The little things - what goes overlooked in your scene.

DRX FAITH - October 11, 2017

Hey everyone, I’m DRX|FAITH, I’m a ZSS main in Gainesville, FL and formerly a Memphis Tournament Organizer (TO), having created the scene with DRX|Ketsen. The point of this article is to discuss some things that make a huge difference for growing a competitive scene that are often overlooked, pretty easy to do, and why they’re important. If you’re interested in just the article you can skip the next two paragraphs.

In writing this article I talked to some other TOs/streamers. Among these are Diamond Overstreet, streamer for GforceGG and former MVG member, KOKingpin, probably the biggest TO for TN historically (KIT, MWC, StS) and worked with PM development team (not sure to what extent), Paul Kagebein, who along with Elrox has run many great AR tournaments (SpaCon, MSC, KotS), and Josh (Pope) Holsenback, who with Ray Hilmus have essentially created the regional MS scene with tournaments such as AG2 and TTT. I’m mentioning them all here because they all helped me with this article and they deserve probably more credit for it than I do.

This article will be split essentially into three categories. Promotion, stream, and tournaments. Of course, the biggest thing to grow your scene is to show up, have a good time, and make friends. This goes without saying, but the point of this article is to address things that are heavily overlooked. Most things here are directed at players, but some of the things are directed at TOs and Streamers. This list isn’t fully extensive of course as there are so many things to account for, but hopefully you’ll learn some new things here.

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Promotion

Promotion is one of the biggest things to grow a scene, obviously on the “high effort” side we have things such as posting fliers, making trailers, etc, but we’re going to ignore high effort because people can be busy. Here are some low effort things that often get overlooked:

Liking Youtube Videos – Something that always blows my mind is how a local video might be watched by everyone in the community and only get 1 like. Liking a video is one click, nearly no effort, but having a substantial number of likes means videos will be more visible on YT. Comments will increase visibility as well (just don’t spam “first” it gets auto-filtered). For promotion, clicking “Like” is the MOST overlooked thing for how much effort it takes, in my opinion.

Clicking “going/interested” on Facebook – This one is also massively overlooked for the amount of effort. Diamond has explained to me that showing active FB activity encourages local businesses to invest in your event. Even “interested” helps. 200 people interested in this event? Maybe a local pizza place will offer an event specific discount to get some of those people over the fence and getting some pizza. Of course, just being excited in general helps. Paul Kagebein has some other easy recommendations:

“Not only clicking "going/interested", but sharing the event, posting about their excitement in Facebook groups or on the event page, Tweeting, etc. is playing a part in advertising the event. A lot of times people will be looking forward to an event, but if they could channel that into some 30 second public excitement, they might encourage another person to go as well.”

Registering early, especially if you can pay at door – This is one of the most obvious ones, there’s a reason for early birds. The earlier more people register, the bigger amount of “faith” is placed into the success of the event. This results in two things: 1) larger encouragement for more players and big names to show up and 2) attracts sponsors, since they see larger interest in the event (and this does happen, TTT got an additional pot bonus sponsor long after the event was first announced). This is placed first because it’s easy, regardless of when you do it, registering takes the same amount of time.

Submitting to play of the week – This is a bit more effort, but if you did something cool in tournament, share it. I personally love seeing all the stuff other ZSS mains share in discord and I love seeing play of the week vids. Getting frequently featured will get people noticing you and your scene.

MEME/Share your artwork/etc – that’s right, meme it up, especially in your FB group (just not all the time). Something I noticed is that some of the most active community’s meme or talk about other things in their FB group. Your game should be the formation of a community, but not the community itself. The fact of the matter is that most people will never go pro, this is true for everything in life, so you need to make a community worth staying in because it’s impossible for the game to be the sole reason for the community. Share your artwork, people like art and often will even give you good feedback. I swear, no one likes a FB page used for nothing but sharing events.

Be positive! – This one I think is best put by Diamond:

“At the very least, be positive! Be diligent to speak positively about your community, and spend very little time talking about its shortcomings to others. Only with context, should you let others know the disdains associated with your community. I can't tell you how many times I've heard our very own community speak ill-will on Gainesville. To ourselves, to other communities, and to people who are new, that would otherwise be oblivious.”

If you want your community to grow then always being negative doesn’t help your scene and therefore holds you back as a player. Some people take their local scene too seriously, when the only purpose of your local scene is to help you practice. Did someone in your scene get a massive level up and beat you for once? Don’t go bitch on Facebook, instead congratulated them and be happy that you have yet another person that can help you improve on a match up at your level. I noticed that top players like Ryo, Sol, Rogue, Wonderbread, Sonido may get salty, but they nearly never discredit earned wins beyond short term.

Fest More. Tourney less. Don’t let burn out get your community down. Non-stop competitive can really drain the fun out of anything, but have you ever played 4 player free for all with only Timers as an item set on high? As you Dair your friend with ganondorf 3 times in a row and have a laugh about it you’re developing friendships. Share yourself as a person. I like smash communities WAY more for the people I meet than the tournament.

