hardly blinked. If you want to go with another 3D laptop the Sager NP9370 is the cheapest to chose from, with the Alienware M17X3D being $347 more expensive. Our least favorite feature was the trackpad. Opting to move away from the typical two-button trackpad mouse, Sager chose instead to mimic the Apple trackpad design. The results are not ideal. We had numerous problems because the trackpad is so large that you are often clicking in unusual places with your palms, and you have to distinctly click on the opposite edges of the trackpad in order to right or left click. It is odd to adjust to, but if you can overcome this single shortcoming then this might be the laptop for the power hungry gamer or workstation enthusiast. The combination of a high powered CPU, enviable graphics, 3D, superb design, and workhorse ventilation make it an amazing laptop. Fully loaded with features, the price can be prohibitive, but starting options still provide considerable bang for the buck. This is definitely the mobile solution for those with a desire for maximum pixelated eye candy. Processor: Sager - 3rd Generation Intel® Ivy Bridge Core™ i7-3940XM Extreme Edition (3.0GHz - 3.9GHz) Graphics Video Card: SLi ENABLED DUAL (2) 4096MB PCI-Express nVIDIA GTX 680M’s (8192MB Total) w/ GDDR5 DX11 Ram: 32GB - DDR3 1600MHz Dual Channel Memory mSATA SSD Drive ( Slot 1 ): 256GB Crucial M4 mSATA SSD - Preconfigured as an OS Drive Primary Hard Drive: 750GB [w/ 8GB SSD Memory] Seagate XT 7200RPM NCQ Hybrid Second Hard Drive: 750GB [w/ 8GB SSD Memory] Seagate XT 7200RPM NCQ Hybrid Optical Drive Bay: 750GB [w/ 8GB SSD Memory] Seagate XT 7200RPM NCQ Hybrid Operating System: ~Windows 7 Professional Premium 64-Bit Raid: Raid 0 Stripe Enabled OS Redline Boost XOTIC PC Redline Boost™ Extreme Performance Wireless Network: Sager - Bigfoot Networks Killer™ Wireless-N 1202 + Bluetooth 4.0 (Dual Band) Exterior Finish - Skins & Wraps: CARBON FIBER WRAP Branding: Remove All Branding Copper Cooling Upgrade: COPPER COOLING UPGRADE - Extra Cooling Copper Heatsinks Thermal Compound: - IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU Display: 17.3” FHD Sager (16:9) 120Hz 3D “MatteType” 72% NTSC Color Gamut (1920x1080) (w/ 2 Pair of NVIDIA 3D Glasses) We reviewied our copy with the stealth carbon fiber look. Gaming has never looked so good. GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 11 feature WALKING THE LINE F R O M W I N G S O F L I B E R T Y TO H E A R T O F T H E S WA R M TO U R N A M E N T P L AY BY JON GEORGIEVSKI Heart of the Swarm is a big deal. It’s a bold move to change the balance of one of the most obsessively balanced games around, and tournament organizers seem to be ready to jump on board with new branding opportunities, media exposure, and of course, tournament play. 12 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N The overall mantra seems to be that if a change is good for e-sports, it’s good for StarCraft II. Here’s what Dustin Browder said about the transition in a recent PC Gamer interview: “The comments I’ve had from the few tournament organizers I’ve spoken to is a great deal of enthusiasm to move to [the expansion] as quickly as possible. B ecause we feel like the balance is probably going to be better in the long run, even if there is some nervousness in the short-term. And because it’s got a bunch of new game play, which makes for more exciting games.” As mentioned, the team at Blizzard is still working hard discussing meaningful balance changes after launch, with the intent of making some fun but underutilized builds more viable in high level play. The 2013 HotS Tournaments have so far impressed fans, with an injection of primal Kespa essence into GSL and MLG fueling a return to fundamental macro styles. Though it has since settled a bit, the balance of power between units and races was in constant flux before launch. How did players choose to split their practice time? And what unexpected challenges have they faced as a result? The question posed in last month’s article about beta development as practice, “To Beta or Not to Beta?” was a good description of what many players were going through during the limited public test run. Each player was deciding when and how they should switch, which is partly a monetary decision, as HotS beta streaming expands and new sponsors emerge. Players are finding streaming to be a benefit to themselves and their teams. Most major teams had players competing in both games for a time, and they paid close attention to ongoing decisions regarding which game upcoming tournaments might use. It’s one way the job of being a pro-gamer is growing beyond the desk, as mindful players seek advantage in and around the game itself. Global StarCraft 2 League players have finished practicing Wings of Liberty, and are looking forward to playing HotS in the new GomTV Gagnam Studio, now that this Season’s Code A and Code S Championships are over. There might be a few players still practicing WoL, but those training for upcoming tournaments are not among them. In true GSL fashion, these hyper-competitive players at the peak of their game seem excited and are looking forward to the change. When asked about what new chances the transition provides as part of a GSTL promotional for HotS, NSH jjakji replied, “Heart of the Swarm will be a good opportunity for the players that are struggling with Wings of Liberty.” IM_NesTea added, “Since we all start equally, players that were overshadowed have a good opportunity to perform well.” After MLG Dallas, MarineKingPrime weighed in on HotS unit balance and how it fits his play style, “Compared to WoL, Terran is not that different. It only took me a couple of days to get used to the new units. Compared to Zerg and Protoss, Terran has fewer new units and abilities.” MarineKing suffered a 3-0 defeat to NSH jjakji in the first Round of MLG Dallas 2013. “I used to understand the game more, but I didn’t play enough games for this MLG. Honestly, I think the medivac speed is too fast in general, but overall the game feels more like it fits my style now.” The Ignite Afterburners ability allows a vulnerable medivac to rocket away from danger at high speed for a few seconds, which makes it a perfect addition for drop heavy players like MarineKing, and others who felt stuck overcoming the unit balance of WoL. Players are beginning to experiment with new counters, harassment and misdirection, but it’s taking a small amount When asked about what new chances the transition provides as part of a GSTL promotional for HotS, NSH jjakji replied, “Heart of the Swarm will be a good opportunity for the players that are struggling with Wings of Liberty. ” Image by Blizzard Entertainment GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 13 MLG’s early decision to commit to HotS payed off big time as they broke 2.5 Million unique viewers, an esports event record. of focus just to break in the new saddle. Designing a more dynamic game was a noble end goal, but the transition itself posed it’s own challenges. Because of how the Code A qualifiers worked last season, players who had advanced to Code S had the extra relief of having played their last GSL WoL game. This happened to StarTale_ Bomber with his final 2-0 victory against Liquid’HerO. Bomber enjoyed a clean end to his WoL career, and could smoothly settle into practicing HotS well ahead of his first GSL Season 2 match this spring. HerO on the other hand went to the Up and Down matches where he continued to practice WoL before finally being eliminated. GSL Caster Wolf pointed out during the broadcast that this would create difficulty for Hero down the road, when he’s back in Season 2 with players (like Bomber) who had a head start with HotS. North American players also hunkered down with the HotS beta well ahead of launch, one in particular was Geoff “EGiNcontroL” Robinson from Evil Geniuses. When asked which game he and his teammates were playing more he replied, “Most of the guys I know like IdrA are full-time HotS since that is clearly the future.” He added, “Personally, I have played a good mix of both since I want to try and play at IPL6 and that will be WoL.” He was 14 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N referring to the news broken by Rod Breslau “Slasher” last month via twitter, that IGN Pro League 6 would use Wings of Liberty when it was set to begin March 28th, two weeks after the Heart of the Swarm release. But in a not-completely-unexpected twist of events, IGN later announced that IPL6 would be cancelled with little explanation. The official response reasoned that the e-sports tournament industry was originally “very different, with far fewer events than we have now.” The delay in releasing the official cancellation meant that flights couldn’t be canceled, while local hotels were flooded with calls. The release added in particularly damning terms, “We are not ready to commit the resources at this time to run another major independent event.” IPL had consistently raised standards for production quality, HD streaming, and fresh casting talent. There are currently no plans for future IPL broadcasts, which is surely dissapointing news to their viewers. As the pressure to feature HotS content built before launch, IGN tournament organizers were struggling with early decisions to stick with WoL, as other tournaments quickly lined up along side to feature HotS content ahead of them. This was devastating news for the great players that were still playing WoL as they prepared for the tournament, only to see their supposed advantage disappear before them with no immediate consolation. In a reply to the twitter post a few weeks earlier, Sundance DiGiovanni wasted no time announcing in tandem with Slasher’s scoop that MLG Dallas would use the expansion for tournament play. MLG’s early decision to commit to HotS payed off big time as they broke 2.5 million unique viewers, an esports event record. Their enormous success might have had something to do with the efforts of the fantastically opportunistic Sundance who tweeted, “If IPL 6 is actually cancelled I’d like to offer discounted entry to MLG Dallas for those who purchased spec passes. Heavily discounted.” While it didn’t take very long for the full transition to happen, it’s still anyone’s guess what the final fate of WoL will be. It seems to be emulating the exit of StarCraft as Brood War was coming into circulation in 1998. It wasn’t until May 2, 2012 that the Korean e-Sports Association, Ongamenet, Blizzard Entertainment and GomTV announced the introduction of StarCraft II into professional competitions in South Korea. While Brood War was phased out by October, 5 months later, HotS replaced WoL in a matter of weeks. Both Brood War and Heart of the Swarm are expansions of previous games. The Brood War expansion is generally seen as the pinnacle of the StarCraft experience, because of the game play improvements it made in addition to unit changes. Heart of the Swarm is constantly undergoing similar improvements to extend the life of StarCraft II. After the recent HotS Beta Patch v2.0.3, players can now rejoin a game from any point in a replay, playing out the remaining battles in any way they choose. The user interface has been streamlined and there is added support for clans, among many other improvements. “It’s the most important, biggest thing that’s ever happened. This is going to change everything about training. It’s absolutely amazing,” chimed veteran GSL caster, Dan “Artosis” Stemkoski on State of the Game ep. 78. He continued, “The KeSPA teams are best equipped for this right now, because they’re so strict on the way you practice, rather than free practice which [is closer to what] ESF teams do.” He fully expects this patch to revolutionize the practice structure of team houses worldwide. Blizzard is clearly focused on making the game a more effective practice tool, and teams don’t want to miss out on new opportunities to develop their players. These are largely independent organizations that are adapting to game design decisions half a world away, in much the same way a corporation reacts (or should react) when new legislation is passed that affects their industry. Not wanting to lose an inch of ground in the growing e-sports frontier, players, tournament organizers and teams alike are proving they can adapt to changing conditions despite occasional bumps in the road. It’s finally come time to move on from WoL. Heart of the Swarm is here. GLHF Jon Georgievski is an Interactive Audio Designer in the Seattle, WA area and contributing editor to GLHF Magazine. Email me : JonGeorgievski@gmail.com Photo Left, Right: by Major League Gaming INTERVIEW WITH INCONTROL Q: How do you feel the beta has evolved so far, and what do you feel Blizzard’s overarching goals are with multiplayer changes in HotS? A: I am really happy with HotS. It isn’t the beta experience we had with WoL because the novelty of SC2 isn’t there as strong and that is to be expected. This time around we are looking for UI improvements and an exciting game that “gets better.” I think we get both