So I’ve left FXOpen. Before I joined (Dec 11, 2010 officially), I told myself that if this wasn’t ‘the’ thing that made esports work for me, I would quit trying. Two years later, that’s exactly what happened.
You can skip the next 5-6 paragraphs if you don’t really care about me. If you’re expecting a polished read, don’t, I just wrote this tonight and I cant be bothered to proofread.
The start (you can skip this all if you dont really care)
Since most people only know me from FXO onwards, I guess it would be fitting to explain my history. Growing up I was always in to technology and games, and when I hit 11-12, I started getting fat and my parents split up, so it wasn’t a very pleasant time in my life and that’s when I escaped most in to video games (not even sure what games I was playing in 2002/03, I had a bad PC so probably was still playing WC2/HOMM). Then in high school (I vividly remember this exact moment in my mind), it was orientation day where I met a guy called Stefan, who mentioned that he liked Counter-Strike. I had never even played CS, but for some reason I knew what it was, and decided to try and make a friendship out of this. We became friends, and one day told me to come with him to an internet cafe (it was called ‘The Zone’, and boy oh boy do I have many memories and stories). There, I first got to play WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne, and my life was forever changed. I had only played RoC before with my brother and our 2 friends (we used to go to their houses a lot and 4 player LAN loads of games like MOHAA, Diablo 2, WC3 ROC, etc) and I absolutely loved it, and so TFT was so exciting for me and I immediately tried to get it at home, probably playing hours on end against the computer and getting stomped.
Then, oh boy, came one fateful day where I was googling away and found something about WC3 replays. From there I found wcreplays.com, and learned that people played WC3 professionally, like, for money. Like, holy shit? I must have downloaded every single WC3 replay on WCR from the 2004-2006 period, I remember at one point my replay folder having 1500 files in it. I remember finding out about Grubby, who then went on to win WCG that year, and I was a huge fan. I guess it’s his fault I got sucked in to all of this, thanks Manuel. For all this time, though, I was just a fan, and if I had known that there was a “forum” button, I would’ve been an active community member but instead I just watched hundreds of replays and followed dozens of tournaments, because of this I think I can recall just about any players country/race if you ask me, lame super powers right. 2005 was the time that I got introduced to the Bored Aussie server (http://forums.boredaussie.com/). This is where I really got in to DotA, before that I had only played at net cafe with friends on US West, bearing with that 300+ ping and Stealth Assasin with blink/death ward/lvl 5 invis and Sand Kings that went “mass nulls” because it was a “legit strat”. I havent posted on the BA forums in about two years, but I’m still #18 on most posts, I was top 5 or so at one point (sickbrag). As I said, for all this time I was just a fan, but then one day I saw MYM was recruiting admins for the next MYM Prime Defending, #5 or #6 I think, it was 2007 (I’ll go off on a tangent about this later), and I recruited to be an admin for the Oceanic region. They said yes, and I was the most horrible admin ever. Like so many little retards, I just wanted a tag, like really, how cool and famous was the MYM tag? Eventually, s1rro (the head admin and most retarded retard in DotA history) told me that there wasn’t really a need for admins, and suggested I do writing.
MYM to FXOpen
So, s1rro changed my title on MYM from DotA Admin to DotA Editor, and from there I kicked off my esports life. At the time, it was just a poorly structured bunch of people writing whatever and whenever they wanted. There wasn’t even a division leader if I remember correctly, so it really was just silly. Then Rinoa (Neha) joined as DotA head, and everything changed. She turned us from a bunch of little taghunting morons into an efficient content producing machine, and it was definitely the turning point in taking things more seriously. Sadly, she got royally fucked over because one of the MYM high ups wanted to give his girlfriend a job, and replaced them. They still hate eachother, hohoho. But what started there kept me going for a long, long time doing writing.
