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Episode 26: US Army bans users on Twitch and Goldenglue signs with Evil Geniuses

Imad Khan July 20, 2020 26

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This is a slightly different episode. Imad does a solo segment in which he breaks down the situtation involving the US Army banning users on its Twitch channel and why the US Army is trying to court gamers in the first place. Then Tyler Esguerra of Dot Esports jumps on to talk about Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer signing up with Evil Geniuses on an odd one week contract, his strong performance against Cloud9 last weekend, and the state of US League of Legends talent development.


SPEAKERS: Imad Khan, Tyler Esguerra

Imad Khan  00:03

What’s up everybody, this is ft w with Imad Khan. I’m your host Imad Khan. And thanks for joining me on this fake US Army Giveaway Edition. On today’s show, we’ll talk about how the US Army’s banning people on switch channel and later on we’ll have Tyler’s Esguerra from Dot Esports, breaking down the state of the midlane for US players and League of Legends. Either way, let’s get into the first story. The US Army has been increasing its recruitment efforts in courting esports fans not only has the US Army been more active on switch broadcasts, it’s been active in the chat to Rod “Slasher” Breslau posted a video on Twitter of users getting banned from the chat by talking about us intervention overseas or linking Wikipedia articles to US war crimes. and a saving device. The US Army contends that it was only following Twitch’s guidelines on harassment by banning these users. Of course, the users posting content feel very differently. There’s certain bizarreness to the US Army, you know, the most powerful military on Earth, courting gamers, but this is kind of the state of the US Army at the moment. If you look at kind of where the military has been in the last 20 years, it’s been this failed war in Iraq, which many Americans feels was unjustified the never ending war in Afghanistan. For a lot of people that are maybe considering going to the military, they see this kind of wall of just bad news.

Imad Khan  01:09

If you look at college campuses, when people are asked if they would join the military, especially, let’s say people have certain ethnic backgrounds, whether they be, for example of Arab Americans, they feel a certain kind of betrayal by joining the US Army considering a lot of the bad stories have come out from the Middle East regarding the US and things where, you know, the US Army accidentally bombing a wedding or accidentally killing innocent people at a marketplace. I mean, it doesn’t help them and their recruitment efforts.

Imad Khan  01:35

When it comes to the President of the United States pardoning war criminals, like this is like a moment where the US Army can project that, you know, not only are we strong, but we’re fair. But even in these instances where people were convicted in military court of committing war crimes and being sentenced to prison and having those sentences commuted by the president and pardoned completely. It feels that justice is fleeting, so when there is very little little incentive to join a force which you feel is actually exacting proper justice, both internally and externally. It’s forcing the US Army in a sense to find other avenues for recruits beyond just setting up a table at a county fair or setting up a table at a high school cafeteria.

Imad Khan  02:17

So let’s break down why Twitch. The reason why the US Army’s gonna have to twitch what the US Army and the US Air Force have esports teams. A lot of twitches, audiences male, a lot of them are playing games like Call of Duty so they might already have this kind of inherent interest in military life. So by having a Twitch stream the idea is that hey, maybe we can get people interested in the military through things that they like, right? So it’s, you know, it’s one thing to go and meet them at a college campus. It’s another thing to meet them online at on twitch stream, but they’re already watching. A lot of twitch viewers do skew a little younger, so maybe they are a bit more impressionable.

Imad Khan  02:51

And then you have to also kind of look at some of the tactics that the US Army’s using. One thing that they were doing is that they were doing a giveaway at first it wasn’t kind of say to what they give away was but if you sign up, you’d essentially be on the Army’s database so that when you do turn 16, or could could reach out to you. Twitch was not too happy about the US Army, you know, doing a giveaway in which it was kind of vague as to what the prize was. Or, you know, if there was a prize, at least one report said it was a Xbox Series 2 Elite controller. Either way, the US Army still needs to up its recruitment efforts tremendously, because if you look at the situation a few years ago, in which two Navy ships collided with each other, when interviewing some of the sailors that were on there, they were clearly being overworked. I mean, they were working 16 hour days and then being told immediately to go to sleep so that they can wake up and work another 16 hour shift. That’s unreasonable. So that’s 16 hour work day, which then goes into maybe like an hour, an hour and a half of kind of leisure time, you know, that only leaves a couple of hours of sleep. And talking to these sailors, it was very obvious that a lot of them were sleeping with their eyes open. I mean, a lot of them were just being overworked to that point, which causes these incidents and the only way you can really fix that is one of two things.