those things. They speak for themselves but I am extremely happy with how blizzard has handled this beta. I truly think when the game releases in March our SC2 world WILL get better. Q: Do you think they are on track to succeed in these goals? What changes would you make? A: I do think they are on track to succeed with their goals. I feel like terran could use a new unit that makes things a bit more fresh for them. I wish the Mothership wasn’t abandoned (bring back vortex but nerf radius or time it lasts). Those things are just me though.. overall I have a lot of optimism. Q: How are players you know dividing their time between practicing both WoL and HotS, as it seems tournament play will have a staggered transition between games? How are you dividing your time between games? A: Most of the guys I know like IdrA are full time HotS since that is clearly the future but also the WoL tourneys are few and far between as we proceed. Personally I have played a good mix of both since I do want to try and play at IPL6 and that will be WoL. Q: Do you think there will be a place for WoL Tournament play in 2014, 2015? A: No, I think post HotS WoL tourneys will be some funny novelty a community runs with a small / no cash prize. I think it will be a thing of the past.. all majors should transition immediately. Q: How would you transition between games if you were running a large tournament? A: I think the only sticky situation in that regard is March itself. If the game releases and my tourney is a day after I’d run the tourney in HotS and run the risk of shaky servers etc. Run qualifiers or w/e in the beta. GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 15 viewport We’re here at MLG Winter Championship Felipe “cKiLLeR” Zuñiga is a Zerg player from Team Clarity. Formerly on Team Dignitas, KiLLeR most recently finished in the round of 8 at the WCS world finals, and in the round of 16 at the 2013 MLG Winter Championship. By: R Sterling Snead and Ryan Boye Transcribed by: Jon Georgievski 2102-13 with Filipe “Killer” Zuniga. He’s hot off an amazing round with EG.Thorzain. Tell us a little bit about your battle with Thorzain, what was your strategy going into that? I’ve been practicing a lot against Terran because my MLG qualifier was against QXC. My teammates helped me a lot to find some Terrans to practice with. It was really imbalanced before, when the battle hellion required the armory; they were really strong in the early game. Now it’s a little bit easier, but still I think it’s imbalanced because of the drop buff they have. Thorzain didn’t use it as much, and he’s not as fast as the Koreans, so it wasn’t that hard to play against him As an awesome professional Zerg player, how do you think HotS is going to change not only Zerg playing, but StarCraft 2 competitions? Well, now with Kespa players it’s going to be even harder for us foreigners, as you can see there are only Koreans left. It’s really hard for us to compete at the same level. They have a really different mentality, but we’ll try our best I think. It’s going to be harder to compete against Koreans, it’s a harder game; you need to be faster, have better micro. So it’s not like in WoL where Zerg used to wait for a Brood Lord-Infester attack, you can’t do that anymore. So, you need to be really aggressive and take advantage or you’re going to die. I think that’s why Koreans are so good. THE KiLLeR FROM THE SOUTH 16 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N Do you think cultural location has a lot to do with strategies and skill levels? It’s their mentality. North Americans want to compete against Europeans, Europeans want to compete against Koreans, and South Americans are just far behind of them all. It’s very impressive that you’re representing all of South America. I’ve been playing StarCraft more than 10 years, and I’ve been one of the best foreigners in my opinion since Brood War, but [I think] SC2 is easier to play, so that’s why we could sometimes compete with Koreans on a similar level. But as we were talking about, HotS is harder, so I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. It’s going to be interesting. You’re with clarity gaming now? A lot of fans don’t get to see the behind the scenes structure and management of Esports teams. What’s it like working with the management of teams? Yeah, for a month now. Are you excited about moving to New York? Where were you previously located? I was in Chile, this is my first team house. First team house in New York… That’s different. Yeah, for sure. I haven’t met my teammates, but they seem like pretty good guys. When you’re in your own home, you don’t have a schedule to practice; you just play whenever you want. So I’ve been used to practicing matches maybe 2 hours a day. You know that Koreans play for like 12 hours? How do you compete against that, it seems crazy. So to improve you really need to play more, and that’s what I’m looking for. That’s good, I think structured environments always encourage a lot of growth. It’s a really hard question. I think management is really important. I have a really good relationship with [my managers], and I think I’m even closer to them than the players because you know, even though you have a good relationship with teammates, you’re always competing. Maybe in a good way but you’re always competing, so you feel a little closer to your managers since they care a lot about you. It’s really nice having them, they support you whatever happens. They make you feel comfortable on the team, whether you lose or win. Do you think Esports will ever catch up to other professional sports like football and basketball, or even similar games like Chess? North Americans want to compete against Europeans, Europeans want to compete against Koreans, and South Americans are just far behind of them all. It doesn’t mean you’re going to improve, but it means you will practice more. I think StarCraft is more about ability than playing all day. If you have the skill you’re going to improve. I think I’m one of those guys, so I will try my best. I don’t play that much and I still can beat some players that play all day. What are your goals personally for StarCraft or Esports? For me that doesn’t matter; it’s about growing Esports as much as you can. Why are we always thinking about comparing to other sports that are something really different? I’m really happy that Esports is getting better and bigger. The main idea is making this a way to make a really professional format. Trying to live your whole life around it as a sport is the goal I think. Before a competition with a player like Thorzain or Lost, what do you do to prepare mentally or performance wise? I want to get more known, because I’m not that popular like the other guys, and I haven’t as many fans as the others as well. I want to get more recognition of course. Maybe my first goal is to be the best foreigner. I just do my settings and set up my mouse and keyboard. I talk with my friends, or my girlfriend on Facebook. Or course I love watching my fan page and seeing all the comments. I have a lot of people who follow me from Chile and South America in general, and they’ve always supported me. It’s very cool to watch. They don’t even care if I lose or win because I am the only south American and they know that. They are proud of me, and it’s really cool. After being crowned the World Championship Series South America Finalist in 2012, Filipe “Killer” Zuniga has stepped into the world spotlight. He’s currently signed with Team Clarity in New York City for the 2013 Season. Filipe found time to share some of his thoughts in a recent sit down with GLHF on his latest victories, Heart of the Swarm and representing South America at MLG. GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 17 I would say that if you want to get better, or be a professional gamer, the first thing you need to know is how to lose. If you can’t take that, you’re never going to be good, I think. Do you have any suggestions for people who want to become professional StarCraft 2 players? How did you get into Brood War? 18 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N Image by Major League Gaming I am the younger of three brothers. We used to play all the time, and we’d compete with I would say that if you want to get better, or each other when I was a kid. I’ve always be a professional gamer, the first thing you been close to gaming, I had a Nintendo 64, need to know is how to lose. If you can’t and one of my brothers bought this game take that, you’re never going to be good, I StarCraft. I didn’t know it was for a comthink. Because it hurts, we all know this. puter. When you’re playing Nintendo 64 it’s You get really frustrated when you lose. impossible when you’re using the joystick. Learning how to lose, you will learn what Then I realized there were more games for you’re doing wrong, so you can figure all the computer and I started playing there, meetbad things you’re doing. That’s the best way ing people over the internet. But I just to improve yourself. played for fun because I didn’t know there were competitions or anything. WCE was Do you have any suggestions or strategies my first event, and I was watching YellOw for Zerg players? vs. BoxeR. It was pretty cool, and I then had I’m using a lot of roach hydra viper. I’m us- the dream to represent my country one day. ing swarm host against Protoss specifically, but you can’t do it against Terran because Were your parents very supportive of they have a lot of AOE units. Locusts die your gaming? immediately against siege tanks and mines, In the beginning it was very hard for them, even marines. Anything with splash dam- because they didn’t believe me when I said I age just kills them all. Against Protoss, it’s was going to travel to play. They didn’t bereally good because you force him to make lieve me, but they support me a lot because force fields. I really like that composition they know that this is my dream and it’s with only swarm host and corrupters with really hard for me to be really far away a few overseers because you can snipe the from my family and friends. But I am observers, and when the locusts go to attack doing my best to keep dreaming like the Protoss, they try and kill the locusts, everyone GLHF which lets you use corruptors to snipe colossi. GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 19 feature It hasn’t been that long since gaming was the sole preserve of the “geek,” a creature few in number. 20 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N LIVE STREAMS » AN D TO X I C CH AT RO O MS Ben Smith I remember spending hours with my friends setting up our PCs at one or another’s house, desperately trying to get the network going to host a game of StarCraft or Counter-Strike. Now a glance at the Twitch.tv home page shows over 180,000 people watching various esports. We can all agree that e-sports, whatever your game of choice, is finally taking hold outside the gaming mecca of South Korea. The current situation is, without doubt, impressive from a numerical perspective, but the growth of any sporting medium requires an audience to generate sponsorship. It’s a numbers game, with the more viewers the better from the sponsor’s perspective. I am sure that anyone with a personal or financial stake in e-sports wants to see StarCraft 2 grow and mature. In order to effect that growth, we have seen a new emphasis placed on the online audience. An online audience is different from a live audience in an arena; spectators are shielded by anonymity, and when negative elements exploit this anonymity to detract from the games, it endangers the growth of the audience that is so important to the flourishing of e-sports. I am thrilled by the growth of e-sports, which have gone from my days playing Counter-Strike at events in the early 00’s, to the present where I can go to a barcraft with dozens of other people and see almost any tournament. But this brilliant hope and promise is tempered with concern, and every time I watch an online stream that concern grows. I now find myself as an older gamer, one with children approaching an age where they are developing an interest in online gaming. I find myself increasingly dismayed by the way in which online chat has devolved during live streams. There has always been Bad Manners amongst gamers. I know I’ve lashed out my frustrations at a loss, but this is something more insidious, like BM echoing to itself in some troll-filled mob. I am not suggesting we remove the ability to chat from live streams. The ability to chat with your fellow viewer during live broadcasts is wonderful and I see it as an intrinsic part of what makes online gaming and e- sports so special to me. The promise of interaction with your own personal idol, be they player or even caster, makes the experience even more special and should be cherished. How many other sports allow you to engage in Q and A with your hero? This same system also allows for abuse. I don’t just mean trolling, which I see as something different, and I don’t mean mere bad language. I mean