WHAT IS THIS?
This originally started out as "5 Things That Are Hot and Not About Destiny" and was our regular weekly segment here at the YOUR Destiny website and meant to be a column on what has been going on, either, in Destiny generally, or in the head of the columnist specifically. It has now developed into an informal space for various reflections on Destiny from the perspective of the resident writers at YOUR Destiny. Here we deal with anything related to Star Wars Destiny.
The opinions presented here are obviously just opinions - you might disagree, heck, we'd almost be disappointed if you don't disagree! Feel free to participate in the discussion on our Facebook Page!
AUGUST 14, 2019.
Read OUR PREVIOUS COLUMNS!
5 THINGS REGARDING POSTING THE GEN CON LISTS:
Written by CLAUS STAAL
So ... I guess most of the Star Wars Destiny players who regularly follow content regarding Destiny picked up on the discussion following Gen Con 2019 on us - well ... specifically me - posting the Day 2 deck lists on our website as well as updating the Gauntlet to reflect the results of the North American Championship.
If you haven't noticed the discussion at all, there's a good chance that it's not interesting for you or that you simply have better things to do with your life than follow arguments amongst Star Wars Destiny Content Creators and other interested parties, but IF you are interested, and just missed out on all the fun, I'll briefly recap the discussion (from my point of view):
- On August 1-2, 2019, the North American Championship 2019 at Gen Con took place. 146 players participated and there was a live stream from the event both days provided by The Hyperloops, while it was commented by members of that team as well as Jackalmen Games and the Golden Dice Podcast. The Hyperloops have uploaded all the videos from Gen Con on their YouTube Channel.
- I was watching the live stream both days together with Mads Utzon, and I did a summary of Day 1 of the event afterwards.
- Day 2 saw 22 players, all X-2's, progress to a Best of Three single elimination bracket with all the highest ranking players from the swiss rounds earning byes.
- As the games progressed on Day 2, I asked one of the YOUR Destiny team members who was present at the event to ask the Tournament Organizers if they'd be willing to help out giving us access to the deck lists as the players were eliminated from the bracket.
- This is not something we did specifically for Gen Con 2019, but it's a praxis we've had for the better part of a year covering major events from most of the world. We've been very lucky that Tournament Organizers and players have generally been very forthcoming and willing to help us out.
There were rumours circulating about the method used to obtain these deck lists including members of the YOUR Destiny team stealing them? Anyone who would believe that puts way too much importance into Star Wars Destiny. It's not THAT important for me or anyone else I know involved in this game. Unless you are of criminal intent, you don't steal stuff you don't need. Nobody STEALS deck lists to publish them online.
- The deck lists are normally sent to me as photos of the submitted deck list and I type them into swdestinydb, screenshoot it and edit the list. I remove all personal information other than name of the player as well as delete the photos from my computer. I did this exact thing for the Gen Con Day 2 deck lists.
- I prepared the deck lists for publication in between the rounds of the live stream on Day 2. I was planning to publish the deck lists at the end of the event, which would be around midnight CET+1.
While I'm preparing the deck lists I receive a message from The Hyperloops, whom I regularly chat with, asking if I would mind not publishing their winning deck list. We have established a very friendly accord with both Nick Cuenca, Mike Gemme and Joe Colon (the three founders of The Hyperloops) and it was very natural for me as a friendly gesture to agree not to publish the deck list. They also asked me if I would mind not publishing the runner-up deck list by Nick Obee aka Tacster from The Artificery crew. I agreed to this as well, and honestly didn't think much of it.
As I was preparing the article for publication I realised that a couple of deck lists in the article were VERY SIMILAR to Mike Gemme's winning deck list and I sent The Hyperloops a message asking if their request should cover those deck lists as well ... I kind of knew the answer already, but just wanted confirmation. They confirmed. I removed them from the article and published the article.
The next day, Saturday, I'm waking up to roughly a million unanswered mails, Facebook and Discord messages. The gist of the messages is the following: "Why would YOUR Destiny publish the deck lists of other content creators, and thereby purportedly take away their possibility of getting credit for the work they've put into preparing, tuning and testing these deck lists prior to the North American Championship?"
In today's column, I'll be trying to answer this question in 5 quick bullet points and there will definitely be plenty of people out there disagreeing with me, while others agree, and some might even ask "why bring this up now when the debate finally died out?", and the answer to that is quite simple: This is probably one of the most interesting and engaged debates we've had for a very long time in the Star Wars Destiny community. Why shy away from that debate just because there are strong opinions regarding it? That on the contrary should be the basis for any interesting debate.
1. PUBLICIZE THIS OR THAT:
There was quite a lot of debate on when something could/should be considered public knowledge. And while the onus of the discussion was actually not about this after all - that became apparent quite fast in the discussion - most people tended to agree that whenever a deck list is brought to a tournament it should in fact be considered public knowledge. It is already publicized. Everyone involved seemed to agree on this point.
