Lat’s Chats – Charm3r!

Howdy folks! Lateralus here and I am bringing you the eighth edition to my article series: Lat’s Chats! The goal of this series is to feature different members of the community whether they are a content creator, streamer, or just a player. There are a lot of great people in the TESL community and I want to show what different members have to offer for you all whether you have been a part of this community since the beginning, just recently joined, or someone who will join soon and is lost with the content we have to offer. So, without further ado, I bring you Charm3r!

Lateralus: Today we have the second half of our Master Series Casters! Thanks for joining me, but I have to ask Charmer, why did you start a hotel fire when Justin was trying to donate blood to the orphans?

Charmer: Every story has two sides. It’s true that he was trying to donate blood to orphans, but what he left out is the blood he was donating was that of their bunkmates. He kept muttering “Thanos was right” and had them all lined up in twos. I felt it was my civic duty to pull the alarm.

I would add that despite the authorities arriving promptly, no children were actually recovered. I’m not saying Justin is a monster, but it is a fact that the firefighters found no orphans when they got there.

Yikes… let’s move on to a happier subject. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Darick, and I’m from the mitten state (Michigan). I’m a husband and a father, and I currently work a few different jobs outside of content creation. During the day, I work for my state’s treasury department fighting fraud and identity theft. At night, I sometimes teach computer science courses for a local college.

I’m also a Gemini who enjoys long walks on the beach, comics, novels, and top decking lethal.

Michigan. My brother lived there for a couple of years in Traverse City. I hear it is a little colder there than down here in Georgia. Working two jobs on top of all you do in TESL must be hard. Not to mention taking care of a family. Your wife Sophia seems pretty supportive from what I see on Twitter with your hobbies. Can you tell us more about your family? You have two sons as well right?

I do have two sons. Stark is my oldest, and he starts kindergarten in less than a week. Monroe is my youngest, and he turned two earlier this year. Both are named after super heroes (Iron Man and Nomad). My wife is very supportive of me in all my endeavors, even if it means I spend a lot of time away from home. We try to find ways to incorporate my family into my “hobbies” so that we can still spend time together. My wife has streamed on my channel in the past, and there are some videos of her playing horror games on YouTube. Stark has started watching some YouTube gaming content recently, and he desperately wants to stream Fortnite with me. He asks at least once a week. The boys have also watched some of the broadcasts, and my wife was showing her family some of the Masters Series Qualifiers to try and explain to them what I do. It is hard juggling it all, and often times it comes at the expense of my health or my sanity. I’m constantly working on finding new ways to balance everything, but it’s very difficult. If I wasn’t making content, I’d just be doing something else. I’m not the kind of person to just let myself have free time, if that makes sense.

I get it. That’s pretty awesome. Will any of your family come to QuakeCon with you or will Kindergarten prevent that?

My family typically doesn’t come along when I travel, largely because of the additional difficulties involved with transporting small children. There’s extra costs involved in plane tickets and passes, but there are also things like bringing car seats and strollers that can be challenging. We also don’t really have family members that live locally that could take the boys overnight, so my wife can’t really take a “vacation” to tag-along by herself either. So, for those reasons, along with kindergarten beginning shortly before I leave, I’ll be the only one going. I’d like to bring them out to an event at least once, but we’re waiting until something a little more local comes up.

I understand that. My wife and I are about to drive ~8hours for our vacation. Should be interesting with our 2-year-old. Before we get into all the different things you do for TESL. What brought you to this game? What has you hooked?

