I am going to do a “My life with Gaming/StarCraft blog for my 3k post. I know I'm just shy of 3000 but I am constantly working and going to school. I just wanted to make sure to get this out of the way. I know 3000 posts doesn't seem like a lot but I've been around this site officially since June 2007. I've lurked around much longer than that though, I just never had a desire to post anything. My energies were spent on another website, long since dead, called BattleReports.com. I'll talk more about that place later. Let's start back a little further in the year 1990.
For Christmas in 1990, I was 6 years old it was the best one ever. My parents purchased an NES for $125 that came with Mario, Duckhunt, and the Track and Field game that included the running pad. (My twin and I probably did more exercise on that pad then ANYWHERE else.) I had seen the TV commercials EVERY Saturday morning. One of my friends had one AND a Sega Genesis. (SNES wasn't out in America just yet.) I was ecstatic to play as my older brother, my twin, and myself rushed downstairs to hook it up and play. I don't think we ever left that room the entire Christmas break. That was my first real experience with gaming that I can remember.
Over the next few years, my family would obtain a Sega Genesis and an SNES. The SNES was my true love. It was my first experience with RPGs. Final Fantasy 2, Final Fantasy 3, Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore, Chrono Trigger and many other games. (As of now, I still own it along with more than 50 games in my personal collection.) When 1996 rolled around, one of my middle school friends, Nick, got an N64 for his Birthday along with GoldenEye. Oh my god. The STORIES I could tell about those endless hours drinking Kool-Aid and eating Cheetos at his house. He also had a PlayStation with Final Fantasy 7. Kid's parents were lawyers or something. Middle School was going great too. I was popular, doing great in my classes, and I was decent at Magic: The Gathering. I still played some Pogs but it was more of a “kids” game by the 6th grade.
Toward the end of 1996, my parents lost a lot of money to a friend that did a pyramid scheme on them. Over half their life savings, gone. They realized that if they didn't get out of the carpet cleaning business now, they would be stuck there forever. My parents had a dream of owning a horse ranch, and the whole project their friend outlined seemed like a great way to make a fast dollar before it blew up in their faces. They decided to make the move from Corvallis, OR to Bend, OR and purchase a Ranch outside of the city. Skyview Ranch they called it. It threw my twin and I from Urban City right smack in the middle of Hicksville.
We had never worked a day in our lives and we thought the idea of scooping poop, moving water handlines, washing horses, building fences, digging ditches a TERRIBLE ONE. My parents ended up owning more than 100 horses for breeding. Their goal was to breed famous horses with paint horses because nobody had ever done that. They were quite successful and made decent money.
My twin and I could NEVER escape, we lived out in the middle of nowhere and at the age of 11, couldn't drive yet. We became our greatest enemies and also our best friends. Our parents pulled us from Middle School because we could not adjust to how Redneck everybody was and we got into a lot of fights. We always had each others backs, when we weren't fighting each other. So now we're on the Ranch full time and our mom home schooled us.
The only release we had was the SNES and a Compaq Persario 7222 that was built in 1992 and that we got second hand right before we moved to Bend. We played X-Wing, Tie Fighter, Mechwarrior, Dune 2, and a slew of others. It was the only thing that kept me from going out of my mind from boredom. The best memories though were when my mom got me Warcraft and Warcraft 2. (Was a type of combo from Wal-Mart I think.) They were hard, but fun. I would spend hours and hours playing them.
The internet was not that big of a deal during that time. We had WebTV but it was slow and frankly I had no idea how it worked. Navigating the internet was an entirely new concept to me but I decided to see if this company called “Blizzard” had any other games. My search turned up some game called “StarCraft” but it was just some preliminary information that I could find. No screenshots or hard facts about the game. (There was no such thing as a search engine back then, no Google, nothing. WebTV's search function was a piece of crap.) There was no release date that I could find, so I told my mom to get me this game. I assumed it had been released.
My mother instead got C&C: Red Alert. At first I was disappointed but I was soon enjoying the C&C games more than the Warcraft ones, only because the graphics were more updated and it felt like I was taking over the world. The Allies were my side of force, my twin would always play Soviets. Since we only had the one computer, we had to trade places every hour. We could only play when our chores were done. StarCraft fell out of mind.
By 1998 our mother was forced to put my twin and I back in school. She did a great job teaching us everything except Math and Science and we would not be allowed to join the High School without completing some courses in those areas. The 8th grade is just a stupid time to grow up in but I was older and could control my anger better. I even made some friends.
One in particular, Ed Pain, found out that I liked playing computer games. “Do you play StarCraft?” He asked. “Uh... I've heard of it but no I don't.” I replied. He took me to the school computer lab and showed me screenshots of the game. It was AMAZING! I was literally jumping in my seat on the school bus back home later that day. As soon as I rushed through the door I bombarded my mother to purchase this game. She HAD to. I would DIE if she didn't. “No. Go play your other games.” ARGHHHHHHH!!!! We finally came to an agreement that if I did extra work around the Ranch, she would put some money aside and consider buying it.
Christmas 1998. BEST. CHRISTMAS. EVER! My mother purchased a new Dell Computer and StarCraft. Hooray!!! The gentleman told my mother that our old computer would not be able to play StarCraft, so she decided to spend about $1500 for a new computer and (I think) $40 for StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War. (Little did my mother know, we could run SC on the old computer but we never told her, afraid she'd return the Dell.) My twin and I played hours and hours and hours of StarCraft. Against each other, against the computer, the weird UMS maps that came included. It was a joyous, wonderful time.
In 1999, after the Christmas break, Ed told me that it was possible to play each other over the Internet. “That's crazy.” I said. “How does that even work?” He then spent the rest of the school day explaining how to do so. It was also convenient that this was the time of the start-up Internet companies. I would join an Internet company, use their free trial until it was over, then jump to the next one and use their free trial. There were SO many. I didn't pay for internet for the next year or so. (AOL was the easiest one to abuse.) The only downside was that we only had one phone line but that didn't last long since my mother got tired of me tying up the phone line with my “stupid video game” and a second line was purchased. She didn't see a downside since the second line was free and I was using “free” internet.
