It’s been years since I seriously competed in an event. The last one I can remember was for Halo 3 at MLG Anaheim 2009. I had forgotten everything which made me love eSports in the first place — the thrill of experiencing intense competition. Sure I had done other sports in middle/high school, but there is nothing quite like the indigestible feeling that the entire world is watching you play versus the best. It’s like a burning thirst which can be quenched by victory alone. Desire to win is not enough and losing will ignite the flame even more. The worst part about this bloodlust for glory is that once you taste it, you want to feel that again. That’s what gives me the drive to compete…or used to drive me.I had lost much of this feeling over time as my priorities shifted into commentary, production, and behind-the-scenes busy work. Casting still has some performance pressures, but usually get many chances to prove yourself throughout a tournament. Even better, you have the wonderful luxury of even correcting a mistake by simply explaining what you meant or having a co-caster playfully banter to pull you out of a hole. There is rarely such an opportunity as a player. Missing your chance means you stand in the background celebration pictures clapping for someone else who took your trophy. It sucks. I hate that feeling. It’s often said that many greats have a stronger hatred for losing than a love for winning. I identify with this sentiment completely.
So I stuck with commentary. I was better at talking than playing and after five years or so, I still love doing it.
However, for one magical weekend, I decided to give competing at SeatStory a second try where the atmosphere is laidback and very player-friendly. You always get a chance to go to the couch and talk about what you were doing or what you were trying to accomplish. It’s one of the best events to do it.
As a caster, you naturally are a people pleaser meaning you are extra vulnerable to the heavy criticisms. It’s extremely rare for a caster to successfully take the mic off and step into the player booth. Usually it’s the other way around! But Hearthstone is one of those games where anyone can win. I’ve hit as high as top 10 legend before and won some practice series against teammates so I knew I had at least a little bit of good stuff, but boy was I not prepared for what happened at all.
There will be two parts: the background of competing in the event and the lessons I’ve learned from it.