the hate-fueled racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic speech which fills far too many chats. The fact that one instance often leads others to join in a frenzy of picking on the target makes the matter all the worse. I once experienced abuse from dozens of people in a channel because I dared to say that it wasn’t cool to wish that iNcontroL had died. Sticking up for him only increased the hate directed toward him exponentially, and left plenty for me. I teach my children to treat others the way they would wish others to treat them; why would I ever want to expose them to such an environment? What self-policing that is done in our live streams relies on the volunteerism of dedicated fans to act as moderators. Their hard work cannot be overvalued, but without further help it is a task of impossible scope. I put a few questions to some of the MODs I see regularly across a number of twitch.tv channels. The most detailed responses came from the lovely Anjellycar and Urbzie. However, the tenor of their replies reflect that of the majority of MODs who responded to my pestering. I asked each of them the following three questions: How time consuming is it to moderate a channel? Does having to moderate diminish your own personal enjoyment of watching the stream? (Given that most mods moderate a stream of which they are a fan) Is there anything you could think of to improve the situation? I have partially summarised and amalgamated the thoughts of these MODs in the parahraphs below: The majority of the people I have spoken to have indicated it can be incredibly time consuming as well rewarding to moderate a channel for a gamer they admire. To moderate for a player with a following as large as say, GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 21 Illustration by Joey Everett Stephano, one must be particularly watchful: »“He attracts a crowd each and every time he streams, and everyone has different opinions about him, zerg and literally everything else. Keeping a nice and tidy chatroom so everyone can feel free to express their opinion is tough. I don’t want anyone to be harassed for their opinion. We’re all entitled to them and everyone should respect them.” In order to make life easier Stephano has 9 rules by which the channel is run which should help, but: » “Of course as it’s the internet, people like to ‘troll’ and harass other people, they don’t really care for much of the rules we put up so I have to work extra hard with just keeping up on the chat. » “I haven’t watched an entire game that Stephano has streamed for a very long time. At nights when I don’t have to parent my own daughter or ‘babysit’ the stream I catch up on VODs that I have missed. It’s unfortunate that stream chats has gotten to the point where they’re at.” And as happened to me, daring to encourage civil discourse results in abuse, MOD powers or no: »“It’s a really tough thing to do well, as you’re met by thousands of people being upset by how ‘Nazi’ you mod. Being a moderator is completely out of sheer love and being a volunteer is just for fun. Having thousands of people being upset because they can’t spam and troll is quite the opposite of fun, but it has to be done. Getting through that initial stage of horrible abuse of every stream is tough, but the rewarding end of people thanking you and mentioning that this chartroom is the best they’ve seen literally makes my moderation-day(s) worth it. »“The amount of abuse is snowballing and is a bigger problem online in general these days. Social media and reddit are good examples of how far things can go. It gets pretty bad on twitch.tv as well, more so during big events and with more popular streamers because of the sheer number of viewers. It only needs a couple of these viewers who enjoy riling up others to turn chat into a mess, very swiftly. » “Obviously, being able to misbehave and get away with it is the main cause of this. I’m sure Twitch is aware of this and will hopefully someday soon find a way to greatly reduce the ease of simply making a new account to continue being terrible. Whether it’s spamming to advertise or just stirring up shit. Not to mention there’s no way to check age of viewers, which doesn’t help matters. “Some good mods stopped moderating because it was taking too much time and/or just didn’t seemed like it was worth putting in effort anymore.” It was at first satisfying but then disappointing to realise that I was not alone in how I felt when I began this. Reading through the replies, I am hopeful there is a will to change, but that will need to be nurtured and helped by the people with the power to do so, those that run the streaming platforms or their sponsors. I am of a prime demographic to the sponsors of the players I idolize. I am fortunate to be able to spend a decent amount of money on computing equipment and wish to include my children in my passion for e-sports. Instead, I curtail my viewing and want to prevent my children from viewing, in order to avoid exposing them to individuals that spew hate. Something must change if StarCraft and e-sports are ever going to fulfil their potential. Allowing a fledgling entertainment medium to be hijacked by the most negative elements of the internet is a disservice to all of us who would see e-sports become a household name. But what can be done by the average viewer who has neither the time nor inclination to volunteer as a moderator? Simply this: encourage civil discourse, sane conversations, and common decency. The internet may be an anonymous forum, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be a cesspool. The next time someone starts spouting racist diatribes, tell them it isn’t cool. Don’t start a shouting match, and be prepared to ignore the hate that gets thrown in your direction, but let’s not allow bigots and misanthropes to ruin what’s important to us. With any luck, calm voices in unison will be able to silence the destructive idiocy of a few pathetic souls. And thank the MODs. GLHF Thanks for reading —J Keeping a nice and tidy chatroom so everyone can feel free to express their opinion is tough. I don’t want anyone to be harassed for their opinion. We’re all entitled to them and everyone should respect them. 22 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 23 feature 24 â€ƒ G O O D L U C K â€” H A V E F U N Photo Above: Helena Kristiansson / esportphoto.com By: Ferguson Mitchell What is the best thing about e-sports? Is it the friendship and camaraderie you make with fellow players and fans as you cheer over your favorite players? O Photo Left: Major League Gaming r is it the game itself, the complexity and into create fields due to engineering discoveries. Some tricacies discovered as you pursue its mastery? sports were even transformed into military training Is it the celebrity factor of professional players exercises, such as calcio storico. and personalities, driven forward by the fact that sports Fast forward a bit to the industrializing 18th and are just as much entertainment as competition? 19th centuries. Working class British families, often I think the true answer is found in all three, but in working close to 70 hour work-weeks, would send a way that encompasses not only e-sports culture, but their kids to public schools in droves. And these public a growing global culture of internationalism that is school children, with ample free time, had to be kept emerging from the technological marvels of our time. entertained somehow. The answer soon became We are growing out of our old, pre-industrial childhood apparent—get them playing football! where we focused only on the physical. Technology is Each school developed its own set of rules. Rugby forcing humanity through a global adolescence as we School had one student who, as legends say, continually embrace technology in our homes, our relationships, cheated by running forward while holding the ball. This even our sports. proved so popular that eventually it led to a splinter set A small part of which, 800-200 B.C. to be precise, is of rules that evolved into rugby, American football, and known as the Axial Age. The term, coined by German Australian football. philosopher Karl Jaspers in his Vom Ursprung und Ziel The advent of accessible transportation—trains, der Geschichte, references a time in which “the spiritual better roads—gave schools easier access to each other. foundations of humanity were laid simultaneously Leagues began forming with codified rules to allow and independently in China, for greater competition. As these India, Persia, Judea, and Greece.” children grew older, they formed In addition to these spiritual adult leagues and clubs. By 1863, the We are growing foundations, one fascinating Football Association (FA) had been out of our old, development took root. You may formed, and has governed football know it as football or soccer, on England ever since. Eventually, pre-industrial but to the Ancient Greeks, it this structure grew internationally, childhood where was episkryos. To the Ancient and FIFA was formed in 1905 for we focused only Romans, harpastum. To the international competition. Football Chinese, cuju. Japanese, kemari. has grown from then, and is now on the physical. Inuit, aqsaqtuk. Marn grook. widely recognized as the largest and Ki-o-rahi. Pahsaheman. All ball most popular sport in the world. It games, all established at around the same time in vastly has over 250 million players, and the 2006 World Cup different cultures. This phenomenon speaks to human boasted over 715 million spectators. nature, of shared experiences that goes beyond trends. Football is arguably the most popular spectator sport Sports are a social interaction of competition, and they ever played. The fact that many other sports are simply embrace spectatorship. They appear in every single variants of it tells how phenomenal it truly is. But culture, and they’ve been one of the only constant remember, it all begins as social interaction through forms of entertainment for thousands of years. competition. This value holds constant whether you’re Of course, early iterations of football were often playing between classes at school, or in front of millions brutally violent. As civilization aged, rules were of fans. Sports are founded on the philosophy that people adopted, first to protect the spectators, and eventually need social interactions, and that competition is a fun the players. Laws were made governing what sports and healthy way to do it. Furthermore, the experience were to be played, catering to each ruler’s particular being shared through spectatorship vastly expands these athletic tastes. Technology allowed for advances in interactions, as it allows for fans and rivalries. echnology the field - in some cases literally, as it became easier is a force of undeniable social change, affecting even GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 25 those parts of civilization that give rise to the sporting urge. Technological progress must often overcome resistance, but is seldom denied for long. The fax machine is a prime example of how a technology becomes integrated into our society, and is itself eventually supplanted by a subsequent wave of technology. With every new change comes the same, familiar resistance. The car will never replace the horse! Man was not meant to fly through the air! The Internet is only a fad! Streaming models will never trounce “real” television! The Super Bowl this year was streamed by CBS to anybody who wanted to tune in via their website. And it didn’t get an insignificant amount of viewers. Netflix just released their second original series, House of Cards, directly onto their streaming service. The entire first season became available for all subscribers to access instantly—episodes wholly devoid of commercial breaks, each lasting about an hour and not stuck to the rigid format of broadcast television. Change is constant, change is good, and change typically goes in the direction that society wants. Netflix wouldn’t have dumped $100 million into House of Cards if they thought it wasn’t what their viewers would want. CBS wouldn’t have offered people without cable subscriptions a way to watch the Super Bowl if they thought it wasn’t wanted. And, given the reception of both of these moves, I expect events like these to grow in number and regularity. Technology is the method of change. Society sees a growing need, be it people who don’t like traditional cable programming or businessmen wanting faster document delivery, and develops technology to solve those problems. Some technologies die off, like radio facsimile, but only to better and smarter solutions. Through these changes, society adapts to the evolving wants and needs of its populace. If sports are the competitive interactions inherent to any society, and technology is how a society adapts to changing wants and needs, then when people want sports to change, they do so through technology. We see this event taking place in almost every sport throughout the world. Any issue has a technological solution; TV spectators want