Then MYM died, T_T. I kinda was doing nothing for a little while there. Then MYM came back, and boy oh boy was it different. The new owners were (I think 1 or 2 still are) the German guys that were from Wicked eSports, but there were still lots of old faces. Jonas Gebhardt (his ID was The1Crow) was the editor in chief, and is one of the more influential people in my time in esports. He was part of the ‘old’ MYM as well, so knew me and knew what he was doing, and for the first time I felt like I was with a group of people doing something that I could really make something of. There was basically Jonas, myself, Frank (Mirhi, now IPL head honcho), Eric (was EIC of joinDOTA), Pouyan (Elven_Star and fellow WC3 lover), Albert (Chinese guy who ran CS 1.6 part of MYM). Jonas left after a while and Eric took over as the EIC, and we had the fun fun task of trying to make myMYM.com the #1 English esports website again. I don’t think we got there, but we did a pretty fucking good job and it was definitely the most rewarding and interesting thing I did in esports.
This was also the first time money was involved. It was only a few hundred euros, but it was still an actual reason other than passion to do something. After this, I think money was all I cared about any more. All I wanted was a proper job in the industry – not just some online spare change shit. Sadly, I live in Australia (Adelaide even moreso), and that just wasn’t gonna happen 3 years ago. Perhaps this is why I really dislike people like HD and Husky, who were just in the right place at the right time and their popularity exploded and now they (well, not sure about HD any more) filthy amounts of money just by saying “HEY GUYS IM H TO THE USKY HUSKY AND IM GONNA BE CASTING ANOTHER ONE VERSUS ONE STARCRAFT II WINGS OF LIBERTY MATCH ON TALDARIM ALTAR” and being “le epic xDDD”. Anyway, MYM gave me lots of experience and also left me bitter – some promises by some people were broken, and I lost lots of trust. They dangled some things in front of my nose, but were ultimately unreachable, also the management were completely fucking awful, so I left, and it’s no wonder that they’re 1% of what they once were. Disgraceful, really. Then came the ol’ esportsdaily.com.au thing – Kwan was super excited and kept tabs on people to start a new website, with clear goals set out and everything. It launched. I never got a message after that, and it died in a flash. Woops, reminder to never get too ahead of yourself.
In 2010 I was running some WC3 tournaments on BA with no prizes, just one day I had the spontaneous idea to get the 8 people that were playing all day to have a tournament. It went down well, and I kept doing them. I did about 6 or so, and everyone had fun, and I had fun, and WC3 on BA was kept alive thanks to me. StarCraft II beta came out, and the natural progression came. Thanks to Frank, I got to play a bit of the beta early on on his account, and eventually got a key. I, along with deL, spearheaded the CyberGamer.com.au tournaments, and we did a pretty decent job. From there, came FXOpen. Josh (FXOBoSs) and Dan (Unstable) had a horrendously awful first event, and decided that getting people that knew what to do would be beneficial. They asked deL, and then deL suggested me. I got a Skype message one day from Josh – “Hey, do you want to work for us?” and here I am.
<Okay, you can start reading again>
So FXOpen comes along – and as I said at the start, I told myself, after all of the broken promises and failed attempts at stuff, if this wasn’t it then I was quitting. When I joined, I thought it was really going to be something special. I was kind of right, my initial thoughts were still kind of ‘old-esports’ based, the days when MYM and SK were the big dogs were what was my way of understanding still, and it took me a little to really understand the streaming revolution properly, even though I saw it coming. I thought that FXOpen had lots of money (which it does), and that would translate in to a huge investment into esports (which it kind of did), and this would in the long term, result in something concrete for me (which it did not).
To be honest, Josh was waaaaaaaaaaay too gung ho about doing stuff. While we started out small and containable, soon there was the want for more tournaments and players to do more things. Myself and deL did a shit ton for all of the tournaments and KOTHs, and announcing a “Date TBA” $20,000 finals which had no actual structure or anything was definitely not the smartest idea. You have no idea how often sYz would harass me on Skype asking about what was going on (he got 11 wins in a row in one of the EU KOTHs, putting him easily #1 of the ranks), and having to say “I don’t know” over and over felt pretty bad for both of us. I think Josh would agree, but that was the past, so we can’t do anything now. I’m kind of ashamed I didn’t argue against it enough, because I had a tiny feeling in the back of my mind that it wasn’t really going to happen.
