GankStars Esports

Damn it feels good to be a GankStar

Home for the best esports players & community contributors.

 

Exceptional skill

Inspiring sportsmanship

Great personalities

Vainglory Dispatch #1: Improving Together

For a few months now, Skillz4Killz had been working on gathering feedback about Vainglory. Ever since Skillz joined GS about a month and a half ago, a few GS Galaxy members as well as non-members have joined in to help him. Special thanks to sean and BrianGlory for their contributions. Some ideas in this document were taken from others' forums posts and they should have been credited at the end - please let Skillz know if he missed anyone.

The project is not being published under GankStars' brand; it is owned by Skillz and I do think it's best for it to be a neutral ground where actual authors take all the credit. We do want to help spread the word about it, however; we think it's a great project in general and one that brings value to the community. I spent at least a full dozen hours editing the document myself. 

Please - read and participate, either on Reddit or the official Forums, whichever is easiest for you. We can't wait to see how amazing Dispatch #2 will be!

GankStars Vainglory Prize Winnings, Payouts 2015 - 2016

Almost a year ago, we were the first Vainglory organization (and among the first in any esport) to go public about how much we paid players at the time. We believe that transparency fuels positive change in the long-term and is the bedrock upon which communities can be built. Today, we are continuing that tradition by publishing our 2015 and 2016 prize winnings and how much of them we paid out to players. While prize winnings are technically publicly known, player payouts are not. However, even public information on winnings is hard to put together - there's not one web site that lists all competitions an organization or team participated in, or even prize categories for each competition. 

Note: this does not yet include Autumn Split 2 or Vainglory World Championship. I'll update the table after split 2 and, if we go to Worlds, after that. 

2015

We only started tracking winnings for 2015 since the Vainglory World Invitational in July. Frankly, there was nothing to keep track of prior to that... The only competition that successfully finished and paid out prizes before VWI was VGL Season 1, where GankStars Sirius placed 1st and won $100 total.

It was a good year for us thanks to GSS winning 1st in VIPL. Outside of that, prize winnings were quite low as Vainglory pro scene was just in its beginnings. 

2015 Vainglory Winnings Distribution

Total: $42k

Note: player payouts do not include salaries, bonuses, etc. - only prize winnings share

2016

We didn't place 1st in a VIPL, and we certainly had our number of struggles in North America up until now. However, we still managed to come close to the total amount of prize winnings, which speaks to the growth of Vainglory as an esport. By the time Autumn Split 2 is finished, we should just barely cross 40k total for the year.

2016 Vainglory Winnings Distribution

Total: $37k

Note: player payouts do not include salaries, bonuses, etc. - only prize winnings share

Notes & Observations

1. Korea dropped from being 93% of our prize winnings in 2015 to 27% in 2016, as other SEMC-sanctioned competitions picked up the tab. Even if we had won one of the VIPLs in 2016, like we did in 2015, winnings from Korea-based competitions would have accounted for 50% of total, down from 93%. This diversification of income is definitely a good sign.

2. The winnings do not include non-prize income such as sponsorships, streaming deals, and stipends. Player payouts also do not include salaries, performance bonuses, food stipends, etc. Had we included performance bonuses alone in 2016, the player payouts would have reached 98% of total prize winnings. (That number goes to far north of 100% if you also account for salaries; i.e., GankStars had not made a single dollar on prize winnings in 2016.) Showing that in the tables would pollute the data; the goal was to show what prize earnings are possible and how much is left after a typical player payout. 

3. The numbers above are for a consistent top 3 team. We didn't place top 3 in every competition we participated in, however, we did place top 3 in every competitive season of Vainglory so far. Off the top of my head, I think TSM is the only team with similar or higher prize earnings in Vainglory in 2016.

If you're not in the top 3, your earnings will be dramatically different from those shown above, perhaps surprisingly so. The distance between 3rd and 4th places is quite large still.

Conclusion

Wow, GankStars won a lot of money! Well, not really. With 9 pro paid players in Vainglory, in 2016 our monthly expenses exceeded our annual share of prize earnings. Let that sink in. The industry right now is 90% about sponsors and other sources of income, or finding players willing to play for free.

