Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Weekly All In Featured!

Today's Weekly All In is featured on the Battle.Net Launcher on and the StarCraft homepage today!!!



Woo hoo! It only took a year, but we finally got some serious recognition from Blizzard. Here's hoping for more in the future! :D <3

Drama: Cheating Is Bad, Folks

Another young and successful eSports kid bites the dust. If anything's going to destroy eSports, it's the players themselves. This article was published in The Weekly All In #42.

Drama of the Week: How to Save a Life: The Definitive Guide to Not Getting Caught Matchfixing

By: Mike Harrell

A few months ago, I had the incredible opportunity to attend BlizzCon in person for the first time. I saw all of my StarCraft heroes, from Neuro to Day9 to David Kim. Perhaps the greatest highlight of them all was coming within arm’s reach from Life on his walk to the stage for the Final match and then getting a high five from, and my badge signed by, sOs after his championship victory.

The thrill from the casters, and spectacle of the stage, and the excitement of the crowd is one of the best memories of my life, period. It’s still almost too good to be true. I have moments where I see a picture I took from the event and think “Wow. I really did that. I was really there.”  

Intrinsic v Extrinsic Enjoyment

As with all sport, there are the casual viewers that just want to see the action. The hits in football, the fights in hockey, the explosions in StarCraft. They eventually grow into more refined enthusiasts that notice the overall strategies and common tactics. One day, they may even develop an appreciation of minute details like altering a build order to get a unit out *just* in time, or turning a widow mine back on its owner.

However, the thrill of pure competition isn’t enough for some people. Sometimes, the desire to “make things interesting” goes well beyond a friendly bet, and can lead to not just a significant loss of money, but relationships, careers, and even freedom. This is the very reason that gambling is illegal in so many places, as the thrill of getting a quick return on investment can quickly carry a unwitting person to disaster.

In eSports, large-scale gambling operations have brought us nothing but missed opportunities, broken heroes, and a vague sense of inevitable ruin.

What’s Become of My Life?

In the StarCraft community, we are once again rocked by news that a popular and successful (and not even previously-successful, but currently successful!) player has been arrested in South Korea due to allegations of match fixing.

Just to clarify, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill bet. When we talk about match fixing, it means that the player has made an agreement with an organised crime ring to lose on purpose. Members of that ring then bet on the opposing player, the one sure to win, and make a huge amount of money. The player is then paid for “taking the fall” so that the rest of the ring could benefit.

Yes, organized crime. Like the Mob. Like how Al Capone used to fix boxing matches. It’s the exact same situation, except Savior didn’t have to get punched in the head for several rounds of boxing to make it convincing. Even worse, what may seem like a simple loss to a novice eye can be easily detected before the match even happens thanks to the computerization of betting and odds calculation. And who gets to go to jail when the player gets caught? The player. It’s illegal, it’s dangerous, and there’s no amount of money that will make up for the shame, personal destruction, and jail time that will make it worth getting caught.

It’s Time to Stop

In closing, I have prepared a set of guidelines to help players from getting caught match fixing. I hope that it will prove useful to players and team staff alike.

The Definitive Guide to not Getting Caught Matchfixing:
  1. Never agree to lose a game on purpose for money. If someone approaches you about doing so, say no and tell your team management about the incident.
  2. If a coach approaches you about losing a game on purpose for any reason, say no, and tell your team management about the incident.
  3. If a teammate approaches you about losing a game on purpose for any reason, say no, and tell your team management about the incident.
  4. If a close friend or family member approaches you about losing a game on purpose for any reason, say no, and tell your team management about the incident.
  5. If someone calls you calls you and claims to be a Blizzard employee and tells you to lose a game on purpose, say no, and tell your team management about the incident.
  6. If a shady dude stops you on the street and tells you he has a business proposition for you, say you’re not interested and tell your team management about the incident.
  7. If you have reason to suspect your opponent or team member agreed to lose a game on purpose, tell your team management about the incident.
  8. If your team management approaches you about losing a game on purpose for any reason, say no, and call the hotline to get yourself checked into KeSPA Jail.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Future of StarCraft: Preparing the Next Generation

Every now and then I feel the need to write from the aspect of a parent of wants his child to like video games, and especially StarCraft. I feel it's only natural. 

If you've ever looked at a website for an expensive preschool, or even just heard of one, you'll know exactly where this article is coming from. It was first published in The Weekly All In #41

Drama of the Week: The Future of StarCraft: Preparing the Next GenerationBy: Mike Harrell

Disclaimer: I am writing this promotional article in exchange for moving my child up on the GosuSchool wait list.

