We get requests all the time for new teams to be sponsored through LAN Mob and Rome Revolution. I'll often hear "When is the X team starting?" or "LAN Mob should sponsor Y game." At one point we were all-in, preparing to spawn teams in every game that had even the slightest interest (looking at you, Civ 5 esports team).

Silver Snipers - Sweden's premiere 62+ esports team


In the end we had to slow down and even go in reverse on some of the teams, bringing us to our current point of just two teams: League of Legends and Overwatch. There are a myriad of reasons for this so I wanted to break out a blog post explaining the top 10 things that have helped bring Rome Revolution esports teams to fruition, or likewise prevented teams from becoming a reality. This post is a deep dive into my own thinking on esports which has evolved over the past three years of running the LAN and promoting/TOing numerous tournaments. This thinking is a main driver of the Rome Revolution esports roadmap and some of the things I say below may be personal opinions or in the future prove to be off the mark - I’m not Nostradamus - but it’s my best guess at where this monster known as esports is heading.

  1. A Well Developed Professional League - This to me is perhaps the single most important trait in a game to be considered as a legitimate esport. I’ve heard industry experts comment and spectate on what the “next big esport” will be, but as the poker player Doyle Brunson says “It’s better to make your own luck”, and this is true of most of the major esports leagues. Two examples: League of Legends and Overwatch. Riot and Blizzard respectively took the time to make significant investment in their LCS and OWL leagues including things like production quality, shoutcasting, storytelling, franchising and more. They built arenas and careers around the promotion and love of their games. Both leagues keep a regularly streamed Twitch presence of constant content coming at viewers. This has a self-fulfilling impact on the games themselves as they’re creating and maintaining the “dream” - I have no doubts these leagues and games will be successful for decades to come. Likewise for our tiny little esports organization in Rome, NY - I have a dream to grow to the point where we can enter into these leagues someday, and that drives my work daily.
  2. Game Popularity (Players) - Perhaps this could have been #1, but certainly if a game is not popular enough we’ll have a hard time recruiting players for it. This goes doubly for us being in a small town in Upstate NY - our player pool locally is limited. We had a good laugh with a Rome Revolution Facebook promotion this spring, where a local player flamed us for not carrying Gears and Halo teams. Although once thriving communities, a quick glimpse at Twitch shows that these scenes are completely dead and have little to no attention going to them. This can always change with a new game release but as a modern esports organization we have to change with the times and not be tied down to the past.
  3. Coaching - The next biggest obstacle to overcome for a team’s success is having good coaching in place. Myself, Cody, Mike, and now Zachary all went into this extremely green and have grown a great deal. Resolving conflicts, tweaking players, motivating, inspiring, recruiting, creating player development plans, and doing the grind of watching and documenting games are all skills we’ve grown better at. This is all preparing us for the next step and we’re excited for what’s ahead. But beyond Overwatch and League of Legends, when looking at new games to add to our esports roster a solid adult coach is a must. 
  4. Depth of Game - A game needs to have some depth and dimension to it, otherwise players (and spectators) will grow bored with it, or worse the game will get dwarfed by a new fork. Look at how quickly the Royale genre matured, moving from ARMA to H1Z1 to PUBG to Fortnite in barely 2 years. The games just became increasingly more fun to play and to watch. It’s almost unthinkable now that a royale game can overcome Fortnite, but going back to point #1 above - this largely depends on how quickly and effectively the Fortnite publishers can grow out a professional esports League. If something on the level of OWL or LCS emerges from Epic Games, Fortnite will have completely secured the Battle Royale genre for years to come. If another royale beats them to it they may have some trouble on their hands.
  5. Maturity - We can get a good idea of the maturity of a game’s community through the tournaments we’ve run. Certainly games like Call of Duty and Rainbow Six Siege enjoy wide popularity, but the community can at times prove very young and immature. These communities are wild and unruly, and pulling together a responsible coach to keep players in line - with some of these players having zero past sports background - is a bit like herding cats.
  6. Player Responsibility - Along the same lines of maturity, how responsible do the players act? Are they relatively friendly or typing profanity at one another? How do they act outwardly towards other orgs? What friends do they run with, and how do their friends behave? Given in any game you can have very toxic players, some communities can be better than others in this respect. But as an organization, if I want to invest in a player to get really good at a game and represent the Rome Revolution brand, I want to be sure that player will act right and reflect well on the brand.
  7. Profitability - At the end of the day we’re executing a new business model in a small town and trying to earn a buck. When our esports teams play at the shop they still pay, but earn deep discounts depending on their performance, all the way up to free. We’ve had players in the past complain that they should always play for free or even moreso that we should be paying them. While it’s definitely a long-term goal to get the best players funded and sponsored, we’re working within the reality of where we are. Until we start landing larger sponsors there is no magical money tree I can visit to shower wealth on players for just playing video games. The players have been told they’ll have to grow at the pace we’re growing at as a business, and some wanting an easy ride haven’t stuck with it for that reason, but those that accept this and have put in the work every week will reap the rewards.
  8. Marketability - Along the same lines of profitability is how marketable the team and its players are to sponsors. Is the performance of players something sponsors see value in? This is slowly getting easier as gaming grows more widespread but there are still plenty of sponsors who can’t see beyond the face value of people playing video games. This for us is a longer-term goal but definitely a consideration.
  9. Game Genres - In the past we’ve had some messiness in crosses between genres. For example - carrying both an Overwach team and a PUBG team, both shooters in some sense, led to a lot of people doubling up on both teams and splitting their focus. To truly get good at a game it needs to be your primary devotion, so this is a consideration for us. We could in theory launch Call of Duty, CSGo, and Rainbow Six Siege Teams simultaneously, but the overlap in players between all three shooters would devalue eaches performance and ultimately lead to burnout, as well as cause a drag on the current Overwatch team.
  10. Devotion - We’ve passed on forming teams in the past due to doubts in how devoted they would be to our organization. This in particular is what has made the “home grown” nature of our teams so great, is that we can build our teams from the ground up on our home turf. We’ve been approached by numerous teams already in existence - some of these highly skilled - asking for sponsorship or a Rome Revolution team. Some of these are players who have loosely visited the shop on and off, but they still carry their own brands and identities, which can often create confusion with players of where loyalties are. Players who have shown they’re all-in on Rome Revolution have received our full support, and this will always be the case as we continue to grow our rosters and skill.

