Sound: 2015 in Review

Yeah it’s one of those really annoying end of year blog posts. I was debating whether or not to do something like this, initially I was going to make it into a vlog but I decided to just write my thoughts down instead. This is mainly for me, I’m looking forward to checking back in a years time to see what, if anything, has changed. If you happen to be interested in my life, both professionaly and personally, feel free to continue reading. This is a long one, and there will likely be grammar and spelling mistakes because I’m not arsed with making it look good. Enjoy the ramble.

Here’s me almost exactly one year ago. This picture was taken in a bizarre sex/drug store in Canada. I was over there spending Christmas and New years with my girlfriend at the time, I was 6 months out of education and saved up every penny I had for the trip. It was a great time, I enjoyed the country and visiting Toronto was amazing, but by January 8th it was time to face reality and head home. Also walking into the wind in -21C temperature was fucking painful.

For the first 3 months of the year I was still leading the line for Esportsheaven as one of their most prolific reporters. After the departure of Richard Lewis to Daily Dot it was essentially a 2 man operation between me and editor in chief Michale “Drexxin” Lalor. I was earning pennies, which is no sleight to the publication, they paid me what they could and gave me creative freedom. I enjoyed writing at Esportsheaven, but I knew eventually something would have to change. I’d either have to find another job in esports, go back to education, or find a job outside the industry. During this time I didn’t do a great deal outside of writing. I did some talk shows and attended local LANs with friends. The most notable report from this time is perhaps KaSing to join H2K -

Before my first meeting with the Daily Dot Editor in Chief, Kevin Morris, I had a figure in my mind knowing that if they couldn’t match it I would take another job offer I had from a tech company in a nearby town. They doubled that figure, and I took the job there and then. I actually remember coming close to tears knowing that my goal of achieving a career in esports was one step closer. Though it was only in a part time capacity, I had joined one of the biggest publication in esports at the time, and that was a very big deal for me.

The first article I published on the Daily Dot. I recall shaking with nerves as it went public, knowing full well that I could no longer hide under the banner of ‘volunteer’ if it was wrong. It was true, and the article did well. The rest of the offseason proved to be a success and I felt happy with how things were going professionally for the first time in a long time. The DailyDot was a step up in more ways than one. I now had to start from the bottom of the chain again to prove my worth, working with the likes of Richard Lewis, probably the best reporter in the scene, and Samuel Lingle, perhaps the best writer in the scene. My first event for the site was Gfinity in London. The games were sick, the interviews were fun, and the drinking was great.

Things were in a slightly different place personally. For the last year of my life every penny I made was put towards either a plane ticket to Canada to see my girlfriend, or to help her come and see me in the UK. Obviously in hindsight this was unhealthy, and yet I was happy with it. Now that I was making more money, I decided I wanted to end the constant visiting and go for something a little longer, and after discussing with her decided to go and stay with her for 4 months (June-October).

The time approached and everything was going great, I was extremely nervous but excited about the change to my life, and it seemed like she was too. That was, until she told me not to go, and that the relationship was over, 3 days before my flight.

Obviously it sucked, and for the next month or so I pretty much just strolled on day by day doing nothing. Obviously I got over the relationship ending, however what impacted perhaps even more was the sudden change in plans. Something I had been preparing for mentally for weeks wasn’t happening, and that sucked. I was back to my normal, boring, life in England.

My friends (both in and out of esports) played a huge part in getting me back on my feet. Not only that, but my boss at Daily Dot, Kevin, was understanding about the situation and worked with me to get my confidence back. During the time after I also stopped casting and hosting talk shows, which I regret now.

Here’s me in Cologne after the ESL One CS:GO tournament (July-ish?). We met cArn at the airport on our way home and snagged a picture with the trophy. As you can see, I had been comfort eating…a lot. Props to Jacky (middle) for looking normal here, considering he passed out in the airport about half an hour later. Some of us can handle hangovers, others can’t.

What pulled me out of the slump was a call from Kevin, telling me Daily Dot had approved the cost of sending me to the League of Legends World Championships. I had covered events before, with written interviews, but this time they told me I would be doing video, and just like that I came back with a new mentality. On-site video interviewing was something I had wanted to do for a very long time, and now that I got the opportunity to do it, I wanted (and still want) to be the best at it.

unfortunately we had issues in Paris, and the cameraman couldn’t make it. That being said the event was still good, I got to do the usual written content and for the first time industry leaders were telling me they knew my work and liked it. I got to visit the city during the days between groups and had a pretty great time doing it. Shoutout to Phil for showing me around the place.

Next up was London for the quarters, and my first ever video interviews. Shoutout here goes to Soaz, for being my first ever on-site, on camera interview. Also meeting Hermit, then the head coach of Origen, was a laugh. He’s a funny guy and an all round lad/daddy. The interviews went well, not amazing, but decent, and I realized it was something I definitely enjoyed doing. The parties in London were specifically fucking great too, if not doused in a little bit of regret the day after.

