I also talked with Jesse Ryan
Jesse “Koorban” Ryan played for Evil Geniuses and accomplished these, among other, notable titles: 1st in First Ever World of Warcraft 5 vs 5 Arena US Regional Championships 3rd in First Ever World of Warcraft 5 vs 5 Arena World Championships 3rd in WSVG Toronto 2007 3 vs 3 World of Warcraft Arena Championship 5th in WSVG Event 3 vs 3 World of Warcraft Arena Tournament Invited to Dreamhack WoW Arena Competition in 2007
Jesse’s thoughts on e-Sports and becoming a pro gamer:
“E-sports is something that brings a long a lot of opportunities but also takes a lot of commitment. Our success was short lived due to just that. We flourished as a team when we all had the most time to commit. As time passed it was much more difficult to get everyone together to play as much as we needed to in order to keep up with the challenges of the changing aspect of the game, as well as the new competitors getting involved. For WoW, we were the very first team ever signed to a sponsorship from Flow Gaming, but soon joined on board with Team EG due to their vast experience in the gaming scene. This opened up more chances to travel and even make some money from the game I've loved playing for so long.
“If it wasn't for e-Sports I would have never been able to travel across the globe. The biggest obstacle for me was real life. I was just finishing up college and trying to get myself settled into a job. During school I had all the time in the world to play but once that was done I had to switch up focuses and my fellow teammates were in a similar position. Getting everyone together became harder and harder and we just eventually decided to stop all together. Had the e-Sports scene been introduced to WoW just a few years earlier I believe we would've had some more time to cement our legacy in the game. I imagine for current gamers job security is a major concern if you're looking to e-Sports as a career. Not only is it important that there is an interest in your game but you must also be able to be successful at it. Financial stability is important in anything a person does. “Becoming a pro gamer is a way of life. The amount of time you put in basically makes it like a job. Between preparation, travel, and planning there is a lot of commitment there. When 5 vs 5 arenas first came out it was only backed by Blizzard so there was a very small monetary foundation there. It was not something we could rely on financially. Sure, there were a couple of tournaments, but it took a while for the foundation to build up and other third party events to happen. Even with those they were not frequent enough and there was no compensation from our sponsor to practice so that we could do that full time and forgo an every day job. “New games, especially FPS, are designed with competition in mind. With online streaming sites such as Twitch being very popular now, it's easier than it ever was to get exposed. I wish when we were playing that that was something we had! If it was around, I was unaware of it, but it would have helped greatly for our exposure and getting our name out there. New games are tweaked and balanced so that competitive play is fair and entertaining and easy for spectators to follow. Just look at the spectator system for Dota 2 or Counter Strike as an example. “In summation my two years in the pro gaming scene was a great experience. It allowed me to meet people who I may never have seen outside of digital pixels. I was able to travel many places I would have never dreamed of visiting otherwise. For a short while we were the absolute best in 5 vs 5 for arenas in WoW. During Season one we had the highest rated team in the world for quite some time. We were also the first team to ever be sponsored for WoW. All these things didn't come free though. We had to commit countless hours to accomplish what we wanted to do.”
Huge thanks to Eric, John, and Jesse for sharing their thoughts. Thankfully, the discussion doesn’t end here! Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel, Scott “SirScoots” Smith, and Margaret Krohn (SOE), will be speaking alongside Eric, John, and me for a one of a kind e-Sports panel at Comic Con International’s WonderCon. Check out the details below. Hope to see you there!
Friday April 18th
5:00 – 6:00 E-Sports – How to Become a Pro Competitor
We’re seeing a groundbreaking evolution happening in e-Sports as pro players become recognized as professional athletes who are awarded visas and salaries. However, the journey for them has not been easy. Join Genese Davis (The Holder’s Dominion & MMORPG.com,) Johnathan Wendel (Fatal1ty,) Scott Smith (SirScoots, Evil Geniuses,) Eric Abramian (Blood Legion, Team Razer) Margaret Krohn (Sony Online Entertainment,) and John Liao (Evil Geniuses) as they discuss the opportunities and obstacles players face when seeking viable careers as e-Sports competitors. This high-powered panel will divulge exactly what it takes to become a pro gamer and how the e-Sports evolution is impacting the video game industry at large.
Every week, Holder’s Dominion author Genese Davis opines about MMO gaming, the issues the genre faces, and the power of shaping online worlds.
Check out more columns by Genese: