A few people posted comments regarding how I had gotten into E-Sports at a professional level and what that process is like, so I figured I would address that today.
I feel it is important to just touch base with how I got into E-Sports in the first place. Originally, I had found an ad on Battle.net for the WCG, so I knew there was an Olympics for video games, but it wasn’t until a couple years later I found CS:S (ya ya I know…) and was introduced to the possibility of having professional teams that compete in tournaments and leagues regularly.
I was interested in helping out more, and in 2006 there was a league called CEVO (still around today, still doing events, even doing SC2 now) and they were hiring admins for CS:S, MY GAME. Being confident in my skill level of the game, I filled out their application, they set up an online meeting where they asked me a few questions, and I became a Counter-Strike:Source admin. The work was boring, as any admin work is. I handled Cheating disputes, reset peoples passwords, added or changed information as per request, etc. And then every CS:S admin quit. Having 3 tiers in CEVO for CS:S (Professional, Main and Amateur) and just me as a regular admin, I was thrust into the position of running CEVO A unofficially. The only other guy there, CEVO|Beli, was the guy in charge of CS:S. He ran CEVO P and M and got me to help out with M when I could, and then after the seasons finished, I had had enough and quit.
So fast forward to February 2007 and you find me, a Warcraft III addict and a CS:S player trying to go pro in a game with no future. So, at the time I was really interested in watching CS 1.6 competitions thanks to the team captain of my CS:S team, we watched CPL’s and stuff and I learned of a team, the first team I ever worked with, and the first organization that ever gave me a chance at becoming something in E-Sports.
Wisdom + Nerve = Victory, or wNv for short. This team to me (Chinese organization with Warcraft III and CS1.6 among other games) was the goal in E-Sports. They had 2 CS 1.6 teams, the best Chinese Warcraft III players at the time, and had a training house, an office, etc, and even started to bring in sponsors like Coca-cola.
Being a fanboy of wNv, I tried to find a way to talk to their players and become great friends with them (I was only 16 at the time) and went to their IRC channel. I started to talk to their staff and asked if I could become their mascot so I would be a part of the worlds best team. They said no, but I kept asking if there was anything I could do, anything at all, to help out the team and become a part of it. Little did I know, asking that would lead me where I am today.
One of the staff members at the time said “yeah, PM Wind” so I did and asked what I could do. Writing. That is what they wanted, they wanted someone to write feature articles for the English website. I said I had never written anything and had no experience, but I wanted to try anyway. He said that wasn’t an issue, and asked that I write a short piece related to E-Sports to see what my writing level was at. Surprisingly he thought I had potential, so I then became wNv.famsy.
I stayed at wNv 6 months, then problems occurred with them giving out the incentives they promised us (jersey’s, gear, etc.) and I didn’t really like it so I left, which in hindsight was a very good decision. After this, a friend from wNv, Jasper, msged me and asked if I wanted to be a host for Fnatic’s Korean Warcraft III players. OF COURSE! So, at the time, I would host games for the players whenever they played outside of Asia, that way the latency was fair between the players as I was in a neutral location for Eu-Asia seeing as I live in Canada. So, that lasted 8 months.
Jasper once again recommended me to someone to do some writing work. This time, it was GosuGamers.net. He put me in touch with Raistlin, the guy who is now in charge, and I quickly became one of the top Warcraft III editors at the site. Having some issues with a couple staff members there, I left. I was and am still on good terms with Raistlin, however a few of the lower staff were just atrocious. They were bad at what they did (which is why they no longer work there) and were regularly mean and nasty people. So I left. After they were tossed from GG.net I went back for a short time, but I wasn’t happy there anymore, so I left yet again sadly.
