What is Esports?

Here’s just a little page to clarify what it is I mean when I talk about esports.

Esports is basically electronic sports, sports played on a computer or gaming console. They are competitive in nature, often pitting either one player against another or two teams against each other.  Just like traditional sports, they require different types of skills depending on which game you are playing, and professional players practice and train just like professional sports athletes to be the best at their game.

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That’s one evil controller

Esports is different in one major way from sports like baseball or football in that a company created the game that is being played competitively, so they own all the rights to that game.  Major League Baseball doesn’t own baseball, only runs a league and all that the league entails, while the company Riot Games OWNS everything League of Legends and thus can dictate everything around the competitive play of it.  This is a pretty major difference that changes a lot of the monetization of playing games and esports as a whole and I’ll go into that in more detail at a later point.

Count discovers internet gambling

As you may be aware, I’m currently living in Melbourne for the foreseeable future, a place distinctly different from the USA.  Now I could be checking out kangaroos and dingoes, but why do that when there are other more financially disastrous options.  The state of Victoria allows sports betting of all types and I thought that since I already watch a ton of competitive Hearthstone among other games, it might be a bit spicier if all of my money were on the line.

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Now imagine this is is a children’s card game

There are a few options for online betting but I decided to go with Loot.Bet since they are running a nightly tournament featuring a bunch of pros.  They have constantly updating odds and you can bet on the outcomes of each game even during the game itself. It seems pretty exploitable if you had good knowledge of how certain decks matchup against each other or how certain pros will fare.  I’ve decided to put $100 into the system and see what I can do with it, and I’ll let you know how I do.

Also, if you are wondering if you can try it, their FAQ let’s you know what countries can legally participate. And conveniently right below that they mention how you can bet anonymously, how subtle. It’s still illegal though if you reside in those countries so don’t do it.

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Right next to each other in the FAQ, heh

I wouldn’t recommend trying it out yourself yet though, at least wait until I bet a few times and try to get my money back out of the system. That last part is pretty important, hopefully I wasn’t totally scammed. The customer service is a bit iffy though, I’ll keep trying and see how it goes.

Stay tuned next week for part two of our three part series.

Part 2- “Count is a gambling god”

Part 3 – “Donate so Count doesn’t get his legs broken by the Russian mafia”.

Twitter Management

Twitter is the number one way that people in eSports (and gaming in general) communicate.  There isn’t any doubt in this, for some stupid reason everyone just decided twitter was the way and have never looked back.  So if you want to be a part of the conversation, and you do, then you’ll want to start as soon as you can in setting up a profile, friending everyone and brush up on your memes.

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This could be you!

If you want to tweet like a pro, there are several tools you can use to do powerful things like find out when your followers use twitter, automatically sharing blog posts or articles, or posting prewritten messages at later times.  My favorite right now is HootSuite, which allows you to write messages ahead of time and set when you’d like them to be posted.  I can couple this with WordPress’s ability to schedule when my blog posts get posted and suddenly I can manage ahead of time when I want to share my stuff.

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Me on Twitter

Another useful tool on twitter, especially for those of us who are a little more popular, is the ability to send automatic direct messages to new followers.  So far the service that I like best for this is CrowdFire, it can DM new follows for free, but it does add a little ad for itself to your message unless you pay.  CrowdFire also can manage all of your social media apps and looks very slick.  If I had a gripe with it, it’s that CrowdFire is so easy to use that it’s kinda scary,  kinda like an iPhone it’s smoothed out the interface so much that you don’t have options or customization.  It’s not clear sometimes what it’s doing and hopefully its not messing up my twitter right now as I type. (Later edit: It worked! Awesome)

Lastly, the site dlvr.it allows you to subscribe to blogs and twitter users to post their content to twitter or other social media apps.  I just set it up to share some of my favorite blogs to my twitter and help them out a little. Just like the other sites, you can create an account for free and use some of it’s services but it becomes more powerful if you pay.  Surprising easy to setup and use, check it out!

Why Blog Why

Why you doing this?!!?  What would compel someone to spend time out of their busy lives to write a blog that three people will read or make a video or tweet with no followers or anything else that people do?  I don’t really feel like this is the time to get into the existential question of why humans do anything (maybe later), but I think there are many good reasons that someone would want to create something, to make a product to share with others and I’ll share with you some of mine.

