[center][img]http://www.gamesync.net/img/articles/2005-05-07_marshals.jpg[/img][size=1]From left to right: Thomas, Desmine, Eddy and Pan Yuan.[/size][/center]
We sat down with Desmine, Eddy, Pan Yuan and Thomas, marshals from Rapture Gaming, at the sidelines of the Cyber Cafe Preliminaries at Asteroids Cyber to get an insight into professional marshaling, and how it is like to marshal at WCG.
Can you introduce yourselves?
Desmine: I’m Desmine, aka VIRUS, and I’m 19 this year.
Eddy: I’m Eddy, aka Fishy, 21 this year.
Pan Yuan: I’m Pan Yuan, aka Pan, 20 this year.
Thomas: I’m Thomas, aka BlindSpot, 28 this year.
How did you get involved in game marshaling?
D: I was a gamer who joined ASGN. About 3 and a half years ago I joined xstat.
E: I took part in WCG 2002 because I was curious about competitive gaming. From there xstat got to know me and I was asked to join them.
P: I was recommended by Desmine to Rapture Gaming.
T: When Herman set up Rapture Gaming he asked me to help out in Warcraft and DotA, and now I’m the Ops Manager in Rapture Gaming.
Can you explain what a game marshal does?
D: There’s only one way of refereeing. You have to make sure the game goes smoothly, that the players do not cheat or use any bug exploit. You also have to make sure that there’s no interaction between the spectators and the players.
What are the challenges you face as a marshal, and how do you overcome them?
P: Lack of sleep.
D: Some players try to create trouble to gain popularity for themselves. For example they might flame the marshals on forums, posting baseless accusations. Some players also try to blow up minor matters. For example, some try to blow simple technical problems hoping for a match restart.
We just continue with the match, and if they continue to make trouble and behave unruly, we’ll issue them a warning. Disqualification is also always an option.
T: It’s like pro sports. If you are a pro player, you should be behaving professionally and not disrupt the flow of play. By the way, have you guys ever disqualified anybody?
E: No, normally people quieten down after being issued a warning.
T: For us we know when we are wrong and when we are right.
How do you prepare for tournaments and competitions?
D: Most marshals were once competitive players who stopped competitive play for one reason or another. We also do check online forums to catch up on the latest bugs and game exploits. People also do tell us about them.
Do you feel that there is a general misconception that marshals have it easy, just sitting there and monitoring the match?
E: Monitoring the match is easy, ensuring the match runs smoothly is another.
D: Yeah, monitoring the match is one thing, making sure the game runs smoothly is another. We have to ensure that no one is cheating or exploit game or balance bugs.
How has game marshaling evolved over the years?
E: It’s been almost the same throughout the years.
T: Most of us came from xstat, so there’s already been an established way to do marshaling. In terms of keeping an event running smoothly, there’s definitely been an improvement. The timing between games are shorter now, so there’s less waiting.
We’re also strict about the punctuality. If you’re late, then you’re barred from competing. Previously, teams could register last minute, but we’ve stopped that now.
On the marshaling side, we make sure things are done properly. For example, we make sure teams don’t swap players.
D: Due to professional gaming becoming more commercialized, marshals get better pay now, but are also required to be more professional. Sponsors will send people to check that people are doing their job, and that the right people are being paid. It’s not like previous times when people did it for fun.
What future do you see in gaming as a marshal?
D: Not much, unless the government does something about it.
P: People get bored of gaming after some time.
D: The old batch of gamers quit mostly because they became disgusted at the newer generation. Otherwise they became bored. It’s hard to maintain interest in gaming for more than 5 years.
T: Gamers are not getting the respect, fame or fortune they deserve.
E: They are also not getting exposure to gamers overseas.
D: Yeah, it’s one thing to see them play online, it’s a totally different thing to see them in person.
What kind of vision do you have for game marshaling in Singapore?
E: For me, I wish sponsors can send us overseas for exposure to marshals from other countries.
T: We want to approach the good marshals and invite them to marshal in the WCG finals. What WCG does is to select a few marshals from each country to marshal at the WCG Grand Finals, to ensure an unbiased and multinational marshaling team.
D: I’d like to see more money involved. Marshalling is just like any other job, you’re always looking for more money. You can’t deny that the reality in Singapore that money means everything.