A substantial increase in the amount of prize winnings has been made available in Vainglory between 2015 and 2016. In 2015 we were the highest-earning Vainglory organization with a distant 2nd making less than half; in 2016 we've seen at least two other organizations earn similar amounts, one of them perhaps even more. A few others have earned less, but not by that long of a shot. Hooray! Here's to 2017 continuing, if not accelerating this trend.

FooJee: Addressing the Elephant in the Room

Hi everyone, this is Pwnt. 

FooJee is currently a co-owner of GankStars Esports, and he is casting a competition for Twitch in which GankStars participates. Here is what we're doing about it and what to expect in the near future.

1. FooJee hasn't been a part of any GS decisions since the moment he announced that he's stepping down from leadership. IraqiZorro, BFDM_MEXI, and myself made a separate iMessage chat and we've been making all the decisions on our own since. For example, FooJee wasn't informed about Oldskool et al joining us until after the decision had been made and player contracts were sent out for signatures.

2. FooJee asked both SEMC and Twitch to make a decision about this very situation: is it a conflict of interest or not? And if it is, what should we do about it? We hope to hear back from them this week, though of course they may have a lot on their plate, we don't know. Note that other casters have publicly been members of competitive guilds for a long time now, so that part isn't new; however, FooJee is the first caster to have a financial interest in an org.

3. I have recently sent out an e-mail to SEMC and Twitch executives also recognizing a potential conflict of interest, informing them of our intent to solve it by October 15th, and requesting their guidance/stance on the issue. Perhaps they'll just have FooJee sign a binding document that puts on specific restrictions and we end it on that - we don't know.

Now, the reason it's taking awhile to make a decision on this is two-fold:

a) it wasn't clear at first what FooJee would choose to do after GankStars, as he had many options. His trip to NA and EU finals was a test, and it wasn't until close to Split 1 beginning that we learned he chose to continue casting for Vainglory.

b) Awarding ownership is an easy processes; changing it, however, is much more complicated. How does GankStars buy ownership back, if at all? For how much? On what terms? There are attorneys involved, government forms, and frankly a lot of learning about related laws and processes, all while we're bringing new players onboard, expanding to Critical Ops, and handling some other cool projects that we hope you hear about soon. Not the best of excuses, but... honest ones nonetheless.

We hope to have a resolution to this before Split 2 begins. There was never a doubt that FooJee would behave himself in the utmost professional way, just like he has so far. I don't believe any of his casting has had any bias, and his posts on Tumblr had as much critique of GSS as of any other team. I think we would all agree that Vainglory benefited from having him behind the analyst desk. Still, this isn't about trust, but rather about principle. We need to either establish clear boundaries that all parties agree to and perhaps even sign some legally-binding document, or figure out how to transfer ownership interest. That's what's being decided now and we hope to update you on it soon.

Thank you for your support and patience!

Spring and Summer of 2016 - Why, What, and What's Next

Hey Everyone! 

Some time ago Cull departed, then gabevizzle and Oldskool, and recently R3cKeD, and many of you started wondering what's going on. We mostly abstained from comment because we are always very careful about releasing any player information; even if that player parts with us on bad terms, privacy is something we do not take lightly. But unanswered questions lead to rumors, and rumors lead to misconceptions. Misconceptions become perception, and lingering perception becomes reality. 

So it's time to address this; I believe we can do it while keeping key private details private. If a player has a family matter, a health condition, a love interest, or personality issues that affect performance - we believe that should stay private. Other things, especially behavior that's already public, can be disclosed.

First, some background.

Who Am I?

You know me as PwntByUkrainian, but outside of VG I go by Alex. I am a senior iOS engineer at Intel, Inc., which means that I write apps for Apple devices. I grew up sheltered because my dad said "no games all summer unless you bring home straight A's". So I did little outside of studying & playing video games, and I grew up a geek with a passion for gaming. I wanted to be a pro player but never had the opportunity. This is why today I am passionate about helping as many people as possible to be pro players instead. 