In closing I wanted to talk a bit to the growth and future of our organization. We make no illusions to where we're at presently both skillwise and regionally - we're an esports team in tiny Rome, NY made up of players across the skill spectrum. Much like our LAN Center, we're nowhere near the size of the big boys in this industry. We're often working under the profit line and at great cost to continue our growth. It's not easy, but nothing worth doing in life ever is.

Like everything we've done here in Rome it's been built from the ground up. I don't come from wealth and have worked a great deal to grow to the point we're at now, and will continue grinding away to make our LAN, esports team, and everything else I work at the best it can be. If you're all-in on us we're happy to have you along for the ride.

Practice Schedule - Tune in Live at twitch.tv/lanmob

League of Legends - Monday, Wednesday | 6 - 12 pm
Overwatch - Tuesday | 6-12pm

Buy a Hat or Jersey Online

Follow Rome Revolution Socials

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/romerevolutionesports/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/revolutionrome
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/lanmobrome/
Twitch - https://www.twitch.tv/lanmob
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIO4T7USyWyfUUhv3LTT_Zg

At a recent Rome Revolution esports team meeting I did a quick count to measure how long we’ve been at it with regular weekly practices for League and Overwatch. Nine months have passed since we set off down the path for the original Zehn Masters, which by the law of nature means we aught to be giving birth to a LCS or OWL team any day now. Players have come and gone, and sometimes come back again, but every week for 2-3 nights per week we’ve had that constant presence of players and coaches in and around the shop. We’ve all grown in skill and knowledge and continue to push forward every week.

Often with learning there is struggle, a period where things are difficult and don’t quite make sense. It can at times feel like we’ve plateaued and hit our skill cap. The truth often is that we have plateaued, but these are only temporary stops on the road to improving, and It’s exactly at these difficult times when the true progress is made. That constant push to always be learning and improving will eventually pay dividends when there is a breakthrough in learning and sudden growth in skill. I’ve seen it happening individually with players and coaches, and more importantly with teams improving as a whole, where concepts and strategies are just starting to come together. This is the payoff for our consistency in approach every week and I couldn’t be happier with the players and coaches for putting in that work.

