Very kindly both The Pledge and eXtine from TF2TV and eXtv respectively agreed to answer a few questions.
First of all can you introduce yourselves?
eXtine My name is Jeff Extine and I’m a 27 year old gamer, so I’ve been gaming for about 20 years. I was the network guru for my friend’s LAN parties in High School, but didn’t play video games competitively outside of my circle of friends until the last couple of years. I’m also a member of Monkeys, Midgets, and Zombies, a social gaming clan with close to 500 members. I rediscovered my love for gaming after college and its been a great journey so far. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Film Studies.
I’ve had the pleasure of traveling Europe a few times and spent several months studying abroad at University of Central Lancashire in Preston, England. <3 gyros. Yyaaoooooo!
The Pledge My name is Patrick “ThePledge” Fuchs, a 19 year old male from the Netherlands. I’ve played TF2 since the first week of the beta, so that makes me someone with over 3 years of TF2 experience under its belt. I started playing competitive TF2 about 2,5 years ago with some friends of mine, and later went on to play at a reasonably high level of competitive TF2 with Hadouken and Team Fruit as scout. For the past 1,5 year I’ve mentored and trained my own team (Team Stinson) from division 4 of ETF2L to division 2 and we’re still going strong. Lately I’m more known as a caster than as I player, considering I have been casting a lot of matches during the last week’s of ETF2L’s Season 8 playoffs.
Can you give us a little bit of background about eXtv/TF2TV?
eXtine The first eXtelevision episode aired in December of 2009. In March of 2010 Bumpasaurus X and I founded eXtelevision LLC. Evan (Bumpasaurus) has been one of my best friends since we met in University. He is responsible for the design of our website and contributes in many valuable but often invisible ways. We’re the most featured community contribution on the TeamFortress.com blog with numerous episodes of eXtelevision and Moments of Glory being highlights. We joined Youtube super-awesome conglomerate TheGameStation in August of 2010. eXtelevision is continually growing thanks to the hard work of all our editors around the world.
From the beginning our intentions have been to revolutionize the coverage of FPS-based eSports and to develop financial systems to compensate video editors.
The Pledge TF2 TV is founded by myself, Matt “D2M” Davies and Lazar “Comedian” Jovic in October 2010 with the sole purpose of giving Europe TF2 the coverage it always lacked. Over the past three months, we have worked to grow a steady staff to both cast matches and work on video material. We started our own monthly cup, the TF2 TV Teamgasm, and we also have our own podcast, the TF2 Talkings. Now, as the LANs here in Europe are at the horizon, we work our hardest to make sure we can cover all those LANs live from the spot.
What got you interested or made you want to cast TF2 matches?
eXtine I’ve been in love with Team Fortress since TFC and MMZ played Weapons Factory before I joined, so I’m very conscious of the long term history of the Team Fortress series. I believe that Team Fortress is an eSport, even at the casual pub level. It’s analogous to the difference between playing kick-a-round with friends or playing on an organized football team. Even though it’s being played casually and with random crits, its still eSport. That’s my strong belief on the topic, It’s all in how you define eSports, and I could write a book on the topic.
That interest and viewpoint on eSports is backed up by plenty of eXperience with physical activities. I’ve been pretty “sedentary” lately, and need to make more time to participate in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I roll at Straight Blast Gym in Portland, OR. They are an international gym with locations in Stockholm and Ireland among other places, and kick ass. I was a collegiate rower and coached rowing for 2 years.
My strong belief in eSports and my love for gaming are what got me motivated to do work in the community. Casting became necessary when I decided to make videos but thankfully I have a wonderful voice for it. My words get jumbled sometimes, but I listen to my own commentary and other sports commentators out there to improve my skills.
