The rubble of our own failure

Here we are - it has happened! The first of various modes of "Unreal Tournament 2004" has got it's own EAS. "EAwhat?" is, what many of you guys playing UT2004 out there will ask - the Electronic Sports League Amateur Series is what I'll respond.

As nearly everybody in this business has heard of the famous ESL as one of Europe's major players when it comes to leagues and tournaments in esports, I'll focus on the latter part of EAS. The ESL Amateur Series are special competitions that are normally used as the key to qualifying for premierships like the ESL PRO Series.
Only a few EAS can be found in the list of the ESL and mostly, they belong to games that already made their major breakthrough as accepted titles in professional esports. But be warned that playing in an EAS normally requires a bit more discipline, professionalism and involvement than the average tournaments out there will do.

First of all, you yourself in the single player competitions or 60% of your team in team competitions need to be paying-ESL-Premium-members, meaning that you'll have to spend the killing amount of 2 (in words: two) Euros per month to get the right to participate in the EAS along with some extra hot features to your ESL account like getting rid of advertisements. Also this sounds like a minor issue to most of us, a lot of players refuse to become Premium members because of the costs. "Why should I pay to participate in any league or tournament when there are so many tournaments for my game out there that do cost me nothing?" they ask, not without reason, of course.
It may come worse: Some ESL Amateur Series do not only require the players to become ESL Premium members but also force them to request an ESL playercard. You will have to hand in personal information that you might not want to give away easily in the beloved anonymity of the web along with a real picture of yourself in 3:4 passport image format and depending on the security level, the information you hand in is crosschecked against your identity card. You'll also have to spend another 5 (in words five) Euros to receive the little credit-card-sized playercard - and all of its features that nobody can tell yet - showing your real name and the picture you transmitted in very bad dot-matrix quality.

Why would you want to participate in a league that requires you to pay money for, even if it is only a small amount?

In the EAS, one match per week is generated, meaning that you'll have to play at least one forced match per week like in a professional soccer league. Until the so called hot phase of the EAS, close to the end of one season, it is still possible to have those forced matches deleted if both teams do agree, but when it comes to the final qualification period, forced means forced (but still allowing you to move the date of the match around within the match week). A normal ladder never ends - the EAS does and leads to qualification to higher leagues. Normally, the four best teams of the EAS get the tickets to the premiership, the next four can fight for a premiership ticket in relegation-matches.

Why would you want to participate in a league that forces you to play at least once a week instead of allowing you to not schedule any matches and do not show up for weeks if you don't feel like it because it is summer, the weather's just great and you've got holidays?

Simply said: because your involvement in the game will not only be increasing for yourself because of the fact that you'll have to spend your somewhat hard-earned money to participate in the competition, but also this involvement is very much visible to others by your obvious will and the required discipline to play in a professional environment like this that really forces you to play at least this single match per week.

If someone wants to know whether it?s worth or not to join the league or not, the activity in an EAS where the players have to pay to participate and play and do play at least one match per week is a good indicator. If someone was looking for the next big thing in esports, a title to be named along with "StarCraft", "Counter Strike", "Fifa" and "WarCraft 3", and wants to rate the community based upon the involvement of the players to decide, whether a community has it in itself to become pro or not, whether the players are ready to take the next big step from pure stupid fun gaming without ambition to ambitious competitive esports - that would be something he might use to acknowledge the impression.

So it has happened. The first mode of Unreal Tournament 2004 has made it to it's own EAS. We all knew that the big breakthrough for UT would come one day and now, the thing so many of us had been waiting for has happened. And the first mode to have its major breakthrough into the real world of esports is UT2004 4on4... TAM.

"Wait a minute..." I hear some of you shouting right now "TAM... Team Arena Master... isn't that this round-based warm-up thingy somewhat equal to Q*ake 3 Rocket Arena?" Yes, it is. "But... I thought that was a funmod..." Yes, so did many of us. "But... shouldn't it have been Duel or TDM after all that made this breakthrough?" Yes - and that's where we are at the rubble of our own failure as TDM players to take the next step in gaming.

Granted - the ESL is helping UT2004 4on4 TAM a lot on its way by opening a ladder where about 20 teams will be winning a 3 month Premium membership that will allow them to participate in the UT2004 4on4 TAM EAS, but is this really a valid excuse for the failure of UT2004 4on4 TDM to get its own EAS?

