I never really meant to get into the Team Fortress 2 community like I did. If I’m totally honest I admit that stumbled into it through a series of events that I can only describe as serendipity. When I think about the little moments that lead me to the place that I am now I can’t help but smile. All the friendships I’ve made, all the connections that I’ve created, all the experiences that I’ve had are incredibly dear to me and have all been made possible due to the association I have with a video game.
It’s mind-boggling the amount of time and energy that I’ve poured into this in the year that I’ve been involved. There have been times where I wanted to walk away, but, then someone would message me with a smiley face, or a short message telling me how much they enjoyed something that I was a part of and the sleepless nights would feel worth it.
I’ve been lucky to get a chance to combine things that I love, gaming and being a general captain bossy pants. The Round Robin was a project that I became the defacto leader of and as a result of the messy handover I pretty much threw myself into it to prove that it could be successful and awesome.
The Team Fortress 2 competitive community can be really difficult to work with at times, stuck on the cusp of E-Sports greatness. Valve have yet to openly support the competitive scene, so there is a lot of arguments of how the scene should be run, what format is best, what the rules should be and how they should be implemented. It’s a little intense, and at times tempers flare up and make the whole scene look really hostile and difficult to get into.
For a while we (the admin staff) struggled with what The Round Robin should be, and the more we experimented and planned the more we realised that we were in the perfect place to be an entry level tournament into competitive Highlander. UGC is the biggest Team Fortress 2 Highlander tournament, but the season is long and it’s not uncommon for teams to disband mid-season because they weren’t aware of how much work they would have to put in. The Round Robin is only in an afternoon and gives a taster of the progression a regular season would have. If you could describe The Round Robin in two words, it would be fun and inclusion.
Which is why the Ladies of TF2 showmatch seemed like a perfect fit for us as it combines our two core beliefs for people interested in competitive TF2. I’ve been very lucky with TF2 and Valve games in general, I have never received any kind of negative reaction to the fact that I have ovaries and a vagina. When I joined mumble and booted up the game for the first time with my current team, everyone was just pretty chill, “You have boobies and you menstruate? Cool, whatever, just don’t drop the uber.. oh GOD DAMMNIT KHALEESI, don’t .. gah.” Me being bad at TF2 had nothing to do with my gender to them, I was just bad at TF2, which was pretty refreshing because in other games I’d either had people berate me for being a girl and bad, or just ignore me when I did well. Like I said, I’ve been lucky. Lots of other girls have been less lucky, they’ve been threatened, harassed, intimidated, berated and worst of all marginalised. So yes, when I requested for the two female only teams to be created, it was to foster that atmosphere of fun and inclusiveness in females that I knew were interested in the competitive format but were either scared or had previously been pushed out.
Some parts of the community reacted negatively, very very negatively. It shocked me how against this a lot of the people were and how vocal they were about it. It upset me and I’ll be honest reading through some of the posts at work I cried. It’s pretty demoralising to throw yourself into something and have others tell you what you’re doing is bad and that you should feel bad. But I remembered that I and everyone else involved weren’t doing this for the dissenters, we were doing this for the people who after each game would message us telling us this was the most fun they’d ever had. That they never thought X class could be so fun, that they were so glad that they did this because they were able to make a whole new group of amazing friends. Those were the people who we did this for and as long as there was one person who had an amazing time then it was all worth it.
And it was, it was a crazy success! At one point the stream hit a peak of 225 viewers and for the duration of the cast we rarely dipped below 180 viewers. I’m thankful to everyone who came out to watch and support the players. To everyone who sent encouraging messages, and to all the players themselves for having an awesome time :D
That was Saturday. Sunday was the mentoring tournament which I watched most of (what I did watch was amazing), but then had to sleep and go to eat because I was so exhausted. I came back to see a bunch of messages with people saying I’d been made Player of the Week on Kritzkast for my work with the Ladies of TF2 showmatch.
I know it’s ‘just a video game’, and it’s ‘just a hat’ (loljk hats are life), but it was really nice a genuinely nice gesture from people who I respect in the community. Elena, CSaur & dok the other ladies who were super involved in the organising and planning of the showmatch.
Also, big loves to MF who was so on top of everything and ensured we had a live cast, Kip for skipping study to stream it live (<33), d0lphin for being her insane co-caster, and all the other RRR admins, Slacker & Steve for being awesome and stuff.
I’m really looking forward to listening to the podcast later and hearing what they had to say on the topic, but for now I’m going to go kill things while being all sparkly :3