This week would normally mark our five year anniversary at LAN Mob. 2020 has unfortunately found us victim to the impacts of COVID and we’re six months into a state mandated shutdown. I still field calls and messages daily asking when we’ll be reopening and reminding us what an important role we play for many in the community, and not a day goes by that I’m not thinking of reopening.

I could spend this blog reflecting on the last five years, but given the wild state of the world I thought this post would be better spent reflecting on some of the changes that we haven't yet brought to the area, and some thoughts on how the future might play out for us.

Esports


We've remained busy with Rome Revolution through the pandemic, and I'm happy with how the League of Legends team has progressed and continues to grow. 2020 brought a major shift to the approach and I'm really proud of what's been accomplished to date. Most of the progress this year has been without my involvement as I've taken more of a back seat role, but I feel like our understanding of the game and what it takes to field and grow a team is at an all time high, and the attitude is 100% in the right place. I learn more about the game every time I watch them play and they really feel like the strongest iteration of the team we've ever had.

The players are the only persons able to utilize the shop during the pandemic, and I understand the need for more resources here. The amateur scene really is the wild west in terms of org structure and stability, and I would like to see it develop similar to the way football has developed in the UK. I think with the developments in Clash this year we may not be that far off, but LCS is also tied by franchising rights that makes the ascent for new orgs a difficult path. As the off-season is approaching I'm excited to watch Worlds 2020 in China and can't wait to see what changes are in store for League of Legends 2021.

I'm also happy to see an uptick in interest from local colleges and high schools looking to develop esports programs for their students. I could spend paragraphs listing the benefits of having these programs, and I've been offering all my support to the schools to get these up and running. Through my experience working with youth and esports - personal successes and failures -  I can't pay enough respect to the teachers and coaches that work with youth day in and day out. It can be incredibly challenging, sometimes unrewarding work, but they have my deep respect.

Youth esports brings a lot of challenges. In any given game one side is going to lose, so how do you teach kids to have a healthy approach to losing? Or how to manage feelings of cynicism and negativity and the pressures of social media? How do you bring together kids of varying backgrounds and teach them a mutual respect for each other and their opponents? Esports is at the crossroads of so many of the important issues kids are facing today.

So many students need what these programs can offer in a structured way, and a healthy CNY esports scene is going to greatly increase the caliber of talent from our region. There are future potential pro players sitting in local middle schools right now - I know because I've met them and watched them destroy adults who have been honing their craft for years. There just exists today no accessible program for them to accelerate their learning. Through my experiences in this space I've come to the conclusion the youth esports initiatives has to start with the schools - the support structure is already there from teachers to guidance counselors to athletics coaches. We're ready to assist however we can.

LAN Mob Venue


Probably the greatest amount of thought for me during the downtime has been spent with the venue. I have a vision for what I want the LAN to be and it's drastically different from what exists today. At the time I did the best I could with the resources available to me, and a lot of people have told us it's the greatest thing to happen to the city in a long time, but for me it's nowhere near where it needs to be.

2020 was going to be a big year for us to make a step up, but the world had other plans. The time away has been great to provide me the space to really think deeply on what a venue needs and what the next shop will look like. That's been clarifying more each day in my mind.

Self Improvement


In a sense the past five years has been a great trial run in understanding how this industry works and what's needed to succeed. It's also clarified for me what my role is in the business. I've known since day one that I was building the kind of business that I love to work at, but what I've had to learn along the way was in what ways I can best apply my skills.

So through operating the LAN since September 2015 I've learned a great deal about my strengths and weaknesses, where I can make the biggest impact and where I need to tread carefully.  I've learned a lot about what works and what doesn't, and why. 

I spend a lot of time thinking about other business ideas now. I think my heart will always be with the LAN, but also the knowledge and confidence I've gained through building and operating the LAN has pushed me to consider new startup ideas. I have a half dozen in mind, some overlapping with the LAN and others having very little to do with gaming. Maybe the personal drive is partly being fueled by the shutdown, and I'm not sure if it's in the cards for 2020, but I may be launching more startups in 2021.

