Mango the Yorkshire Terrier went on an adventure yesterday to the Tempo Storm Hearthstone Frostside Gathering, a rebranded Fireside Gathering in San Diego, CA in celebration of the new, upcoming Hearthstone expansion involving the Lich King. Because I am part of Tempo Storm, we got there a little earlier than everyone else so we could get settled and help set up when needed. reynad, the founder and CEO of Tempo Storm, and his girlfriend Michaela were there as well; Michaela wanted to put sunglasses on Mango. Frodan, one of the co-founders of Tempo Storm and currently a Hearthstone caster and broadcast personality, dressed up as Gul’dan. Here he is calmly petting Mango as he gazes off into the distance, plotting his next world takeover and domination. Jessica Nigri, world-famous cosplayer and personality, was also at the event. She absolutely adored Mango and held him for about half an hour or so. FakeNerdBoy, Jessica Nigri’s boyfriend and a broadcaster, also held Mango for a little while. The event itself wasn’t really that great for me, seeing as I don’t really like parties, but Ed is still over in California visiting from Illinois, and he seemed to enjoy it. I don’t drink alcohol, but Ed does, so he got some free drinks and roamed around enjoying the event. We stayed for around six hours; this photo of Ed is from shortly before we were about to leave: I was the one who ended up driving from Riverside County to San Diego. It’s right around a hundred miles in each direction, and I thought the drive there would be awful (because I hate driving), but it actually wasn’t that bad. What was bad, however, was trying to find parking in San Diego. After proceeding to fail at finding an open spot for a good 20 minutes or so, we finally made our way into a parking garage and found a spot. On our way out, I discovered that parking cost … US$60.00. I guess owning a multi-floor parking structure in San Diego is good business.
I haven’t posted a video on my YouTube channel in an extraordinarily long time – over three years, to be exact. Back in early 2015, I actually made my final “annual Buffalo Wild Wings winter trip” vlog, but for whatever reason forgot to upload it, and still haven’t since then (I sort of feel like it’s not really that relevant of a video anymore). One of my promotional obligations at my workplace involved me unboxing and reviewing a product from one of our sponsors, so I decided to take this opportunity to “revive” my channel by turning this into a video for my channel. … No, my channel is not actually “revived,” because I won’t be doing this on a regular basis. But here’s the video. As I mention in the video, the story behind this product is that I wanted Massdrop to send me one keycap with their logo on it, so if my keyboard were to ever appear in a video or a stream, it would essentially act as next-level product placement. But, instead of one keycap, Massdrop decided to send me 186 keycaps. In the video, I unpackage the keycaps and show what they look like, investigate the double-shot plastic and explain how that ensures quality and longevity, then proceed to install the Massdrop logo keycap onto my Escape key (after filing down the sharp edges off-camera, because that matters on a bezelless keyboard).
My guide on how to get the most out of a self-cook, all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue trip is still a work in progress. And by work in progress, I mean that I haven’t started yet. But, until I get started, I’m building up some good experience by continuing to go to KBBQ. Tempo Storm’s Overwatch team is currently in one of our southern California team houses for a boot camp, and I accompanied them to a KBBQ trip. Coincidentally, our League of Legends team, which also has a team house in southern California, also stopped by the same KBBQ place, so I snapped a photo of them too. (I had to blur out a few faces because they’re new members of the team who we haven’t officially announced yet.
Tempo Storm hosted a Fireside Festival in Rancho Cucamonga, CA earlier today. The Fireside Festival was essentially a regular Hearthstone Fireside Gathering, but a lot larger than usual with way more events and notable attendees. Because we were the organization hosting the event, I set myself up in the corner to ensure that there were no problems and the event would run smoothly. I was in the back with Rentaro and RagingCherry, who was running the tournament part of the Festival. Usually, I post photos of the stuff around me, but I decided to actually post photos of myself today for a change. First up is a photo with Hyped. He’s a professional Overwatch player for Immortals now, but he used to be a professional Hearthstone player for Tempo Storm, and was one of the people who ran the classic Tempo Storm Hearthstone Meta Snapshot. I’m friends with his girlfriend, so I tweeted this photo at her and said “hey look who I found.” Part of the activities that were offered were designing your own card and putting your face in the space where the card art would be. I made myself an 8/8 for 8 mana that has a Battlecry of bringing your opponent down to 1 HP, then losing the game anyway. I thought it would fit me well because I tend to play aggro decks a lot, and my opponents tend to be really good at making a comeback after they’re down to single-digit health. There were also dry-erase boards in the shape of emotes, so I made one that said “Lost board control on turn 2? I concede to you.” I tend to get really frustrated at cards like Knife Juggler and other RNG-based cards that just completely destroy your early board (so much so that they basically just win the entire early game if their Knife Juggler hits, or they get smashed the entire game if their Knife Juggler misses). So, this is actually pretty accurate. And finally, one of my friends convinced me to write “♥ I love reynad ♥” and hold the sign up while standing next to him. He was in a meeting with someone in this photo, but the person with whom he was talking actually noticed me and alerted reynad to my presence, thinking I was an actual fan who wanted his attention, rather than an employee at Tempo Storm just joking around … lol
