Last year I asked this community to dream. I asked this community to look within themselves for a place to light a fire and help cultivate and grow our community in ways I felt were very important. Those requests and musings can be read here: http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?id=287965
How did we grade out?
I read over that blog and remember the excitement I had when I wrote it. I was putting down on "paper" my thoughts on what I felt was the beginning of something absolutely amazing. I was not wrong, but I was overly optimistic (and I make no apology for that optimism. In fact that gets discussed in the blog as well). We don't have 30k audiences in ESPN sponsored events with gameday expert panels.. but we have gotten closer.
I see IPL finding it's place as a multi-platformed league that can put on a show. They came out with a splash in 2011 and felt on their face in early 2012 only to rise again and show us what they are capable of in Vegas. I watched the NASL go from a garage level production to something we can all count on to provide us with consistent, strong and fun media on a daily basis all the while growing their sponsor list and streamlining their performance. DH will go to new locations in 2013, MLG has been humbled with their arena not working out but has found it's place doing other things to supplement their fantastic offline experience etc etc..
I see players focusing on the entire package. Streaming, twitter, facebook etc.. I see fans circling around their favorite players and forming mini cultures/communities. It's fantastic.
I won't go point by point but I think the idea here is that this community IS in fact dreaming and acting. I really feel like people are doing what they can (and in many cases ABOVE what could ever be expected) to make this work.
Peruse that year old blog entry and let me know what you think of our development. In short, I am happy. Obviously there is more to be done but that should always be the case.
Something about the Empire striking back
It's undeniable that 2011 and 2012 are very different years (I know, thank you captain obvious). What I mean by this is 2011 was the year we were awed by SC2. Tourneys grew leaps and bounds to accommodate the flood of new fans/interested patrons teams signed 5-10 players that year.. more progamers were getting paid than probably ever before etc etc.. SC2 in my opinion is deservedly credited for being THE game that truly made eSports and professional gaming something we can look to as a realistic option amongst young men's lives and their pursuit for financial stability but also being happy. That was a year where anything was possible and often what we didn't think possible happened.
2012 was a bit different. It was the year reality set in. SC2 was no long the only big kid on the block. DotA2 and LoL took center stage and commanded our attention. Shootmania/CS:GO flaired up (a bit) and gave people diversity. The growth and development we experienced in 2011 was no longer solely focused on SC2 but was split and redirected at times. This was odd.. we hadn't seen the ceiling for SC2 and had it run it's course.. instead it simply jump started a world that was willing to give games their REAL chance at being main stream and big. People started switching to moba games, tourneys had bigger viewership for MOBA and people began to wonder/worry.
With organizations splitting their interests/assets now between 2/3 games as opposed to just the one we saw stagnation or slowed growth. We began to doubt. This wasn't the experience we had had the year before and a lot of chicken dolittles began to cry that the sky was falling. It wasn't, it was merely being shared now but nonetheless it was a different year.
This is the part where I caress you and whisper sweet nothings in your ear. We are fine fellow SC2 fans. In fact, we are so fine we are charged with the duty of being accommodating to those new games and their new found success. I know, I know.. I too am one of those that mocked and made light of the other games but you will notice that was awhile ago and my most recent song for the last half year or so is that of love. LoL and Dota2 don't directly benefit SC2 but this scene was never going to be a one game scene.. for professional gaming to rise we need a multitude of communities/games to rise up and take their brands/people to the highest levels of professionalism/appeal. We need GAMING to be considered a real outlet of creativity, mental prowess and commitment.. not a single game. There will always be fewer games that have the ability to be played at the highest competitive levels and achieve a success of attracting fans, onlookers, players and developers alike.. but that too is fine. We just need to honor those few.