The teams are getting hungry for tournaments and we plan to be active on four fronts: 1) The upcoming Zehn Masters Summer Series 2) Local college and other locally sponsored events 3) LAN Mob sponsored tournaments and 4) Online tournaments. In particular with League of Legends we’re also eagerly anticipating the release of Clash (we believe in you Rito!). We’ve also reached the point with the League team where we’re doing full scrims and twice weekly practices. If you’re interested in joining either team just stop by any Tuesday (Overwatch) or Wednesday/Friday (League) and we’ll get you a tryout.

Mario Kart Event


It should be noted the outdoor Mario Kart event that was held at the Rome City Hall Green earlier this month was absolute bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. I’ll link some videos below and you can check it out for yourself, but we quickly ran out of our 200 tickets, and I estimate had around 500 people total in attendance. We were sad we could only fit 50 or so racers in before having to kick off the grand finals, and will likely move to more of a lottery for the next time to at least give everyone a chance. Special thanks to Makenzi at Rome City Hall, Mario and Mikey from Nomad Cinema, and the City of Rome Fire Department for sponsoring.
Outdoor Mario Kart Tournament

Last Friday's Outdoor Mario Kart Tournament was a blast. Thank you to all who came out and all who made it possible! The City of Rome, NY LAN Mob Rome Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 694 The Melt Gourmet Grilled Cheese LLC Come Fry With Me

Posted by Nomad Cinema on Friday, July 6, 2018
Congrats to Caleb on the win! We’re already at work planning the next one and are excited to bring those details to everyone soon.



We’ve been a bit less frequent at blog posting for reasons I’ll get into later in this post, but I wanted to touch base with everyone on some changes happening at LAN Mob. We’ll have reached our third year in business this September and making progress towards our five year plan for the business. Our esports teams are making strides in team play and individual ranks, and I’m excited for what the summer will bring for our business

A Departure


One of the more difficult things to happen in the last six weeks was Sage departing for a new job. He had his own personal reasons for doing so and we all wish him the best and have left the door open for his return someday. Sage was a considerable contributor to all the projects we had going, giving constant feedback and ideas. Together we’ve tried things that have succeeded and things that have failed, and through this we’ve learned and grown together.

As an entrepreneur I’ve always seen failure in a way as an indirect success. In a new industry like ours we don’t always know what will work until we try it and find out, which sometimes means failure. The old saying is it’s better to have tried and failed than never tried at all. I know Sage in particular has taken the failures hard and often on himself, and I wish that weren’t the case - we've always failed as a team and honestly wouldn’t be where we are today without all of that effort, successful or not. I deeply appreciate his time at LAN Mob and look forward to the day when we can work together again, and until that day am grateful for his continued presence as head coach of the Rome Revolution League of Legends team.

New Blood


We opened up a job posting on Facebook over the weekend and received 25 applications in a few short days. Thank you to everyone for applying! There are a lot of traits that I look for in a new hire above and beyond just having strong video game and game system knowledge. The most important to me personally is how well that person will work with kids, as they make up a good portion of our customer base. Rob and Enrique are amazing at this: ensuring we keep games, language, and behavior age-appropriate.

Other things like work ethic are a major consideration. Familiarity with us at the shop was an added bonus, and every name we recognized received extra consideration as we already had some idea how well they would fit with our company culture. The majority of applications were from people we did not know, some who lived as close as a block away, but many of these had not ever really been to the shop.

We brought three of you in for interviews and after careful deliberation reached a consensus among our staff on the next hire. It’s my pleasure to welcome Alex (A5) to the LAN Mob team!

Alex looking busy


We first met Alex through the summer camp we ran in 2016 and I was happy to see his application come through. He’s been a consistent presence at the business since then, often stopping in for our special events and participating on two of our esports teams. Alex graduates this summer and is headed to college locally, and we felt his knowledge of games, positive attitude and good energy would be an asset to LAN Mob. There is a lot to learn about how we run day-to-day so Alex has a curve ahead of him but we’ve already begun training and getting him up to speed as quickly as possible.