GankStars was born a year and a half ago, but so far I have had zero financial interest in it - the law doesn't allow me to. I'm working in the USA on a worker visa, which means I can only be employed by Intel and no one else. I can help and advise a business and even make decisions, but I cannot be employed as a CEO, a manager, or any other paid staff until I get my 'green card' (which may or may not happen this year). I've made $0 from GS so far (I'm in the negative, actually, since I invested some of my savings), and this will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. I work 40 hours a week at Intel and when I come home I do GankStars for one reason only: passion. I have plenty of opportunity in life whether GS fails or succeeds, so there's simply no motivation for any sort of greed, power grab, or anything of sorts. 

As a side note, FooJee and IraqiZorro have also made $0 as co-owners so far. They're paid as competitive players & streamers, but in the same amounts we have compensated some of our other best players. Our new co-owners BFDMMEXI and Owens will not see any money anytime soon, either: eSports simply takes years of investment before it bears any fruit. 

Who Are GankStars?

Same people we've always been: champions of community, competitive spirits, and naive defenders of sportsmanship and good relationships. We are sirius about building a great community and a place where players can flourish. Vainglory isn't just another game on our quest to expand to a mega-eSports org. No - Vainglory is home, Vainglory is fam. A home we've helped build - from the first streamed Vainglory LAN parties, to the famous pictures of VIPL I took that you saw in early articles by Red Bull, etc., to hero design somewhat shaped by our (and many others') feedback, to a lot of current Evil 8 players being GS, ex-GS, or from a team that at one point or another we helped in a significant way.

There's history tied to GankStars everywhere you look because we want to make history. There are other guilds and orgs that love VG as much as we do and have contributed greatly, no doubt about it, but there's perhaps nobody aside from SEMC itself who loves the game more. We are here to help VG grow, to inspire players in being positive, and to increase the overall pie so that VG eSports is actually sustainable for many participants, not just the top one or two. I am proud to say that we have made several decisions that hurt us in the short-term, but decisions that we thought had to be made to keep our integrity and to benefit Vainglory at large. Whether GS succeeds or fails, at least we know we can sleep well at night.

Yeah, Sure, but Why Did Some People Leave?

First, we've had a long relationship with most everyone on this list. As of the time of writing, none of players who left have stayed longer at their next org. 

Cull 

During the month of December 2015, you may have noticed Cull streaming a lot from Korea during VIPL S2... you can go to Mobcrush archives and see that he streamed over 100 hours that month. This naturally negatively impacted his practices and tournament performance, so we requested him to limit streaming hours. Myself and IraqiZorro, gabevizzle discussed this with Cull at a coffee shop in Seoul on our last day there during that trip. Cull was of a different opinion, plus he was presented with the TSM offer, so shortly after our discussion he left for TSM. It's hard to blame him here - TSM undoubtedly looked like a big opportunity back then, and the conversation about streaming perhaps rubbed him the wrong way. We supported his decision in the sense of it being an opportunity for him - Cull is well-loved in GS and if he wants to focus more on streaming or try out what seemed great, he should do that. 

Gabe

To fill Cull's spot, we first looked at Statusbaked. Problem is, we had a great relationship with LibX (we helped them during Autumn Finals with advice/practices), and they seemed to be the next big upcoming team. As I said above, we believe that having multiple strong teams helps all of Vainglory. If we took Status, we would have put a big hole in LibX and break our word about caring for the overall health of the scene. No matter how hard we looked, the choice was between gutting another team by stealing their jungler, or recruiting a very green free agent. Note: we're not saying Status wanted to leave; I don't remember if we even ended up approaching him. I'm just using him as an example of players we looked at and why we didn't make them offers.

