For the next interview in our Syndicate Interview Series we are pleased to sit down with Kurtis “NeverExpo” Daigle, founder of NrG Gaming. He previously merged his organization with SixJax Gaming but recently parted ways with the organization leaving many unanswered questions about what happened. Today Kurtis agreed to sit down with us to share his side of the story and shed some light on the moves SixJax is making in the StarCraft 2 scene.
dde, ViBE, NeverExpo, Mihai and Cocoa
Hello everyone, with us now is NeverExpo from the team NrG. Do you mind telling us a little about yourself and your history with the team?
Kurtis “NeverExpo” Daigle: Hey guys! My name is Kurtis Daigle, but just about everyone I know online calls me Kurt 🙂 Im 22 years old, and I live in Ottawa, Canada.
I started NrG by myself around 6 years ago. At that time I was pretty young and felt way behind everyone in terms of skill within Starcraft: Brood War. But, because I’ve always been a competitive person I really wanted to be in a good team. I thought since I couldn’t really join one, I would try to make one! And I began the solo journey of trying to make a competitive Starcraft team.
Alright, so your roots are in Brood War, but when StarCraft 2 came out, how did you and your team make the transition? Did you keep the same players?
NeverExpo: The transition was extremely hard on our team. During the later stages of BW we had a very strong base of European players within the team. Once we found out that Blizzard wasn’t implementing a cross-realm feature, we realized we would be parting ways with a majority of our friends and teammates. Sure there were ways around it, but buying two sets of the game just wasn’t what people wanted, and I think the coming of Starcraft 2 also spurred the desire for fresh starts in a few people, which is totally understandable.
So after the parting of ways, did the responsibility to find new players and re-fill the roster fall on you? What ended up happening after the beta and retail released?
NeverExpo: During Beta, our team was still sort of..half playing BW, while the other half was trying SC2 out. We hadn’t really decided what the next step would be, as most of us were still in denial that our beloved BW would be no more.
But just before release, I talked to the remaining players of NrG. who would be playing on the NA server, and assembled a very small group of friends who would be known as NrG. Since then, we have stuck together and had some great additions to the team.
As for finding players, we always do it as a group. Since I am the only administrative body in NrG, I will usually take care of the final decision, but I will never do so without complete compliance with the team. We make decisions as a group, and they are just as much a part of the process as I am. 🙂
Sounds like a very tight-knit group of players. Were there any brand new additions to NrG in SC2 or were they all carried over from Brood War?
NeverExpo: We actually started out with only six players at release, all of which were former NrG players. There were, however, three to four former NrG players who joined after that since they were late buying the game. 😛 Other than that, all our additions were new to the team, and new to StarCraft in general.
Did any NrG players make it to Major League Gaming events last year? It seems like the majority of them made their debuts at the finals in Dallas, with a brand new sponsor in SixJax.com.
NeverExpo: Yeah, actually the timing couldn’t have been better for us to break out into the scene. Evil Geniuses was nice enough to schedule a friendly match against us one night, in which one of the original six members, NrG.AhhBoxxah (Now sixjaxMihai) was able to all-kill. It only took 1-2 days after that for Sixjax to contact us, and with the MLG finals fast approaching in Dallas, we were happy to form a partnership with them.
We sent four players to the event (Mihai, dde, ViBE, and Kvz). Unfortunately we didn’t do too well and went fairly unnoticed. It was most of our team’s first live experience, and we also had a very tough bracket. dde lost to HuK 1-2 round 1, and ViBE lost 1-2 to TT1 also in round 1. I think it was a discouraging first day, and it kinda went downhill from there.
So sixjax was looking for players to scoop up and sponsor in a hurry right before MLG Dallas 2010? What sort of deal did they make with you, as the current team owner?
NeverExpo: Everything moved very fast. Both parties were in a rush to get everything done in time for MLG. The agreement was to sign on NrG as Sixjax’s SC2 team. At the beginning they only contracted those players going to the MLG Finals event, which was understandable to me at the time. They asked for the remaining players to submit their contract information so that they could be signed at a later date.
I was aware that not all of our team would be receiving support from Sixjax, as we are a large team, and not all of it is competitive. But I deeply stressed the importance of keeping our team together, under the same tag, and it went on that way for about 3-4 months.
Ok, so 3-4 months puts us at the end of February/beginning of March. I imagine that Sixjax was wanting to reevaluate the team going into the new Major League Gaming season. What happened during that time frame?
NeverExpo: Sixjax wanted to get a lot more serious. Like I said before it was a large team representing them, and some people just weren’t competitive enough to be considered part of their roster. Moves were being made to create a “Sixjax gaming” team with players who previously played for “sixjax.NrG”.
The players that weren’t selected to join Sixjax were told that they would be considered if they started performing more in tournaments and events. The players that were accepted would represent Sixjax at the first MLG 2011 event in Dallas.
It seems reasonable enough, but I had an issue with the team being separated. I felt like some of the players who weren’t chosen had already proven themselves to be very competitive players, and did a great job representing Sixjax (as a team we went 16-1 in CEVO’s pro division to take home 1st place).
Definitely sounds like a solid team with some good chemistry as well. Around this time, sixjax also announced that they had acquired a media team to cover these live events, and that Artosis would be joining the team as a player manager. How did these moves effect you, as the current player manager and news writer?
NeverExpo: Up until this point I was in charge of everything. Managing the team and its players, as well as being the sole provider of SC2 content on sixjaxgaming.com. When they announced the addition of a coverage team I was pretty happy. I sometimes find it hard to juggle between those jobs, and having some backup really helped. I still did contribute as much as I could to the site, but it was nice knowing that if I went a day or two without any posts, the site wasn’t being neglected.
