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WRITERS JakaTaK Joey Everett ChanmanV Clay Finney Steve Farrant SC2Translations Ali Vira Ryan Boye Jonathan Lee Ben Adams

EDITORS Ali Vira Joey Everett Brandon Armstrong Rano Daoud Thomas Cliff Don Tam Ben Adams Ryan Boye

PHOTOGRAPHY Helena Kristiansson David Zhou





Yes we’re back and better than ever! Though our real lives took a heavy toll on us, we are confident that this issue is going to raise the bar for content and quality yet again.


e were blown away by the response to our first issue and even more shocked at the response to our second issue, so here we are once again hoping to shake things up a little bit. The first thing that we tried to do was respond to community feedback. One of the most consistent items we heard from you pertained to the quality of the articles that we’ve been featuring. Some of what we heard indicated that the quality, while good, was not quite to the exceptional level that we’ve been boasting about from square one. Bearing that in mind, we decided to up the ante a little bit. This issue, we focused on cutting down the number of articles and increasing the quality in each one. While that unfortunately meant turning down some truly interesting pitches, it did mean that the articles for this issue are the best of the best from our selection pool. As further incentive to produce high quality content, we’ve started paying our writers on a per article basis. Speaking of money, you have been absolutely amazing in your consistent commitment to GLHF. With your help, we raised four hundred and fifty dollars through the Pay What You Want system to help compensate the community for all their hard work. It is necessary, however, that GLHF start looking for a sustainable and steady source of income outside of this system in order to provide a measure of certainty when it comes to paying our staff. Worry not! GLHF will still remain pay what you want, however, we’ve started talking with advertisers and selling some magazine space. That being said, readership and readability are our main priorities. As such, I am adamant that these advertisements remain uninvasive and don’t detract from the overall reading experience. Some other changes have been going on behind the scenes. You may have noticed that our website went

down for a little while earlier this month. Though the delay in service was unfortunate, it was necessary as we decided to migrate to a new server allowing us to withstand the heavy influx of traffic we get following each release. We have also been making some structural changes following the acquisition of some new staff, not the least of which includes a full team of editors, lawyers, writers, and business-savvy entrepreneurs. Finally, we’ve managed to get our pitch submission system up and running properly, so you can submit article pitches here: ( at any time and receive feedback over our designated pitch submission periods. While all these changes are great, We’re still looking to improve. We’ve got big aspirations for this project, and we are always looking for more help. GLHF is a community magazine and we need your help to keep releasing the in-depth e-sports coverage we strive for. If you feel you can contribute in any way, please check out our opportunities page here: ( But just because you don’t have the time to donate doesn’t mean you can’t help out. GLHF exists for the fans, so just by reading and sharing it you are helping out. It’s an exciting and uncertain time time for the future of StarCraft 2 and eSports. GLHF is proud to be able to share in that with the community. As always, GLHF is going to be there every step of the way ensuring that the high standards of journalism you’ve come to expect of us are always maintained. So from your humble founder, signing off once again, keep playing, keep reading, and most of all.. GLHF.






_013 N EW YEA R 20 1 3

Heart of the Swarm To Beta, or not to Beta?




Chatting With ChanmanV Rising star and commentator ChanmanV gives some fresh insight on Heart of the Swarm


To Beta, or not to Beta? How a successful large company like Blizzard makes the most out of a beta release


The Checkered Giant How can Blizzard survive the onslaught of new free to play games


The JaKaTaK JakaTak shows you some cool StarCraft 2 tools to improve your play.


InControl From football, and chess, to StarCraft 2— inside the life of Geoff ‘InControl’ Robinson


Alice and Jay of SC2 Mental Breakdown Get behind the scenes of SC2 a Mental Breakdown.


JP McDaniel Find out more about the man behind State of the Game and Real Talk




TECH LEVEL 10m Mouse We got our hands on the new Level 10m Gaming Mouse!


STRATEGY Dark Templar Strategy 3 Dark Templar builds to help take your play to the next level

Above: Photo by Joey Everett, Top: Artwork by Blizzard Entertainment

_020 The Checkered Giant Blizzard, Riot Games, and Free to Play

Original Photography by Helena Kristiansson /









$ 100


9.0 8.5







THIS MOUSE IS MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE Didn’t get the tech you needed this holiday season? Then check this out, this mouse gets the GLHF seal of approval.


hen a name like ‘BMW’ is attached to a product, an undeniable amount of expectation is sure to follow. TTeSports has teamed up with BMW’s very own design subsidiary, DesignworksUSA, to bring a product to the table that is sure to turn heads. GLHF Magazine had the opportunity to take an in-depth look at the newest addition to the Tt eSports arsenal, the Level 10 M mouse. Coming in at $100, the Level 10 M mouse is aimed at the high end gaming market looking for a high amount of customizability and precision. First impressions were made upon unboxing, which showed an impressive amount of consideration in the packaging. The mouse and extras were beautifully packed in an intuitive way— even being sealed with custom-printed TTeSports stickers. The Level 10 M comes as standard with a driver CD, a travel bag and a tool used for adjusting the position of the chassis— Left: Photo by Joey Everett

one of the key features of the device. The Level 10 mouse is visually striking, with a slim aluminum chassis and a matte, non stick surface. It’s also entirely hollow, allowing for air movement through the device and up into your palm, making sure to keep you hands dry during even the most tense moments. Furthermore, the metal base pushes the Level 10 M to the heavier side of the mouse market. This solidity in tandem with the high-range sensor makes for an impressive amount of control. The non-stick, matte chassis of the mouse, available in a selection of colours, is actually adjustable on two axis. Using the included set of tools, you can alter the height of the mouse to suit your preferred grip, palm or claw, as well as change the angle the chassis sits at through a 10 degree range. The height alterations entirely change the way the mouse feels, accommodating a wide range of hand sizes and preferences, however the GLHFMAG.COM

GLHF is looking for more products to review! Want to get your product in the next issue? contact editors@glhfmag. com for more info.





What really entitles this mouse to its ‘eSports’ label is its portability. The mouse is fitted with onboard memory, enabling you to save all your desired settings. (keybindings, DPI settings, LED colours etc) for use on any computer you connect your mouse to Photo by Joey Everett

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angle alterations can sometimes slip by in subtlety. The chassis surface is also fitted with a fully customisable LED panel, a rubberised scroll-wheel and a small series of LED’s which display the current DPI profile you are using. This is however overruled by a handy piece of provided software; an OSD (on screen display) which appears whenever you change the profile, making it very easy to ensure correct profiles are selected on-the-fly. The included software also allows for button customizability, as well as 7 options for customising the LED color. The D-pad on the left hand side of the mouse, accessed by your thumb, is used to change the DPI profiles (800DPI, 1600DPI, 3200DPI and 5000DPI as preset but fully customisable) as well as two other mappable buttons. On the right, two mirrored customisable buttons. While this mouse was designed for right-handed users, I feel it could accommodate ambidexterity — the only issue for a left-handed user would be the inaccessibility of the D-pad. What really entitles this mouse to its ‘eSports’ label is its portability. The mouse is fitted with onboard memory, enabling you to save all your desired settings (keybind-

ings, DPI settings, LED colours etc) for use on any computer you connect your mouse to— a feature many tournament-goers would be sure to utilize. The general rigidity and durability of the mouse would also brush off the majority of bangs and bashes it could take in transit, not forgetting the pullcord travel bag with separate sections for your cable and mouse to avoid scratches. The overarching theme of the Level 10 M mouse is premium quality. From the rigidity of the mouse itself to the gold-plated USB connector fitted with an embossed TTeSports protective cap, the attention to detail doesn’t seem to falter. However, this standard of quality comes at a cost— the asking price of around $100 is definitely an investment. The combination of dynamic ergonomics, original design, and tournament-friendly features make this a definite option for gamers looking for an edge. We encourage everyone to go check it out!  GLHF









ey everyone! I just want to start by saying how excited I am about getting to write this column for you, and I am very appreciative that GLHF has asked me to do so.


o let’s talk about Heart of the Swarm! It’s currently in the Beta and has been released to only a small percentage of the community. The addition of units to each of the races will alter the Wings of Liberty metagame and hopefully add more complexity to the game. Because of this, the next several months will be a time of exploration and creativity from the standpoint of theorycrafting, as all the players try to find the most effective strategies; I personally love this time! I feel like because of the replay tool, SC2 has been a little more weighted on the execution side of things than strategy. You can’t hide strategies these days and it really devalues the gifted and creative strategists out there. It will be refreshing to see this player wide experimentation once again and all the craziness that will ensue. I am also very excited by a few of the other features that will be added to the game. Shared replays will help the production value of so many tournaments and content producers. Also, in my opinion, the feature to restart a game from anywhere in a replay, could be one of the most important practice tools for players to date. I am extremely excited about this for the players; particularly the foreigners! I’ve always felt the issue with a lot of players has been time efficiency when it comes to practice. If a player is weak in certain late game scenarios, it takes 20-30 minutes to maybe get a game into the same state to practice being in that situation again. This tool shaves off much time per game: The time savings will be incredible, and will allow players to play more practice games or research more VODs and replays. There will be no excuses for not having better late game control or dealing with certain timings when this feature is released. I think Blizzard is doing a good job of taking pro player input at this time when it comes to experimenting and trying to balance HoTS. The one thing that worries me is that the map pool for HoTS may not be ideal for correctly balancing the game. The impact of map design has always played an integral part in the quality, dynamic and balance of the game. I don’t believe this initial map 12   G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N