By 2000 I was a terror of Battle.Net. (In my mind.) I played lots of Comp Stomps and I had a great record. Soul_Reaver was my name on USWest. I was decent because of how much my twin and I played with each other via LAN. We saw people starting to wear these things called “tags” at the start or end of their names. They had formed a “clan” and they would only play with other people of their clan in a group. So we decided to form our own clan and we called it ~STIM~. It didn't stand for anything when we made it, we thought STIM was a cool drug and based the name around that. Our older brother said it stood for “Stupid Twins In Menstruation.” We hated our brother.
Sometime over the summer, I joined a game with 3 other people and we had an epic 4v4comp on a custom map that one of them had made. I remember one of them was named Platypus. We became good friends and decided to form a clan together. Platypus was nominated clan leader and it was up to a 3 way FFA on Flooded Plains to determine who would be 2nd in command. I was Protoss vs two Terrans. This was the first time I had ever played against REAL people, let alone an FFA. I did what any self respecting Protoss player would do. I teched to Dark Templars as fast as I could while expanding across the left side of the map. I figured if they killed my main base, I would have one or two others as a back up. I built Nexus at two other locations but I never built Probes there to mine. They were backup bases, I wouldn't need to mine there till my Main was mined out or destroyed. Luckily for me, my DT's overwhelmed the other two players and I was victorious!
The Psyonic_ clan was born. Platypus even had enough web skills to create a web page, something that few clans had and our membership soared. I had a great time playing with those guys and I was content to just playing Comp Stomps, UMS, FFA's, and the occasional 1v1. I was terrible at 1v1 and I would only play against my online friends. Hacking was starting to become an issue around this time.
Near the end of 2000, I discovered on the battle.net website (Now Classic Battle.Net) a link to Battle Reports that were written by an in-house reporting team. They were written accounts of games played during tournaments that Blizzard held back in 1998 and 1999 and had such great players as Zileas, Agent911, and the like. Zileas was the first person (As far as I know?) to have discovered the shuttle/reaver cooldown bug. You could drop a Reaver and it would fire as soon as it left the shuttle and he would instantly pick the Reaver back up while the Scarab flew towards it's target. If you were fast enough, you could even dodge Siege Tank fire. That's why in BW today, there is a drop delay for the Reaver in firing and picking it back up.
I poured over the reports, I had NEVER seen anything like this before. I was always lost in 1v1 because I never really knew how I should have played it. I mean I played it like I did vs computers but I learned that people would “rush” or “expand” and just out play me. This opened a whole new world to me on how to study to become a better player. After I read what was on Blizzard's site, I thirsted for more. Surely there had to be more SOMEWHERE. Alas, I didn't find anything else on that website and I turned to Dogpile (One of the first decent search engines that I used.) to help me in my quest. This lead me to www.BattleReports.com. A website I would spend numberless hours pouring over.
The website was first thought up by two man whose handles are Johnny_Vegas and Mark4 and was officially online May of 1999. The first report was posted 05/06/99 by Upgraded_Probe. It didn't do so well, but it was followed up by a Reporting Great by the name of ~CattleBruiser~. Like TeamLiquid, BR.com has it's own history that is so large and deep, it would take up pages and pages, suffice to say you are more than welcome to start at the beginning and work back. You will find lots of entertaining reports by the likes of Dagomar, Jamllean, Drefsab, Ling-erie, and in-death strategy by Mark4, Breeze and others. Some of the best Sci-Fi about StarCraft was written by .Praetor. You could read everything, like I've had, or you can just click on “Top Reporters” and just read what is considered the best of the best. You won't regret it.
This website had a vast community and if you read the right reports, you could actually learn how to play the game. Breeze frequented the site and wrote some reports, as did Maynard. I spotted Eriador on the forums and in a few reports. I desperately wanted to be apart of the site and be known as a great reporter. I also wanted to be quoted at the top of the site because you knew you had made it as a Reporter if you were added to the great list of quotes.
I wrote my first report in March of 2001 and it was an utter failure, but that didn't stop me and I kept writing. I also started joining USEast to play at ~nohunters, x17, sex, and a few others. I started getting better and better, leaving my fellow clan mates behind.
By the end of 2001, Psyonic_ had ceased to exist but I kept the tag. I was still terrible at the game but I would say I went from being a D- to a D+ if I use Iccup's ranking system in terms of skill. I finally found a group of people to practice with and improve my game. Chief among them was the .Smurf clan, lead by Joe.Smurf. (Also known as ThisIsNotAnExit.) He inspired me to become a better player and we would play for hours with me always losing. One day, I did finally beat him and he was so angry he unfriended me and didn't talk to me for weeks, but I was happy because I was improving! As the months went on I started taking a few more games from him and doing better overall as a player.
July of 2002 was the release of WarCraft 3 and I was actually in the Top 20 of the USWest ladder playing exclusively Random for a good 4-5 months. I could never do well in any of the Blizzard tournaments though. I was also formally accepted into .Smurf in StarCraft and we launched an Xsmurf branch for WarCraft 3. I quickly grew bored with WarCraft 3 though, I just didn't like the slow paced games and the random crap that could happen because of bullshit spells.
There was a game was created around November of 2001 that I want to mention that I also played, it's not very well known but it was, in my opinion, the best RTS game I've ever played behind StarCraft. It was called Strifeshadow. It was developed by Ethermoon Entertainment and created by Zileas, Artius, and a few other gamers from BR.com. I wish I could remember them all but sadly the Ethermoon entertainment website was taken down and there is no wiki article for it, there isn't even any youtube videos of the game. It was multiplayer only and there were 3 races. Elves, Dark Elves, and the Accursed. Sadly, the game didn't make enough in sales and the server was forced down. Still a great game, and hopefully you'll read some of the reports I linked above.
After SS shut down, I went back to StarCraft in the beginning of 2003. op ~nohunters wasn't as active as it used to be but you could still find some great games. I wasn't playing very seriously and I mainly played Team Micro games and other UMS's. I still played 1v1's with my ~NH friends though. I was a Senior in High School by this time and I was getting ready to leave on a 2 year humanitarian mission to Guatemala by December.
I returned home in February of 2006 to find that BR.com had become a former shell of what it used to be. Reports were coming in at a much slower pace and many people had left to continue their lives elsewhere on the internet or in real life. This is when I first heard of TeamLiquid and how some of the better ~NH players were posting over there. It was foreign to me. Koreans? Paid StarCraft players? What??? It was all German to me and I just lurked the site, reading things here and there.