Time for some hard words: LoL / DotA2 players are not as refined as SC2 players. Their streams are more casual, their sponsorship representation/love is taken less seriously/not cared for, their players have fewer twitter followers because they don't really care to work on advertising themselves or their media and in general the gaming industry finds them harder to deal with for these reasons but also quite frankly because they are less mature. BOOM.. now a lot of people will read this and think of 1-2 names that "prove" me wrong or they will take this as a biased generalization that is a subtle jab at a great many people.. I can assure you it isn't. I say these things because I speak on a regular basis with your Sundances, Ohlens and the many other people that run tourneys, sponsor players and fund our very livelihood.. and the consensus on this is pretty damn consistent. Now I say this on my blog that is mostly about SC2/on TL because it ties into my point: Show them. SC2 has the most committed and loyal community in gaming. We pay to support those we love. We follow on twitter those we care about and we read on multiple forums stories about our players, fans, leaders etc etc. We are the result of 15 years of gaming taken very serious and for most of those years played at a level worthy of television broadcast. Our players rep sponsors very well (some better than others) and money comes into our game/community because it (for the most part) can be trusted to be given a fair chance at doing something. I very much so expect people to take issue with what I say in this portion of the blog but trust me.. when compared to the LoLs, Dota, CoD, Halo etc... SC2 is head and shoulders better at this.
What does show them mean? It means we have a responsibility to act more reasonable. Don't hate on them on shows (me and my kind!) don't post on forums mocking those games (unless good natured) and check them out.. cross pollinate! As we enter the new year CHECK OUT DotA2/LoL.. go DL CS:GO etc.. and tell them about SC2 BUT ALSO be open to hearing about their game. I am getting a bit chicken noodle soup here on you: Even if you only do this ONCE to one friend GOOD FOR YOU.. it's something you may have not done in the past and who knows? Maybe that person becomes the next Slasher? Point is: Lets not be too elitist. Lets not be mean about it and lets not fight to put down other communities because we are the best (we are ). Separate we are weaker, together we are STRONK.
PS: Worth noting I only slightly mentioned "we are fine" when discussing SC2. We are. We definitely are in a stage much unlike that of 2011. It is not unending growth here. It is teams collapsing, leagues shrinking in some cases, sponsors pulling etc... but it's also NECESSARY. eSports is riddled with poorly ran teams and mismanagement of money, players, resources etc. There are the tragic stories of teams/people that tried as hard as they could and it didn't work out. Fine. The stronger will step forward OR the weak will adapt/evolve and become strong. We needed this. We cannot have a 10 headed dragon around when we get that big break and are given the mainstream spotlight.. we need the fighters, survivors and the strong who KNOW what works and have earned their place to be there to reap the reward. It's rather capitalistic in sensibility I know.. but I think it is a good approach as well.
Proleague is here and it has a very real chance of being the torch we need to win over more of korea. MLG, NASL and IPL have all evened out and grown in many respects. That is 3 big shows that we can count on blowing our minds each year. DH is consistent, hell even ESL has improved in their own way. SC2 is here and it's strong.. trust me. 2013 will be better than 2012 and in many ways different but BETTER than 2011.. do we get 200k on a stream? Maybe maybe not.. but if we do it won't be because it's the only thing to watch but rather it is the BEST produced BEST game to watch.
We were dreamers.. but what do action people look like? What do we do? Who are we?
We must grow as human beings within this community. I think the only way I can possibly hold a candle to this is to acknowledge that for all my words I TOO am someone that needs to grow and to remain committed to that.
1. I can be a dick. I was a bully to Avilo many months ago on that SOTG and I was rude. I can be like that. I am like that with friends and they accept that about me and talk over me or laugh me off. Avilo is not my friend and he didn't deserve to be treated that lightly/meanly. Since then I have apologized to him and he and I have made peace. It wasn't public and as a role-model / leader I should have done it that way.. people should know that I should always be ready to accept my wrong doings and make them right. Well know it now!
I was a dick to Destiny on SOTG. He is loud, intelligent and aggressive much like myself. I am friends with the guy and we have talked that way in the past but guess what? I sometimes loose track of the fact I have thousands of people listening to me and maybe people don't want me bringing up their worst times (dick pix) and making a joke of it only to then yell at them/interrupt them when they come to defend themselves from an opinion they feel strongly about (sky is falling). I don't regret joking with him. I don't apologize for giving him shit.. but I sure as shit do apologize for getting carried away and then being too proud to not immediately contact him and say "sorry" because I owe him that much. If I anger someone or hurt them publicly and I was obviously being rude I owe them something.. so this is me publicly saying it. By the time you have read this I will have also msg'd him.. but I hope when you see this you read this as me holding myself accountable publicly. I am proud, I am a dick but I will be damned if I let those things stop me from trying to do better.