So the best option at the time was to move FooJee to Sirius. Iraqi and Foo played successfully on Kollab before, so we had reasons to believe this would work. We also knew that both were leaders and shot-callers by heart, and that this move could result in a collision of personalities. Alas, there was only one way to find out which would come true. You know the rest: the team was able to perform at top 3 level, but couldn't win 1st. The synergy between FooJee and gabe just wasn't the same as between Cull and gabe, and the dynamic between Iraqi and FooJee was good but not the best. This situation upset gabevizzle after 3rd place placement in Winter season, Hammers sold him on Kinetic, and he decided to leave. Gabevizzle expressed exactly zero concerns with the team until the day of Winter Finals, so there was absolutely nothing we could do to even react to this. At the same time, I failed as a manager to bring out the opinions. Sure, I asked gabe regularly if everything was okay and he always said "yes", but some people have quieter personalities and it's a team manager's job to recognize that and provide an atmosphere where everyone feels they can express themselves fully. 

Oldskool

Moving FooJee to Sirius had ripple effects; Oldskool was left on Vega with R3cKeD, but without a great replacement for FooJee. Him and the team tried his best, but eventually he left on good terms. This was more of a "we can't find you a perfect teammate" situation rather than anyone having any bad feelings. Oldskool maintains a great relationship with GS and is well-loved amidst all GS members; we're very happy to see him doing great. Go Skool! 

R3cKeD

Once gabe left, we needed a solid support. R3cKeD was a natural choice because he worked quite well with FooJee. However, the dynamic between Iraqi and Foo remained at 70-80%, and other failures occurred (which I'll keep private to respect player privacy). In the end, R3cKeD wanted Iraqi to stay on Sirius, but we wanted Iraqi for Cerberus. We knew the EU team would benefit from Iraqi's experience and leadership, and we hoped we could find a laner for Sirius. Frankly, we underestimated the importance of Iraqi being on Sirius for R3cKeD, so when opportunity presented itself to jump ship, R3cKeD took it. R3cKeD - I love you man, and I'm sorry this was mishandled, but honestly not much choice was available.

Other

We do not plan on selling. This stance cost us some players, and we wish them their best, but it's a stance that we nevertheless currently have. Some players see Cloud 9 or TSM or FNATIC and want to play for them - I don't blame them. But all of those top dogs were our size once upon a time, and I see absolutely no reason why we cant be as good if not better. But Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was Cloud 9 - patience and hard work is key. Best teams aren't ones that can have a win streak, but ones that can grow stronger from their losing streaks. There's nothing more awesome than building something from ground up and being able to say, "I was a part of this!" If you're the kind of person who loves that idea - join us :) We're here until we succeed or die. 

Now, no team makes zero mistakes. No org is perfect. I can probably write another blog post about lessons I've learned, and I'm sure Iraqi and FooJee can add a list of their own. But the above captures the specific departures we've had, or at least according to the information we have. There may be other reasons players simply haven't told us about. 

Why Wasn't Sirius at NA Spring Live Finals?

The absence of GankStars at the Spring Live finals was a pure miscommunication. When we were invited to VIPL, it was our strong understanding that Sirius will be able to come back to NA in time for Spring Finals. They placed 2nd in qualifier 1, which gave them enough points to be seeded for the Finals. So we thought, sure - we can go and defend NA's title in VIPL and then come back and fight in the Finals. 

Well, 2 days before leaving for Korea we were told that VIPL finals were on the same day as NA Live Finals. Plane tickets were booked, apartment rented - not an ideal situation. We also had zero information about the importance of Spring season as it leads into Summer - there was no info about the new format, etc. So we tossed a coin and went to Korea. Looking backwards, had we had full information, we'd likely skip Korea due to conflicting schedules. And this isn't to blame anyone for it - as far as we know, some key information simply wasn't available at the time. 

We didn't get 1st in VIPL, but going 3-0 and then placing 3rd isn't exactly a failure either. 

By the way, I'm On 2nd Bag of Popcorn Now, Continue...