I am also very excited by a few of the other features that will be added to the game. Shared replays will help the production value of so many tournaments and content producers.

pool creates comprehensive data in regards to balancing, and I hope Blizzard seeks out some input from the SC2 map making community just like they are doing with the pro players. The last thing I wanted to talk in regards to HoTS is the fragmentation we will see in the player pool and tournaments during this switch from WoL to HoTS. We’ve seen this in the past with Brood War and Wings of Liberty. Players will have to determine how to split their practice between each game and which tournaments to participate in. Because this decision seems most likely to be on an individual basis for the players, it will be challenging for tournament organizers since the player pool will be split in this fashion. A possible solution we’ll see is for tournaments to have both WoL and HoTS as separate events during this time, but I’m very curious to see how this plays out. Overall I am really excited about the prospects of HoTS infusing some new energy in the Starcraft 2 community. I hope to see all of you guys on the ladder!  GLHF



HotS: To Beta or Not to Beta? Beta tests are important for all games. They help iron out the bugs that the development team hadn’t picked up on previously and reveal whether the pieces of the puzzle are fitting together correctly.


he beta test is the first chance for the development team to see how all the individual pieces of work come together and, more importantly, how they work in the hands of the consumer. We can take a look outside of StarCraft 2 and see how important the beta test was for Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Beta testers were greeted with crashes, server lag, freezes and even completely unresponsive features. It is hard to imagine what would have happened upon its release if Ubisoft had chosen to perform an internal beta test. The reason I bring these thoughts to the table is because I think it is extremely easy to forget that StarCraft 2 is still just a game at the end of the day. It is completely understandable to forget that StarCraft 2 is the same as any other game. This is because Blizzard is a different kind of beast when it comes to game development. Traditionally, Blizzard has always released beta tests when a game is in a thoroughly polished state, with very few gameplay or mechanical bugs. This is why it’s so easy to forget that Blizzard’s beta tests are still just that. Blizzard is a big studio and has a much larger team to work on StarCraft 2 than almost any other developer, which explains why the product looks so polished in beta tests. So why beta test at all? Blizzard games are of course very popular, which is why it is perhaps more appropriate to rename Blizzard beta tests ‘stress tests.’ Anyone who was invited to test Diablo 3 will know what I am talking about. The Diablo 3 beta “weekends” turned into a beta

Sunday for almost everyone invited. Some people were unable to get in throughout the whole weekend, while the “lucky” ones eventually got in at the end of the weekend. Apart from ironing out popularity kinks and server bugs, what else does Blizzard have to gain from beta testing all their games? I’m not kidding anyone: This is StarCraft 2 we’re talking about. It is becoming increasingly obvious through all the interaction we get from the developers that the StarCraft 2 beta is about one thing and one thing only. Balance! Balance is important in all games but it wouldn’t surprise me if you took issue with any opinion that said it wasn’t the most important thing in StarCraft 2. It is interesting to look at the development of StarCraft 2 in this sense, as we could argue that Wings of Liberty is still in beta test by Blizzard’s standards. It seems that when the beta test of Heart of the Swarm was released it was purely just to see what absolutely massive mistakes they had made. Take the warhound for example. There was quite the outrage about that unit and a clearly objective disapproval of the unit. It isn’t the first time though. Back in the Wings of Liberty beta, roaches were 1 supply, had 1 extra range and they started with 2 armor. A whole lot has changed since then. All of this makes us wonder if we should question Blizzard’s strategy with releasing StarCraft 2 expansions. And with one more to go after HotS it’s definitely worth thinking about. It seems more and more that the beta test for StarCraft 2 becomes a GLHFMAG.COM





developer session between the pros and the people who actually make the game. When we have big mistakes and setbacks in both of the betas, it creates a strong argument for Blizzard to receive help from professional players at a much earlier stage in the development process. This is not only because Blizzard have made balance mistakes, but they have also missed the target in terms of design. The warhound was not only too strong, it was a completely boring unit to use. While balance can be refined to a state where it may only be an issue in the top band of players, design is something that affects everyone. Whether you are playing low or high-level 1v1, or just messing about in team games, it still has to be fun for you to play. This is where I would normally make a Battlenet 2.0 joke, or one about how Brood War was just more fun to play. But these points are becoming rather valid here. There has been this same lacklustre anticipation for the expansion ever since Blizzard first revealed the HotS units at Blizzcon. I personally feel that Blizzard is getting into lots of trouble. The problem of balance seems like it has managed to keep the player-base distracted enough from the game itself, but this expansion does indeed seem to be reminding them that StarCraft 2 is a game. This means that Blizzard can no longer hide behind the constant tweakings of percentages to maintain satisfaction levels. I think the biggest way that Blizzard is manufacturing developer suicide is through their traditional stubborn attitude towards game design. Blizzard has always had an awful habit of acknowledging what the playerbase wants but then only meeting them halfway. If you want an example of this just look at the attitude they have had towards changing the ladder pool. It is very rare for Blizzard to give the players something exactly as they want it. This is because along with Blizzard gaining success, they have gained an ego. This ego towards game design, specifically in terms of multiplayer, is not doing them any favors. The “We are game developers we know what we are doing” at14   G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N

titude they seem to hold is a fair one. But this position holds a lot less credibility when applied to the StarCraft 2 multiplayer experience. The single player experience is pretty much a singular one. Some people may play through the campaign a couple of times, but it is not intended for replayability. The multiplayer, however, is an experience that some people will go through for multiple hours everyday. If an experience is intended to last for a long time for the consumer, then their opinion grows exponentially in its worth. As someone who is a fan of a wide variety of games, this expansion has created some interesting observation material for me. StarCraft 2 has been in its own world for the past two years, and rightly so. It had different needs from other games and required different attention. The expansion is now seeing the gap close. People who keep up to date with the yearly iterations of FIFA or Call of Duty games will know exactly what I am talking about. Right now the StarCraft 2 community is going through what the fans of those games go through every year. Fans expect innovation, surprise and further additions to the foundations of what they already love. That is why it is particularly important to give Blizzard feedback on game design, layout, graphics and mechanics, as well as balance. Balance is a constantly changing situation, and most definitely isn’t exclusive to the beta. There are some things that can’t be improved after a beta period. Balance, however, will always be changed throughout the life of StarCraft 2. Like I said earlier, it is very easy to forget that StarCraft 2 is a game like any other. This is why it is important to look beyond just the balance in this beta period. We should strive to improve the game as a whole and make sure the shipped game is a product that absolutely everyone can be happy with.   GLHF

When we have big mistakes and setbacks in both of the betas, it creates a strong argument for Blizzard to receive help from professional players at a much earlier stage in the development process.








THE DARK TEMPLAR It rears its ugly head in only the worst of nightmares: you’re sitting there perfectly content to inject, drop mules, make stalkers — whatever. Then, that sinking feeling sets in as you catch just the smallest sliver of something working its way into your base.


n observer? Are you seeing things? You’re not. That sinking feeling turns into panic. In the blink of an eye, your Lair is gone, and you’re left wondering what can cause such catastrophic damage so fast. The dark templar (DT) is hands down one of the most deadly and annoying units in the game, especially to the average gamer on the ladder. As a player in the Masters league, I have used dark templar builds to secure many wins. In the age of StarCraft 2, where it seems that everyone is trying to be as greedy as humanly possible, a DT opening can sometimes outright kill an oppo16   G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N

nent. However, it seems there is a common misconception that dark templar-based attacks are some kind of all in. Here are three very potent DT-based builds, one per matchup, that do not involve warping in a round of three DTs and praying they kill your opponent outright. Before trying any complex DT builds, one should first familiarize themselves with the intricacies of the dark templar. The DT is a combination of Bio, Light and Psionic types. With a base ground attack that deals 45 damage and a damage per second of 26.3, our trusty friend can ruin a day or two for unsuspecting victims. While having

Here are three very potent DT-based builds, one per matchup, that do not involve warping in a round of three DTs and praying they kill your opponent outright.







Attributes: B iological, Light, Psionic Attack  G round Attack: 45(+5) Ground DPS: 26.6(+3) Range: 0.1 Cooldown: 1.694

insanely high damage, it is important to note that the invisible DT is a rather squishy unit, meaning it will die very quickly when detected. At a measly 40 health supplemented by 80 shield, it is practically useless versus any low-tier unit en masse. However, note that DTs can still handle a handful of units, such as two or three zealots, if one micros them correctly. The dark templar’s speed of 2.8125 allows it to kite and target fire one zealot at a time, leaving time in between for the shields to recharge. While fending quite well versus other attacking units, the true beauty of the dark templar lies in how quickly it kills both workers and structures. A worker will die instantly from a single attack. So think of it this way: you warp in eight DTs into the main of your innocent Zerg opponent. Within 1.694 Blizzard seconds, equating to a little more than a blink of an eye in real-time, eight drones are gone. Dead. Never to mine minerals again. So when studying these builds, it’s important to differentiate when the dark templar is more efficiently used to hurt the economy or to hurt the tech of your opponent.


