If I were Mitch McConnell part 2

(part 1)

Sometimes I wonder if I’m making the right call when it comes to how I spend my life. Game writing, game journalism, game development, and vide editing all make me incredibly happy, and I’ve felt more fulfilled than I’ve felt in years. The YouTube channel is taking off, I’m attending conventions and gaining attention from all the right places. My LinkedIn has become a well-oiled machine of connections.

But outside my personal life, and the virtual worlds I’ve immersed myself in, the real world is becoming more and more unhinged. The Mueller report just dropped, we finally get to read the darn thing, and nothing’s changed. Republicans continue to stonewall in the Senate, Trump supporters continue to insist there’s no cause for collusion, and there doesn’t seem to be anything the common folk can do to make their voice heard. Protests are irrelevant. Voting occurs too rarely to make a difference. And I have a sinking suspicion voting isn’t going to matter come 2020.

A particular Republican strategy is worrying me more than the others. The senate, lead by Mitch McConnell, is stripping many of the abilities normally available to the minority party in order to push legislation through despite Democratic opposition. Most people I read are saying things like “this is a foolish strategy that will come to bite them when they’re the minority party next.” The news is painting the Republicans as a party trying to take maximum advantage of a dwindling period of power, a party who knows they’re going to lose the 2020 election in another blue wave. Indeed, the neverending Trump scandals and the blue wave of 2018 suggests that the Democrats are entering the next election period with a massive advantage.

Which is why I’m skeptical people are interpreting the Republican strategy correctly. The Republicans, more than anything, are patient. They developed Fox News in response to the Nixon scandal and waited decades for it to permeate their target audience. They’ve spent multiple presidencies filling the courts with right-leaning judges, a strategy that takes forever to slowly redefine the nation’s legal balance. Even the Trump campaign was supposed to be a stepping stone to a future presidency; I firmly believe the Republican plan had been to lose the election and use fake news to erode public faith in the electoral process. None of this behavior is that of a party that does anything “desperately” or “last-minute.”

So, if that’s the case, why are Republicans stripping the Senate minority party of power? Personally, I suspect they don’t plan on ever being the minority party again. But before I go into that, let me explain Donald Trump’s current predicament.

President Trump is in something of a pickle. While he’s done an admirable job of dodging scandals by flooding the news cycle with too many stories for anything to stick, the fact remains that he faces prison as soon as he relinquishes the presidency. Even if he uses the Ford-Nixon strategy to pardon himself of all federal crimes, he can still be charged on a state level. So, how can Trump remain president indefinitely? He’d have to either (1) repeal the 22nd Amendment (downright impossible) or (2) suspend elections.

And believe it or not, the Republican senators’ behavior makes a lot more sense if they ultimately plan on suspending elections and retaining power indefinitely. Here’s my theory for how they plan to do that:

  1. The Republicans allow the Russians to hack the 2020 election, but have the Russians hack in the Democrat’s favor
  2. “Uncover” the hacking after the Blue wave sweeps the election, use the hacking as an excuse to doubt the results and suspend the elections
  3. Use the fact that Russia hacked for the Democrats to distance themselves and cast doubt on the Republicans and Russians working together

I bet a bookie would give me great odds if I put some money down on that idea. And hopefully my screenwriting background is just letting my imagination get the best of me. But even if the Republicans are planning something less theatrical, I can’t help but feel I could be doing more to fight back. Sydney is living in Portland protesting ICE every day and completing street medic training. Admittedly, protesting in Oregon seems a bit like preaching to a choir, but it’s more than I’m doing. When I was younger, I was positive I’d join the underground railroad or help defend common people if I lived in a more exciting time. Now here I am, witnessing a proto-fascist government stuffing the courts and deporting migrant children, and I’m earning money playing games like a Weimar bougiose.

Sport Stories

I’ve been hitting the esport train pretty hard recently, and that isn’t going to stop for another couple weeks. This course has been awesome; I’ve met some great people and might even shoutcast an Overwatch tournament for one on the 26th. I plan to convert several of these weekly articles into DailyEsports.gg content (like I did this one), and I’ve been cranking out dozens of VGFAQ videos at the same time.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t found time to write a few short stories at the same time. Apparently I’m in something of a retrospective mood, cause they’ve all tied into ancient long-completed cycles:

  1. First I wrote a new Darwin’s Soldiers story,
  2. …then a new Flora story, (which is actually now the longest story in either canon, beating Card of Ten by a margin of 5K words)
  3. …and finally a new Hemlock Gang story of all things.