This brings us to Summer Split 1, where we had 4 new members on the team - zhyno, PajamaDrama, LoneDelphi, and MackDaddyB. zhyno broke his iPad during week 2 and couldn't play for awhile (the split was half-way done before zhyno told us what happened). Pajama, Delphi, and MackDaddyB have great attitudes but aren't nearly as experienced as most of the Evil 8 when it comes to competitions. They're good people, but they simply need more time together than what they were able to have so far. Our NA team Sirius was knocked out of Evil 8 as a result, and we're looking forward to claiming back our spot. 

So what's next? When we looked at the Summer season, we were once again careful when approaching players who were already on other teams - we really didn't want to gut any team out there. But frankly it seems nobody else cares about this, so perhaps we should just accept it as a reality of eSports. In both EU and NA, we have so far only recruited players that reached out to us first or were free agents. 

Sirius?

Our teams have always been meritocracies. FooJee isn't on a team because he's a co-owner; he's on it because he's a good player, a good captain, the best shot caller we currently have in NA, and because we really didn't want to gut another team. We're quite mature so having a co-owner on the team doesn't have a big effect; however, we realize it's still not ideal. I currently serve as a remedy to that - I'm not on any team and so have an unbiased perspective re: team's performance, health, etc. It is my job to give honest feedback to both FooJee and IraqiZorro when it's needed.

Will FooJee remain captain after Summer? Not likely. FooJee is great at business, and we have a lot of business work to be done behind the scenes. His ability to fulfill co-owner duties are very limited while he's competing, so it's not ideal to have him play long-term. So if not FooJee, who will lead Sirius (assuming Iraqi is still in EU)? Hell, if you're that person - step up and message us :)

Cerberus?

Cerberus is doing great. To answer the question we get a lot - L3oN isn't currently playing for one reason only: he can't travel to Summer Live Championships. Thus, the team that is able to go must get as much live experience as possible. L3oN is amazing (both as a person and a player) and we are looking forward to the day when he steps on stage at an event to a roaring cheer of the crowd. Vainglory is very young; there are many years ahead and many opportunities.

We don't want Iraqi to be on EU permanently; he's there to pass on experience and help the team mature into a scary, scary three-headed beast to be reckoned with. I don't know if it will be one season or two seasons, but ideally he comes back to NA sooner than later. Iraqi is flexible and can fill the role of a captain just as well as he can be an excellent laner with someone else being a captain. If Iraqi can perform well with all the extra responsibility, I can only imagine that he will perform even better if he isn't distracted by shot-calling. But first there would need to be someone who's is a better shot-caller - and that's a high bar to reach.

Hokay, I Guess That All Makes Sense. What's Next?

One thing we as GankStars can proudly point to is our track record: no unsportsmanlike moves, respect for all teams out there, directly helping many teams & people, and doing our best to push VG forward while of course still trying our best to be one of the best. We've given money to other teams so they can travel, we've advised at least a dozen other teams on starting up/organizing, and we even helped our direct competitors get sponsors. This will never change - it's simply our ethos. Call us stupid, but doing anything else simply makes no long-term sense. We need Hammers, Phoenix, Nemesis, Team Secret, TSM, SK, etc. If the scene isn't healthy, then "success" means very little. 

in the coming months, we're doing some cool moves starting with the addition of BFDMMEXI and Owens as co-owners. SaffireSky joins us as the social media queen. Steven Wong joins us as PR & Marketing. We're looking to expand the leadership/management team even more - if you have the attitude, work ethic, and time, you know what to do! Especially if you'd like to manage the expansion to Overwatch.

Our next big task is a gaming house, and we've spent months so far filing the required forms with US Immigration to enable IraqiZorro to live in the US - it's a long, arduous process. Meanwhile, Owens is building up our support staff - analysts, coaches, etc. We're looking to put processes and best practices in place that a truly professional team should have: from diet and exercise to training specific to reaction time to a system that measures progress via tests. We're looking for players who are as serious about VG and eSports as we are.

Of course, we'll continue to help grow the community in general, not just the pro players. We're doubling down on GS Academy and it's now in two languages: English and Russian. We're looking to add Chinese soon. I just want to say THANK YOU to GankStars Galaxy members! We're also growing our EU and NA guilds and looking for fun, active, awesome people to join us

As a side note, we want to thank you guys for the support. Yes you, the one reading this. It's pretty awesome to go to Twitter to read all kinds of amazing messages no matter if we win or lose that day. It's just.. great. Cheers!

