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Author Topic: Octale's Blog: A Long, Long Way to Go  (Read 4567 times)

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Octale's Blog: A Long, Long Way to Go
« on: July 09, 2011, 11:28:01 AM »

A Long, Long Way to Go

Every TV show I've seen so far has been way too cheesy and not indicative of what pro gaming is about. Trying to squeeze an event into a 60 minute broadcast doesn't really work for gaming as it doesn't really work for tennis. But the latter is shown everywhere on TV.
Only recently, thanks to MLG, can we see what gaming events should look like: Great shoutcasting, well presented, and without the need to cheese it up for regular people to understand.

http://www.vtwproductions.com/octale-blog/2011/7/9/a-long-long-way-to-go.html
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Re: Octale's Blog: A Long, Long Way to Go
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2011, 07:21:38 PM »

Oh boy. There is so much ignorance in this article, I can hardly comprehend it.

First, about Kotaku article. It was even more ignorant, stupid and full of bullshit. Consider this commentary from reddit: http://i.min.us/ibpmVE.png and this reply on PC Gamer http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/07/07/editorial-why-i-love-pro-gaming/ and on G4 http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/714327/screenside-esports-a-history/ . These are just some reactions on this article, but if you look up on reddit/sc and other places, there were many.

I just want to add one thing about that article. One expression everyone seems to fixate is "regular people". Everyone just refuses to read what the fuck was said originally and in what context was thes expression used. No, Zaccubus didn't imply that "regular people" can't watch and enjoy e-sports. He was stating quite the opposite: with good commentary/shoutcasting and good presentation everyone can enjoy it. Heck, didn't you say earlier that you enjoy TotalBiscuit's StarCraft 2 videos? (And I hope to see his response to your blog by the way)

Now let's talk about your blog. As I said above, all I see is ignorance, ignorance and more ignorance.

0. Numbers

You start by stating some viewer statictics, so I'll throw some numbers too.  MLG Columbus 2011 brough a total of 22.5 million viewers from 164 different countries http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/713595/mlg-columbus-starcraft-2-halo-reach-and-call-of-duty-black-ops-tournament-brings-in-record-breaking-225-million-views/

Dreamhack Summer 2011 brought around 200000 concurrent stream viewers on League of Legend stream alone

Now the question is, do we really need TV when we already have such numbers with internet streaming? (hint: many people don't think so http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=211654 )

1. "There are no compelling stories in professional video gaming"

That line left me speechless. In this section you actually state that you don't watch professional gaming that much. Guess what: if you didn't watch poker, you didn't know about compelling stories from it either.

There is a lot of story in StarCraft alone. Idra vs X rivalries alone can be made into a TV series.

Idra is the best USA SC2 player and one of the best non-Korean players. Now imagine that at the start of MLG Columbus 2011 he meets the best korean protoss oGs.MC (who is considered by many people the best StarCraft2 player in the world, period) and beats him 2-0. Fans are cheering, everyone starts to wondering if Korean domination will come to an end... but then later on in the tournament they meet again. MLG has an "extended series rule": because Idra and MC already played in the tournament, they will continue their series as best-of-seven with Idra having 2-0 advantage. Right after beating Thorzain (one of the best European players) MC points to Idra and makes a cut-throat gesture. Then in a pre-match interview he states that he will defeat Idra 4-0 easily. What happens next? He defeats Idra. 4-0.

And guess what? That was not the most epic story of MLG Columbus. I'll just leave this link here:


...and I didn't even started on such big topics as "Koreans vs foreigners" and story of Chris "HuK" Loranger (who recently won 2 tournaments in the row), or great stories about players who have been there for 10+ years (SPECIAL TEKTICS)

2. "The participants aren’t marketable or telegenic"

So, you clicked on that link in Kotaku article, found here a random picture of a random proplayer, and thought to yourself: "LOL I GUESS ALL PROGAMERS ARE LIKE THAT"

Now let's look at EG.Demuslim and mTw.DIMAGA. Just do a Google search and look at the pictures. Look at Slayers_Boxer in Korean commercials. Look at MMA blushing on the scene of MLG Columbus while the crowd chants his name.

And guess what: fat progamers are rare. Yeah, don't look so shocked. You just don't have a stamina for long multi-hour LAN competitions if you don't exercise.