Too often I focus on the negative. I ended up deleting my reddit account. Not because reddit is evil or a lost cause.. but because I read too much negativity and allowed it to paint for me the picture that was that side of the community. I also got countless positive messages and supportive stuff.. I am also not a perfect human being and I am in the public eye so I will ALWAYS have people that plain don't like me, hate me or whatever.. if I allow those people to deter me I am undeserved of my station. People, you have heard me discuss this before and you have seen me work on this.. know that I am constantly working on this. I believe not having a reddit account for the time being is the right thing for me. One day I hope to be more in control of myself and capable of having outreach to the community at large without allowing it depress me, anger me etc..
2. I need to work harder. I am not a pure player now.. so I am sorry if people read this and think I have given up or something.. it's not like that. I am married, I need to support my wife in every way and I need to think of other people than myself. I will always play SC2 and I will play it more than 99% of the people that read this but I can no longer say it's my top priority. That being said I have a lot to offer. My stream needs to be as crisp as possible and probably scheduled so people have the best opportunity to see it. I need to take vods from my stream and put them out there... which means I need to stream line MYSELF! That brings me to 2013 updates:
1a. I will begin working on an actual youtube. I am going to make this as professional as I possibly can. That means hiring people (sharing ad rev) to help me do video work, graphic work and in general make it as clean/amazing as possible. Content: replay / game analysis, vlog - personal, sc2, scene etc.. AND I am going to probably do some other stuff here as well.. I am debating on this but maybe a comedy video (standup kind of stuff) or gaming outside of SC2 (reviews, board games played at EG residence) etc..
Would love feedback on this
2a. My social media will be spruced up. I am fortunate enough to work with amazing people that volunteer their time in the name of helping me out. In the past that has been moderating my stream.. in the future that will be improving/maintaining my facebook fan page/tl fan page etc
I want people to have 0 roadblocks in knowing everything about me and following me if they wish
3a. [this is subject to revision - may not happen] Sponsor a player. Honestly it's silly of me to include this because it's literally only at the planning stages but this BIG ass blog is kinda a tradition for me and this is something that I will do if I can and I want to include it here. I want to pay a salary, train, give twitter/streaming support (get them an overlay etc) and in general do everything I can to make a person a progamer. I want to find a committed, young masters level player who has aspirations of going pro and I want to help them along with the end result being they sign to a pro team. Those who can should.. and I can so I should. Again, this may not happen for a multitude of reasons but this is something I feel very strongly about. Totalbiscuit/GennaBain's sponsorship of Bling and eventual formation of Ax has inspired me to do more. I think they are amazingly giving and I want to get on their level. More of this to come but this is what I am working on.
I feel like 2013 is a special year. It's the year of truth for us in SC2. It's the year we show we are a 10 year legacy game that can stand the test of time. It's the year we show that through adversity (diverse games at top tier) we can still be leaders and grow. Personally, I am capable of more. It's time to do more.
Beyond my bullet points expect me to do better at casting. I want to research players before tourneys and not just piggyback off my knowledge from play / knowing the players. I want to vote with my wallet better and subscribe to the top leagues and vocalize my support so we can have discourse on who deserves it the most and what others can do to raise themselves up. I will be on ITG as usual but also I want to be on more shows.. I know I stepped down from SOTG as a consistent anchor because of internal issues but also fear of being around too much drama but I think being on 2-3 shows and actively trying to minimize the drama is the cooler choice, you agree? And finally.. FUCK THE HATERS I am going to give some serious effort to winning a god damn tourney or placing as high as my big ass can go. That means accepting that I am not a full time player BUT committing before an MLG or IPL or w/e to training like one for a few weeks before.. I ain't getting any younger.
Thank you for reading my gigantic ass wall of words. Thank you for being a part of my life and thank you for being a part of this gaming world. I truly believe I lead an extremely charmed life and it's only made possible because of the wonderful people I have in my life.. and that means you guys. Haters and lovers alike <3 Hold me to these words and work with me to make them possible!
Happy new year <3