Sorry I’m writing this right after losing 3-2 to Optic so my mentality isn’t at its best but I felt like this is something I wanted to talk about. I like writing blogs a lot in general, but to be honest I’ve never really written something against what I perceive as the flow of the community, and I unfortunately care a lot about what people write to me. So let’s all just try to play nice; I’m probably wrong about a lot of things but I wanted to share my thoughts on the ESL/FB stuff anyways. I don’t think I’m overly biased, but my esl hoodie is my only esports hoodie I wear outside so I guess take what I’m writing with a grain of salt.
I’ve personally been on reddit since before I was involved in esports. Well perhaps esports also fully got me into reddit as I loved following the scene on /r/starcraft. But anyways, reddit is an incredibly useful website for information aggregation--even more so for common interest groups like the esports community. I’ve found everything from announcements to cool mechanics to drama to tournament threads to incredible content in general on /r/dota2 and I personally just like the website in general. However, in my opinion the reddit community tends to become super bandwagony. I feel like any attempt to reason from both sides gets shut down completely and the hatred just rises to the top. It seems like intentions and overarching messages often get ignored in lieu of fallaciously deconstructing arguments--often via a single unrelated mistake--and trying to win the internet argument rather than trying to improve the situation. It’s such an unfortunate reality of what is otherwise such an incredible community.
As a pro player, I often get advice about how I should ignore reddit or people that tweet mean things but it’s honestly so hard. It’s just really easy to read a thread on reddit and fiend. Every pro player knows they shouldn’t but every pro player does it anyways. Some of the best content for dota is on reddit and I’ve learned a ton from a lot of bug threads or even some weird idea comments so I don’t even think it’d good to just fully ignore reddit. But sometimes the hate can become overwhelming and it can easily destroy a player’s mentality. You know you’re screwed when you start not wanting to make mistakes because of the community/reddit; making mistakes are how you learn. Pro esports players still aren’t on the same level as traditional athletes (of course). We don’t have the same type of media training, and even if we did we don’t have the same infrastructure growing up as a traditional athlete. Pro players typically are just pub stars who get good enough. Traditional athletes are more used to dealing with a bit of publicity and are in more constrained mediums. Also, to be fair, there are some dumbass traditional athletes in terms of pr when you let them go on social media. Anyways this was sort of a useless paragraph, but I just wanted to say that it would be nice if people understood that what they write has a good chance to be read and that it will affect people. Please just try to have some empathy.
On having facebook as a streaming platform
First I’m going to talk about the main problems I’ve seen with facebook as a streaming platform. Full disclosure: for day 1 I watched ppd’s stream or ingame as they were more compelling products to me and I only watched off the FB stream starting day 2. Also, I was too lazy to try to find the stream on mobile so when I watched on my phone I watched a twitch restream. I know that the day 1 stream had a lot of issues. To be honest day one problems just seem like a reality in the tech space for some reason. Also the lack of ability to clip highlights was very saddening. I know there were also a lot of issues with emotes on the screen and key info being covered. The chat isn’t as good as twitch chat (but then again, what is). Furthermore, people just seem to dislike Facebook as a company. Which is completely fair. People should fight for their privacy and facebook has some pretty insane data mining/tracking. So I’m willing to say that all of these are relatively easily fixed except the last one and I personally don’t think they seem that bad. People might feel more strongly about some of them and that’s probably fair.
Edit: last night I watched the Facebook stream on mobile and it was fine with the button that made everything normal (no emotes and chat) Maybe that button wasn't there before.
Now for what I perceived as the positives of the facebook stream. To me the most important thing is that the quality of the stream was very very good for me when I started watching on day 2. Now I love twitch and some of my favourite people work there, but everyone should know that competition is a good thing. I just find it ironic that the same people who are hating on facebook coming into the streaming space are probably the same people who complain about the problems that ISP monopolies like comcast bring. Competition drives improvement and growth and I feel like it should be a welcome part of our community. Furthermore, let's be honest, facebook does have an incredibly massive user base. Esports would benefit from tapping into that audience through this partnership. I don’t know how much said audience will pay attention but I don’t see how it would be a negative thing. I see a lot of talk about the transitionary period that esports is going through as it approaches mainstream status and for better or worse that seems to be the path esports is going. I think that streaming an event on a social media website that over a quarter of the world's population is on is pretty cool. Much better than trying to put esports on an old media like television but that’s probably a topic for another day. Anyways I just wanted to say that my relatives probably have no clue what twitch is but I could easily link them the Facebook stream. They would probably be more accustomed to it similarly to how I had to adjust to viewing on fb instead of twitch. Well maybe in the future when it's hopefully had its kinks ironed out and has more viewers.