to be closer to the action and follow the game better from home, so cue better cameras and flashy scoreboard displays on screen. Want to talk about the game? Now you can join chat rooms, forums and twitter feeds instantaneously from almost 26 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N anywhere. Concerned about player health? We’ve got that solved too, with things like football helmets that monitor a player’s vitals and report to coaches on the sidelines. If sports are a social interaction built around competition, then these interactions are becoming increasingly centered upon online technologies. Quality reporting like SportsOnEarth is transitioning into onlineonly formats. Players give speeches that you can rewatch on sports websites. People can even interact with others through fantasy football, competing by managing fantasy teams comprised of the best on the field. Sure, such things could be done offline, but the flexibility and accessibility of the Internet allows you to interact with friends across the globe with laughable ease. The Internet has so enormously changed the way people interact that it’s hard to find any one place not touched by the internet. Businessmen hold meetings over skype, students learn from electronic professors and submit electronic homework, even doctors performing heart surgery remotely. So with most interactions smoothly transitioning online, is it any wonder that competition, that element inherent to society, is doing so as well? That’s all e-sports is: the competitions of society moving to a new medium. Instead of being content with playing those we can invite over to our houses, or find in an arcade, we now have the ability to play with anybody, the world over. It’s not difficult to see the future of e-sports. As more and more people interact socially by playing video games, it’s natural for competition to form around those interactions. By structuring and presenting these interactions properly, they can accumulate a spectatorship, and eventually a die-hard fan base. This is all already happening, and it won’t stop anytime soon; at least, not while people still interact over video games. This isn’t to say that more traditional sports are declining. People still engage physically, and being athletic is a completely different part of society. Traditional sports will be around as long as people compete in the physical world, and that’s a good thing. But it’s only natural for a society that is interacting online, to include those sporting interactions online as well. That’s the best thing about e-sports. With the growth of online video gaming, it’s only natural for people to want to compete in that format. Now, we are simply trying to establish the legitimacy and give recognition to online competitions in the same way they are granted to physical sports. Just like how those British school boys turned an activity they played on a playground into a global phenomenon, we’re trying to bring our passions to the forefront of society. All those thirteen-yearolds playing League of Legends at whom we love to jest, they’ll all grow up with the same competitive spirit that founded many of the largest sports today. Technology will get better, society will want interactions, and children will get older. GLHF If sports are the competitive interactions inherent to any society, and technology is how a society adapts to changing wants and needs, then when people want sports to change, they do so through technology. Photo Right: Major League Gaming GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 27 HOW THE AVERAGE JOE CAN HELP E-SPORTS GROW By: Josh McDonald I was introduced to the world of e-sports only a couple of years ago when I started playing StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty. Unlike most of the community, I hadn’t played the first game, so SC2 was my first experience in the Kuprulu sector. 28 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N I played through the single player campaign and loved very high barrier to entry, which can scare people away. it and I was a little sad when I finished it and I didn’t It is hard as there is a lot going on at any given time, have anything but multiplayer left to play. I grew up and it can be difficult to understand what is going on if as a console gamer so my online gaming experiences you haven’t played the game. People that actively play were with Call of Duty and Halo over Xbox Live, with the game are more likely to participate in an e-sports screaming adolescents insulting my mother. I was afraid event, so let’s get as many people playing as we can. Sothat the multiplayer experience with SC2 would be cial media makes this so much easier than it was in the similar but I still wanted to try it out. A friend at work past. Create a Facebook group for StarCraft players in introduced me to TeamLiquid.net, a gold mine of inforyour area and you will be surprised at how many people mation on how to improve my game and work my way around you like to play the game. Liquipedia estimates out of the Bronze league. This introduction to Teamthat 80% of the people who play the game are in the Liquid acted as a portal to the awesome community that Platinum League or lower, so these small, communitysupports this great game. I came to learn about Day driven tournaments will be vital at getting lower league and Husky, and started following the professional playplayers involved with the e-sports scene. There are a ers that they casted on their channels. I was hooked. lot of people who like to play the game but don’t have There was an entire community of gamers spread across people to play with or can’t overcome their ladder anxithe entire globe that were passionate about the same ety, but they can learn to love the game again if they can game I was. It was awesome. E-sports has come as far make friends doing so. I ran a simple team league with 4 as it has thanks to the Huskys and the Days in the different teams made up of players from all the leagues. community, but in order for it to grow from where it is We had Master League players helping out lower league now the average Joes in the commuplayers by offering suggestions and nity need to do their part. There are coaching tips, and it was a great two things that any StarCraft 2 fan way to build camaraderie within StarCraft 2 is a can do to help e-sports grow. They our community. Another player game that has can support the sponsors of e-sports from our community organized teams and events and increase intera Local Area Network event at a a very high est in their community. hotel and had about 50 people atbarrier to entry, Firstly, it takes money to pay team tend. They held tournaments for which can scare salaries, cover travel costs to events, the different leagues and even seand to put on these large events. The cured some sponsors that provided people away. best way that the average gamer can prizes for the winners. These types help the e-sports scene grow is to of events are more instrumental in support the people or companies that make it possible. getting people to watch the bigger events than increasAre you fan of Grubby and want to support him? Don’t ing the number of bigger events. Many of the new social send BenQ a tweet or email thanking them for supportfeatures in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm will make it ing him. If you want to support Grubby or any other easier to socialize while in-game, which will make coorplayer or team, then simply buy their sponsors’ proddinating tournaments and other similar types of events ucts. It’s that simple. Send an email to BenQ saying that easier. Blizzard has listened to a lot of the community you bought one of their products over their competifeedback regarding these social aspects and now it is up tor’s product because they support Grubby and e-sports. to the community to find the best way of implementThis is the type of feedback these companies are looking ing these new features. Why should we try to get more for. You don’t need to donate your life savings to a sponpeople playing the game? If more people are playing the sor, you can simply buy a mousepad or a mouse from game that is more people that will watch online tournaRazer or - if you can afford it - buy a computer from ments or spend money on passes for viewership. This iBuyPower or another sponsor. If money is tight, one of will lead to more advertising money that can be made by the main sponsors for TeamLiquid is an app developer. the sponsors which, to go along with my earlier point, Show you support that team and their players by buying will hopefully draw more sponsors into the game. one of their apps for 99 cents. It is important that spon I believe that if even a fraction of the gaming comsors feel like they are making money off of their investmunity were to do these things, then we would see the ment into a team or event because if they don’t they may e-sports scene grow significantly. We have all the tools cease their sponsorship. Hopefully, if other companies we need - all that is required is the time and effort to catch on that there is money to be made in the e-sports make e-sports grow. We can’t just sit back and expect scene then sponsorship will increase, thus allowing for that someone else will take care of it for us. If you truly more events or more teams to enter the scene. It doesn’t want e-sports to gain popularity, then do something take much to show your support but it goes a long way if that will make it grow. I’ve mentioned two things you sponsors see that their investment into a team is worth can do but there are many others. Just do something it. anything. The future is very bright for e-sports but it Secondly, do what you can in your community to get will require all of us doing our part to see our hobby people to play the game. StarCraft 2 is a game that has a grow in popularity. GLHF GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 29 Photo Left: Major League Gaming. feature THE NUMBERS GAME By: Richard Lewis I “Just because your ratings are bigger doesn't mean you're better.” — Ted Turner mentary on both the issues facing society and the human condition, such as Breaking Bad, there are twenty or thirty Big Bang Theory’s. They ooze out of the screen like the bad fever dreams of terminally ill comedians and they almost always find a crowd, even if you yourself wonder who the fuck it could possibly be. There is no balance if the vast majority of something is rotten, like a terrible band who accidentally write a great song but can never repeat the task. The truth about TV ratings is they are the validation required to justify not only investing in the terrible but also to stop directing money at the things that stand out as truly great pieces of work. Grey’s Anatomy has been running for eight years, Deadwood was cancelled after just two and a half. Now while the American TV system isn’t entirely an accurate reflection of what is happening within e-sports I want you to cling to the central premise behind it. That is choices are made based on numbers, because those numbers equate to revenue and revenue is the be all and end all. The process in the television industry is a lot more complex, in e-sports less so. Streaming has seen to that. Every person watching a 30 second advert is generating money for the person bringing you there to watch the advertisement in the first place. It’s been hailed as a good thing, a means t’s not often that anything close to “wisdom” will come tumbling out of Ted Turner’s mouth. A classic idiot from the Southern gentry who inherited the means to power at just 24 when his father committed suicide, he had the resources to throw enough shit at a wall and watch some of it stick. Yet, when he uttered the above line, in the childlike language typical of the man, he expressed the dichotomy between quality and quantity. Most sane people agree that just because a lot of people like something doesn’t mean it is inherently good. Indeed it is often mediocrity and banality that are embraced because, other societal explanations not withstanding, most people are mediocre and banal. Without going into a Terence McKenna-esque diatribe about how television is used as an electronic opiate in the Western world, we can see one consistent thing that TV ratings teach us. Quality and excellence are never reflected in ratings. What else can be gleaned from the depressing knowledge that over 16 million Americans will watch American Idol nightly, while the last episode of The Wire didn’t even secure 1.7 million viewers? The ratings system has pretty much destroyed television as an art form. For every series that plays out like a complex visual novel, with believable character arcs, hard hitting subject matter and relevant com- Richard Lewis is the Editor In Chief of Cadred.org and Tek-9. org and full time employee of Heaven Media. “I’ve been around in e-sports for the best part of a decade and covered a lot of different games. I’ve worked with people that have gone on to become e-celebrities (leaving me far behind) and been around some of the biggest successes and biggest disasters in e-sports. I’ve helped develop the skills of a lot of younger writers in e-sports (or tried to) and I regularly get death-threats from the 1.6 community.” 