The Aftermath of DreamHack Austin 2016

DreamHack Austin has come to a close, with the fortunate news of the rest of our teams doing much better than the Heroes of the Storm results we got from day 1. Our highest finish was our CS:GO team, scoring second place and falling a bit short to Luminosity Gaming.

For our Heroes of the Storm team, the day consisted mostly of doing interviews and getting their photos taken. Apparently, Blizzard is doing a television show related to Heroes of the Storm, and they wanted to make sure they had all the player assets they needed.

Out of all the crowds, the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive crowd was the most excited and passionate about their respective esport. My favorite moment was when Luminosity Gaming, a Brazilian team, was defeating Cloud9 15-0 in a set yesterday. For those who aren’t familiar, competitive Counter-Strike goes to 16 points, so Luminosity was about to sweep the United States’ Cloud9.

Through some black magic, Cloud9 managed to take a game off Luminosity, bumping their score up to 15-1. Upon this win, the crowd erupted in cheers, sending vibrations through the convention center. The pro­duction team didn’t properly adjust the crowd audio well enough in the television broadcast to properly show the energy in the crowd, but it was truly ear-shattering. They proceeded to chant “U.S.A.” until Luminosity managed to get their 16th point and defeat Cloud9.

Because of their passion, I made sure to snap a photo of the CS:GO crowd. This wasn’t the same crowd that was there for Luminosity vs. C9, but I’m figuring that a lot of the people were the same, and the stands were just as full.

I also spent a decent chunk of time with Reynad, the founder and CEO of Tempo Storm. As expected, he got pretty unlucky, and dropped from the tournament on day 1 due to some ridiculous Internet problem that made him lose a won game. So, yesterday, instead of competing, he spent time enjoying the convention and talking with members of the team and with fans. He also spent some time playing Smash with fans – this is Reynad and Frodan playing 2v2 against some con-goers.

Unfortunately, due to some miscommunication with our team manager, we were sent home a day early, before the convention ended. Because there were a bunch of people headed to the airport at once, we took a limousine bus instead of having private drivers.

After being taken to the airport two hours early, and having to wait an additional hour for delays, I got on my flight at Austin-Bergstrom Airport to head back to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, IL.

I ended up taking a nap at the airport because of how long I had to wait. The ultimate troll decided to put a “Reserved seating for special needs” sign right next to where I was sleeping, while I was already seated there and asleep for a few hours … lol

I used to not really like going to conventions or traveling, but I think I’m sort of getting used to it. It’s very chaotic and busy, especially considering how involved Tempo Storm is with so many different esports, but it’s inspiring and motivational watching the level of passion and excitement coming from the fans.

I also used to hate flying on airplanes when I was younger because I would get airsick so easily. I guess I’ve grown out of it, because I usually browse social media and text people using the in-flight wifi, and take a nap, and the flight isn’t really that bad.

I’m not entirely sure when my next event will be, and like usual, I most likely won’t be revealing more details until I’m 100% sure of my attendance. But, even though I thought I would never say this … I’m actually somewhat looking forward to getting back on a plane and attending my next tournament and/or convention.

 

Day 1 of DreamHack Austin 2016

My day opened up with claiming my all-access “e-sport” badge and eating dinner in my hotel room.

Because I had to release the super secret project today at 8 AM PDT, I didn’t get a chance to go together with the team to the convention center, which was a problem. I ended up going a few hours later by myself, and took somewhat of an eternity to actually find out where they were.

Apparently, even with my all-access pass, there were some security guards who had no clue what they were doing, and told me I couldn’t go where I wanted in order to figure out where my players were. To make things worse, I was carrying around a bunch of apparel for the players, as well as a mouse pad for a player who had forgotten his at home. Fortunately, I was bold enough to ignore security guards and keep searching the convention center for real help.

After about an hour or so, I finally found someone from Twitch hospitality, who walked me to the correct place. The player practice area was apparently within the actual main area, off to the corner.

Twitch hospitality also set up a place for players to relax away from the main convention area. With Twitch being Twitch, they lit up the room with nice dim purple lighting.