And coming up next, mostly cause it’s the only untouched cycle left, one more story starring Officer Echo back in her police days. She’ll be investigating a restaurant suspected of being a hub for drug-peddling. Exciting!

(There actually was a different completely-standalone story written somewhere in there too, nominally tied to a different RP universe but I instantly dropped my main characters back on Earth so they could explore the Into the Black and Darwin’s Soldiers universes in a time-traveling non-canon crossover. Was fun to write, and mainly an opportunity to see characters from both universes bouncing off each other.)

Coming up in the professional sphere: Honestly, more esports articles and a few VGFAQ videos. Keeping my nose to the grindstone for probably another week or so.

Esports Week 6 – An Article About Articles

Prompt: Find and review three esports related articles produced from teams and breakdown the purpose of the article, how the author address their topic, what makes it a catchy article, and how they engage the fan. Then write three (less than 750 words) articles on your chosen esports topic as if you were writing for your team. Send your “best” or “favorite” article for review and evaluation, and in Peer Review, list reasons why you like your peers’ articles and what they could change. You will only post ONE of your articles that you will write for this week.

Article 1: Interview With Forge Arena Publisher Artur Minac, published 9/7/2018

I’m interviewing Oliver, CEO of Demise Esports, as one of my two interviews for the quarter, so I poked around his franchise’s site to see what sort of content they had. This article stuck out amongst a sea of more generic announcement/recap articles, so I checked it out in order to learn their goals in publishing it.

And…I’m still not sure. It’s a lengthy interview with one of the publishers of a 5v5 FPS I’ve never heard of, and most of the article is dedicated to Artur explaining what Forge Arena is, and how they’re hoping to make an esport out of it. Demise doesn’t have a Forge Arena team, so I can only assume they were considering/planning on one at the time and this article was a gateway introduction for their fans. I can’t think of any other scenario why this interview would exist. Only a single question mentions Demise, and if I were the editor I’d have cut it before the article went live (Interviewer asks Artur his favorite player from Demise, Artur replies he doesn’t have one because he’s never paid attention to them.) At minimum, remove the giant Sad Pepe Frog meme that calls attention to this moment of the franchise getting shot down, it’s terrible optics.

Article 2: Why ‘one-trick-player’ Specialists Ruin the Competitive Experience, published 10/11/2017

This one’s a little different as it’s Jake’s private blog (Jake is a DPS player and the face of the Houston Outlaws), but the Outlaws have a nonexistent internet presence so it (and Linkzr’s post-match MS Paint posters) are the only real internet presence the team has so they’re still treated with a level of representation. I love this blog because it’s so much more than just a mouthpiece for the Houston Outlaws; Jake writes long, passionate articles about Overwatch’s game design and development choices, the sort of thing you never see in a normal team blog. It shows that Jake didn’t stumble into the Overwatch League on accident; he’s put in the time to understand the game and its esports scene on a core level. Of course, it can also get away with a lot less muckwork because of its unofficial nature, not to mention because the Overwatch League has a webpage dedicated to each team that handles more typical news like signings and previews.

Article 3: San Francisco Shock Sign Striker, published 12/3/2018

And here’s an analysis of a more typical article, just because the last two were a bit unusual in design. This was published by NRG, one of those big names that has a major team for every big esport, and I suspect the brevity and tokenism of the article stem from how the fact that it needn’t worry about anything beyond simply existing. NRG doesn’t need to market themselves with this article, they have enough fans and impact that the esport community and third-party journalists are more than happy to shoulder the effort of spreading this story far and wide, speculating on the impact it’ll have and voicing opinions on the ramifications/intelligence of the signing. That last paragraph is straight-up copy-pasted from every other 1st-party article about the SF Shock, and otherwise the article is a mere six sentences long. Thesis statement, a clarifying sentence on Striker, an obligatory quote from the Head coach, and a conclusion sentence; couldn’t be more textbook if they tried.

And now for my article:

Recently, Primal announced that Enzo “WarKr0Zz” Conte has signed onto the team as a flex tank in time for the 2019 Fortnite Open Division. We took some time today to sit down with Enzo and chat about esports, his career, and his future:

Tell us about your background, and how you got into esports. 

I started playing esports when I was very young, maybe 9 or 10, for the Call of Duty games. I quickly fell in love with the spirit of competition, so when I came home after school I’d rush to the computer to try and improve my skill. At 16 I started to play Overwatch. When I reached Top 500 on ladder, a lot of teams contacted me and I ended up joining HuBesport. When I saw the cash prizes available in Fortnite, I started working hard in this new scene and have won several tournaments and cash prizes.