(I mean successful progamers of course. There also of course some exceptions, especially in USA (now you shouldn't be surprised))

3. "The casters shoot themselves in the foot when they aren’t casting"

Who are those casters you're talking about? ARE YOU TARGETING THAT AT YOUR OWN FRIEND TOTALBISCUIT? (Ironically among SC2 casters, he is one of the most active participants in flamewars on the interwebz). I mean yeah, there are a lot of goofy youtube videos about Day9 and Artosis in particular, but do you really think that EPIC TRUMPET DANCE set back esports?

Quote
Oh, and while we’re at it, can we find someone with the courage to tell aspiring professional video gamers the same thing my Freshman Football coach told me, “Son, there’s a 99% chance you’re not going pro.”?

Seriously, basic reading comprehension... Zacarus says it in his interview, that's it's not easy to go pro. He does concentrate on picking the wrong game though, but I am yet to see an interview with successful proplayer who says going pro is easy. (Heck, 99% of them have years of experience in SC:BW and War3:TFT). Basically, one of the running discussions in SC2 at that moment is whether you need 8 hours or 12 hours a day of practice to be really good
« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 07:26:57 PM by LXj »
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Re: Octale's Blog: A Long, Long Way to Go
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2011, 07:28:59 PM »

And I am sorry, but I just can not resist from posting this brilliant reply to Kotaku article: http://www.sixjaxgaming.com/wp/scii/2011/07/06/professional-gaming-on-an-upswing-growing-fan-base-to-blame/
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Re: Octale's Blog: A Long, Long Way to Go
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2011, 09:25:45 AM »

And I am sorry, but I just can not resist from posting this brilliant reply to Kotaku article: http://www.sixjaxgaming.com/wp/scii/2011/07/06/professional-gaming-on-an-upswing-growing-fan-base-to-blame/

So the creator of this article doesn't know anything about television, either.  To dismiss traditional TV out of hand is foolishness of the highest order.  I gave 2 concrete examples of the closest cousins to Professional Video Gaming (poker and the X-games) that are also both wildly popular and made the jump to cable TV (at a minimum).  Internet viewership is nice, but in the quest for relevance lots of internet viewership doesn't cut it compared to its real sports counterparts.

What does poker have that pro video gaming doesn't?  Why doesn't the network dedicated to video gaming put hours of pro-gaming on the air instead of syndicating Cops 8 hours per day?  Notice you didn't answer either of those questions, which should be the most important ones facing the so-called "Nintendo generation that is now making marketing decisions...".

I gave what I perceive are significant differences between poker (which has made it to world wide relevance) and professional video gaming (which isn't close to the same relevance).  You're allowed to disagree, of course.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 09:28:06 AM by Octale »
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Re: Octale's Blog: A Long, Long Way to Go
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2011, 12:47:25 PM »

LXj, I want my 90 minutes back, but here's a running log of the following MLG replay: http://tv.majorleaguegaming.com/video/mlg-video/1042446637001-white-ra-vs-liquidret-part-1-mlg-live-replay

The sniveling of “ignorance” has already started, so, I went to MLG TV, called up an SC2 replay, and I’m going to be posting a running log of this replay.  As my stomach allows, I’ll do more of these. I apologize in advance when I hurt your feelings.

White-Ra vs. LiquidRet (Part 1) - MLG Live Replay

Pre-show sponsor message: Bic Razor

00:00 – “Without further ado” is the most boring lead in to anything in the history of ever.

01:17 – Nice insight about the map, “you can’t really push around the outside of the map without exposing your entire army”.

02:50 – It’s harassment; oh, no it isn’t.  Conjecturing what is happening and having to stop and start again with what really happened breaks the flow of the play-by-play.  Stop doing it.  The role of the play-by-play guy is to inform the viewer what has happened on the “field”. The color commentator gets to speculate on why something is happening, and gets to go back to correct himself.  The only exception to this is when the caster is solo.  In that case, fine, conjecture if necessary.

05:17 – Still way, way too much strategy conjecture from the play-by-play guy.  What is this, amateur hour?

7:10 – GG Game 1.  The color guy in the video said something about liking White-Ra’s positioning about something, but I don’t think we ever saw it.

General Impressions of Game 1 – The play-by-play guy is totally monotone.  There’s a lot of insight coming from the color guy, which is his role.  It’s nowhere near where it needs to be to grab any sort of audience, sadly.

