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My name is Jessica Chernega and I'm a 22 year old media arts and animation student at the art institutes. I'm four months away from graduating with a focus on 3D game environment and prop modeling. I've always been competitive and active in sports, such as basketball, football, rugby, and track and field, among a lot of other things. I grew up with older brothers and all male cousins, so yeah, I was a tomboy for the majority of my life. I knew about Starcraft from the N64 days and decided to buy Starcraft 2 upon release. It took me maybe six months to realize there was this thing called 'e-sports', and another six to realize how big it was.
Around two years ago I became pretty invested in watching it, and around a year ago pretty invested into playing it (with the first step getting over ladder anxiety). I also got into the Brood War scene around that time, and as such most of my knowledge of the scene is second-hand or made through watching old VODs or reading old guides/stories/etc.
I'm currently a masters terran and my highest point rating was ~1350 in Season 2 (before taking a hiatus for my final portfolio) and a pretty good win record vs. all. I'm on team Starcraft2Strategy (with fellow MLG community caster MrLllama :D) and am 'playing coach' of the terrans.
So with intros done, I decided to split the blog into two days and tried to divvy it up with sub-categories, because it did end up being kind of long! It'll pretty much just be how it came to be, cool things that happened, how I felt casting for such a large audience, and what the reaction of the community was!
Day 1: Friday
Like everyone else (I think), I was chosen by Axeltoss by applying when MLG said they were looking for community casters. I always kind of regretted not going for the IPL Caster Search, and when it came to MLG, I remember something my father told me when I explained to him the IPL search. "Worst case is they say no and you make a few contacts, best case you get far." Simple enough, right? But I just shrugged and said maybe. Not this time. I just reminded myself constantly, "why not?", and applied. I was definitely surprised when I got a reply back saying he was interested in some of us and to further fill out a questionnaire, and even MORE surprised when I was picked for the 8 casters.
I was ecstatic, but didn't want to tell the world in case something went wrong (which has happened and will continue to happen, and almost happened if it weren't for Axeltoss being AWESOME), plus we were told to keep it on the down-low later. However, I wanted to learn as much as possible before the big debut, and really tried to delve into studying replays and learning every little tidbit I could (kind of like the guy who has the book out right before the test paper comes out and hopes to get that one extra question correct, right?). I used to play zerg and play terran now, so my protoss was my weakest, and I tried to focus on that. PvZ especially, actually, since I dislike that matchup and zone out whenever there is theory around it. Of course, getting my kitten that Wednesday significantly decreased my study time, but I didn't mind. :D
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The kitten was really the highlight of the stream, let's be honest.
Casters & Games:
Me, Wyrd, and Vex had all tested everything out Wednesday, but to anyone who has tried to set up a big stream or event, it's no surprise we had last-minute repairs and changes. We fixed everything at exactly 8:30pm EST and went live from there with around 500 people already tuned into the stream. Wyrd and I were headliners, and it wasn't too long at all before we got started casting series. Honestly, day 1 was a lot of not-so-big-names, but we definitely had a few good names (Puck, Nathanias, Golden, Apocalypse, desRow, Dear, Tilea come to mind for day 1). We rotated casters every two bo3 and it worked out perfectly for day 1.
The response on stream was actually amazing, and when it was my time to sit out (which ended up being sitting out for the rest of the night) a lot of people were asking me to come back on, and I'd like to think it wasn't just because I'm a woman. Wyrd and I have and are casting together a lot, with him complimenting my lack of protoss knowledge by being a protoss himself. Vex was a little more inexperienced, and I think it took him some time to get warmed up, because he was a fine play-by-play commentator, but his initial debut was not met with 100% fairness T_T. However, I got to talk with stream for a good two hours waiting out the night, and it was a lot of fun at around ~2000 viewers.