30 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N Photo Left: Major League Gaming. Right: Cadred.org Organizations still don’t want to grow up and become businesses, to find genuine sustainable partnerships and to actually find smarter ways to generate revenue that they have control over. to monetise popularity directly, where in the past that had always been something intangible. Popular players generated profile, maybe web traffic, maybe merchandise sales but there was no guaranteed to turn it into revenue, especially if the player didn’t perform as expected. Yet when something is reduced to simply being about numbers then it stands to reason that popularity becomes the only trait worth talking about and it encourages shortcuts to success rather than building something with a long term goal in mind. E-sports has never really been about anything other than numbers. While fans and ability generally go hand in hand, there is no better industry for the has-been than esports. In real sports when you’re a fading star you have to reinvent yourself or simply retire to spend your millions. This can be in the commentary booth, on the coaching field, in the hosts chair… Wherever they end up they have to provide evidence of a broader skill-set than simple excellence in their chosen pursuit. E-sports is a place where a name will get you further than it ought to, where past reputation means more than a faded memory of better days ever should. Organisations will flock to them, desperate for some sort of tenuous association to a piece of bygone history they had nothing to do with, the psychology of the panty-sniffer. And this isn’t too strange in itself because often the fans, in a bid to show they were there in the “good old days” – a period of time that has no discernable start date, nor clear end – constantly extend support to them, their loyalty flying in the face of logic. It leads to a number of ridiculous situations, organisations paying over the odds for past-its-prime talent hoping to see some sort of return from the associated viewing figures and brand awareness. This leads to a lack of sensible debate among the enthusiasts, anyone trying to suggest someone is better being virtually slapped down by fanboys. The past and the present have no clear definitions in e–sports. It doesn’t even necessarily apply to games, or sometimes genres. If you WERE great, you ARE great. So fervent is this manner within e-sports it would shame even a Liverpool fan. The streaming “revolution” could have shook this to the core. It didn’t. It merely reinforced it. What I had hoped to see was players and teams taking a stand against the organisation system and looking to operate independently, which would be entirely possible. That, or it would see an influx of innovative e-sports content that took us away from the standard bedroom broadcasting webshow OR here’s a player playing that is already at saturation point. All that happened was the self fulfilling prophecy of the “top” players getting more streaming viewers as they were the most high profile, which in turn leads to them remaining in the top positions because they have the numbers to justify the expense and outlay from organisations. It wasn’t a revolution at all. Revolutions by their nature imply change. That isn’t to say there isn’t any value in entertainers. Absolutely not. However you GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 31 Not only that but in the same way that the term “e-sports” was interchangeable with “Starcraft 2” in the eyes of almost everyone, especially the mainstream media, we are now seeing that happen with League of Legends. wouldn’t see a professional athlete having his services retained on the grounds that he’s good on camera, or signs a mean autograph, or that he can talk articulately about his profession. Streaming should be safety-net for those that can’t cut it, not a bargaining chip used to push away genuine criticisms of failure, nor should it line the pockets of second-tier players to a greater excess than success should. That model is all out of whack and isn’t a good thing for any industry. It actively encourages mediocrity rather than promotes moving away from it. I also have no issue with people monetising streaming. However, in the same way that the entire E-sports business model was about begging businesses to part with a chunk of their marketing budget to fund their endeavours, the new business model can’t have streaming revenue at its core. If it does then it is inviting a disaster much like the one we saw when the global recession snapped shut the marketing coffers of every major company, even those who relied on the niche of e-sports for a sizeable share of their business. It disheartens me to hear e-sports luminaries talking about how Ad-blocker is “killing the industry” and that it’s a disrespectful thing to use. While these people are beating their chests and howling at the injustice of it all, as if they were being robbed of something that was legitimately theirs in the first place, what we’re not talking about is how E-sports is potentially heading towards another crash. Why? Well, the over-reliance on the streaming model to generate revenue creates an absence of looking at other methods. Organisations still don’t want to grow up and become businesses, to find genu- ine sustainable partnerships and to actually find smarter ways to generate revenue that they have control over. We’ve already seen one recently, a former WCG winner, in the form of mTw go under due to fiscal mismanagement and what happens when a streaming partner reneges on their deal due to their own problems. Not only that but in the same way that the term “e-sports” was interchangeable with “Starcraft 2” in the eyes of almost everyone, especially the mainstream media, we are now seeing that happen with League of Legends. Back when Starcraft 2 came out we saw the usual serial careerists within e-sports suddenly disassociate themselves from the games that had made them and move across to only working within Starcraft 2. They professed “a great love of the game” that had always been there, just they’d never mentioned it before. With the talent leaving lesser titles in droves, those games got weaker. There was no-one to champion them any more, to make them entertaining. Even now they continue to whither and die, neglected and ignored. Yet the perception is now that Starcraft 2 is in trouble, that people will make that move across to LoL, that RIOT’s game will become the only show in town and that’s before we even see how DotA 2 will seriously flex its muscles this year. Is Starcraft 2 less of an e-sports prospect when it first arrived? No, not really. However you can feel the palpable panic among that community that unless something big happens with the arrival of Heart of The Swarm the game could indeed be “dying”. It’s a ridiculous notion but the trouble is the more people who think it and say it, while in a culture of “the numbers 32 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N Photo Left, Right: Major League Gaming. don’t lie”, means that more people might be inclined to act on it. Whether you’re a fan of LoL or not, and indeed I am, you’d have to agree there is a terrible sadness at the prospect of other titles being crushed by the weight of its financial and numerical clout. The only problem I have is the people who often make the argument about the wrongness of it all tried the exact same model with their game and failed. Streaming figures have become the esports yardstick for success. Every tournament doesn’t announce the things we should be judged on as an industry, the qualitative experience of those involved, the rapid payment of prize money, the future business it generated thus ensuring its own security for the future. No, we’re given the stream numbers, a constant game of one-upmanship. It’s great that more and more people are watching, no doubt about it. But the key to legitimacy does not lie within the viewers. It lies within hooking more people in at the playing level, creating that desire to compete, showing them that it’s not a waste of time nor a pipe dream. You do that by creating an environment where a salary is something that arrives in your bank on a set date without question and lasts until you do something to justify being fired, not some vague promise of money. You do that by paying out prize money in a timely fashion. You do that by nurturing business partnerships rather than killing the goose that laid the golden egg at the first promise of a cheque. You do that by understanding the free to play / microtransaction model is the way ALL e-sports titles need to go. You do that by creating multiple ways for players to monetise their status, so even the scene’s dirty little secrets can find some form of financial parity with the big hitters. Put it this way, think how broad the catchment of League players actually is, how many active accounts there are, how many then watch a stream and how many make it as a competitive player who people want to watch. That model isn’t “successful” – a game with 32.5 million active players only convincing 200k to watch finals for major events is actually failing. But e-sports is blind to the numbers and five years ago 200k seemed like a fantasy, monetising it directly even more so. But while we’re hypnotised by the figures we’re not looking at the negative impact of being so, nor are we even thinking about a future where those numbers aren’t there, or can’t be converted into cold, hard cash. And all the while we create a disparity between the haves and have-nots, fostering a culture where you’re not as strong as your talents but your fan base. It’s getting worse and worse with each passing day and we get closer to the point of unbearable saturation, where every piece of e-sports content runs into one long nauseating blur, each part indistinguishable from the last. It begs the question, if it did come all crashing down again tomorrow, who would be in a position to rebuild it? Would anyone know how? And would want anyone who did want to do so? It’s already at the stage where people are looking at everyone who interacts with e-sports as a virtual dollar sign and not a fan with input in shaping the future. Where do we go from that? If there was as much commitment to making e-sports better as there was to making it “bigger” we’d not have to worry so much about the latter. Instead people are treating it like an edition of Supermarket Sweep – grab what you can, while you can, before the buzzer sounds and you realise the opportunity for something more has gone for good. GLHF If there was as much commitment to making e-sports better as there was to making it “bigger”we’d not have to worry so much about the latter. GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 33 interviews By: Mark Kotnis An interview with Jon “Carbot” Burton, creator of the Starcrafts animation. I recently had the incredible privilege to have a talk with the man behind cartoon series that has recently made a home in the hearts of gamers the world over. Illustration Left by Joey Everett, Right: by Carbot Animations Carbot Animations’ StarCrafts, the 34 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N The series has only existed for six months, but already StarCraft fans everywhere know and love his adorable take on Blizzard’s characters. The first episode, “The Probelem” was posted to Youtube on August 30, 2012 and as of now, Carbot Animations has 113,526 subscribers and 16,280,446 total views. That means that over the 183 days (at time of writing) that Carbot’s channel has existed, it has received an average of 620 new subscribers and 88,964 views every day. There have been numerous threads on community sites suggesting the addition of StarCrafts characters as character portraits for Battle.net. Reddit’s r/starcraft explodes with upvotes whenever a new episode is uploaded. The series has even drawn the personal attention of Dustin Browder, known to many as the lead designer of StarCraft 2, who tweeted on December 23, 2012 “StarCrafts is awesome.” His animations offer a take on recognizable situations from games of StarCraft, from the single zealot that completes the wall off at a protoss base to hellion harassment. StarCrafts also has a Halloween special, a Christmas special, and specials in anticipation of both Battle.net World Championships 2012 and the North American Star League’s Grand Finals. However, the one thing that unifies each episode Carbot produces is the unrelenting cuteness of his characters. His fluid, evocative animation style stands out immediately as you begin to watch his work. His hand drawn style lends a personal touch, which feels especially fresh considering the source material. Seeing these familiar characters up close, full of life, and taken out of their somber setting is refreshing. Blizzard’s