When Will LAN Mob Be Back?


It's hard to say! There has been a continued gradual lifting of restrictions on bowling alleys, gyms, and other venues, and the COVID rate in Oneida County continues to trend towards zero. I think most likely we'll see a re-opening around when a COVID vaccine becomes widely available, so somewhere in the late 2020-early 2021 timeline. That is only a few months out! Until then we thank everyone for their patience and for all the support you've given us over the past five years. COVID-19 for many businesses was a disruptive event, and it's touched countless lives for the worse. For those of us who have kept our health when so many are sick or dying, we should count our blessings and be grateful.
Over the course of the Smash Quarantine Series I've been adding top placing players on Twitter, so my Twitter feed has gradually shifted to have a pretty good pulse on the Smash community. This week browsing my Twitter feed I can only sum up this way:



I won't recount any of the stories I've read, but more so wanted to comment on the state of the community and things I have learned through hosting locals, online events, and sponsoring players.

  1. Communities are complex. Communities will attract people of varying ages, backgrounds, political views, religions, sexuality, ethnicity, and worldviews. They are in essence a melting pot that have been drawn together for a common hobby or purpose. That's both what makes communities so amazing and at the same time so fragile. You will find everything in a community, both good and bad, and it's a constant effort to try to root out the bad and foster growth of the good.
  2. Communities need leaders. In my experience community leaders are not chosen as much as they are self-made. The most difficult part of being a community leader in Smash relates to the high level of drama the community experiences, which can sometimes be traced back to the maturity of the player base. Leading a vibrant community is tiring, often thankless work, and leaders who volunteer with no pay often burn out quickly. We should all appreciate the work these community leaders put in.
  3. Communities die from within. We are seeing it now on Twitter, these self-inflicted wounds on the community by members generalizing the whole as the total of its worst sums. Negativity and toxicity is contagious and attractive, and it will consume a community in a downward spiral. Instead the focus should be on providing our unconditional support to those coming forward, and I'm happy to be seeing a lot of that from within this community.

When things go wrong in a community you'll often see blame being placed and individuals being attacked or shunned. Sometimes that's justified - like the entirety of our Twitter feeds this week - but sometimes that's an overreaction from the community. Certainly as an the owner of a gaming venue I won't shirk any blame heaped on me for an event that goes poorly, or a community that's hit a bump in the road. Even if so many things are out of my control, and it's impossible to please all of the people all of the time, and those loud toxic voices can attract attention away from every positive thing that is happening, the responsibility is still on me to help get things back on track and try to find a path forward. And that is an attitude that we all must take towards this community, from participants to leaders to organizers. We have a responsibility to each other to make this work in a positive way.

My best advice at a difficult time like this is stay positive. I know it's hard with the whirlwind all around us, but this is the time for the better qualities of this community to shine. There are still many good people in this community, people who are learning from what's coming to light now and preparing for a better future for all of us.


I miss these guys.

Waking up this morning I sat down with a cup of coffee and booted up LAN Mob 1 to visit the Teamfight Tactics subreddit. I've been reading on Twitter about all these brand new comps named Willy Wonka and Candyland and I have no clue what they stand for. I glanced down at my calendar and realized - it has been 7 weeks since the LAN was last open. That Sunday in mid-March before a single case of that 'rona had reached Oneida County, when we had put CLOSED signs on every other station to enforce social distancing, and thermal scanning every forehead that walked in the door. The next day the statewide closures began and now nearly a full two months have passed.

Say it right.

I wouldn't say the time has flown by, but also it's a significant amount of time that has passed being holed up. This is normally a time when us Upstate NY residents transition from the long winter of being indoors, to moving about more outdoors, so staying inside for a few more weeks has been a little rough but also something we've trained our whole lives for.

This is especially true for gamers who spend large amounts of time inside. In some ways it could almost be like nothing has changed for us - one could just keep playing and ignore everything happening until things return to normal. It's perhaps not so easy with friends, family, and social media persons that are struggling to get through this period of isolation.