Reactions and Things That Made My Night:
One of the things I remember the most was casting Nathanias vs. Dear, and Dear was going for a very early gateway on Neo Planet S. As a terran, I despise this move, because the idea is to chrono out a zealot, stalker, and mothership core before a bunker is up (and even if it is, it's possible to bypass it since it'll have ~2 marines in it). You can also follow it up with chronoing out more stalkers into a four gate, and it feels HUMILIATING to see three units END the game. Anyway, I called it like that, saying first step HAS to be putting the CC on the high ground, which Nathanias did. However, he didn't have enough units to push it back and ended up losing a short game.
So after this game ended I go back to chat and see some guy, I have no idea who or his username or anything, said something like 'wow, smart girl...' among a lot of other good-to-great feedback. I dunno what it was about his specific reaction, but it was probably the idea of surpassing at least one person's expectation of a female caster. Now, I could go into a lot of theory and discussion about the ins-and-outs of female gamers, but I don't really want to. I'll just leave it at that's what I would like to do to more people. Make them rethink the stereotype that might have been reinforced from others in the community, and leave them thinking 'hey, maybe there is no difference, female and male commentators'.
Day 2: Saturday
Alright, Saturday. This was when the BIG numbers came in. Nervous? A little bit. 2000 seemed to be a perfect number last night, and we were expecting double to triple depending on who was cast. I just tried to tell myself to remember I was going to cast players I absolutely LOVE, LIVE, and in the same LOBBY as them, and that helped a lot. :D Plus, when we booted up, a lot of the cool cats from last night were still there cheering us on!
Players & Games:
Saturday ended up being exactly what we expected. I believe casting Jaedong vs. LzGamer had our top viewer count at around ~5500, and while it was short and sweet (JD 2-0 of course!), I was giddy knowing I could technically talk to Jaedong. I mean, I'm the type to give ForGG a link to a kpop playlist and have his response make my day a little better, so these small things seemed pretty big to me. I also got to talk a little with theSTC, telling him I loved his stream, as well as Suppy, telling him DC was supporting him, and Illusion, to pretty much say the same thing. Grubby liked my name (ZombieGrub hurhur) and was very friendly in the BNET chat and demolished his terran opponent (even had funny banter about how greedy the terran was playing, 4 CCs before 10 mins or something lol!).
Cool Things That Happened:
So I got like 60 more followers on Twitch and Twitter, including some big names, so that was cool. Someone on stream chat also wanted to know how to contact me for business stuff, but I was casting and didn't catch his name/give him info. Wyrd also saw Engine tweet a picture, which ended up being US during kitten downtime!
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Not my best picture but the kitten is cute so.
Now I checked reddit and the TL LR thread to find out HOW he got this picture, and didn't see anything, so it must be that he was watching at least a little bit of us, right?! I'm not ready to believe that though, and am still on the hunt to see who tweeted it at him/posted it.
This MLG was plagued with stream bots that spammed 'live girls' links, which other streamers blamed me for, QQ. But our stream was cool enough to just turn it into a funny running joke, #livegrills. Seriously, our stream was the best. Our mods were also GREAT. Anytime I had a chance to look at the chat, I didn't see any sexist/racist/downright troll comments, and only a few creepy comments which I'm sure our mods were thinking 'is that ban-worthy?' I decided for them in the end haha.
In The End:
So to summarize, it was an absolute BLAST. Great people watching great games casted by great people. I was afraid things would go sour from the get-go, and everything turned out a lot better than expected. I really want to thank my co-casters for being so cool (especially Vex who took nearly zero breaks as he was streaming the WHOLE time!) and Axeltoss, who coordinated this whole thing. Oh, also Zoia, who was the big brother of the operation since he was so experienced. Followed through with the caster profiles, checked in on all streams, made sure any questions were answered, etc. Great guy. :D
So now it's back to just being a player for the time being. I need to get myself back up to last season's skill and then improve upon that. I hope to continue casting in the future for big events, but I do enjoy playing the most.
Oh, and lastly, thanks to everyone who watched/enjoyed! I guess if you have any questions n' stuff feel free to post em.