At first, I had quite a bit of difficulty figuring out how the Hearthstone and Smash tournaments were going, but luckily, our Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team was easy to find and help. They had a game early on in the afternoon, so I went on stage with them to help them set up and settled in the playing area.

Unfortunately, the day was filled with delays, with our CS:GO team being the first of many. Our coach’s laptop had some severe audio problems, so I ended up sitting behind the players on stage for about 20 minutes trying to figure out a resolution to a problem that the DreamHack techs sort of gave up on. Eventually, I found some obscure line-in setting in Windows that fixed the problem.

Next up was Heroes of the Storm. Our team’s first match was against Astral Authority, a team that sort of came out of nowhere. They started out as King of Blades Alpha, left the organization to form Gust and Bust, and finally got a new sponsor, Astral Authority. I’m usually not too interested in other teams, and generally funnel my energy entirely into just Tempo Storm, but the manager of AA is pretty kind-hearted, so I pay at least a little attention to them.

Our delays continued when the Internet connection at the convention center started wavering, and our Heroes of the Storm players started to randomly disconnect from the game. At first we assumed that it would just be a short pause before we would be able to resume playing, but it ended up taking much longer than that. To avoid getting bored, Zixz loaded up a Taylor Swift song on YouTube so he can sing along with his favorite artist.

After over two hours of delays, we finally got everything back up and running. Unfortunately, we ended up dropping the series to Astral Authority, and dropped into the losers’ bracket, where we had to face COGnitive Gaming.

While our HotS team’s second series of the day was going on, our CS:GO team was also playing their second series of the day.

To keep things simple, our CS:GO team smashed, while our HotS team got smashed. Our CS:GO went 2-0 in series today, so they will be skipping tomorrow and advancing straight to Sunday’s matches. Our HotS went 0-2 in series … and got eliminated on day 1. -__-

Because I was keeping tabs on all our esports teams from our entire organization, I didn’t get to watch all the HotS team’s games, as I was either with the CS:GO team, or in the Hearthstone area with Reynad. However, from what I’ve heard, apparently, up until they lost the game, they were winning.

Our HotS run is now over, but we have competitors still going strong in every other game. Check back tomorrow (or the day after) for more updates.

 

Zoia’s files, going live on TempoStorm.com tomorrow at 8 AM PDT

Reddit has been going crazy lately regarding a secret meeting at Blizzard headquarters, to which a bunch of Heroes of the Storm community icons were invited.

Zoia was one of the people who attended, and when I met up with him yesterday night, he gave me the flash drive with content from the secret meeting.

Our non-disclosure agreement ends tomorrow at 8 AM PDT.

New HotS content will be posted at TempoStorm.com.

Be there.

 

Surprise, I’m going to DreamHack Austin 2016

I tend not to share news until I’m 100% certain about it, and due to one of the DreamHack directors getting severely sick and going to the hospital, I wasn’t 100% sure about going to DreamHack Austin too far ahead of time. I was given my flight information extremely late, my flight was booked incorrectly (I would’ve arrived a day late, but I got that fixed), and I didn’t get hotel information until two days ago. But, we finally managed to get everything sorted out, and I made it to Texas.

I had a morning flight this time, which was nice, because I would be able to make it to my destination before it got dark, and would have a chance to actually look outside a bit and relax before the day was over. As usual, I departed O’Hare International Airport in Chicago with American Airlines.

I was able to claim a window seat for myself again, so I was able to get some photos during the flight. The one above is shortly after take-off, when there were two hours left to go. The one below is when we entered Texas and were getting ready for landing.

After a smooth, uneventful, and relatively short flight (because I’m usually used to flying to California, and this flight was half the duration), I made it to Austin-Bergstrom Airport in Austin, Texas.

The airport was extremely small compared to other airports I’m used to. I’m pretty sure there were no terminals, and only about 30 gates in total. This is a huge difference because I’m used to going in and out of O’Hare, which is large enough to supposedly have an entire zip code to itself. When we landed, the airport was small enough that we were right next to an entirely different airline’s gates – Southwest Airlines.

While I was on the plane, I texted the private driver who would be dispatched to transport me from the airport to the hotel. I let him know that the flight would be landing about half an hour early, and he was welcome to come to get me earlier if his schedule allowed it.