The Semi finals were hosted in Brussels, Belgium. Now I don’t want to get ahead of myself having only been there for a few days, but Brussels is the best fucking place on the planet. The hotel was outstanding, everything was cheap, and the little bar we found called ‘Celtica’ will stay in my memory forever. At one point we managed to drag Dexter along with us and chanted “ELEMENTS…ELEMENTS…ELEMENTS” at him for a good few minutes. I still don’t know if he appreciated the gesture, but I like to think he did. This is also were I took the biggest ‘catfish’ selfie of my entire life, which I’m more than happy to share below. I mean look at me, is that even me?

The Worlds journey ended in Berlin. It was my first time visiting and it was okay. We filmed some footage on the day of the finals but apart from that the event itself was mediocre. My favourite part of Berlin was hitting the town on Halloween. Myself, Jebus, Hiiva, Taikki, and Jess found a bar. Later on Travis from Gamespot would find and inform us that Doublelift has left CLG to join TSM, that was the point where I thought I’d had enough and should probably go to bed.

Unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately) my travel home was scuppered by bad weather in the UK, and I was forced to remain in Berlin for 2 more days. This is when I got to know Jess some more, and it turns out we ended up dating some time after that. It hasn’t been long but who knows what would have happened had I not been grounded in Berlin, most recently we spent some time together in Cologne for IEM, and things are going well. Here we are doing our best anime poses.

This was taken at around 5AM in a shisha bar on Halloween night. My eyes tell the story of how wrecked I am.

With Worlds coming to an end I resumed life in the UK, wondering what would come next. I kept writing reports and features part-time for the Daily Dot and getting decent pay, however I soon learned that the site wanted me to join as a full time employee, meaning double the pay, double the hours, and double the responsibility.

This was, and is, literally the dream for me. I started volunteering in esports in 2012, and 3 years later I went full time. No longer did I have to make excuses to my family about why I wasn’t working full time or studying. No longer did I have to wonder “at one point do I have to stop this and live my real life”.

I’ve been a full time employee for almost 3 weeks, and I love it. The increase in pay has also offered another bonus, though strictly speaking this is 2015 in review, some news about 2016 to finish it off wouldn’t hurt anyone.

Plans are currently in place for me to move out of my mothers house, and into Berlin, the capital of Germany, the home of the LCS, to do weekly video interviews at the studio. Hopefully joining me on this venture will be my trusty cameraman and best friend Sam. At the time of writing we have found a couple of places that we will maybe get to view if we can get out to Berlin for week 1 of the LCS.

That’s the professional side of things. Personally I am also in a much better place than I was 6 months ago, and I would say I’m arguably in a better place than 12 months ago. I’m doing things for me now, not for someone else, and I feel great for it. I started going to the gym and working on myself, and although christmas has hindered progress, i’m still on the right path.

So that’s that. 2015 for me, Josh Raven, esports journalist. 2016 looks bright, here’s hoping it runs similarly to 2015, just without the shitty part in the middle!

Here comes the boring part where I thank people who’s made this year fucking great. You’ve probably stopped reading by now, but if you still are, here’s the people that made it sick.

Sam “banelor” Davies - When this lad walked up to me at Gfinity in London I didn’t even recognize him. He offered to buy me a drink and let me sleep in his hotel room, then left the next day. Little did I know that in the months to come he would become my best friend, in and out of esports. He’s been there for the bad times, and he’s been there for the great times. Sometimes I feel like we could make a sitcom out of some of the shit we get up to, but most of that is perhaps best left unsaid. See you in Berlin next year, love you homie.

Robert “Rusc” Woolford - None of you know who this is because it’s my friend from school who i also play video games with. Not going to write a lot here because he knows how much he means to me. Always welcome to come visit me in Berlin (assuming the move goes ahead as planned). Love ya mate.

Jess - Made me watch my first ever episode of any anime ever. It was shit. Had a great time in Berlin and Cologne, can’t wait to hopefully move out there and see you more often/avoid that long distance thing! Sound.

Joe “Innerflame” Elouassi - Though he now works for a company that has me blacklisted, I still gotta show my love for the guy. Been one of my closest friends in esports for a couple of years now, and I’ll miss having the occasional catch up over a beer in the Lancer. Good luck in California, you’re gonna smash it mate.

Kevin Morris/Daily Dot staff - I’m full time esports and this is the guy that made the dream real. The best boss I’ve ever had both in and out of esports. Helped me improve so much since I first joined the writing staff and has been understanding and helpful when I needed it. Thanks for believing in me man. Shoutouts to Richard Lewis of course (who was staff for most of the year), and Josh Rubin/Efren Salinas for letting me get into video interviews!

Lichard Rewis - For continuing to push to me to be better, standing up for me when I fuck up or people are just shitting on me for no reason, and (I think) pushing me for the job at Daily Dot.

Ali “GrossGore” Larssen - For a laugh

Probably forgot someone who is going to make me feel bad but hey I spent like 15 minutes doing this so stay triggered ;)


Bonus pics

Getting rekt in Celtica in Brussels with Sam, Lewis, Joakim+Linda (Fragbite) and some other guy I don’t know (sorry) I think Anne is the one taking the picture here!


Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Josh Raven’s story.