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.
We just published our most time-consuming Heroes of the Storm infographic yet, on the Spring 2016 season of China’s Gold Series Heroes League. The full infographic can be found at: https://tempostorm.com/articles/infographic-gold-series-heroes-league-ghl-spring-2016-chinese-regional And here’s a preview: The reason this infographic took so long was because we added Chinese translations to a lot of the elements in the infographic. Although our infographics do pretty well compared to other Heroes of the Storm content on our website, it still isn’t at the level of popularity that I would like. On top of that, most of our foreign infographics don’t do as well, as a majority of our readers reside within North America or Europe. However, our statistician said that covering the Chinese region would be very important because of how advanced Asians are relative to the rest of the world. So, I did a bit of brainstorming and went along with his proposal for his project, but with a twist. I generally don’t see many Heroes of the Storm content creators focused in Asia, so I decided to do a dual-targeting marketing scheme with this infographic. We included all the normal English content that we publish all the time with all our other infographics, but I also hopped on Blizzard’s Chinese Heroes of the Storm website to get the Chinese names of most of the heroes and all the maps we included in the graphic. The Chinese government has some pretty tight control over what the Chinese people are allowed to view on the Internet, with common American social media websites being blocked. But, I’m hoping that, through our connections, we can share this content with the Chinese Heroes of the Storm fans, and expand our reach into an audience that is otherwise suppressed from free Internet access.
I went to a Korean restaurant today with my parents for lunch. I ordered a spicy pork dish that was apparently so spicy that, according to my dad, my tongue would shrivel off. Finished the meal, tongue is still intact. Whew
One of my content creators at Tempo Storm sent me a video to edit. After cutting out the parts he didn’t want, I proceed to render it at 1080p60 (which is pretty hard for my laptop, but it usually just struggles along and eventually gets the job done). But not today. Literally an hour into the rendering process, when it was 94% done rendering … it crashed. Assuming the video was too long for my laptop to try and render at once, I go back and edit it some more, taking out bits and pieces until it’s over a full minute shorter. Surely, that’s enough to make up for the 6% that it couldn’t render? Nope, it proceeds to crash again, this time at 49 minutes into the rendering process. What I eventually had to do? Render it in two parts at 720p30, then concatenate the pieces using FFMPEG. gg
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.