Thursday, April 18, 2013

HT Finals Day 1 - I Laughed, I Cried, I Came..hngggg

Like most HoN lovers, I have been waiting for the HoN Tour Finals since October. Having been one of the major persons involved with the planning (I was the person who suggested the Hardwood Suite once upper management decided on Vegas, though I lobbied for Orlando, FL for the Finals since Vegas offers more for the 21+ crowd than say a trip to Disney World or Universal Studios or something along those lines) I wanted to see what was going to happen when S2 had over half a year to plan and execute their first ever official LAN tournament.

Now, the first thing I'm about to say is going to make me look stupid, but in the interest of fairness I should disclose it: I wasn't sure exactly what time the first game was supposed to start. Sure, I should have checked or even /r/heroesofnewerth but instead at around 12:30 I went to at which point I read that the next upcoming match was scheduled for 6:00PM EST. Luckily, I was going to watch some FPV streaming of HoN for a bit while getting ready for the day when I went to the main Twitch page and saw that Honcast was live. While this isn't directly the point of this post, why is the Honcast site still a pile of shit? I mean, Tralf hasn't been with the company for what.. over 2 months now? Yet he's still listed on the Staff section of Honcast and his name is all over the descriptions of stuff. That's not even that important, but why is it when I go to and Honcast is live is the "Featured Video" section not automatically replaced with the Honcast Live Stream? Am I blind? But I didn't notice a "Honcast is Live" message either. Even the old balls python site had a Honcast Live button that you could click on.


I Laughed:

So I tuned into the Live stream and watched Breaky and Emperor chatting back and forth about the upcoming matches. First thing I noticed is that the step-and-repeat was really wrinkled. I mean it looks like it was sloppily packed, and then it was the last thing they unwrapped before going live and just hung it up as a backdrop. A similar thing happened at Dreamhack Summer 2012 when we wanted to reuse this big ass Monkey King backdrop and it looked like complete shit so we hung it on the back of our booth in a dark room to avoid total embarrassment. Then they said the words I was waiting for "The game is underway, let's jump on in" at which point I asked myself  "what's going to be fucked up this time."

I must have laughed for a solid 30 seconds without stopping. It was a genuine laugh, not because I was happy that Honcast's production crew has screwed up for the 5th event in a row, but because S2's employees had spent the previous two weeks talking about how the production was going to be top notch:

And it reminded me of the shit I used to talk about when I was the Director of eSports. The truth is Milkfat knows about as much as I did when it comes to streaming/production/etc: Absolutely fuck-all. We're coordinators, event planners, and tournament organizers. When we make plans, we plan for the people put into their positions to execute their jobs properly. The issue with this is we always waiting until the last minute to start testing the streams. So I figured this time, having heard that certain members of the Honcast team were in Vegas a few days prior to the event, that the stream would be mostly flawless, at least the in-game portion. Man was I wrong.

How does this keep happening? I was in the competitors skype sharing a good laugh with the rest of the players who didn't get to go to Vegas and Beefpotpie said:

[4/17/2013 1:00:57 PM] Kyle "Beef" Bautista: they did test it
[4/17/2013 1:01:04 PM] Kyle "Beef" Bautista: theyve been in here for 40 hours straight
[4/17/2013 1:01:09 PM] Kyle "Beef" Bautista: but mistakes are happening =/

How is it that after 40 hours straight they were unable to reliably say "This looks good." What kind of "mistakes" happen that make a game look like this:

While the Garena stream looks like this:

Just awful.

I Cried:

So what else went wrong?

1. AceJR 

- I don't know why they chose to let this guy host the Finals. I see some people saying they should have hired a professional, but that's also pretty stupid considering whoever hosts this event needs to have an intimate understanding of this specific game. My problem with AceJR is he has absolutely nothing prepared for his interviews, he seems extremely nervous on camera, and is in general an awful public speaker. I would have rather seen S2 bring in someone like Tralfamadore or Zyori to host the Finals. Hell, I would have done it for free (although S2 would never let that happen) if they paid for the plane ticket and hotel.

2. Opening Ceremony

- I have seen Iraqi prison cells with better lightning. They called in the players and teams who came in through a fog machine but there was no one around them to welcome them in or anything like that. On top of this, they played VTZ music during the intro. Just what I wanted to hear, the same shit that Honcast plays nonstop already. This cherry on the top of this awkward ceremony was AceJR's horrendous announcing.

3. Interviews

- A good interview is done with the interviewer facing the interviewee at a slight angle in two separate chairs. See any talk show ever for confirmation of this. Having two dudes sit awkwardly next to one another on a couch that was no doubt used in a budget pornographic casting couch film with all the lights turned out was terrible. Again, AceJR showed his speaking prowess in these interview sessions. I mean, why would get you someone who very obviously understands little to nothing about competitive HoN to interview competitive players? Again, having someone like Tralf or hell, even Beefpotpie (who was already there) would have been a major improvement.