9:45 – Nice to get some insight into the map for Game 2.  I don’t necessarily understand the ramifications of Protos not getting a third base, and Zerg getting a third base, but it is a good bit of information nonetheless.

10:27 – Finally Game 2 starts.  For 3 minutes, we’ve stared at random dude in a headset staring at a camera, typing, and nodding.  This is totally Bush league stuff.  Where are the highlights from Game 1?  Where’s the commentary on what has to happen in Game 2?  Where’s the interview with the winner and loser of Game 1?  This is a replay, so all of these things ought to be there.  It is just shamefully unprofessional for a professional gaming league.

10:38 – Positions for Game 2 described.  More conjecture of strategy.  It’s confusing.

12:36 – A pseudo-debate about cannon rushing mercifully ends.  If it isn’t germane to the game at hand do not say it.

13:44 – We’ve watched Zerglings run across the map for 15 seconds now.  Why?  For a replay, this should all be edited out.  More amateurish production quality from a pro league.

13:49 – The options screen appears to increase the volume.  Whoever did that should be fired.

13:55 – Self-deprecation from the play-by-play guy about his assumptions.  Here’s a thought: don’t assume!  Inform us what is happening; that’s your job.  Seriously, watch some real sports and take notes how the real pros do it.

15:40 – We’ve just heard the most professional bit of discourse from the casters thus far about at what level to stop building Drones.  The color guy’s expertise really shines through at this bit.

20:10 – Huge missed opportunity here.  For 2 minutes, we’ve watched 2 amassing armies, with no description of what is there, what they are strong/weak against for the opposing faction, etc.  For 2 minutes at this point, there’s been discussions about strategy when no strategy is happening.  Inform us what is on the field, how they will fare against each other in armed conflict.

21:11 – The first major engagement of Game 2 just happened, but you wouldn’t know it, as the play-by-play team’s pulse didn’t raise above comatose.

22:15 – GG Game 2.  More post game analysis, which is great.  It needs to be done over the highlights of Game 2, instead of Suited Putz #46 and his headset.  I understand the need to have a person to set up games and such, but the production needs to be aware of the game design and account for it, and the production just doesn’t.

24:48 – Game 3 introduced.  There’s no mention that the Best of 5 is 1-1, no mention that this is a pivotal Game 3.  Maybe that’s totally obvious to everyone, but here’s another missed opportunity.  The loser of Game 3 has to win twice to win the Best of 5; Game 3 is also on a map that we’re told favors Protoss.  That’s a not insignificant advantage, isn’t it?  No mention of the situation relative to the map.

30:22 – Game 3’s all in strategy from Zerg is foiled.  Paramedics have arrived to revive the play-by-play team, which is still comatose.  I guess I’m not supposed to care about the Pro Circuit events?

31:40 – Well, at least we got an explanation of “that famous game”.

33:00 – It’s time for special tactics?  What special tactics?  Also, we have 2 Protoss units v. Zerg queens and no indication of who should win that fight, and under what conditions the underdog could upset the favorite.  I want to care about these amassing armies; the play-by-play team’s job is to induce me to care.  They haven’t yet.

34:32 – They MISSED the counter attack.  We’ve been watching drones mine for most of this game, there is a race condition, and the pro gaming league completely missed it!

36:25 – The mop up phase is calling to be edited out.  Why it isn’t done on a replay is beyond me.

37:15 – Nice close up of the mothership.  It’s the big unit of the game, and it is getting face time.  Nice touch.

40:34 – After screwing around for what seemed like an eon or two, GG finally comes.  Why did we have to watch the last 5 minutes of this game on a replay?  We shouldn’t?  You’re right.

Part 2 Sponsor: Sony Erickson

Part 2; 00:00 – Oh, suit boy is MLG Live Host JP McDaniel, and he can participate in the discussion!  41 minutes of gaming, 6 of which I’ve had to stare at this guy, and his nugget of insight is, “Why’d he do that all-in in that last game?”

00:50 – They are rationalizing an all-in in the pivotal game of a Best of 5.  Big risk, big reward to win a game to go up 2-1 and take control of the Best of 5.  It’s a 10 second conversation that’s labored on into 3 minutes.

02:24 – Game 4 on Terminus.  Not one mention of Zerg player being down 2-1 in the Best of 5. Any hope of drama is lost.  I don’t care about this match, and that must be by design.

