Compete jumped the gun on their article. ELeague’s first attempt at harnessing the FGC was a weird experiment on day one, but on day two, they responded. The highlight gripe was the lack of music, which was bumped up by day two. The format is strange, but each match matters no matter how far in the pit one of the contenders are. The pacing is alright. Theoretically, it could be better, but realistically it has a good, even cadence and no long delays. Overall? Great start.
Day Three: The Rise of the PogChamp
Day Three of ELeague SFV had some standout successes and failures. The prime success is Gootecks. I criticized his presence as a weird marketing move because he’s not a competitor at the level of the others in his pool, but it turns out that Gootecks is a genius. He sported an iconic look, became a meme in literal seconds, and became the underdog that transformed his train-wrecks into pure childish excitement. He is the odd duck in the group, but he distinguished himself wonderfully. Valle, aside from being the ancient Mr. Street Fighter, does have a decent Rashid and Gllty is a permanent fixture as a gatekeeper. Gootecks is neither of those and is occasionally reviled as a sellout, yet PogChamp was celebrated today in full force.
I’m open to this kind of stuff. It’s inorganic as can be, but inserting community icons as a filler for brackets is not a 100% terrible idea if the space is not hotly contested. Sure, it would be better to have a completely perfect bracket, but Gootecks redeemed his spot by injecting a bit of fun and a lot of honesty, mostly at his own expense.
Wolfkrone vs. K-Brad
Every eSport is craving stories. This one came prepackaged. ELeague handled it mostly well. They gave it the appropriate short-form context with the clip, talked about it, then brought in some props.
The first prop, the security guard, is a complete flop. It was a one time gamble that hit a couple weird buttons. It showed disconnect between Turner and the FGC by suggesting that FGC members resort to real violence post match. The reason why this isn’t a good gag is because it’s almost like an extension of what the outside world thinks of the FGC. By extension, I immediately thought of how the City of Asuza did not allow Super Arcade to set up shop on that assumption. Thuggery can be joked about, but only by commentators. Outsiders, even if they host and fund the event, should stay away from using it as material.
The second prop(s), however, was stellar and I hope Turner was taking some notes. Letting players and talent sit in the bleachers for the match should be a mainstay. It helps solve the overly sanitary feel of ELeague without making it a ticketed event. It’s not much, but it was a fine gesture and a fun one at that.
After the dust settled, getting the footage and audio of the post-match banter was an excellent touch. It’s a small gesture, but if ELeague is anything right now, they’re responsive and attentive.
Also, K-Brad is wrestling on a mic. He’s full of great gimmicks. Let players do their gimmicks.
The Waiting Room
I think it’s a nice addition. It shows that players are given the space that Capcom Cup missed out on delivering and provides a couple seconds of content that helps with transitions. Simple.
The Old Man Richard Lewis
I feel like this is the weirdest part of the formula. One one hand, I feel like we’re just seeing some on-the-job training for Richard Lewis, transforming him into a proper FGC commentator. On the other, it seems like Mr. Lewis is the olive branch to the other sectors of ELeague’s more prominent fan base and the FGC needs to acclimate to his presence My hopeful expectation is that the whole “I’m a newbie at this” character fades by Friday though. To some degree, Lewis is avatar of Turner. I listen to Lewis and generally slip into the thought that what he’s thinking is what the execs are thinking.
It’s not so much that Richard Lewis is doing something wrong, but I can feel the incongruity through the screen and it’s uncomfortable knowing that an eSports expert is playing the role of the fool. Excellent banter, good followups to jokes and better auditory blend mark his presence, but the impression I have is that there wasn’t a lot of research done by Turner.
My Hope is For Patience, On Both Sides
ELeague is big money, big production and big potential. They know how to run a show, but the stakes are higher for them with TurnerSports watching over them like the Eye of Sauron. The perception of authenticity will not come in a day. The only authenticity that will have ELeague associated with it will be the highlights of the tournament later in the bracket because of how weird their bracket is in the first place. Gllty fangirling over Daigo is likely authentic, but a couple of my friends felt that was staged. Same thing goes for Marn being Marn, or K-Brad being K-Brad. There’s this specter that ELeague is encouraging these gag moments, but it will fade in time, especially if the players enjoy the venue, experience and exposure. I get this real sense that ELeague, despite being massive, is treating its talent with respect.
That respect will pay off in time. The FGC’s growth from grass-roots into the insane entertainment it is today just needed exposure. It’s going to get better very, very soon.