I started getting back into StarCraft and two people in particular really helped me out in improving my game and my writing at BR.com. Maareek and LuckyNewbie. (Not related to LuckyFool.) Also the proXi clan helped me a lot too in terms of learning build orders. (Liquidpedia was not around back then!) I also started playing on Iccup and getting stomped hard by D+ players.
Fast forward to May of 2007. I was slowly getting my Protoss into the high D+ low C- levels. It was hard to hold C- though. Suddenly, BR.com was abuzz with activity! SC2 was announced! Finally! After all these years!!! I HAD to get to Blizzcon and try out the demo! I was also quoted at the top of BR.com. It was like floating on a cloud.
The best report I've written to date was on my experience at Blizzcon of 2007. It was linked to numerous websites and even here on TeamLiquid. That's when I started posting more because I felt I had kind of been “accepted” to the site. Blizzcon was also the first time that I had ever seen Korean Pro Gamers. I saw Nal_Ra, Iris, Savior. Nal_Ra was my Protoss hero. I adored him.
It was also my first experience with “casters” and with Nick “Tasteless” Plott. As I sat in the crowd, watching and listening. I told myself that someday, I would do that. No, not someday, I WOULD become a caster like Nick. That was my dream. That was my goal. When I got home, I poured all my heart and soul into studying StarCraft. Build orders. Players, whatever I needed to learn to someday be up on a stage casting. I started using a new website, YouTube, to watch VODs of MSL, OSL, and ProLeague. I soon learned that it was all in Korean and while I am fluent in Spanish, that wasn't going to help me understand what the heck was going on. That is when I first found Klazart, which lead me to Diggity and Moletrap, both of whom had just started commentating following Klazart's success at bringing many casuals to StarCraft.
I was late to the casting scene but I started up my own YouTube page and on December 2, 2007 I did my very first Audio BattleReport as I called it on BattleReports.com. It was the first video report of it's kind to ever be posted over there and it was received with mixed reviews. Many of the older reporters felt it was a cop-out to doing a full fledged report of masterful writing and descriptive screenshots. Newer Reporters praised me for being creative.
I kept making them but I stopped linking after the 2nd report. Many felt it was not the right place to post my videos. I was exclusively doing commentaries now and watching Korean StarCraft in the wee hours of the morning. I also watched Diggity/Moletrap/Klazart and learned what I could from them about the game. This also had a direct result of improving my game play on Iccup and I started to regularly hit C- with Protoss but I could never hold it for long.
I was emailed by a member of a new website called Stage6 in early 2008 and asked to start posting there. It was going to try to compete with YouTube and use the latest DivX software to bring high quality videos to the internet. Something YouTube couldn't do. I purchased the DivX software ($60 at the time.) and began posting on Stage6 and YouTube since many of my new followers preferred to stay on YouTube but many liked the high quality videos on Stage6. (The DivX software also worked on YouTube and I was one of the few people at the time that had really great quality SC video.)
Sadly, Stage6 shut down. I think maybe it was bought out by YouTube? I'm not sure. I never really found out but the huge SC following on Stage6 came to my YouTube page as a result. This drew the attention of an entrepreneur (Named Brian. I forgot his last name...) that wanted to start up his own “TV” on the “Internet”. He asked me to do a StarCraft show every day, 5 days a week, and upload it to the website. Goodgametv.net. I asked Diggity to co-host with me but he never really took to the idea. Which was well enough, I was paid for my pilot episode and then I never heard from the guy again. I had named the show StarCraft: Frontline. Because I was on the frontline of StarCraft! Or something. I dunno. I did 3 or 4 shows and I would talk about basic strategies and I even did an interview of Mondragon which garnered some interest but was sadly lost when the website fluctuated between owners. I soon quit after not receiving my paycheck by the 4th show.
This is where things start to kind of blur together. So many things happened around 2008 and 2009 that I may mistake people and time frames but I will do my best to keep it straight.
Around January of 2008, a poster from TeamLiquid approached me to help him cast an American StarCraft League called “Yankee League.” That was Duran “Xeris” Parsi. He recruited Diggity and myself to commentate his league. He had a grand vision of trying to have the games not only recorded and put on YouTube but to also have them casted live. I became close friends with Diggity and we knocked heads over how to best cast the games live. Neither of us really had the funds nor tech knowledge to stream games live from our computers.
We put the question out to our viewers and the best answer we got back was to cast the games like an old radio announcers. There was a website that would let you transmit sound free over the internet. (I don't remember the name of it.) What a freaking hassle that was to get it to work. I remember pouring hours and hours of time into figuring that program out. I eventually had to buy a sound card in order to keep the program from feedbacking on itself. Diggity had figured out his own way to do it and we told Xeris we had found a way to “live” cast the games. It wasn't a perfect system but it was the best we had come up with. I even bought some software to set up my own audio server from NCH Software. Cost me $100. Sadly, I only used it very rarely as the “streaming” era was about to begin.
Yankee League was the most fun I ever had casting StarCraft. I've been to many places to cast but I will always have fond memories of Yankee League 1, 2, and 3. Because YL had such an intensive schedule and I was working 2 full time jobs, I had to cut back my casting of Korean games. I would do MSL, OSL, and ProLeague finals but every once and awhile I had time to throw in casts of players and teams at odd stages of the year.
Yankee League was also when I was introduced to the best American players. I was learning more and more about StarCraft as I casted those games and while I did receive a lot of negative feedback on my casting, many people would give out advice on how to improve. I always tried to take the positive to heart and the negative with a grain of salt. This is when I started becoming good friends with the players of Team [Media]. (Most of those players are now on Team EG.)
At one point, some of the Media players joined me on Ventrilo to help me cast the finals of a Yankee League after they were knocked out. Artosis, LzGamer, Machine, Incontrol, Nyoken all provided great insight and depth to the commentary. It was one of the funnest and best casts of my life.
Soon I was hanging out with them on their personal Ventrilo and I quickly formed a strong friendship with them. Especially Machine but more on that another time. I want to mention that while all of that was happening, I was approached by a man called Eggy or Eggman. He wanted to start up a website dedicated to just casters.