It was not a bad decision by the ESL to try with TAM. Round about a year ago, an attempt was made to create the first UT2004 4on4 TDM EAS and only very few teams signed up to the competition. Most of the TDM players were complaining about the money that it would cost and that they did not see a reason to pay for playing UT2004 4on4 TDM EAS with all the small cups around. And look, where we got after a year. Nearly everybody is complaining about the level of activity. The Clanbase cups have become a laugh where UT99, the old prequel of UT2004 gets a TDM Eurocup but UT2004 doesn't. A bad joke where many teams have bailed out of the Opencup even in the group stage and so many matches haven't been played, that it seems ridiculous to start the play-offs. 10 signups for the summercup. Every now and then a cup, a small tournament that lasts a few weeks and that's nearly it for our beloved game. UT2004 TDM has not been an issue for any major tournament in the last year.

There is indeed the Major League Unreal Season 2 that made many teams become active again, but that is only once again one single more or less little tournament and we're breeding our own thing in UT2004 TDM again instead of doing things the way the other well accepted titles of professional esports do them.

Without the help of Rondrian, who has been a major TDM supporter of UT and all of its sequels for years and who has brought UT2004 back to media attention very recently by starting a 3 hours per week UT2004 show on the IP-TV-station GIGA 2, even the MLU season 2 that brought back so many teams wouldn't have happened. It is not surprising, that it was also Rondrian who tried to start the UT2004 4on4 TDM EAS a year ago when we all let him down by allowing 2 Euros per Month prohibiting us from taking the next step in esports that UT2004 TDM and it's upcoming sequel UT2007 TDM will have to take if we want to see a large UT2004 TDM community with many active players again and leave the path of the underdog we've been walking on for such a long time. The step that is required to see UT2004 TDM and UT2007 TDM in larger events and tournaments than the average Clanbase Opencup.

There's nearly no ladder activity in UT2004 TDM, almost everything that happens, is happening in leagues or cups. I would take this as a serious sign that a lot of the active UT2004 TDM teams are wanting to take this step, that they want to leave the path of fun gaming and head for professional esports as there's nothing to win in ladders besides fun and only cups and leagues lead to titles and prizes.

Why are we waiting for someone who's preparing this path for us? Why aren't we trying to do it on our own? Is the UT2004 TDM community really so poor that our living and dying depends on a single guy like Rondrian? Are we really so totally unable to pull for once at the same rope?

I asked Rondrian what UT2004 TDM would need to get its own EAS and his answer was plain simple: 30 UT2004 teams with Premium membership. It is not impossible even if it's rather unlikely that we'll make it to work as one. In my opinion, it is time that we do not kindly request but demand our own EAS and show the will by bringing up this 30 teams...

Is an EAS a warranty for activity? No it is not. Can an EAS help us get rid off the flamers and all the conflicts we have with each other and meet each other with more respect? I don?t think so. Can an EAS help our community to re-grow to the size it once was? I would say: maybe.

The time, UT2007 is released, there will be major activity. Everybody will be playing the new game, maybe having the same fights about brightskins we ha had in UT2003 and UT2004 or not, maybe accepting the game OOTB or requesting something like TTM or UTComp. But what happens, when the release peak of activity is over? We can create the socket for professional and ambitious UT gaming by demanding and fighting for a TDM EAS now or we can wait for the one who is preparing the path for us once again.

Maybe this time, he won't show up.


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Posted: 2006/07/24 - 12:57

great read even though I think I missed the mainpoint...

do you talk against or for the tam eas?... are you trying to tell ut2k4 tdm teams to come back now, or blast through in ut2k7 and stay and demand a eas? :o

the way you descripe eas it sounds very good, but when you look @ esl it looks terrible... so dno, might just be something after all... will have to see since PoA signed up for 4v4 tam (yes lol, but challengemode is off, so we thought let's give it a go :)

and yeah, Ron have been trying to do alot for the community like some other guys out there, and it's very nice we got some dedicated people that will really use loads of their time just to keep this game going :)

Posted: 2006/07/24 - 13:02

I'm not against TAM EAS but I find it regrettable that UT2004 TDM hasn't been able to get its own EAS running last year and I think we should try to get it NOW. Postpone everything to the release of UT2007 won't help. As I wrote... after the release, there will be major activity and when it's over we'll have missed the right time to make the next step in gaming - again.