What are your training/practice methods for tournaments? How do you get ready? 

I have two major preparations when training for tournaments: Mentally, I try not to think about losing, and I make sure to spend time with my friends and family the day beforehand. All other days I’m training in Fortnite’s Creative Mode. I watch a lot of videos to learn new tricks and practice them in Creative Mode, especially the endgame because it’s the most difficult part, you always end with like 50 people in a zone smaller than a room.

I notice you stream as well as play competitively. How do you balance your time between streaming vs. participating in esports? 

The stream is a part of my training. I stream almost every time I train, because after the stream I can watch it again to see the mistakes I made. Also, it’s really cool to stream because you can share some moments with your viewers who saw you in a tournament.

Do you think streaming is a valuable resource for esport players to utilize? 

Streaming is a huge opportunity for professionals because you show everyone that you can regularly play at your level. And sometimes, when I do something good a viewer will clip it and share it on Twitter…so all the teams and community will see it.

You worked as a manager for Underrated from October 2017 to April 2018. How different was it to manage an esport team as opposed to simply play on it? 

When you are a player, the only thing you have to do is play and practice. When you are a manager, it’s more difficult, you have to personally know all the players on the team and how they work mentally. When I was a manager I regularly planned “scrims”, which is where you train with other teams. The whole organization of the team rides on your shoulders.

What advice do you have for others hoping to follow in your footsteps and break into esports?

Becoming an esport player is really difficult, you have to be really good from the beginning. After that it’s all about rhythm. Sometimes you’ll be playing for up to 12 hours a day but you can’t quit. I had to balance my practice routine with my studies, but it’s something that feels really rewarding when you stick it through to success.

Enzo streams regularly at https://www.twitch.tv/warkr0zz, and you’ll also see him on the island fighting for Primal when Open Division starts! For more information, visit PrimalGaming.com, and follow @PrimalEsportOrg on Twitter.

Esports Week 5: Contracts – SingSing’s vs. DeMoN’s

Prompt: Find two different contracts from separate teams within the same game, argue for why one contract makes more sense than the other. How would you fix the “bad” contract and why is the “good” one the standout? Take a stance on Unionization in esports and create an argument for why it should/should not be implemented. How will it work? Is it game specific? Is it nation specific? Identify and research an issue in the assigned reading and in your independent reading. Feel free to consult and explore a wide variety of resources! , (200-750 words). Post this summary in SMWW e-Arena in the Week Five Discussion Board by Friday. Have some fun with the discussion of this week’s theme.

I’ve done literally all of my reports on the Overwatch League, so I thought for once I could branch out and look at a different esport (it helped that OWL is very secretive with their contracts and nobody’s posting theirs online!) So I decided to look at Dota 2, another very popular esport made by my favorite game studio, Valve.

The first contract I found was for a player named SingSing who was joining the team ‘RattleSnake Gaming’ for a period of three months. Overall, I found it a relatively fair-looking contract.

  • RSnake agreed to handle travel expenses, equipment, lodging, and $1000-2000 in salary, the larger values dependant on the team’s success in any tournaments during that time period. (That being said, they were rather vague on what they would actually spend for all those things, and the player would basically have to trust the management doesn’t skimp and leave them with substandard fare.)
  • The most important part (how much money the player makes) is spelled out clearly and variations are defined with hard numbers.
  • The biggest problem with the contract, in my opinion, is the mere 1 week’s notice for renewal or not-renewal of the contract going forward. That wouldn’t be nearly enough time for me to sort my future out, and would basically leave me at the mercy of the org once approaching the end of the three months.

But all in all, I’d probably still sign RSnake’s contract before the other Dota 2 contract I found, this one for a player named DeMoN potentially signing with Admiral.

  • Before I start complaining about it, I must note that the salary and winning %age are clearly spelled out, which I always consider the most important part of a contract.
  • However, while it does a good job stating clearly what responsibilities the player must fulfill, it gives the org far too much leeway in dropping the player with only 3-days notice. “Unprofessionalism” is a very open-ended term with pretty much no oversight or universally-agreed upon definition.
  • In addition, the contract gives the org permission to use the player’s likeness/image with no stipulation on length of time. As I’m reading it, it appears to give them permanent rights to the player’s likeness even after the player has stopped playing for the team.
  • The “buyout” value is not specified in any way. What does it cost if I want to leave early?
  • Unlike RSnake, there are no mentions about the org covering travel or lodging expenses. Honestly, the team appears to do very little for the contractor as per their stated responsibilities in the contract.