You see, casters other than Gentho, Artosis, and Tasteless were not really welcomed on TeamLiquid. We were too casual and the crowd of people that we were bringing with us were too bothersome to deal with. I'll admit, many a casual was banned from TL.net because of poor posting and terrible manners. I mean, we were bringing them from the vast of the Internet and YouTube... Not really top notch quality posters and they also had very little knowledge of the game but they had a passion for StarCraft, just like we did. All we wanted to do was just bring more people to the greatness that was/is StarCraft.
Thus SC2GG.com was born. All the YouTube casters were invited. Klazart, Diggity, Rise, Moletrap, Cholera, and some others. This was a website where all casters and their followers were welcomed without punishment. SC2GG went through many phases and a few different site managers but it was one of the fastest growing SC sites at the time because of the masses of people we were pulling in from YouTube. These people eventually would find out about TeamLiquid, get banned from there, and come back to us or prefer it over SC2GG. I'll be honest, their site layout was always 150% better then ours and much easier to navigate.
Needless to say, there formed a strife between SC2GG casters and TeamLiquid in general. We were not looked kindly upon. Everything we said was wrong. All these casuals we brought with us were a nuisance to the website and it would have been better if we had never started casting. Some even wished death upon us. Even though we had formed SC2GG, myself and a few other casters, desperately wanted to be accepted by TL. We were already using it as our main source of news. A sad fact, one of our SC2GG writers would just copy/paste things written on TL. Much to our shame. I will admit, SC2GG was a joke but it was the only place we could really call home. I want to mention that it was the posters of TL.net that were opposed to us. Many of staffers of TL.net just didn't care, they knew their website was better and could post better news. I tried my hardest to help SC2GG out, especially with all the leagues it held and show matches but it just wasn't going anywhere. The website was slowly sinking and I started to dedicate more of my time to TeamLiquid. I wasn't the only one. SC2GG had great writers like Mr.Bitter and JWD, whom did the “Faceoff” articles that were actually really fun to read. Heyoka was also another writer and Mystlord came from the SC2GG forums. p4NDemiK was working on an SC2GG wiki before transferring all the work over to TL. (Details are vague for me on this. Not sure if TL and SC2GG were both working on a wiki or if SC2GG started first then TL heard about it and invited him over as staff member to do TL's.)
During the Razer TSL (The very first Teamliquid StarLeague.) there was a competition for commentators and the top 2 chosen would be able to cast in the Round of 32 up till the Round of 16. I sent in some videos and had favorable reviews. I was able to cast one series with Chill. It was a PvT and I want to say it was Nony vs.... Somebody.... It was eye opening experience for me at the knowledge Chill was able to put out and he wasn't afraid to call me out if I said something stupid.
One great thing SC2GG did do for me though was that a member of the sound crew that was hired to do WCG 2008 for the US was a fan of Diggity's and he convinced his boss to hire Moletrap, Diggity, and myself to cast the StarCraft games for that year. I even got paid! ($400! Woo! I broke even on gas, hotel, food since I had to drive myself from Oregon. Still a great time though.)
I was finally able to meet many of the [Media] guys in person along with Diggity and Moletrap. Although I must note, I never got to cast a game. I was the cameraman for the games. I would observe and try to follow along with the commentary and also try to capture the action.
It was a great way to almost celebrate my 23th birthday that October. I also met David “ByronicHero” Dunne. He wasn't ByronicHero (Of Riot Games' League of Legends) at that time. I think he was some kind of reporter for a website? I'm a bit fuzzy on that one. I also met David “Phreak” Turley, he was the WC3 commentator. I also attended Blizzcon that year since it was right after WCG.
History Lesson time! There was a showmatch between TeamLiquid and GosuGamers staff members back in the fall of 2008. It was live streamed on a website called Mogulus (Now livestream.com.) and it was the first time I had ever seen streaming technology that was available for the average internet user. Soon after SC2GG was challenged. Oh man. We got roflstomped SO freaking hard. Fun fact, I had practiced for hours and hours and HOURS trying to do that probe hop on Medusa only fail during the live game. I wish I had just done a standard build, I might have actually done better.
I was demotivated by this time about my ventures in StarCraft as a player and also as a caster. It was obvious I was not very good at either. I had to make a choice, do I continue casting on YouTube with my limited knowledge of the game or do I hunker down and really learn it.
I took a break from casting and my YouTube reflects that after November 2008. Sure I did a few “fun” commentaries with a few friends like Maareek and Greth but it wouldn't be until February of 2012 that a Brood War commentary would grace it's presence again.
I want to apologize if it feels like I'm skipping around a lot. There was just so many things happening in 2008.
I also had made a decision to move to Korea by September of 2008 and I started applying for a Passport and Visas. After WCG 2008, I really felt on top of the world and I wanted to be right where it was happening. Artosis was already over there working with eSTRO (ScforAll.com. Now defunct.) along with PuertoRican and it sounded so glamorous. I really had no idea how hard it was for Dan over there at the beginning and I want to give him HUGE props for making a big jump, headfirst, into that dream of his. Huge balls. You all know how well he has succeeded since then. Same thing for Greg “Idra” Fields. They lived in pretty terrible conditions just trying to make it over there but by god does it take guts to move to another country all for the sake of a game and hoping it all works out. Both of those guys are personal heroes of mine in terms of just following your dreams no matter what because at least you tried and never left wondering “what if.” I'm happy for both of them in their following success in eSports.
Sad to say, my visa was denied and I never did move to Korea but I did have money saved up. I was still working two full time jobs and I had quite a bankroll. I was still looking for a project to use that money for and to try and help further my own career but I hadn't found it yet.
I did try my hand at doing commentaries in Spanish that lasted a short while. It's really hard to cast a game in a 2nd language when you don't know all the terminology. I got really good feedback though but it was just too much effort.
So after the TL vs SC2GG showmatch, I only played StarCraft semi-casually. Mainly I would just observe the [Media], now EG, guys play. Louder, Machine, Nyoken, LzGamer, and InKa. I was officially apart of team [LighT] and was commentating for Xeris' site and on his YouTube page. Highest rank I ever reached was a solid C at this point with my Protoss.