There are three truths that are good to keep in mind in times of panic and desperation:
  1. Humans Overreact - In times of fear humans have a tendency to overreact, and this gets amplified by social media. This can work in good ways - like people staying home and being extra careful who they interact with to fight the spread - and other ways, like packing together in tight spaces to protest. It's part of our nature to blow things out of proportion.
  2. Media is a Mess - Most people are tuning into one station that reinforces their own worldview and accepting it as truth. Others are trying to digest large amounts of media that's often contradictory and filter out for themselves right from wrong. Some have just given up and tuned out entirely. There is too much information.
  3. This shall pass - The virus will move on and we'll get back to our lives again. Don't pay too much attention to estimates, it will be solved when it's solved.
Alright that said here it is:

Pandemic Survival Guide for Gamers Version 1.0

  1. Take care of the people you love. We might find ourselves really deep into a game right now, but don't forget about all your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers. Pay a compliment. Make them something. Give what you can give. Even a smile can go a very long way. You can help make someone's day better.
  2. Take care of yourself. Eat well. Shower. Change clothes. I know these sound straightforward but sometimes in long gaming sessions we'll forget the essentials. Try to find ways to get out of the chair every couple hours and stretch. Maybe tie a fitness challenge to your game, for example 1 pushup for every death per League of Legends match. If you can't do a pushup try a squat instead. You may be surprised to find yourself dying a lot less!
  3. Play more than 1 game. You'll need a break from your primary game, and it could be a mobile game but you'll want something easier and in a different genre. Myself I've been spending a little time every day in Clash of Clans to balance out my time in Teamfight Tactics.
  4. Play to learn. This means you may lose a bit more in the near-term, but you'll be a better player long-term. Winning is always the goal, but if you focus on learning the losses become more acceptable as they are lessons in improvement. By playing to learn you'll discover new strategies and new ways of understanding the game. You also may stumble upon a new meta nobody else has discovered yet and end up cruising through ranks.
  5. Study from the best. We live in a golden age where anything you want to learn has nearly unlimited video and written content. If you want to climb rank, go find the best Twitch streamers and watch what they're doing. Set aside an hour and write down three things you've learned at the end of that hour, then go apply that knowledge.
  6. Don't worry about your follows. A lot of gamers trying to build a brand focus way too much on their follows, to the point of even tying their own self-worth to their social media following. You're worth way more than your follows. Focus on being yourself, put out content, and connect with like-minded people. The follows are just a function of time, don't worry about them.
  7. Take breaks. When you start to feel tired, burnt out, or frustrated, take a break. You could be going too long on your current session, or too many days in a row. A simple 24 hour break can do wonders. Shorten your sessions based on how you're feeling.
  8. Optimize your workspace. Make sure you have comfortable chair, and good ergonomic setup. You shouldn't be straining to reach mouse/keyboard or see your screen. Are you playing on wifi? See if you can wire up your connection, your performance will improve. Are your in game graphics settings optimized? You want the best graphics possible without any stutter in game. Is your mouse, keyboard, controller and monitor slowing you in any way? These are the main inputs & outputs to games and the bottlenecks for many players. Play around with different mouse speeds/DPI settings to see the fastest you feel comfortable with. Is your headset optimized? There may be sounds you are missing in-game that can help your play, or you may be better able to optimize your mic in team game settings. Maybe invest in some new peripherals if yours feel dated or are not performing.
  9. Focus on the present. Being mindful of what's happening at the very moment in-game is crucial to performing well. If you're thinking or talking about what happened 5 minutes ago, your mind is not in the present. When you have a break during a game, that's a great time to think ahead towards planning for the future outcomes. And only after the game concludes is the best time to stop and look back and consider what you learned from that game, pack that information away, and move on to the next one.
  10. Review your own content. For games that have built in review/replay this is a great way to catch your own mistakes. Let a game sit for 24 hours then go back to review it. If your game doesn't offer replay, try recording your own footage and playing it back the next day. The truth is everyone makes mistakes, even the very best pro gamers, so it should be your goal in review to discover a handful of mistakes in play or decision making that you can improve on.

That's it for now! I hope this guide is helpful for any aspiring gamers looking to double down during the pandemic. In closing I wanted to share a thought on CNY and Romans in particular.