Hello! And thank you for picking up this light introduction to “GosuSchool: The StarCraft Academy” the premier North American preschool for children ages 2 - 6. The facilities are unrivaled, philosophy of learning beyond reproach, and the star-studded faculty will provide your children with just the foundation they need to go on to the “Boxer School of Gifted StarCraft Youngsters” once they turn 7.

A New Kind of Education

GosuSchool was the first StarCraft-centric preschool of its kind and it remains the best in the world. From the time your child enrolls in the school as a Little Larva, until he or she graduates as a Zippy Zerglin’, your little nerd, or “Nerdling,” will gain invaluable cooperative and competitive experiences and learn in a world better than the real world: The StarCraft World.


Each day, your child will march past the larger than life murals of StarCraft heroes, past and present, by renown StarCraft artist, Nicolas Chaussois. He will meet with his team and coach for a preview the day’s activities, and then set off on a brand new adventure of gaming-centric learning. When it’s time for lunch, custom PA recordings, courtesy of Robert Clotworthy, voice of Jim Raynor, will invite them to proceed to the cafe.  

White Ra’s Cafe, operated by the nicest and most paternal chef in the StarCraft community, boasts kid-friendly “Marine Meal” versions from the Slaughtered Calf Inn such as “Narud Nuggets,” “Dong RaGu Pasta,”  and “Raynor’s Raisins” with “Destructible Rock Candy” or “Baneling (Cake) Rolls” for dessert as well as Eastern European and Russian specialties as featured on White Ra’s Facebook page.

And that’s just the morning! Open-ended “Strategic Play” in the afternoon gives your child control of their games. They can choose to move up and down ramps, look up and down cliffs, and proceed at a steady pace from one end of the playground to the other. All “Strategic Play” is supervised and facilitated by highly-trained coaches, all of which are Twitch.tv partners and have completed a one year Early Childhood StarCraft Education cerification course.

Learning like a Gamer

Every day, your child will engage in varied activities to help them learn and grow to become the professional gamer you were hoping for. Activities Director Grubby will guide your child through physically and intellectually stimulating games like “Split the Marines” (shape and color sorting), “Mine the Minerals” (relay racing and circuit activities), and “Get the Watchtower” (climbing and communicating). All games are painstakingly designed by acclaimed Game Director, Dustin Browder, who is available 24/7 for all of your concerns, whether valid or not, via Twitter.

Also noteworthy are award winning Music Appreciation classes, featuring exclusive music* composed by legendary composer, Russell Brower, where children learn to use music to their advantage to immerse themselves more fully in their learning. You’ll see huge gains in your child’s APM as they hum, sing, and dance to new classics such as “Old Matt Horner Had a Farm,” “If You’re Gosu And You Know It,” and “Little Probe Beep.”

Special Programs

Beyond the outstanding daily activities, we boast one of a kind special programs. Each week, we have “Story Time with Morhaime,” where Blizzard President Mike Morhaime himself flies in on his Warp Prism and reads a story of his choosing to the children. Sorry, parents, kids only!

And don’t miss the dynamic schedule of future programs. Including: “Looking Like A Pirate for Fun and Profit” with Chris Metzen, “It Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated To Make Money” with Ben Brode, “Becoming A Cat Man” with Day9, and “When What You Thought Was Vespene Was Really BM.” with Zagara.

Just Click Play

Don’t wait a moment longer to reserve your child or future child’s place at GosuSchool: The StarCraft Academy. The wait list already extends for two years, so waiting until your child is born may be too late! Don’t be the parent that denies your child the premier preschool experience.

Financing options available.

*Digital download of “GosuSchool: Learning Like Winners” album available through Battle.net. Digital Deluxe edition includes exclusive the in-game World of Warcraft “Nerdling” battle pet, the surprisingly-generic exclusive StarCraft II in-game portrait featuring the GosuSchool logo, exclusive Diablo III “Nerdling” in-game pet and sigil, Heroes of the Storm exclusive “Nerdling” in-game skin for Murky, and exclusive in-game GosuSchool cardback in Hearthstone.

My favorite part of the this article is definitely story time with Mike Morhaime. Every time I see him speak or in an interview, I'm impressed by how much like a "normal" person he is. He's not glamorous. He's not particularly handsome or charismatic, But you can tell he's smart and that he cares about what he does and about other people, which is led to his success. I can totally picture him taking time out to read a story to children. And flying around in a Warp Prism, because billionaires can have nice things.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Drama: How to Improve Your Stream Viewership And Start Making Money: A 5-Step Guide for Guaranteed Success

This is one of those articles that sound funny, and then you write it and it just makes you sad. I totally stand by this guide as the best way to have success, but I obviously can't endorse using bots. It's deceptive and wrong. I even got some nagative feedback on this article because it seemed "too much like real advice" in addition to throwing in the bots. I guess that's just The Way Things Are.