40 80 1 (+1)



PVP: A STANDARD DT RUSH INTO EXPANSION A build I use quite often while laddering is a dark templar opening followed by a quick expansion. This style represents what was considered HuK’s go-to style a while back and was reviewed by Day9 (see Day9 Daily #439). The main drawback of this build is that if the opponent seems to be trying a very fast 4gate or three stalker rush, you may need to delay your first dark templar warp in for one or two sentries or some additional units. Assuming the opponent is not rushing, the build follows as such, seen to the right. There are many different choices from here. Your Chrono Boost usage will vary depending on what you’ve scouted. If you’ve scouted some kind of 4gate or fast pressure, then it may be wise to spend Chrono Boost only on units. Conversely, if your opponent is simply Chrono Boosting probes and looking to play a more passive style, then it is a better idea to spend two Chrono Boosts on Warp Gate research, and then all the rest on probes. GLHFMAG.COM






They are important to keep alive, as they will serve as your Force Field-breaking archons in the midgame. Worry not if you are not able to outright kill the opponent!



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The trick to this build is your dark templar control once you have infiltrated your opponent’s main base. If you begin to take shots, it means they opened Robotics Facility and went for a very fast observer. If you have good control, you can encounter an observer and units, yet still escape with all three DTs intact. They are important to keep alive, as they will serve as your Force Field-breaking archons in the midgame. Worry not if you are not able to outright kill the opponent! If your expansion is started before your opponent’s expansion, then you are in great shape. Just continue to warp in zealots and create archons. Research Charge as soon as possible and add a Robotics Facility to create an observer and to begin colossus tech. The great thing about this build is that it will defend against any kind of zealot/immortal based counterattack with ease. The real problem is that if they begin to tech colossus faster than you, it may be wise to try to hit a timing push at about 9 minutes with Charge zealots. If they can defend the timing attack, it becomes astronomically more difficult from this position. The best solution to this predicament is to set up a great concave in an open area of the map that is sure to intercept any kind of army movement from the opponent. As long as your zealot count is far superior, the colossus difference will not be too large of a factor. Take a third base behind this and begin colossus production off of two Robotics Facilities. Don’t forget upgrades too! PVZ: SAGE’S DT WARP PRISM BUILD Although this is one of my favorite builds, be cautioned that your Zerg opponents may rage and call you bad names. This super fun build is one that I ripped from Artosis’s Protoss strategy blog (see scdojo.tumblr. com). Sage executed this dark templar drop strategy in a very competitive Code A match in the prestigious Global StarCraft League, so that fact alone should prove that this build is not completely ridiculous. In fact, it provides transitions to very viable tech options. The build is listed to the left. Artosis then advises to “warp in 4 DTs as [the] Dark Shrine finishes, and [a] warp prism [at the Robotics Facility]. Warp in no more units until you drop in the Zerg main base, then warp in 4 more DTs. Target down any Spore Crawlers, the main Hatch, tech, etc. Make sure you get away with 4 of

your DTs, as they will be needed later.” Some key tips to achieving a complete surprise attack: Be sure to use your stalker to snipe any overlords trying to gain access to your main base. Try to hide your tech in places where overlords do not immediately scout. Use your initial zealot to take control of the Xel’Naga Towers, so the warp prism is not spotted. Great, now you’ve crossed enemy lines and you’ve made it into the Zerg base. Now the question remains: what do I target first? If you warp in your second set of DTs (for a total of eight) in the main base of your opponent, it is probably best to begin working on the main Hatchery/Lair. However, it is way more effective to split your DTs to do more damage. If you drop in the base of your opponent and notice they are morphing an overseer to initiate detection, target the main with four dark templars, and use the other set to target any tech such as the Spawning Pool, the Roach Warren, or even the Spire. To kill even one tech structure puts the Zerg monumentally behind. At this point, the Zerg is most likely spamming his roach hotkey in a frenzy to immediately come to kill you. This is when it becomes imperative that you prepare for a “roach/overseer counter-attack,” as Artosis puts it. He suggests to “add some cannons to your wall-in. Immediate [acquisition of] Stargate tech for void rays is very smart as well.” My personal suggestion is to go up to six Gateways and keep them constantly producing. While this build may leave you on two bases for a while, you’ve gained enough of an advantage that a late third is definitely not a bad thing. If you can defend a counter wave of units without taking too much damage, then the game is essentially in the bag. PVT: MAKING THE OPPONENT UNCOMFORTABLE This next build is not as much a dark templar-oriented strategy as much as it is a choice of tech. It’s a build you should use with caution, as it will leave you with archons as your main source of area of effect damage (as opposed to colossus or high templar). It is a one gate expand into Charge zealots mixed with archons, and dark templar to keep the Terran at home long enough to establish a third base and begin working on a solid AoE tech



choice. The one gate expansion goes along these lines, as seen to the right. After establishing that your opponent is not looking to do some sort of cheese or all-in, this is where tech comes fast and heavy. Drop your Twilight Council as soon as possible, and begin warping in units once Warp Gate research has completed. While making probes and warping in, begin teching to Dark Shrine at a quick but reasonable pace. This way, you are not overexposed to the popular 1/1 bio-medivac timing push. Make sure to establish a proxy Pylon somewhere near the base of your opponent, so that there is little time between the completion of the Dark Shrine and the start of the assault. First, poke with a single dark templar up the ramp of the natural to ensure that there is no Missile Turret. Assuming there isn’t one, split your DTs and begin killing your opponent’s economy. The best way to split is to have one dark templar in each mineral line, and one hiding somewhere in the base. This way, even if they Scan twice, there will still be one dark templar to harass the opponent. It’s not

intended to kill the opponent, but it will cause them great discomfort. If you can maintain steady macro at home, such as taking a third base, continuing to warp in zealots, starting upgrades, researching zealot Charge and morphing archons, you should be in excellent shape. Though these builds have served me well on the ladder, do not only attempt these builds as I have written them - experiment! I have found that sometimes different numbers of dark templar can make a huge difference, or even the timing of when to implement the unit. Dark templars have won many games for me and I truly hope they will be just as magical for you.  GLHF






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In the rapidly changing eSports scene, the future seems uncertain. Will StarCraft remain the only player, or will new contenders rise to share the spotlight?





The Valencia eSports Congress was a one day event with video game industry leaders where eSports development, media opportunities, and the rise of live streaming was discussed.

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During the Valencia eSports Congress Dustin Browder entertained the idea of StarCraft going free to play, which the Internet met with the obvious jokes about hats and concerns about hackers.


ome of you may be thinking that this comment was nothing more than an exercise in wistful speculation. As the second largest gaming company in the world, this company has brand equity in droves. The only gaming 4company with bigger household names is Nintendo. You’d have an easier time finding a dry wedding in Ireland than a male under the age of 40 who hasn’t heard of Diablo or StarCraft. Dismissing StarCraft going F2P is not totally unfounded, but it’s a simplistic verdict on what’s proving to be a complex situation. With a constantly evolving market, new competitors, a flagging fanbase, and even legal troubles, Blizzard is probably considering F2P far more seriously than the public suspects. For some time now, Vivendi has been quietly seeking buyers to claim their 61% share in Activision-Blizzard. In other words, they want to sell their ownership. While the French telecommunication and media giant is reluctant to share why they want to offload their stocks, the bottom line is that companies do not sell an asset unless they view the asset as a current or future liability. This means Vivendi believes Blizzard is past its apex and leaving critical mass, ceasing to be a growth company and settling down as a mature company that provides a stable profit but little to no growth. Growth companies are the type that are most attractive to investors. Their profit margins grow at exponential rates, earning and expanding significantly more than the general economy. They hold a lot of potential, capture public interest, and usually, they’re trendsetters. Not only do they excel at what they do compared to their rivals, they can create new markets that previously did not exist or rapidly nurture small

markets. Google revolutionized the importance of the search engine. Facebook made social media so relevant that there is an entire global job sector dedicated to its maintenance. Naturally, the reinvestment opportunities for these sorts of companies promise to be lucrative. There was a time when nobody believed the MMORPG market could capture any more than a million subscribers. When Baldur’s Gate 2 sold 200,000 copies, it was an earth-shattering milestone in RPG sales that the industry believed could never be surpassed. The concept of a professional gamer that could not only live off a salary, but become rich from it, was pure fantasy. Few companies can claim to have released a game that revolutionized the industry. Blizzard has done it with every single franchise they’ve developed, but they are no longer the innovator of our childhood. The previously bulletproof reputation of the Irvine powerhouse has been marred by lapsed fans and scuffles with the business laws of several countries. World of WarCraft has retained the lion’s share of the MMORPG market for the past eight years by an uncontested landslide. No other MMO title has come close to securing its horde of the MMO pie, never less than 55% of the entire MMO player base, but even WoW has been locked in a back-andforth struggle of staying relevant in an age where every MMORPG is foregoing subscription fees in favor of F2P. Cataclysm was the first expansion for World of WarCraft that actually witnessed a decrease of subscribers, dropping from 12 million in 2010 to 9 million by 2012. The recently released Mists of Pandaria expansion managed to snag back 1 million subscribers and nudge the player count back to a comfy 10 GLHFMAG.COM

