NuckleDu: Making His Dreams Come True One Sonic Boom At A Time

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KnuckleDu shows relief after beating Darryl ‘Snake Eyez’ Lewis to become Combo Breaker 2017 champion (photo credit: teamliquidpro.com)

When you think of a rag to riches story in esports, Du Cong “KnuckleDu” Dang is the poster boy for what all hopefuls are trying to become. From playing in local tournaments to hitting the big stages, his story is the same for those who see competitive gaming as their golden ticket.

He mentions growing up poor and playing in tournaments to win money for food. In local tournaments, the most a winner can make is $40; on a good day maybe $100. Over time, he molded himself to become not only this year’s Capcom Pro Tour champion but one of the most feared players in Street Fighter V.

KnuckleDu, 21, used his experiences as motivation to practice more and become better. After losing on his birthday at ELeague, He bounced back to win Combo Breaker 2017 for SFV. With EVO 2017 around the corner, he has to continue to prove to himself and the world that he’s here for a reason besides the money. Watching his story is an inspiration and a reminder that the grind never stops.

I have to compliment and bash his use of R. Mika and Guile. His combos are amazing and precise, but it makes me hate the characters more. Not because he’s good with them, but how I’ve never realized that they can take you from zero to stunned in no time. I love his gameplay, but he probably won’t be on my rival list anytime soon.

In his profile video, he mentions that people call him a bully and arrogant, but not just someone who’s focused. A perfect example is him ignoring his opponent at CB17.

What makes him special in the gaming world is how he stays true to his roots. No matter where we are in life, we all had to eat TV dinners a couple times a day. I believe that’s where I see the comparison between myself and him. I grew up in bad neighborhoods and had to live in conditions where coins were my only form of currency. The only thing that kept me at peace were my consoles.

If there’s anything gamers can learn from the esports star, it’s to remain focused. Remember where you come from. Humility and desire are the ingredients any player needs to be successful. He may be the most targeted fighter in the pro circuit, but that means he is doing something right. Watch his story and see there is a little bit of you in KnuckleDu.

 

Want To Be An Esports Player? Break These Bad Game Habits Now

Competitive gaming nowadays, especially in the Fighting Game Community, isn’t just about winning or losing, it’s about the disrespect behind the gameplay. Since players can’t stand up and point their middle fingers at one another, there are ways to curse your opponent out mid-game. At times, it’s funny; other times it’s annoying. Below are habits that all gamers share, but need to quit before thinking about the big leagues. 

Rage Quitters

The definition of a rage quitter is someone who lost so badly they leave the game. This doesn’t mean that they’re sore losers, but it can be annoying, especially playing online. Recently, gaming servers such as Street Fighter V and Injustice, and coming soon to For Honor,  have implemented punishments for people who rage quit. Punishments include rank drop and suspension from online play. The punishments don’t stop rage quitters, but it’s nice to know they’re taking it seriously.

Tea bag

The most popular way to give someone a subliminal middle finger is a teabag. It’s a common move in fighting games like Tekken and Smash Bros, but will still make even the most professional player mad. You’ll see this more in Smash or SFV when your shield breaks or stunned. It’s a way to bash your opponents game play through humiliation.

One And Done

Sometimes you only have one chance to prove yourself to someone online. Players who commit the one and done are usually the ones who win a match by the skin of their teeth. Think of playing at a roulette table and you won the first round, and you take your winnings and walk away.

Spammers

Unfortunately, I’m not talking about the canned ham. Spammers are one-trick ponies who win using the same attack multiple times. It’s almost as bad as the tea bag because you can imagine your opponent laughing as they’re doing it.

Excuse Maker

There will always be a player who will try to ease the pain of losing by making excuses. There are over a hundred different excuses one can use, but if you use any of the following, you’re the excuse maker:

“My controller is broke.”

“You didn’t beat me. I stopped caring.”

“They don’t have my character.”

“There was a lag.”

To be the most disrespectful gamer is to be three of the five above. Spam one move and stun your opponent, tea bag, and one and done can make you the biggest loser online.

It helps to break these habits before becoming a professional gamer. Just like how an employer can tell a lot from your Facebook; scouts can do the same by watching your content and streams. It can mean that you’re not the easiest person to work with and no one wants to sponsor someone who’s difficult.  

If you’re planning on becoming a serious esports player, start by breaking these habits. Instead, learn from your mistakes and recycle that anger into motivation to be better than you were the game before.

Punk Proves He’s Da God After ELeague Victory.

After being sent to the loser’s bracket by Arman ‘Phenom’ Hanjani in the first round of the ELeague semifinals, the look on Victor “PunkDaGod” Woodley’s face showed signs of defeat. Somehow Punk managed to fight through Phenom and Ai ‘Fuudo’ Keita in the finals to become the 2017 ELeague champion.

In the beginning, it wasn’t looking good for Punk as his nerves were getting the best of him. He missed a lot of anti-air attacks and combo starters, resulting in him being sent to the loser’s bracket. As I was watching the tournament, I began to feel that this wasn’t the No. 1 player in the Northwest that we’re used to seeing. He even admitted during the rounds and after winning that the night wasn’t his best, but he managed to pull it off.

To be honest, he wasn’t my first choice to win, as he was too cocky, which can make you lose supporters. It’s normal to develop an ego as you mow through the competition, but at 18, he had an attitude of a 60-year-old and who had someone stepped on their lawn. But then it made sense. This was Punk the gamer, and last night we saw Victor Woodley as if it was the amateur bracket all over again. He became humanized in front of the world, making it easier to root for him as he held the American flag proudly on stage.

For the first time I can remember, he expressed humility, even after winning. as he said he felt bad and he played bad. Gamers respect one another even when there’s trash talk, but he earned mine as esports writer and competitive gamer.

In the end, as he raised the trophy in the air, the world knew that there was a new face running the Street Fighter V scene. With a title behind his name, the real work is keeping it. I believe he has what it takes to remain on top, but he has to go back to the drawing board and analyze his tapes from the league. If he wants to remain on top he has to have a backup plan to Karin. The next time he and Phenom meet, he has to be more focused than what fans saw in the finals.

Relive the dropped play that crown Punk this year’s ELeague champ below.

Bud Light Hosting Second Annual Esports All-Star Program And How You Can Become Nominated

In 2016, Bud Light introduced its esports program, showcasing some of Twitch’s top streamers and gamers to be featured on their channel. For the second year in a row, they’re bringing it back, as they’re seeing the growth of competitive gaming.

The games featured include CS:GO, Street Fighter V, Call of Duty and Hearthstone. The only catch is, since it’s hosted by a beer company, you have to be over the age of 21 to vote for this year’s nominees, including Justin Wong and Chris Tatarian. The winners will be featured on the Bud Light Twitch channel and mentored by last year’s winners.

How do you get nominated? 

This year’s group is locked in, but like the saying goes, ‘There’s always next year.’ To be considered, you have to start with your Twitch and YouTube subscribers and views. Competitions like this, and esports scouts, pay attention to how much traffic you have on these accounts.

It will also help to be as unique as possible. Twitch streamers have personalities that shine on camera and through their gameplay. One example comes from Bryant ‘Smug’ Huggins, as his videos feature him being goofy and using funny phrases that are entertaining no matter what game he plays.

Also, be as social as you can. Go to local tournaments, even if you’re not the best, and stay on your Twitter. Continue to build your fan base, so by next year you will have followers to vote for you.

What is the connection between beer and video games?

If you haven’t been to a tournament, then it’s hard to see how the two go together. Bars hold FGC tournaments to bring out more millennials, who will find themselves spending money on entering tournaments and buying drinks.

In an interview with Forbes, vice president of experimental marketing at Anheuser-Busch Eelco Van Der Noll said that last year was a risk but learned from the players about what they want. The goal this year is to bring the fans closer to their favorite esports players while building their brand.

“Our ultimate goal, of course, is to create brand affinity and brand preference so that people look more favorably to our Bud Light brand,” he said.

Voting is open for the 2017 nominees on the Bud Light esports website. If you want to be considered for next year, follow the three T’s, Twitter, Twitch, and tournaments.

A Big Week For Street Fighter and The Fighting Game Community

SFV Goes From ESPN To CBS… OMG!

The Street Fighter V Capcom Tour is not only featured on ESPN2, the ELeague shows air on TBS the world’s top players competing for thousands of dollars in prizes. Now the game is not just for professionals, as contestants in this season’s Amazing Race on CBS will have to face Lee ‘Infiltration’ Seon-Woo or Lee Chung ‘Poongko’ Gon as a challenge. The idea comes as the season takes place in South Korea, where the game is a sport of its own.

