ARG Circuit Coverage Wrap-up

1231635_553155688085862_1274752874_nHey there, Alter Reality Gamers! I hope you all are doing well after coming off of this intense ARG Circuit Series event-filled weekend. While we definitely encountered some hiccups along the way, the general response I have been seeing about the event coverage has been positive. First off, let's take a brief review of the event itself!

Getting Started

The event took a fairly slow start thanks to some technical issues and some jerk throwing the fire alarm, but in the hours leading up to the actual tournament things were moving at a rather nice pace. People were milling about, taking the chance to catch up with friends they hadn't seen since their last major event as well as get some much needed trading done. The vendors were slammed as always, meaning that business for them was obviously booming. Perhaps the most fun part about getting started though were the random players opening themselves up and giving ARG some excellent interviews and photo ops! At the next event in Columbus, we look forward to doing this with everyone again after we get things set up. It is always fun to meet new people from around the globe, and I was shocked when I was meeting people who had driven from as far as New Mexico, Colorado, and even the New England area! This would have been my personal favorite part of the event were it not for the amazing feature matches I was able to cover during the event.

Day 1 of the Main Event

At ARG Circuit Fort Worth we had 320 players in attendance and played 9 rounds of swiss on the first day. The decks these players used were broken down and sorted here. Unfortunately I didn't have much time to spend in the main event hall as I was stuck at the Feature Match tables the entire day! We had the tables set up outside of the main hall so we could have ample lighting and space to record the feature matches. One of the best benefits of being outside the main hall is that it was fairly quiet at the beginning of rounds so the players could focus on the matches better.

Here are some links to our Feature Matches throughout the first Day:

Round 1: Fili Luna vs Daniel Wainikinea
Round 2: Paul "Empty Jar" Cooper vs Sherwin Lakhmani
Round 3: Leo Anaya vs Christian Lopez
Round 4: Tyler Ashlock vs Courtel Ruth
Round 5: Brandon Wigley vs Jonathan Galecia
Round 6: Brady Brink vs Oscar Zelaya
Round 7: Eric Liu vs Keller Hanegan
Round 8: Robert Boyajian vs Scott Page
Round 9: Desmond "Karakuri King" Johnson vs Paul "SeriousTreebornFrog" Clarke

Video (Some of these were lost in translation, most of the remaining video coverage is from the top 16)
Patrick Hoban vs Johnny Nagel

Billy Brake vs Trey Massengale

Desmond Johnson vs Keller Hanegan

Paul Cooper vs Tyler Collier

Frazier Smith vs Jerry Williams

Day 2, Top 16

The day began with these 16 awesome players having an awesome photo op and getting pumped up for the finals rounds. These were some of the most intense and skill filled matches I have ever been privy to. It was a literal honor to be able to write down the feature matches for these players and observe their actions and reactions as the games shifted back and forth between each of the players.

Here are our feature matches from the top 16:

Top 16: Brenden Beckmann VS. Vincent Gillette
Top 16: Dalton Bousman vs Oscar Zelaya
Top 8: Patrick Hoban vs Carlos Medrano
Top 8: Vincent Gillette vs Jordan Pollack
Top 4: Jerry Williams vs Scott Page
Top 4: Patrick Hoban vs Jordan Pollack
3rd/4th Playoff: Jordan Pollack vs Jerry Williams
Finals: Scott Page vs Patrick Hoban

For the sake of not clogging this article even MORE than it already is, you can find the day 2 coverage and much more on our YouTube page. Click here to be taken to a play list with all of our videos from the weekend!

Post Event

The most important thing I wanted to come to you guys today and talk about is what I think we did right, what we did wrong, and what we can and will do to improve your coverage experience during our next event in Ohio and onward! The coverage team as a whole consisted of myself, Corey Encinas, Steven Savelle, Luis Bazan and Mike Harris (TheKeeko25x) for the main event of the Circuit. We also had a lot of assistance from Cordero (Vexacuss4666) Spencer, Paul Wemhaner (Generalpdw) and a number of other friends and staff who helped make sure the event went as smoothly as possible. Many of these people will not be returning for Ohio due to travel expenses, but here is a summation of how I think that we did!

What We Did Right:

We hosted a smoothly run event.
For our first event this went very smoothly. There were a few technical issues at the beginning and there was a repair here and there, but I have yet to hear any major complaints about how the event itself was ran.

Quick coverage of the event
We brought you guys coverage as quickly as we could, having multiple feature matches per round in both video and article form. While we weren't able to expeditiously upload the videos through the snail-net we were working with at the convention center, we got them recorded and posted to you as quickly as we could. I will stand by the coverage we gave over the weekend, typing and spelling errors and all, because this was our first event we did this at and I'd the team I was working with performed smashingly.