04:51 – This is the best 2 minutes of commentary of the match.  It’s a discussion of mutalisks in PvP, and it actually distracted me from how totally boring it is to watch resource gathering.  If you can do that every game, you might not need to edit out the first 4 minutes of every game.

06:35 – Our awesome discussion about mutalisks has devolved into sniveling about how awesome banelings are.  I want to die, so I don’t have to watch resource gathering and listen to this crap.  It’s desperately calling out to be edited.  Did I mention I am watching a replay?  Did I also mention it is shameful to not edit your replays?

At this point, I had to leave the computer to make breakfast. The first few minutes of Game 4 have been so boring that I am tempted to turn it off; however, in the interest of quelling the sniveling of MLG fanbois, I force myself to continue.

07:50 – We finally get some analysis that matters. Thank Kerrigan!

08:55 – First engagement of Game 4, and I heard a little excitement in the play-by-play guy’s voice.  Again, apparently it is by design for me to not care about MLG Pro Circuit matches.

12:55 – Second engagement of Game 4 gets a “Holy Smokes” from an attack gone catastrophically wrong.

14:15 – We cut away from the fight to look at a base…really?

16:10 – GG Game 4.  Whitera wins the Best of 5 3-1.  Postgame interview commences.  Ben (play-by-play guy) has the courage to ask why you’d do something so galactically stupid as to all in in the pivotal game of a Best of 5.  That’s something you don’t see in sports ever, and something MLG might be able to work with.

18:05 – Webcam structural failure.  Is MLG is so much trouble that they can’t provide functional equipment to their casters?  It’s embarrassing.

18:20 – Softball question to the losing player.

19:00 – Winning player added to Skype call.

19:35 – Oh, “special tactics” is an inside joke.  Too bad it wasn’t explained so we all could laugh.

20:40 – The interview continues.  There’s another 9 minutes on the video, but I need to start show prep.

 

What's funny to me is that the "revolution" of pro-gaming is happening, or has happened, and nothing has changed from when MLG was on USA network.  It's still boring as sin; I still don't know why I should care about a Best of 5 between 2 random players; 1/2 of the play-by-play team is god awful.  I'm going to keep doing this until I bludgeon the point into the heads of the mindless.  Apparently, I'm a glutton for punishment.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 12:50:46 PM by Octale »
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LXj

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Re: Octale's Blog: A Long, Long Way to Go
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2011, 04:25:37 PM »

Oh wow, you actually made a worty effort, I salute you for that.

However, again, you just looked at a random showmatch and jumped to conclusions. Here is the thing: what you watched is a separate bo5 (I am not even sure if there were any prize money involved), commentated by people who are by far are not considered the best shoutcaster. For comparison, MLG Columbus was 3 days of games commentated by 3 most popular guys in SC2 comunity (and DJWheat).

So, from the start, yes, that bo5 lacked any significant story, because it was just a separate bo5. It wasn't even part of any tournament!

It could though have some meaning, if broadcasters explained who Ret and White-Ra, what are their stories and accomplishments, whether they met in tournament before etc. Maybe all of it was just cut from the VOD (this commentary was broadcasted as part of MLG's 12-hour stream marathon), maybe MLG made a mistake by not targetting this broadcast to those who do not know SC2 scene (which is really bad, because that marathon contained SC2, QLive, Halo and CoD games)

I am sorry that your experience with watching SC2 was not as good as it could be. When I watched MLG Columbus/Dreamhack/GSL, first of all, these were commentated by the best commentators in SC2 community. I would say that MrBitter and JP are doing ok job, and TLO is not actually a commentator -- he is a pro player, so he was in that cast for his knowledge (he is in fact one of the best random players -- which means he has deep knowledge about all the races). And of course casters of major event don't ever miss restating who contested players are, their histories, accomplishments, rivalries

(The fact that MLG site is so confusing to navigate doesn't help either)

I would agree that MLG and SC2 have a lot of amateurism and growing pains. However you can't just dismiss it only because you don't get it or you watched a few casts and didn't like them. I personally think that baseball is confusing and boring, but I don't write long blog posts why baseball doesn't matter. Millions of people watch baseball -- well, millions of people watch SC2 tournament and guesss what -- they don't think they are "boring as sin", they do care about their favorite players, and special tactics meme is actually funny -- you just can't explain it every damn time you mention White-Ra (for the record, a)
b) in SC2 White-Ra is known for many non-orthodox strategies, so that phrase caught on)

