Interview with Slasher on QCon Ban

BY Andrew Miesner / August 13, 2010

Early yesterday we discovered that Rod “Slasher” Breslau, a prominent figure in the Quake community had been banned from entering the QuakeCon event. Rod was scheduled to broadcast the event, however he was barred due to breaking an NDA contract that he entered with iD Software as he assisted with the focus tests required to improve the game.

Upon hearing this information, we sat down with Rod to get his take on the situation and the true details behind it.

First of all, can you tell us a little bit about your Quake history and your involvement in the QuakeCon event?

I’ve been playing the Quake series for a little over a decade now. I skipped Quake 1/Quakeworld and started with Quake 2, playing that for seven years, nearly all competitive play, in CTF, TDM and Duel. Switched over to Quake 3 VQ3 and CPM for a year and a half or so, and Quake Live since the launch of closed beta. Besides playing, I’ve promoted, marketed, covered, broadcasted, podcasted and community managed different aspects of the game for a long time. I have gone as a journalist to QuakeCon since 2005, and have broadcasted the previous three years (2007 with GGL, 2008 with, and 2009 as Live On Three). Out of all the eSports/competitive gaming events of the year, I have always considered QuakeCon to be my home game and home event, and have always had good relations with id Software.

Can you tell everyone exactly what happened to result in a ban from the entire event?

It’s actually quite long regarding certain circumstances, but here’s the short version. I broke the Non-Disclosure Agreement that came with the Focus Test to Quake Live, which is the area where new maps and features are tested out within the game. I had signed the NDA into the Focus Test when it first launched over a year and a half ago, but have not logged into the focus area for nearly 8-9 months, and have not received an email from the Focus group since December 1st, 2009. In those past 8 months, other users have broken their NDA’s and leaked multiple bits of information on the main community hub ESReality. In the middle of downtime on the first day of broadcasting ESWC, I spoke for two minutes reading off the leaks that were made public on ESReality, including the fact that id Software would be releasing new TDM, CTF and Duel maps to Quake Live, and named Aerowalk in particular. Although I had not logged into the Focus Test in quite a while, and the information was public, I had still signed the NDA previously, and was therefore banned from Quake Live for a month. Then a few days ago I received an email stating I would not be allowed to enter QuakeCon 2010.

After learning that you would be barred from entering the event what were your emotions? What are your thoughts on the decision?

Disheartening, frustrating and unjustified. I had figured my month-long ban from Quake Live would suffice as punishment for my actions. I was set and ready to do on-site coverage on behalf of and, the two largest non-ESReality Quake communities on the net, along with cross-postings to ESR itself. No one is taking my place on these sites to do coverage, so all it did was remove coverage from the three most popular Quake community sites in existence. I’m not able to see all the players, broadcasters, journalists, community members and other friends who I sparingly see, or only see at QuakeCon once a year. I’m not around for the full launch of Quake Live, which is a very important time for the game’s overall lifespan.

Many people have expressed their concerns with quality of the tournament thus far. How do you think it’s going? What needs to be improved?

Well there were no games broadcasted yesterday, and today has had it’s problems as well. This seems to be a running trend at QuakeCon to as far back as I can remember, regardless of who is broadcasting the games. I don’t know if this will ever be fixed. The list of things to improve is pretty long.

What do you see for the future of Quake Live? How has iD Software handled the event issues thus far?

I’m not sure. Some people will buy it, and that should give incentive for iD Software to continue updating the game, but I don’t know if -enough- people will buy it. It’s a very strange pricing plan to launch off of, and the community response has been mixed. 

Will we see you at QuakeCon 2011?

I hope so. All I want to do is push the game and community forward, not backwards.

Anything you’d like to say?

I appreciate the concern and interest from the community in this situation. I’m doing off-site coverage on throughout the weekend, and urge anyone to check it out