It’s time to make way for better maps.

Even with this gambling thing hanging over their collective heads, Valve has been slowly renovating Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s maps to push the Source engine to its limits. In the same way that previous Valve product releases showcased new graphics technologies, CS:GO map renovations in addition to themed Operation releases have become new benchmarks for Source engine graphics capability.

Read the rest over at lowercase esports.

KeSPA sunsets ProLeague

Korean esports cornerstone KeSPA announced today that it is suspending the StarCraft 2 ProLeague effective immediately.

KeSPA chairman Jun ByungHun dropped the mic in an eloquent statement. His reason for ending the 14-year-old league may not be surprising but it’s still gut wrenching to read.

[…] the drop in the number of ProLeague teams and players, difficulty securing league sponsors, and match fixing issues have made it challenging to maintain ProLeague. As such, KeSPA has come to announce the discontinuation of ProLeague and its operations of the five out of total seven StarCraft professional teams that participated in ProLeague 2016.

You can read the rest of this post over at lowercase esports.

What is lowercase esports?

Who are you? Why are you wearing 3D glasses? Can you please stop with the eSports hate? How can you be this much of a pedant?

Those are all valid questions. Well, except the third one. 3D glasses are the future, don’t you know? I’m certain that’s all I need to say about that.

Let’s go ahead and answer these questions one at a time, shall we?

What is lowercase esports?

lowercase esports spawned out of the collection of blog posts and podcast episodes that represent my flippant style of esports cynicism. Until recently, I published opinion pieces about esports on my personal blog or directly under my name. I’ve since had a change of heart about these posts being out under my name only, especially as I want to try growing an audience for all of this. I also came to the realization that others out there might en up sharing similar opinions to mine—so lowercase esports is meant to also be a welcome spot for like-minded pundits.

The origin of the name comes from the ongoing disagreement about how to print the word “esports.” In my opinion, the presence of a capital or lowercase letter s serves as an indicator about an organization or team being out of touch with digital culture.

But really, it’s just a name. I thought it sounded catchy.

Who are you?

Generally, I’m a borderline depressed/nervous wreck that works in the tech industry, providing support to an internet-based small business based on Richmond, VA.

As far as esports goes, I’ve had my hand in a few now-defunct organizations and projects including ESFI World, a division of the STA League and a GoldSrc total conversion mod called Hostile Intent. I’ve been a recurring guest on Kritzkast and a regular contributor to the FriendlyFire podcast during the heyday of competitive Team Fortress 2 (which, in my opinion, was years ago).

I’m presently hosting my own podcast, the lowercase esports podcast, and co-hosting Esports Morning with my friend, Chris Schetter.

Can you please stop with the capital S hate?


How can you be this much of a pedant?

Well, it’s not that difficult at all.

See, the quick and dirty rebuttal to use is: “do you use eMail or email?” The follow up being: “if you see someone spell it with the capital M, do you instantly conclude that the writer is out of touch?” And if they answer in the negative to that follow up, your closing quip should be: “you realize that you’re a goddamn moron, right?” Alternatively, “go back to the 90s, ya fuckin’ square” also works.

A word’s proximity to brand names, identities, and titles helps it to become indistinguishable from the brand name, identity, or title. When you want to put a thing on a pedestal for any given reason, you give it the proper noun treatment, right? However, esports isn’t something that can be owned or narrowed down to a certain prestiege of competition or a particular publisher’s title. It’s a general term that applies to competitive gaming and the every part of the ecosystem that supports it from gambling to micro-transactions.

Additional reading material discussing the case of upper/lowercase spelling of esports can be found over on Chris Schetter’s blog along with a more modern thought exercise recently published on The Meta.

Yeah, okay, fine — you’re a toxic douchelord, I get it — but why?

There are some people who want to break into esports and spend plenty of their free time striving to do so. I have nothing but admiration for the folks in esports who started from volunteering (which is pretty much everyone that isn’t in an esports role at a game studio, these days).

When I went to EVO as a volunteer ref, I bumped into players on all levels from professional Top 8 finalists to any given town’s local hero that thinks they might have a chance to go deep in the tournament. The privilege of watching then play up close was awesome and everyone should be able to go to an event. Being in the room and working with the centralized cabal who ran several tournaments at once was what I’ve wanted to do in the scene for a long time. I found how I can contribute in a meaningful way. But while there might be big tournaments every weekend, they’re not all around my city, and I certainly don’t make enough to travel around in the style I prefer (which is alone, icrievrytiem).