The Pledge As mentioned earlier, I have been mentoring my own team for the past 1,5 year where I learned my players all about the game, both competitive and in general. I figured I could do this for more people at the same time, if I would cast games. Now at the time, there were hardly any casters in Europe. Beta and Arx used to do a lot of casting, but they were not really active last summer. So I started casting with Byte and Dave from time to time at ETF2L Radio, and that was a really nice experience for me. From that moment on, I figured that TF2 needed some proper coverage from someone dedicated. I figured that should be me
What are you planning to do next, TF2 TV, you have to started to branch out into “TF2 Talkings”
eXtine Moments of Glory is our daily content. It’s light hearted fun for the editors, and it is fun for our viewers as well. We want to keep them rolling, but we also have plenty of other content we want to produce.
We’re trying to kick our Top 10 series back into shape. We had a good streak going and were almost caught up, then unfortunately Chris’s Hard Drives spectacularly failed on two separate occasions! The Decemeber edition is compiled but I need to do some catch up work on January and February. Some of the upload sites have gotten rid of files submitted, so we’re also working on improving our Demo submission system for better sorting and storage. TF2Demos.com is a fantastic site that could get more love for the service they provide. People should submit their demos for the Top 10 as your awesome plays happen, but if you include the month the play is from before that Top10 goes live, we’ll probably look at it. If D/L Links don’t work, we try to e-mail the submitter.
We want to continue to eXpand our world-wide stable of talented editors. eXtv is a distribution network strengthened through the actions of each of our contributing editors. We share our advertising revenue with our editors and work to build a lasting relationship, unlike other YouTube channels that post editor’s works with just a channel link. This niche video editing community is stronger together and we want to be able to provide opportunities for those that choose to work with us. .
We believe in the strength of what we do, and just plan on doing more of it. T-Shirt designs are on the way, and we want to setup eXtv servers. Some people have offered to help and we need to pursue those leads more aggressively.
The Pledge With loads of European LANs coming up from now until the summer, TF2 TV will focus on covering those LANs as best as possible. TF2 Talkings and the monthly TF2 TV Teamgasm will stay, but the online casts will probably drop a bit unless there’s an epic match or a showmatch going on. TF2 TV will be present at every LAN from now until the summer (Winter Assembly, epic.lan, MaxLan, i42, Summer Assembly, possibly Dreamhack and i43) as I personally think that the future for TF2 lays in the coverage and attendance of LAN events.
Moving on to TF2 in general, do you see any of the latest set of unlocks being allowed, or even having a place in the competitive game?
eXtine I think Valve has unleashed some great stuff lately. Some of it is definitely ban-worthy, but tidbits like the upcoming “Detonater” Flare Gun only add more flavor and character to the game. Fists of Steel is obviously Ban-Worthy, and it seems like the Battalion’s Backup is real contentious, but most of the other weapons should be allowed.
The “Vanilla” argument always irks me. We should ban weapons/sets that are detrimental to the competitive scene, but try to keep that at a bare minimum.
New Weapons should be effectively tested or shelfed on a per-season/event basis. It’s unfortunate when events don’t eXplicitly lay the rules out but thats what must be done. The latest Apocalaypse Gaming 6v9 event was slightly tarnished by the Wrangler and Fists of Steel being used.
ESEA also had a debacle in their latest season by allowing the Battalion’s Backup at the beginning of the season, then deciding to ban it after it was used in Week 2 – Koth_Viaduct. It was a weapon that should have had a question mark above it’s head in the first place, but was overlooked by the ESEA admins initially.
It was banned afterwards, but I’m not really sure what the behind the scene discussion was like. A mid-season weapon ban change is a pretty significant flexing of the rules, something ESEA has been hesitant to do in the past. The weapon is pretty crazy though I’m not sure if players would consistently use it on other maps. Koth_Viaduct is perfect for it do to the action always being centered on one area, with Spawn + Health Packs very close by. 175 damage isn’t much if you’re fully buffed or just eating spam splash damage.