Originally the ‘plan’ of sorts was that if things kept getting better, myself and Alan (Raelcun) would move to Malaysia and work full time for FXOpen. Dan moved there mid-late 2011 I think, I can’t remember the exact date, but it was a while in to everything. Our events kept getting better, our team got better (fOu absorption) and seemingly everything was falling in to place just nicely. But nothing happened. I had too much invested to give up hope, but there was a little niggling in the back of my head that said it wasn’t going to happen. I felt kind of shitty when the team went to GSTL – really one of the most amazing opportunities, and I felt like I should’ve gotten something. Maybe I’m just overly bitter now, although seeing qxc all kill IM was pretty fucking amazing. I still remember about a week before everyone was set to go, someone gave Filthy (Australian player) his itinerary for the trip, only to have him reply “I didn’t say I wanted to go”. Awkwarrrrrrrd. Karl (Optikzero) got there, played 1 game in GSTL and then said he didn’t want to play any more. :/. I dunno, I just felt uncomfortable looking back at all of it. Slowly things started to go downhill a bit – players leaving (qxc, Sheth, glade) etc, I felt kind of frustrated having seen how much FXOpen had given them, Glade in particular. I dunno if that feeling was justified, and I guess I’ll never know. Our events, however, seemed to be getting better and better. deL randomly left one day, saying “Tell me when you shut up” or something, and left the Skype chat. :S. So then I was on my own to run the next few tournaments, I did okay, but was always a little nervous and was too scared to tell stupid players that they were stupid when they did stupid things.
The most recent Invitational, however, was a complete disaster. We changed format to include a bunch of qualifiers, which had me having like 5 hours sleep for 2 days and running tournaments almost the entire other time. I went to sleep one night and it felt like I was having a fucking heart attach ($5 on paypal anyone that gets that joke) or something, and I was actually unable to sleep and felt like I was going to die… so I had to cancel 2 of the qualifiers, oops 😦 Anyway, the only other mistake I made was that I mistimed one of the groups (I put the groups with Americans on separate times than the normal all-KR ones), and I thought it was 30 minutes later than it was, so I woke up when it meant to start, showered/ate etc and then I get to my PC and I see skype msgs from Scarlett and HerO like “Uh whats going on?” – it all worked out in the end, though!
The real problem was just YouTube. YouTube is pretty fucking amazing. Like, really amazing. They just didn’t bother to make good software for YouTubeLive. The CPM and fill rates (read: how much money you make) on YTL are MILES better than Twitch/own3d, like, it’s not even close. But, in order to be able to make money from YouTube… you have to go through a lot. Josh and Dan worked their asses off with seemingly the slowest replying people on the internet to get it working, and when we did, it was mixed. To play an ad on YouTube you have to use Wirecast for YouTube, however using that client with SC2 didn’t work properly, and as a result, we had to pipe the video feed in to XSplit, then in to Wirecast, and stream it like that. It looked bad. It was incredibly smooth and stable, but it looked bad. If YouTube just had a Twitch/Own3d like “Play ad” button, I might not be sitting here making this post. Combine this with lolol Malaysian internet, and you have a completed tournament that only ever got 30% broadcasted to fuck all viewers because we had to go through ridiculous hoops with TL to get the stream linked on the main page (you can’t embed with YouTubeLive). I did all I could, and I guess my best wasn’t goooooood enough.
