I’m Steve Arhancet, Co-CEO of Team Liquid. Today I’m joined by Doublelift and Zews, replying live from our new Alienware Training Facility. AMA!
Hi, I’m Steve from Team Liquid and today we’re hosting a Reddit AMA from our new North American headquarters in Santa Monica. Last week we celebrated the grand opening of our state-of-the-art esports facility built in partnership with Alienware and Dell. We’re all very excited to have such an incredible space to call home for our family of 50+ staff and professional players based in the US.
Participating in the AMA today are:
* 12-4PM PT-ish: Steve 'LiQuiD112' Arhancet - Co-CEO and owner of Team Liquid. Replying at LiQuiD112atAWTF
* 12-4PM PT-ish: Wilton ‘zews’ Prado – Former pro. Head coach for Team Liquid CSGO. Replying as ZewsatAWTF
* 2-3PM PT-ish: Peter ‘Doublelift’ Peng – ADC for Team Liquid League of Legends. Replying as DoubleliftatAWTF
We are pumped to answer any questions you may have for me, our staff or our roster of players.
For more info about our partnership on the Alienware Training Facility, visit: https://www.teamliquidpro.com/AlienwareTF/
Checkout some photos from the grand opening of the AWTF: https://imgur.com/a/KDO64
**** EDIT**** Thank you Reddit for your questions! We are wrapping up the AMA now and getting back to work and scrimmages, be sure to follow us at @TeamLiquid on Twitter to stay up to date with our content and team updates. Catch ya next time!
Also relevant https://imgur.com/gallery/0wOQw
Steve: I have a background in insurance accounting, with CFO/ level experience. Seeing as my experience doesn't seem like it would directly transfer to e-sports what would be the best way for me to get involved in the scene?
Please apply, we are hiring in many positions that we haven’t had the time to put on our site. [email protected]
zews, you were a 2 time Major winner with Luminosity — how does that compare to coaching this iteration of TL to their first trophy? Both must be pretty unique feelings!
Winning MLG Columbus with LG was the realization of a dream. It was the moment where we proved to everyone and most importantly to ourselves that everything we had gone through was worth it and we had chosen the right path.
Winning ESL One Cologne with SK felt more like us showcasing our dominance. So even though it's super cool to remember us at our peak it still doesn't have the same emotional weight as our breakthrough moment.
Coaching Liquid so far has been an amazing experience! Everyone from staff to players are amazing and have made my transition from a Brazilian scene into uncharted territory so much easier ;) As for coaching this lineup to it's first CS:GO title the feeling is that of progress. It's always nice to raise the trophy and be shown by results that we are on the right path but our sights are much higher than just summit.
Just technical difficulties due to having three different accounts reply on this AMA. zews is still very much with Team Liquid!
What is Team Liquid doing to bring their brand to non-Liquid fans and non-eSports audiences? As an example, OpTic is hosting a 24-hour Gaming Lounge at A-Kon 2018 (https://smash.gg/tournament/optic-arena) and also partnering with other Texas based events to promote the OpTic brand to the general gaming public. Is TL working on similar partnerships or promotions?
We have not yet settled on a “city-specific” place for Team Liquid. That being said we are partnered with USC and doing a few events coming up. We also have worked with UCI and their esports program. We’ve done a considerable amount of philanthropic initiatives and I’m working on the next “big bluff” which is a lcs owners poker event that we did last year. Our initiatives for 2018 specifically are more around community and community engagement. We just hired 10 new folks to run our discord which has every one of our games. We also are launching an in-game client and guild community initiative. We’ll continue to work with local colleges and universities. A much larger initiative may be possible in the future with a partner who has store front locations across the country.
@Doublelift (and potentially Steve):
During the free agency period you tweeted some pictures hinting at joining TL, as well as one of the Rush Hour movie posters. I, among some others, thought nothing of it until the TL announcement actually happened. Maybe the TL deal hadn't fallen through yet and the tweets were just meant to be a joke at the time, but if it wasn't: was it ever possible that Rush Hour would unite on TL?
I don't know if this was already answered in any videos or interviews, but if you're able to disclose this information, why were Flame and Cody Sun not kept on the team? Perhaps it was a salary thing or the remaining 3 members of IMT didn't want to play with the others anymore, but it seemed like it would make sense to at least keep Cody as he already has synergy with Olleh.
The short answer to this is that I believe Doublelift > Cody and Impact > Flame. Yes, synergy is a factor but not the only one and synergy can be recreated, especially with a three year strategy.
what is the biggest lesson you have learnt throughout your careers?
Be likable, think big and get shit done. Miss any of those things you won’t be as successful as you could be.
