Building a Community: An Interview With the European Amateur League
The European Amateur League has partnered up with Scorpia Tournaments to bring out the best of both communities. Founded in April 2018 by Jack Lawrence and Samuel Preston, the European Amateur League has since participated in multiple CS:GO tournaments and maintained an active Discord server for their players and fans.
We interviewed Jack “Anders” Lawrence, the co-founder of the European Amateur League, to not only give our community insight on our newest partner, but to also provide players with more background on the up-and-coming esports organization.
What was your background and experience going into creating your esports organization? How have you been using that to help it grow?
Anders: Before founding the EAL, myself and Sam had competed in many tournaments across many games like Call of Duty, FIFA and Counter-Strike. We also had prior experience in organizing tournaments and communities ourselves. Our previous experience meant that we had some good contacts to get the organization off the ground and found a loyal admin team as well as some regular players fairly early on — most of which are still with us.
What makes the European Amateur League unique?
Anders: We always cater towards our community. All of our tournaments have given 100 per cent of the entry fees back to the players. We’re constantly looking for new ways to improve our events for our community. Our EAL Season 2 utilized a new scheduling system that allowed the community the freedom to play their matches whenever both teams were available within reason. Our EAL Faceit Hub is always improving based on consistent communication with members of the community and always providing a place for suggestions and community votes to decide on things such as the captain-picking system, whether or not there should be a minimum skill level and the map pool.
Why does your organization host tournaments for games like CS:GO and Call of Duty, in particular? What other games, if any, do you hope to host in the future?
Anders: CS:GO was a natural starting point for us, since we were the result of another CS:GO community where most of us met. CS:GO was where we had the most experience in watching and competing, as well as where we knew the most people, so it seemed like the best place to start. We recently expanded into Call of Duty with the release of Black Ops 4 after being pleasantly surprised with the competitive changes to Call of Duty such as the new health system and the new emphasis on teamwork from the new specialists and the game mode Control. After Black Ops 4 launched, the EAL administrative team grinded Black Ops 4 for about a week and a half and decided that we wanted to provide a place for the Call of Duty PC community to play. We have also discussed expanding into other games and will continue to do so, however, we have no plans for the immediate future.
What are some of the challenges the European Amateur League face? How are you overcoming them?
Anders: A challenge that we’re currently facing is to what extent we want to listen to the community. Currently, many players are calling for a minimum skill level to be added to the EAL Faceit Hub. While we like to listen to our community, we need to decide whether it’s fair to exclude certain players for simply not being good enough. Another issue that we commonly face is to what extent should we moderate our players. The hub is for the community, and the CS community is often a toxic place. As a result, one player may view certain statements and actions as toxic and another as banter. It’s hard to know where to draw the line and how to keep that line consistent, however, I like to think that we do an alright job of it.
How do you motivate your players to continuously stream on Twitch and participate in your tournaments?
Anders: All of our tournament matches are streamed either by casters or admins. Once the games are scheduled, we contact all of our casters and admins to see who is available to cast, observe, manage the server and regulate the teams. Our hub is sometimes streamed by members of the community and we like to do our best to promote them while doing so.
What is one of your favourite memories with the European Amateur League so far?
Anders: To be honest, it’s hard to say, because there aren’t a lot of memories that spring to mind. It’s more the small conversations that happen between staff or with players in a match that always provide good humour while we work.
Where do you see your organization in the future?
Anders: I think that EAL will continue to focus on the players within the community and provide a nice place for people to play. It would be nice to see it become a full-time operation, but that’s a secondary objective behind helping it grow and supporting the community.
Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t covered for our readers and your fans?
Anders: I think sometimes people underestimate the amount of hard work and effort that goes into the organization and our events. Sometimes, there can be quite a backlash on staff, so I think it’s important to recognize and appreciate the hard work and dedication of the current and previous volunteer staff that we couldn’t have done it without. So just a big thanks to Ethan, Eclipse, Vex, Pablo, Gingeh, MJay, Bailey, Pat, Dario, Lui, Cam, Tommy, Chris and all of the other staff who have dedicated their time to improving the community, as well as the loyal members of the community who have always stuck with us through thick and thin — who we wouldn’t be here without.
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- 14th November 2018