Posted: 2006/07/24 - 13:30

so true... but making something happen now, what would that require? going around asking the current "top" tdm teams if they would join eas if it became a reality, and if there's enough, give the word onto ron, or? :o

Posted: 2006/07/24 - 13:31

I dont believe in calls, but in motivation. With this said: Where is the motivation to play a mod I personally despise and pay money for this on top? Of course this EAS might help a lot of people to get fresh motivation they might have needed, and its something I´m very positive about nonetheless, Im even very positive about the sideeffects TAM brings to the playerbase and im aware of that. TAM is something like sugar for the freshies to get into the game. Recently I´ve even seen TAM clans searching for TDM praccies, so its a good thing imo and it seem to work out in the right direction. Nevertheless its a pain to watch and play for me and for a lot of others as well. I dont need to state the reasons for this again, they´re all pretty well known and dont need a repetition in my reply.

I welcome your efforts for the greater well of the community, yet I disapprove your call for more activity in this league. Almost all the players I know for a longer time think like this game is overplayed for them personally, the verbalisation might be different, but thats what behind it is the same. Im bored and tired of it due to several reasons and the last thing that helps me with this is TAM. But since a lot of people dont play active anymore its nothing bad to ignore those or mine opinion about it, rather you should direct your column to those who play TAM a lot and not to TDM players like you did.

On a note: The textsize on UN is really very small, aint it? It was really hard for my eyes to read all the text. Some bold headlines or something like that would´ve been nice too. But of course I appreciate all the efforts =}

Posted: 2006/07/24 - 13:35

Guess I didn't point that out clear enough... I want to make teams join and participate in a TDM EAS that should have been working for a year by now and still isn't reality, not make people play TAM EAS (also I respect the decisions of those who wish to play there).

Posted: 2006/07/24 - 16:57

guest: ctrl+scroll down

Posted: 2006/07/24 - 19:03

the lettersize is bigger now, but the layout is rly totally borked now :/

thanks anyways, didnt know that yet

Posted: 2006/07/24 - 20:03




noone will play against good teams couz they dont have to and so the activity will be at ~0

Posted: 2006/07/24 - 21:16

agree, not with an attitude like yours

Posted: 2006/07/24 - 23:13

i agree with tewic. great read, but i dont get the point...

Posted: 2006/07/25 - 01:58

the problem is this, ut04 tdm dont have 120+ dedicated hardcore players...

edit: and ut04 duel dont have 30+ dedicated hardcore players...

btw, great article.

Posted: 2006/07/25 - 07:28

- TAM gets EAS like CS, WC3 and so on have one.
- EAS normally one step ahead on the way to breakthrough as real esport title instead of online gaming underdog
- TDM had the chance to get an EAS running last year, community wasn't interested because of missing pro-attitude
- TDM has MLU but MLU is an UT-only-thingy not comparable to normal esport titles like cs, wc3 etc.
- only very few people running the league and cup business, rest of us is waiting for them to prepare the environment we can play in
- too many of us believing in the "everything will be okay again in ut2007"-illusion that will only lead to a release peak in activity and the same missing pro-attitude soon thereafter: We're once again waiting for someone like rondrian oder rubberchicken to prepare the bed for us so all we have to do is lie down and fall asleep in it right away.

Posted: 2006/07/25 - 11:11

1on1 EAS (both times) in Europe failed because we couldn't get any prizes for it, why pay 2eur to not win anything

MLU is not a UT only thingy, have you not heard of the WC3L? :)

Very few people are running cups/leagues it because there is not much reward, even in CB OCs there are tons of default wins as players and teams can't be bothered to turn up, and so many teams make no effort to schedule there matches or expect dates to be forced to the 1 hour a week they have assigned, so many teams are so disorganised, almost everything is scheduled at last minute

Another factor is ladders, even the CB TDM ladder is dead, if there isn't money attached no one bothers, too many in UT2004 are pro wannabes who are only interested in shots at fame

Posted: 2006/07/25 - 13:58

okay, lost the wc3l (along with mentioning your name in the row of rondrian and rc), you're right... and I decided not to mention the totally failed 1on1 EAS for the simple reason of wanting to make people believe into a TDM EAS. I find it quite disappointing, that so many players, as you mentioned, are overtasked by the most simple of tasks - showing up on a scheduled date - but claiming they need prizemoney to decide whether a cups's worth playing or not at the same time...