I want to take a break from all the SC stuff and mentioned I really got into Counter-Strike: Source at this time. I met one of my best friends via that game through the [Agent] clan. Luke “Product” Calderon. CS:S was a game I would play regularly and for fun over the next year. I would almost always call Product “Produce” when I first met him and it coined the phrase “Produce Punch!” which is something we still use when we find time to game together these days. He would usually scout a person and then nail them with a grenade hence the Produce Punch. Inside joke. Good times...
Sometime in early 2009 I was still commentating but only small time tournaments held by SC2GG or LighT's KoTH. There were a few other small events that I lent my voice to but I was still mainly dedicated to learning StarCraft better. I would constantly skirmish with the EG guys and asking what I was doing wrong and what I could do better. Bryce “Machine” Bates and Eric “G5” Rothmuller were really the only ones who would help me. I mean actually sit down and explain things to me and help me with timings and build orders. Bryce was also a great friend and mentor. One day during a game between him and I, I managed to beat him on Destination by building two proxy gateways behind his natural, mining out the back mineral patch, and killing him with DT's which, of course, spawned a brag video. The trick ALMOST worked on LzGamer who had not seen the replay yet of that game but in the end my poor macro cost me the game. To this day Machine is the only “top” player I have ever beaten.
Funny story, later that week Rich “Future” Alamand challenged me to a game on Chupung-Ryeong. PvP. It quickly turned into a messy game when he proxied his gateways in my mineral line after successfully using 6 pylons to block my entire mineral line. After I fended off the cheese and pushed his forces out of my base, I ran out my natural to the high ground beyond, proclaiming over Venrilo. “It's over Future! I have the high ground!” (Star Wars Ep 3 Quote.) Then I saw a huge goon army protecting 3 reavers that were WALKING to my base. I got smashed. Still an amazing game. =)
I consistently practiced with EG, LighT, OD, NRG, and anybody I could find in op teamliquid on Iccup. I would also play on Ladder and record my games First Person style and upload them to YouTube. I eventually reached an all time high of C+ with my Protoss. I came close to B- a few times but I always fell short. I also found out at this time that Geoff “Incontrol” Robinson was attending college at Oregon State in my old hometown of Corvallis. He invited me to the Miss Oregon pageant and I accepted the invite. I went over to his home in Corvallis and while he was at school, played StarCraft on his computer and did his Spanish homework. Then we drove up to Seaside, OR and watched the most interesting event of my life. I had never been to a beauty pageant before so it was a fun experience.
I flew out to WCG 2009 which was held in New York to attend as a guest but when I learned they had no StarCraft commentator enlisted to cast the games, I volunteered for the job and was accepted but I would have to do it without pay but I wouldn't have to pay the entrance fee. This was it. My dream. I was finally ON a stage COMMENTATING StarCraft. Many of the people in the crowd where from some ComicCon thing and had no idea what I was talking about but there were a few SC fans out there that, I hope, appreciated decent commentating as opposed to no commentating. I was even joined by Artosis for casting the semi-finals and finals. It was a HUGE boost to my confidence that he was willing to co-cast with me. I was prepared to give him total casting control after he was eliminated but he said: “No way buddy. We'll do it together.” I will always remember that. Again, Dan is, and will always be, a huge hero to me. This was the first time that I also met some of the people that ran EG. After WCG 2009, I attended Blizzcon and had a blast there with many of my TL and SC2GG friends.
There was also a small competition that went on between the SC2GG commentators in October of 2009. It was the speed cast charity event to determine the FASTEST talking commentator. Since Klazart's retirement, the community had no one to turn to for fast talking action. I ended up winning and I went on to release another "speed" commentary of my own for fun. I am, to date, the current king of speed commentating.
It was also during the fall of 2009 that I started a show with a fellow commentator named Kenny. It was the Brent and Kenny show and it was sponsored by Justin.tv and Iccup. It was decently successful and we had fun doing the show, speculating about StarCraft 2. We even hosted a live show from Blizzcon. I'll talk more about the B&K show later.
During that Blizzcon I ran into David Dunne again. He was now working for a new gaming company called Riot Games and he had invited me to the League of Legends closed Beta some time ago. I played it a few times but I didn't really take the game seriously. It was fun but not really up my alley at that time. It was buggy and the player base was less than ideal. Anyways, he asked me if I was still playing it and I told him I was off and on. “That's great!” he said. “Because I told my bosses about you and how you commentate, they want to hire you to promote LoL at PAX next month for when LoL goes public. We'll cover the cost of travel and hotel and pay you to boot. You interested?” Hell YES I was! Oh man, I played SO much League of Legends in preparation for that event. I even had to lie to my bosses at both jobs, telling them there was a death in the family in order to get the time off. (I had already used up all my vacation time for WCG and Blizzcon.)
That, I would say, was the high point of my casting career. It was amazing to be up on this mini-stage in the middle of PAX just yelling my lungs out trying to pull people to the Riot Games booth while commentating on the action. I had a basic knowledge of the game but I had no idea how to explain strategies or why some of the better players were doing what they were doing. (You could tell whom the good players were.) So I just yelled. A lot. OH MY GOD AMUMU JUST CHUNKED ANIVIA'S FACE OFF! OH MAN! LOOK OUT FOR THAT GANK!!!!! It was fun and it got people excited.
At the end of it all, I wish I had pushed to have become apart of Riot Games at that point. I was talking to Marc Merill and Brandon Beck and I felt I had an opportunity to become their “go to” caster. Maybe even get hired by them. They were that impressed by my performance. Sadly, I still thought I had a chance at being a StarCraft commentator and/or player and turned myself down from pursuing anything with them.
Let me go back to the Brent and Kenny show. It was a fun show. Kenny and I had a ton of fun when we really didn't give a crap what other people thought. The best part of the B&K show though was after the show I would do my “Psyonic vs the World” bit. I would play random viewers from our show and depending on their skill I would play straight up or I would play with a handicap. I guess I would equate it with TL Attack but on a MUCH whackier scale.
Another great career highlight that happened to me was the JSI. The Justin.tv Starcraft Invitational. Kenny and I invited 32 non-Koreans from both the US and Europe to compete in a tournament funded by Justin himself. It was the best StarCraft casting/camera work I've ever done to date and Kenny was a great co-caster. Fun fact, during the middle of the JSI I was forced to upgrade my entire PC to meet the streaming demands. During our normal B&K shows my internet and PC could handle the few thousand that would tune in. During the JSI we were hitting almost 10,000 people by the time we got to the finals. My machine was literally burning out and my internet cap was not helping. I dump about another $600 for a new Mobo and Graphics card and Kenny got G.Skill to send me some RAM for free.