At first the Koreans seemed distant and I didn’t think I was going to be able to connect to them on a personal level due to the language and culture barrier, but I tried to learn a little Korean and speak with them enough, and now I think it’s pretty comfortable. I’m really glad I did this, and I urge others to as well if you’re really in to SC2. Hangul is ridiculously easy to learn, and simple Korean is pretty cool, just google talktomeinkorean and you can learn it all and then you can tweet at Eve saying cute things all you want. Luckily there was one friend named InnateMasteR, who was pretty much fluent English, due to this, we became friends pretty much instantly. He was a really really good Terran player, and was high masters, and then put his mind to it and broke in to GM on Korea and did really well. He was always looking for a team, and was 99% about to join StarTale, but then they said no. T_T. Anyway, I told him to apply for FXOpen and I would put in a good word, he did, and Choya agreed and so my best Korean buddy was now on the team, and I was so happy :3 He never broke out, which made me sad, he got to the finals of his Code B group, and was leading 1-0 vs Bomber but then got 2 BO losses and was out. Now he’s retired and in the military, and got engaged to his girlfriend :3 Not sure why I said all this, maybe I just needed to point out that I’ve made LOTS of friends on the journey, this just being one case.
Most recently, FXOpen absorbed Legion (LgN) – I wasn’t really in to this idea. The rationale was that we would get everything we needed: a website (I’m not even gonna talk about the last website because I will get too angry), staff (proper translators/website etc) and a presence in NA again, as well as a community feeling that we never really had. By this time my passion was waning, and thoughts of leaving were coming more and more. To be perfectly honest, I have no fucking clue what they were doing most of the time. Every second day I’d get a random tweet “<random NA guy> has joined fxopen wow congrats!” and I was just dumbfounded as to what was going on. We were the best team in the world (2x GSTL and Leenock, you can’t even argue that) and yet we had to resort to this crap. Then Josh left FXOpen due to other reasons (0.0001% about esports), and that was really the straw that broke the camels back. Everything I was banking on disappeared in a spray of lighter fluid ($5 on paypal anyone that gets that reference) and I decided to call it quits, and here I am today.
I wish I didn’t have to, if I could’ve just gone to Korea and done media stuff there I’d have been so happy and fucking killed it. Imagine Seltzer with less attractive breasts but 10x the knowledge and an actual interest in players/teams/how the industry was. Granted, I don’t look anywhere near as good as her in a dress, MahE either. Choya even said after they won the first GSTL that if they made the finals again, he’d fly me to Korea. Well, he didn’t. I was 50% expecting it and 50% really thinking that he would, but no, it seems I’m doomed to never go to a proper event and experience the thing I’ve been doing and passionate about for the last 6 years first hand.
That’s about all about FXOpen, I’m sure I missed a boatload, and if you bothered to actually read it and want to ask, go ahead.
My general thoughts about esports
Esports isn’t fair, and it won’t ever be. Some talentless, gimmicky people will succeed because this is a business, and not a sport. Just remember, you are watching people play a video game. Players and teams are just marketing tools, and I doubt it will get to the point of being the good kind of human billboard. At the moment, teams have to convince sponsors to help them, while I don’t think Real Madrid [hola, como estas (i doubt you’re still reading though)] and Man Utd have to spend all of their time trying to find sponsors.
People think theres lots of money, when there really isn’t. The money is very top heavy, and the only way esports is ever going to succeed is if there is motherfucking regionalisation. Korea did it, and look what happened to them. You don’t have to always be the best in the entire world, if you can create a domestic product that works, why don’t you? I dunno, maybe I’m just channeling my inner keekerdc.
Real sports have venues, where they charge people admission to enter a door to watch a game. Esports doesn’t have this, and it’s really the biggest thing, in my opinion, that will stop esports from every growing to the same size as other sports. And just remember, you’re watching people playing a video game. Sometimes it’s beautiful, but most of the time, you’re just watching people playing a video game.
So, in my years of doing this, I’ve met thousands of people from pretty much every corner of the planet. Time to look through my Skype and remember people. Get ctrl+f ready for your name :>
First off, the most influential people:
Grubby – without Grubby, I don’t think I would’ve stuck around and really gotten properly in to WarCraft III, and on to everything else. Also the greatest Orc player of all time. OF ALL TIME.
Chris Schetter (keekerdc) – The absolute BEST blog in esports. I wish I had a million dollars to do something in esports, Chris would be #1 person I’d go to.
Josh (FXOBoSs) – I learned a lot about business and life from Josh, including many not so pleasant things. If it all went to plan it’d have been nice, but oh well, it didn’t 😦
Neha (Rinoa) – The time with her as EIC of MYM was the best, and I learned a shitload about how to properly do stuff.
