Our Gamer of the Year is Starcraft II legend and pillar of the community, Sean 'Day ' Plott
If you sliced Sean Plott's arm open, you wouldn't find any blood – you'd be hit in the face with arterial sprays of StarCraft. Day, as the internet knows him, lives and breathes the strategy series, making a living at one point as a professional StarCraft: Brood War player. He now dedicates most of his time to helping fellow players up their StarCraft II game through daily video tutorials and commentating sessions.
His 'dailies' are the centrepoint for a rabid and friendly community, an amazing following for hour and-a-half videos of a man in a room talking to a webcam. I asked Sean why he started recording his thoughts.
“I was low on time and I missed thinking about StarCraft,” he explains. “So how do I both think and watch the pro matches I want to at the same time? I couldn't just sit in a dark closet and think about StarCraft for 45 minutes a day – commentary was the way. I made it a daily thing because I tend to be a little bit overambitious.”
Sean's experimented with his format: on some days he puts out 90 minutes of hardcore analysis; others, he turns into fun sessions. His Funday Mondays ask players to go through a game in a non-standard way, and get a huge response from the audience. Sean reminisces about these template deviations. “At that point in time, I was getting around 6,000 to 7,000 live viewers per night. Then Funday Monday came along and we hit 11,500. It was because people went onto Battle.net and spread the word.”
Surely it would be easier to record videos ahead of time? Not so. “Pressure wakes my brain up. Sometimes the community will be really curious in the chat window – they just want more strategic depth. Other times I go in there and they're just talking about silly childish things, and I'll read the goofy mood and go in goofy.”
But there's a business sense behind the webcam dancing. StarCraft II's rise has shoved e-sports back to the top of the PC agenda, with organisations such as Major League Gaming in the West setting a course for development. Sean's life has been intrinsically tied to competitive gaming, and he's got plans. “I definitely think that StarCraft II is going to be long remembered as the game that made an e-sports dent in people's minds. I see e-sports having a position between sports as seen on television and chess. Ten years ago, when e-sports first rose to public consciousness, virtually all the content that was produced had an executive producer at the head, hired to just bark orders at people. But executive producers don't get gaming. Gaming is not an activity, it's a lifestyle. What do I do on a Friday night? If I'm a party hound, I'm going to get trashed. If I'm a gamer, I'm gonna be gaming. No one really got that ten years ago, but the people that grew up with it are starting to get these jobs.”
Even if he's the man to lead the charge, I can't see Sean dropping his daily duties. Nowhere else in gaming can you find a personality so welcoming, patient, and selfeffacing. I get the impression that even with a fraction of the monumental audience he has with each entry, Sean would still be in his room, talking to his computer about the game he adores. “The absolute best part about doing the dailies is when someone says something like, 'Dude, I've been in the silver league since the start of StarCraft, and now I'm a diamond, and I give you credit for that.'” That genuine desire to help his fellow nerds makes him our gamer of the year.