The good contract needs very little adjustments, I would simply insist on some more solid numbers regarding what the org will be spending on travel/lodging etc. The 1 week seems rather short, but I suspect it wouldn’t be enough to stop me from signing.

The bad contract needs far, far more explanation on what the org is responsible for and what the player is getting from the contract. Right now it seems like he’s signing away almost everything and getting nothing in return other than a spot on the team.

I strongly support the unionization of competitive esport players, just as I support unionization in every new industry (especially ridesharing, not to get too off-topic but holy cow does Lyft and Uber abuse their contractors’ rights). Sports are already a messy and complicated business, subject to all the moral and legal shortcomings of entertainment plus the increased chance of workplace injury and a competitive environment that encourages overworking yourself. Without unions, esport players are at a disadvantage when negotiating their terms with the orgs, and in many cases they have little option but to accept a bad contract just for the chance to get on stage and show themselves off. If pretty much every other sport gets a union, esports deserve them too.

I feel like we could just have one giant esport players’ union rather than different unions for each game, since every esport has identical equipment costs. I guess we could segregate unions by league, but my worry is that it would give Riot and Blizzard too much power; what’s to stop Blizzard from telling the hypothetical Overwatch League union “I don’t care what you want, you gotta play by our rules or we’ll drop you for those who will”? With a global union, there would be pressure from other developers who don’t want to see their players go on strike because of something happening in another league.

Esports Week 4: Studying SMART!

Prompt: After reading “Psychological Skills Training Manual for eSports Athletes” speak to the importance of goal setting highlighted in the article and how to set SMART Goals in an esports team. If you were the coach of an esports team, how would you implement a goal strategy for your team, how would you adjust the goals if your team didn’t meet them? How important is self-talk to a team and how can you control the narrative of that talk as a coach or a GM? (200-750 words). Post this summary in SMWW e-Arena in the Week Four Discussion Board by Friday. Have some fun with the discussion of this week’s theme. 

While the importance of goal-setting is obvious to almost anyone who’s attempted to improve at a video game, I’d never realized until the article highlighted it that I often fell into the trap of “plateauing” after mastering whatever skill I was training myself in. When OVerwatch first came out, I set out to become the greatest Lucio I could. I mastered Boops, then wall-riding, then bunnyhopping, and I succeeded at becoming a high-level Lucio! But then I stopped, and merely basked in the high-speed glory of Lucio rather than deepening my hero pool. I went through something similar with Moira, and later Zenyatta, but in each case I took a massive hiatus in the middle to simply enjoy my new proficiency in what I’d already learned. I can imagine this disparity becomes even more pronounced in professional play, when players are (a) hired to play a specific role they already master, and (b) usually at a high-enough level that they can stomp ladder as any hero they like without practice or training. In this manner, coaches are extremely useful for keeping the big picture in mind and providing accountability for each player.

If I were an esports coach, I would definitely follow the article’s advice about keeping goals number-oriented. Don’t say “Your goal is to heal better as Moira” say “I think you’re using too many damage-orbs instead of healing. Let’s firstly try to increase your orb-healing average by 500, and see what needs work after that.” If a player was still struggling,
I’d dial it back even further. “Unbind damage orb, and let’s play some rounds that force you to use heal orbs, so you can learn how they’re used.”

The other thing I’d focus on is creating goals that have clear courses of action to accomplish; I’ve used this in other facets of life to great success; don’t make the goal ‘try to lose weight’ (an abstract goal), instead use ‘quit soda and cut down on sweets’ (a solid goal with clear action.)

Coming in with this strategy, it was nice to see SMART is simply an extenuation of that philosophy; by making your goal Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely, you ensure that it’s bite-sized and simply a step in a much larger bridge to success. The “Timely” bit is the biggest addition to me; esports are such a fast-moving industry that there often isn’t time to spend too long on a single hole in your playbook.

On that note, I’ve always wondered if esports’ reliance on meta will eventually become a problem down the line. Most of the major esports (LoL, Fortnite, Overwatch) are constantly redefining their meta through creating new characters, reworking old content, and hundreds of weekly balance patches. I’ve noticed that all three of these esports suffer from players growing bored unless injections of new content arise to mix things up. This is certainly not a problem with regular sports (Football, chess, baseball, and hockey haven’t had any notable rule changes for generations) and could hurt the longevity of their scenes if the developers either (a) stop delivering new content or (b) deliver new content that pisses everyone off and hurts the game’s reputation. CS:GO is the only esport I consider immune to this, as the gameplay is so simple that the community actively rejects new content (when’s the last time you saw the new revolver or MP5 in professional play?) and seems perfectly happy to witness the same unaltered gameplay loop endlessly.