In a clip of the May 25 episode, contestants are given some advantages as they have to win a match against the pros. Some of these include them playing with one arm tied behind their back and playing blindfolded. Without these added stipulations, there’s no way they’ll ever complete the challenge. It would be a three part series before either of them are able to move on.

Increase In Sales

After a year of its release, the game has now managed to sell 1.6 million copies. With the help of competitions, including ELeague and Gfinity, more players are trying to get on the esports bandwagon in hopes to win big prizes. It’s funny how times have changed from wanting to be a basketball player to wanting to become a competitive gamer.

Character Updates This Friday 

Since the Capcom community had the chance to play with Ed, fans of the game can’t wait to spend their fight money on the new character. The wait is over with an upcoming update featuring nerfs, late fixes to characters, and Ed. Just like in Injustice 2 with the inclusion of Darkside, expect every pro and amateur player to use Ed and spam, use the same move, his psycho power. Other characters including Cammy and Zangief are expected to receive new moves in the update.

Nintendo Switch Release

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This Friday, the Switch will be the latest console to feature a Street Fighter game with the ultra version featuring two new characters Evil RYU and Violent Ken. There are talks if the switch is ready for the esports scene, this game will test that theory. It will be difficult to go back to the 32-bit style gameplay compared to the fast-paced animation in SFV, but we’ll see with its debut Friday.

Within the week, Street Fighter managed to outshine the release of Injustice 2. With the Street Fighter ELeague semifinals airing this Friday, it shows how big it has become in the FGC. As a player in competitive gaming, I’m looking forward to the new nerfs in SFV and playing Ultra Street Fighter on my Nintendo Switch. Do you have what it takes to be the next Street Fighter pro? Shoryuken, I mean sure you can.

E-Sports Pro Shows Up To ACEN And Proves She’s Innocent Until Proven Gllty

 

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Photo credit: Jeramie_Lee

 

During this weekend’s Anime Central Convention Steet Fighter V tournament amateur players come equipped with their arcade boards ready for battle.  One Player wearing a purple Twitch hoodie paces back and forth, switch chair to chair awaiting her turn. To my surprise, it was Leah “Gllty” Hayes, professional e-sports player.

Game fans became star-struck as everyone was trying to get a picture with her. After the selfies and greetings were over, she did what she does best, play Street Fighter. Players who faced her in the tournament couldn’t find their zen against her main character, the yoga master, Dhalsim.

She took a moment to speak with WePlayGamingOnline about the future of e-sports and who’s she’s pulling for in the ELeague tournament.

 

 

There Should Be No Justice For These Three Characters In ‘Injustice 2’

It’s been less than a week since Injustice 2 hit stores and people are already claiming who their main characters are for tournaments. However, with its current roster, pre-downloadable content, there are some characters that were better off being a skin. This is not because of their skills or gameplay. It’s because of both.

Scarecrow

Scarecrow

When I heard that he was going to be available I thought he was going to be a good character. His attacks at first looked similar to Ghost Rider in Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 with the chain swinging but was still giving him the benefit of the doubt. But in the end, there was only doubt.

Even in YouTube videos showing his combos, he is just too slow as a character to set up those combos. He wouldn’t last in gameplay against zoners, those who like to keep distant from up close fighting, like Deadshot or Green Arrow. I was expecting the same Scarecrow who was the background assist in the first Injustice as he appeared faster, but this one is just cool to look at, not to play with.

Who should replace him:

Killer Croc would have been a better addition to the roster as he is not only a heavy character but also fast. If they use his speed like in Arkham City he can keep up with fast characters like Supergirl and the Flash.

Black Adam

Black AdamIf you’ve played the first game you know that Shazam was killed and we were left with Black Adam. With no change to his fighting style, he is just a bore. Even with electrical powers… a big yawn. I get there had to be a balance between heroes and villains, but I believe the upcoming DLC packs will have that covered. He would’ve been a better character if they gave him some of Shazam’s skills but we’re stuck in the first game with this character.

Who should replace him:

Static Shock would be a great change in character selection. It’s a shame that he’s not in it, but was featured in the first mobile version. I would’ve love to see what he can do in a game with the use of multiple buttons.

