The Devil Plays Protoss

BY Andrew Miesner / June 13, 2011

The Devil Plays Protoss

by Jacqueline Geller

Any opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of compLexity Gaming or its parent company.

In her first article here at compLexity, Jacqueline Geller tackles the inner workings of the Starcraft II as it relates to something she knows very well, fashion. More information about Jaqueline can be found below.

There is a problem in the fashion industry that’s rearing its ugly head in the Starcraft community.

The Devil Wea– err… Plays Protoss

If someone wants to get involved with the fashion industry, their first instinct is to become a model. Why wouldn’t you want to be a model? It is a glamorous job: your picture graces the pages of glossy magazines, you date rich celebrities and you are invited to the best parties. Unfortunately, being a model requires a specific look and only a select few can do it. When someone who isn’t made for modeling wants to get involved with the fashion industry, they decide to become a fashion designer. Being a designer looks easy, and it looks like something anyone can do. You draw pretty pictures of pretty clothing and send your sketches off for someone to interpret and construct into garments. Being a designer requires no certification, no specific exams and no qualifications, but it can get you fame, attention and money. Everyone in the fashion industry wants to be a model, and if that fails, a fashion designer.

The SC2 community is developing a similar pattern.

If someone wants to get involved with the SC2 community, their first instinct is to become a pro player. That is how we all get involved, isn’t it? Regardless of how we were introduced to the community, we all play at least casually and are passionate about the game. Starcraft is what brings us together, and why would anyone not want to be a pro player? You would spend your days playing custom games with your teammates, hitting the ladder and streaming to hundreds of adoring fans who hang on to your ever build order. Every so often, you travel across and around the world to compete LAN tournaments and rub shoulders with the biggest names in the community. Professional players are the models of the Starcraft community: it seems like a glamorous job but the harsh realities of the career path are often not noted by those wanting to get into the career. Not everyone can become a pro player, though, and if you know you’ll never be making it out of the open brackets at the next MLG, you’re on to Plan B.

“Getting involved with Starcraft: Stick with what you’re good at.”

If your APM isn’t high enough, your macro isn’t strong enough and you can’t make it out of Platinum, the obvious choice for getting involved in the SC2 community is to become a caster. How hard could it be? You download a replay, watch the match, talk into a mic and upload the video to YouTube. Rinse and repeat. Anyone can do it. Just like being a fashion designer, anyone can cast games and call themselves a caster. The act of casting itself is simple, but the art of casting well is a different story. Casting well is not a simple task by any means and requires more skill than most people seem to think. To be a caster, you need intimate SC2 knowledge, to be able to communicate effectively, the ability to think quick on your feet and a winning personality. If you can cast well, you will be loved for it, but if you can’t, you’re embarrassing yourself when you attempt to cast a tournament or upload videos of your casting to YouTube.

Professional players and casters are at the heart of the SC2 community, but we cannot all be pro players and casters. The SC2 community is falling into a bad habit of people trying to get involved by fitting themselves into one of these two roles. If you are a talented player or an incredible caster, I whole heartedly encourage you to pursue that directions. Even if you are not great yet but your heart is in it and it’s what you truly want, go for it. The sad truth, however, is that only a select number of people are phenomenally talented players and incredible casters, and the SC2 community needs more than that. In order to grow, we need people who want to use their skills and strengths to develop the community, not just people who want to be in the limelight as a professional player or a big-shot caster.

You do not have the ability to become a professional player or the skills to cast so what can you do to get involved? This is a difficult question that all individuals looking to get into eSports must think about. As the industry is new, there are not an abundance of opportunities to get involved, especially if you’re looking for a full-time job. What you can do, though, is get your foot in the eSports industry door, get your name out there. You can use your skills and your strengths to further Starcraft as an eSport instead of forcing yourself to try to be a pro player or doing a poor job of casting SC2 games. Just get involved. You may not become a famous personality like Sean “Day9” Plott or be signing women’s chests like Chris “Liquid’HuK” Loranger, but you will be making a difference and start making a name for yourself in whatever facet of eSports that you choose to pursue. You will be using your strengths to further the community instead of becoming just another awful caster want-to-be. The people who are making a difference are the ones who do it from the sidelines; the ones who help the industry grow while the pro players and the casters do what they do best.

Networking through social media is a great way to get connected.

Think about who you are, what you can contribute and how you can get involved. Networking through social media is a great way to get connected to the community and to learn about new opportunities. eSports personalities, SC2 players, companies and tournaments use social media to connect with fans. One day, someone could tweet about the perfect opportunity for you. Major tournaments like the North American Star League have numerous opportunities to get involved from contributing writer positions to interns. An internship or small gig at any North American SC2 tourmanent is a phenominal way to not only gain valuable industry experience but to get your foot in the door. A simple job of writing a once per week article for the NASL could turn into a full-time job one day or help you land that dream job in the future.

Not all of us live in the best cities for SC2, and there are those of us who want to get involved locally. Try searching for your city in TeamLiquid to see what comes up. You might be surprised to find local events, tournaments or practice sessions that you can help out with. If there are no events, plan your own tournament or SC2 events at the local LAN center to get first-hand tournament planning experience. Local tournaments and events are a phenominal way to connect the community, and who knows what your small tournament could expand in to. If you love to write, starting writing! Start your own SC2 blog and write about anything from your journey from Bronze to battle reports of your favorite games. Sites like TeamLiquid are always looking for passionate contributers. Do you live behind the lense of your camera? Start documenting your life in SC2 through photographs. All of these projects may seem small, but you never know what will get you noticed. One day your monthly tournament could get sponsored or your blog could get you a job writing for a major tournament.

The Starcraft community is growing. If you want to get involved, take the time to figure out where you belong in the community instead of defaulting to trying to be a professional player or attempting to poorly cast games. Both of these roles require skills and abilities that not everyone has. If eSports is truly your passion, embrace it and see what you can do with it while you’re young. Explore your options, get your name out there and don’t be afraid to take changes. You do not need to feel like you have to be a professional player or a caster to make it in this industry. And if the eSports thing doesn’t work out, there will always be time for a different career later.

About the Author – Jacqueline Geller

After years of playing World of Warcraft, a friend introduced Jacqueline to Starcraft early last year. Jacqueline’s relationship with Starcraft started out slowly: a handful of casual dates, a little bit of flirting but nothing serious. She took her relationship with the game to the next level after BlizzCon 2010 where she experienced eSports magic first-hand and realized that Starcraft was the one. Despite being a mediocre player, she has been clambering the ladder at a glacial pace and has spent more time watching Starcraft online than she’d like to admit. In March, Jacqueline made the leap from eSports fan to eSports professional when she was hired by the Handsome Nerd as their Art Director, combining her design skills with her love of Starcraft. Since its start in April, Jacqueline has been a contributing writer for the North American Star League, writing coverage for Division 1. Offline, Jacqueline is a bookworm, a runner, a freeride snowboarder and has a Human Ecology degree with a Clothing and Textiles major.

View Jacqueline’s profile here.