Vivendi SA (formerly known as Vivendi Universal) is a French multinational mass media and telecommunication company headquartered in Paris, France. The company has activities in music, television and film, publishing, telecommunications, the Internet, and video games.





million, but it remains to be seen if Blizzard’s nearly decade old flagship can continue to weather the storm and keep the fleet afloat. Unfortunately, Diablo is in even darker waters. After a record-shattering opening of over 3.5 million copies sold within the first day, only a fraction of that number continue to play the game. Concerns regarding Diablo’s infamous online-only gameplay turned out to be well-founded on launch day when half of the customers couldn’t even log in to play. Some resourceful American fans created characters on the uncrashed Asia and Europe servers, but even those fortunate enough to discover this workaround were still plagued by a tirade of Errors notifications that booted them out of the game and back into the ever-growing queue. By June 25, Xfire reported only 40,000 active Diablo players on its network. Today, that number has Baumgartnered straight down to less than 16,000, helped only by a recent content patch on October 16th that convinced 6,000 players to give the abandoned series another look, but still, the damage doesn’t seem salvageable. A singleplayer campaign that requires an Internet connection? An auction house using real cash? Blizzard grossly miscalculated when they thought that the average player would let these issues slide. Then there are the aforementioned legal problems. Blizzard briefly became a cautionary tale of totalitarian developer control when it announced that Real ID would be

tied to forum accounts, meaning that anyone that wanted to post in the forums had to reveal their real names. The outcry was so massive that it took only took Blizzard three days to drop that plan. Blizzard’s offices in Korea were raided by South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission, they have gained the attention of France’s UFC Que Choisir and set forth a precedent for French government scrutinizing online-only DRM games, and the Federation of German Consumer Organizations has also attacked Blizzard for not accurately describing the DRM on the German version of the box. World of WarCraft commands the helm of the Blizzard fleet without question, a series so vital to the company’s beating heart that it now becomes easier to see why Vivendi is looking to sell Activision-Blizzard -- Vivendi’s stock is, for better or worse, tied to it. When WoW does well, Vivendi does well. When WoW does badly, Vivendi does badly, and Vivendi got a first taste of that scare when the MMO began bleeding subscribers. Diablo 3 was an experiment in trying to create a lucrative market for the quiet Action RPG genre. So far, that experiment has yielded little fruit. WoW has been doing swimmingly for the past month after the release of Mists of Pandaria, but it is one of the few subscription-based MMOs in a market that has almost entirely converted to F2P. Blizzard is fully aware that the WoW gravy train isn’t going to last forever. The team working on the mysterious Titan project now has over 100 people, headed by

By June 25, Xfire reported only 40,000 active Diablo players on its network. Today, that number has Baumgartnered straight down to less than 16,000 Above: Felix Baumgartner set the world record for skydiving an estimated 39 kilometers, reaching an estimated speed of 1,342 kilometers per hour.

Left: Diablo 3, one of the most anticipated games of 2012, celebrated incredible success on release, but suffered from a rapidly dwindling player base. Activision Blizzard

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legendary WoW designer Jeff Kaplan. Until then, Blizzard must rely on another market to uphold its reputation and sustain its massive overhead. Diablo 3 was a dud. WoW may or may not be entering it twilight years. This finally brings us to our most beloved of the Blizzard Three, StarCraft. Thus far, everyone that’s been claiming either the death of StarCraft or proposals to save it have not considered Blizzard as a whole. Once again, the tectonic foundations of the gaming industry are shifting. Paid models for online games are slowly becoming a relic of the past, and the profitability of MMORPGs are no longer as seductive as the next big cash opportunity: e-sports. League of Legends’ Season Two World Championship clocked in at 8,282,000 unique viewers, with over a million simultaneous viewers at its peak. This makes it the most viewed event in all of gaming history, not just e-sports. With 32 million players, it also proudly holds the badge of most popular game in the world. That’s over triple the population of New York City. These are exciting numbers to investors and advertisers, and this explosive growth is showing no signs of slowing down. Last year, Riot Games had 150 job positions waiting to be filled. These are worrying times to be a StarCraft

fan. SlayerS is disbanding. Puzzle, Min, and Coca have announced that they will be transitioning to League of Legends. Recently, MVPSC and Select have declared they will also be retiring from StarCraft and joining a LoL team. If these events were isolated, it would not be outlandish to dismiss them as flukes. But when players leave, teams disband, and the game is experiencing a sharp decline in popularity while a rival brand grows, you’d have an easier time selling popsicles to Inuits than convincing me this is all just bad luck. Blizzard knows it’s not just bad luck. The question is, is this an indication that StarCraft had reached its apex half a year ago and is starting to stabilize? Or does it hold inherent potential to become a giant brand? If Blizzard wants to compete with Riot, F2P might be the only way to do it. Make no mistake, StarCraft is competing with LoL. StarCraft is an RTS and LoL is a MOBA but they share the similar skill sets that allow StarCraft pros to comfortably make the leap into becoming LoL pros. StarCraft is already intimidating by nature. It’s a game designed around 1v1 play that requires enormous concentration and multitasking. LoL is a team game that focuses on tight micro play and teamwork. You don’t need to click all

vsmak /

League of Legends’ Season Two World Championship clocked in at 8,282,000 unique viewers, with over a million simultaneous viewers at its peak. This makes it the most viewed event in all of gaming history, not just e-sports.





Now the seasoned champion must admit to himself that his ways are old, and he must learn from the rising rookie, but to even enter the same playing field, Blizzard must swallow its pride and offer StarCraft 2’s multiplayer as F2P. over the place, gather resources, and build things, but it retains complexity by the coordination and precision needed to excel at a professional level. Humans are communal by nature. We gravitate towards team sports. That’s why the most successful sports in the world are team sports. It’s what we’re encouraged to play as children to bond with one another. That natural inclination for team sports is something StarCraft may never be able to break. It can still be quite successful, but perhaps never to the degree that something like a MOBA could achieve. The other obvious deterrent is price. Yes, more features that promote things like watching streams directly through game and better integration with e-sports events will boost popularity, but like MMOs, e-sports games are also trending towards F2P. Unless you live in South Korea, e-sports by nature are a restrictive form of competition. You need a decent computer and an Internet connection to get started. For most of the traditional sports, all you need is a ball and a lot of open space. That accessibility is key to any sports’ survival and it’s a lesson that Riot has learned and is perfecting very well. A $60 dollar price tag is a hefty investment compared to $0, especially when the next expansion will require an extra $40. This was a feasible business plan a year ago when there was no competition. I picture Blizzard as an aging fighter. He’s still the champ, but for the first time ever, Blizzard is actually beginning to lose his fights. This past year has been a very humbling experience for Blizzard. They released the fastest selling PC game in history only to have it die within months. Their flagship MMORPG is back to sailing in smooth waters for the time being, but it uses a model of payment that is being viewed as antiquated and unnecessary. They released a game that’s a successor to a title that became a televised sport in South

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Korea, the shining jewel of the e-sports world, that is now a shadow trailing behind a 32 million player franchise that is only three years old. Their offices have been raided, their fans have lashed out at them, and they’ve been sued. Blizzard used to be the hotshot company that created new trends and opened up new markets. It is no longer the same company. They can’t get away with online-only DRM. They can’t get away with proposals like Real ID. They can no longer assume that consumers will continue to consider them an exception to the F2P rule when other companies are offering polished products with no price tags. This season is the time of Blizzard’s Hegelian dialectic reckoning with Riot Games: F2P vs. Retail, David vs. Goliath. The synthesis that emerges out of this conflict might very well become the foundation for how all future e-sports games are developed, marketed, and supported. For the past ten years, companies have desperately tried to learn from Blizzard’s groundbreaking business plans. Now the seasoned champion must admit to himself that his ways are old, and he must learn from the rising rookie, but to even enter the same playing field, Blizzard must swallow its pride and offer StarCraft 2’s multiplayer as F2P. It’s been considering it, far more seriously than anyone suspects. It’s hard to get an old, ridiculously successful company like Blizzard to change its ways, especially when it has to please investors who so often want conservative plans from a giant company, but the storms the company has suffered this past year makes F2P a very likely option to keep it relevant.   GLHF Helena Kristiansson







{ TheJaKaTaK } by the power of mechanics My name is JaK, and I saved up enough money to live without income for a year starting May 1st, 2012. I have and will spend this time to help further the growth of eSports. These tools are designed to make Starcraft 2 more fun and efficient as well as less frustrating. I encourage you to try and test these tools so that we can make them the best they can be and spread the joy of playing Starcraft to all people.