Imad Khan  03:56

One, you figure out a way to increase recruitment because usr as powerful as it is, it’s remarkable that it’s all volunteer. So either you figure out a way to bring in more volunteers or you enact a draft, the last time the US Army did enact a draft was the Vietnam War, which is highly unpopular and seen as highly unjust and seen as a failed conflict altogether. any politician that would want to enact a draft would immediately get pushed back and would immediately probably see their popularity go down. So the army is kind of caught in a tough place, right? Either it tries to go into areas which it didn’t go to before to try to bolster its numbers. I mean, really, that’s the only option it has. Now in the past, the US Army has always enlisted people who were not legal residents of the United States with the kind of promise that you know, if you serve the country that you will then be rewarded either with citizenship and of course, you know, work and whatnot. But even then, under the Trump administration, where you’re seeing instances of ICE, even veterans the. being deported, it really does put the taste that by joining this force, am I going to really be protected. Is justice when truly protected? Is there going to be absolute fairness and people pay attention to these things.

Imad Khan  05:00

And of course, you know, people will bring up instances of like the translators in Afghanistan, so many of which risked their lives to help the US Army to be granted protection, citizenship, were not granted that many of them were killed as revenge for helping the American forces. So just that slew of bad press them going after Twitch. It’s really kind of bizarre. Of course, the people posting on the Twitch chats talking about how, you know, the US Army has committed these war crimes or has committed these infractions for them to be banned. They obviously view things very differently. They feel that you know, it’s there, right and duty to kind of inform those that are watching this Twitch channel that, you know, hey, this is not just the US Army having fun here, there’s an agenda here, and that you should kind of know US history overseas to kind of see what you might be getting yourself into. The Army’s defense that, you know, they were trying to protect its streamers from, you know, having to deal with this kind of twitch harassment. I mean, we’ll see if that holds up. Seems that, you know, Twitch hasn’t really reprimanded them in that regard. The only other instance in which they might have to change things if there was a lawsuit brought up you know, there’s a case of Knight v. Trump, the Supreme Court case from 2017 where Trump is blocking users on Twitter. And the Knight Institute for the First Amendment essentially was able to sue and say, hey, it’s illegal to block people on Twitter because they need to be able to see your tweets. So it’s definitely an interesting situation. And we’ll kind of see how it develops. And we’ll see you know, what reporters are doing to kind of tackle what’s going on. But yeah, that’s kind of my rant on the US Army. But now let’s jump over to League of Legends.

Imad Khan  06:27

And now I’m joined by Tyler’s geta from eSports. It was announced this week that Evil Geniuses would be bringing on former Golden Guardians midlaner Grayson Goldenglue Gilmer in a one week contract. So before we get into last week’s competition, Tyler, can you give us some background on Goldenglue?

Tyler Esguerra  06:41

Yeah, I mean, Goldenglue has been one of the more he’s like a mainstay of the LCS, his careers last for what, like seven years now and he’s been on multiple teams kind of like a journeymen of the North American scene. He started back with Team eight for the LCS he was on I think that’s 25th He joined Team 8, he was a sub, then he became a starter, then he joined Immortals. And then he went to Echo Fox stayed with Team Liquid for a bit in 2016 through 2017. I think he’s more well known for his time with Team Liquid and cloud nine soon after. And then he eventually went to Golden Guardians, Golden Guardians Academy, and then now Evil Geniuses. So he’s gotten a long way from where he started. He’s only 23. But obviously, a lot of Esports players have pretty long careers in terms of starting early. Now. He’s starting for Evil Geniuses. We don’t know if he’s going to be on the team next week. But we’ll see. He did perform pretty well this past week. So

Imad Khan  07:35

we don’t know. Well, his most recent team Golden Guardians, why was he let go?