OWL is suffering from this meta-dependency very hard right now, since the current meta leaves DPS player completely on the sidelines in favor of 3 tank-3 healer comps. DPS players entered the league with very specific skillsets in mind, and it’s disheartening for them (and their fans) to see them perma-benched simply because the meta doesn’t favor them. Repeated instances of this may lead teams to prioritize versatile flex players over specialists, which I fear could lead to less engaging gameplay since the actual best players in each category will lose draft picks over generalists.

Speaking of happiness, the bite-sized goals are also great for motivation; it’s really exciting to accomplish a bunch of little easy things, and they usually add up to the same big gains over time. That’s the main way I’d use mini-goals to set the narrative; when a player feels demotivated, show them all the little goals they’ve accomplished, and remind them of the things they’ve mastered that were undoable when they started out.

Esports Week 3: Modern kids don’t capitalize the ‘s’

Prompt: Based on your favorite game/team, identify the coaching and technical strategies used. List why the work and do not work and how they can be improved. If you were to  have control of the roster, pick three players that you would replace and identify who their replacements would be and why. Identify and research an issue in the assigned reading and in your independent reading. Feel free to consult and explore a wide variety of resources! , (200-750 words). Post this summary in SMWW e-Arena in the Week Three Discussion Board by Friday. Have some fun with the discussion of this week’s theme.

I tried to start this assignment three times last week, and each time I gave up due to being unable to mentally glean any insight into the coaching strategies of any esport replays I watched, so like Kevin I fully accept a 0 for this one. Part of the problem was that none of my favorite esport teams (Hangzhou Spark, Houston Outlaws, SF Shock) had any articles, videos, or peripheral media to research and discover insight into their coaching styles. My shoutcasting background gives me plenty of experience analyzing players on the field, but I don’t really know how to draw from that to extrapolate about how the coaches set their teams up for success.

Right now the Overwatch League meta is something called “GOATS”. In a nutshell, both teams play 3 tanks and 3 healers for a very hard-to-kill deathball that builds ults rapidly until both teams smash against each other looking for a single frag to tip the balance in their favor. There are a few heroes that can swap places for specific situations (Wrecking Ball and Winston switch places depending on how vertical the objective area is, Ana sometimes replaces Zenyatta when the sightlines are out of his typical orb range) but in general there is very little variation in the GOATS meta, and every team is using it in every single map, offense and defense.

I admit I also couldn’t really find a way to link several chapters to this week’s topic. Chapter 2 largely discusses what separates professionals from simply very good players, and chapter 5 analyzed the psychological aspects of motivation in an esport setting. Chapter 12 discussed the qualities of a good leader, and while that is relevant, the chapter was a mere 4.5 pages long and didn’t progress beyond surface-level description of leaderly qualities, all of which I’m sure the head coaches of OWL teams possess. Chapter 3 seemed the most relevant to comparing and contrasting coaching, by discussing various focuses teams can prioritize when designing their playbooks. Here, each of my three favorite teams tend to prioritize different strategies:

The Houston Outlaws (Jake’s Junkrat notwithstanding) usually play on meta and attempt to defeat their opponent through lack of mistakes. Their interviews usually focus on this with support player Bani saying “We’re just trying to play good Overwatch” and Head Coach TaiRong spending his interview discussing how he prioritizes analyzing the opponent when preparing strats, considering I’m pretty sure every team does that.

The Hangzhou Spark are far more willing to try crazy comps and surprise the enemy with daring hero choices. (The nanoboosted Reaper with Death Blossom during their very first match with Shanghai being a famous establishing moment). This even ties in with their unusual blue-and-pink marketing, which the General Manager mentions in this interview was designed to showcase how Spark doesn’t plan to play like any other team in the league. Playing maverick comps forces other teams to specifically prepare for Hangzhou, which lets Hangzhou set the tempo for fights. This largely sync with the “Dragon Under the Ice” mental strategy.

Finally, the San Francisco Shock seem to be most willing to directly attack their enemies’ weaknesses and change up their comp specifically to deal with holes in their opponents’ playstyles. In the recent Playoff Grand Finals against Vancouver, main tank Super played far more aggressively than he normally does, which made life very difficult for the Titans’ Reinhardt Bumper who was used to fighting defensive Reinhardts. Moth, the team’s Lucio, knows that the Titan supports tended to focus on healing Bumper so he played very aggressively to boop them out of position and give his team chances to punish Bumper. These choices freed up so much space for the Shock and helped them come closer than any other team to beating the Titans.