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StarCraft is a real time strategy game. So it is made up of both strategy and mechanics. All approaches to learning StarCraft can be divided into 2 main categories. Those that teach Mechanics through Strategy and those that teach Strategy through Mechanics. The issue of the former is that you will be in a position where you know exactly what you are “supposed” to do, but cannot execute the command. This can create feelings of frustration and hopelessness, often times leaving the player without a clear direction as to how to improve. TheStaircase teaches Strategy through Mechanics, allowing the player to explore why and how things work, instead of being told what they are “supposed” to do. It accomplishes this task by starting each player with the essential building blocks for their race. It uses measureable benchmarks so that the player can both be encouraged by their progress, as well as know when they are ready to move on to the next step. In the first step (Macro) a new unit and buildings are unlocked; this step is aimed at learning the economic impact of these new elements. The next step (Micro/Multitasking) is aimed at exploring the strengths and weaknesses of the units and buildings unlocked in the previous step. This process is repeated until all units and buildings have been unlocked. Each new step adds decisions to make and strategies to explore. The player can see their skill growing whether they win or lose, and chose any strategy along the way.

On January 10th, 2011 blizzard enabled custom hotkeys in StarCraft 2. Despite almost 2 years of the possibility of a completely optimized hotkey layout, most pro players are using lightly modified versions of grid and standard. TheCore is a community project to create the most efficient hotkey layout for StarCraft 2. There are currently over 400 players using TheCore which span the skill range from practice league to pro gamer. Every action and combination is easier and faster to execute with TheCore. With professional players making hundreds of actions every minute it is only a matter of time before every professional player is using a completely optimized layout like TheCore. TheCore’s resting position is on the nonconventional side of the keyboard. This allows the thumb to press Shift, Ctrl, Alt, and Next Subgroup. Not only does this allow for more potential combinations with the 3 modifiers, but it also makes those combinations faster. By utilizing data from over 2,000 premiere tournament games, TheCore minimizes reaching by placing the most frequently used commands closest, and the least frequently used commands furthest away. Every camera, control group, and ability is within 3 keys distance from the resting position, and almost all are within 1. It avoids the use of the same finger twice in a row almost completely by assigning all control groups to two fingers, and all abilities to the other two. TheCore also utilizes non-conventional modifier assignments for Control Groups and Cameras in order to compound actions like egg-hotkeying, injecting, setting cameras and setting control groups. TheCore accounts for left and right handed mouse users, 2 and 4 button mouse users, main race, and hand size by having 48 different versions for each permutation of these variables. In a game where every millisecond counts, TheCore is your weapon. To master it will take time, but the advantages you will gain against your opponents will be well worth it.


TheStaircase: id=374400 TheCore: id=341878 ALSO, FIND JAKATAK ON: @thejakatak (twitter)




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SITTING DOWN WITH GEOFF “INCONTROL” ROBINSON GLHF’s very own Jonathan Lee had the chance to get in touch with InControl, and gain some insight into the man behind the player. What is your full name and how did you get it? Is there any significance with how you got your name, either from the meanings or being named after someone?

My full name is Geoffrey John Vincent Robinson. My grandfather’s name is John Vincent Robinson.. so you can see where I got most of my name. My brother has the same but with my father and my sister has the same but with my grandmother. I guess there is a mini tradition of taking on the full name of someone from our family. Where were you born and where were you raised? What was it like growing up in your neighborhood?

I was born in Spokane Washington but I was raised west of there closer to Seattle. Suburbs like Kirkland, Snohomish, Mill Creek and a few other communities are where I grew up. My childhood was awesome. Lots of action figures, some SNES/ Playstation and eventually Warcraft II made up the gaming side of my up bringing. I also read Goosebumps, Animorphs and eventually Steven King (as a kid). I also read all the Starwars books, Alien books and Predator books. Anything Sci-Fi usually hah. I was also an outdoors kind of kid so we would bike everywhere, have super soaker fights Helena Kristiansson /

and get into trouble breaking vases while having nerf wars in the house. Our neighborhood life was pretty basic and friendly for that time.. everyone hung out on the block and we all carpooled to school etc.. very thankful for where I grew up. Describe your hometown. Rural, suburban, urban? Do you feel shaped by it in any way? Do you miss anything about it? If you can’t identify a hometown, then tell me what it’s like moving from place to place. Do you feel that home is where you are or who you’re with?

I answered a lot of this but I will say I don’t miss it per se, but I am extremely thankful for it and I have nothing but fond memories to think back on. My creative abilities were definitely shaped by my home-life.. we were always in some imaginary adventure land fighting armies and monsters with sticks, helped form who I am today. Beyond that I was also the “leader” of my pack of friends and I think that made me the decision maker I am today.






Describe yourself and your family. Were you the youngest, oldest, or only child? What was your relationship like between your siblings and parents? Was it a happy environment? Were any of them a major gaming influence on you?

I am the eldest of three kids. My brother Colbey is 4-5 years younger and my sister is 3-4 years younger.. love them both. We had a great childhood always playing games/toys with each other and me tormenting their existence. I was a pretty classical older brother. There for them when they were sad/in trouble but also half the reason for most of their injuries and a LOT of teasing/being picked on. My parents are/were loving and extremely supportive. Always helping me to expand myself with reading, art and sports. I was never confined to what they wanted but allowed to find my own interests and explore them with their support. My parents did divorce when I was 12 years old and that was extremely difficult, had to grow up very fast at that time and it was a source of a lot of sadness/anger but eventually something like that makes you stronger and overall I am thankful for the lessons I learned. How and when were you introduced to StarCraft? Do you have any stories of how the game has affected your social life? Did you meeting any lifelong friends through the game?

Above: The original Warcraft games were a major inspiration for Blizzard’s later titles, Starcraft, and StarCraft 2.

Top: This screenshot was from the original Command and Conquer. Want to try it out? Check it out online here, all redone in HTML5. Isn’t technology great? C&C HTML5 Remake:

http://www.adityaravishankar. com/projects/games/commandand-conquer/

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I played Command and Conquer as well as Warcraft II for a bit before Starcraft. Unlike the other games I had played (which I always enjoyed) these games grabbed me.. they clung to me like something I have never experienced. I think the mix of strategy and competition made it too much for me to overcome. Eventually I read in a PC Gamer magazine that a new Warcraft was coming out but taking place in space. As a Sci-Fi junky this was too much.. my favorite genre of a game being moved to the future meant that I was going to be hooked doing that for a very long time.. and boy was that accurate. It never really damaged my social life and really only enhanced it as some of my most fond memories are playing Starcraft at friends houses or lans. I never became a recluse and stopped going outside or something.


was interested in recruiting BW players for the specific purpose of having them transition to SC2. This was almost a year before release and EG supported us and sent us to tourneys we’d otherwise not go to as BW was commonly something self-sustained and very few were truly “sponsored.” I became team captain almost completely naturally. There was no vote or ceremony, EG just kind of started referring to me as the captain and from that point forward I took it more serious. I try and be there for each player but I also try and be the voice of authority letting them know where they can improve in a training schedule or how to conduct themselves from various events or business handlings. I enjoy the responsibility and the honor of having more of a role with such a fantastic team/company.

Eventually I read in a PC Gamer magazine that a new Warcraft was coming out but taking place in space. As a Sci-Fi junky this was too much.. my favorite genre of a game being moved to the future meant that I was going to be hooked doing that for a very long time.. Helena Kristiansson

I’ve heard that when you were in high school, you were both the captain of the football team and chess club. What do you love about football and what do you love about chess? Have either football or chess affect the way you view StarCraft?

I think the common element to both my football and chess passion is that they are competitive. Football being physical and chess being mental. As a natural born leader I was a pretty easy pick to lead both those teams. I wasn’t the best chess player but I helped and gave confidence to others. Football I was damn good. Sounds cocky but I was. For that I lead by example for sure. The school I went to O’Dea in Seattle has a rich history of being one of the best football teams in the state year in and out. I went there specifically for there football team and I was rewarded with one of the most educational and positive 4 years of my life. I owe a lot to that team and the people that make it what it is. Tell me about Evil Geniuses. How did you join EG? How and why did you become team captain? Did being the captain of both the football team and chess club prepare you for this leadership position? Was it a position you were placed in through voting or was it a decision from management?

I joined EG several years ago when Machine approached me and a few others and said he had made contact with an organization that

Working in e-sports full-time, especially when you started off, is considered a very unconventional career choice. Did your parents embrace your career decision in the beginning? Have their views changed at all since that time, for better or for ill?

Both my parents are extremely supportive of my career path as a professional gamer. I think it stems from them trusting me but also knowing that this is exactly what I want to do and would do it anyways, what choice do they have? My Dad was always a voice of reason and one to encourage me to not put all my eggs in one basket but once it became pretty clear that I was earning a good living and happy while doing it he always makes a point to ask how I am doing and not exclude the gaming part. My mom watches my tourneys, follows my media and is a big fan. It’s really cool to have that kind of support. How much do your family and high school/college friends know about your line of work? How do they view e-sports in general?

Immediate family knows a lot and watches my interviews etc.. beyond that my extended family thinks I may have found a loophole and I get away with a make-believe job. Friends are pretty proud since they knew I was a gamer and can now brag about knowing a professional one. It seems to be a pretty cool topic of conversation as I am asked a lot about it amongst friends and family!