Hilariously, the number I texted apparently wasn’t for the driver, but rather, the company that dispatches the rides. The response I got? “Rest assured, your driver will be on time!”

Once I got to the hotel, I realized that I was extremely early, and was the first one in the Heroes of the Storm division to arrive. Check-out wasn’t done yet, so Twitch hospitality gave me some snacks and drinks while I waited for the hotel staff to get my room cleaned and prepared for me. The estimated wait time was a little under two hours before I would be able to get my room.

But, just like magic, within several minutes, the hotel staff was able get everything ready – I figure they prioritized my room, seeing as I was already there, and I was technically a “big customer” because DreamHack bought my room – so I was able to cut out the waiting time and settle in right away.

We’re in the heart of downtown Austin, so I don’t really have a great view out my window. But, that also means that I conveniently have a grocery store across the street from me, which will be useful to get some relatively cheap food during the time the convention center isn’t open yet and DreamHack doesn’t have free food for me.

Tomorrow (Thursday) is regular travel day for everyone else, and will more-or-less be a relaxation day for me. The convention and the tournaments start on Friday afternoon.

 

I attended the biannual K. H. Kim taekwondo tournament

Today was the third and final tournament of the season, the Ki Hong Kim Taekwondo tournament of Northbrook, IL. Notice how I said “of” instead of “at,” because they rescheduled the tournament to be at a different location – some random preparatory high school – instead of at the main academy, or even at the normal tournament area in Glen Ellyn.

The location was a disaster this time. Not only was the tournament not even at the main high school, but in some random athletic facility next door, but the facility looked like some wooden cabin.

Instead of just using the hardwood/laminate floors, they covered the whole place in brown tarp. The problem was that the coverage was absolutely terrible, so the areas where the pieces of tarp met kept on rising up, and students and competitors tripped over those areas on multiple occasions.

Nonetheless, I still attended because the martial arts academy next door to my family’s business has an association with K.H. Kim Taekwondo, and most of the students I like, who I feel are talented, were attending the tournament. I even brought one kid along with me, a student who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to make it to the tournament due to financial issues and lack of available transportation.

This is where the tournament took place. It wasn’t that glorious of a location, but it was more-or-less fitting for the number of students who signed up for this tournament. There used to be a massively larger number of competitors, even within the past few years, but it’s rapidly declining, presumably because of all the problems and conflicts there were in the previous few tournaments.

The unfortunate thing about this whole tournament was that there wasn’t even official K. H. Kim staff run­ning the assembly of contestants. A majority of the people you see in suits in the photo above and below are actually from Keumgang Martial Arts Academy, and not from K. H. Kim. I’m not sure if they were ac­tu­al­ly paid for their services, but if not, that’s incredibly unfortunate, because tournament participation costs were $60 for the first event, and $10 extra for each additional event.

(Those wide and generic shots are the only photos I’m going to put up on my website, primarily because I want to protect the privacy of the students I was coaching and assisting at the tournament.)

Overall, it was a little tragic how badly this tournament was run from an administrative and organizational viewpoint. With an extremely rough estimated calculation, if there were 200 students and each student par­tic­i­pated in an average of 2 events, they would’ve made $14,000 off this one-day tournament, and it re­peats every handful of months. Yet, they clearly didn’t invest that money back into their company in an effective manner, either by hiring talent or training their current staff.

Seeing something with so much potential fail so badly makes me appreciate the people who work with me or for me. Because I work in an industry where it’s all about the performance, things pretty much always go more smoothly. I appreciate that this high attention to detail and level of effort of my business partners is considered “normal” in this industry, when they could technically be getting by without much work, similar to how this tournament went.

 

Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods release day

Whispers of the Old Gods is finally out, and I opened my massive pile of packs. I already had 50 packs wait­ing for me from my pre-order; I grabbed another 60 from the shop, earned 13 free packs by logging in and com­plet­ing the two new legendary quests, and bought 1 with 100 gold.

After my long card opening spree, I am proud to announce that I am now the owner of all four Warlock golden legendaries, two of which I also have non-golden versions.

