Sunday, 19 December 2010

Big fish leaving the small pond

Hey, It's been a while. Today i'm going to write something a bit more personal, about making the transition into SC2. Not solely for myself, but it will be mostly about me.

The dust has settled on my SK career and it's been about 2 months or so since i wrote a column. It was always a struggle to keep the Zechs Files weekly but this is by far the longest 'time off' i've had. I've written a few news stories for MYM in the mean time but i don't really count that stuff, and i haven't really done as many as i should have.

But i've started to realise that the reason for this is not just lack of inspiration (although that is part of the problem). Starcraft II is actually kind of intimidating. I'm usually someone who has the courage of my convictions and i laughed off 300-ish comments of pure vitriol back when i published "The man who is Ruining Warcraft." But the fact that is abundantly clear in retrospect is that the WC3 and WoW arena scenes where i was best known were far smaller than SC2's. Sure, i got record hits on SK by writing about those games but i was practically the only game in town. WC3 is big in China, but it never picked-up in English-speaking countries. WoW, on the other hand, is huge, but the competitive arena scene was miniscule by comparison. Gameriot was the only competitor but they didn't have the helping hand of the SK100 - easily the most popular single page in the arena community.

But suddenly with SC2, everything is on a much larger scale. Take commentary, for example. In WC3 there were only a handful of English language commentators. It was back then that i first thought of jumping in and doing it myself, but for some reason i just never did - laziness, probably. In Starcraft there are dozens of commentators, at least, and most of them are fairly well-known. The quality is generally appalling but that's beside the point. Even some of the most popular ones are God-awful in my opinion, but the community seems to be in love with them. Trying to break into the already well-established scene is actually quite scary. The fact that i want it so much actually puts me off rather than encouraging me. On top of that, i'm so hard on the other commentators that it would be kind of embarassing if i just sucked.

On the other hand i know that, logically, i should just get on with it and throw it out there but my ego won't seem to permit it.

How does this relate to my column? Well, it's a similar case. At least when it comes to writing i'm more well-known, but MYM already seems to be a backward step in terms of reputation. I know, i know, i shouldn't give a shit; i should be writing for the joy of it and for the noble art of argument and debate. But i do care, and i can't seem to easily get over it, which is stifling. When i was at the peak of my consistency at SK, i would often just sit down and write a column in 30 minutes or so, just to keep it going. Nowadays i don't feel like doing that. Is it just that my standards are higher? I don't know. Again, i know i should just get the fuck on with it.

This relates back to the games themselves. As a hugely competitive person, i take laddering far too seriously. It was like this in WC3 and WoW and the same thing is happening in SC2. I almost dread playing because i know how stressed i'll get if i lose, which in turn means i don't enjoy winning either. It makes the whole experience of SC2 far more intense than it actually should be and it makes me play much worse. At least, i hope that's true, because i need some excuse for my poor win/loss ratio!

But once again, the moral of that story is much clearer thanks to writing it down: bite the bullet and DO IT.

Stream of conciousness HWAITIIIIIIN. Thanks to Chris Schetter for the inspiration.