Steve (and anyone else you wants to answer)- What do you think of fortnite as an eSport seeing as its one of the most popular games atm? PUBG has an eSports scene but it doesn't seem to be catching on
I think many have their own definitions of what categories as an esport. Personally speaking, I put the definition of an esport fairly low. A game, a community and when people enjoy watching other people play it. Within that, you have varying degrees of popularity to play and watch. League of Legends, fun to play and watch. Dota, fun to play and watch, personally I like watching more than playing. The type of game, how it's balanced and what the community wants will dictate it's success. For me, PUBG is a great game and was one of the first break-out BR genre style games (after H1Z1 and Ark). Picked up huge in popularity, but struggled to find it's footing on the broadcasting and 'fun to watch' side. I think at the same time, the western community for PUBG is plagued by hackers and balance issues. The running joke, "Esports ready". It's up to Bluehole to get their shit together and fix the cheating issues to keep the community. They also need to do a better job balancing the game, which they have made some significant improvements, but to make a difference they have to be significant enough, not just significant. For me, Fortnite is taking off in a big way. For me personally I compare it to PUBG as the League of Legends is to DOTA. I think Epic is still trying to find their footing on what kind of game it should be. Tony hawk, casual pub stomping or will it succeed in the seriousness of competition. Again, I go back to my definition and I think it answers the question. Yes, because as we've seen from Ninja, people love watching other people play this game. Assuming the production and the league ops/tournament format is done well, I think it will do well as an esport. Of course, in all esports the developer holds the trump card. It's their game, they own the IP and they can decide who runs events (themselves or third parties). They will ultimately set the direction for the rest of us to follow.
Hello, Steve, Doublelift and Zews. Huge fan of the organization, especially the LCS team.
Which are the most likely teams to end in top 3 by the end of the split, in your opinion? Is MSI a goal at this point, or is the team focusing on bigger, longer-term goals like Worlds? What do you think is the current standing of the major regions this year, as it seems to me that the rhythm is somewhat different.
Thank you for this AMA!
Hey this is Steve, I think the top three teams at the end of playoffs will be Us, C9 and TSM. I think Echo Fox is a hit or miss, might knock one of those out. They seem like they are not adapting to the new patch as quickly as some of the other teams. I’m excited to see the strength of teams in a bo3 instead of the bo1 format. I also think these three teams will excel there. I’m hoping we can ride momentum from the CG game all the way through playoffs.
Steve - what's your relationship like with Nazgul? From a public perspective, it seems like you've pretty much taken over the whole organization, so what role does the "old guard" Team Liquid staff play now?
DL - Watching you mature as a player and a person has been a pretty incredible story. What do you think is the "next step" for you in terms of personal development?
Victor and I are Co-CEO's and we both run the company. It's pretty unique, but once we started exploring the idea of running the company together we found some great examples of other very successful companies who did the same. After a bunch of reading and discussion we decided we would give it a shot. It also made sense because everything under 'team curse' was merged with everything under 'team liquid'. We both were founders of our own esports teams and had much to bring to the table. That being said, there had to be compliments, not redundancy in leadership for it to work. Surprisingly enough we are both strong in different areas. For anyone who follows Meyers briggs, I'm an ENTP and Victor is ISTP. We split some responsibilities and others are shared. Many, I mean nearly all of the Team Liquid staff are critical to operations. I think I might go as far to say that Team Liquid is, from a personnel (employees and contractors) perspective the largest esport organization in the world. When you add up all the staff across our websites, wikis, 1up studios, liquid media, team liquid and the fourteen games we are in, community, marketing, management the number is pretty high.
Hi Steve, I am the fan you gave the free jersey to on live stream this weekend with Kobe (so embarrassing!) I wanted to say thanks again for having me and also relay how much I love the team this year (not just Doublelift although I apparently found that hard to articulate in front of the camera). You discussed on the show how as an owner you try to let the coaches and players just do their thing once you have completed a roster. As Liquid has expanded to other e-sports, how do you feel your relationship with them is versus league where you do have the strongest background as a player?
Hey there!! Good to hear from you again. That broadcast was fun. More fun if we won! It would be impossible to manage all of our esports teams as closely as I do league. Victor and I split the team management and we try to make those decisions based on what games we have a better understanding of. For example I just put together our new PubG roster and I do my best to stay as connected as possible to them even though they are in EU. There’s also a lot of similarities from game to game that work in terms of management and development. I’ll support them in anything they need to win and with a decent understanding of the game (actually putting good number of hours in it) allows me to do that. I think being an ex pro gamer just gives me the ability to evaluate how a game works pretty quickly. Also for most team games we find that team dynamics and the mental side is really impactful to performance.