Instead of only helping execute events when I can, I want to throw some ideas out there and sometimes play devil’s advocate for the industry at large when I can’t travel.

I don’t want to become the most popular pundit out there, but I do want to spark more public discussion about how to make esports a better thing. I can’t help but look at the games that make up the FGC and think, there are so many good things here that aren’t present in other esports. There are other esports that deserve more attention that are ignored because they are too complex to consider or are too old to be revived again.

You didn’t answer my question, moron.

Yeah. How about that?

Anyway, it’s time to stake my claim. Here we go.

Revisiting MGSV

I booted up my Xbox One for the first time in six months about a week ago to play Metal Gear Solid V and I was kind of shocked. There are some parts of the game that’s aged as well as an 80-point wine.

For all of the hype surrounding the game’s costly and lengthy development and considering how stale the game got shortly after launch, it’s funny how I ended up coming to this conclusion. After I finished the story and finished grinding the single-player world (when the online functionality was not exactly smooth sailing), I justified my moving on from playing the game by concluding the game was the wrong type of grind—the very same way in which Destiny turned into the wrong type of grind that turned me off from buying in after the House of Wolves expansion.

A year later, it’s clear that the real endgame for MGSV required more commitment and patience than the typical gamer might be able to command.

After picking the game back up over the weekend, I’m nearly back to where I was at skill-wise before I stopped playing when the game was still fresh. We’re not talking about Metal Gear Online, though, because addressing that mess is its own can of worms.

I’m having fun coming back to the game, though I wish there was an easy way to replay the whole story without it being tied to my online progress.

I really intend to fully complete the game while I still ahve some sort of interest in playing it. Right now, I’m concentrating on finishing the entire list of Side Ops. After that, I’ll replay all of the story missions to make sure I complete every additional mission task and find every hidden key item. Lastly, I’ll deal with the major replay missions I haven’t completed yet.

After dealing with all of those single player things, I’d like to seriously try the multiple FOB grind. Maybe contibute to unlocking that third and final chapter of the game. If the game can keep my attention for that long. I suppose it doesn’t really help that I am playing it on my Xbox One, but I suppose it could be worse. I could be playing it on my Xbox 360.

Until then, I suppose I need to figure out how to train DD to stop blocking my line of sight.

I thought writing more notes would help me write more posts. I was wrong.


Shortly after I started the lowercase esports podcast, I came to the conclusion a one-man-show podcast that episodes needed to have some sort of structure. Without some sort of very basic order, I found I could not keep the central idea of the episode in mind without forgetting key parts of my argument which, in turn, would shred the quality of the result.

For a time, I tried publishing smaller posts. When an important source would link to something on Twitter, I would throw that tweet into a post and summarize my appraisal of the information or insight that was linked. I was lured into false sense of improving about these posts.

Ultimately, I felt I couldn’t cannibalize the content of my podcast by analyzing my sources two or three paragraphs at a time and publishing them to the blog as if I were shooting from the hip.

I resolved to making notes for themed episodes were I would need to bounce from one major idea to the other.

Of course, I needed someplace to put those notes. I bought a few ruled notebooks and ordered a leather notebook cover.


A short aside as I mention equipment: if you’re serious about writing, get a real implement to write with. Separate it from your normal writing procedure. Don’t use it to sketch with. Don’t use it to write on Post-It notes. Don’t use it to sign your name with. Only use it to write.

And buy a fountain pen. Even a low-end fountain pen like the Preppy is an incredibly solid pen that only a moron or a child could ruin. As The Art Of Manliness puts it:

It makes you feel like a sir. I’ll admit it — one of the appeals of writing with a fountain pen is that it just makes you feel awesome. There’s something about writing with the same implement that Teddy Roosevelt and Winston Churchill used that makes you feel like a true gentleman and scholar.

My initial method ended up being the note taking procedure of choice: every time I had a thought I wanted to save for later or read an article I had an opinion about, I wrote it down in that notebook.

After a few days of exclusively writing notes about various esports happenings and potential goings on, I stopped worrying about the performance of my posts. After a few more days, I stopped posting regularly. Why?