So, the real question wasn't whether or not it could be considered PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE, because it is, but rather whether it could be considered BAD ETHICS for another Content Creator such as us at YOUR Destiny to widely publicize the deck lists without the original author's consent. This is where the discussion gets kind of interesting.
While I understand the sentiments behind the notion of bad ethics on my behalf, as the publisher of the articles, I disagree with them. Obviously. Bad ethics would have been to not credit and acknowledge the people playing the lists at the tournament or taking credit for them myself. We did neither of this. On the contrary.
And I have to admit, that I find it difficult accepting an argument, which ultimately prohibits anyone from making that which is already implicit, explicit. The argument is then: "Everybody knows, but you shouldn't confirm that knowledge".
2. IT'S NOT BAD ETHICS, IT'S DISRESPECT:
Some people suggested that the notion of bad ethics should instead be considered DISRESPECT. That argument follow two different lines:
- It was disrespectful of me to consider posting the deck lists of everyone without asking for their consent.
- It was disrespectful of me to post the deck lists of some without considering offering the same service to everyone else.
One could of course argue that there was no way for anyone to know that we'd be publishing the deck lists on the night of the conclusion of the event. That's true. Other than the fact that we've done it multiple times before. I've only ever received two messages regarding this in the past. Both times it came from Joe Colon from The Hyperloops. Both times it was settled amicably.
An early example of this was our coverage of the US Nationals 2018. I think I was on holidays in Colombia when the tournament took place and the article was published the day after the event. I don't believe there were any complaints lodged at the time. If the "Rules of Engagement" has changed I've not been aware.
Since the beginning of the YOUR Destiny website (June 15, 2018), we have worked hard to establish strong ties with the Star Wars Destiny community. We have received lots of advice and we have given our fair share of advice. We also generally think we are approachable and take pride in answering as many of the emails, Facebook and Discord messages we receive. I've read various comments in the wake of this debate following Gen Con 2019, that we are not and I of course take note of this.
3. JUST A PART OF THE PICTURE:
When we previously have published deck lists from various tournaments, then it is obviously because we assume, and often correctly so, that it is exciting for people to see. But, the deck lists are just a part of what is the foundation of the success of a player at an event, other parts include skill, preparation, the right approach, form on the day, luck, match-ups, etc., and all of it is interesting. It can and should be covered from different angles. And although someone has seen a deck list a million times it is nonetheless just a part of the picture. One might even claim a fairly small part.
I obviously knew the deck lists that were piloted throughout Day 2 of Gen Con, including the winning deck list, and I found absolutely no less joy in reading any of the articles that came out in the wake of the tournament. I read Agent of Zion's article for The Artificery on the runner-up deck as well as Mike Gemme's article on his winning deck. Both were great reads. For those of us who are going to spend time reading articles in relation to Destiny, we'll read almost anything. Whatever we know or think we know is not going to make much of a change. We'll always want to confirm that knowledge or be proven wrong.
Others will never read a Destiny article. Like ever. For those people, any article obviously doesn't change a thing either - no matter the content.
4. HYPE ME!
I don't believe that Star Wars Destiny has the stamina for the long haul. I mean, I hope it does, but I can't imagine this game being played in 10 years from now, outside of a few die hard fans that cannot let the game go. I don't think anyone is imagining this. This is also due to the strategies of the company behind the game. Even if the game is one of the best I've ever played. Need I remind you that Gen Con 2018 had 250+ players while Gen Con 2019 had just 146!
One of the ways this game can be made to flourish though is to HYPE IT! Hype every new expansion. Be excited about every new tournament. Report on everything worth reporting. That's what we have tried doing over the last couple of years and what every other Content Creator have been doing as well!
We don't have an exciting PRO TOUR like MtG or big events taking place all the time that can keep us excited about this game. Fantasy Flight Games are not exactly spoiling us with articles either. In many ways, most of the structure around Star Wars Destiny is in fact a bit boring, and only a few times a year something truly exciting is happening. The North American Championship as well as Euros and naturally Worlds are some of the moments that can create excitement, something worth reporting on, simply because there are so few occasions for us to celebrate! Celebrate the game, the people playing it and not least in the vain hope of the game to be more popular the day after tomorrow than the day before.
Sure, we could have waited a few days posting our Gen Con report, but the HYPE should be NOW (or when the tournament takes place)!!
Some of you are going to disagree with me and some are not going to believe me at all, but my position on this is that if I post Mike Gemme's (The Hyperloops) innovative deck list or Jonathan Magnuson and Andrew Rothermel's (both The Destiny Council) awesome Chopper Droids list or Cody Williams' (Arrow Brook Gaming) Doctor Aphra list or Stephen Lanza's (Entourage Gaming) Satine Droids deck it is in celebration of these players that show us the best this game has to offer! Celebrating them and their achievements is also celebrating this game.