(Edited: I confused one of the casters initially)
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 05:01:28 PM by LXj »
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Octale

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Re: Octale's Blog: A Long, Long Way to Go
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2011, 04:32:26 PM »

Quote
would say that Rotterdam and JP are doing ok job, and TLO is not actually a commentator -- he is a pro player, so he was in that cast for his knowledge (he is in fact one of the best random players -- which means he has deep knowledge about all the races). And of course casters of major event don't ever miss restating who contested players are, their histories, accomplishments, rivalries

So, TLO was the bright point of the cast, honestly.  His insights into a game I know nothing about kept me in it for as long as I did.

I don't agree with your statement that I can't just pick a random BO5.  I ought to be able to, which is the point.  You can pick any episode of High Stakes Poker, for example, and watch it on its own, or you can watch the entire series from start to finish.  There's the difference I was trying to illustrate in my blog post.

Anyway, I'll take your advice, and find a replay from a major event and do the same sort of running log for it that I did for this one.  If you have a suggestion and could provide a link, that would be most helpful.
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LXj

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Re: Octale's Blog: A Long, Long Way to Go
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2011, 04:36:15 PM »

So the creator of this article doesn't know anything about television, either.  To dismiss traditional TV out of hand is foolishness of the highest order.  I gave 2 concrete examples of the closest cousins to Professional Video Gaming (poker and the X-games) that are also both wildly popular and made the jump to cable TV (at a minimum).  Internet viewership is nice, but in the quest for relevance lots of internet viewership doesn't cut it compared to its real sports counterparts.

First of all, I have to confess: a) I don't live in USA, so I don't watch American TV; b) actually I don't watch TV, period.

Can StarCraft2 work on TV? Well, it actually DOES work on TV -- in South Korea. There are 2 channels mostly covering SC:BW, and there is also another channel covering GSL (Global StarCraft II League)

The problem is, gaming was previously brought on USA TV, but from what I heard, it was attempted by people who don't understand gaming. You talked about that on your show. Imagine if instead of Ultimate Gamer (or what was it called) there were Ulitmate Poker Player -- well, it would be as bad. I guess american gamers who do care about SC2 don't want to repeat those experiences.

What does poker have that pro video gaming doesn't?  Why doesn't the network dedicated to video gaming put hours of pro-gaming on the air instead of syndicating Cops 8 hours per day?  Notice you didn't answer either of those questions, which should be the most important ones facing the so-called "Nintendo generation that is now making marketing decisions...".

I gave what I perceive are significant differences between poker (which has made it to world wide relevance) and professional video gaming (which isn't close to the same relevance).  You're allowed to disagree, of course.

I guess in the end those who brought poker to TV did it right. They didn't try to "cheese it up", as it was attempted with pro-gaming.

What pro-gaming lacks? Mostly professionalism and good backing. With organisations like MLG, IGN, Dreamhack, ESL and GSL we're getting there, but pro-gaming is still something that is done mostly by enthusiasts (and no, that Live Replay thing wasn't representative of what MLG done with their live events)

I would assume poker also had it's growing pains when it was on its way to TV. It lacked good commentators and experience of live production. But it's been on TV for few years now and growing pains went away
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LXj

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Re: Octale's Blog: A Long, Long Way to Go
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2011, 04:39:50 PM »

I don't agree with your statement that I can't just pick a random BO5.  I ought to be able to, which is the point.  You can pick any episode of High Stakes Poker, for example, and watch it on its own, or you can watch the entire series from start to finish.  There's the difference I was trying to illustrate in my blog post.

Well, what I guess I'll do is try to relay your feedback about that cast to those who made it

Anyway, I'll take your advice, and find a replay from a major event and do the same sort of running log for it that I did for this one.  If you have a suggestion and could provide a link, that would be most helpful.

I would suggest to try something commentated by Tasteless/Artosis, but Day9/DJWheat did really good job too.
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LXj

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Re: Octale's Blog: A Long, Long Way to Go
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2011, 05:08:41 PM »

Looked into a thread on TeamLiquid from 4th of July. Many people were really not happy about commenting -- particularly about MrBitter (Ben), who is known for whining too much about Zerg being too weak.

TLO is loved by everyone. And JP is particularly popular because of his State of the Game podcast (the most popular podcast about SC2)
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