More Changes


My goal with LAN Mob has always been to make the kind of place that’s awesome to work at. With any job there are always going to be parts of it that we don’t like, but how do we make the job as close to something we love that it doesn’t feel like work? In the past I’ve pushed on the team with individual projects and tried to get them to shape LAN Mob and the events we offer tailored to their own interests, but this has sometimes led to unneeded stress and anxiety.

Sage let us know of his leaving on the eve of his departure for a Florida vacation back in mid-April, so I've been working 30+ hours/week at the front desk in the meantime. This got me re-acquainted with the position and how we interact with customers and our social media on a daily basis. It also gave me a reminder of the parts of the job that feel stale or out of place. In the end we've engineered this place, and if there are parts of the job that need replacing or improving we're within our powers to do that. All the time on front desk also allowed me to put some creative thought into how we can better improve the front desk job and our business. This led to some wild and crazy ideas that the more I thought about, the more they just felt right.

So over the next couple of weeks you’re going to notice some changes at the shop. The front desk will be moving, we’ll have some new furniture and technology set up, and we’re going to aim to be a more active part of your experience at the shop from the front desk. This is the neat thing about being a small business is that we can constantly reinvent and redefine what our work is and how we interact with everyone. Together with some of the changes that are coming down the line from the good folks at ggLeap, we can really start to reconsider what it means to work at a LAN Center. I’m excited for these changes and what they mean for us and look forward to sharing more with everyone in the coming weeks!

$100 Summer Week Pass



We have summer passes available to all 17 & under - $100 flat for unlimited gaming Monday - Friday noon - 8 pm. We defnitely encourage everyone to get outside and enjoy the summer while it’s here, but if you’re a parent and need a spot for your kid for a week due to work or other commitments, we’re open every day at noon.

Events - Zehn Masters Summer Series & Thursday Night Fights



We’re eyeballing the Zehn Masters Summer Series and all it’s Fortnite goodness, but also taking a pause to look at our qualifier sales from the Spring Series. There was a considerable dip in qualifier sales from Zehn 1 to Zehn 2, so much so that we suffered a large loss on offering the series to CNY. We feel like this is a great opportunity for CNY to compete on the national stage, but also we need you guys to show up and support the series through your qualifier tickets. This is a chance to play against some of the best in the US and level up, and potentially even win some cash - the Spring Series brought gold medal cashes in both Hearthstone and Street Fighter V bringing $600 and $400 cashes back to CNY. Even if the Zehn Masters is a break-even venture to our business, it's a huge win for us to get some local players on a national stage and a shot at huge prize pools.

It only works if people show up for the qualifiers! So we’re proceeding carefully into the summer series but absolutely need more participation from everyone locally. Even if you don’t always feel like you’re guaranteed a victory, competing is a great way to improve, and supporting us locally means we can continue to bring these offers to you.

Likewise with the Thursday Night Fights, we saw a dwindling of attendance into Season 2, and have had to cancel the last two fight nights due to low attendance. If fighting game communities locally are something you care about then show up and participate, and we’ll keep grinding it out. Ultimately our business by it’s nature has to follow popular trends, as interest always wanes in one game and moves on to another, sometimes very slowly and sometimes quite abruptly - like the night Ninja and Drake played Fortnite together and broke the Internet. FGC is maybe a bit of a rarity in it’s offline-local scene focus, but again we need to see your faces around the shop come event night if these are events you wish to see continue.

Blogging Regularity


If you follow us regularly you may have noticed a drop-off in blogging activity. Blogging is one of the activities that we do at the front desk during the downtime where the shop is at medium to low activity and not requiring too much of our focus. It helps us fill those empty hours more productively by creating content for the business. We've focused in the past on putting out 3 blogs a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday), and this has led to the question of if we're forcing quantity over quality. I initially tried to step up and fill the void for this blogging schedule in Sage's absence but I found I didn't have much gaming content to put forward given my work schedule and current League of Legends obsession. I also saw the struggle from the others to put together the content on time at a quality they were happy with.