You’re well-known for wearing a lot of hats, from being a player, a caster, and team captain. Describe what you like and dislike about each of these roles. Which role if any do you feel the most comfortable in?

The cliche “I wish there was more time in the day” is truly true for me. I genuinely LOVE casting, coaching, playing and the business side of gaming. I would do any one of those things as my sole job.. and perhaps selfishly I am trying to do all of them as my multi-pronged job as of now. I think the only regrets I have or troubles would be that no matter how you splice it I am suffering as a player by being so far out in the public eye and splitting my time. I still play 10 hours a day but unlike in the past when I played for myself and had other things on my plate like a job/school I now ONLY do this which raises the bar of expectation and I am one of the most publicized players around so I have a lot of eyes on me at all times. Recently I have come to peace with that since I truly wouldn’t want it any other way. Both the attention but also me helping as a caster/ coach etc.. these are things I love and would not want to be excluded from. I feel most comfortable as a player as that is what I have done/known for over 14 years now. I enjoy casting and find it easy and I love coaching as teaching is a big calling for me. Beyond that I just find everything so damn entertaining and fun! Could you describe your role as team captain? What kind of responsibilities does it entail? In the Korean scene, teams are seen in a familial light. Everyone on the team is seen as part of a (brotherhood). For example, MMA refers to his mentor Boxer as 형 (older brother). Do the EG members look up to you as an older brother figure or is every pretty egalitarian?

I think as a captain I am in spirit the “older brother.” I watch for players being upset/ sad and try and be there for them and I am also the guy that makes a few decisions from time to time but overall EG is stacked with pretty independent personalities and very successful people. I am accepted as the captain but it isn’t so pervasive that I can take responsibility for any of their success etc.. we are a family but when it comes to playing we are pretty self-sufficient. 34   G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N

Many StarCraft 2 fans are not familiar with the old foreigner Brood War scene. It’s viewed as a sort of tiny town where everyone knew each other on a first name basis. Is this an accurate view of the scene back then? Are there any nostalgic things about the past that you miss?

Absolutely. It sounds odd but the community was friggin small. We’d be thrilled to have 300 people on a stream or 10 people attending an event to watch. In korea it was much larger obviously but for us foreigners it was exactly a tiny town. The nostalgia stems from everything your grandparents would say, “it was much simpler” or “we never locked doors cause we trusted everyone.” It is funny how similar that all is. I think everyone is thrilled with the growth of SC2 but there will always be a little special place in our hearts for the simpler times. I’ve heard that once you retire from e-sports, you want to become an English teacher. Is this still something you want to do or do you plan on being in e-sports for longer? How has e-sports contributed to your personal life? Did you build any cultural connections, memorable relationships, or appreciation for different places?

If I ever leave eSports it would be to a teaching job I am sure. But I think that unlikely. I enjoy every aspect of this world and gaming in general and if I can I will do SOMETHING here forever! I have learned a lot and absorbed a lot in terms of knowledge but also experiences. Gaming has been my business for my entire business minded life and I don’t intend on seeing that change.   GLHF

If I ever leave eSports it would be to a teaching job I am sure. But I think that unlikely. I enjoy every aspect of this world and gaming in general and if I can I will do SOMETHING here forever!

thedz_ /

Above: Geoff “InControl” Robinson playing at MLG Anaheim 2012.







SC2 MENTAL BREAKDOWN Over the past few months, the webtoon “SC2 Mental Breakdown” has gained popularity amongst Western fans. The webtoon is written by Alice, the girlfriend of Min Chul “MC” Jang, and illustrated by her friend, Jay.


ach chapter is a humorous retelling of Alice and MC’s lives and experiences with StarCraft 2, delivered in a delightfully adorable and quirky style. On behalf of GLHF, we had a chance to sit down with Alice and Jay to get a look behind the scenes of SC2 Mental Breakdown. We find out how the webtoon came about, and just what sort of work goes into the creation of each chapter. We also answer a question that’s been tormenting Western readers, which is the mystery that has plagued them since the dawn of SC2 Mental Breakdown: why the heck are they cats?! The concept of SC2 Mental Breakdown is a really funny one. Alice, how did you come up with the idea for the webtoon?

Lots of really funny things have happened while I’ve been dating MC and learning about SC2. I never really played games before I met MC, and on top of that I’m not all that good at them either. Once, while MC was laddering, he got really angry. I thought, why is he angry? I said to him, “It’s just a game; isn’t it okay even if you lose?” He told me I should try it myself sometime. Then, when I went on the ladder, I got really mad! (laughs) MC went nuts and started making fun of me. I used this story to do a test run for the webtoon, and it was really well received. After that, I thought that it would be good if I could make a webtoon that SC2 fans could identify with. Also, because I’ve made it into Diamond from Bronze, I decided it would be great to make a webtoon about the things I’ve learned since Bronze league. ALICE:

Alice, you make up one half of SC2 Mental Breakdown, and your friend Jay makes up the other. Each of you have different roles in producing the webtoon - you write while Jay takes care of the artwork. We’re curious how 36   G O O D L U C K — H A V E F U N

Right: Jang “MC” Min Chul is a South Korean Protoss player. He currently plays for SK Gaming. Above: MC is known for his almost comical lack of emotion while playing. thedz_ /






she got involved in the webtoon. Jay, can you tell us about that?

I enjoy drawing. So, when I’ve got free time, I draw cartoons about my everyday life to show to people. It’s fun when my friends see my cartoons and even give me material for them. It was through this that one of my friends introduced me to Alice, who was planning on making a webtoon about her pro-gamer boyfriend, and was looking for someone who knew how to draw. I wanted to do something that I like and that was fun, so I started to draw for her whenever I had the time. JAY:

How did you two meet? Tell us about your friendship, and how it is to work together.

When I came up with the idea for SC2 Mental Breakdown, I didn’t have an artist for it, so my plans were put on hold for 6 months. I talked about this with my best friend, and my best friend introduced me to her friend Jay, who drew webtoons. I actually don’t know how long I’ve known Jay for, but we get on really well, and workALICE:

Photo by 7mk

Above: Alice, MC’s girlfriend, creative mind behind SC2 A Mental Breakdown

ing with her is really fun. An interesting fact is that the friend who introduced me to Jay is a friend I’ve known since highschool, from an art school. It just so happens that Jay went to the same art school at the same time! We didn’t know each other back then, and it’s really amazing that we know each other now, several years later. Jay, you weren’t an SC2 fan before, right? Has this made it difficult to capture Alice’s story in pictures? What about having to draw units that you aren’t familiar with?

Yes. When I went to watch a match for the first time, the atmosphere came as a shock to me because I was so completely unfamiliar with the culture. Even now there’s so much more I don’t know, compared to what I do know. Since I lack a lot of game knowledge, when I draw for the webtoon, I’ll sometimes make mistakes, or there will be game-talk that I just don’t get. But Alice finds reference materials for me, and makes it easier to draw by writing the story in detail for me, which means there aren’t many mistakes or mix-ups. J AY:

Are you an SC2 fan now?

Um... Honestly, I don’t think I’m a fan yet. Like I said before, there’s so much that I don’t know compared to what I do know, and I haven’t played SC2 at all before. Finding the time to learn how to play is a problem, but I also think that because I’m not good at games, I personally wouldn’t enjoy SC2. J AY:

Where do you both get the inspiration for every chapter?

Every episode is a 100% True Story! So I just retell stories that relate to MC and SC2. ALICE:

Can you tell us a bit about the process of putting a chapter together?

First, I put the story together. Then, after I’ve written the story for one chapter, I search for reference materials for the things in the story. The plan is to publish a chapter every week. The chapters alternate in topics. One week it focuses on SC2 or be about MC, and the following week will be about the laddering experience. ALICE:

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When I work on the webtoon, my favorite thing is that I’m able to do something that I love and show it to people.

When it comes to the Ladder chapters, I show the finished script to MC and he double checks all the terminology and things like that. He also helps me get the screenshots. JAY: The story is based 100% on Alice and MC’s real life. Alice gets inspiration from real life and writes the story, and gives me direction while I draw. She also gives me the reference materials I need, so the work is straightforward. When I’m working, sometimes I put in parodies for the readers or I’ll be told what to do but usually while I’m drawing the ideas just suddenly come to mind. What do you enjoy most about doing the comic? How long does each chapter take to complete?