Cyborg

cyborgCyborg is an important part of the Justice League and Teen Titans but in a fighting game, sorry fans, I think that he should only be included in the story. similar to Black Adam, there are no real changes to his skills. If creators of the game were going to recycle characters at least give them something new besides a meter finisher. even with the armor and skins earned through gameplay, he should be in the background as an assist.

Who should replace him:

Players would’ve been happy if they’ve taken out Cyborg and replaced him with Beastboy. We have Starfire coming in a DLC pack, but the inclusion of more Teen Titans would be interesting. Beastboy against Gorilla Grodd would’ve been cool to see and it can still be a possibility if they use him as a skin.

The overall game is still great though it’s more like Mortal Kombat since it’s created by NetherRealm Studios, but still fun. So far the online server is functioning and online play is smooth. With the inclusion of MK characters in the game, I’m not sure if they’re thinking of redoing the whole DC vs. MK game, but whether they are or not, they should leave Scarecrow, Cyborg, and Black Adam out of that discussion.

Injustice 2 is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. No word if the game would come to the Nintendo Switch, but fingers crossed.

(Photo credit: Injustice.com, screenrant.com, comicbookmovie.com)

Michael Martin Turns A Joystick Into His Dream Job.

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Michael Martin interviews Street Fighter V player Joe ‘L.I. Joe’ Ciaramelli (Photo: Michael Martin)

Have you ever played a game and said to yourself, “I like this, I want to write about it?”, There are multiple websites that offer content in esports but it is more than just playing a game and writing about it according to Yahoo! esports writer Michael Martin, 40. He began writing as a freelancer for IGN, PC Gamer, and Playboy about e-sports and fighting games. In a phone interview with WePlayGamingOnline, he says though he writes about games it is still journalism and opportunities are the same as covering anything else in the field.

Jeramie_Lee:  How did you go from writing for Playboy to gaming?

MM: I was actually writing about game stuff before that with IGN and other places. Playboy’s editorial about a year ago made a change, and it was legit. They had some great writers that I still keep up with. I pitched them a story about Ricki Ortiz, a transgender player, and it took a long time to put together and it came through. Most stories I did there were related to the competitive scene. Some of the stuff I did there was some of the best work I’ve done. That story has got me more work, it was probably the most influential with getting me the job at Yahoo.

Jeramie_Lee: Can you take me through your day-to-day activities with finding stories and things. How do you go about that?

MM: I don’t know if I do anything necessarily different at Yahoo then what I did freelancing. Yahoo is based in L.A. and I am in Seattle. I pitch stories in weekly meetings, I look for interesting things that are happening, and I cover events. I don’t do as much news like I used to as a freelancer. The difference in covering the stories, as a freelancer, I would do interviews and write a feature from those, whereas now when I cover an event I am doing on-camera stuff. If you’re going to be doing journalism in general, especially game journalism, you need to have an on-camera presence. They are going to put you on camera at some point.

Jeramie_Lee: Do you think this topic will open doors for future journalists who may want to cover stories or events like these? 

MM: It’s difficult to say since everything has changed so much that it’s hard for platforms to adapt. It still is, we still see websites and newspapers go out of business every year. It was hard for me to find a full-time job in games media, especially since I don’t live in San Francisco. I feel like there are plenty of opportunities with the way technology has changed. It has opened up more opportunities in different areas where you can get by being a writer. You can be a writer or do on-camera, or both, but you still have to be a good writer. Now that I have a full-time job, the question is now how do I keep it? With the industry, it always changes but there are jobs and you just have to put a lot of work into getting them.

Jeramie_Lee: What about graduates who are looking to break into game reporting?

MM: Since esports media is relatively new, we see a lot of people who didn’t necessarily come from a journalism background. Most were like, ‘Hey I like this game I want to write about it’ and they made careers out of that. I came from the freelance background in general games. I can look at something as niche like a fighting game and pull a story out of it, but you have to ask yourself , ‘What am I doing to get the job?’ Are you writing? Are you putting things on YouTube? What are you doing to get that job?

Jeramie_Lee: What advice would you give them? 

The two things that I feel that stuck to me the most is first you have to do it. Whatever it is, whether it’s writing or recording, you can pitch a story and get paid to do it. My $20 story eventually got me some work elsewhere. You have to do the work, you have to be able to show a body of work.