The B&K show hit a rocky point when Kenny's wife had a child and I was simultaneously moving to Arizona. I did the B&K show solo for a few weeks before I moved and Kenny was suppose to cover me for a few weeks while I moved. He didn't uphold his end of hosting the show and viewership suffered until I was able to come back. Things moved quickly back then as SC2 Beta was announced and I was one of the first people accepted in. I was also one of the very first streamers on Justin.tv to stream SC2 Beta and was one of the first put on the streamer bar on TeamLiquid.
Because I was so busy playing SC2, the B&K show started to suffer more since Kenny was not in the Beta at that point and he was busy with work and family. Eventually the show tapered off and disappeared. I continued to stream on the B&K stream because it already had over 50,000 followers and I continued to gather more via “Psyonic vs the World” and my SC2 Beta streaming. I was also one of the first streamers to add a webcam to show my face to the world as I played. I also had Machine and Kelby “Inka” Williams play on my computer and I was able to gather more viewers that way.
Things came to a head between Kenny and I when I heard from a source that he was going behind my back to remove my access to the B&K stream and take it for himself. (In hindsight, I should have kept a calmer head and double checked everyone's stories before going forward.) Needless to say, I flipped out and confronted Kenny, who didn't deny that he was talking to someone about using the stream to make money. The same person that was talking to Kenny, soon began talking to me about his idea for how to become a “Diamond Gamer.” (Diamond rank was the highest rank back in Beta.) He said he had a lot of success doing something similar with WoW and his story checked out.
It was also around this time that Iccup wanted the B&K stream back as well. Originally Kenny worked for Iccup but as B&K got bigger, he quit the Iccup admin team and we made B&K our own thing after the JSI. I was never affiliated with Iccup and I never really knew what happened between them and Kenny. Iccup.Diamond tried to petition Justin to keep the stream for Iccup and he wanted to start a new show with myself and him. (As I remember/understood it at the time, I was under a lot of real life stress at the time. So much was going on...) I even put in my two cents to Justin saying that Kenny had abandoned the show and he had only come back when he realized I was approaching 60k followers and there was money to be made. Kenny though had the ultimate rights to the B&K stream and in the end, I was removed.
I was upset but I couldn't really hold it against Kenny. Business is business. In the end though, everyone left his stream, justin.tv/ThisIsKenny (Which still has all the JSI and B&K shows) and I had about half the followers come with me to my new stream. Justin.tv/psyonic. I want to remind everybody that this was WAYYYYYY before ad revenue was implemented. If it was, I would have been doing a lot better financially at this time. Things were not going well in Arizona, which I'll get into later. Kenny and I's friendship ended. To this day, the whole thing was a big, ugly mess and I'm still not sure who was in the right and who wasn't. There was talk that Iccup.Diamond was the one who tried to take the stream by force, others say Kenny was after the money. Some even blamed me for not doing enough to retain a right to the stream. I don't know or remember all the facts. What's done is done. Oh yeah. The Diamond Gamer thing was a total joke. I didn't make a single cent from it although to be honest, I never really promoted it that well because after it was implemented I thought it was a sham.
Let's go back to the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010. SC2 Beta was going to come out soon. The EG.BW team was throwing around some talk about starting up a gaming house. I believe it was Daniel “Nyoken” Edison that first brought up the idea and it got Machine and I excited. Nobody had done such a thing in the US as far as we knew. The Koreans had team houses and from what Idra and Artosis talked, it worked so well because of dedicated coaches and practice partners. Why couldn't we do the same thing? After bouncing the idea around, we approached team EG's manager about the idea. Lucas “Colbi” Bigham was currently the team captain/manager/news writer. He was for it and he took the idea to his superior who took it to Alex and SirScoots. They said that if we came to Arizona, they would personally help fund us.
That sealed the deal. I gave the project my full support. I looked for homes and compared prices on where it was cheapest to live. It was agreed that Machine, LzGamer, and myself would move in to start and that Incontrol and Nyoken would move in later. I poured my heart and soul into making it work. This was my big chance to learn directly from the best and improve my game play before SC2 Beta came out. I was fairly confident that I would do well at SC2 because of all my experience with the game the past 3 Blizzcon's. I left January 3rd or so and headed down to Santa Barbara where Machine currently lived.
On my way down I stopped to visit Moletrap and Product and meet the latter for the first time in my life. They wished me luck on my adventure and hoped everything would turn out OK. For the record my parents were against me moving to Arizona but I hadn't lived with them since 2003 so it's not like they had any real say in what I did with my life.
When I arrived in Santa Barbara I found out that InKa had been kicked out of his father's house and had moved in with Machine. We hadn't really talked to him about the gaming house when it was first being tossed around because he wasn't a member of EG. It wasn't until late 2009/early 2010 that he became a member. We were still hesitant to include him though because LzGamer and him had huge issues with each other. I'm talking real personal, non-negotiable, differences. InKa was now moving into the gaming house with us and LzGamer pulled out, along with his funding. Unfortunately, InKa had nothing financially to offer but he promised he would get a job once he got to Arizona or “Win lots of tournaments. Easy peasy.”
After spending a week or so at Machine's, I head to Arizona on my own. There was an old family friend that lived outside Phoenix that would help me look for a home. I wish I had utilized him. Instead, an old high school friend of mine told me of a home she had just started renting. She had kicked out the former tenants and offered me the home for $800 a month in rent. Which was cheap for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in a little town called Queen Creek. I moved in and the first month rent was waived if I would clean the place up. I spent the next week, alone, cleaning up this pig-sty of a home. It was disgusting. I bought my own cleaning supplies and paid a carpet cleaner to help the carpets out. I re-stocked the home with some furniture that I found on Craigslist and with what the former owners had left. I wish I had NEVER talked to this girl and moved into that home but I will discuss that later.
