I will start this by saying that due to some issues in my personal life, the end of 2016 and first half of 2017 was filled with stress and anxiety. I found out that what helped me in those moments was watching the StarCraft 2 streams, playing the game or just working on stuff related to those. In other words, I’ve been following the scene for a while and doing this and that, but that’s how I ended up doing SC2 related things almost 24/7.
The end of 2016 was also the end of many KeSPA teams, followed by many Korean pro players getting into streaming, often not knowing much about the platforms before. I’ve been following many of them because of Proleague and at that point I had quite a bit of experience with Twitch and related things being a Crank mod for about 2 years, so I was able to help wherever I was needed. Some people started jokingly calling me the Sword Master from all the mod icons I got :D Eventually, I made a short beginner guide to setting up the stream from Twitch side of things and it got translated to Korean thanks to sargee and Crank.
While we’re at it, I want to mention something that I see a lot with language barriers. When the person doesn’t know English very well and doesn’t understand someone on the first try, many people immediately completely drop grammar and start speaking with keywords. I’d like to encourage you to try using proper sentences (with punctuation and whatnot) in those situations, just in simplified form. I know that it’s especially hard for native speakers but it helps the beginners in learning the right way and it also makes it easier to copy paste things into google translate with better results. My knowledge of Korean is minimal but with the simple English method I was able to communicate with several people on various skill levels.
Apart from helping with Twitch, I’ve also created or helped manage a few Discord servers. One of the more successful ones is herO’s which was started back in February and is still actively used both by him and the fans. (invite) You should check out Creator’s server as well as he’s learning to use it more frequently! (invite) You can often meet TRUE on his own server too. (invite) We’re still waiting for the promised Stats server but it seems he has more important things on his mind right now ;P
I’ve also saved a player (or more?) from getting into a likely scam team as we discovered that someone previously known as Buffalo is active again as MmC and trying to get unaware Korean players into his newly created organizations. Long story short, he’s known for promising a lot but not delivering it.
One more funfact from February. On the Valentine’s Day I played in OlimoLeague vs ByuN and got casted by the English stream. So far I’ve been casted in OlimoLeague like 3 times total but what was so special about this one was that I tried to proxy hatch on Proxima Station. Needless to say it failed but it was fancy enough to create a small legend.
One of the biggest events of 2017 for me was IEM Katowice. It wasn’t the first live event I attended, not even first IEM WC. What was different this time was that I wasn’t just a fan anymore, one of many followers waiting for an autograph. I got to talk to some of the players earlier, helping them with their streams, and I was going to the event to meet them and exchange a few words in person. I’m generally shy and for years it’s been my dream to be able to talk to pros, so it was a huge thing for me. I was literally shaking as I was on my way to the venue. But somehow, as soon as they responded to my “hi”, all of my stress was gone. That’s when I confirmed that the SC2 scene is my place, that is where I want to be.
I’ve known TRUE the longest (back from when he was at the Axiom house haha), so he was my guide around. And he did a great job as the “oppa” (older bro for a girl), introducing me to people and making sure I feel welcomed in the pro community. Whenever he was busy, Stats would look after me instead, always friendly and cheerful, willing to chit chat now and then despite still not being very confident with his English. And last but not least, herO. The first time I saw herO was live at IEM Katowice 2014 and after seeing his fancy playstyle and positive attitude, I started following his matches, the Korean scene and paying more attention to the SC2 esports in general. 3 years later the story came full circle as I got to meet him again but this time as his mod and tech support friend. I can’t emphasize enough how much all those little things mean to me.
Apart from meeting the players, I got to spend some time with the Netwars people as well. If you don’t know who the Netwars are… well, if you ever watched IEM Katowice, you should They are an organization of crazy esport fans who cheer for their favorites but also make sure to encourage the rest of the crowd to do so. Banners, cheerfuls, chants, gadgets and more, the atmosphere they create is really unique. If you want a small low quality taste of what it’s like joining them on the audience, you can check my YT playlist.
After IEM, I continued working, trying my best to contribute to the SC2 scene. Apart from promoting the events leading the team of @StarCraftEsport and acting as online tech support for streamers, I decided to help in another way. I collected all currently open tournament sign ups into one clear list with deadlines and basic information. It makes it easier for the players to find stuff to participate in and easier for the organizers to promote their events and get people to sign up. Since the beginning I’ve received a lot of help from Light_VIP and Kashim in keeping the list up to date.
General & Pro list: User:(16thSq) Kuro/Open Tournaments
Amateur Only list: User:(16thSq) Kuro/Amateur Tournaments
Team League list: User:(16thSq) Kuro/Team Tournaments
I was also helping out at the DankShrine. At the time, they were creating a weekly talk show inviting players and personalities and letting the audience ask questions. The guests were often Korean players and with Seeker translating live, it allowed for interaction between the Korean and foreign scene which wasn’t normally possible. My part was managing their Discord server, sometimes making posts here and there, as well as preparing announcement graphics for the show with few interesting facts about the invited guest.
+ Show Spoiler +
I'm a very serious graphic designer doing very serious job.
I'm a very serious graphic designer doing very serious job.
My own career got a little bit of a boost too, as I was hired to cover WCS Jönköping and WCS Valencia on the official DreamHack StarCraft 2 Twitter account. That was a great experience and I learned a lot about various tools I can use and the coverage in general.