This article was initially published in The Weekly All In #40.

Drama of the Week: How to Improve Your Stream Viewership And Start Making Money: A 5-Step Guide for Guaranteed Success
By: Mike Harrell

Twitch.tv, Azubu, DingIt, and that YouTube thing, as time goes on, more and more streaming platforms are launching and gaining viewers. There’s never been a better time to start your very own stream or to improve the stream that you already have!

As it’s the start of the new year, The Weekly All In is pleased to provide its readers with a fool-proof guide to drastically improving streaming viewership and monetary gains. The guide is short and simple, but you must follow it exactly. If there is any deviation from the guide, we cannot guarantee results. Also, it’s worth noting that the guide will work best if you have no personal or financial responsibilities.

Step #1: Set A Schedule During Prime Viewership Hours.

Peak hours on Twitch.tv are generally from 9am to 2pm (Pacific), with the middle of the week and the weekend getting the most views. Therefore, your stream must be up during those times. Set a public, posted schedule on your page.

Step #2: Interact With Your Viewers.

This is where you really get to shine as an entertainer. Provide commentary on your play, even if it isn’t particularly insightful. Make jokes. Tell stories. Pit viewers against each other or other streamers. Be active on social media. Whatever you want. It doesn’t matter if your viewers are idiots; you just need to give them a reason to watch.

Step #3: Monetize That Sucker.

Get allllllll the money things in there. Put a donation link on your stream. Have a robot read viewer messages attached to donations. Make donation goals that conclude in you dressing up sexy (this works better for women, but men have done it too). Make a great big list of people that donate, including hearts and winky faces by their names. ANYTHING that you think may motivate someone to send money your way, do it.
Step #4: Win Games

The real bane of all streamers: It helps if you’re good. That’s what will really, really keep people coming back: to see you win. Do whatever you have to do. It doesn’t matter if you’re smurfing all day every day at first, even for years, as long as you’re winning, people will watch. Once you actually get good, it won’t matter how long it took to get there.

Step #5: Use Bots

Now for the easy part: Use Bots. Hit up twitchviewbot.net, streambot.com, or viewbot.net, pick the package with the most viewers, and get it started. Don’t bother with “free” bots. It’ll be a scam and/or a huge pain the in butt.

Step #5 Part B: Really. Use Bots.

There are probably dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of other channels exactly like yours. How will you get more visibility? You need viewer numbers. How do you get that first big boost of viewers? Easily! Just use bots! No one on Twitch.tv has ever gone down due to botting. There is literally no downside. Sure, people may make fun of you, but you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. Once you get that Twitch partnership, who cares what a bunch of freaks on Reddit say, anyway?

Step #5 Part C: Never, Ever, Acknowledge Using Bots

There is only one way that the public at large will ever know that you’re using view and chat bots: If you tell them so. Therefore, all you have to do is just never tell anyone. You can hide behind the possibility that someone else is sending bots to your stream in an attempt to make you look bad (LOL!). That would, of course, never happen. Bots cost money, and blowhards on the internet don’t pay for anything, much less pay for a month of Twitch Bots to troll streamers. Get out of here!

Step #5 Part D: Never Stop Botting

The naysayers and the accusers may scream, provide “proof” of your wrongdoing, and condemn you to the lowest circles of Hell, but that’s just free advertising. As long as you never admit to using bots, and never stop using them, you can always maintain the illusion of a “loyal following” that will keep you at, or near, the top position of your game. If you maintain your schedule, no one can ever prove that your bots aren’t your loyal viewers, tuning in just in time. It’s a perfect system.

As time goes on, real fans will begin to arrive and even stick around, and the longer you continue streaming consistently, the more of a staple of the community you become. Just remember: Reputation doesn’t matter. Numbers matter. If you’re getting viewers and getting money, you’re a successful pro streamer!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Drama: When Pro Gamers Retire

First appeared in Issue 37 of The Weekly All In

Some quick background: "Flash" is, more or less, the greatest StarCraft competitive player, ever. Period. He is frequently and unceremoniously referred to as "God" by many members of the StarCraft community (at least by ones that remember him from 5+ years ago). He was never so completely dominant while playing SC2, but he was always a force to be reckoned with. He's retiring from pro gaming as a player to fulfill the mandatory military service that Korea requires of him.

