Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Martin Shkreli: The Pharmaceutical Entrepreneur Buying His Way Into eSports

Martin Shkreli. The same guy who's been in the news for increasing the price of his drug “Daraprim”, also known as pyrimethamine, from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Pyrimethamine is listed in the World Health Orginization's Model List of Essential Medicines, a list of important medications needed in a basic health system.

Martin Shkreli first took a dip inside the side of eSports with the offer of $1.2 million to a League of Legend's Challenger team, Enemy eSports. Enemy's CEO, Clerkie, declined and said that he "believes in this roster" to make big headway into the League Championship Series (LCS). Later down the road Shkreli created his own team to compete in the amateur league, Odyssey Gaming, only to lose in the second round of the 2015 NA Challenger Series tournament. Shkreli merged his current team with another team, Team Imagine, in August after the NA LCS Spring Promotion tournament. Team Imagine managed to make it to the playoffs only to place third, yet still qualified for next year's 2016 LCS Promotional Tournament. When merged, Martin took place of CEO of Team Imagine

Martin Shkreli is more than likely one of the biggest eSports capitalist the community has seen with his earnings from his time as founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals AG and being the co-founder and CEO of Retrophin LLC. For a man with money there's a lot to wonder about how he'll treat his players when he said in an interview about Daraprim prices: "It’s a great business decision that also benefits all of our stakeholders,” and afterwards “I don’t expect the likes of you to process that. You are such a moron.”  Player treatment has already seen its lows from multiple owners not paying their players, a manager threatening a player to make sure his mother “would lose the house”  if he did not continue playing for the team, and an owner poaching contracted players. Bullying and manipulation has been somewhat of a common thing in the lifetime of eSports and maybe Shkreli will be just another whose name doesn't belong.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Revival of Competitive Halo

It’s practically been a year and a half since I wrote my nostalgic article, “The E-sports Scene: Now and Then” that featured my history with the MLG Halo scene and the LoL scene at the time.  On Tuesday was the release of The Master Chief Collection, the masterful release of the four original canon Halo games; Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4. The Master Chief Collection comes equipped with all of the multiplayer maps of each game with the ability to change game-specific maps to another game’s maps on the fly. 

On November 5th, 343 Industries announced the Halo Championship Series, or HCS, which is the premier Halo eSports League. The HCS will be hosted by ESL and other tournament organizers to run a circuit much like Starcraft’s WCS and League of Legends’ LCS. The circuit will run from November until March 2015 and will showcase only Halo 2: Anniversary. The HCS has already kicked up tremendous hype over the past weekend with their preseason Master Chief Collection tournament. The tournament featured legendary teams such as Halo 2’s Str8 Rippin, Halo 3’s Believe the Hype and the legendary players themselves, Heinz, Ogre2, Flamesword, Pistola, Ace, Snipedown, APG, Ninja, Hysteria, FearItSelf, Naded, Gandhi, Tsquared, Roy, and coaches Walshy and Elamite competing for $20,000. 

After the tournament, third place team Shoot to Kill (StK), was received by professional League of Legends team, Counter Logic Gaming. Now CLG Halo, the team consists of Heinz, Ogre2, Royal 2, and Snakebite. Ogre2 is said to become the coach of the team. 

Ogre2 is one of the most dominant players in the entire Halo series from the start with Halo 2 team Team 3D, which would later become Final Boss. Ogre2 has also won 40 tournament titles. Heinz played for teams such as Triggers Down and Dynasty while Royal 2 and Snakebite played Halo: Reach for Warriors (2011) and Status Quo (2012).

Halo saw increase play and viewership in North America through Major League Gaming when they first showed the original Halo in 2002 and only expanded until the end of Halo: Reach when MLG dropped the series. With the arrival of Halo: Reach, more fans tuned out of Halo for Starcraft or stopped watching because Reach changed many mechanics to the meta-game, such as reticule bloom, which made the player wait a second to shoot accurately or take the chance of missing the shot, and the sprint option that changed CTF gamemode and the pace of Team Slayer. 