The second is to keep grinding, and that’s the one thing that stuck out to me the most. Getting into media or games media, or whatever your desire, it’s going to be hard. Not everyone’s going to be able to do it. I spent years trying to find a job, Yahoo! is my first time interviewing full-time in three years. I’ve created such a niche for myself that I was the only one that was doing fighting games. Not that there weren’t other sites covering it, but as an esport, I was doing it full-time and you just have to do it and keep grinding.

In esports, there is always something to cover and if you become expert at something in that field then your chances of getting a job have increased because you’ve made yourself valuable rather than covering it in general.

Jeramie_Lee: YouTube or Twitch streaming? 

I would say YouTube is more important than streaming because that means you’re editing video. Editing video and all those skills are important when it comes to being someone who is only writing, or only doing a video. If IGN wants to hire someone who can write and edit video that’s the person who is going to be looked at opposed to someone who can’t. They’re not necessary but can help put you above a lot of people.

You can follow Michael Martin on Twitter and Twitch @Bizarro_Mike.

Pistons Look For Other Ways to Win Championships By Signing With Esports

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The 2K League is set to start in 2018 (Photo credit: Google)

The Detroit Pistons didn’t have what it take to make it to this year’s playoffs but plan to bring a championship to their team through e-sports. The Pistons is one of 17 NBA teams to sign to the competitive gaming circuit for the NBA2K E-League brand.

Similar to the NBA, there will be pre-season and regular season games followed by post-season games leading to the championships. It’s like giving gamers who have hoop dreams a chance to be a part of their favorite team.

In the interview with Freep.com, Mike Donnay, Owner of the Pistons Umbrella corporation Palace and Sports Entertainment, says that the league will be the same as the NBA. The plan is to sign five top players to a six-month contract with the inclusion of drafts. As time progresses the rules to how the league will function will be explained.

With more NBA teams becoming more involved in the e-sports brand, I wonder if they will model it like regular practices. Will the gamers even interact with the ball-players and get their take on how they play in the game and how their real life skills can be incorporated into their gameplay?

It is still cool to know that other sports are now buying into competitive gaming. Since it’s the 2K series, and the games are an extension of the NBA, I wonder if they get similar jerseys and endorsements. But one thing is for sure, it will be a chance to see dream match-ups we haven’t seen in a long time.

If all 32 teams in the NBA buy into the e-sports league the games can begin sooner than expected. Not sure how they will pick the players, but I think that college e-sports programs will be scouted as more schools are bringing in students and offering scholarships in competitive gaming.

The Pistons will join other teams including the Washington Wizards and The Portland Trailblazers in the 2K ELeague. In a tweet by the NBA’s Twitter account, it lists the teams that have signed on. The league is set to begin in 2018.

Here Comes The ‘Boon’ To Talk Injustice 2 And Its Role In Esports.

With the buzz behind Injustice 2, scheduled to be released this month, fans may be a little disappointed to know that the director of the game Ed Boon is hinting that Ares will be returning as a downloadable content character (DLC) in the sequel.

This may not be anything major for those who played with him in the first game along with there being eight more DLC slots that will be filled throughout the year. But come on… Ares? He is unappealing as a character and one of the slowest fighters in the game.

Maybe this is an announcement for when they release details on another character it will continue the hype. Just as in the first Injustice where Scorpion made an appearance, there is a hint that another Mortal Kombat character will be added to the game. In addition to these DLCs, fans are still waiting to see if either Hell Boy or Spawn will be included and aren’t hiding who they want to see next.

With the possibility of Ares returning, it can be good news for players who use him and those who don’t. For those who play as Ares, they won’t have to go through the hassle of learning a new character and their fighting styles. For those who don’t, this revives the faith that some of their main characters from the first game will make a comeback such as Batgirl, or Solomon Grundy.

Hopefully, this is only a thought because there are plenty of DC Comic heroes that would be a good fit in the game including Static Shock and Red Hood. It would be better to leave it to the fans on if he should make a return as a DLC. But at this point, the line-up is stacked with a mix of past and new characters that even if he is featured, still a waste of space, it won’t hurt the excitement behind the game.

In an interview with Yahoo Esports, Boon says that the game will be esports ready. Changing the gear system of the game and certain features like blocking environmental attacks and turning off functions in the game will make it easier and fair for tournaments.

Nine DLCs in total are expected to be included in Injustice 2. The video featured below shows every character that has been revealed before it launches May 16.