InKa and Machine arrived not long after and things were looking up. EG offered $300 (or $400?) a month to help pay rent/utilities but until SC2 was released and sponsors started investing money into an SC2 team, we were on our own. EG was not paying any kind of salary to the SC:BW players except I think Idra was being paid but I'm not 100% positive. While I waited for Beta to be released, I played a LOT of League of Legends. I even got many of the EG.SC guys to play. There was a joke thrown around of starting up an EG.LoL team.
Another small note. I was apart of the very first Coach-Pupil league that had some success at SC2GG.com but was run much more efficiently at TL.net. FireZerg and I coached Team Midnight, a bunch of rag tag D- to D newbies into the semi-finals. Sadly, because of the release of the SC2 Beta, the Finals were never played. One of the funnest leagues I have ever coached. I helped a lot of people get better a Brood War before they all switched to SC2, haha.
Nyoken arrived in February (I believe?) and then the Beta was released. Lots of excitement and my computer was hardly ever turned off. We took rotations of playing the game on my PC until we knew it was ok to install the Beta on other PC's and share my ID. I used my brother's Beta and played as AsumaSensi while I used my Beta to create TeamEG and donated it for the EG.SC team to share.
Not everything was going smooth at the Nerd House as we started to call it. I kept trying to make funny videos and upload them to YouTube in order to be apart of their newly announced Ad Revenue service. Sadly, there just wasn't enough interest. I was forced to go back to work because I had exhausted my savings account trying to pay for everything. Machine had a small bankroll and he could only really support himself. Nyoken was very well financially because of his Online Poker but he was still unsure if he wanted to stay at the Nerd House, plus I did not want to ask him to help bankroll us. InKa still had no job and no money and I was primarily supporting him. I worked at a mom and pop pizza place called Mafia Mike's pizza which is very popular in Mesa. So I'm making an hour commute to work and an hour from work. I worked 8 to 12 hours a day because of being short staffed and I was only paid the minimum wage. $8.50? I think? An hour.
My high school friend had also fucked me over. Turns out she never owned that house. She was renting it from a landlord and had moved out when she found a sugar daddy to live with. She was taking the rent and pocketing it. Suddenly we had a notice posted on our door. Pay or get out. We were frantic. What the fuck??? This happened in the Summer of 2010 and it was it's own ordeal that eventually worked out because Incontrol is a fucking boss and got things sorted out for us with the landlord. We didn't end up having to pay any fines but we did have to sign a contract and put a deposit down on the house. I ended up paying big time for this. Machine, Nyoken, InKa and I were supposed to all be put down equally on the lease. Unknown to me, I had the best credit out of all of them and I was put down as the sole person on the lease and the others as people under my care. That was not what we had agreed with the landlord but he pretty much said “Sucks to be you.” Fuck my life...
As a side note, I had met a woman at a Wells Fargo bank and we started dating and her roommate started dating Kelby. They were actually really cool about us being Pro Nerd Gamers as they called us. We had a lot of fun and I am still great friends with both of them to this day. One day during the Summer, they invited us to float a river near Phoenix. I had done this in Bend on the Deschutes river and I figured it would be fun.
Little did I know that there is a HUGE difference between floating in Bend where we are further from the equator than Phoenix. Machine, InKa, and myself didn't wear enough sunscreen an we all got severely burned. Luckily I wore a t-shirt but I got 2nd degree burns on my arms, legs, feet, and back of my neck. InKa got it worse since he didn't wear a shirt. Machine actually kept up on his sunscreen so he only got bad 1st degree burns. I was out of action for a week. I could only lay in bed and moan in pain. My girlfriend did a wonderful job taking care of me though. She was an angel.
After that ordeal things started going downhill at the EG Nerd House. There was a company that formed called GosuCoaching.com that David “Louder” Fells was in charge of and there was a huge controversy over how the site was being handled. Apparently Louder was withholding a lot of the coaches funds for himself. His family was going though some financial trouble I believe. I don't really know 100%. I did some work for the site but I wasn't really involved with how it was run. That was between Incontrol and Louder. Eventually a man named Russell took it over. We also did a GosuCamp. We had gamers from all over the US stay at our house to learn from Incontrol, Machine and InKa. Nyoken by this point had decided he was going to move out and that, quote: “StarCraft 2 sucks.”
I wanted to be a coach too but I was politely told that I wasn't that great of a player and that I should just record the event to be used as a hype video for the next GosuCamp. I still ended up helping to coach because without me, they had no Terran coach. Anyways, GosuCamp was a total disaster. We all ended up not making money. In fact, we went into the red quite a ways. By Day 2 everybody was pissed that the “coaches” were spending more time playing SC2 then coaching them. They were about to walk out until we had a pow wow and worked things out. Many of them were still unhappy with the Camp by the end of the week.
After that event I was looking to get out. While Machine is the best person I have ever met in my entire life and Nyoken was a great roommate, it was InKa that was causing contention in the home. He still wasn't contributing at all to the house in terms of finances. Every once and awhile he would chip in for some food but other than that, I was still supporting him. His debt to me was climbing and I was working more hours at Mafia Mike's to support the house. I wasn't casting and my SC2 skills were sub-par. Although I did win at two local Arizona tournaments. I won 1st and 2nd place. 1st place at the S.C.A.R. Lan #2. I forgot what it stands for. I fought PhiliBird in the finals. The very first Arizona Open I got 2nd place after losing to PhiliBird in a close Bo5 series. I got a Terran Necklace. Pretty bling bling. I also got to meet a good stream fan of mine, Chris “Thormak” whom I still talk to. Great person.
There was also the Green Forest LAN. The very first SC2 Beta Tournament held in the United States. I ended up casting and playing until Machine knocked me out, then I ended up casting the rest of the tournament until the Finals when Diggity and Day casted. There was also WCG 2010 at Hollywood which was a blast. Well, a blast hanging out and getting drunk but the event itself was pretty lackluster. I ended up casting a few games because Day was held up in traffic but once he arrived, he took over. Which I was OK with me. I hadn't touched Brood War myself for a long time.
