Restarting the Blog (again)

I once again find myself in the position where this blog has become neglected for over a year now; how did that happen? Well, it’s a long story so I won’t bore everyone with the details, but the good news is things seem be winding down to some sort of regularity in my life (finally) and I’ve decided it’s time to get back on the horse and get this blog going again.

Besides getting actual content back in this space, there will also probably be a few changes regarding the layout of this blog. Nothing major I imagine as I am currently way too busy to work on a completely new design, but a few tweaks here and there would do this blog good. Next, let’s discuss content topics. The majority of content on this blog will probably remain eSports and design related. I also may throw in some sports stuff during baseball season when I get the itch.

As for myself, I recently started a new job working for a design consultancy in center city Philadelphia. It’s a very interesting change as the work is entirely internal business operations focused and not marketing or communications. Outside work, I continue to play games in my spare time and I’m currently looking forward to the release of the upcoming MMORPG Wildstar Online from Carbine Studios. (Fingers crossed for a beta key soon?)

Unfortunately, I don’t get to watch nearly the amount of eSports content as I used to, but I like to stay abreast of current events nonetheless. For those that might be wondering, I don’t see myself getting back directly involved in eSports despite it being something I want to return to in some capacity eventually. Given the state of the industry and how I perceive things (and who knows I could be wrong), 2013 seems to be looking like a year of transition and change given the release of HotS and maybe DotA 2 coming out of “beta?” Oh, and who knows what’s going to happen within the FPS genre with CS:GO, Firefall, Planetside 2, etc. etc.

That’s really all I have right now and kudos to those of you who made it down this far. I’ll leave you guys with this – until next time.

On the topic of eSports

And then Milkis posted on r/strarcraft.

I can’t even begin to put words to how woefully ignorant and incorrect Milkis is on this entire topic so how about some things from other people first:

djWHEAT responds to near perfection:

I love how you are so passionate and intimate about the BW scene and what is stands for. But your ongoing attacks towards any non-BW related eSports is quite frankly fucking bullshit. You disrespect every gamer who has participated in eSports for the past 13 years.

You act as if no one else ever even cared about another game. That other gamers didn’t put blood, sweat, and tears into their game of choice.

You claim that BW is the only eSport, but I think eSports is the thousands of gamers (whether they play CS, Carom 3D, BW, WC3, Street Fighter, etc) who have a level of passion for the game that transcends what’s normal. The same gamers who compete on the highest tier of their level.

You just said fuck you to Justin Wong and Daigo.

You just said fuck you to Zero4 and Tox1c.

You just said fuck you to cArn and Frod.

How can you say fuck you to the legends who have put just as much of an effort into their game as someone like Flash or Jaedong?

Some tweets:

Who started this fucking silly rumor that BW and SC2 are the only competitive games that have an audience who doesn't play? #FALSE
@djWHEAT
djWHEAT
I'm so glad @'s comment was the first thing I read after @ Reddit blog before I raged to all hell. What a load of shit.
@Slasher
Rod Breslau
I'm glad everyone is shitting on Milkis. What a moron.
@marconofrio
Marc Onofrio
The Korean BW scene is nearly unparalleled, but most do not live in Korea. Our communities and sport evolved from Quake, Street Fighter, CS.
@Slasher
Rod Breslau
@ You need to make a decision. Support esports as a whole or not at all. There's no room here for attitudes like yours.
@brentruiz
Brent Ruiz

Just the other day, I noted Milkis made some excellent points on some of the issues surrounding eSports journalism, but I don’t think I have to explain why or how his narrow view of Korea vs the World is incorrect. If you want to say BW is the best eSport of all time, I think there might be merit in that discussion. However, as djWHEAT stated, to say the entire industry that helped fuel the growth of BW in Korea is not eSports is an insult to the thousands of pro gamers and individuals who have played, worked, and volunteered in this scene for over a decade.

The Korean BW scene is great. Probably the best eSports industry in the world. But that doesn’t mean there are not other strong scene’s out there. The German eSports scene, as an example, has been extremely successful over the past several years thanks in large part due to EPS and the work of a lot of local organizers. For all Milkis’ praise about how amazing the Korean scene is though, how come they still have yet to figure out a way to market and sell their product outside Korea? Milkis and those who agree with his logic will tell you it’s because the model just won’t work outside Korea.

If that is indeed the case, then perhaps the Korean Brood War model isn’t this ultimate form of eSports perfection some would have us believe.

A tweet from djWHEAT in conclusion:

I respect ALL eSports. And I'll just leave it at that. Each game/community has played a valuable role for us to be where we are today.
@djWHEAT
djWHEAT

The bottom line is eSports operates and exists as whole. If we accept the existance of this professional gaming or electronic sports industry, we must acknowledge to some extent all the parts of the whole that define us. From Quake to BW to CS to Halo to CoD to Trackmania to Action RTS to FGC to SC2 to SSBB to WoW and to everything in-between – it is all eSports.

Anything less is just ignorance.