Having me post a deck list cannot take anything away from their achievements at any tournament. On the contrary. When other players see their deck lists, whether ground breaking innovations or not, they get inspired to play more themselves. They are no longer bored. That at the end of the day keeps the game alive. Even if it is going to live just to die out.
I'm confident that IF we had published Mike Gemme's deck list, which we ended up not doing for the reasons I've mentioned above, it would have added to the party rather than spoiled it, and while rum is essential to a great Mojito, the greatest invention of mankind, so is mint sprigs, sugar, lime, etc.
The Hyperloops took 3 Ewok decks, the surprise package of the tournament, to Day 2 of the event, and managed to put one of them in top16, one in top8 and Mike Gemme finally conquering the day to become the new North American champion! An article with the deck list(s) published could not have made that any less of an achievement. On the contrary. It would have underscored the achievement!
5. YOU ARE BAITING FOR THE CLICKS:
A few people have suggested that the reason we wanted to post the deck lists on our website was to make up for our other content generally lacking in quality.
I'm very well aware that not everyone like what we produce, just like I'm not a fan of everything produced by everyone else. BUT, I'd just like to remind people that the vast majority of content for Destiny is basically produced voluntarily for free consumption. I always pay homage to people putting in the hours for nothing but the good of the community and the occasional pat on the back received at events or in messages.
But I do take great pride in our website and the resources it makes available. Mostly because I never thought It'd be possible. I track our traffic on our website because of pride - nothing else.
BUT ... I also write articles for them to be READ. Obviously. Why else would I write anything. This is not just mental exercise. I write what I think could be interesting for other people.
We, like any other Content Creator, do not earn anything from clicks on our website. Literally nothing. People supporting us through our Patreon service get very little out of it. They are basically offering an extended community service by supporting us creating content for everyone. I owe our patrons a huge debt of gratitude and so does everyone reading our articles. It's because of them that I can find the time and to some extent also the motivation to write and edit articles.
So, the critics are partly right. While we might not have the best quality OR most innovative content available, we are at least consistently bad! This doesn't mean that I wasn't a bit piqued by the criticism. But that's just pride talking. I'm not going to let that stand in my way of keep pushing news for Destiny consistently ... even if (sometimes) bad. I mean, it can't all be bad. Even a broken watch is right twice a day. I do note though that quite a few people tend to like our content. Those are the ones we ultimately write for.
A few also suggested that I posted the deck lists because I didn't have the ability myself to come up with a genuinely good deck list like the Ewok AR Swarm. Well ... they are also partly right. I didn't come up with the Gen Con winning deck list. I've also never tried to pass myself off as an excellent deckbuilder or a fantastic Destiny player or a great Content Creator. But that's still not why I wanted to post the deck lists.
I'm not envious of people doing better than me, but rather take great joy in celebrating those who succeed in whatever they endeavour. Why wouldn't I?!
6. ONE LAST POINT:
I wrote a fairly long apology following the incident! You can read it on our Facebook page, and while I'm happy with the positive responses we received, I thought I'd elaborate a bit at the end of this column.
At the end of the day the "GenConDeckListGate" was really much ado about nothing, and I've now added to it (AGAIN), but at least it gave me a bit of time to reflect on lots of things in relation to Star Wars Destiny and beyond.
My last point really hasn't got anything to do with Star Wars Destiny, but is more of a general observation, so if you have anything important to do, now would be a good time to go do it ... nothing better to do? Well ... here goes.
I haven't really had a strong Discord presence before because I'm usually busy with lots of other stuff, but joined a few servers to check up on the discussion, and also because I didn't feel it fair that other people were made to take responsibility for whatever nuisance my actions had caused. That responsibility is mine. Going through some of those Discord chats honestly made me feel a bit "sad" (something else but sad, but I can't find the word).
My own experience with nerds is that they've generally never been considered the "cool kids". I know, who wants to be a cool kid anyways? Well ... when you are a teenager you want to. For many of us being a nerd, whether it was as a roleplaying nerd or CCG nerd or whatever nerd became a small safe haven. Here you were surrounded by likeminded people. Nerds never got celebrated until quite recently. Realising that nerds could be the heroes was a revelation for many.
With the various gaming communities established around small niche games, we now have the chance to create exactly the communities we want following exactly the rules we decide on! It's beyond me why we want the same kind of sh*t that's prevalent everywhere else. Most of us have grown fairly thick skin, and it seems as if it's needed these days, but it honestly shouldn't be.
A friend of mine is an educator at a Danish Boarding School for kids aged 14-16 specialised in gaming as an educational tool, there's a link below, and it's a cool school that has dared to rewrite the rules of community. Oh man, if there had been a school like that in the 80's when I was a kid.
Needless to say, more often than not it's the small things that make or break people!
I know I can't monopolise the truth and it often depends on what side of the fence you are standing. From where I sit things have appeared to be pretty straightforward and I'm just a misunderstood saint, from where others are sitting I'm not.
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!
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