I wasn’t even really looking for any more writing positions or anything, I was focused on trying to become a player at the time. But as a joke one day, I spammed in IRC ‘fams, looking for work as a staff member, can do admin work, writing, or playing CS:S’
That got me PMed instantly (to my surprise). Danijel ‘StreeT’ Remus (now a fellow co-worker at Fnatic) had apparently followed my limited E-Sports career, and wanted me to write for Gravitas Gaming. I kindly accepted, with the promise that I get my own team jersey. So there I went, off to write (wc3 yet again) for Gravitas Gaming. Gravitas sent me to Blizzcon Nationals in Boston in 2008 to cover World of Warcraft as we had just picked up an American team.
The event went really really really really poorly. My travel to get to Boston from Sudbury (which should only take like 6-8 hours really) took over 12 hours. Not only that, but I wasn’t given a hotel room, I was told to share with the players, but no one told the players that. So when I got there, it was a little awkward. Luckily there was an extra bed since Blizzard paid for the guys rooms/travel, so fitting me in was rather easy. The team didn’t do too well, and overall the event was a disaster for us. That sparked me to try and get a few changes, none of which happened. The organization was down the wrong path, they were trying to do very monotone movements in E-Sports and were picking up very weak players and teams. On-top of that, there was issues with payment to a few people towards the end of the teams lifespan. I took off, and soon after so did half the team, including Dani.
Dani moved to Fnatic right away, and I sat around playing CS:S still for some reason. Having given up on actually doing anything for a while, I was just pugging with people. I pugged with one team, and we did a scrim and I performed rather well apparently. I got dragged down into a channel with the teams leader (and sponsor as I am soon to find out). The former founder of Team Pandemic (one of the top teams in North America, next to coL and 3D) was starting a new team, and they wanted me to play. I kindly accepted, and after a few more poor life decisions, I ended up moving cities away from home, so I became a backup on the team. I was looking for work for a few weeks while sleeping on a friends floor, and I was talking to Kevin Strzelecki on the phone (he is the original founder of Pandemic, who then had Mark Dolven take over, and then ultimately the team finished with Chris Lemley as owner) and I said, “hey, if you are starting a pro-team, have me help run it and I can work it full-time, I am looking for a paying job anyway as you know, and this is your goal after all no?”
It seems that was the right thing to say, as Kevin ended up being my boss and the guy who saved me from sleeping on my friends floor any longer. I did that for a few months, and nothing happened. I would get enough money for rent and food, etc, but never my full agreed upon salary. Months go by, and the team was not going anywhere, he had dropped the players we had, and had made no new decisions as to what we would do (it wasn’t up to me, I was just helping run things with the players he wanted). Finally I moved back home to cut costs, and then he stopped paying me and just disappeared for a few months.
I then decided to go to College finally and get a degree eventually so I could run my own team with my own money, and applied and got accepted to a local college. I then looked for work in E-Sports and Fnatic was my first choice. I asked Elroy (one of the general managers) if I could be a paid writer. We discussed a few things, I submitted my planned content schedule and my portfolio, and Fnatic gave me a 2 month trial period as an Admin for Fnatic PLAY and as a writer.
I did my duties to the best of my ability, having nothing else to do, I was very active, and after 1 month my trial was taken off. I ran the first Fnatic PLAY Cup where I met Maka (townhall, placed 2nd in the Wc3 cup) and then we became clanmates at Clan Liz. I’ve stuck with Fnatic for work ever since, and that was just over a year and a half ago.
So for the last year and a half, I’ve really tried at my ‘E-Sports career’. Not being a formally trained journalist, I’ve tried to develop my writing on my own and through any feedback the community gives. Before I came to Fnatic, I wasn’t the most professional or well developed person on the planet. To be honest I was just a cocky kid with dreams of being a professional player one day. My ‘career’(if you can call it that) is not glamorous in any way, at least not until Fnatic. I made a ton of poor decisions, and a lot of it seems surreal when I read back at what the past 4-5 years of my life have been like.
Sorry these blogs aren’t full of excitement and edited to take out any grammatical or spelling errors. This is just my personal blog about my life and what I am and am going to be doing.
If you have any questions, please let me know, I would be happy to answer.