Sirius Spring Roster Changes

The North American competitive scene is experiencing many roster changes as Winter Season comes to an end and players have time to evaluate their professional opportunities. This is no different for GankStars as we have recently announced the departure of long-time Roam gabevizzle from team Sirius. So that leaves the question! Who will help lead Sirius to victory in Spring 2016?

Welcome R3cKeD

GankStars is proud to announce that R3cKeD will be joining the
existing lineup of IraqiZorro and FooJee for the upcoming season.

R3cKeD has been active in Vainglory for over a year, specializing as a Roam player and showing great prowess on many heroes this position has required individuals to master. He is a strategist, opportunist, and mature/focused player always working on his personal skills. As a member of ‘Fusion’ in July of 2015, he played on the international stage in Seoul, Korea alongside FooJee and Oldskool for the Vainglory World Invitationals. R3cKeD would soon after join GankStars Vega to qualify and compete in the North American Autumn Championships. His domestic, international, and live-performance experience gives us great confidence in R3cKeD’s addition to the Sirius team and we can now set our sights towards the Spring Championships. 

Thank You

Whether you have been an avid long-time GankStars enthusiast or you are a new fan to the brand, we look forward to making you proud in the coming months and thank you ahead of time for your support.

The organization feels it, the players feel it. 

Cheers to an exciting future,
The GankStars Family

GankStars: Lessons Learned, Next Steps

Cull, gabe, Oldskool

With the loss of CullTheMeek, gabevizzle, and Oldskool we started seeing negative comments from some people online. They never come from people who know how hard it is to build something (those usually come offering help/advice instead), and we all know how everyone's a keyboard warrior on the Internet. Still, perception is reality, and it's our responsibility at GankStars to take public perception seriously and do our best to address it. 

First, I would be lying if I said that the departure of our two star players has no impact on GS. It does, especially short-term. I would also be lying if I said we know what that impact is/will be. Things always look morbid when something that worked well suddenly disappears; but when one door closes, another opens. We now have 2 positions available for people who want to prove themselves, same way Cull and gabe wanted to prove themselves when they first joined. They're two amazing players, no doubt about it. But it would be a disservice to all other players out there to say that there are no other 2 amazing players who can also train and succeed. The Vainglory eSports scene is becoming quite healthy in the sense that there are multiple teams and dozens of players who are very close in skill level. 

The question I see asked a lot is "Why did Cull/gabe leave?" We can't answer that fully. But I will talk in generic terms about lessons learned so far, and what we're changing. Nearly every team has its internal dynamics, conflicts, and issues, no matter how good they perform. There were many-many things that worked with Sirius; there were a few that didn't, and these few meant more than we realized. 

We're also seeing the older, more established orgs enter Vainglory, and for some players those orgs have a lot of appeal. We can't blame anyone wanting to join TSM or Cloud 9 or what have you; we only wish them happiness there. But I can say that we're determined to become just as notorious, that 2016 looks amazing for us, that GS offers same-if-not-better competitive salary and performance incentive opportunities in Vainglory, and that in a grassroots org you're a legend that's helping build an empire, not just another face in the crowd. GS is also heavily community-focused, and exists for a bigger purpose than just wining prize money. For some these things matter the most, and it is those players that we're looking for.

Lessons Learned

KEEP IT FUN! We were so busy building up GankStars that we almost entirely forgot how to have fun. We became a too-professional team - practices were about just that, practicing. But a team is about more than that - it's about friendships, a collective journey, and just human emotions in general. "How was your day? What did you eat last night? DISNEY! Which park are you going to, and have you been before?" It's about hanging out, making memories, taking silly pictures. For Sirius, it was just practicing, day in and day out. One of our major goals for Spring is to just have a lot more fun; after all, this is a game and YOLO!