Surprise, I’m going to BlizzCon Opening Week. Okay, well obviously that’s no longer a surprise, because I arrived in Los Angeles on October 23 and I’ve been regularly sharing photos and other posts on social media. The first photo is my ride to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois; the second photo is when I was at O’Hare waiting to board flight with American Airlines; the third photo is after I landed at Los Angeles International Airport and inhaled the familiar smell of cigarette smoke saturating the air; and the fourth and final photo is at Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport, the hotel at which I stayed during BlizzCon Opening Week. If you’ve been following me for the past year or so, you probably already know that “Surprise, I’m going to ________” is my signature phrase for traveling. I have a tendency to not really share what I’m doing unless I’m already in the process of doing something, or it already happened – this allows me to avoid situations where people say “wait, but I thought you were going to ________” and I have to explain what happened. A consequence of this is that the stuff that I end up sharing is sometimes unexpected, and it’s particularly surprising when I announce out of nowhere that I’m traveling. I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately, mostly for our Heroes of the Storm team. If you only know me for Heroes of the Storm, you may be wondering, “why are you going to BlizzCon Opening Week when your new Korean Heroes of the Storm team didn’t even qualify for BlizzCon?” With Tempo Storm being a very player-oriented organization, and the fact that I would be traveling to BlizzCon anyway for production work, I decided to book my flight early and be present for Opening Week as well. Although our HotS team might not have seen success this time, our Australian Overwatch team did – we had four people qualify for the Overwatch World Cup. I roomed with one of our players who got his hotel room covered by Blizzard, and stayed around to provide administrative support for our team. Unfortunately, I personally am not much of an Overwatch player, so it was a bit difficult for me to actually be interested in what was going on. So, I generally only went to the studio to check up on the players and stopped by when I was needed. I spent the rest of my time in the hotel room working, as well as doing genius things, such as eating food from restaurants with two hotel coffee stirrers because they forgot to put chopsticks in my takeout bag. So what was this whole thing about getting kicked out of the studio? Well you see, esports “managers” haven’t exactly demonstrated themselves to me as the most bright and alert people. They generally just do their minimum duties without actually genuinely caring for the players. I’ve had experiences with league operations staff members who faced tech problems and just gave up. At ESL, a tech was addressing a “power outage” problem … when all he had to do was flip the power switch on the power supply of the computer tower. He couldn’t figure it out, when I identified the problem within seconds after he left the room to get more help. At DreamHack, our CS:GO coach and in-game leader had some audio problems on his laptop, and the tech couldn’t figure out how to fix it and basically said our team had to play the game with the coach’s volume at 1/5th of everything else. That one took me a little bit longer to fix, but I still managed to work through it myself. Because I didn’t want stuff like this happening to our players at the hands of underqualified individuals, I decided to take care of stuff myself. Unfortunately, there was no “official” way to have me be the team’s manager, as a manager was assigned for the Overwatch World Cup teams. The Australian team just happened to have four members of Tempo Storm on it, because we have the best Overwatch team in Australia, but for most other teams, random people came together to form the country’s representing team, so it was reasonable for them to not have a specific esports administrator be their manager from a specific organization. With that being said, confidence gets you far. Even though I wasn’t exactly allowed inside the studio and practice area (because I was not a player or a registered manager), I just walked into the studio as if I belonged there, and was never questioned. I spoke with Blizzard staff members who were on duty inside the studio, and nobody doubted that I belonged there. Except one person – Nelson – the person who was assigned to be Team Australia’s manager. The reason he knew I wasn’t authorized on paper to be there is because I was essentially taking his job and making up for his shortcomings. Apparently he had a problem with that – I guess he put his pride before the actual needs of the players. On one of the Opening Week game days, the team asked me for Starbucks, so I went over to the studio with coffee in hand. The thing about this day is that I announced in our Twitter group DM that I was on my way in the next shuttle (rather than just showing up and walking in), and that I would be arriving in about half an hour. Nelson was also in this Twitter group. Right as I got off the shuttle, there were security guards waiting for me at the entrance letting me know that I was not allowed to enter. To be fair, they weren’t wrong – I wasn’t officially on the list of people who could enter – but I had never had a problem with it before then, seeing as most people realized I was a positive addition to the team’s environment. I have no proof of it, but surely, the only way this could have happened is that Nelson had reported to security that a “trespasser” would be arriving. This is usually what happens with stories like this – they’re a lot less exciting than what people expect. No, I did not break someone’s bones to get kicked out. No, I did not hack the broadcast. I simply got told on by our own team’s manager.