Unlocks will always be an issue, but Vanilla isn’t the answer. Players+Tourneys need to try out the new stuff and make informed decisions on what to ban. Valve’s going to continue to use the Beta, and I highly encourage people to give feedback and check out the newest builds. #TF2.PUG.NA runs a beta server, which is awesome.
The Pledge No, I don’t think we will see that. I personally think you should allow any unlocks that doesn’t “break” the game, instead of banning them solely because they’re different. The competitive players in TF2, at least in Europe, are very divided on which weapons should and should not be allowed. I think some of the big leagues need to use some time to specifically test the new weapons out in a competitive environment and then allow some very debatable weapons they think are fine, instead of just relying on the public to make their own vote. Democracy is terrible!
Do you use any unlocks that aren’t normally used?
eXtine Yea, I do love the Scottish Resistance. It’s a whole different eXistance as a demoman. Unfortunately it is too weak for most competitive situations. The ability of the regular sticky launcher to just drop stickies at your feet and get kills on scouts is just too good. They’ve made a change to how jumps work that I haven’t played with too much so that might have been given a boost. You can control areas very effectively with the SR, but I think to be run successfully it has to be a team effort as the Demo will need more protection. If the priming time was reduced just a little bit, the SR demo could actually use Air stickies a bit better and be at less of a defensive disadvantage. It could easily be made OP
Other unlocks I use are the Degreaser, Jarate, and my Community Weapon Shoutout to decap, I feel bad that he doesn’t have one yet. I only Huntsman in Medieval mode, but should play with the Sydney Sleeper more.
The Pledge I’m playing medic at the moment, so there’s not a lot of options that I have in any 6v6 matches. When I was scout though, I loved playing with the Force-a-Nature and Crit-a-Cola from time to time. Even though they were not allowed in leagues, and they aren’t the best weapons, it was still so much fun to play around with other weapons than the usual ones. In practice matches of course.
This is aimed more at you Extine, what impact do you think the new heavy limit will have? It didn’t seem to be particularly effective in the ESEA Lan.
eXtine I think the Heavy limit being reduced to 1 is a great change. The Heavy class really slows down the game when 2 of them come out. Defensively it can be very effective when holding the last point, but it doesn’t make for good gameplay or spectating.
Besides the Fists of Steel, I think the Sandvich should be up on the chopping block before any other item of the Heavy’s. Trust me on this: I’m a chef, Sandvich is OP.
Are there any maps which you think that should be in next season?
eXtine Well, Snakewater is pretty wicked. Euros should consider Viaduct, it’s played very differently than other maps but that is why we love Gravel Pit. Give it a chance and promote new styles of 6v6. Its too crowded for Highlander. Warmfront is a very good variation of Coldfront. I think Coldfront should adopt the architectural change of Warmfront and we could have our first seasonal map. TF2 is global so I guess its always cold/warm somewhere, but its a fun idea.
The Pledge I truly think that we need change. We shouldn’t hold on to the standards that we know and love. Sure, Badlands is great, but we need new maps! I love to see some snakewater, turbine_pro and cold/warmfront in the next season of ETF2L. Wireplay has added turbine_pro and coldfront to the map pool for this season, so I definitely like those choices. My ideal map pool, with a total of 6 maps would be: new granary, badlands, gullywash, turbine_pro, cold/warmfront and snakewater.
Thank you for agreeing to the interview, do you have any shoutouts?
eXtine Yea, Shoutout to my Fiancée BustyLaTit <3 Shoutout to Evan, Chong, Luc, siN, and everyone who's helped eXtv out. Yyyaooooooo to all the fans out there! Shoutout to the Spacewhales and MMZ. Shoutout to PDXLAN.net the best sponsored North American LAN. Shoutout to Portland.
The Pledge Just a general shoutout to the entire TF2 community! You guys are all amazing, and if we step it up in 2011 by attending LANs and putting our heart in it, I’m sure we can make things happen for the next years of TF2! Also, have to plug the TF2 TV website, tf2tv.com, and the work that our website manager ShoX has done on it. Thanks buddy!