Tyler Esguerra  07:39

So from what he said he thought that he was performing really well. He thought he thought that he performed decent enough to stay and then the team told him that they might be bringing in Damonte as a starter and then eventually, they kind of moved Damonte into the starting lineup. They had them try out for the academy team, and then they ended up going with somebody else. So it was kind of a rough situation where they kind of just saw us a possibility with Damonte they went for it and then now Ablazeolive of they kind of like played both of them for the academy role and because of ablaze he has less experience and he’s younger they decided to go with him and so Goldenglue was replaced and he actually was considering to move to a coaching position right before he was given a spot with EG.

Imad Khan  08:23

and the spot EG it was for a one week contract is that at all bizarre and League of Legends

Tyler Esguerra  08:28

a little bit I haven’t seen anybody get like almost like a trial run contract. I haven’t seen that a lot in the LCS, which makes me think up like maybe they’re just trying to see try to work around certain rosters, obviously, that’s what they said is that all we’re trying to see which fits best, this was really unique. I think in terms of signing somebody like Goldenglue who’s been in the league for so long. Maybe they’re just trying different things. I guess it worked out because they’d be Cloud9. But we’ll see because they haven’t really said anything about whether or not he’s going to stick with the team. They still have josuke because he’s also played a lot with Zeyzal and Svenskeren in the past on Cloud9, I think that that existing synergy was really beneficial to them. So in the beginning of the split, I talked to Azazel and xfem, about what the growing pains were playing with Jiizuke. And one of the biggest things they said was Jiizuke is really fun to play with. But he’s a very almost he plays off emotion, he plays a feeling. He’s very, very almost random with some of the plays that he does, because he just got a feeling. Although that could be really good for a team, I can see where it can kind of pose some problems, whereas Goldenglue the way that he plays a little bit more traditional, a little bit more reserved, he’s not as almost erratic. So I think that that was kind of like that evening out factor.

Imad Khan  09:42

Hmm. Well, I mean, after this performance, I mean, is there a chance that Goldenglue will get, you know, a long term contract with Evil Geniuses? Hmm.

Tyler Esguerra  09:50

Well, right now, I would say it’s a good indication. I mean, obviously played well, but right now they could put them on the Academy team, I don’t know if he will remain on the starting roster, because I think that Jiizuke is really like way better than him in terms of technical, technical like skill. Obviously, technical skill isn’t the only thing that you want to have on a team, if somebody is working with the other players in terms of synergy, that can be infinitely better than having someone who’s really good technically. But as for Goldenglue, what’s kind of weird to me is like, I’ve seen him, he’s a very talented player, and he always works really, really hard. But from what I’ve seen from him, he seems to be the mid laner that teams pick up as they’re transitioning to become a better roster. I don’t know if that’s, like, coincidental or not, because he’s been on teams like Cloud9 and TL who have all used him and had him start at one point or another. And then, after a while, he gets dropped by the team. They pick up like a star, and then they’re really really good. It’s kind of weird, like, he’s kind of like they pick him up. He plays for a bit. They kind of find their own way and then they say, Okay, well can I get another better mid-laner Because I’m not saying that he’s not good, but he’s not amazing. You know what I mean? So I think that that’s where he lies right now. I could see EG using Goldenglue for a bit more, just so that they can find more of their synergy together. But I don’t know if he’ll be starting for them maybe on the Academy.

Imad Khan  11:16

So what is the state of North American mid laners? Why have sinned? Why hasn’t North American they been able to produce these star mid laners that you find in China and Korea?