I felt more satisfied being able to recall details about my archived thoughts than I did when I was carelessly pushing articles into the ether.

Now, that might ring out as a tad defeatist, but I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t. Self-deprecation is something of a way of life for me. I can also tell you it’s helped me develop into quite the social butterfly.

Being satisfied with my working material has invariably led to more confident podcasts. Monologues that used to be scatterbrained are now marginally more focused than they used to be.

Now, even though I’ve finished my first notebook, I still haven’t cracked the code on consistently keeping everything I’ve written out by hand in my mind as I record the podcast. I still have to refer to my notes if I don’t want to reorganize the episode according to what returns to the top of my head as I talk through the subject matter, but I’m feeling better about what I’m doing with the podcast.

So… what about publishing my notes… as posts?

Now, that could work.

Braindump: 26 July 2016

I originally posted this to Facebook, but I don’t think it’s worth posting to Medium. So here’s this. If you find me on Facebook and we haven’t had a face-to-face, don’t expect an add. I try to keep things separate that way.

Updates of all types in varying degrees of relevance in no particular order:

  • I went to EVO. It was good. Vegas wasn’t nearly as bad as the weather around Richmond lately, though. At least it didn’t feel as bad. There was more of a breeze there than there is here. I’m not sure why that is. There was a lot of people there. I ran seven pools between Friday and Saturday. Has definitely sealed its place in my annual routine.
  • A friend of mine runs a tournament called Smash Attack in NY. I want to go up there in August. Nothing finalized yet, but am currently taking suggestions for a whirlwind walking southern hick tourist tour of Brooklyn.
  • During poker time on vacation, I stacked this one woman twice. As she’s considering moving in one of the times, she asked me if I had something against her. I told her I’m just trying not to screw up. She calls, I turn over quads, the table sings a unison note of surprise. I stack her for probably $90. She proceeds to target me for the remainder of the evening, passive aggressively mentioning to the seat next to her how “you’re just not supposed to assume he has quad jacks all the time until he does.” Later, she reloads a third time. A few hands later, after the button passes me, I stand up and begin stacking my winnings to head over the cashier. “You’re leaving right after I buy in again?” I tell her “Lady, I have a plane to catch and I should probably share the book I’ve been reading all night with everyone at the table.”
  • I’m going to reorganize my friends list on here. Maybe I will log in more often. I still don’t like Facebook. It’s okay. Nobody likes Twitter anymore and I’ve always been the slow, pedantic hick that can’t catch up. Everybody wins. It’s fine. If you’re the type that gets offended when someone unfriends you, please refocus your offense into something else.
  • I am playing Pokemon Go. Team Mystic. I catch Pidgeys and Zubats more often than I’d like. Mildly losing interest. Hoping Nintendo won’t screw up Fire Emblem when they bring it to phones.
  • Politics are happening. Here’s your friendly reminder not to be a douchelord or douchelady during this time. Also to support C-SPAN, because 90% of things on other news channels are bad.
  • Additional politics suggestion: watch the UK Parliament do this thing called Prime Minister’s Questions every Wednesday. You’ll start to wish POTUS (the current one, either of the standing candidates, whoever) could do that on a regular basis instead of hiding behind their Press Secretary.
  • October doesn’t seem that long ago. Sometimes I think about it and I have to mentally check the math—the first thing that comes to mind is ‘six months ago’ when it’s closer to ten months. It’s as if the summer has dragged on too long. Or something.
  • Why does Facebook not support Markdown? Sakes. How do people handle all of this plain text? Cue headache.

TLEP #053 – How To Bet CS:GO Skins Online

In the course of everyone sharing their thoughts about the recent CS:GO gambling fiascos involving several prominent YouTubers, many reports on the subject involve a brief description of how making money on CS:GO skins work. However, the explanations offered in these articles aren’t nearly specific enough and only outline the process. Therefore, I’ve decided to take an entire episode and dedicate it to fully explaining how to gamble with skins.

the lowercase esports podcast isn’t–obviously–sponsored by any skins site, but I’m totally open to that, provided some specific conditions are met. If you represent a betting site, have listened to the podcast and are interested in sponsoring the podcast, my contact page has details on how to reach out to me. If you’re looking for more podcast content, the episode list and the links you’re looking for are here.