As for the Artosis acquisition, it was sort of the beginning of the end for me. The way I found out about him joining the team was far from ideal, and I felt very replaced and that my roles were diminishing quite a bit. Artosis is a great guy, and one of the most beloved characters in the community right now, but the fact that he was taking over role as “team captain” was something many of us couldn’t quite understand. After this, and the separation of NrG and sixjax’s SC2 teams, I found it very hard to be motivated to work for Sixjax.
So by this point, Sixjax essentially had its own team, media coverage, and management, and wasn’t interested in keeping you or the other players around in any capacity?
NeverExpo: This is the way I interpreted it. My players were not influential enough on the scene to be part of Sixjax. They wanted big names and players who had already made a splash, and my team has never really been known for that. I feel we have been underrated and semi-unknown for a long time.
As for myself, I feel like it was a hint that I wasn’t needed anymore. Once again no one said anything about my leaving directly, but things were arising between Sixjax and I that were leading me to believe I wasn’t of very much value to them. My representation of the team itself was being questioned, as was my professionalism.
Also, the main writer/content editor on the site (evoli) was taking on sort of the every day administrative tasks for the team, which I found out at the end. He is a very hard working guy and I don’t hold anything against him, but other people were being chosen to have responsibilities that I held before, so it was obvious I was doing something wrong.
Sixjax signs Terran.
Were you consulted on any of the moves that have been taking place lately, including the acquisition of new players like Terran, or even Sixjax going for players that have existing contracts on other teams?
NeverExpo: When I first heard about Terran joining Sixjax I was still part of the team. I had to hear it through the grapevine though, as Sixjax didn’t tell me. I approached Sixjax when I heard the news, and had a very lengthy discussion about it. At that time, Sixjax hadn’t contracted him yet, and they were willing to hear me out.
gosi[Terran] was in my BW team about 4-5 times, sometimes smurfing, and sometimes I felt so bad for him I was dumb enough to let him back in. But every time was the same. He caused problems. I won’t get into details because the community has displayed they know a lot about him. They bottom line was, I KNEW this guy. I didn’t want some one like this being brought into the team, it wasn’t fair to my players who were joining Sixjax, and it wasn’t fair to Sixjax as a company. Juan is a nice kid for most of the time, and he’s one hell of a player. But the way I usually go about running teams conflicts in every way with letting some one like him into the team.
My words were accepted, but after 1-2 days I heard they had contracted him, and that was basically the nail in the coffin, if that’s what you wanna call it. I was heavily leaning towards leaving before this, but I just couldn’t bring myself to being associated with this type of player again, and I withdrew myself from Sixjax’s organization.
So, by this time the remainder of the NrG players and yourself were completely parted with Sixjax. What was once NrG became sixjax-NrG, and then sixjax AND NrG, is that right?
NeverExpo: Thats right, I’m pretty sure I cut all ties between NrG and Sixjax when I left the organization. The only remaining links are the players who formerly played for NrG and who are now part of Sixjax.
So what do you think will come next for NrG? Rebuilding yet again? What do you believe will become of sixjax?
NeverExpo: If Sixjax continues the way they have, I believe they will meet their goals in having one of the most skilled teams in the world. They have already proven that they mean business, and will continue to add influential people to their team. The way I have always worked in the past just does not gel with their philosophies. I don’t want to “buy” a team. I believe we had something great in NrG/ sixjax.NrG. We had a very talented group of friends who were proving they could compete at the highest of levels. Sixjax felt like it wasn’t good enough for them, and I’m guessing they will be adding even bigger names to their roster in the near future.
As for myself and NrG, we will wait until all this Sixjax dust settles before making any moves. We are without a sponsor, and without the majority of our competitive line-up, which doesn’t sound too attractive for those who are searching the market for a team. I have been in this situation in the past, albeit probably not as severe as this, but I’m confident we can rebuild and become a top team once again.
We will definitely be keeping our eyes open for possible additions to the team, and it really opens up some doors for some people who were looking to get into our team. We still have strong foundation of members, some of which are extremely talented, so given enough time I think we should be more than alright ^_^!
It sounds like despite the run-around, you are still willing to put in a lot of “NrG” into keeping your team intact and competitive. I hope you will continue to strengthen your roster and show up at future events ready to play and turn some heads! Is there anything else you would like to say to all of the folks reading this at CompLexity Gaming and elsewhere?
NeverExpo: First off I’d like to thank Sixjax for the opportunities they gave me and my team. They took a chance in going with a team not many people had heard of, and I think we did fairly well for them during that short time period. I would keep an eye out for them in the near future, as I’m sure they aren’t done making splashes in the community.
I’d also like to thank all my friends/teammates for sticking by me during these tough times. I have been quite emotional about this whole ordeal since I am so attached to my team. I’m very thankful to have such great people surrounding me! Thanks to everyone who will stay in NrG and help us grow once again, you guys are the best <3!
Lastly I would like to thank CompLexity for allowing me to share my story with everyone, as I feel not a lot of people understand exactly what is going on. I hope people take the time to read this, as it is very important to me. I don’t really hold much against Sixjax or anyone inside the organization, it was just meant to clarify things regarding the relationship between us. I wish everyone at Sixjax GL, and hope they have a successful future!
Shameless self promotion? Why not! Come visit us in Op NrG) on NA server if you guys wanna game or chat. I’m very approachable 😛
Alright, well thank you very much Kurt for the interview, I think this story is a compelling one and I wish you and NrG the best of luck in the future.