My favorite thing about doing the webtoon is that lots of people read it, and it’s really good when I hear them saying that they can relate, or that it’s really funny. It’s so fulfilling! I also really like it when I see the story that I thought up, done in picture form. For a chapter about everyday life, it doesn’t take long to do, but one about the ladder experience takes a lot longer. It can be difficult to put together the story for one of these because it’s hard to include the difficulties of laddering, and MC’s know-how. I’ve learned a lot of things from MC, but it would take forever to include them all! So, I have a lot of choices to make while writing about what to include, which can make it take a while. Even though it takes me a long time, it’s only about 1 or 2 hours. After I’ve found whatever reference materials Jay will need, I send them to her and then she starts drawing. While she’s drawing, we talk together and modify the dialogue or the character expressions as needed. Finally, after it’s completed and we’ve done the finishing touches, it gets uploaded. JAY: When I work on the webtoon, my favorite thing is that I’m able to do something that I love and show it to people. I think it’s really fun to be able to do that. When the webtoon is updated, the comments are sort of spread out everywhere. It makes it impossible to read every single one, but it’s really nice to see them. But some of the comments I don’t understand (laughs). A lot of them are about the game. But, even so, I’m really really grateful to read them. ALICE:






The time it takes differs from chapter to chapter depending on the length or the reference materials. Usually a chapter about the ladder takes a lot longer than one about everyday life, about 4 or 5 hours at a time. It’s not something that can be done by just one person, you’ve got to make time to talk to each other and make changes as well. Do either of you keep a notebook, for example, where you write or sketch ideas or inspirations?

Since it’s based on real life, I don’t make any memos and I usually just write the story as soon as something funny comes to mind. JAY: I don’t have one for drawing SC2 Mental Breakdown things, but I do have a lot of sketchbooks where I draw my own stuff. ALICE:

I really didn’t give it any thought. Honestly I find it weird that they comment about the characters’ animal forms. Anyway, I wanted it to be different. When we first started, and I had to make the characters, I hadn’t met Alice or MC in person before and I got a feeling of a bear and a cat from their pictures. MC’s got a big body and seemed like he’d be quiet, and Alice is a cat just because she has a lot of them. JAY:

MC has a very distinct personality in the webtoon. He seems loud, crazy, stubborn, very passionate about SC2, and maybe even mean at times. How close is this to MC’s personality in real life? Is the character an exaggeration, or is there some reality in his portrayal?

This seems like a question for Alice (laughs). Personally, I’ve not seen MC in person very often. Whenever we meet we only talk for a minute. During Group Selection he asked me to make a coffin for him to use, so I think he’s a really interesting friend (laughs). A L I C E : MC is actually really quiet and reserved. I’m a lot more talkative than him. But, sometimes he gets really worked up and it’s really funny. And when he’s teaching the game, he changes into the Hulk (laughs). There’s a lot of tension because I’m not very good at SC2. We’re not an argumentative couple but there have been many times when we’ve ended up in a huge fight because he gets too violent while teaching me how to play. I’ve gotten so upset that I’ve ended up in tears. MC’s done some self-reflection since, and now when he teaches me it’s much more considerate and thoughtful. Maybe it’s because he’s a perfectionist, but it’s like he teaches with such a Spartan style because he wants me to reach a professional skill level. His personality while teaching as well as when he’s agitated or excited comes out a lot in the webtoon, but really, he’s thoughtful, cute and manly. And then the Hulk when he’s teaching SC2... JAY:

Jay, you write and illustrate your own webtoon as well, right? How did you get into making webtoons? You’ve posted a lot of your artwork on your blog. When did your passion for drawing begin?

I’ve liked drawing since before I can even remember. I really love it. These days I don’t have time because of school, etc, so I haven’t been able to draw much. I’m making the effort to draw more whenever I have free time. The webtoon that I do alone is literally a cartoon diary. I appear as the monkey character, and it’s just easy to draw the fun things that happen in my daily life, like a diary. Since I just did it to kill time at the start, I only uploaded the early chapters to my mini-homepage and asked my friends to comment. But now I upload them to my blog, as well as on a Korean site called Naver; they allow people who aren’t professionals to host webtoons on their site. I update it sporadically so I can’t say that it’s regularly published. JAY:

One question that burns in the minds of many foreign readers is, “Why are they cats?!?!” Of course they aren’t all cats, but who’s idea was it to draw the characters as animals? Can you explain the choice of each character’s animal form?

I write the story but Jay is responsible for all the character design. It was Jay’s idea (laughs). ALICE:

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What do you think about the fact that the webtoon is now translated into English, allowing the Western fans to read it? Did it come as a surprise? The translated webtoon chapters get over 200,000 hits each. Did you have any idea this many

When we first started, and I had to make the characters, I hadn’t met Alice or MC in person before and I got a feeling of a bear and a cat from their pictures. MC’s got a big body and seemed like he’d be quiet, and Alice is a cat just because she has a lot of them.


Western fans were reading it?

It makes me really really happy! MC’s got a lot of fans overseas, and it’s really great that now these fans can read the webtoon. I’m really grateful to Taliana who translates it into English and Meggy who does the editing, and it makes me so happy that I was able to get to know them both through doing this. I want to go to Europe and meet them! The response from Western readers has actually been better than from Korean readers, so when the translation comes out I tend to go on Reddit and check the comments. I get a lot of good advice from the comments, both positive and negative. I also get a lot of mentions on Twitter from foreign fans, it’s just too bad that I can only give short replies because my English isn’t good. JAY: It’s so amazing and interesting. It feels so good that there’s been so many views. I’m also really really grateful to Taliana and Meggy. How are they so good at Korean? (laughs) Sometimes I go to Reddit and enjoy seeing the comments the Western fans have left. I get a lot of mentions on Twitter, too, and it’s awesome that Western fans are seeing something that I’ve drawn and are giving me feedback on! ALICE:

Have you changed anything about the comic now that you have a Western readership?

I haven’t changed the content, but I’ve been leaving messages for the overseas fans outside of the webtoon. For example, doing a cheerful for the Reddit users while at the Global Starcraft League studio, or the Ninja Pizza Zealot! I take parody cheerfuls like this with me and shake them really hard! Fortunately, the camera catches it, and lots of people see it and say that they like it. It’s really good. And now there are plans to do some streaming of SC2 Mental Breakdown with MC. You will be able to see on stream what you see in the webtoon. I’ll ladder and MC will be beside me, giving pointers. In the chat people will be able to ask build order questions, and MC will explain them while I play. You’ll be able to see the SC2 Mental Breakdown Reality! He plans to explain in English as well, for the overseas fans. JAY: When I do the drawings, I often use parodies. When possible, I try to use parodies that the Western readers will enjoy. ALICE:

When I can’t find any, though, and have to use gags that only Korean readers would understand, I always think the Western readers would find it funny too if they knew about it. It’s a pity really, and caused by language and cultural differences. Some Western readers have said that they don’t get the webtoon’s humour. Do you think it’s because Western and Korean humour is different? Have you had any Korean readers saying that they don’t get what’s so funny either?

The first time I saw the comments on Reddit I was a bit surprised. When I didn’t think the Western readers would find it funny, they did, and when I wanted them to find it funny, they didn’t. It’s really interesting how we can see the same thing so differently. The artist, the writer, the people featured in the webtoon - we’re all Korean - so there’s a lot of elements that are funny to us. It’s like we share an emotional bond because we’re from the same country. A L I C E : I think that laddering is the same as a mental breakdown! Being able to relate to this is, I think, the main point in the webtoon’s humour. MC is unable to understand the difficulties I go through while playing, or my troubles, because he’s been good at the game since the beginning. So the two of us end up in both big and little fights. I think that seeing this is funny, so I think that it’s funny for Korean fans, as well as being something that Western fans can relate to and find funny as well. JAY:

Alice, dating MC and going with him to events and playing SC2 yourself must give you a lot of ideas for new chapters. Is it ever difficult to come up with an idea for a chapter?

It’s never been difficult. I’m overflowing with ideas, so I want to get them out fast! My one concern is, Will it be funny? (laughs) ALICE:

What does MC think about the comic? Does he give either of you ideas, or constructive criticism? JAY:

I’ve never heard it in person. Some-






MC doesn’t show it, but he really likes it. Every day he asks me when the next chapter will be out (laughs)... he doesn’t tend to ask about my ideas for the webtoon. It seems like he just wants his character to be more handsome (laughs)

times Alice will tell me how he responded, and it seems like he speaks quite honestly about what he thought was good or what could be improved. A L I C E : MC doesn’t show it, but he really likes it. Every day he asks me when the next chapter will be out (laughs). I asked him which chapter he found funny as a cartoon and he said chapter 3. Since then, he doesn’t tend to ask about my ideas for the webtoon. It seems like he just wants his character to be more handsome (laughs). Alice, based on your personal experience, would you ever recommend MC as a coach? And if you had the chance to have any other progamer as your coach, would it still be MC, or would you choose someone else? And Jay, who would you choose if you could have a personal coach and why?

When he’s teaching, he’s really angry and annoying, but he’s a really good coach when he gives guidance. I’ve gone from Bronze to Diamond in a really short time, right? If you look only at the results then he’s a really good coach. I’ve learned a lot from other players, but I don’t think that any of them could teach as well as MC. J AY: I don’t know many pro-gamers, so I can’t really choose. (laughs) I think I’d pick Alice as my coach.

done it yet because there’s been no time. Also, lots of MC’s close pro-gamer friends are going to make an appearance. HuK, Jinro, TheSTC etc. Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to your Western fans?

I’m always amazed and grateful for both the good and bad feedback I get on what I’ve drawn. Thank you so much for your replies and Twitter mentions! A L I C E : I want to say thank you for enjoying the webtoon! I’m grateful for the good and bad comments that the webtoon has received; it’s really gratifying. When I went to Germany for IEM, or anytime I went with MC to a foreign tournament, I always really want to thank you guys in person! Thank you for enjoying it.   GLHF J AY:


Can you give us any hints about what’s going to happen in future chapters, or what characters might make an appearance?