4. Delays Between Games

- It goes without saying that you have to plan for 5-6 hours between scheduled series when you have a Best of Five planned. But you also have to take into consideration that there's a possibility, especially between the #1 and #4 seed game, that a game is going to end early. So why not have content, or at least planned content, ready for the longer breaks. I don't have an issue with Honcast sticking to their schedule because that means reliability, but going to a screen with VTZ Beats music on for nearly 2 hours is just plain unacceptable, especially when you have 20 of the worlds best HoN players at your disposal. You should be asking questions, having [intelligent] interviews, and showing off what is supposed to be an amazing venue. Bringing me to my final point...

5. No Venue Cameras

- I supported HoN having a private/VIP event for the HoN Tour Season 1 Finals. But at least make me jealous that I'm not there. Aside from seeing half of the half court in the Opening Ceremony and the rape couch in the interviews, where are the other shots? I know there's a sweet social area in the Hardwood Suite with TV's and a full bar and all kinds of seating... so why aren't we getting to see that? Especially during downtime I would like to see people mingling with each other, pro players having a good time and the S2 staff that is in attendance enjoying themselves. Instead I get to see a motion version of the background graphic from and listen to VTZ Beats! WOOOOOO!

I guess it's to be expected though. No matter how hard people seem to be working, something is always fucked up with Honcast. It's kind of sad because I know people who were planning on tuning in for these matches who are DOTA 2 players just to watch a game they used to play (like SUNSfan, DetonatR and others) to support how far they've come and messaged me with a simple "LOL" and "How have things actually gotten worse?" It's gotta be embarrassing for S2 that hundred of thousands of dollars in production gear, employee salaries and event costs over the past year has yielded this result. Sure, the production of the HoN Tour online events was decent, but if you can't pull off a live event, you're never going to garner the respect of any third party who is invested in eSports (team sponsors, event sponsors, tournament organizers, etc).

I Came:

I do want to say there were some things that went well. Emperor looks much better wearing his blazer and button up than he did with a wife beater on during the GSL stream. Breaky continues to be as energetic as always and actually seems to be genuinely having a good time casting these games. I feel bad for Breaky because when we used to do shit like Dreamhack Summer 2010, DYA and Dreamhack Summer 2011 we had the time of our lives sitting there with a webcam and casting off two laptops, and he was so obviously frustrated at the technical difficulties his production team caused him once again. I thought the games themselves were extremely entertaining and even the games with few hero kills were intense all throughout. I bet the will to win is palpable in that Suite from the teams who are there, especially Stay Green who are on their way to winning the first ever Triple Crown in HoN (GSL, HoN Tour Finals, Dreamhack Summer 2013) and shattering any questions on whether or not they are the undisputed world champions of Heroes of Newerth.

I'm looking forward to Day Two.


  1. Great read, you said everything that I wanted to say.

    For tomorrow, I'm going to watch the VODs instead. I think that it would be best for my impatience (can I be guilty of being impatient when something starts 1hr late?) to not watch the event live.

  2. amazing post, i laughed through the whole thing! honestly i think u should write a book about s2. there's so much fucking fail involved with this company i think people would enjoy reading about it even people not interested in video games. its kinda sad cause they have a great game. but from the ceo calling people niggers in-game, the hacked player accounts, the fucking awful forums, firing people left and right to the rape couch its just too much handle. oh and that time the game-servers where down for 2-3 weeks, that was fun! that was when the game wasnt free to play. this lan-event is so badly executed its embarrassing its fucking painful to watch:(

  3. S2 should throw in the towel on eSports. its making them look so bad. You already lost, this shit is just embarassing...

  4. Great write-up, for once i agree entirely with you. Btw, i lost it at the iraqui prison cells :D

  5. Phil I love you, was laughing the whole time reading! You truly have a way with words. I missed this train wreck and im so sad :/ but reading this makes up for it!

    Btw when are you gonna start streaming again? We miss you man, come on now :)

  6. Oh hey Phil! Still butt hurt that you got fired by S2? Oh yes you are, look at how much time you spend everyday caring for them without get a dim. lol Keep it up, I love to see how sore you are. And no, you won't ever get your job back however much you lick 'some' people's boots (yes, you know very much who I am talking about).

    1. Think he is rather happy to have left the company after a disaster like this.

    2. Let me tell you from the video that the event seemed like a big giant pile of sh+++t!

  7. Its pretty much expected that S2 would fuck up again, they have the reputation and they sure as hell lived up to it. This pretty much sums up the horrible production over at great ol' S2 in Vegas. Ive been sticking to HoN since Beta, even after my friends went to Dota 2 and LoL I always told them that HoN was the better game with a better engine to run it. Sadly I have come to the end of my days with HoN, and its time for me to part ways. I'm not just some shitty 1500 thats mad or butt hurt (omg s2 youre so bad yadda yadda) I dont see the game going much further than it is now, ive always hoped that it would with the big release of hon 3.0 and some bigger tournaments like gsl. S2 is going to stay an indie company and its shown right from the start.. some things just dont change.