For Steve and Doublelift:
How is the team culture like in Team Liquid? From the SQUAD videos, it seems that everyone is very friendly with one another and being good friends with each other is held as a bigger priority relative to other teams. If that is the case, does this team culture benefit you guys in any way?
More specifically for Doublelift: How is duoing with Olleh? What separates him from other supports you’ve worked with and how is the synergy between you two? (Did you guys get him a Japanese girlfriend yet?)
Big props to SQUAD btw, I’m a REALLY big fan of that. Beautifully edited and way more fun to watch than the longer, more serious, documentary style counterparts of the other teams imo.
The culture varies a bit from team to team. We have fourteen games and over sixty athletes. We have most in LA but not all. We also have our Netherlands facility as well. It’s difficult to set a culture deeply in borderless environment. That being said I would describe the culture for the league team as hardworking, fun at times, emotional and tough at times. Supportive and reasonable. I think the guys should probably be having more fun (like they did in Korea). I think there is so much pressure to perform, I wish we handled that better as an org and as a team. I’m very impressed with this team compared to teams in the past in that there’s no convincing the players to work hard and take things seriously, that’s just part of how they operate.
I just want to comment that I am happy that Team Liquid is still dedicated to Starcraft 2. I know that the team wouldn't exist without SC2 and that the european side of the organisation is probably still nostalgic for the game, but I still appreciate that Team Liquid stuck around while other big teams dumped the game as soon as the big money was gone.
Thanks. It’s where we grew up and we will always. We are in the midst of signing a new player :)
Why is alienware overpriced?
Need some cash?
@Steve: When can we get 1:1 replica Team Liquid Jerseys with sponsors on it and the TL logo on the same side as the players wear?
@Zews: Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?
IIRC you love Cologne. Do you speak German?
@Doublelift: If there is any feature in other MOBAs which would you put into LoL?
This is a question I see so much. To be super candid, I’m not sure. The entire manufacturing, distribution (worldwide) and commerce business is incredibly complicated and not easy to solve. We are working closely with our current partner Jinx to get this resolved but my best advice is to stay tuned for updates from Liquid Caleb.
Steve - What is your favorite memory from Curse?
There are so many! - Teaching Jacky to drive - IPL in Vegas and all the fun I had. Which I can’t share, but crazy trip. - Working with Seattle children’s hospital and boys and girls club in LA - Season 1 after party with all the players at the Curse Mansion - 1st place in regular season going 9-0 - duo queuing with Saint
Then there’s a ton of memories from tournaments but finishing fourth at them I guess I wouldn’t qualify as favorite memories. Just memories. :)
What kind of RAM do you use at the AWTF and is it awesome?
Asking for...... uh... a friend....
Ballistix for everything.
Steve, what are your hopes for Nemo and John this year? And thank you for supporting these players; Street Fighter benefits a lot from having TL around
Capcom cup championship of course. But if that is not in the cards then I really hope that Team Liquid can show its support for these players and grow our presence in Japan. I want them to fall in love with the org and I hope we can provide them everything they need to compete and train.
LiQuiD112atAWTF / steve :
i think the key to a long life for esports teams is making the people feel represented, like regular sports do "belonging" to a city/state, what do you think about it? will league ever do something like that? even if it means keeping the games at the same lcs studio for the time being.
I think geography can be a sizable influencer to fan acquisition and retention and engagement - absolutely. The trick has always been, juggling the realistic logistical and financial commitments that would need to happen to realize the potential of executing a region-specific strategy. In short, can you make enough money having teams play, promote in different cities to substantiate the costs of having them there. To curb this, Overwatch has their events all in the same area and all the teams live in the same area even though they are playing for specific regions. In short, it feels fake to me and that lack of authenticity of being from the city means you see through the smoke eventually. Part of what makes region-specific fandom so great is that players, staff and the organization is based in that city. Recruiting from local colleges and universities. Imagine if the Washington, DC league of Legends team had players that went to Georgetown and GW? Well, that would be cool, but the likelihood of that happening is nearly zero because the player base isn't big enough. People aren't putting their lives on hold to have a career as a player. It takes time.
In short, I think having region specific fandom for teams is helpful. It brings more people into the esports ecosystem and for the time being if teams can be as authentic as they can in the region they declare, then great - we'll have to hold tight with that strategy until esports is even larger, at least here in the U.S.
C9 Sneaky demonstrated some of the cutting-edge training gear last night on his stream, which, some say, the whole C9 crew has been using. Do you have any plans for such advanced equipment at your new facility?
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