ultralisk is a towering monstrosity, the pinnacle of brutality and raw destructive power. Carbot’s ultralisk just wants a hug. New episodes, and a new season, will return shortly after the release of Heart of the Swarm, with episodes every Saturday. Where did you get the name “Carbot?” I knew I needed to call myself something. I was thinking about it last minute. I used to play Diablo 2 with my brothers, and when we would make Baal runs my younger brother would always make the games and call them “carbot.” From then on they would use that name for games and passwords and things. We all know you as Carbot, but what is your real name?” Jon Burton And where are you from? Ontario, Canada You’ve mentioned your brothers on your YouTube Channel, what do they think of your success? I have 5 brothers, but mainly it’s 2 of them that I’m really tight with. We’ve always played Blizzard games, and other games as well. They’re really excited, ecstatic for sure. My older brother is an animator as well. He did some animation for episode 15, where the Hydra takes a Zergling GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 35 for a walk. He doesn’t have a lot of time though, he has a wife and kids. It’s been a dream for us to work together more. My younger brother is an editor, and right now the dream is for all three of us to work together. What do you think about your rapid growth of popularity? As of right now, you have 10,860 Facebook likes, 2,416 Twitter followers, and Tee Shirts and Hoodies for sale. Even back in high school, I would draw little stick figures in the margins and make flip books of them fighting. So when I got into into it, it felt right and it felt natural. draw little stick figures in the margins and make flip books of them fighting. So when I got into into it, it felt right and it felt natural. What sort of hardware and software do you use? I recognize Adobe Flash from your videos, but do you use anything more specialized? Do you watch pro games? Do you keep up with the pro scene at all? I’m really happy for several reasons. I absolutely love creating; it’s a thing I love to do. I love StarCrafts, and I love making it. I love getting my ideas out there. It feels good to have that outlet, and to be supported by people. Now it’s financially a dream come true. I can’t believe it, the amount of attention that came about in the last 6 months. Originally my goal was by the end of the year (2012) to have 5k subs. I talked to my friend who has a YouTube channel and he said it was a good goal. By the end of the first month I had 20,000. So yeah, I didn’t expect this much attention for sure. What is your personal life like? Family, work, ect? I love to do that, especially when I’m eating something, or don’t have anything to do. But not specific players, if you know what I mean. I love to watch the tournaments, but I don’t follow the pro gamers closely or anything like that. Do you have any favorite players? I use Wacom Bamboo Tablet. It’s a little weird when you first start using it, but it comes pretty easy. I edit with adobe premiere. I do all the drawings in flash, and export them frame by frame to Adobe Premier. I then add all the sounds, or cut things if needed. Do you actively play StarCraft? I’m 25. I’m married, but don’t have kids. My family is scattered across Ontario and the states. I go to school for animation and I commute about an hour and a half a day. That’s been hard to juggle along with YouTube, but somehow it’s worked. Just how do you fit animating into it? For a while I did two episodes a week and I just didn’t have the time. Also, I was trying to get away from the computer during the summer, trying to get a little more active. Lately I’ve been playing more, trying to relax and take control of my life to some degree. At what level do you play, if you don’t mind me asking? This is always a really hard question, but it’s really entertaining to watch Dragon play. I like to mess around too, I think that might be why I don’t climb the leagues very fast. I can’t play standard more than like twice in a row. I like to watch him play cause he likes to mess around a lot, which is fun. Thanks again for taking the time out of your busy schedule! Is there anything you’d like to add? I try to, I’m not the best. Because I’m working at home, it’s harder to set the time aside. You need good time management skills which I don’t have. I’ve never been good at homework. A lot of the time it comes down to staying up all night Friday. I sometimes stay up to 10 am Saturday, uploading, and sleeping the rest of Saturday. Though, not recently. Did you go to school for this? Platinum, I feel like I could be Diamond, but I don’t play enough. Before summer I was consistently playing diamond players, then I stopped playing for a couple months. I think I lost my chance. Oh well. What race to you play? Thanks to everyone who’s subbed, and liked on Facebook, or supported me in any way. I was really nervous to put up the first episode, in fact I’m nervous to put up every episode because it’s something I’ve made and people are going to judge it. People who share it with their friends and stuff, I GLHF just want to say thanks to them. I play Protoss. Does that show? Actually, I figured you were Zerg. I thought that only a Zerg player could make infestors seem likeable. [laughs] When did you start playing Starcraft? How long have you been animating? I love creating, and my brother went to animation school before me. It was a tough decision, I wanted to know if I was going because I wanted to, not because he went. Even back in high school, I would 36 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N Illustrations by Carbot Animations Yeah, I go to Sheridan. (For those not familiar with the school, “Michael Hirsh, CEO of Cookie Jar, refers to Sheridan as the “Harvard of animation colleges.” From www.sheridancollege.ca StarCraft 1, before Broodwar too. I’m a long time fan. ADVERTISEMENT REPLAY, OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN A new application for StarCraft 2 is about to roll the internet like a sack of banelings. The clever minds at software development group Stuff We All Get have created a new tool called Replay Depot. Replay Depot makes sharing StarCraft 2 replay files quick and easy—no more digging through files searching for replays and no more struggling to find the correct file to watch other players’ replays. Take advantage of this new tool to share your favorite replays with friends or teammates, or watch professional players’ replays without ever having to leave the game! Replay Depot enhances the social aspect of the game and helps teach strategy and skills. Originally developed to share replays within a clan (team sharing), now you too can share with friends and online gaming buddies. Skeptical friends won’t be able to argue with your replays of those epic battles, pwn’d n00bs, hilarious fails, or the “cheese, cheese and more cheese.” Team Sharing with Replay Depot’s option sets a new standard for intuitive ease. The application runs quietly in the taskbar, and after signing in you simply search for forward-thinking clan members who have Replay Depot and add their player names to your Team List. Once connected, you can publish any replay simply and quickly, just by saving it to the Team Sharing subfolder, and you’ll have all the proof you need that you can hold any proxy Reaper harass at bay! Replay Depot grabs a copy of the replay file and distributes it to everyone on your Team List while you continue with your next conquest. The Team List can be as big or small as you want and is a great way to share those replays meant for bragging rights or for an education in strategy. Heart of the Swarm’s new “take command” feature adds another dimension to the concept of replay sharing and will greatly increase the demand for replay files. With Replay Depot there is greater potential for learning new techniques, exposing new talent, and, of course, showing others your sick nerd-balling skills! “People often ask, ‘How do I send a replay?’ Replay Depot is the answer; It’s the easiest way we know!” The Private Distribution List works much like the Team List, but for sharing with friends and online acquaintances. Getting personal friends involved in Replay Depot makes the casual gaming experience even more fun! This private list option is perfect for professional and amateur gamers alike. Without having to leave the game, they can send their replays to casters and get back to the carnage. Several popular professional players have already shown interest in the program. As if that wasn’t enough, now fans will be able to subscribe to the replays of their favorite professional players. The developers of Replay Depot work hard to bring in professional and up-and-coming players that will publicly share their replays with their fans. Replay Depot makes distributing pro replays for fan subscription as simple as saving the replay in a special subfolder. Within minutes, all subscribed fans can now watch (or jump into!) that pro replay. Professionals have a powerful new tool to grow their fan base and stay connected with them. Replay Depot’s spectacular features and ease of use make it something that everyone will want in their gaming toolbox. People often ask, “How do I send a replay?” Replay Depot is the answer; it’s the easiest way we know! The developers at SWAG.dev know that Replay Depot will revolutionize the meta-game, and bring nuance and craft to players of all levels. New features and enhancements are already being planned! Get in on the action by signing up at: http://www.replaydepot.net/ GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 37 Man or Machine? By: Naomi ‘Taliana’ Ainsworth While EG has a lot of personalities, you are without doubt known as the “nice guy” of the team. Are you really a nice guy? Is there a secret bad boy side to you? Are you really the meanest guy of them all? During your streams, you often vocalise your thought process as you play. Is this just for the viewer’s benefit as a chance to learn, or does it help you to focus on what you’re doing and why you’re doing it? I do love being called the nice guy of Team Evil Geniuses but honestly I’m not really trying to go above and beyond to seem particularly nice. I just like to treat people with respect and that seems to transfer over into being nice to others as well. It’s unfortunate that you haven’t placed highly in any of the major offline tournaments. Do you think there’s a reason for this? Do you choke during the matches or do your opponents simply outplay you? Is there something about the set up of offline tournaments that’s simply not helpful to your mindset when you play? It’s mainly for the viewers benefit, so they can see what exactly it is that I am thinking or doing even if they aren’t able to quite follow it. It also makes the stream more entertaining as well. You also coach people. How do you like it? You seem like you’d be a really patient coach. Bryce “EG.Machine” Bates was one of the original five members of Evil Geniuses’ Starcraft II division. A former BW player, Bates places 4th at WCG USA 2008. After being very active in the Beta, Bates placed 6th at MLG Dallas 2010. Since then, he has become known for his streaming, casting, and commercial appearances, including the “Machine vs. Food” series. I’m someone who has always had nerve issues in offline events but honestly a lot of it comes down to not having as hardcore of a practice schedule as a lot of other foreign pros. One thing that has also been holding me back is lack of top tier practice partners but hopefully with the release of HotS I will try to fix this! Despite the tournament performance, there’s no doubt that you’re a highly skilled player. Do you serve as a practice partner for your teammates? What kind of approach do you take when helping a teammate prepare for a matchup? As corny as it sounds, it really does feel good to sit and work with a student and watch them make leaps and bounds in their play. As someone who has coached many players, it is always satisfying to see someone show up to a lesson and brag that they have moved up a rank or two since we last met and to be so excited to show me some good new replays desplaying their progress. Would you rather be a competitor, or a coach? Which do you think suits you more? For now I would still prefer [to be a] player. I have always been driven by competition and will continue to do so for now but in the future I could see myself enjoying a coaching role. You’ve known the EG guys for a long time now. Do you have a funny story you’d like to share about any of them? CONNECT WITH MACHINE Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/myEGnet Twitter: @MachineUSA Website: http://www.youtube.com/user/myEGnet I do help out when I am asked but most of the time we don’t practice togeather as often as we maybe should. If someone has a particular match coming up for a tournament or showmatch we will play and practice specific maps or scenarios and in my opinion that is the best way to use your time. 