As I mentioned before, I’m generally shy and I was suffering from stress. What really helped me with both of those was finding a group to play and hang out with. All of us met in the CranKy community and at some point we started to play arcade and team games together. With their help, from someone who is too afraid to speak on the mic, I became the host of our clan stream and I’m working on my own channel as well (more about that later). I also recorded some songs but you’re probably never getting to hear those haha
But the CranKy community is even greater than that. They knew that my PC was getting old and it was becoming difficult to keep up with increasingly more technical issues popping up. It caused a lot of frustration when I wasn’t even able to properly cover events on Twitter, let alone watch streams or play games. That’s why they decided to gather the community and make a surprise gift for my birthday creating a crowdfunding page for my new gear. They reached out to several personalities who supported and promoted the cause. In a bit over 2 months they managed to collect over $2000 which was enough for a gaming laptop with very good specs. I would never imagine that I would receive that much support from the community, especially since I’m still quite a nobody. But honestly, what touched me more than the amount of donations were all the messages that I received from people being grateful for my work. It really means a lot to hear that people actually notice what you’re doing and they appreciate it.
There is also a particular person who really turned my life around this year. One of the most hard-working behind the scenes people and my boyfriend - Light_VIP. Without him I probably wouldn’t be able to do half the things I’ve done as he always gives me a lot of support: from personal support, through doing a lot of hard work for our projects, helping with figuring things out and contacting people, scheduling work, to pointing out when I do things wrong. He’s been coaching me in the game itself too (we actually got GM in Archon mode lol). Thanks to him I’m becoming not only better organizer and admin but also a better person as a whole. He’s been also doing a great job revitalizing @StarCraftEsport team, keeping @SC2Birthdays and sign up list up to date and contributing to several other projects whenever he can. We’ve met thanks to the SC2, and more precisely the CranKy community, and we feel very grateful for that.
Speaking of the CranKy community, for years we’ve been thinking about creating a tournament for Crank’s viewers/subscribers. Time passed and there were always more important things to work on, so the idea has been pushed away. Somewhere in the middle of 2017, our small playing group mentioned earlier did a random tournament called “The Bullshit Cup” where we would play a round robin between each other while those currently not playing were casting. Encouraged by how much fun we had with that little event, we decided that it’s time to actually start planning the CranKy tournament, mostly between each other to not give Crank more workload. Unfortunately, months passed and once again other things took priority, and with Crank focusing on the Korean channel, eventually putting his English stream on hiatus, the idea of viewer only tournament had to be scratched.
We didn’t give up on the idea of the tournament itself though and that is how CranKy Ducklings became a thing. Originally, we created the Twitter profile under that name to promote the members of the CranKy clan when they participate in tournaments, stream etc. We did realize though that as much as a few of us are totally fine getting rekt by pros/higher ranked players, there is a decently sized group of people who aren’t confident enough/willing to do so. And so it was settled - we are creating an amateur tournament to show people that it’s not just about scores but about the participation and trying your best. We looked at other tournaments that were currently available and found out that there were some dedicated both to EU and NA timezones but not much for the Asia/ANZ region, so that’s what we went with. It was actually quite convenient considering our interest in the Korean scene, my experience with helping out with OlimoLeague and Light knowing the SEA/ANZ scene being from Australia. At the end of October, we announced the very first Sea Duckling Open with me and Light as the admins. (Sea Duck is actually a species btw, quite fancy, that’s why it’s not spelled SEA)
Being aware that we aren’t well-known organizers and that the lower league tournaments often suffer low numbers, our approach was positive but realistic. We were very happy to see 9 people sign up on week 1 and very much positively surprised when we reached the threshold of at least 12 players already on week 5 and retained that level of sign ups so far. What was even more surprising than the player numbers though, was the development of our stream and community. Originally, apart from rewarding the champion, we were planning to pick the most interesting game(s) of the weekly and send them for Crank to cast on his channel. To do so, we had to go through all of the replays and discuss which one to pick. The “jury” was made of the admins, Light and me, and our usual 3v3 partner, Yakuzaku. We were supposed to just watch them together in our free time but after game 1 with Yaku’s intros, our trio commentary, banter and awful jokes, I realized that this is too good to not be shared with everybody, so I spontaneously launched my stream. It turned out that quite a few people enjoyed the broadcast and we got the tournament participants commenting on the games either in chat or invited to the call. With that successful event, we decided to create a proper channel for CranKy Ducklings. Since then the stream has improved a lot, Yaku became the star of the show and we got a live cast as well thanks to Steelmold later joined by our first champion All-In Lumiya. Right at the end of December, during our end-of-season showmatches, the channel reached 50 followers making us eligible for the Twitch Affiliate program after only 2 months of streaming. That’s better than what we could have ever expected and I’m very proud of what we created in terms of tournament organization, entertainment and community.
So as you can see, 2017 was quite a ride. As for my plans for this year, I will continue working on developing CranKy Ducklings and help the SC2 scene where I can. I started more regular streams on my personal channel as well as I always thought that my single player role-playing could be quite interesting. Anyway, happy new year, guys, and let’s hope that 2018 can be even more successful!