I didn’t open Cho’gall from my 124 packs, but I had enough duplicates that I was able to disenchant a ton of cards and have way more than enough dust to craft golden Cho’gall, and even go back and get myself a golden Wilfred Fizzlebang while I was at it.

I don’t think I’m going to be using Wilfred Fizzlebang in a deck, seeing as Emperor Thaurissan seems to serve the same purpose, but work a little bit better. But, with the release of Standard mode, there might be room to sneak in Wilfred Fizzlebang into a deck as a substitution for a card that was rotated out.

If you’re interested in watching my full stream session with my pack opening and playing, I’ve uploaded the VOD to my archive YouTube channel where I dump all my random unedited gaming footage:

Source: http://youtube.com/watch?v=1FzNt-Ex7OU&list=PLyWU14LEGfKc3tumOMu3TMxf7BRw0R6Xu

 

Tempo Storm’s first ever Heroes of the Storm Meta Snapshot is now live!

A large project in the making for a pretty long time, Tempo Storm’s first Heroes of the Storm Meta Snapshot is finally done and live on the website.

https://tempostorm.com/heroes-of-the-storm/meta-snapshot/patch-172

Although it’s still not perfect to my own standards, most of you probably already know that I have nearly unrealistically high standards. Overall, it’s a pretty good final product, consider it was a collaborative project, and I’m more-or-less satisfied with it.

I will be continuing to tweak the snapshot throughout the next few days, and will be updating it occasionally until the next big patch. Once Patch 17.3 comes out (or whatever the next big patch is going to be), we will archive the current 17.2 snapshot, then take and release a new snapshot.

Until then, I will be adding in more guides, moving heroes around as needed, and updating talent builds if I or the professional players find builds that are more optimal.

I got a reddit thread started in the Heroes of the Storm subreddit so we can harvest that delicious traffic (and to share with the community, of course).

Although I don’t personally read or respond to reddit discussions, I noticed that Zoia and Zixz are having conversations with posters and posting a lot of replies. So, if you’re interested in some professional player insight, check out the thread to see if there’s anything of value you can take away from it:

https://www.reddit.com/r/heroesofthestorm/comments/4fk6n5/tempo_storm_heroes_of_the_storm_meta…

Also, something to note about the snapshot … all the purple bars with hero names are expandable. There are hours upon hours of my own written work being hid by the collapsable modules. We added a hover effect last-minute because some of our testers weren’t picking up on the fact that you can click on them to see a talent build and find more information about the hero.

If you’re not interested in participating in the reddit thread or want to ask me questions / give me feedback directly, feel free to leave a comment to this blog post. I monitor my website much more closely than any public forum, so this would be the best way to get your suggestions heard (and implemented, if they’re good suggestions).

 

I went to the J.K. Lee Taekwondo Great Midwest Championships yesterday

… as a coach, not as a competitor, of course.

I went with my good buddy Ed Lam, who you might know as Grainyrice. We both took photos and videos throughout the tournament, and I posted some of the highlights on Keumgang Martial Arts Academy’s Face­book page.

The guy holding the biggest trophy is Elias.

He originally wouldn’t have been able to make it to the tourna­ment due to not having a ride, but he came along with me instead – seeing as I was going to go to the tournament anyway, and he might as well – and he ended up literally winning the whole thing. The huge trophy is the grand championship award.

 

Heroes of the Storm Psychology: Confirmation Bias

Source: http://youtube.com/watch?v=pkGsqlIOrXc&list=PLRz2JWFFHXPe0dE7zosqHLbxgrppwgeeg

Today’s episode of Storm Psychology, a series written by Corey Tincher exclusively available on Tempo Storm’s website and YouTube channel, is on confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency for people to search for and interpret information in a way that favors their pre-existing beliefs, while not giving proportional consideration to alternative and conflicting possibilities.

If you’ve ever seen an ally do something, even though there was clear evidence that they shouldn’t, they were most likely suffering from this phenomenon. This video goes over how it affects Heroes of the Storm, and what you can do to avoid falling victim to it.

Screencap of "Storm Psychology: Confirmation Bias"