38 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N We’re a pretty unique set of guys with tons of hilarious stories. One of my favorites would be when Geoff (Incontrol), Ben, Anna, Greg, Sean, Conrad, and myself went to the movies to watch the new Snow White movie. About 1/3rd of the way through it we had all realized what a terrible movie it was, and whenever we all see a bad movie I just like to treat people with respect and that seems to transfer over into being nice to others as well. Do you feel like the competitive scene is oversaturated right now with players? Especially now that the KeSPA players have moved into SC2, adding even more talent to the pool. together Geoff LOVES to sit and make fun of each scene in the movie out loud as it comes. After about 30 minutes of this, the people in front of us were obviously very irritated (kept turning around in their chairs and telling him to be quiet, etc.), and they finally decided to go and talk to a manager and try to get us kicked out. After coming back with the manager we were all on our best behavior. The manager never even said a word to us (Geoff can seem intimidating in person) and as soon as the manager left Geoff went right back to making the movie actually entertaining once again. Alas the people in the row in front of us eventually gave up. EG WINS AGAIN! What has it been like with the Korean guys in the EG house? Has the language barrier ever been a problem? of play. The new units that they have added have really seemed to switch everything up and that has made it not only more entertaining for the viewers but the players as well. Have you played the campaign yet, or do you just focus on multiplayer? I feel like StarCraft is always going to have a tough competition pool, being a progamer is something that tons of people aspire to do. It is also something that is very difficult to achieve, and rightfully so. With the addition of the KeSPA pros the talent pool is stronger than ever and will continue to be an extremely difficult pool compared with other e-sports titles in my opinion. All players experience slumps. They can be incredibly hard to get out of. When you’re in a slump, what helps you get back on track? Does constructive criticism from your fans, viewers and teammates help or hinder the process? I actually just started playing the campaign the other day. I still plan on focusing on multiplayer but eventually I would like to play through it. I hate to admit this but I’ve never even played through the WoL campaign [laughs]. How do you think things are going to change in the competitive scene now that everyone’s transitioning over into HotS from WoL? Not really to be honest - Puma and JYP especially are very outgoing / easy to talk to. They have always been quite entertaining as well, constantly telling jokes or making fun of Ben (it seems to be their favorite thing to do) . We lucked out having such great, outgoing Koreans on our team. You were streaming a lot of HotS throughout the beta. Now that HotS has been released, what do you think about it? Is there something that was taken out during beta that Photo Left: David Zhou / nodnod / wellplayed.org Right: Vsmak / wellplayed.org I don’t think things will change too much actually, we might see a few more foreign players at the top than usual just while the game is being figured out but I think eventually it will be just as competitive as WoL once it is properly balanced Constructive criticism does help, yes, but as of recently I’d say most of the feedback from fans depending on who you are tends to be negative and downright hurtful. For instance if you ever watch Idra’s stream chat when he loses a game, sometimes people just love to kick someone when they are down. So good constructive criticism or support from fans and friends really can make a difference at the right times. you’d really like to see make a comeback? Is there anything that you feel is imbalanced or even broken? I can’t think of anything that was taken out unnecessarily but I do believe the game is not quite balanced yet. Terran especially seems as though it has received a lot of buffs on standard WoL units unnecessarily. Protoss Skytoss / Templar composition late game also seems a bit broken at the moment but I also realize that it is still early on and we have not quite figured everything out yet so it might just take a bit more time. What’s your favourite thing about HotS so far? The new types of gameplay - we are seeing a much more aggressive game and new styles GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 39 You’re quite the health fiend, and work out a lot. Can you tell us about your usual work out regime? I don’t work out nearly as much as I could or should, but I try to make the gym somewhere around 5 times a week. On top of that, I’ve been doing lots of running for cardio and weight loss and mixing in Jiu Jitsu classes around 3-4 times a week. As for my weight schedule, I split my days into: Chest / Triceps/ Shoulders, Legs and Biceps / Back. I also try to add one ab excersise every day and at least 20 minutes of cardio every day. That plus a good diet seems to feel natural for me. Do you think your physical fitness has an effect at all on your playing? If more players were physically fit, would they see an improvement in their gameplay? I would say it does actually have a positive effect on my playing. If you look and feel good you’ll play good. I’m not saying that if everyone jumped on a treadmill and ran for 4 hours a day their play would improve but I do think that if someone is doing no physical activity and then added a little bit of running or just anything to keep themselves in decent health it would help improve their play and overall lifestyle. What about your diet? I know you’re a fan of chocolate, but lately you’ve also been trying to follow a Paleo diet. How is that going, and what are some foods that are guaranteed to break your willpower? food. It all kind of started when my family went to this restaurant called A.J. Spurs when I was 14. My father ordered this steak called the Gambler, it was a 35 oz. steak and if you ate it you would get it half off and get a t-shirt. My father attempted it and failed. After watching him for some reason I really wanted to see if I could do it and was pretty sure I would be able to. The next time we went I ordered it and was able to finish it, it wasn’t easy but I managed to clear my plate and eat dessert as well. Since then my friends and teammates have always given me quirky food challenges and I’ve always accepted. As far as regrets, I haven’t really had many thus far. I do regret trying the Chompies slider challenge so early in the day and wish I had taken it more seriously but other than that I have always found them enjoyable. You can surely expect to see more Machine vs Food in the future! While plenty of people know of Machine, I don’t think that many people know much about Machine. Could you give us a brief rundown on your personal history? War. Eventually I met up with some of the best players in the United States at the time (Incontrol, Skew, Artosis, Idra, LzGamer, G5, Nyoken) and ended up joining team Media. After I had solidified my role in the North American BW community, I was approached by EG. EG was looking to pick up a Brood War team that would transition over to StarCraft 2 upon release. I let them know I was interested, and from there [they] ended up aquiring a team of the best BW players in the US and forming team EG. As a kid, what did you think you wanted to be? Does a part of you still want to be that? As a kid I really had no idea what I wanted to be. As I got older I was considering computer science but I find that quite monotonus and boring. As for now, I’m going to stick with e-sports for a while and see where it takes me. It must be quite hard to be a pro-gamer for so long. Have you ever considered a career change? What keeps you going? Haha! I am a huge fan of chocolate. As for the diet, yes I am on the Paleo diet, for those of you who don’t know its basically just meat and veggies, cutting out wheat and carbs (bread, rice, oatmeal) from my diet as much as possible. I maybe take it a bit farther than most cutting out most of the fattier substances that are considered okay for Paleo (bacon, cheese, etc.) The diet has been going quite well, it’s helping me keep in shape and feel good, which is exactly why I decided to switch to it in the first place. As far as foods that will break my willpower (there are many), some of my favorites include of course chocolate (doesn’t everyone love chocolate?), granola, and peanut butter. How did the Machine vs Food thing come about? Have you ever regretted doing them? Can we expect to see anymore in the near future? I grew up in Santa Barbara county [in] California. I had always played sports from a very young age. I started Karate when I was 6 and did that for 5 years, [and] eventually played soccer for 2 years. Then in middle school [I] started my football career. I played football for 7 years but in my second year of high school, I ended up trying out for the wrestling team and realized that I had some natural talent for it. I would have to say wrestling ended up being my favorite sport through high school and I eventually ended up being varsity captain through junior and senior years. After high school ended, I went off to a CC to study computer science. My college did not offer a wrestling program and I was too small to try out for football so I decided to take up Brazillian Jiu Jitsu and boxing immediately after high school. How did you get into gaming? And how did you then end up as a competitive SC2 player? I have considered a career change, [but] at this point I would probably go back to school and finish up a degree. My love for my fans and e-sports is what keeps me going! What other games have you been playing lately? Anything you can recommend to us? I love my survival horror games. I’d have to say the Penumbra series was quite entertaining and worth a playthrough. What’s something you would recommend to anyone who’s visiting Arizona? BobbyQ’s, it’s this amazing BBQ place that everyone in the house LOVES to eat at. Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and do this with us. Would you like to give any shoutouts? Well for some reason even as a kid I’ve always been able to eat massive amounts of 40 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N Gaming started as a hobby for me just like everyone else. I had always been quite good at videogames and found them very enjoyable so I obviously played them a lot. Once I was off to college I didn’t end up having the time to stay as competitive in my sports because all of my time was taken up with work and school. My one competitive outlet was Brood War. Every night I would come home after work, chug some energy drinks and play hours upon hours of Brood I’d like to shout out to my fans, I love you guys and wouldn’t be here without you! I would also like to thank my friends and teammates for all their support and love. And would also like to thank my sponsors, Raidcall, Monster energy drink, Kingston, Razer, Astro, Intel, inWin, and Split Reason. GLHF GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 41 INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL “ADEBISI” VAN DRIEL By: Connor Rosine Growing up, what was the attitude towards video games in your household? What kind of things did you do in High School besides gaming? My parents were pretty cool with a lot of it. They would get to points where, you know, I’d stay up way too late playing games and I’d piss my parents off doing that. But for the most part they weren’t the kind of parents who would say “You only get thirty minutes a day on the computer”. They’d let me do what I want. It was good. They wanted me to do more stuff outside, but I’m lazy and I like video games, and they were okay with that. Has your family always been in the GTA [Greater Toronto Area]? I did a lot of hiking and camping, it was fun for me. I had a group of friends that would regularly go camping with me. My high school had some outdoor leadership programs where you’d basically do phys-ed, and the exam was just leading a camping trip with kids a year younger than you, stuff like that. Hiking, canoeing, camping, playing with fire, all that. What University did you go to, and what program were you in? We moved around a lot. I was born just outside Montreal in Quebec, and we were there for less than a year, then we moved out west to Edmonton. I ended up spending my younger years in Bedford, Nova Scotia. I did pre-school and the first year of elementary school, and then I think around grade one we moved to the GTA, and I did the rest of my school there. I think I’ve lived in seven different houses. I went to Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I took a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics. COMMUNITY Can you offer any insight into the Canadian SC2 scene? It’s always been a curiosity for me personally, given the wide range of characters that come out of it. I’m