With some of my other plans for the shop we're going to need that time back for the front desk, and again this is one of those self-imposed prisons we've made for ourselves: we publish three times a week because that's the standard we've set for ourselves of what's possible and adequate for an active blog. I spoke to both Rob and Enrique individually on this and we all agreed that dropping this standard will allow us to publish when we really have something to say (like this post!), improving our blog quality, reducing a stress on us, and freeing up those hours at the front desk for new endeavors.

We're small enough to make these transitions and as always are open to guest blog content - if you have something you'd like to write about a game, or an experience at LAN Mob, or even something about CNY in general that you want to get off your chest: contact us on Facebook and we'll see what we can do to get it published!
I recently passed my 100th ranked win this season in League of Legends. That seems like a lot of games in hindsight when really I don't feel like I play the game that much. I fit them in whenever I can - on weeknights after work, or weekends, or sometimes even on desk at LAN Mob during a slow shift (don't tell my boss!).

My champion pool is up to two now (!) with the addition of Janna. I had played her before on a secondary account and she was pretty easy to dust off and pick up again. Janna has great utility but I've sort of lived and died with my ADC skill, and since I'm usually solo queued it can be hit or miss. I couldn't handle the swings of five game win/lose streaks so I'm still primarily a Sona main. Sona just allows me to bully a lane better and switch into the healing role when it's needed. This leads to a bit steadier of a climb in ranked, but I feel when I start breaking into Gold I might make the switch back to Janna.

I was placed for the season in Silver 4 and I've bounced around mostly in Silver, peaking in Silver 2.

My tier graph - the long grind
I still make a lot of mistakes early, giving up more than my share of first bloods and often helping to feed the enemy lane early. This is mostly just me not understanding or respecting power spikes, but sometimes I'll be doing something correct like placing a ward in our tri-bush and get pounced on by a jungle. Another area I'm still struggling in is correctly using my ultimate in a team fight. For example with Sona ult, I can sometimes jump the gun with a great ultimate snagging 4 or 5 enemies but without my team in position to capitalize, and as soon as it wears off the enemy team can engage freely knowing I'm on cooldown. I also can sometimes ult the front line/tanks which leaves their powerful back line free to fire away. My Janna ultimates are in an even worse place - I'll often push the enemies in the wrong direction and sometimes miss the push back and get chunked down while standing and healing.

There are still plenty of scenarios where I'll do well but my team will lose. I just have to let those games go. It will range from an AFK, to every other lane losing out, or sometimes I'll help get my ADC fed out of their minds to find they're very poor at late game team fighting, and sometimes the enemy team will just have a better comp period. Today I went against a Kayle/Skarner/Mordekaisers/Jhin/Lux comp and watched the enemy Skarner continually drag my teammates off to a pit of death. These are always learning experiences and the very next game I went against another Skarner, so when I saw him grab our super fed Urgot and pull him away I knew what I had to do, leading my team in right after with a flash-crescendo and watching my team delete them.

I would benefit greatly from introducing ARAM into my daily grind. There are so many champions I haven't played or just don't fully understand their kits. I've also paid attention to things like rest, diet, exercise - it may sound unusual but I really play at my best when I'm coming off a good night's rest, have eaten a salad over some bad fast food, and have a little bit of caffeine in my system. I can totally understand why LCS teams run with nutritionist coaches.

We still practice for Rome Revolution every Wednesday night here at the shop. The League team is really coming along - all the Rome Revolution teams are. We're always looking to expand our depth chart so if you're interested in playing for the team and are ranked around Silver or higher, stop in some Wednesday night for a tryout. We keep a grading system which allows your performance to dictate your price of entry for the next practice.


Remember to take a break & stretch during gaming sessions! I've had the misfortune of jamming a few of my fingers and possibly coming down with carpal tunnel. Short and skinny: my fingers are all janky! Unfortunately, video games are among my favorite past times so I've had to adjust the controls for a few of the games I've been playing and abstain from the ones I could not. Realistically, this left me with only two choices in my recently played list: Warframe and Guild Wars 2! I thought it made for a fun blog topic because I had to change my key bindings to accommodate  me & adjust my playing style. While I'm happy I was able to pull it off, I think I'll be spending this next week icing my hands and engage in some HEAVY STRETCHING.


