New infographic on HotS Power League, Season 2 grand final: T/S vs. L5

In celebration of our new signing, we made a new infographic focusing in on the grand final series between Tempo Storm and Team L5 in the second season of Power League, a Korean Heroes of the Storm league. This was the tournament they premiered the signing – meaning, this was the first time they appeared on stage branded as Tempo Storm.

Luckily, for the sake of the infographic, the series happened to go on to all five games in the best-of-five series, and all the games ended up pretty close and epic. Even if it ended up being a 3-0 sweep, and even if Tempo Storm lost, we were planning on doing the infographic anyway, but considering the way the games turned out, there wasn’t much more I could’ve asked for.

This was a collaborative project, with Moonprayer doing statistics and analysis, hareclam doing graphic design, and me doing project direction and outlining.

Here’s the final product:

https://tempostorm.com/articles/infographic-power-league-season-2-grand-final-tempo-storm-vs-team-l5

In case you need more coaxing to click on the link and check it out, here’s a preview of what the infographic looks like – it contains an excerpt of the bracket, summary, and a breakdown of the first game of the series:

 


 

Regarding AA’s disqualification, through the eyes of a social psychologist

After explosive controversy regarding Astral Authority’s Heroes of the Storm team’s disqualification from ESL’s tournament, I decided to seize this opportunity to write a piece about the event, through the eyes of a social psychologist.

Because I take a much more broad and general role at Tempo Storm, I don’t really dig deep into Heroes of the Storm news, even though I’ve been with Tempo Storm’s HotS team multiple times to different events. However, something as big as this definitely catches my eye, and I took some extra time to actually read through what people were saying.

My main motivation for writing this piece was how much people were complaining about how “the right thing” didn’t happen, as if life is supposed to be perfect. It seemed a little strange to me, but then I figured that it was simply because a lot of the commenters were young people who just didn’t have much life experience.

To help them out a bit, I applied some psychological theories and explained both why stuff like this happened, and why it’s just how life is.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece, the introduction:

 

Last night, one of my good friends Mellina Kong, manager of Astral Authority’s professional Heroes of the Storm roster, posted an update on Twitter about how her players had their dreams crushed. Curious as to what was happening, I looked into it.

Apparently, Astral Authority had qualified for the HGC Fall 2016 NA Regional, happening in early August. The winner of this regional will qualify for BlizzCon 2016 to take their shot at proving themselves to be the best team in the world, on the grandest stage of them all. Not long after, Astral Authority was notified that their qualification had been revoked and their team was disqualified due to bug abuse.

Tyrael has a bug with his trait where selecting a particular sequence of talents and inputting a series of key presses with the right timing will cause his Archangel’s Wrath to deal an unintentionally high amount of damage. According to investigations conducted by ESL and Blizzard, a player on Astral Authority was abusing this exploit to gain an unfair advantage in their games, and consequently, the team was disqualified.

Drama began to explode, with some members of the community and other professional players directing the hatred of 10,000 years at ESL, Blizzard, and Astral Authority’s opponents. People attempted to justify Astral Authority’s behavior by bringing up evidence of other teams using the exploit, claiming ignorance, and just spewing hatred to get the frustration out of their bodies.

What’s done is done. ESL disqualified Astral Authority from the tournament and are scheduling a match to determine their replacement. No matter how vocal Astral Authority fans get, I highly doubt that ESL will reverse their decision by reinstating Astral Authority or revoking the match offer they gave to the runner-up teams.

Having an educational and professional background in sociology and psychology, with a speciali­zation in criminal psychology, I decided to write this piece to help explain this whole fiasco, and nudge the community in the right direction – away from drama, and towards a thirst for learning.

There are some valuable lessons we can learn from this situation about how life works.

  1. Just because you work hard for something doesn’t mean you get it.
  2. People will break rules.
  3. Not everyone gets punished for wrongdoing.
  4. Don’t get caught off guard by Schadenfreude.

