No, don't be mistaken. I'm not here to beat down on the old man that Call of Duty 4 is becoming. The games are still fascinating and whether it's the Fnatic of 2009 or Western Wolves of 2012 fighting over a 1st place on LAN or even online, we get to see the best of the game, as is.
What I mean is something far less obvious, namely the fact that we are indeed ageing. The flow-through of new players is weak and slow to say the least, which you all attested to back in January when the TEK9 Breakthrough of the Year 2011 was to be selected. The criticism was as diverse as the visual range of potatoes, "what are these players doing in this list, they aren't breakthrough players, I've known them for years."
How right most of you were back then. And this does not just limit itself to the top teams sticking to what and, more importantly, whom they know, as they always keep adding and removing the same group of players. No, the problem is a general one and one that also affects the community side of things.
We are a eSports title carried by individuals. Altruistic and noble, sure. But individuals nonetheless. People who, of their own accord, decided that they'd like to contribute something to the community they grew up in or enjoyed playing for. TEK-9 is run that way, so is CyberGamer and also Vita-Nova. Not to forget Sean McDougall of Adroits or Steven Leunens of Outpost on Fire. Had it not been for the individuals of all these initiatives, you could kiss the CGi, AEF, OOF and Adroits events goodbye.
Sure, you'd say that "someone" would step up and do the same. You'd hope that, wouldn't you? But would it really? Who would have hosted ACM when Sean did not put his shoulders under the Call of Duty 4 scene? D1ablo? Not likely.
Age brings wisdom, but also many more worries
And this is where the problems lie. Individuals age and grow older. The body and mind is probably still willing, but eSports (especially Call of Duty 4) isn't as profitable as some of you might imagine. When real life rears its nasty head and tells you to focus on your studies, you have choices to make.
As the game ages, so too its people and this eventually causes people to drop out, move away or give up. The same in my life and many of TEK-9's crew, I'm in my last Masters year and have a thesis to hand in, in less than two months. Peter is in a critical phase of his university studies as well. That's why we are looking for new crew, hoping to get some new & fresh bodies to help out.
Bcrbo and ptER discussing TEK-9 crew in a few years
Replacing what has been, and will soon, be lost
A healthy community will see those replaced. Camiel came and I took his place (no worries, I would not say I am an improvement, I just took over). Will I still have someone to take my place? What happens when tomzki suddenly starts a family or has six months of heavy uni deadlines? Who will run all the cups for CoD4 (ESH & Excello) then?
These are the questions I pose myself. Where do we find these new, young and eager individuals to hand the reigns over to? Who will become the new face of Vita-Nova and CyberGamer? Of TEK-9? Will there be any at all?
If we are to survive, we not only need new talent to enter teams like TCM-Gaming, Anexis eSports, Western Wolves and more. No, we need the same young-blooded, pill-popping, energy-crazed teens to enter the behind-the-scenes as well. Otherwise, TEK-9 might just as well put a huge timer on the frontpage with a "death-do-us-part" countdown.
A community can exceed its grouping of individuals, but never think someone else will do it for you, just because you are part of the group. When you have great ideas and look to start initiatives, just do them. That's how TEK-9 started, how Vita-Nova saw its birth and what made CyberGamer possible. Lest not forget all the streaming companies we see visualizing our game.
Don't just feel. Don't just think. Do. That's what will make Call of Duty 4 last the Summer and make it to 2013.
give it just a few years and he'll be the next tomzki
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