in Sweden right now, and I can see some similarities. There are a ton of barcrafts pretty regularly in Canada, and any time I meet someone at an e-sports event who’s Canadian, I always try and talk to them more about the scene, which is challenging to do often because Canada is such a big country. Especially when the US is below with MLG and IPL, and everyone’s doing these huge events, it’s very difficult for the Canadian scene to get any international recognition. I’d love to help build the Canadian scene because I think we have the best fans, but it’s such a daunting task. I worked at the NASL season 3 finals [in Toronto], and it was one of the best events I’ve ever been to. The new NASL league commissioner was formerly from eSports Canada. The biggest barcrafts are all in Photo: Helena Kristiansson / esportphoto.com 42 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N Canada, and NASL’s best attendance was in Canada. I think the [Canadian] CSL teams are also the best, and it’s just a matter of time before we see more events here. I think NASL will go back. It’s a great country for Starcraft, but it’s very challenging to get some of the big events to come here. You’ve said in previous interviews that you read every post on Reddit and TeamLiquid. What do you think of your own reputation in the community? an important part of what e-sports is. To me it’s just like the Twitch chat. You might not like what’s being said in the Twitch chat a lot, and they usually say it in a brash way that’s vulgar and offensive, but there’s usually there’s some truth to it. Sometimes it is just straight up trolling. Do you think being an observer affects your reputation differently than if you were commentating? I think I have a good reputation. I’ve been careful to not be an ass. I try to take every post I read for what it is, and I’ve just been careful. I think people respect that. I’ll always try to interact a bit at a live event, let people know what’s going on if there’s delays and just give my thoughts. Whenever people leave constructive feedback I’ll thank them. Sometimes when I see people hate on my observing, I’ll send them a PM asking them what they didn’t like. Sometimes they’re just watching the third stream that doesn’t have an observer. I think the community is such a powerful force, and most people don’t recognize how important it is to do right by them. I will always try to do that because in a lot of ways I grew up with the community. I used to play in the Starcraft Reddit tournament, during the beta. Back in the day, I was commentating those with Kevin Knocke who’s now one of the big-wigs at IPL. The community is such I think so. When Apollo lost his voice first day of Dreamhack Winter and we switched roles, and I had almost exclusively good feedback. Whereas, if the circumstances were different and Dreamhack hired me because I’m friends with Robert Olin and they wanted to put me in there, I think it would’ve been a different comparison. Like the ProLeague guys, if they were commentating a different league, doing a smaller thing, their feedback would be much more constructive. I think it has a lot to do with expectations, and I think in this community you have to earn your rep. An observer is something the community loves to have at a tournament, so it gives me a leg up. I used to commentate the Reddit tournaments and people remember me from that stuff. It’s nice having people come up to me saying, “Hey, it’s cool you’re doing all this stuff. I remember playing against you in the reddit tournaments.” I think the community is such a powerful force, and most people don’t recognize how important it is to do right by them. GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 43 EARLY YEARS Were you excited about the SC2 beta before it came out, leading in from Warcraft III? I was looking forward to the beta for a while because I played WC3 quite a bit, but got tired of it, and I felt nostalgia for Brood War... To me the way Starcraft was designed, with the economy scaling up and so forth, was much more my game than Warcraft 3. I started playing this game called Lineage II, which is an MMORPG that I dumped a lot of my life into. I later quit that game and sold all my gear, as you do when you quit an MMO, and I went pretty much cold turkey. If you can imagine a guy who played this game at least 6 hours a day, and marathons of double that some days, I had a lot of free time.From that point I kind of just went back to playing Warcraft III, customs and DotA, waiting for Starcraft II. When the Beta came out I knew I wanted to play a lot of Starcraft, though I didn’t know exactly how into it I wanted to get into it. Did you ever create any content for Lineage II? The best commentators out there play regularly, and it really shows. In general, if you’re trying to make it in e-sports, if you can play the game a ton it gives you a lot more credibility than some other people. me. I love watching and playing the game, but I can’t sit there and grind for 12 hours. How good was your SC2 peak? OBSERVING Is Starcraft II your full time job at the moment? During the later stages of the beta, before they had Grandmaster and were putting out the top 200 players, I made it in a few times. I was always near top Masters, but I never actually got to Grandmaster when they released it because I toned back on playing and was more focused on other aspects. How good would you say you are now? For me it would be my full-time job. For now I make my living through a combination of freelance work for events, so Dreamhack, MLG, IPL, Asus events. I fill in the missing time at the GD Studio, helping out with general stuff to move it forward, being on the GD Show, and doing some other projects that are still in the planning stages for 2013. When did you adopt a full time schedule? No. But if you look up videos of a guild called Uprising, it was me and this Swedish guy who were the two guys in charge. Search for Uprising Rivals or Uprising Rivals II; there’s a whole Youtube channel of PvP videos we made, and they were very high production quality. We led the biggest, most prominent Lineage guild; at our peak we had about 80 players. Guilds in Lineage aren’t that big, so for Lineage that was huge. We kind of dominated the server for quite some time, and then there was one inter-server PvP tournament called the battle tournament, which we won along with a whole bunch of other stuff. So I have a pretty extensive history with Lineage 2. Actually, Liquid’Ret also played a ton of Lineage, so quite often when I see him at events we’ll reminisce and go into nostalgia mode about Lineage II. Was it ever an ambition of yours to become a pro SC2 player? I’ve been mostly playing the beta, and I’m in Masters League. I’ve always maintained Masters. For a long time, it was kind of my thing where I said I’d always maintain Top 8 Masters, so I’d have a bar to measure myself and make sure I was still in touch with the game itself, but I was certainly slacking off towards the end of WoL. I wasn’t being as active as I used to be. How important is maintaining a high level of play to you? Photo by: Andrew Bell Yeah, early on I kind of thought that would be something that I wanted to do, but I quickly realized that I just don’t have the competitive drive for it whatsoever. I love the game. I love so much of the strategy, decision making, and what goes into being a professional gamer. But it became clear to me pretty quickly that because you need such a competitive drive, and you need to play the game so much, going pro wasn’t for I think it’s a huge asset, though it varies depending on your role. One of the nice things about observing is that it’s less important for me to be playing all the time. The best commentators out there play regularly, and it really shows. In general, if you’re trying to make it in e-sports, if you can play the game a ton it gives you a lot more credibility than some other people. I think it really depends on what you want to do, but being good at the game is a huge asset. When I took the leap and joined the GD Studio. Until then I was freelancing from events, and I got to a point where I was satisfied with the money I was making from every event. But if you’re only doing one event a month for 2 or 3 days, unless you’re Louis C.K. that’s not a full-time living. When 2good gave me the opportunity to come over here I was able to dedicate myself fully. Before that I was struggling to dedicate time to it while finishing University and being a part time blackjack dealer. I was putting a lot of time into e-sports before I joined the Good Studio. How do you try to improve as an observer? The most recent thing I’ve been focusing on is mimicking regular sports. If you think of a cameraman watching a basketball game, if it was a professional SC2 player he’d jerk the camera around, swinging it all over the place, spam clicking things. As an observer you want things to be smooth, you want things to be just like the camera following the basketball. Smooth pans, that transition to seeing someone else’s base as if it’s the person the ball is being passed to. You’re making all this stuff feel natural, so you don’t even realize there’s a person doing it. That is the one aspect that’s most important. Many people, when they think about observing, think, “Oh, so, you’re just the guy who 44 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N makes sure you don’t miss drops”. No, there’s a hell of a lot more I’m doing than not missing drops. It’s about providing something smooth, something that’s naturally appealing to the eye. I opened up a first person stream and showed one to my mom, she said, ‘Woah, it’s so fast. I can’t follow what’s going on”. Obviously for a tournament broadcast you don’t want that, you want something smooth. So that’s a big part. There are other things I do, like fixing hotkeys. I set it up so that whenever there’s a ghost academy, I make a screen location hotkey so I can catch the nuke coming out. Simple things like that. Frankly I’ve been waiting for Heart of the Swarm to come out, because there’ll be a lot of observing features in that. In terms of production and presentation, do you think professional sports is the ideal that Starcraft should be reaching towards? tutorial videos on SC2 because I was more interested in learning video editing than making content. When I started I never envisioned that I’d be some kind of on camera personality. I’m not in love with it, but I’ve learned to be cool with it. You were partially responsible for MLG’s Picture in Picture. How receptive are tournaments and production crews to new ideas like that? No. In terms of certain things, like polish, smooth graphics and good transitions, yes. But I think Starcraft has its own audience, and it’s very important to look at what that audience wants because they are different than my 50 year old dad watching baseball. There are a lot of things to be learned from professional sports, but that’s the same for any live broadcast, so yes and no. When you did the MLG beta streams, did you enjoy being in front of the camera or do you prefer being behind the scenes? I hated being on camera there, because they’d stick us in front of this black curtain in front of a webcam in this blazer I hate. I didn’t like being on camera [for MLG], but doing the GD Show here, I don’t mind because it’s a fun relaxed environment with people I like. I don’t have to try and hype things up or do things I don’t want to do. When I did start commentary, I was doing It varies. It’s hard to say because I was working with MLG on such a consistent basis. I sent them some ideas when I was still very far from being full time in e-sports because I figured why not give these people some ideas and show them what I can do. For a lot of these events, I show up for the weekend and then I leave. Even when you work for the same company, they have different people doing production and different people managing their video, so it really varies. There were always people who wanted to do things, as you mentioned the picture in picture thing. Well to do picture in picture you need a second person there all the time and I’m already observing games 12 hours straight. They’re very long days as a lot of these tournaments are trying to squeeze as much as they can out of their small staff until their businesses really take off. In the future I’d love to work with certain leagues on a consistent basis because it’s the same as the analogy of the Basketball Cameraman. That’s all he does, and he’s always working with the same team. He’s always got the same producer behind him. And even if you swap out that producer with someone else capable, it’s going to take you a day just to get used to how they like the flow of things. Consistency is key, and managing new variables is very GLHF difficult to do. When I started I never envisioned that I’d be some kind of on camera personality. I’m not in love with it, but I’ve learned to be cool with it. GLHFMAG.COM SPRING ISSUE 2013 45 46 G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N