Of the three teams, Shock is far and away the most successful; Houston and Hangzhou are mid-low teams at best. Personally, I think Houston’s main problem is their inflexibility; when the other team clearly has their number, they have no Plan B or Plan C to fall back upon. Hangzhou’s weaknesses are mostly meta-based; in the GOATS meta, it’s rather easy for the other team to defeat them through sheer mechanical ability if a single crack appears in the Spark’s defenses. I suspect that Hangzhou will become much better if GOATS ever falls out of favor. Shock, in contrast, was a middling team in Season 1 that found new wings when they lured Boston Uprising’s head coach Crusty over to their side. Crusty had just led Boston to great heights (leading the team during the only lossless stage of any team in Season 1) and I suspect his very data-oriented philosophy is what helps any team he leads to success.

For the final question (teammates to replace), I’ll focus just on Houston, since they’re the weakest of the three teams. Honestly, it breaks my heart but my two favorite players (Jake and Linkzr) are far and away the weakest links. The problem is that they main DPS in a meta that doesn’t use DPS players, and there are other DPS players that are better at GOATS heroes. It would shatter the PR to remove Jake, the face of the team, but perhaps that might allow the Outlaws to stop digging their heels in the ground and refusing to properly adapt to the current meta. And #3 would be Arhan since he’s (a) also a DPS flex, and (b) has never seemed any better than Jake to me. I’d replace them with Contenders players who have proven to be better at flexing, specifically Mangachu (for his diverse hero pool), Signed (for consistently offclassing Zarya successfully), and Onigod for the insane positional mindgames he can consistently pull off.

eSports Week 2: Mirrored Maps Madness

Prompt: With the understanding of how to create and run a tournament, create a 16-team bracket, and generate a random result and share those results. Describe how teams qualify, venue location, timing, staff needs, team needs, marketing, activation, sponsorship, ect. Argue for why your tournament would be successful and identify the biggest challenges for its creation. Evaluate the fan engagement of a major tournament and how they keep their fans happy and engaged. Identify and research an issue in the assigned reading and in your independent reading.

Link to tournament!

So I actually took the inspiration for this tournament from one I ran back when I was a community leader in the Team Fortress 2 Steam Forums. It was one of our most successful tournaments for a couple reasons: The spectators tuned in to see the mind-bending maps that were so similar yet so wrong, and the players took advantage of the plausible deniability of playing maps that were designed to be confusing, resulting in crazy frags and gutsy plays. It felt like an eSports version of Fischer Chess.

Team qualification would be a real problem, I’m not sure how we would handle this since nobody’s going to have prior histories on the chosen maps. (Back in the day this issue wasn’t applicable because we created the teams using whoever showed up to play).

I’ve noticed that professional tournaments love using data to generate fan engagement and interest. They use data to create storylines for specific players and teams, and to backup their predictions on what will happen next. I think one reason data is so successful for creating this user interest is that it makes the listener feel smart just by watching. When I watch CS:GO, a game I love but I’m not particularly good at, I’m partially studying the pros to see how I can improve, and when the casters point out some data trend and then tie it into the current meta, I feel like I just got better at the game by learning that.

I found the problems discussed in chapter 6 of Good Luck Have Fun very interesting to read, because I absolutely agree that eSports is suffering from its intrinsic link with internet culture and the problems therein. It’s sobering to remember that eSports is currently struggling to become a place where women and under-represented groups can feel comfortable participating as players or spectators, due in large part to the sheer difficulty in moderating the seething masses of young male internet fans participating at all times. I’m reminded of an article I wrote after ESL Cologne 2016, where I discussed Twitch chat and its meme-laden immaturity. I wrote that it was crass but ultimately harmless, and contributed positively to the experience by showing the viewer they were part of an active and interested community. Scarcely had my article been published that another writer, a young woman named Medic, wrote a rebuttal asserting that Twitch chat was not, in fact, harmless. In many ways (especially the way it reacted whenever a woman appeared on screen), Twitch chat was actively discouraging her from investing in the community because it was telling her that women were neither welcome nor expected to be interested anyway. As I’ve developed tournaments and created promotional content since then, I’ve tried to always remember what Medic’s article taught me, that I must be vigilant in noticing when an environment is fostering negative experiences even if I’m not one of the ones being targeted.