Posted: 2006/07/25 - 17:58

quote [om'gam]: "- TDM had the chance to get an EAS running last year, community wasn't interested because of missing pro-attitude"

maybe becuz of the bad advertising. didnt even know about the EAS until now. but maybe that's only me?

Posted: 2006/07/25 - 21:38

the TDM EAS was being considered for Germany only, it was never really considered for the European section as we couldn't get prizes (for Europe) for even 1on1 EAS, so a TDM EAS was pointless

gam, heh, yea, I was a little insulted at not being mentioned, thanks for remembering :p

Posted: 2006/07/26 - 00:23

Maybe time for a new try... btw. 1 team has signed up for TAM EAS... okay, it might take time to get the premium-status, but 1 team in 4 days is a bit sad.

Posted: 2006/07/26 - 02:52

Uhm I stopped reading at the point it started about GIGA 2...
We had EthernaSports, what happened with that? Why do we have to pay for those kinda things all of a sudden.
It just freaks the hell out of me, that every1 is trying to make money out of things, also a reason I never even tried games like WoW.
You buy the game and the next thing you need to do is pay even more to pay, it is like milking people dry of their money.
Even when you allready payed for the game, I just get a bit angry, well great a nice show on GIGA but the first thing you have to do again to check it out is pay, you cannot even find out if you like it.

Do you go to a store and ask the employee there: "Yo can I try out these pants, I really like them and might wanna buy them"
And the employee responds: "No first you need to pay for it and then you can try if it fits"
Whahaha, Sorry for my comment on this. I really like the idea of people trying to make something out of a game. But maybe as woxX said you tried it last year for TDM, but to try and get that going in the summer (if you did that, cause that is a year ago at this very moment :P), it was a bad move, but in summertime peepz don't sit behind their computers all day, at least most of us :P

Greetz +gaming.SPeeD

EDIT: About that money, it is not the amount or whatever, cause 2 euros aint much, it is just the fact that you just keep paying and paying, it starts with the EAS, then there will be GIGA, to watch an intresting TDM match when you found out about it and you are thinking, OH COOL I am gonna watch that... Click the link and find out that you have to pay :S Just pisses the hell out of me, we are not cows that give money instead of milk :P It is just like, what will be next? You guys understand?

Posted: 2006/07/26 - 04:44

"- too many of us believing in the "everything will be okay again in ut2007"-illusion that will only lead to a release peak in activity and the same missing pro-attitude soon thereafter: We're once again waiting for someone like rondrian oder rubberchicken to prepare the bed for us so all we have to do is lie down and fall asleep in it right away."

false, this dosen't have to be the case. If 2007 becomes the kind of fun game that we all would like it to be this wont be a prob. UT2004 seem to have a bizarre effect, ppl tend to get bored even angry and frustrated after a while (like me) thats why we have short peeks of activity. i mean have many "champions" have we had in 1on1?
so all we need is a fucking funny and addictive game and ppl will come, whit all the ppl we will have big $$$ tounys and the "pro" will be motivated to play for a long time. we might even get this EAS that i never heard of.
easy as that yeah... but Epic will fuck it.

...fucking WoxX

Posted: 2006/07/26 - 08:57

Speed: Spending your money for a premium account to participate in an EAS is a bit different from what you've pointed out. You pay to play in a more professional environment, that's something that would be worth some bucks in my opinion. If you don't like it, you can still go for the normal leagues, ladders and cups and hope that your opponents don't default all the time.

On the issue of GIGA2 I can only say that I enjoyed the UT show so far, that the minimum fee for GIGA2 last 10 weeks if you're only watching the UT show and that it costs a lot of money to produce a show like this even if it is not broadcasted via satellite (it was on satellite yesterday, anyway). Etherna's still there and they're broadcasting a lot of games and doing a good job at it.

Bluder: may it be fun or not, there's too less people doing the work behind the tournaments and most of us are planning from cup to cup instead of wanting something stable to rely on. I agree that the peak will last longer if Epic does a good job on the game but that's still not bringing up more well organized cups and leagues in my opinion.

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