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So meta

Learning is fun and structure can help

I’m the kind of person who just loves to gather data on all the things that I love.  I’ve watched SO MANY videos of high level tournament play of Brawl, Smash 4, Melee, Hearthstone, DotA, Street Fighter, World of Warcraft, and a bunch of games I haven’t even played, it’s probably the one activity I’ve done more than anything else for the last six years. I just love to know why people make the decisions they do, what options are good and which are bad, and what it takes to be great.  While that’s all well and good, just consuming media and knowledge like that doesn’t lend itself to a whole lot of growth.

The act of creating something with the knowledge that I’ve been absorbing over all of that time will allow me to refine that knowledge and digest it in a healthier way.  The way I see it is when you have ideas but keep them in your head it’s easy to not take a critical eye to them.  The act of saying your thoughts out loud and to another person can really help you see your ideas in a different light and refine them into something more coherent and valuable.

Your creation allows others to understand your passion and value it as well

Humans love things they can touch, it’s why you bought that show on DVD instead of just downloading it or watching again on Netflix.  We like holding things in out hands and having tangible proof of what we own, our skill, our achievements.  That’s why I love seeing tournaments give out trophies or medals, I really want one!  I want to show it to people and say, “I won that by being amazing at something!”.

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Yeah that’s a car not a trophy, but they aren’t that different if you think about it

When you make a video, an essay, gain a follower or construct a wooden table, you gain the ability to show someone your passion for whatever it is that you love.  There is a distinct difference between telling someone, “I love making tables” and “I made this table, it’s a hobby of mine”.  Actions are always more believable than words, they just have more weight.  This is especially true when it comes to becoming employed.  The people who can use their skills and knowledge as a job in eSports are usually incredibly skilled players who have demonstrated their skill time and time again, players who have attractive personalities and command people’s attention, or people who have other demonstrable skills that would be valuable to a company (like tournament organization, management, networking, etc).  If you want to show your skill, have something tangible to show!

Creating is fun!

It’s just a lot of fun to make things, way more fun than you think when you start out. Actually sitting down to make something can be a chore, but you feel so good once you’ve made it!  I wish I could SHOW you this, but for now you’ll just have to take my word for it.  If you are low on ideas of what you can create, I’ll be delving into that later so stay tuned.

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Satisfying

Giving up, or Not

For those who know me, I can be quite capricious or moody when it comes to my endeavors. I seem to have a habit of becoming overly excited for new prospects, but give up when I hit the first bumps in the road, at the first signs of trouble. It stems from multiple aspects of my personality that I’ve been thinking about and working on for a long time now, and I will continue to work on it probably until I die. I’m the odd type of perfectionist who would rather give up then fail. Combine this with my sensitivity to others opinions of me and a proclivity for negativity and you get a recipe for giving up a lot.

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Recently I moved to Melbourne to try and get time to myself, explore, and try some new things. So far its been a wonderful experience and I’m lucky to have the opportunity to take this on. Being in an entirely new place, without friends or family is both lonely and freeing, and the loneliness in particular is vital to taking time to reevaluate what you are doing with your life and look at your values in a new light.

In an effort to overcome my urge to achieve perfection without even trying, I’ve been reminding myself of how essential trying and failing is to improving. One thing I heard that I quite liked was a quote about learning the game Go is “Lose 100 Games As Quickly As Possible”. (In fact this guide to starting Go is applicable to whatever new endeavor you find yourself in here)

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Being able to take losses and moving on, learning, and continuing is such a powerful way to live and I want to work on being strong enough to keep working on the things that matter to me without getting sidetracked, without being beaten down by my own negativity and laziness. It’s not going to be easy and I will fail again and again, but I’ll try my hardest to come back again and again with new knowledge and more stamina. Self control is like a muscle and you can slowly improve your mentality by repeatedly doing what you can, working as hard as you can. And when you can’t work anymore, take a break, don’t assume you need to quit. Just because some days I just can’t make the energy to work doesn’t mean I should quit, it means I need to rest and try again tomorrow.

Thoughts on the new Count’s Castle

My newest tournament is up here :https://www.facebook.com/events/1236512483109135/

Coming up shortly will be the new Count’s Castle series of tournaments which will be run at my house biweekly on Mondays.  Here are my thoughts on each aspect of the tournament.