Our town has been kicked around a lot throughout the years. We've lived through the gutting of our manufacturing heritage, the destruction of a beloved downtown, and the closure of Griffiss Air Force Base. Throughout all of this two things I've learned are Romans never quit, and Romans are tough. Real tough. A lot of towns and cities throughout the US likely have some struggle ahead of them now, but I know that Rome is ready for this. We've survived much worse than coronavirus and I know we're going to bounce back from this better than before. Let's get that bread.



We've been growing Rome Revolution from the ground up since 2017, starting at zero and building out teams, player communities, and sponsorship.  It's an organization in line with the starting goals of the business LAN Mob - to find and promote the best local gaming talent at the next level. I'm happy for the successes we've achieved in doing that, and feel there is much more in store for us in the coming years.

To me, it has always been about the players. I was born and grew up in Rome when the city was moving through a rough transition, the 90s seeing a base closure and many small businesses evaporate with it. The economic impact together with the nationwide trend in arcades decelerating at that time, meant we went from having multiple arcades in town to none, and I found myself as a young teen with limited entertainment options outside my home. We had a couple bowling alleys, a movie theater, and not much else. Hanging out with friends at Walmart actually became an acceptable social alternative outside the home.

So that was always a driving force behind forming the LAN many years later in my adulthood - creating the kind of place I had needed as a youth in this town. And I think we've succeeded in that, starting on a very small budget and growing it organically, but I still have a much greater vision for what that LAN will look like in Rome, and on a larger scale Central New York. I can't wait to reveal that.

The esports wing of the business is focused on growing those players who are interested in competing as esports athletes, ranging from upcoming talented youth to adults looking to make a living at video games. That often means content creation - players building their own brands through channels such as Twitch, YouTube, and various social media platforms. The esports org has aspirations of being a large org some day, but we're also grounded in the realities of where we are today, and taking small steps towards that larger goal.  It's been a fun endeavor finding players from all over, helping grow their skill, and competing in events. But not without its challenges!

The Frustrations of a Start-up Esports Org

There can be day-to-day frustrations - small potatoes stuff - but those aren't really the focus of this blog post. The most frustrating parts for me personally are when the organization is mischaracterized as something it is not. The three I want to focus on for this blog post - and I'll address each one individually, are:

  1. Esports Orgs Bring no Value (I can do it Alone!)
  2. Esports Orgs are Exploitative (The Brand of Team vs. Brand of You)
  3. Esports Orgs are Greedy/Profit Focused

Esports Orgs Bring no Value (I can do it Alone!)

The value an org brings is three part - financial, mental, and social.

The financial side comes through sponsorship, and I don't mean just a jersey, but helping you cover entry fees, transportation, hotels, food, equipment, facilities. Competing at the next level beyond your local area requires money, and orgs are built to provide that. This is an area we've done some work in through the years, from minor sponsorships to majors, and we're planning to ramp up in 2020 to increase our investment here.

The mental side is often the most overlooked, and applicable to EVERY game played, but especially when it comes to team games where your attitude towards the game can have an impact on the greater group effort. Getting four to six people to all share the same mind in approach to the game for optimal play is not an easy task. We've also seen players with above-average to outstanding raw skill at a game, but the inability to properly function in a team environment. The bottom line is if you're playing any game with the wrong mindset you will inevitably get stuck at some point in your development. This is where services like coaching come in, and having structure and procedures for dealing with problems, and mature in game leaders. An area we also want to increase investment in 2020.

Lastly the social side is probably the most visible part of the org. You're going to make new friends, connections, and gain opportunities to interface with other orgs through competitions. You'll also gain the promotion of affiliating with a brand that can advocate your own brand to a wider audience. Find an org you believe in, one that's focused on growth and investment in you, and work to develop that relationship. Know the owner(s) and what they believe in. You will absolutely grow together with the org, and if you're lucky enough to find an org that ends up going pro you'll be in a very good position to launch your own career. Maybe instead you end up outgrowing the org to the point where you can go out on your own, or get picked up by one of the major league orgs (Cloud 9, TSM, 100 Thieves, CLG, Faze Clan, and many more). That should be a happy moment for both you and your former org that wants only the best for you. 