Back to the Nerd House. InKa and I were starting to have fights. He had pretty much stopped playing SC2 and was playing HoN. Hoping to form an EG.HoN or join some sort of HoN team. He had a part time job at a pizza place literally just down the street but quit because he didn't feel like working anymore. I was getting tired of supporting him and he was getting drunk just about every single night. The girls had broken up with us and InKa took his breakup pretty hard. (I still remained friends.) At one point, I came home with dinner (Pizza!) and I found InKa drunk in his chair at the computer with a game of HoN running. I asked Machine and Nyoken how long he had been there. “I dunno, a few hours?” I asked Machine if he would help him to bed while I got the food ready. InKa woke up and started screaming at Machine, calling him all sorts of names and how much he hated living in the house with us. I walked over and said “Hello Kelby. You feeling ok?” and he started calling me a faggot and how I was worthless and did nothing around the house. We got into a huge argument which caused Machine to emotionally flee the house. I chased after him but he needed time to cool off. Things were tense in the house. InKa and I pretty much stopped talking at that point. It was obvious that the Nerd House was falling apart. Things weren't that great between myself and EG at that point either. I was constantly complaining about more funding and the need to remove InKa from the team so I could kick him out of the house. I was ignored.
It was around October or November of 2010 that David “ByronicHero” Dunne mentioned that Riot Games was expanding and that I could easily land a job in QA and move up to being a commentator along with Phreak after I did some time there. I did a phone interview and I was flown to Los Angles for a personal interview with Steve “Pendragon” Mescon. I was hired on the spot. When I got back to Arizona I told the guys I was moving out within two weeks to pursue a job at Riot Games. They felt betrayed by my actions but I wish they would have seen it from my point of view. I was broke. My credit cards were maxed out. It was sink or swim for me. Stay at the Nerd House and not be invited to the re-vamped EG house and be stuck at a dead end job at Mafia Mike's or move to L.A. And become part of one of the fastest growing gaming company in the industry. The choice was clear for me and I made the move to Riot Games. Communication tapered off with them except that I kept paying for the rent of that house. Since it was leased primarily in my name, I still had to ensure it was taken care of or face the consequences. The landlord was also a lawyer and he was actively suing the ever living shit out of my high school friend. I knew he would come after me if things went too far south and no rent was paid.
The pay at Riot Games was more than enough to cover it though and myself. Both David's lived together and let me crash there until I could find another new QA guy to move in with. All I remember was that his name was “Bear.” He was an awesome guy. Things were going great at Riot Games work wise. Myself and the few other QA people got that hired kicked major ass. The company had almost a year's worth of ZenDesk petitions backed up ranging from Account Issues, to Billing, to in-game bugs. We worked through it all in 3 months and finally caught up.
They implemented a new system and it was much easier to maintain the incoming customer reports. Sadly though, I myself was not doing so great. I was extremely depressed. Almost suicidal. I had lost my friends in Arizona. My dream of being a StarCraft caster and/or player was over. I was even told that it would be awhile before I could be moved out of the QA department. While it wasn't terrible, it wasn't what I wanted to do for another 6 months. I fell further and further into depression and playing League of Legends more and more. Ultimately, it was the very game I played that finished me off.
During one night of semi-drunken streaming, I made the mistake of becoming angry at another player that was trolling our team. I wasn't doing too hot myself because I was drunk but I threatened that if he didn't start playing better and working with the team. I would ban him. He threw some insults back at me. I called him a " dumb gook” out of anger because I figured he couldn't understand me because of his lack of English. I didn't really know his ethnicity. I was just mad. We continued to scream at each other until the end of the game. While I was still streaming, I revealed an intimate program that was used in maintaining LoL users and banned that player. Later I would realize how much my anger would cost me.
Hours after that incident, the LoL forums blew up with what had happened. My Facebook was hacked and obscure posts were made on my front page and racist, death threats were sent to my family. My stream was also hacked and porn was being streamed. One of my chat moderators, whom had access to my stream, tried in vain to delete it all to prevent my stream from being locked down by Justin.tv moderators. My entire stream channel was hacked and destroyed for the most part. The very video that I could have used as defense against a player that was insulting me was gone. Only screenshots of what I had said remained and posted all over the forums.
I told Riot Forum moderators down the hall what had happened and they shrugged their shoulders and told me I was pretty much done for. I didn't sleep at all at my apartment that night and the next morning I went to work a complete mess. I went to my superior and Marc and apologized. I told them I had fucked up and if they had to, to save face, fire me. I was sent home and later that afternoon I was let go. I cried for a good 4 or 5 hours after that. My life was a mess and I had put myself there. I was a lowlife. A waste of air. I seriously considered finding a bridge to jump off of or some other form of suicide. My roommate, Bear, was concerned about me and had his wife keep a 24 hour suicide watch on me.
I called my parents later that night and told them what had happened. They had been receiving phone calls from random people about what I had done and they told them how much they failed at being parents. I felt worse. I considered hanging up right then and there and going to kill myself. But my mother. God bless her. Told me to come home and that they still loved me. They forgave me and said that people make mistakes. I wasn't perfect and that I was loved. Come home.
I drove home the next day and moved back in with my brother's almost a year later from when I left them. I was still angry at the world and a few weeks later I made a drunk video on my stream about what happened and made a lot of angry rants. I wish I could take that whole thing back. It destroyed what little friendships I had left in the online world. SirScoots even threatened to sue me haha. God was I a pathetic mess. Hopefully that's a life lesson for some of you. Keep a cool head. Look at Orb and Destiny and what happened to them when their comments were revealed as well. It is NEVER WORTH IT to let your anger control you. What you say has consequences.
I then realized I needed help. I was not going to overcome this angry and depression alone. I went to therapy to overcome them. Time went on and I healed. I started casting some DRTL and playing some more Brood War again. I found that I could actually enjoy the game again. As a player. I also started working at Home Depot and going back to school to be a Dentist.
Eventually I met a woman, Anna, in December of 2011 and we were married 6 months later. In January 2013, my daughter, Makeah was born. I have never been happier and I realize that if all of those things had never happened, I never would have moved back home and found the one woman I love. With all my heart. She saved me and I will never regret giving myself to her for the rest of my life.
So that's pretty much it. That's my entire life story that involves gaming and StarCraft. I'm not removing myself from TL.net completely but I'll be here, keeping up on EG and my favorite StarCraft team SKT T1. I'll also be playing with TL'ers whenever I get a chance in upcoming games like HoTs and Star Citizen. If you see a PsyonicReaver anywhere, good odds it's me. Say hello if you'd like. I'll kindly return the greeting.
Thanks for reading.
-Brent “Psyonic_Reaver” Schultz