 

Want to finish reading the whole piece? Check it out, available exclusively on Tempo Storm’s website:

https://tempostorm.com/articles/stop-the-drama-and-start-the-learning-lessons-from-astral-authoritys-disqualification

 


 

We just signed the Heroes of the Storm world champions


After a series of really poorly executed teasers that looked something like this:

We finally got around to revealing that we signed a new Heroes of the Storm team – Team Tempest, the current reigning world champions.

We also got around to revealing that I’m really bad at making non-obvious teasers.

Check out the official announcement linked in the tweet above – I wrote the announcement, and our new communications specialist wrote/translated the player bios.

 


 

T/S Infographic: OGN Super League, Season 2 (Korean Regional)

Although our Chinese infographic from a few weeks ago wasn’t quite as popular as our North American and European ones, I really liked how the multi-language infographic came out, and those who were interested in the Asian scene really appreciated it. So, we decided to do another foreign infographic, this time for Korea’s OGN Super League.

https://tempostorm.com/articles/infographic-ogn-super-league-2016-season-2-kr-regional

This was finished a little later than we wanted because we prioritized getting the North American regional infographic out first. Super League actually ended while we were in Burbank, CA for the regional, and most people attending ESL were shocked that Tempest managed to sweep MVP Black 4-0 to become the new Korean champions.

Like always, I appreciate any community feedback that may help me improve my work, so if you have any suggestions, you’re welcome to leave them in the Comments section of this blog post. There’s also a thread on reddit that’s posted with these infographics, and our statistician closely monitors that, and a lot of our tweaks and improvements have come from posts there – so rest assured that your voice, if you choose to express it, will be heard.

 


 

ESL HGC Sum. ’16 NA Regional infographic is live now, w/ a new section

The infographic from the Heroes of the Storm tournament I just attended is live now.

While I was there, I noticed a huge rise in Anub’arak play (which was a hero otherwise not really seen in com­petitive play). I also remembered that he had some buffs and changes recently, so I asked my statistician and analyst to collect some more in-depth data about Anub’arak so we could create a new section, the Hero Spotlight.

https://tempostorm.com/articles/infographic-esl-hots-global-championship-summer-2016-season-na-regional-2

Like always, although our statistician and data analyst Moonprayer does a lot of work, I still take this as one of my personal Tempo Storm projects and put effort into innovating and improving it. As a result, I’ll always read non-troll feedback about the infographics.

If you have any suggestions as to what new segments we should add in the future, or have any validly-supported complaints about anything we’re doing now, feel free to leave me a note in the Comments sec­tion of this blog post. I read every single message posted to my website, and answer all posts that prompt a response.

 


 

Aftermath of the ESL HGC Summer 2016 NA Regional

If you’ve been keeping up with the tournament, you probably know by now that Tempo Storm HotS didn’t do too well, dropping their series against Panda Global on the first day of the open stage tournament. The grand final is now over, travel day has come to a close, and I’m finally back home in the Chicagoland suburbs.

Apparently we were competing in front of a sold out crowd, but when I first went into the studio on the morning of the first day, there was a ton of empty spots. I figured that it was because it was early on the first day, but the crowd didn’t really ever fill up every chair throughout the entire two-day tournament.

I went into the stands and met up with Gelda, one of the content creators and producers for Tempo Storm’s Heroes of the Storm division, who works closely with me. Because there was nowhere near a lack of chairs, I was able to watch some games with him. I took a photo when Astral Authority were facing Naventic.

Once Tempo Storm got eliminated, I spent a majority of my time working and gathering information from people, so I didn’t really have much of a chance to have fun or take additional photos. But, I did catch Srey’s team’s series and took a picture of him from the front row of the stands.

(He’s the one behind the computer monitor, he’s one of my favorite players, and a former member of Tempo Storm.)

I also unexpectedly had my photo taken while I was watching the game from the stands. As you can see, I’m not very skilled at posing for selfies.

Yesterday was travel day, returning to ORD from LAX. It was quite a feat to even get on the plane itself. My flight’s gate was changed literally six times, and to thank me for running all over the airport, American Airlines then proceeded to add a 2+ hour delay to my flight.