Warframe


Goodness,my last blog about Warframe was terrible. I could have done a better job adding pictures and breaking up the text. I was so optimistic about Gears of War 4 and Battleborn! Moving on, I haven't touched Warframe since that 2 year old post. A friend recently brought me back to start fresh on PC and while a lot of change, it's still the same run and gun third-person shooter I enjoyed. The big thing about Warframe is the movement, specifically the parkour. You use a combination of running,gliding, dodge roll, sliding and "bullet jumping"( a leaping barrel roll) to maneuver. It's one of my favorite things! It's also murder on hands as they are. Instead of press& hold to perform most functions, I've been using a toggle for sliding, running and aiming to make it easier on my fingers. If you can imagine, engaging multiple enemies with toggle aim has been a challenge. Despite that, it's been working great! I don't feel like I'm punishing my fingers after a rousing session of Warframe. Thanks to playing on Steam's Big Picture Mode", I was able to customize the controls to do neat things like toggle run if I hold the left stick in a direction. I'm really proud of figuring that out!

Guild Wars 2
GW2 has some great concept art.HERE

BACK AT IT AGAIN. I had a lot of trouble adapting to GW2. In combat, you use keys 1-0, with 1-5 being your low-cooldown weapon skills and 6-0 being moderate-cooldown class skills. My favorite class is the engineer, which uses F1-F5 in addition to keys 1-0. You move with WASD and can dodge roll by pressing a key or double tapping a direction(I use the latter). It's very active and very hectic when you're fighting boss monsters. I ended up binding dodge and my best healing spell to my mouse because that was too many key presses for me to currently do without cramping up. It's amazing how smooth combat goes with those two changes. Now, I ended up redoing my skill build on my Engineer to make it easier on me. I switched to a passive turret based build where I drop offensive and defensive turrets and the rest of my class skills are buffing allies and myself. I shifted as much power as I could to my turrets and switched to a ranged weapon to prevent myself from rolling as much. It's not as engaging as I would like but it helps me itch that MMO fix.


If this trailer doesn't make you want to pick up this game, I feel sorry for you. Devolver Digital is quickly becoming one of my favorite publishers and it's not hard to see why. With releases like Hotline Miami, Shadow Warrior, Broforce, and the Talos Principle, they have gained quite the reputation for publishing quality titles. The Swords of Ditto is no different. After playing it at PAX East I found myself loving everything about it and I've been patiently waiting for it's release.


The Swords of Ditto is a Rouge-Like game that has the looks of Adventure Time and gameplay of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Starting off the game gets you acquainted with the controls necessary to complete your adventure. The story isn't anything you haven't experienced before. You are the only hero that can save the land and conquer evil! To be more precise though, every 100 years a new bearer of The Sword of Ditto is found by the spirit Puku. Your sole mission as the wielder of the sword is to defeat the evil witch Mormo, who has brought monsters to the land. Though Spoiler: your first time doesn't end too well. You die.


The animation is fantastic and the characters you interact with are quite quirky. There is a nice variation of enemies as well, with different colored variants that are stronger. In every playthrough, he objective stays the same. Though everything around you changes. From the people, places, and of course items. The dungeons are excellent too. They are rarely the same, always having some sort of surprise hidden somewhere.


You only have a 4 days to achieve your destiny, though with a certain amount of items and some help, you can turn back to time to give you chance to get stronger. You can use "stickers" to put on your weapon to give you different skills/abilities. Toys are items like bombs, torches, toy guns, etc. With the numerous dungeons to find and some require certain Toys to advance. Combining stickers and toys gives you interesting ways to approach the gameplay with different ways of combat.


The Swords of Ditto has a local co-op mode so you and a friend/family member can take down Mormo together! Or you could fail every time and never win. Either way it would be fun!


Overall, The Swords of Ditto is so charming it's hard to not enjoy it. It's by no means the greatest game of it's genre but it's pretty damn fun. If you're a fan of the older The Legend of Zelda games and like rogue-likes you'll definitely enjoy The Swords of Ditto
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