One of the main concerns the Halo Championship Series might have for the future of eSports is the infrastructure of foreign teams. Like League of Legends and Starcraft 2 Championship Series, they feature tournaments within their circuit for different regions: North America, Europe, South Korea, and for League of Legends, China. Teams and players compete within their region and the highest ranking teams at the end of the season compete in the World finals brackets. If the HCS can feature a regional circuit final it can possibly regrow the competitive scene within the first few years up to peak viewership such as League of Legends, DotA2, and Counterstrike: Global Offensive.
With CLG already acquiring a team, there might be hope that big names will also get into the HCS, such as the foreign names of Ninjas in Pyjamas, SK Gaming, Fnatic, and Meet Your Makers. Local teams might consist of CompLexity Gaming, Optic Gaming, Cloud 9, and Evil Geniuses.

Friday, September 13, 2013

My opinion on Season 3 World Championship teams.

Worlds Information

I could start this post off professionally, like some of my older posts, or just “blog”-like and make it seem like an opinion. Since I’ve been stumbling with work, practicing tons of League, and various other stuff, my professional writing side has gotten, for the lack of a better word, lazy. The last thing I wrote about was the patch 3.10 information at the end of July. I think it’s time I start writing more for The Flash. Anyway, here’s what I think of the teams that will be playing at World’s this Sunday.

Group A –

OMG – China

I don’t know anything about this team except that they placed 2nd in the LPL finals, losing 1:3 to Royal Gaming Club (they get a group Bye). They’re supposedly good, but as I said, I don’t know anything about them. I never watch the LPL (Chinese LCS), mostly because it’s never on or I’m asleep. One time I did watch it though and it seemed like to me that the Chinese were better than the Koreans. Chinese teams keep more focused in teamfights, I think. It could have just been the team playing, the composition, and other factors though, however the Chinese teams I believe have definite potential to take home the Season 3 championship.

Lemondogs – Europe
            I probably only watched the EU LCS twice this entire second split, possibly including the first split, I don’t remember at all. I know that the EU scene brought out a lot of champions that are currently in the meta now, like Fizz and Kassadin. I have watched one Lemondogs game and that was when Zorozero (top lane) was playing Zed and wrecked shit against either Evil Geniuses or SK (once again, don’t remember which team it was). Also I caught a few teamfights and they felt solid, not sloppy. I would compare it to Cloud 9’s teamfighting if I had to compare it to anything, if not a little bit better and more focused.

SK Telecom 1 – Korea
            A few weeks ago I recently subscribed to OGN since it usually started when I went off to work and I would miss the games and always wanted to watch the OGN. A team that I fell in love with and admire greatly is SKT1. Faker is an amazing mid-laner, if not seriously the best right now. There’s a clip from OGN where he played in the 5th match blind pick against SK Bullets. Ryu (SK Bullets’ mid lane) picked Zed also and then probably one of the most amazing plays in League happened where multiple jumps and jukes were performed and since Ryu was the one at more health you would expect Ryu to end up winning, but Faker seriously outplayed the guy (Clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YvuTh9DRQQ) . I feel like Piglet is a strong ADC for SKT1. He has consistent plays on Vayne and it’s scary how his overall mechanics are.

Team Solomid Snapdragon – North America
            I honestly feel like TSM are the underdogs in this group stage. NA is a weak region in plays, communication, and everything else. This group is going to be especially hard for TSM. Quite honestly, the main bans other teams need to use are Karthus, possibly Ahri, and a champion from Dyrus’ pool. Wildturtle can easily be outclassed by the other team’s ADCs and supports. Xpecial is amazing, but I think he’ll be surprised when he faces teams like SKT1 and OMG. I feel like other teams don’t need to ban out Wildturtle because he’s predictable. Vayne, which he’s trash at (I’ve heard many NA teams say this, so please don’t take this as just my opinion), Caitlyn, and Ezreal. Xpecial will choose Thresh, Sona, or in a rare case Zyra. TheOddOne is nothing to worry about when compared to SKT1’s Bengi or Lemondog’s Dexter. A popular pick in Korea is Vi, which I feel like can do a whole lot towards TSM if they aren’t careful with their picks. Reginald is the core member of TSM as shotcaller and both fists and backbone. Reginald loves to play suicide Karthus as it provides massive DPS in teamfights. Dyrus could also go top lane Karthus, however Dyrus would get massively ganked and underfarmed as shown in the playoff matches. I’m not currently aware of Dyrus’ champion pool except possibly Shen. With the return of Trinity Force champions, we could see his return of Jax. TSM has a LOT to prove if they want to make it past group stages.

