Team Managers and Scrimming in Breakaway.
I wanted to make a post explaining my past scrim experiences (From a player and a manager perspective) with competitive games, and give some insight and information about managing a team and how I think scrimming in Breakaway should function. Since we're getting close to having Breakaway up constantly, it's our job as Alpha players to shape the scene for the road ahead. If we don't care or if we're very sloppy with what we do now, the new players that join will think it's okay to not care and we'll end up in a rough situation.
(Prepare your butts, this is going to be a long one)
Scrimming in competitive games has always been a struggle for most people. Trying to find consistent or beneficial scrim blocks can be an uphill battle. Sometimes we're lucky enough to have some pretty easy ways to get practice games in, (like CEVO or ESEA for CS:GO) But most of the time we're stuck with a Discord/Skype text chat with thousands of "LF scrim" messages. This is pretty typical throughout a lot of games, but it's messy and unorganized. You don't know if you'll have consistent scrims from day-to-day, or when you can get scrims, if they will be beneficial to you and your team at all or just a big waste of time.
When I stopped playing CS regularly and was picked up by 2ARC Gaming to manage their Heroes of the Storm roster (with players like, LzGaMeR, Traitorr, LiquidSheth, KawaiiRice, and Khroen), I thought it was going to be just another day, another game. I was pleasantly surprised when I started my newly found dad role and booked some scrims for my team.
The way scrims work in the tryhard HotS world, is that every team that was serious about the game had a manager. There was very few teams that didn't. If you didn't have one, you had a team player/team sub/friend/Significant Other/a free agent/etc, fill the duties till you found a permanent one. All the managers had a Skype group JUST for scrim posts. They would be formatted messages to find scrims for the WHOLE WEEK and not just the current day/night.
(I'm not in the group anymore or I would post screenshots, sorry)
Scrims were 2-hour long "blocks", and you would have multiple "blocks" a day, with dedicated and scheduled break, meeting, theory-crafting, and VOD review times.
Basically, a post would look something like this:
LF scrims next week.
~ All times EST ~
Mon 5/8 | 8-10pm / 11-1am
Tue 5/9 | 8-10pm / 10-12am
Wed 5/10 | 6-8pm / 10-12am / 12-2am
Thur 5/11 | 8-10pm / 10-12am
Fri 5/12 | 3-6pm / 6-8pm / 10-12am
Once a team has posted available scrim times for the week, other managers would DM that person to book times. That manager would than update the post to take out the booked blocks. This way of formatted scrimming has made it very easy to keep consistent, high quality and beneficial scrim schedules for teams. Managers wouldn't post multiple messages, or spam messages in the scrim chat. They would typically be 2 posts a day from a single manager, one in the morning and one at night (If managers spammed messages or was toxic towards anyone, they would get kicked from the group). The other managers kept a tight ship in the chat and basically everyone acted as moderators to keep the chat functional and running as smooth as possible for everyone.
If you wanted to book scrim blocks with good teams, you would need to make sure that your team committed to the blocks you booked, wasn't toxic or dropped blocks, and were respectful to the system and the other teams. If not, teams would not book blocks with you and you would have to go to a public "anything goes" LF scrim chats instead. (Which, most of the time, you couldn't get any beneficial scrims blocks due to those chats being filled with teams that were super new, toxic, or not as experienced / skilled.)
Getting into the Skype group chat was very easy though, and now that discord is more popular, it's even easier to create resources like this to make the scrim scene as smooth, and beneficial, as possible. Once you started making connections with other managers, booking scrims was very fast, and easy to do.
Most managers had an internal (and formatted) Google Sheets doc for their team. This doc would provide information about the team (like contact info, game or client info, paypal and social media info, etcetcetc), and have all the info about the current week's scrims and upcoming events, scrim results, Team to-do's, etcetcetc.
This made a lot of things streamlined and easily accessible to the players, managers, and organizations (if you were on one).
The manager's job is to take care of their team, to make sure their team has everything it needs to be functional so that the players can just focus on the game and not have to worry about anything else. They're the team Dad, and usually the first contact point for a team. (Most of the time, managers would run the team's social media as well) If you were on an org, the org would go to the team manager if they needed/wanted anything from the team or to give updates about org-related stuff.
The next couple example images will be taken from my Breakaway team's (StopwatchGG) current Google Sheets Doc. At the end of this article, I'll post a link to a blank doc so you can copy and paste it to your own Google Sheets doc to use for your team.
This is an example of what the Scrim schedule would look like before scrims were booked:
You would fill in the squares, using the "Merge cells" tool at the top, and color-code them depending on what you were booking that time for.
Here's the color key that we use for our schedule:
This is what the team schedule would look like after scheduling was done for the week:
(This is an example schedule and I picked random teams so I could show you what it would look like when it's filled)
This way of scheduling is done by many teams in many different games and genres. It makes it easier on the players to see/read their schedules, as well as, it makes it easier on the manager to fill out the schedule. Google Sheets is really easy and you only need to know how to click a couple buttons to make your schedule look nice and neat and awesome.
The only functions I used to make this doc was:
Fill and Text Colors
and "Gridlines" (Which hides the cell lines, so you can use the border tool to custom make them)
I'm not going to post screenshots of the other tabs on our Google Sheet (They're filled with non-public information), but I will post a blank version of the whole doc so you can copy+paste the tabs over to your own to use with your team. You'll have to create each tab on your own doc, and copy+paste the example tab over to yours. The sizes of the columns and rows will be reset when you C+P over. So you'll have to mess with it a little to get it where you want it.
I usually have a couple blank schedules copied and pasted to the right of the current weeks schedule, so all I have to do is highlight the columns for the week that passed, and right click "Hide columns". This way you don't have to delete anything and can just keep on keepin on fams.
Please let me know if you'd like any additional information about anything I've talked about here (I can edit the post further to include whatever else). If you need any help, or have any questions, feel free to reach out to me over Discord or through Twitter.
and as always,
I'll see you next time.
Upvote, upvote, upvote.
Awesome to have a post like this right in time for these Alpha weekends to start up.
Can't wait to keep building this community up with Stopwatch and the rest of the gang!
@xyzp Most of the scrims will be handled through Discord since we have the Relic Room set up. Skype was just used to show an example of what we used in a prior competitive scene.
@emperic Good, because skype is CHEEKS. I'll have to talk more with the squad to see if we're doing scrims though. some of us might not be about it and it would be unfair of me to just make rash decisions.
So essentially its making a schedule and then having an organized discussion with each other on how to get better and trying out these tactics in practice matches with your team? Soudns dope to me.
Only thing I don't like though is skype, i refuse to download it or use it ever again.
Great post. Excited to see the competitive scene of Breakaway develop. This is a great start. Thanks for your thoughts/write-up.