Esports Orgs are Exploitative (The Brand of Team vs. Brand of You)

A good esports org will support your own personal brand development. Your success is their success. The struggle here - and this will be true throughout life in any job you work - is the feeling of your own hard work going to profit a brand that is not owned by you.

The Brand of You is the most important part here. People want to know YOU, all your quirks and personality traits, hobbies, what you had for breakfast. That is what you're selling, what will bring you followers, and what will stick with you throughout your entire life, no matter what org you're a part of.

It may seem like with all these direct platforms it's easy to go it alone. You may feel you don't need all the structure an org can bring for you, helping you with your mental game, with the financial costs of developing your brand in this space, and with the social boost that comes with affiliating. It's true some people can make it on their own, but there is nothing wrong with affiliating with an org you believe in either. You'll no doubt meet some great friends along the way and enjoy the ride together. If you find an org that's really willing to invest in you, and if you invest back into that org, a positive growth trend can form, the brands feeding off the strength of each other.

Esports Orgs are Greedy/Profit Focused

Often the path to growth in esports involves competing in increasingly difficult arenas to improve yourselves as players. There are plenty of brands who have made it big, or have invested huge amounts in infrastructure in the hopes of achieving that. But most brands that are growing are not making money.

Certainly with the brand we've started here in Rome, we realize we need to get players out to larger events to get them the experience they need to grow. If we wrap up a $3,000 sponsorship package to Evo Las Vegas and send our best Smash player, we do it knowing this is a really expensive learning experience. Smash college tuition if you will. That player is going to come back much stronger, and hopefully what they've learned is shared with the greater community through continued play, and in that way the local community grows and benefits from the experience. But we have no allusions that the player we send will come anywhere near top-16 in such a major event without first paying their dues, usually through multiple trips. Many players have been farming these major tournaments for years and are greatly experienced, so it's rare when you see someone come out of nowhere. Most everyone has to pay their dues and make the slow grind to the top. The Kyle Geirsdorf ($3 Million Fortnite World Cup Winner) overnight success stories are the rare exceptions; success often takes a lot more time, travel, and costs.

So in these early phases of growing there are going to be a lot of events like this where we send players knowing the odds are stacked against them, but leveling up their own knowledge and experience for the future. In the case of youth, maybe a college scout takes notice and a college sponsorship comes out of it - many colleges have full esports arenas and scholarship programs running today. For us as an org, in the short term it does not make any money for us, and to me investing money in others development with no guarantee or expectation of return is the definition of selfless spending.

So the characterization of esports orgs as greedy just doesn't add up in our case, because what we've built here in Rome is the exact opposite of that. I feel that characterization is a toxic, destructive idea and I've pushed back very hard on that.

Thoughts on the Future

2020 will be an interesting year. I put a heavy burden on myself financially in starting LAN Mob in 2015, and that weight is starting to come off my shoulders now five years later. That means I'm going to have a lot more resources to invest into the LAN. I'm being careful how I invest those resources as I want to get maximum value for everyone involved - staff, players, and myself. But I believe a lot of people have been sleeping on LAN Mob and Rome Revolution, and that this year is going to turn some heads.
Happy New Year! We're closed for the holiday on a day where people stop to assess their lives, reflect on the past year, and look forward to changes into the new year. For me that means revisiting LAN Mob and Rome Revolution Esports, understanding what I've learned over the last year, and making plans for the coming year. So read on for some announcements on the coming year, but first I wanted to touch on some thoughts on change, habits, accountability & time management.

Change is about Habits

Sometime change can be as easy as flipping a switch, deciding that something in your life will change and willing it so. But often - and especially when we take to undergo major changes to ourselves - change can be difficult. One thing I've learned is focusing on setting new habits is the most effective way to bring about difficult change in your life. Devoting 15 or 30 minutes a day towards whatever it is you're trying to change, and making sure you don't miss a day, eventually the habit will become a part of your daily routine, and those small chunks of effort will add up to change over the long term.

