Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Passionate Nerds

We're encroaching upon the third week of 2013 and drama has been hitting fever-pitch. Passion and anger circulates through the gossip organs of our e-sports body. Despite the feeling of disconnect we're accustom, there has been no escaping the collateral damage that has spilled over to our side of Twitter, Skype and chat-boxes. No doubt about it, there's been enough angst in these few weeks to satisfy the most dire of soap opera fans, with everyone defending an opinion that must be the one truth to rule them all.

This can be difficult, as discussion doesn't run like that. For it to be effective means having opposing ideals, communicating vantage points objectively to arrive at an overarching truth. What's important here is the journey, not the outcome. It's too easy to say “well x can't be correct, so y must be”. Participating sides, with the audience tagging along, must go through a transformation for a debate to be deemed successful. Although this can be rare, one must not disregard the enlightenment that should occur. Despite the vicious defence of polarising views on tender subjects such as sexism, if the general community can be enlightened during the process, a solid conclusion is not entirely vital.

"Eyes up here, Naniwa!"

Having witnessed the sexism row come and go, it wasn't long before the dust-cloud whipped up by Inside The Game engulfed the rest of the internet. If you've been sleeping, or more than likely been playing DOTA2, for the past twenty-four hours, you might have missed the heated argument between EG's Alex Garfield and journalism robot Slasher regarding the ethics of journalism in the e-sports realm. If you did, and you care, take a look at the VODs – djWHEAT does a good job of moderating a debate that has been long overdue and you should make your own mind up instead of me doing all the hard work for you.

Without wading in deep enough to get the poop in my moustache, one thing should be highlighted. From both debates, be it sexism or journalism, it is clear that e-sports is full to the brim with passionate people. There's no shortage of individuals in our global community who give a damn. If you don't completely agree with someone, well, that's a fact of life, but it doesn't mean you can't respect the fact that you share a common passion – E-SPORTS. Whether you're a die-hard sexist, a red-blooded communist or really enjoy Nickelback, if you love competitive video games, well damn, go ahead and love those video games. You don't need to be outed for whatever nonsense you believe in, that's not our job as a community. There's no need for an intellectual gestapo to come knocking on your e-door telling you to pack your bags and go.

If you start to act offensive and derogatory as a result of your beliefs, then that is where you enter the danger zone. If we can have enough effective discussion, the numbers of people willing to conduct themselves in this manner can be swayed to cease their wrongdoing – this is the approach taken by a huge number of societies around the world and it is something that the e-sports sphere is slowly adapting. Respect your fellow nerds passion for e-sports and enjoy the colourful array of different beliefs as it's incredibly rare that so many varying creeds are connected by a common interest.

 "No time for footsies, Slasher!"

In the quiet neighbourhood of South-East Asia, the passion has been boiling for the past two months. With the announcement of the third SEA Clan League, professionals, semi-professionals and amateur gamers alike began bouncing off the walls with anticipation. If you're a competitive player who hasn't yet proven a contender, the huge amount of games in your Tier should be enough to go get that cybernetic arm you've always wanted. With enough new-blood in Tier S and Tier A, the opportunity to create your own glory is here. Last season saw the domination of Terran aces with Rossi, YoonYJ and iaguz all carrying the weight of their teams on their shoulders, and well, needless to say a lot has changed (subtext: patched) in a year.

The advent of the SEACL has nudged us into very interesting times. Battle-lines have been drawn between teams that once harboured training partners, this means that practice must now segregate and individual plans and strategies will be devised and protected – sharing replays and information at this stage is a risk most are not willing to take. In a scene that does not revolve around money, but around bragging rights and respect, stakes are high and a vicious and calculating mindset will prove advantageous.

For those who have already begun their story and reached the tippity top of the SEA-elite, this is all a warm-up. Playing for your team and representing your mates, sponsors and impressing your manager are important, sure, but for the best of the best, SEACL is a precursor to this years ACL season. In April, just weeks after Tier S concludes, gamers from around Australia will converge on Brisbane to make 2013 their year. Some are looking to prove the infamous 2012 Power Ranks wrong, others are looking to prove them right. It's critical to not lose sight of what is ahead of them, as for with everything in the StarCraft II world, life in the spotlight is fleeting. Victory is fickle, at least after a few weeks, and whilst an incredible run in the SEACL can be the motivation needed to perform well at ACL, it might not be worth sacrificing elements of surprise and confusion by revealing builds, timings or mind-games.

So instead of arguing, start discussing. Don't let distractions drain your passion as there's enough SEA action to concern yourselves with in the first half of this year. Go to the ACL event with a positive, inspired and energetic attitude. Tune in to every stream of the SEACL and participate in the SEA Fantasy League. Let's channel the good vibes toward SEA, to the players who deserve it and leave the negativity out of discussions. That way, we can continue to grow a scene that we're proud of.

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