It’s all in Alice’s head! Even I don’t know. A L I C E : Um... I’m thinking about doing one about visiting the IM team house. I got permission from the IM manager but I haven’t J AY:

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SC2 TRANSLATIONS IS THE two-person team responsible for the English translation of SC2 Mental Breakdown. They would like to thank Alice and Jay for taking the time to talk about the webtoon, and MC for being someone that Alice can easily write fun stories about. Thank you, too, to the readers, for your continued support of both the Korean and English versions of the webtoon.







BEHIND THE SCENES WITH JP MCDANIEL GLHF had a chance to get in touch with the one and only JP McDaniel, to get some insight into the the popular figure behind State of the Game. What does a typical day in the life of JP McDaniel look like? Right now my days are ever changing. I wake up when I wake up and I sleep whenever I sleep. The day usually starts out with typical scan of Reddit, Twitter, and e-mails and then respond to anything I need to do. I usually tune into a stream or three -I watch a lot of TwitchTV streams at the same time -- and then grab some food. Most days I’ll stream on my Twitch page for a couple of hours and then play some things off-stream that aren’t that fun to watch. On Tuesdays, Real Talk takes up most of the time due to planning and then recording / editing / posting VODs. On Thursdays, same process but for State of the Game. Other than that, my days are pretty normal. Lots of gaming, lots of reading of forums (both ESPORTS and general gaming) and every now and then I’ll have a couple of meetings for consulting or business opportunities. What do you do to relax, outside of the world of eSports and journalism? I have a pretty stress-free life right now so I don’t do much outside of those two worlds haha. Doing things like State of the Game and Real Talk are really the highlights of my week, though. I guess I’m a workaholic.

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Any advice for those in the community who are looking to start creating their own content (podcasts/videos, etc.)? I get asked this question a lot and I always give the following answer: just do it. Once you’ve done it, publish it or post it; get some eyes on it that aren’t your own. Then go back and fix whatever needs fixing. The community will tell you if its worth continuing. I do want to add something else to the answer that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: whatever it is that you’re trying to do, make sure its original content. Make sure it is something that no one else is doing or if it is, that you have a unique aspect to it. Otherwise, it won’t ever be successful, unless all you’re wanting to do is prove to yourself that you can do it -- which is totally fine! How has managing and producing a show/podcast like State of the Game evolved from when you first started Arenacast for WoW? It is actually the same process to be honest. There isn’t really a difference between the two. I write the shownotes, turn the stream on, and talk haha. I guess with the transition of ArenaCast to State of the Game, the usage of webcams and overlays comes into play since we didn’t use them during the ArenaCast days. I find the production aspect to be really fun. I’m always trying to one-up myself or other people in the scene as production val-

JP “itmeJP” McDaniel is a popular community member in Starcraft II behind some of the popular broadcasts such as State of the Game, and Real Talk com/user/itmeJP

ues are important to me. I think this you can see this in the new graphic package for State of the Game. Sadly, running a solo ship here and having to push the buttons myself will always limit what I can do at any given time.

Make sure it is something that no one else is doing or if it is, that you have a unique aspect to it. Otherwise, it won’t ever be successful, unless all you’re wanting to do is prove to yourself that you can do it -- which is totally fine!

Major League Gaming

JP “itmeJP” McDaniel and Husky casting live at MLG Providence

Speaking of WoW, do you still play? What do you think of the new expansion? I played the first day and hit 90 in 13 hours or something. I quit 2 days after that. I was afraid of becoming addicted again and streaming WoW is a very hard thing to do if you don’t have the fanbase already. Plus, I couldn’t raid normal hours for a guild so there wasn’t much point in playing. The new expansion is really awesome though. I think it’s the best since The Burning Crusade. We recently saw the long-awaited resurrection of State of the Game. What has been your favorite, or most memorable, episode of SOTG and why? I don’t really know if I have a favorite episode of the show. I guess my favorite moment might be easier to quantify and that would be for “Boris” incident from EP60. It was just funny and I was quite drunk when it happened. The rest of that episode was kinda meh. I remember waking up the next morning and having no clue if the show was uploaded or what. Luckily it was! In Carmac’s episode of RealTalk you spoke about the state of journalism in eSports. One of the major issues you touched on was the financial pressure on journalists from the companies that sponsor them, and how this inhibits independent journalism. Do you think this is an issue that will solve itself over time, or do you feel there are steps people can actively take towards amending the situation?

I think eventually “ESPORTS journalism” will die and those journalists will go on to work at places like ESPN or gaming outlets, much like Slasher does with GameSpot. I’ve worked and seen the biggest ESPORTS news site (GotFrag) when it was still a thing and saw how hard it is to monetize that. It’s near impossible. One thing I would really like to see though is journalism take up proper video journalism. I’m unsure as to why the ESFI’s and Cadred’s of the world don’t do video -- and I don’t just mean interviews at events. I mean Real Sports on HBO type video. I guess money is the biggest factor. Have you ever personally faced repercussions for being too outspoken in your work? I don’t think outspoken is the correct term. I’ve definitely called people or communities out or said some things that looking back were pretty bad. I have a hard time holding my tongue and its definitely one of my biggest flaws and something I’ve actually started working on since leaving MLG. I shouldn’t care what anyone says if it isn’t constructive -- be it a reddit post or a popular figure on a talk show. Its one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn lately and still struggle with it. What is the most challenging aspect of your work? Being consistent. I’ve never worked a real 9-5 job so some days I wake up and I’m really not motivated to do things. Others, I’m incredibly motivated. I have great work ethic but I can’t keep it up 24/7. I think it is because I have a hard time turning that part of my brain off and when I do, I have a hard time turning it back on. Most of the time I feel guilty when the community lashes out so that is what usually pushes me over the edge and gets me to do things, though.






We have seen an increase in complaints bypassing team managers, being sent directly to the companies that sponsor and support them. Do you see this as proof of the loyalty and investment fans have with the scene, or could it hinder growth, acting as a repellent for future sponsors? I think the fact that people do this is bad. I’m pretty sure you can do this in any industry but when two people send e-mails about an NFL sponsor, no one really cares. When two people send an e-mail to an ESPORTS sponsor, they actually get read and people react to it. I’m also pretty sure that the majority of these e-mails are sent by people just looking to be assholes. I get it, its the internet, blah blah blah, but go watch some porn or something -- don’t kill or hinder what other people are trying to build. Compared to traditional sports like basketball and soccer, our community has an unprecedented level of access to its professionals. Recently, this has resulted in some tension within the community over the the personal lives of the players. Should professionals be more conscious of the image they are presenting on their personal streams? Absolutely. Day[9] does so well business wise because he watches what he says very closely and never responds to negative criticism -- ever. It’s very hard to do though if you’re on a talk show, have a defensive personality, or just get pushed into a corner where the only way out is to speak your mind. People will learn, though, or else they won’t be around years from now.

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Lately, there has been a lot of discussion about the future of SC2, with the growing popularity of games like League of Legends. Do you think SC2 and League can coexist? They’ll have to. SC2 needs League and League need SC2. I’m really tired of the SC2 community finding reasons to hate on LoL when LoL doing well means SC2 does well. Most tournaments that bring money into the scene run both games and it gets allocated between the two games. Maybe not evenly, but it definitely helps. There has been some discussion about Blizzard introducing a free to play model for SC2. What kind of changes do you foresee for the community and for SC2 esports if free to play is followed through with? F2P will help theres no way to deny that, but SC2 has an inherent barrier of entry to it. It is a really, really hard game. League is so popular because anyone can play and instead of 200 supply, you’re controlling a single unit. APM is a factor, but not until the very high end. I’m not sure the best way to fix this but HotS is definitely adding in things to help a newer player ease into the game. They’re also adding in things to make watching the game more fun, which might be the best path overall.

As StarCraft moves towards its next expansion, what excites you most about the game right now? What are you looking forward to most in the next year? Right now I’m really excited as we’ve hit a new level of play in the game due to the Kespa players just getting so good, so fast. They’re making everyone else better. The next couple of seasons of Code S are going to be incredibly exciting. As for the future, Blizzard is adding in a lot of “wow” factors that will make the game that much more exciting in HotS so I think that will be really awesome to watch in general. I’m also interested to see what happens in the future with leagues. There are a lot of things flying around behind the scenes with different leagues and structuring that surprise the hell out of me and because of this 2013 -- like any other year before it -- will be an incredible year for ESPORTS. Thanks JP! Any final thoughts, comments or shoutouts? Thank you for the interview! Check me out on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube all at / itmeJP. You guys do a great job with GLHF so keep it up! :D






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GLHF Magazine New Year Winter Issue  

We wrap up winter by taking a look at the newest gaming hardware, the implications of beta testing, killer strategies and some more behind t...

GLHF Magazine New Year Winter Issue  

We wrap up winter by taking a look at the newest gaming hardware, the implications of beta testing, killer strategies and some more behind t...