The tournaments will be run at my house, which is a great venue to use for small to medium sized tournaments.  It does involve quite a bit of work to rearrange the living room to accommodate for all the players, tables, chairs and setups, but since we don’t have to pay for the venue, you cant beat that.  If the tournaments grow to exceed the size of my house though, I will look elsewhere for more space and go from there. 

Because of the time and effort I will be putting into these events, and my philosophy on smash events in general, I will be charging a $2 venue fee for attending.  This cost doesn’t really compensate me for the time spent, its more of a token to show that the players who attend respect the time and energy that goes into this sort of thing.  The venue money will go towards more equipment, chairs, tables, cords, etc.  This fee may get adjusted down the line.  I may write at length about this another time, but i do believe that most every smash event should charge a venue fee.

The rule set for the tournament will be largely the same as other events in the area, with the small change to allow for the miifighters to use the full range of their moves.  This might allow the characters to be played, but in all likelihood nobody will notice or care since the characters have been killed off by other tournament rule sets.  I also plan on having the prize distribution favor giving more players money, since Santa Rosa players have mentioned wanting that.

The other major difference for these events is that for players who eventually lose, almost all of you, you will be given the option to continue playing matches against those who are also out of the tournament.  This will be a round robin style pairing, played out with the same tournament rules as if you two had met in bracket.  The match results will be used to rank players based on their wins and losses, and to whom they beat or lost.  As the tournament series goes on, players will be able to be seeded and play their additional after bracket matches against similarly ranked players, as a way of further including players who want to play more match ups, as well as creating a ranking system that players can enjoy following and attempting to climb.  

I’m anxious to see how people feel about the additional matches that they can play, and although the system is optional, it may pressure people into thinking they need to play more matches than just the ones in the tournament.  I’m gonna work hard to make sure that players aren’t overly rewarded in the system for playing more matches, but still encourage matches whenever possible.  I may have to revise the system a number of times to get it right, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

The Importance of Work

I’m the kind of person who might see a blog just like this one and wonder, “Does this person really think people are reading this?”.  Part of me is just really curious about the state of mind of that particular blog writer, the mentality of writing and writing in the desperate hope of gaining a readership.  But that’s looking at the blog and its writer in the wrong light.  Sure, that DOES happen, where a person wants the be seen and read, but what can all to often be forgotten or overlooked is the value in doing work for the individuals sake.  

Starting to write is hard.  Sitting down to do some task that isn’t inherently easy or quickly rewarding can be nearly monumental at times to start.  There is a large part of me that would rather be watching YouTube or playing a game right now, two things that can bring immediate gratification without any effort at all.  But unfortunately for me, doing those things doesn’t really satisfy me in the long run very often, especially when there isn’t a balance between those activities and other ones.  Writing, working on chores, planning tournaments or other events, these things are tougher to start, even tougher to finish, but leave a lasting impression on my mental state of having accomplished something worthwhile.  That FEELING that doing those tasks gives is SO worth it that you could do work that ultimately is not valued by others, gives nothing to the community, and maybe even seen as a total waste of time by those around you, and it would STILL be worth it.  Very worth it.  

Understanding the feelings and motivations that go into you as a person are very vital to actually BEING content and feeling productive, especially for a person like myself.  I might wake up in the morning and think “I have a whole day to do whatever I want, so playing video games and eating junk food seems like a great plan!”  And in some ways I’m right.  There isn’t anything inherently wrong with doing that.  But for me as a person, I WANT to feel like I’m working towards a goal.  I WANT to feel like my actions matter to others.  And I cant ignore those wants just because they are hard to work on.  The work itself on those feelings is worth it every time.

Sometimes that work isn’t appreciated and sometimes that work ends up being thrown away, like the time spent didn’t even exist.  But it DID happen, you DID do the work, you learned from the work and you FELT the energy that comes from doing work on things that matter to you, and everyone should understand that THAT FEELING is what is the most important part of work.  Feelings matter a lot more than most people think, so don’t forget.  

So if you have something that you want, get to work.  Don’t think too much about how that work will be received, don’t think too much about what that work with accomplish, don’t think too much about all the things you could do instead.  Do the work and feel the feeling of working.  Enjoy it, become addicted to it, learn from your work and use your knowledge on your next work project.  You can only go up from here.