Videoed feature matches
We did our absolute best to bring you as much coverage in video form as we could. This included player interviews, deck profiles, feature matches and on the floor footage as well. We started off rocky at the beginning with commentary on our feature matches, but after taking a break to work things out we came back swinging in the Finals by having Frazier Smith sit in with Keeko and I to give some great commentary on the match between Patrick Hoban and Scott Page.

Accurate coverage of matches
Aside from a few incidents, we were able to cover everything pretty accurately. There weren't any portions of our articles that just had blatantly incorrect plays that the players did not make and it seemed like everything transferred accurately from the play mat to the internet. There were obviously few illegal plays and misplays that were caught in some matches (summoning [ccProd]Dark Armed Dragon[/ccProd] while [ccProd]Evilswarm Ophion[/ccProd] was on the field), but overall I'd say we did a great job in covering things accurately.

Great matches between intensely skilled players
It has been a long time since I have seen such a long list of popular and famous names in the Top 16 of a tournament. This was one of the most skillful events I have ever seen and it was an absolute pleasure to work with these players in their feature matches. I definitely look forward to working with them again at future events!

What We Did Wrong:

Neglecting our other players
Through the entire tournament, Billy Brake had 3 video feature matches and 2 of them were with Frazier Smith! While these were great matches and intensely skillful, we went into this event wanting to see what other players had to offer the community. At our next event we will work out a better system for determining Feature Matches and see if we can't get some different faces in there. If you have some suggestions on how we can do this, leave a comment in the section below! We want to bring you skillful matches between great players, but at the same time we don't want you guys to have to read the same matches over and over again.

Forgetting our goals
We went into this event with a communitycentric focus, and I think we demonstrated that at the beginning when we were featuring players from all over and promoting their stores and names. But as the tournament progressed and we found ourselves swamped by the burden of getting these feature matches to you as quickly as possible, we forgot about our community and didn't devote enough time and care to them. Going into this next event I expect to be working with a more experienced and hopefully larger team, which I will get into later in the article. With that in mind I am sure that our next outing in Ohio will have the playercentric focus we were wanting!

Rushed articles
In our attempts to get coverage to you as quickly as possible, we got the articles out to you with all kinds of errors on them. We went in with the mind set of "Get it out fast, fix it later", but based on your feedback we will definitely be going forward with a "quality over speed" mentality. We will still get everything to you as quickly as possible, but we will delay an article if it is not to expectations and standards.

There was a lot of miscommunication between the Press Staff and the Event Staff of the event, which led to some issues for players we had promised Feature Matches for and us having to go back on promises to them. We are going to work on communication with our players as well as with ourselves at these large events and do our best to prevent issues like that from happening in the past.

What We Can Improve:

The quality level of our commentary was lacking in the beginning of the tournament, which led us to simply cut the commentary until the Final Round when we had Frazier Smith co-hosting the commentary with us. With a potentially larger staff and a better idea of what quality commentary is I am confident we will be able to achieve quality commentary on all of our feature matches we are able to do.

We want all of our matches to be covered the same and we want there to be a standard that they all meet. When we have one feature match without commentary or an article without an interview afterwards or a lot of typing errors then that shows poorly on us and doesn't give our players the experience that we promised to give with others. At Ohio, we have a clear vision of the coverage we are wanting to provide and we will bring that to you to the best of our ability as consistently as possible.

We went strong through the event at the start, but as the event drew to a close we started to neglect certain parts of our vision just to get coverage out. We weren't putting pictures in all of our Feature Matches, we didn't have player interviews for the matches in the end and of course we didn't have a consistent level of commentary for you guys in our videos. At our next Circuit we will aim for consistency and quality above all else.

Staff experience
As I mentioned, this was the first event that most of us had covered at this level. Several of us are a part of the YouTube community and have brought you deck profiles and such before, but we weren't part of official press staff for the events. Now that we have this event under our belts I am comfortable in saying that our next outing will go much more smoothly for us as well as you!

Amount of Staff
One of the core problems I think we ran into this weekend was that we did not have an adequate number of press staff to achieve our desired goals. Honestly just having one or two more people would have been enough to get our stuff done in a much more professional manner and alleviate some of the stresses that came with the event.

That's all I have for you today guys! I look forward to seeing and working with you all in Ohio and of course remember, Play Hard or Go Home!

Kalen Nelson
Head of Press Staff for ARG Circuit events. I enjoy long walks on the beach, Party Hard by Andrew W.K and making awesome live commentary for the ARG LiveStream. Always feel free to come hit me up at events and say hi!