Milkis makes some excellent points

TL/MLG translator Milkis responded to my post about eSports journalism with the following set of tweets:

@ esports journalists exist, just not outside of korea
@OrangeMilkis
Wooju Lee

I don’t completely agree with the notion of journalists not existing outside Korea, but he definitely hits the nail on the head here on some of these points with regard to journalism in Korea vs journalism outside Korea:

@ I don't know if I agree with that completely. Korea has more journalists, but I think they exist outside KR in smaller numbers
@tedottey
Ted Ottey
@ it's mostly just a lot easier for Koreans to have journalists cause esports is pretty centralized there unlike the foreign scene
@OrangeMilkis
Wooju Lee
@ you can never cover a good amount of content in a timely fashion outside of Korea because of that which is the biggest challenge
@OrangeMilkis
Wooju Lee
@ that's mostly because the journalists often have good working relationships with all the coaches/managers etc.
@OrangeMilkis
Wooju Lee
@ like journalists would often go on vacations with the teams to cover the event. but that's something that occurs due
@OrangeMilkis
Wooju Lee
@ due to the fact that they're centralized. some of the more sensitive news they do have to wait for official releases though
@OrangeMilkis
Wooju Lee
@ are they waiting on the story because they have to or because they have agreed with their sources to hold the story?
@tedottey
Ted Ottey
@ usually they're at the request of the source. Big pieces of news such as WeMade disbanding, BW teams, etc.
@OrangeMilkis
Wooju Lee
@ i think it's hard for the foreign scene since every team likes to release their own news in their own way rather than having
@OrangeMilkis
Wooju Lee
@ ..journalists release the news. Someone just needs to step up and become a good source of news before we can have anything like it
@OrangeMilkis
Wooju Lee

I’ll definitely be touching on some of these issues in future posts.

Do eSports Journalists Exist? (Part I)

Journalist

Do eSports journalists exist?

That’s not a loaded question. I mean it like it sounds.

This is a subject I’ve had on mind the past few days as the latest string of eSports events in October has finally come to an end. It is undeniable how far the eSports scene has come this past year, and not just StarCraft 2. Yet, despite all our progress, I sit here wondering what can we do to improve eSports media? As I attempt to find an answer that question, I find myself continually asking another:

Do eSports journalists exist?

I’ve had a few laughs over this question before with my good friend Patrick “chobopeon” O’Neill, and it’s even a question he’s adopted as his own personal tagline: what the hell is an e-sports journalist?

But I’ve been giving it some serious thought recently and I think before we can even begin to answer that question, we have to come to a common understanding of what it means to be a “journalist” and what we understand to be “journalism.” This is, of course, no easy task as the advent of the internet, social media, and mobile devices has challenged our definitions of these traditional media concepts.

For the sake of the discussion I’m trying to make with regards to eSports I would like to deposit the following definition for a journalist:

A journalist is someone who investigates and reports on events, issues, and other important topics in a timely manner by producing unique narrative content through a multitude of mediums that can have subjective slants.

To fully understand the concept and reasoning behind my use of this definition, I feel it prudent to debunk several existing content producers from what I believe to be true eSports “journalists.”

Before I do so, let me first say just because I believe the following groups are not journalists does not mean the content they produce is inferior in any way. In fact, these groups of individuals are necessary within our scene in order to keep a consistent flow of content.

1) Individuals who posts links/news on Team Liquid, Reddit or any other community aggregator or forum is not a journalist. Yes, reporting is part of the definition I used of a journalist; however, these individuals does not investigate the content being produced nor does he present it in a unique narrative form.

2) Individuals who produce a weekly show are not journalists. They adhere to nearly every qualification I have for a journalist, however, they do not produce content in a timely matter. Rather, the content they produce is scheduled around a weekly broadcast, and as such, they can often produce content on a topic several days after the story has already occurred. Note, however, this does not exclude all show hosts from being journalists.

3) Most writers producing informational news on sites like ESFI (for which I am affiliated), Rakaka, Readmore, Fragster, etc. are not journalists. These individuals are often simply reporting on existing happenings without investigation, narrative form, or sometimes the opportunity of a subjective slant.

All of this, though, does not help to answer my original question: Do eSports journalists exist?

Continuing to adhere to my definition, I think the answer is yes, but it’s not as clear cut as I would like.

I do believe writers who produce coverage for events like MLG, IEM, Dreamhack, and IPL3 are journalists. They certainly investigate the information they are reporting, produce it in a timely manner, arrange it in some unique narrative (debated later), and some of the content has subjective slants.

I also believe writers who produce unique editorials and opinion columns are journalists – with less debate than the previous group who produces “event coverage” (more on that below). Finally, there are several other individuals – not just solely writers – who produce eSports content whom I think classify as eSports journalists.

I won’t go into an explanation for each individual I view as an eSports journalist as this post is already quite long in length, but they do conform to the definition I have accepted for eSports journalists. Ultimately, the problematic I have with viewing most current content producers as eSports journalists surrounds two major points within my definition of an eSports journalist:

  • A journalist investigates and reports in a timely manner
  • A journalist produces unique narrative content

The first point I think you’ll find straightforward. It’s the second point that I personally struggle with and I think our entire industry has yet to fully grasp: the concept of producing a unique narrative.

To fully explain why this is important to the definition of journalism requires two things: 1) we have a solid understanding of narrative and 2) we understand why unique narrative content is important to the definition of a journalist.

Given the length of this post, I’ve decided to break up this thought process into parts. I will be posting a least one more blog entry on this topic of eSports journalists to examine the two aforementioned issues.


I hope this exercise was meaningful for someone other than myself. I believe the definition of a journalist I have laid out above is quite good, but I am not sure it is complete. If you have have any questions or comments on this subject feel free to leave them below, email me (otteyt@gmail.com), or tweet me – I would love to hear what others think on this topic.


I’ve cross posted this blog entry on ESFI World.

Why release dates don’t matter

A couple days ago, BioWare released details concerning pre-prder options for their upcoming MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR). Rumored to be the most expensive video game ever made thanks to the game being the first true fully voiced MMO, SWTOR will hit shelves “Holiday 2011.” How would not having an exact release date effect pre-order sales from fans? Check it out:

Within the first few hours of the pre-order being released, the Collectors Edition sold out on Origin.com, EA’s digital storefront. It’s currently only available at select retail outlets.

When you have an IP as big as Star Wars, I guess exact release dates don’t matter.