Ground/coach the players. If humans could always see their own mistakes and issues, the world would be a whole lot better place. But we simply can't, no matter how good we are at other things. Some can do it better than others; none can do it perfectly. We all have ups and downs, bad judgements, depressions (I went through 2 of those), or pure laziness. It's not bad - it's human. Having a coach or a manager to ground the players is amazingly helpful; I owe a lot to my friends who got me through my depressions. A coach sees things that you don't for a very simple reason: because he or she isn't you. Tiger Woods has a coach. Tom Brady has a coach. Michael Jordan had a coach. And all Olympians have had coaches. And it's not because the coaches were better than the sportsmen - often they weren't, and in fact best players rarely make best coaches. No, coaches are irreplaceable for one simple reason: because their students are human. And guess what? Those coaches also have personal coaches! Embracing your humanity instead of attempting to fight it is the first step to becoming a legend. We'll be looking for a coach for both of our teams for Spring/Summer.

Solicit feedback proactively. We've asked over and over again - please let us know if anything is wrong. What we've learned is that gamers are a whole lot more introverted in this regard than people at our jobs; they often don't speak up. It's easy to say, "if they don't speak up, it's their problem." Except it's also everyone's problem. We're all in this together and we owe it to each other to show continuous, proactive concern. With the team winning and far across the globe, I often didn't ask how things are going past the surface-level response. The players themselves sometimes were afraid to speak up simply because they didn't want to lose their contracts, or because they shied away from conflict. So going forward we'll put a big emphasis on emotional well-being and making sure there's ongoing communication about any issues and concerns.

Next Steps!

Competitive. So where is GankStars? Roster shake-ups often take a psychological toll on the remaining players. Honestly, that's our biggest obstacle right now. People blame themselves, or look too deep into what they've done wrong. There are always lessons to learn and a big change is sometimes necessary - a humble attitude never hurt anybody. But one can also spend too much time blaming themselves, trying to find something that's simply not there. Sometimes people just want a change, they just want to try something new. Sometimes they need to grow elsewhere before coming back (this happens a lot in other industries). Whatever the case is, the trick is to move on and that's what we're working on as far as our competitive side. 

Community. On the casual side, GS has never been better. Our web site roster is outdated as of time of writing (should be updated soon), but we have a total of 35 members in the guild now. We launched GankStars Academy and are continuing to expand the team that works on it. We've begun work on another project that we can't yet talk about, one that will also benefit all of Vainglory community including the competitive side. And, we will start recruitment for yet another large project soon. Awesome things are happening in this area and we're very excited about this Spring and Summer.

Clash Royale? One of our members is at Supercell headquarters in Finland as I write this, asking questions about Clash Royale. It's very likely that we'll enter that game in both competitive and casual roles very soon. Our goal is to be a three-game organization by the end of 2016, but we don't want to rush it; we'd prefer to fail as much as possible in one game first so we learn the ropes with least impact. That said, Clash Royale seems to have eSports in its sights and that means we're very interested!

Merchandise will be available via this web site soon! Before, we couldn't afford to buy in bulk and distribute ourselves, and we were dependent on finding a vendor that can print and sell individual shirts at great quality and without charging you a ton. Now we can buy in bulk, and Mexi and his wife graciously agreed to handle distribution. We tested Square payments at NA Championships, so soon we'll roll them out to this web site :) Hooray!!

Miscellaneous. GankStars is on solid financial footing and we will continue to grow our position by building strong relationships with businesses, supporters, and influences that share our vision. GS is here to stay, and we are building a framework that can last. We're looking for loyal players and galaxy members who want to build and be a part of a true grassroots org with strong community focus and ideals. If helping others makes you want to wake up in the morning, whether you're in EU or NA, you should apply

I'll end with something not related to this blog post at all, but something I found to be one of best lessons I learned in life: keep looking for those friends you can trust 100%. They're ah-mazing. Being vulnerable can hurt more than a few times, but if you find even one such friend, it's worth it. At the end of the day, life is wonderful. You'll just have to trust me on this one.

Cheers! 🍻

Pwnt

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