Some members of the SC community just don't get why/how players must move on from StarCraft, but it's a very real and common thing. This article was to try and explore the process that professional athletes go though as they come to terms with their decline in ability, and figure out what they're going to do next.

Drama of the Week: Retirement: When a God Fades Away
By: Mike Harrell

Flash announced his retirement from professional gaming this week, rocking StarCraft fans around the world. Some speculation informs us that Flash hopes to one day be the head coach of KT Rolster, but there is no indication of when that may happen, or of what Flash’s intended path to accomplish it may be.

Is It Really Retirement?

At 23 years old, “retired” seems like a strange word to describe Flash, or any other former pro gamer. But what does the elite StarCraft player do with himself (or herself, as we will hopefully be able to say before too long) once they’ve finished competing? At 28, I haven’t even entered my intended career yet. But by the time they reach my current age, the vast majority of pro gamers have peaked, declined, and then either taken up non-player roles in esports, moved on and faded into obscurity, or, worst of all, they put on bizarre outfits and create sad “entertainment” streams where they play on as a shadow of their former selves.

But then again, Flash won his first Premier tournament, the 2008 XNote GOMTV Star Invitational, at just 15 years old. Fifteen. What were you doing at fifteen? Probably about the same as I was: in high school, trying to not be scared of girls, and had a minimum-wage job in the summer. The notion of flying all around the world competing in video games for thousands of dollars had not yet even occurred to me..

Yet, Flash’s situation is hardly unique. History is repeating itself right now with Life and Maru, who are both currently just 18. Life won a GSL at 15 and is a BlizzCon champion. Maru won an OSL at 16, and just 6 months ago All-Killed KT Rolster in the Proleague playoffs, defeating Zest, Life, Stats, and Flash, one after the other. It stands to reason that both Life and Maru will continue to have impressive accomplishments for at least the next few years, just as Flash did.

Par for the Course

When will Life and Maru retire? Also at 23? If so, that gives them five more years. To put that in perspective, Wings of Liberty came out five years ago. When StarCraft II turns 10, will Life and Maru still be on the scene? We can only wait and watch, but one day, just as with all sports, even the current upstarts will eventually become a thing of the past.

But when they do, they will still have at least two-thirds of their lives ahead of them. It would be sad to even consider the idea that the greatest accomplishments of their lives occurred before they even turned 20. But what do professional gamers go on to do? Korean gamers generally have required military service, and sometimes, like Boxer and others, become coaches afterward.

Foreign players are just as enigmatic. Day9 got a master’s degree and now works at a game studio making an RTS. InControL is still on the EG roll in some capacity, but mostly commentates tournaments. Tasteless and Artosis have become legendary casters as well. Suppy’s floating around out there somewhere, going to school and competing on BaseTradeTV sometimes. And then there are players like IdrA who decided to go back to school and simply withdraw from StarCraft altogether.

More Than A Player: A Person

A large number of professional athletes of all sporting varieties become depressed after retirement. In fact, they say that a pro athlete dies twice, the first being the day they retire from their sport. Additionally, so many professional athletes go broke and even need to declare bankruptcy within just five years of their retirement that there is literally a book just for NBA players about how to manage salary and endorsement money during their career to make it last through the rest of their life. (It’s called “Winning the Money Game” by Adonal Foyle, an NBA veteran that eventually retired due to injury.)

After a lifetime of absolute dedication and maybe even incredible success, what is left? It’s a question that all pros ask themselves again and again as their retirement approaches and leaves them behind. Finances aside, many athletes struggle with identity, self-worth, and even dramatic changes in body chemistry as they look for new means of personal fulfillment and success. Competitive achievement is suddenly no longer their go-to source of serotonin. They have to find a new and more-rounded approach to life and success

So when a successful player feels like they’ve had enough of competitive training and competition, it’s actually in their best interest, financially, emotionally, and psychologically, to move on and pursue new avenues of interest.  And if they choose to remain part of the scene as a coach or commentator, that’s awesome! But we also cannot begrudge those that choose a different path, especially when that path is getting educated and starting a long-term career. You know, like anyone would at that age.

Fans: Continue Supporting Your Hero

When your favorite player gives up professional gaming, be disappointed, remember the good times, but don’t be mad. Nothing lasts forever, and your player needs your support now more than ever as they transition into a new career and a new lifestyle (especially if it’s a rocky transition).

And when they find that new career, be happy for them! There’s no reason their next 50 years can’t be just as incredible as the first 25, even if it’s not by pwning noobs every day.