I think there’s a fairly common misconception about tournament organizers in esports. My understanding is that they currently don’t really make that much money from each event if at all. My understanding is that hosting big esports events is basically like investing into the future in the hope that you will get future sponsors/outside investment to come in. Well that might be a bit outdated. Maybe they’re at the easy money making stage already but I know at one point events were not profitable at all. Anyways, if hosting these events was super mega profitable then there would be more event organizers clamoring to host these big ones. I mentioned before that esports seems to be heading towards mainstream appeal but I think we are still in a transition period. I’m not trying to tell you to feel sorry for ESL because they’re poor or something--I don’t think that's true either--but that ESL wanting to sell broadcast rights is pretty reasonable. I can tell you from a pro player perspective that stability from sponsors is very highly appreciated and allows you to play better/produce a better product.
While Valve brought the hammer down on ESL regarding broadcasting rights, I think that ESL’s initial interpretation was pretty reasonable. Dota is a very unique space and Valve being a bit vague makes the situation even more complex. I think that in pretty much any other game/sport if you host an event then you will own the broadcasting rights. ESL brought all the competitors together and planned the event so it’s not too much a stretch. You don’t see people twitch streaming an MMA fight (unless they have a controller and are pretending to play) or another sports event, but let’s be honest, no one would have been surprised if the MMA stream got taken down. Obviously Valve owning the IP makes it a bit different, but I don’t think ESL’s interpretation was anything crazy. My personal opinion is that I don’t think people should be able to stream the games off dotatv and get subs/ad revenue from it, but at the same time I can appreciate what Valve is trying to do with their policy.
Now to be fair, ESL definitely messed up. Their handling of the situation was bad. Their PR was worse. I wish that ESL had done some better marketing. Maybe have an AMA before the event to smooth out some of the perceived issues. Maybe they would have even seen how important some functions like clipping highlights are to the community. I feel like ESL lost sight a bit of what made their events good in the past: their viewers. While viewers may not directly give ESL money for any games been event, they definitely attract sponsors longterm and are at the end of the day why the competitive scene and ESL can exist. Overall, ESL clearly messed up how they handled the backlash and should have done a better job but I don’t think it’s because they’re evil. I’m just sort of sad that the situation is detracting so much from what seems like an otherwise great event.
What I would have liked to see is maybe ESL trying to work with the twitch streamers instead of sending out DCMAs. First of all the DCMAs just seemed sort of cold and corporate and just antagonized a community that prides itself on its grassroots beginnings. I don’t know if this is against the Twitch.tv rules but maybe they could have just asked each streamer to periodically point/link to the main facebook stream. I’m sure most streamers would have been happy to work with them. I guess maybe it’s not an optimal solution for either party but I’m sure someone smarter than me could come up with a better cooperative solution.
Anyways, to tie this into what I was writing before, I think that people need to remember that the people at ESL work hard on their product and that they’re people too. Sometimes your intentions just come off poorly and you make mistakes. Also I can almost guarantee you that none of the casters/personalities that defended ESL were asked by ESL to help them or under some sort of contract to do so. I’m fairly certain they just looked around them at the people working hard and empathized. Yes, ESL fucked up. But dear lord some of the comments are insane. Like look at the comments about theflyingdj not knowing you could watch twitch on mobile without logging in. It’s actually pretty reasonable that he doesn’t know that because when you use the app then you need to log in. And if you have the app you probably don’t watch off a browser ever.
To sum it all up, the goal of this blog is just to try to get people to be a little nicer to each other. People at ESL work very hard on their product and they messed up. They are still people too. It must really suck to read some of these threads. Esports will be exactly what we all make of it together.
A short word on team AP
Sorry one thing I'd like to clarify first. On the vgj dq’ing us situation. My statement on them was a bit over emotional. While I was on break I had done some replay review for them to try to help them out because I like their players a lot. I expected them to want to wait when there wasn't really a true obligation. They should not have been forced into that situation in the first place by the admins. Also when I said aim to get last place at a lan I meant it more as a “if we don't work together to improve in na then we will all just suck together on the international stage regardless of which one of us go,” but I framed my idea very poorly. There's a lot of bullshit with na teams refusing to scrim/help each other because they think they're marginally better and I think it's so bad for the region's development. Anyways I've apologized to both Jack and their operational manager and would like to say that I have a lot of respect for all the parties involved in vgj. Also Conrad told me twitlonger was garbage for blogs and long posts and now I completely understand why.
Now onto AP. Even though we lost to optic in the Katowice last chance finals, I’m incredibly happy with our progress; being able to qualify for a minor and be one game away from a major leaves me incredibly hopeful. This specific roster played for a week in december and then took a three week break and only started playing together again on the 2nd of January. For having been together for such a short period of time, I’m feeling pretty good about our future. Both the team and players have honestly exceeded my expectations and I haven’t felt this motivated since the post ti4 iteration of c9 before I got Skype pizza partied. It's a very nice feeling. I’m looking forward to getting into a teamhouse/bootcamp and being able to progress at an even faster pace.
We have found an organization willing to support us and I think they’ll be doing that announcement sometime soon. Sorry about the announcement of an announcement--it’s the EG influence. Thanks to those who have started to support us! Looking forward to the future. I'll maybe be writing more blogs in the future.
Why can't i indent my paragraphs wtf help i can't even put 5 spaces infront
edit: ty to the liquiddota staff who fixed my shit but don't indent my subtitles xp