GamingGear.eu – International Wild Card (Lithuania)

            These guys earned their spot by beating Brazil’s top team paiN Gaming at Gamescon 2013. I know nothing of these guys as well. From what the pro analysts are saying, they’re decent, but not great. If I had to compare them to a team, it would be Saigon Jokers from Season 2 World Championship. Those guys placed 10th last year.

Group B –

Samsung Galaxy Ozone – Korea

            Recently picked up my Samsung, Ozone is the top seeded team in Korea next to SKT1. Homme plays an excellent top lane and shouldn’t be underestimated ever. Dandy is possibly one of the best Jungles in the world right now. Dade is supberb mid with the help of Dandy’s ganks. Imp is seriously and I swear to you, the best ADCs in the world. If you watched the OGN games, Imp is the epitome of greatness and carry’s. If a team isn’t banning Ezreal from Ozone, they are going to lose. Mata plays a mean Sona and Fiddlesticks. His Fiddlesticks can be the serious deciding factor of a gank or teamfight. Mata is not scared to pop his ultimate just for extra DPS onto a target and is often found behind the fog of war, like in between two middle bushes (although not inside of them).

Mineski – SEA (Philippines)

            Knocking out Singapore Sentinels 2:1 is a lucky feat for most SEA teams. I don’t know any of the players, but they should be a force to be reckoned with.

Gambit Gaming – Europe

            Who doesn’t know these guys? Alex Ich? The guy who brought out Eve and Kassadin and one of Europe’s best mids next to Froggen. Alex Ich is aggressive and will most likely be camped by enemy Junglers non-stop because that’s just the pressure he puts in a game. With the departure of Edward to team Curse, Gambit found Voidle. As stated above, I haven’t watched the EU LCS, so I don’t know what this guy can do, although I much preferred Edward to be with Genja (ADC). They just had much better synergy from what I read on my twitter during the LCS times.

Fnatic – Europe

            I find it weird that two European teams are in the same group stages, but nonetheless, it’s the Season 1 champions, Fnatic. There were a bunch of roster changes in the EU region this split and joining Fnatic was Puszu and Yellowstar going to Support. I heard that their sub (who’s been underaged to play in the LCS), Rekkles, might end up playing, however he’s turning of-age a day before World’s takes place. I’m not sure if this will work out.

Vulcun Techbargains – North America

            This is really the underdog of the entire tournament. Originally CLG Black in the beginning of Season 2, these guys have the best story of how they won and how they keep on winning. Xmithie can pull out ganks with timed synergy of all lanes. Even though I personally don’t find him special, Sycho Sid could use some practice top lane for securing kills without jungle presence. One of my favorite players from the last split and one of the most consistent mid-laners, MandatoryCloud should not be overlooked. He can be aggressive at times and I think top-tiered teams can take advantage of this and secure free kills on him. He is going to be the main source of jungle ganks from the enemies. If not on ManCloud, it’ll be to shut down the bottom lane of Zuna and Bloodwater. I’ve heard countless times online that Zuna gets carried, but this is not always the case. Zuna can pull out a Tristana from his pocket (get the reference?) and play a lategame beast. Would it be effective? Maybe against Gambit or Mineski. Ozone and Fnatic? Not at all as they try to close out games fast and it makes late game ‘hyper carries’ outclassed. Bloodwater probably breathes, eats, and sleeps Sona. I personally love Sona and I carry in Solo queue with Sona because she’s just so easy, but still, putting Bloodwater on Sona can change games.

This is all I’m going to write for tonight as I’m pretty tired. I’ll try to write up team information of the Bye teams (Cloud 9, Najin Black Sword, Gamania Bears (who?) and Royal Club).