Accountability & Time Management

I've learned to help hold myself accountable by sharing some of my efforts publicly, which is part of the reason for me putting this blog together. By externalizing the change you want to make you not just have to hold yourself accountable, but others can as well.

An easy cop-out we'll rationalize with ourselves when we don't feel like practicing a new daily habit is "I don't have time". While some of us can lead very busy lives, if you sit down and do a quick time audit - breaking up your last week into its different parts like school, work, family, meals, sleep, leisure - you'll find a good chunk of hours of free time you're spending on leisure activities. While everyone needs a little bit of play time, those are the hours where you're going to make meaningful change in your life. So you don't want to become a dull boy like Jack and have all work and no play, but you can find ways to carve out parts of that fun time and direct it into forming new habits.

With gaming and esports this poses a bit of a grey area, because often when we're playing games to improve at them we can also be having fun, so that line between leisure and work can get blurred. So maybe if you already have a daily habit of putting three hours of daily practice into a game that you're serious about improving in, you can carve out some of that time to do something different. For example instead of playing three hours of matches, perhaps you can play two hours, add a half hour watching a new video or streamer, and another half hour inside a practice tool running through repetitions, learning new techs, or new characters. You're still putting the same amount of time into developing your game but now using that time in a different way.

Alright enough about that, let's talk about the changes we're making at LAN Mob for 2020!

HTC Vive VR headset

Virtual Reality Pricing Reduced

Our Virtual Reality pricing is being reduced to $10/hour (down from $15/hour). We felt the Vive was being underutilized and with some of the new tech we've added at the front desk including a wireless add-on to the headset and a customer-facing monitor it's made the running of VR slightly easier on us. We have a second battery on order that should be arriving later this week which should allow us near continuous operation of the wireless headset. We've also greatly increased our library of games offered through Viveport and our collection of installed games is nearing 100 VR titles. If you've never tried it we can promise it's unlike anything you've ever experienced, and if you have tried it you should check out our new list of games available. There are lots of unique experiences to be have with Virtual Reality!

Rewards Programs Review

Originally we started out with just VIP at LAN Mob - a $25/month program that included perks and increasing rewards - and we now have some individuals that are going on 35+ months in that program. Over time additional members rewards have been added including ggCoins and now SP and SL Prime. Separate these are all great programs, but when combined and with the ramping up of coin earning in December these programs added up to a bit too much in player compensation. To take an example - a 1-year VIP receives a 25% discount on their overnight lock-in ($18.75) and if they play the full 14 hours with Super League Prime they are earning at max around 7,000 SP for that night, which at our current coin redemption rate is around $14 in comps. Tack on the free pizza and it's very close to being a "free" night for those taking maximum advantage of all the programs!!

So we haven't 100% settled on how we're going to repackage the VIP, but we do have to make some adjustments. We like where things are going with SL and SL Prime and are likely going to embrace this direction, so our new VIP offering will likely include the SL Prime package in some way, which means we have to cut back on our old VIP offerings. However we realize some people have been paying into this every month to keep their VIP streaks going or are actively working to reach higher levels. So our plan is to "grandfather" everyone in the program currently (there are 13 of you) to where you can continue receiving the benefits of the program and growing your streaks if you wish, but if your streak lapses you will be dropped from the program.

Our last bit of right-sizing has to do with coin earning rates, now known as SP (SuperLeague Points). These have been greatly increased in the last few weeks through the SuperLeague program with some prime national averages topping 500 coins per hour, and those rates may be changing more into the new year. It's been suggested that centers set their local vault prices to match those in the SuperLeague vault, which is 3,000 coins = $1. So effective today we are making that change and will be monitoring coin earning rates over the next few weeks to see if we need to further adjust. We want to make the average trip rewarding but also encourage people to save up for some of the sweet SL vault loot that is available.

I would be remiss not to mention SuperLeague Prime here - the cost is $8/month and includes two free hours, so it essentially pays for itself, and allows for 5x coin earning, entry to special SuperLeague events, unlimited SL Vault purchased, and more. You can sign up directly through your client or purchase at the front desk from us. We are working on a way to package this into a new VIP package which will likely include some bulk hours similar to the current offering.