I listened in on the announcements and discussion, and apparently, they ran out of airplanes, so they didn’t have one available to take us to Chicago. So, they had to send one over from Mexico City to come get us.

Luckily, even though this was a flight almost three hours after the one I was supposed to be on, the flight number remained constant, so I was able to get my window seat as originally scheduled.

The flight was as eventful as a flight could possibly be. My friend Ed Lam (better known as Grainyrice online) asked me to save him some airplane pretzels, because he “enjoys the taste of a well-traveled pretzel.” The guy sitting next to me pulled a sandwich out of his neck pillow. I dropped my can of Coca-Cola and it seemly went into a different dimension, because it disappeared without a sight.

Late into the night – somewhere around 2 AM – we finally touched down in Chicago, and my good buddy Josh was there to pick me up and drive me home.

 


 

Group stage of the ESL HGC Summer 2016 NA Regional begins

One of the biggest complaints I had for previous Heroes of the Storm tournaments was the fact that everything was packed into two days. Luckily, for this tournament, they split it up into three days so the broadcast personalities and production crew wouldn’t have to work 14-hour-long work days.

Unfortunately, Blizzard wasn’t able to provide enough money for ESL to do an official broadcast and open stage for a three-day broadcast, so the first day of group stage (which was today) happened behind-the-scenes.

Tempo Storm’s first matchup was against Naventic, the team expected to win the whole tournament. At approximately 9:30 AM PDT, the players got everything set up in the game room, and began reporting audio issues to the ESL admins.

The ESL admins promptly contacted some techs to get our audio problems resolved, but nothing seemed to be working. Some players had audio input and output problems, some players were hearing static, and some players’ white noise wasn’t working.

(For those who are not familiar with the tournament setup, the players wear earbuds for voice communication and in-game sounds, and headphones on top of their earbuds with white noise to block out outside noise.)

For over an hour, ESL techs went in and out of the game room trying to fix our problems. At one point, Tomster nearly had his eardrums blown up when a tech said all the audio problems should be resolved, but then proceeded to transmit a brain-bustingly loud crackling noise through his earbuds. After a massive delay, ESL finally got around to fixing everything.

This is where the real clown fiesta begins.

Because we don’t have a real draft built into the custom game interface in Heroes of the Storm, we have to use a third-party website to do our draft. Unfortunately, this website doesn’t really work properly, and the players have to constantly spam Refresh in order to see when picks and bans are locked in. Every several seconds, the whole thing would stop loading. At one point, for a little while, Zixz only had access to picking 10 heroes in the draft screen.

Once we finally get the draft website working, we discover that our observer had sent the wrong draft link, with only one ban instead of two. We obviously have to remake the draft lobby.

Then, the observer proceeds to send Tempo Storm one link and Naventic another link. Both teams im­me­di­ately ready up, then sit and wait for the other team. After the countdown timer went down by a cou­ple hundred seconds, I got suspicious and went over to the other side of the curtain to see what was going on with Naventic, when I found out that we were waiting for them, and they were waiting for us.

The observer finally sent both teams the same link, and we got started. The problems still weren’t entirely fixed, though, as the website continued to stop loading once in a while, and Tomster’s draft randomly crashed and gave 502 Bad Gateway errors. At one point, the drafting website force-picked Nova for Tempo Storm when we wanted to pick Uther.

Eventually, we ditched the website and did the draft in the lobby, which helped us make some real progress towards playing the game.

Unfortunately, Tempo Storm HotS dropped the series 0-2 to Naventic, but had some decently close games. This will place us in the lower bracket tomorrow, facing off against Panda Global in the second series of the day. If we rise victorious in this series, we will face the loser of Naventic vs. Astral Authority to decide who moves on to the semifinals on Sunday morning.

 


 

Practice and media day at ESL HGC Summer ’16 NA Regional

The day started off with us waking up (sort of) bright and early and heading to the studio to start practicing.

There’s one missing from that photo because our support player (who is role swapping to tank for this tournament) lives locally, and he was driving this morning and wasn’t able to make it in until about an hour or so later due to the notorious Los Angeles traffic.

