God, I miss live events.
I know that isn’t the most scientific observation in the world, but I thought I’d reminisce a little about the before times, and something I took for granted.
Live events aren’t something I particularly enjoy on a regular basis, mostly because I find it hard to interface with the crowd sometimes. In most musical or comedy shows I go to, there seems to be at least one or two people consistently trying to bring attention to themselves at the expense of the show, and for some reason, that really bothers me. This kind of extends to going to see movies in theatres; I don’t particularly enjoy that, either.
But a thought hit me the other day where I genuinely missed working esports events, and I’m not sure if the “work” aspect is the important thing.
Every February, Rainbow Six Siege hosts their Six Invitational world championship, and for two years in a row, I went as part of Evil Geniuses. It was fun, because it meant stepping outside of my MOBA hole and trying something new — but really, games are very similar to the appeal of a live crowd. When this time of the year rolls around I end up thinking back to those positive experiences, and I guess in 2022 that’s particularly loud.
I miss the idea of meeting new people without the learned behaviour of keeping them at a physical distance. I miss the swell of the crowd when something is about to happen, and the burst of noise when it does. I miss the aftermath of matches where everyone is just kind of resetting mentally. I miss desks and panels, even though I can imagine it’s more for the broadcast’s sake than the live crowd.
I miss all those things supplementing a LAN because when it's gone, it's very clear. I watch a bit of pro wrestling, and without crowds (or crowds that are limited to clapping, not cheering), the event is entirely different. There are things that claps are bad for, reaction-wise. It is 100% not the same, and a lesser experience.
I miss panels and signings. I miss the idea that you can humanize your players to people who are just like them, and in the process, you remember why esports is special. I miss meeting people you’ve only met on Twitter. I miss how tired I was after a day on my feet. I miss struggling to find “my office” somewhere in the building with privacy and good Internet.
I miss the excitement that kind of runs through your organization before a LAN, because in some cases, it means possibility. As a fan, you’re also looking to be a part of something you’ve seen on broadcast (hopefully) many times. I miss seeing obvious “first-timers”. I miss seeing kids dragging their parents around. I miss thanking those parents for having a patience with and interest in their kids’ hobbies.
I (kind of) miss the race to get as many photos and videos as possible, because you aren’t sure when you’ll be able to get more. I miss giving away t-shirts and the mess that is trying to track down people from Twitter.
I miss seeing people super excited to buy their first piece of esports merchandise. I miss the people on Weekend Warrior or college teams showing up in their jerseys, like it’s their “home turf.” I miss people who are obviously meeting friends they met online for the first time. I miss groups of people with themed shirts or signs or cosplay, mostly just to say “I’m here, I matter, I’m part of this.”
Thankfully, you can’t really hear the hecklers over an esports crowd, and for the most part, it doesn’t matter, anyways. All this stuff can only return too soon.
Stay safe out there.
This issue is a bit shorter this week, but eff it. I think the longer posts should be more exceptions to the rule, anyways. <1000 words is legitimately difficult for me.
Thanks for the support, homies.