 

Stream

Literally no group does more to promote your scene more than your stream. A successful stream is a big deal, literally everyone active in competitive smash knows what VGbootcamp is streaming. Nearly everyone knows about Xanadu.

Twitch Bits – This is almost as bad as YT likes as far as horribly overlooked and super important. This is important even on a national scale, let me give an example. GTX Expo needed 800 entrants to commit to smash a second year at one point I recall seeing 36,000 viewers on the twitch stream. Lets say everyone took 30 seconds, during a period where nothing was happening (happens all the time) to watch just one ad for an average of 10 bits. That’s $3,600, or 72 venue fees (at $50, I forget the actual GTX cost). If streams could more reliably receive income then the demand for payment from the event decreases. This is even more important locally, where streamers are basically volunteering their time.

Twitch Prime – Got it? Not using it? Use it. Literally same logic as above, but 50x better.

Let someone else be on stream – This one is directed at streamers outside of a national level. So often you’ll see scenes shove “best big fish in the little pond player” on stream for every winners round. Said player is a local Cloud/bayo/Sheik triple main and wins every bracket playing blindfolded. Here’s the thing, it’s boring to most of your local scene, which is your core support base. No one wants to see XxxPlusUltraLimitBreakWitchNeedleSpamMasterxxX play over and over. XxxPlusUltraLimitBreakWitchNeedleSpamMasterxxX will get higher in bracket simply because he/she is going to win matches, so they're effectively gauranteed stream time. Put RandomMcPacman on stream in earlier rounds instead. Most people cheer for friends on local streams, how do they do that if their friend is never on stream? How does RandomMcPacman ever watch replays if he’s never on stream? RandomMcPacman has no reason to share the stream if he’s never going to be on it. Hell, I only started sharing GforceGG when I started getting put on it to get bopped by CrazieCuban (I got him to swap from jiggs tho!).

 

Bracket

Here we get some things more directed at TOs. Nothing is more important than a wel run bracket for a tournament, but we all already know that. A lot of things here are targeted at not-top players.

Add incentives for non-pros to show – Pot bonuses literally do nothing for anyone who can’t place, except increase odds for a short interaction with a top player who might show. Most Improved awards are one way, when I TOed in Memphis, I negotiated that for every $5 of venue I collected, I got $1. Usually this would give me ~$30 after venue waives for set ups, so I could always give $10 every tourney for who I thought was the most improved player and I think this was very successful, I would get reminded by people if I was late to announce Most improved. Another method is raffles, if you have a big local coming out, announcing new amiibo raffles or similar might get way more people interested.

So many times I bring this up people dismiss it with "the incentive is to get good!" This counter arguement is weak. First off, most players will never go pro anyway. Second off, nearly everyone begins as a casual at first, they need to enjoy the tournament they're going to or else they wont want to go again. Thirdly, if you're a high level player, why would you NOT want to get every person there possible? Even the casuals. If it expands the pot, wouldn't you just want more people in the tourny? even if they're just there to go 0-2 before playing friendlies?

Amateur Bracket – This is a lot of work and should only be done if you have time. Sometimes people want more games after maybe having a rusty 0-2 start. Sometimes amateur brackets can lead to extremely redeeming situations for players.

Check your bracket! – This one is for players. So many times, players do not check their bracket before a mistake has been made. It absolutely the responsibility of the TO to make sure the bracket is correct, but it's hard for the TO to check a 50+ man bracket for things like "have these two played round 1 multiple times". It takes 5 minutes for you to check your own bracket, it takes 500 for the TO to check everyones.

Housing – Few things boost your scenes stream and event attendance more than OOT players, but the costs for these players need to be manageable. Think you can host 1-2 players? Offer to do so. Typically this doesn’t end up taking a lot of effort and gives you someone to hang out with. Housing Winky for WTFox2 was a lot of fun, we woke up, played approximately one-billion ZSS dittos and learned that Usmash is good in the ditto, 10/10 would house Winky again and laugh about his 95% ramen noodle diet again.

Food – Tournaments can be long, plan out a regular post food trip, or maybe mid bracket pizza deliveries. If you’re a TO and have the money for it having pizza could encourage regular event attendance.
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These are some things I saw common with those who I talked to. Like I said before, it's not extensive, but I do see a lot of communities lacking in some of these areas. Diamond actually gave me a massive list with some extra points that I think can be included in another topic. Comment below and let me know what you thought. Maybe this entire list was super obvious and I just suck, who knows?

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Comments

Good article! Lots of useful information for scene starters and TOs
Mr. Roo - October 12, 2017
Awesome read, thanks for sharing all of this information, looking forward for more 👀
Edgar Lizcano - October 12, 2017
This seems to apply mostly to the American scene. Some of these can't be applied in the UAE, for example.
Lord Snackington - October 17, 2017

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