To start off the day, they assigned the garage near the studio as our practice area. At first, I figured that it would mean we’re going to burn to death in the California heat, but then we found out that it was actually an air-conditioned garage.

For some reason, there were train tracks right next to the studio, about ten feet away from the garage. This is a photo I took out of the window, because it seems so strange to have train tracks so close to a building…

After our first round of practice, we were pulled into the multipurpose room for our media session, where all the players got their photos taken so ESL would have assets to use in the broadcast. They usually don’t have a makeup artist, but they had one today to make sure everyone looked pretty for the camera. This is Zixz getting his makeup done.

After everyone got their individual photos taken, it was time for the group shot.

Once the photo shoot was over, it was time for our second round of practice. We were moved from the garage to the multipurpose room for the second half of the day.

After a long day of practice, Zixz got tired and wanted to take a nap. Fortunately, the chairs they got us recline quite a bit.

 


 

Surprise, I’m going to ESL for the Summer 2016 NA Regional

Despite not liking traveling that much, I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately … and I’ve got another “surprise!” post. I spent the day today traveling to Burbank, California to attend the ESL Heroes of the Storm Global Championship, Summer 2016 Season, NA Regional.

My morning started off with a flight from ORD to LAX, with my preferred airline, American Airlines. I don’t think American Airlines is particularly better or worse than any other airline, they’re just preferred because I’m trying to get more miles in their frequent flyer plan so I can get more benefits.

After a copious amount of delays, I finally made it to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, I was on a standby list for a different flight than for what I had originally been scheduled, so I wasn’t able to get a window seat and get any photos during the flight.

A shuttle came to pick me up and transport me to the hotel, which was supposed to be about 40-50 minutes away. Unfortunately, due to the notorious Los Angeles traffic, we ended up taking over 2.5 hours to get to our destination, because we were driving 8 MPH in a 65 MPH zone.

After finally making it to the hotel, Tempo Storm’s HotS team, an early bird from Naventic, and I went to Olive Garden. I don’t like eating on travel days because I don’t want to risk vomiting on the plane due to airsickness, so this was essentially my breakfast.

One of the players ordered a drink that came with a massive orange. If a single slice is that huge, imagine how big the full orange was. He held up a strawberry for scale.

And of course, it wouldn’t have been an Olive Garden trip without the breadsticks.

So far, it seems like the schedule is going to be tomorrow for practice and media day, Friday for off-stage group stage, Saturday for the first day of the event, and Sunday for the semifinals and grand final.

 


 

I’ve taken another project under my wing – the Hearthstone Meta Snapshot

After a substantial amount of community backlash from Tempo Storm’s Hearthstone Meta Snapshot re­peat­ed­ly being late and being riddled with basic typos, the Tempo Storm administration decided that it would be best for me to take over directing the project moving forward.

This is actually a much larger project than I originally thought it would, and it took a massive amount of time for me to finish polishing up and releasing the first Hearthstone Meta Snapshot under my guidance.

For those who aren’t aware of how the Meta Snapshot works already, we have nine experts, one for each class, who create decks and write descriptions about all their decks. Then, collaboratively, the experts de­ter­mine which decks are strongest, and rank them in order, relative to the current meta.

After they finish all this, my busy work comes into play, where I compile all the data provided to me by the experts, design and combine it in an appealing and attractive manner, fix any errors I find, and publish it as a full, cohesive piece.

In between snapshots, I would be submitting suggestions to the web developers for new features for the snapshot that would improve the overall quality of the project (or, just implementing them myself if I’m able to) (although I haven’t quite had the time to do this yet, seeing as I took over this project three days ago).

You can find the full Hearthstone Meta Snapshot at the link below, and you can see a few previews as well:

https://tempostorm.com/hearthstone/meta-snapshot/standard/2016-05-18

As I asked in the “Thoughts & Observations” section, I’m open to feedback and suggestions on how to refine and improve the Hearthstone Meta Snapshot. I’ll be reading all the comments on this snapshot (and replying to ones with questions), and I always read all comments posted on my website, so feel free to leave me your thoughts either directly on the snapshot or in this blog post.