  8. at least we managed to entertain ourselves using polls in the break....I guess...?

  9. You said everything i wanted to say! AceJr sucks so fucking hard! he is embarrassing..

  10. "I was the person who suggested the Hardwood Suite once upper management decided on Vegas, though I lobbied for Orlando, FL for the Finals since Vegas offers more for the 21+ crowd than say a trip to Disney World or Universal Studios or something along those lines"

    What I want to know is who and why you planned to have the finals without an audience. I am 100% sure you can get between 50-100 people for the finals in the US. Host it from pax or at some other convention if you have to. Having the event open to public, you just have to book in advance for free with perks ( like alt avaters and gold coins...). That way you know how many people are coming and get just enough seats so it doesn't look empty. You can gather a small but decent audience, it's better than having no one there. This isn't you homestory cup or your mlg arena, it's the grand finals of HonTour. No live audience just looks silly. Hell why not host it in europe and have an awesome crowd? Along the DH open or something else if you have too.

    Also wtf happened to the time of the event, Having 10K viewers in day 1 and day 2 just shows how badly planned this was. If you're hosting the event in the US why make it during the week when most ppl are working. If it's because of the cost of the venue then you have to reconsider, hosting the finals during weekend and having a good viewership (15-25K) is more important than a venue where noone can attend.

    Finally why on earth is it so hard to communicate and work together with your partners for the competitive scene. I loved DreamHon's format with the EU NA AU qualifier, now it just feels like S2 does not know or care about what their partners do. We didn't get anything for THMNC (appart from that shitty garena stream) and we got terrible production and very little use of the LAN advantage from HonCast at the GSL. Region locking could have worked but has been poorly executed, no one hears about tournament in LA SEA or Russia. All we had was DreamHack. Hopefully HT S2 changes things but I think by that time I will have switched to comp Dota2 like a lot others.

    I would really love to get some answers on these points!

    1. I just planned to have the event in the Hardwood Suite, I actually intended to have a VIP audience there, like sponsors, players and people who were from around the area that wanted to attend. Similar to the HoN Launch Party in San Fransisco. As far as the mid-week decision: that came down from the top of S2 Games, myself and Milkfat are both subject to the will of upper management. I didn't and still don't agree with it being mid-week, but that's how it is when the person authorizing the budget also has their own ideas.

      I'm glad you liked DreamHoN's idea. That was one of the few things I think the community really got behind when I started planning it. I can't really answer any of your last question about communication with partners though, as I'm not sure exactly what has changed and what's going on at S2 Games right now. I will say that when I was there, Garena was still very skeptical about getting involved in cross-client gaming. We tried to pull them into what we were doing.

      I remain a huge HoN fan and it's the only MOBA I would play considering the options available to me, but all we can do is sit and wait and see what changes, if anything.

    2. Yeah no offence but I'm done waiting. And how can you agree to mid week finals without an audience, hosting the finals from pax would have actually looked better. I'm sure there are issues that Milkfat cannot be blamed for but still there was no planning for the GSL or the HT finals. Milkfat cannot fill the esports manager's role anymore.
      I remember reading a post from Milkfat saying he wasn't hired for the esports manager job and that it kind of just happened.

      It's a real shame to see the game we all love get fucked over as an esport because of MANY bad decisions made by S2. Hon might never die but it's gonna take a loooong time for HON to ever look credible as an esport title, I don't see any big sponsor getting in the scene.
      G fucking G

  11. ^ Can't edit to fix my spelling :/

  12. Are there any other uncensored and active hon blogs still out there?

  13. Phill im waiting for your next article on day 2.Especially closing ceremony.

  14. lold reading this. +1

  15. Who better testie moon

  16. Phil, you got me pretty good with the prison cell line. A perfect assessment of how day one went down. I'd love to see what you had to say about day two and the closing ceremony.

  17. Let's not give the public any reason to come in person instead of watching on stream, and better yet... let's keep the location a secret so no-one has any chance to plan to actually turn up.

    1. Never realized how good looking Phil is til you posted that. Thanx

  18. Holy fucking shit Phil you really did it this time, easily the best post you've ever made this hilarious !!!. "I do want to say there were some things that went well. Emperor looks much better wearing his blazer and button up than he did with a wife beater on during the GSL stream." was the funniest shit i have heard all week, i remember the disappointment on Breaky's face rach time he looked to his left to see those giant biceps right up his face and slightly cringe in sadness.

  19. I'll be honest with you Phil, you're not my favorite person in Hon's history. In fact, I don't like you. But this was a well written piece of criticism. Couldn't agree more with what you have said. Especially concerning AceJR, I don't remember cringing this hard in recent history.