Tyler Esguerra  11:24

It starts from the bottom, like from the roots in North America in general. I think that when you look at Europe, and when you look at China and Korea, it starts in soloqueue. Because that’s obviously where everyone’s going to get a practice, right. And that’s where you’re going to get your amateur players in those upcoming stars that you won’t see anywhere else. Soloqueue environment in North America is leagues below everything else, whether it’s, you know, the mentality of the players, the mentality of the pro players towards soloqueue there’s a huge kind of like idea that oh, North American soloqueue players just want to be streamers. And all though that might seem like a meme, it’s almost true in a way, I don’t think that North American players in North American pros take soloqueue as seriously as other regions. And that just kind of leads into a whole problem of okay, so there’s not a lot of players are taking it seriously, which means that teams and there’s not a lot of players who want to go pro in the first place, which means that teams are struggling to find new players to bring up and try to, like cultivate in the first place, but also a lot of North American teams are kind of reluctant to pick up these young, upcoming players in soloqueue. They’re very reluctant. So instead, they go towards veterans and imports in NA at least the support for tier two and amateur scenes is pretty non existent in the region, right? We have the academy league and then we have collegiate which is still kind of like it’s got a gatekeepey because you have to be in college. And then you have scouting rounds, I guess, but we rarely see anybody come from scouting grounds because everybody they signed them for two weeks and then they just drop them from the roster. Whereas you look at Europe, for example, and of course, another problem is player base. I think that North America has a very low player base when it comes to Europe, Korea, China, like North America has the lowest player base. And so when you look at Europe, and they have over 10 Regional leagues, where players can get exposure and get experience on stage without even having to go to the LEC whereas you look at North America, and it’s like, Academy, or LCS. And so there’s nowhere where you can really get yourself out there or be seen, and then it leads into teams just looking elsewhere. That’s why you see so many imports is because there’s nothing really to scout here. And so they go to Europe, and then they go to Korea or China, and midlane especially, there’s not a lot of midlane talent that we can see so far. That that’s why I’m really happy to see some teams like let’s say TSM or even 100 Thieves, who are taking chances on these younger talents like Poom and moving these players away like like veterans out of the starting roster and putting these young guys in because not only does that give these young guys exposure and experience, but it also forces these veterans who have been gotten used to being on the LCS stage, because there’s no one else to pick up. Now they’re forced to either improve or get out of the way.

Imad Khan  14:11

You know, it’s gonna be like one of these situations kind of like it is in some sports that are more popular overseas than they are in America that if you’re a North American kid, and you really want to go pro in this, you pretty much have to beg your parents like sign you up with some Academy or a club or team overseas and ship you off there for you to practice there for like most of the year, and then, you know, kind of live as a transient. I mean, is that going to be the case for young North American players wanting to go up into the, into Professional League of Legends?

Tyler Esguerra  14:38

I mean, it’s a scary thought, right? Like, I wish that the League of Legends ecosystem in North America was healthy enough that our younger players like 16-17, because you see all these kids in China and Korea, they’re 16-17 years old, and they’re already in like a junior like program in a professional team. I don’t think we have any of that. The only thing we have maybe is 100 Thieves Next and also to I think TSM has a program too. But I don’t think that we have a lot of support for like those younger players just yet. And it wouldn’t honestly make sense for them to be like, if I want to go pro and League, I’m probably gonna have to go to Europe, I’m probably gonna have to go to like Korea or China, where it’s more, it’s taken a little bit more seriously almost also helps that the competition is like, way higher, right? That’s why you see North American teams bootleg in China or Europe. You know, it’s great that this kind of venue of work, this kind of career choice is getting a little bit more normalized. Obviously, it’s a little, it’s gonna take a little bit more, but for kids who do want to say, hey, I want to try this, and it’s like, hey, maybe I can go to Europe or Korea for, I don’t know, six months or something, to try it out to practice and to join a team or something that’s viable, but the fact that it’s not viable in the West in North America is pretty scary. And I think that that’s probably an area that some North American teams should start to look at is to try and cultivate and help grow our young players who are looking to to make a career out of Esports

Imad Khan  16:02

Well, we’ll see let’s see if they can actually turn it around with that. Thank you so much for jumping on Tyler.

Imad Khan  16:07

And that was FTW with Imad Khan. Thanks for listening. If you like the show, please rate, subscribe and share. Your support will help the show grow. We also have a new website. If you’d like to read transcripts of the show or find other ways to support us head on over to ftwimad.com. If you’d like to follow Tyler on Twitter, you can find him @Tyler_is_online or go to his writing over at DotEsports.com. If you’d like to follow my work at the New York Times, the Washington Post and elsewhere, you can find me on Twitter @Imad. Annie Pei is our producer. Any questions about the show can be directed to her @Pei_Annie. Joe Domeq is our Outreach Manager and Ron Lyons is our researcher. With that, we’ll catch you guys next week.

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