Jonas (The1Crow) – The same, one of the nicest people ever and always, ALWAYS helpful. I can’t say enough nice things about Jonas.
Frank (Mirhi) and Eric (ReiNNN) – The time at the ‘new’ MYM just sitting in IRC talking about games was the best. And we made a pretty fucking good news website.
Probably more, but those were I think the most, as far as ‘work’ wise went. Now the rest :3
The /vg/ guys – I actually love all of you (even you Jambikun) guys for keeping shit real amongst le epic upboats of reddit and nazi retardation of TL. I actually fucking HATE MahE though. I’m not even kidding. I wish he would stop being an annoying cunt on Twitter and just fuck off to pretending he’s an insiderbro and go dress up in his mum’s clothes some more.
FXOpen guys – Unstable, deL and Raelcun – couldnt’ have done anything without you guys, and never a dull moment.
fams – Honestly, you were a little annoying sometimes, but your heart was always in the right place and if I ever needed something you’d be more than willing to help.
Mali (French guy with 10,000 names) – One of my longest esports friends, met via Shadowleague (lolol Ange scamming some more), and I helped you as best I could, and hopefully still can.
Sarra – She disappeared and I have no idea where she went. 😦 French girl that used to do stuff for Millennium.
Harry (hxd) – You joined Fnatic like a week or two after me, and were always a little annoying fag that wanted to talk about DotA. Now you’re the LoL manager and living the life. Actually nah I hate you. 😦 😦 😦
Janine – Probably the single nicest, honest and caring person I’ve ever met. Hopefully one day I’ll come to Germany and we can get some ice cream :3
Zechs – Your one article about Orly being good at SC2, thus meaning all WoW players weren’t shit at gaming was definitely one of the worst things I had ever read. Other than that, you put in so much time and effort, and though I didn’t agree much, I can’t say you didn’t influence my thinking.
Richard Lewis/Thorin/Malystryx – Pretty much the exact same as above, all put in ridiculous amounts of time and effort in the name of journalism. Thorin is still the most boring CS caster I ever listened to, though.
Roald/Qun – I don’t even know how we met, but always good for some fun times on Twitter. It’s a pity things didn’t work out for you guys either sometimes 😦
Yana/Alisha (Visarka/d0t4bunny) – TBOH
Phil R (i-dunno-how-to-spell-your-surname) – Always-been-a-friend-and-hopefully-I’ve-helped-you-out-as-much-as-you-helped-out-me-after-all-of-these-years.
Tobi – I remember once casting a game on BA with Tobi, I couldn’t get a word in. Nothing has changed 😀
Mick/Dan/Bruno/all the Quake people – Quake is the pinnacle of esports, and anyone that kept it going is a true legend.
Eric B (snatcch) and Terrence (MrBlue) – The only way I keep up with Dota2 any more, and always helpful with anything and everything I need.
Terence (SoloZ) – I wish I could’ve gone to Singapore and helped Flash. T_T
Mathias (losemann) – Still influential from the ‘old’ MYM days, and hopefully one day I’ll come to Thailand and see the incredible looking Neolution stuff first hand
Marcus Ho (Wind) – I remember him getting kicked out of a WCG event in China, I think. Always was doing the best coverage for MYM, ah the good old days.
Jasper – Literal philosopher
Polish Albert/seimys/tomko/Chinese Albert – The core of MYM, and some of nicest people ever.
All of the Koreans – I need a proper translation, not like they would’ve read this anyway, ha.
I’ve missed so many people, oh well.
If there’s one of you that has read through this all, you’ve pretty much been exposed to the last few years of my life. I just had to get everything off of my chest, and vent my frustrations about how I’ve fucked up a load of my life.
Always speak your mind, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you think something is wrong. If I had, maybe I wouldn’t be posting this. Esports isn’t as big as some people are making out. Just remember, you’re watching people playing a video game.
Since I’m a dark and edgy atheist, I end with a quote from Christopher Hitchens:
“Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.”