Esports

Rome Revolution Esports

We had a wild year with Rome Revolution, sponsoring some of our Smash Ultimate players to RGC back in November and entering three different League of Legends teams into several tournaments and leagues throughout the year. I'm happy that we can continue to offer this locally-focused program for players looking to improve at competitive gaming, and this is an area I'm going to continue to pour more resources into as we move into the future.

Smash Ultimate


For Smash Ultimate, we saw both Misfire and Kremling make it out of pools at RetroGameCon, which was an impressive feat for what was likely two of the youngest competitors in their first large 100+ person tournament that saw players from as far away as Vermont competing. The Upstate/Central/Western NY Smash scene is kind of tough because we have our population centers spread so far apart, you have to travel 1-2 hours between communities. The waiting is also not very fun - the TOs doing the best job they can given their resources - but if you fall in a later pool it can be hours sitting and waiting for your match. Often the venues are less than ideal for Smash competitions, and this is something I'm aiming to fix in the coming years.

Competitive Smash - and most fighting games - just have to be an offline scene right now. Online connections are too unpredictable and lag prone to be considered for professional play. Even if you gathered 100 LANs and certified their Internet connections as designated playing grounds, there are still going to be those few frames of lag that just kill the competitive side. Short of a nationwide google fiber - which is years if not decades out - I don't know if we'll ever see play lag-less enough to make the cut.

Current Google Fiber. Missing: New York State - actually the entire northeast.

So the current Smash scene, and especially for those regulars at LAN Mob in Rome, has to be an offline one with a lot of travel involved. We'll continue to offer the weekly and look at ways to juice the attendance going forward, but the path to Evo is going to take a lot of local grinding. I don't think I would ever entertain the thought of putting another player on a plane to Vegas until we can see them placing top-3 at Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Buffalo events respectively. The player would also need to show they can win a big 100+ person event like that, as it gets towards the top the skill curve gets steep, so it takes another level of play to overcome that. When I can see a player doing that, I'll know they're ready for the big time. I also feel like planning a trip to the holy land at Xanadu would be a great barometer for how far some of our players have developed, so that may be in the works for this coming summer.

Two major changes will be taking place this spring/summer at LAN Mob for Smash. The first being we're going to be adding a Smash roster to the Rome Revolution Esports program. This will be a team of five (four starting players plus one alternate/sub). These players will be given monthly opportunities to travel locally - expenses paid - and compete in regional events around New York State. The team will be fluid month-to-month as players circumstances and placings change - if a player is struggling for a period we may ask them to sit for a while to work on their game in exchange for another player who is hitting their stride.

The second major change to the Smash program involves paid coaching - we'll be facilitating paid coaching through the LAN starting this spring. This is clearly something many of us need, and also a valuable way for coaches themselves to improve and perfect their own play. For this program I'm parsing the players into three categories: early development, intermediate, and elite. Based on each person's level of play, different coaches will be made available to them. I wouldn't want to pair an intermediate player with an elite coach, because that is not the best use of an elite coaches time, and also not very challenging in terms of play for an elite coach. On the lower end we'll likely be offering the option between two coaches with two very different styles, and the players can choose between either coach or try them both over two separate sessions.

I recently was able to start making some API pulls from Challonge and populating databases with tournament stats, player match histories, and more. A screenshot above of one of the player dashboards being built for the LAN Mob community.


League of Legends

We had some huge gains this year in League of Legends, with many of our members reaching Gold ranking and a few breaking into Plat. We entered a single team into Titan Esports Season 1, and two teams into Season 2 for Silver & Plat leagues respectively. We also sent two teams to compete in the SUNY Poly Fragfest this past fall.

While I'm happy with the progress many of us made skill-wise in game, we hit some significant bumps with the program into the fall. It was an eye opening experience for me, but in a very good way that prepares me to enter this next phase of growth. I'm really happy that we're figuring this stuff out in the early phases when we're still a small org, rather than later on down the road. The experience also taught me that we have a great thing started here and has been a huge motivator to continue to build the best program we can.

