The Difficulties of Creating Content - A ESL Hamburg post mortem
— by ShiaoPi
It has been a couple of days now (as I am writing this) after the Hamburg major concluded but the Dota world never waits for anyone as the release of 7.07 and the already concluded DotaPit Minor in Croatia show. Amidst all that hurry to keep up I want to pause just for a moment to discuss what made ESL One Hamburg a great event to attend as press. For all the clamoring we always get regarding more frequent and interesting content on LiquidDota.com it is harder than one might think to actually create said content, especially content that requires presence at LAN events. As you may have noticed from the interviews we released, LiquidDota managed to be live at the venue to bring you all some coverage and we hope that those fulfill what people are hoping for regarding our site.
As anyone who has been to one knows, it is expensive to attend live events. So, in order to facilitate content-creation on the spot, we will always need to have people willing to go there on their own dime, which is far from always being the case. Assuming you are at the venue having been successfully accredited as press, what can you expect from the event? If you think it would just be a blast - watching games, interacting with other fans of Dota 2, and meeting pro-players - you would be mistaken. Judging strictly the viewing experience I would wager that the best way to do it is still at home. Sure, you miss out on the roars of the crowd and the atmosphere, but if you watch an event with only spectating and analysing good dota in mind there is nothing special to gain from being at the venue. So what is the reason we are willing to spend time and money to be there? It is surprisingly simple:
You want to work.
More specifically, you want to create content that requires you to be right there. For LiquidDota that meant pictures from the arena and the players as well as interviews. For these two things it is quite important that we get the tools to actually do our work at the event. And for that, ESL One Hamburg deserves some praise for enabling us press to actually do our job. We were not only supplied with access to all spectator ranks but also had a well-stocked press room in close proximity to transcribe interviews, edit pictures or take a breather with the complimentary snacks and drinks in there.
While those perks were great and the access to the arena key for pictures, the most outstanding job ESL did was scheduling fixed times for the teams to be available for interviews with the media in attendance. Interviews are a great form of content, getting the pros’ opinions on their performance in the tournament, the metagame, and their general thoughts regarding everything Dota.
Setting the interviews up at most events is significantly more complicated. Time is limited, and that is even more so for the teams attending a LAN. Not only do they have to juggle preparation and practice but also sufficiently rest to be able to perform at their best. As press you have to walk the fine line between trying to get some time set aside for your interview, while trying to not upset the delicate balance and time management of the professionals.
What ESL did at Hamburg was surprisingly simple yet effective. Give press and teams fixed time slots throughout the days, where the teams will be available for interviews in the press room for one hour. It easily fulfills both sides’ demands: For the teams they have clearly telegraphed times for easy scheduling instead of juggling several individual requests for interviews and the press get the time to work and create the content they want. While we still had some rescheduling happening, it still made the press experience much more enjoyable compared to other tournaments as being able to actually work at an event makes you feel much more accomplished afterwards.
All in all ESL Hamburg was a very nice experience to attend as press (as much as you may want to harp on the format or the advertisements) and for us content creators especially it was a great weekend. Let’s hope other events also recognise the importance of giving press the tools to work with, so that we can continue pushing out content the fans want to see and read. Thank you for reading this ranty blog/experience article and hopefully see you soon at another Dota event.