We've adjusted some things structurally for the new year, and expect to see some tryouts posted in the coming days on our socials. I'm also handing over more of the day-to-day responsibilities to the team captains, and focusing more of my energies on recruitment, coaching, and acting as a decision maker when the captains are split on a decision. This also frees me up to focus more on the business-end and devoting more resources effectively into the program.

Other Games

We've had a ton of interest in other games including Overwatch (currently on hiatus), Rainbow Six Siege, CSGO, Fortnite, Call of Duty, Teamfight Tactics and others. At the end of the day it comes down to resources, so as we continue to grow you'll see more games being added under the Rome Revolution banner. Every team requires a certain level of maturity and professional approach, and we've found when the maturity is lacking things can degenerate quickly. So it starts with just not player interest, but having those mature community leaders.

Upcoming Event - Brawlhalla!

Brawlhalla event is Thursday January 2nd - $5 buy-in! Our current Brawlhalla champ Augg will have to defend his title. Expect friendlies to open sometime after 6 pm.

Upcoming Event - Halo 2v2 Team Slayer

Sunday January 12th - 2 pm, $10 buy-in per team. More details on our facebook event here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/592271208242191/

Who remembers where they were when this trailer dropped.

Upcoming Event - Smash Sunday Event

Sunday January 19th - 2 pm registration, 3 pm start - $5 venue/$5 bracket, pot bonus based off weekly attendance.

Ultimate Singles, Ultimate Doubles, Melee!

We might make this a regular monthly going forward but we'll have to see how things go! Our experience is we get a different crowd showing up for these, but the money events are going to draw the best competition, so we're really hoping to see more of our regular players showing up to face the best. It might not always mean walking away with a cash, but it's definitely going to be the most challenging brackets.

Upcoming League - Game TBA

We haven't yet decided on the game, but we'll be launching a tournament league this spring. It will be featured on Tuesday & Thursday nights at the LAN, have a large buy-in, and see teams rotating out every week to compete in person. Expect this tournament league to run for around 8 weeks with a finals weekend event. We're considering a few games for this format and have yet to decide what game to run, but it will likely be a team-based game.

Winter Wondermob

If you're not on our Discord, you should hop on and check out all the Wondermob challenges we have planned. The Discord invite link is available in store, we have it posted all over. Every day a new challenge is released, and we're keeping a scoreboard on the Discord of who has earned the most points. We'll be running this event through the end of March and also have some prize unlock challenges tied to the event, which is more of a scavenger hunt/codebreaking theme. Not every challenge requires you to visit the shop, and if you complete a challenge the day it's released you'll earn double points.

A sample of challenges.
In closing I promised a hint to try to help move the Wondermob prize unlocks along, which has been hidden in plain sight in the last blog post for a few weeks now. All I can say is sometimes the font is white.


We recently kicked off our Winter Wondermob event, one month earlier this year for 122 days straight of a new challenge every day running December 1st to March 31st. This was a fun way for us to pass the winter last year and we're happy to bring it back again with some new features and upgraded prizes.

Current Leaderboard & Challenges
Some new rules for this year!

  1. Any challenge can be completed at any time through the end of the contest.
  2. If you complete a challenge the day it's released, you'll earn DOUBLE points.
  3. Most challenges need to be completed at LAN Mob, but if you see a small house emoji next to a challenge, this means it can be completed at home. No need to visit the LAN!
  4. Cheating will earn negative points.
We also have a mini-game within the challenge that involves ciphers and other codebreaking challenges, and as the community solves these the overall prizes offered will continue to be upgraded. Last week the community unlocked a Sour Cherry GFUEL to add to the prize pool of 1 cherry airhead.

Current prize pool, this will grow throughout the challenge!
If you'd like to participate talk to one of the staff for some of the current ongoing challenges, or join the LAN Mob Discord to view the full list: https://discord.gg/RVYGUWq

In the meantime check out some of these community built snowmen!







Visit the shop, make a purchase, and ask for a clue.
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