What brought me to the game was a strong desire to find a digital card game that I would enjoy playing regularly. I’ve played physical card games since 1994, and when digital card games started to make the rounds I was very excited. I had tried MTGO, SolForge, and even Hearthstone, but nothing was quite hitting what I wanted out of a digital card game at the time. MTGO was complex, but the interface was clunky and painful. SolForge was cleaner, but the gameplay felt incredibly draw dependent in the early iterations of the game. Hearthstone had a wonderful client and implementation, but I found the gameplay to not be deep enough to keep me interested for long periods. I sort of played it, took a break, then came back to it at times. A friend of mine told me about Legends, so I signed up for the beta to give it a go. I really liked it when I first tried it, and I saw tons of potential in it. Some of the potential is yet unrealized, but it still satisfies most of the needs I have in a game like this. It has a great mix of flavor and balance that complement each other well. It rewards skillful play, but still offers enough variance in the games to make each one feel a little different. For example, I gave Gwent quite a bit of my time when that game was in closed beta. I really enjoyed it at first, but the mechanics of that game made it “solvable” very quickly. Decks weren’t just the same, but games basically played the same way every time as well. I felt like I was playing a board game more than a card game, because the draws were irrelevant. But Legends doesn’t make me feel that way, and that is a huge plus.

I agree. I’ve tried a lot of TCGs/CCGs as well. Outside of MtG and that dead game cough Hand of the Gods cough I haven’t had nearly as much fun as I do in TESL. It being easily accessible is also a huge plus and will be even more so soon once it comes to consoles! Where did you start in TESL? Was it streaming or making YouTube content? What inspired you to do those things rather than just play this awesome game?

I had already been a “variety” streamer on Twitch for a while before finding Legends, so my first bits of content were of me streaming the game when open beta launched. I was just really excited to show off a card game on my channel, because I usually enjoy them. When I had played it enough to decide that I was sticking with it for a while, I started making YouTube content for the game. My YouTube channel prior to that had been mostly highlight videos (if you could call them that) of the games I was playing before Legends. Legends is now the core of my channel, but I still find ways to sneak in stuff for a few other games I enjoy every now and then.

You recently landed the casting gig along with Justin for the Master Series tournaments. Were you ever expecting do be asked for something like that? Did you have any experience doing so prior to?

I wasn’t expecting to be asked to do something like that. In all honesty, I am kind of still shocked any time people reach out to me for anything related to my content. The first time Bethesda ever contacted me, I sent several emails and tweets to people just to verify that it was a real opportunity. That was in December of 2016, for the Chaos Arena preview event. Bethesda has contacted me several times since, but every time I’m honored just to be considered. I probably suffer from a rather large case of imposter syndrome. But the short answer is no, I wasn’t really expecting to be asked. I had done some play-by-play casting before for the TESL Champion Series, but I wasn’t a regular. Casting an event from the comfort of my own home was wildly different from the “studio” experience in LA. I am very grateful for the rehearsal time that we were given, and I am grateful for the ESL production crew. They were instrumental in helping me adjust to the differences. I have done plenty of public speaking in the past for various jobs, whether it be teaching or presenting at large conferences. That experience helped prepare me for this in some ways, but it’s still apples-to-oranges in comparison. As a presenter at a conference, I control the show. I can change topics, answer questions, set the pace and direction, and do things based on reading the audience. I didn’t have people talking in my ear, and I didn’t have to deal with broadcast delays. Casting for these qualifiers has been a very unique experience, and I’m learning a lot from it.

You and Justin have blown it out of the water. I knew you two had synergy based on your podcasts together and that you both made good content, but never heard either of you cast. You exceeded my expectations and I couldn’t be happier with the work you’ve both done. I appreciate your hard work. I want to side step for a moment. How did you and Justin first start interacting? You have seemed to form a strong friendship. I imagine that meeting at these TESL events has been pretty surreal.

I first started interacting with Justin on Twitter and Reddit indirectly. We were both active and followed each other but didn’t converse much unless it was something public about the game. Justin eventually approached me about collaborating for a YouTube video in the fall of 2016. He wanted to do a “Dwemer Challenge,” where each person brought three decks that contained a certain number of neutral cards. We played each other and recorded our games, and we had a blast doing it. After that, we started talking more frequently on Twitter about the game. Over time, conversations stopped being solely about the game and started to incorporate typical “small talk.” How is Sandra, how are the kids, that sort of thing. We are both addicts in our own ways, so we had a lot to bond over once we were talking about things beyond Legends. Getting to meet Justin in person in Boston was absolutely surreal. It wasn’t my first time meeting an “internet friend” though. I used to GM for a World of Warcraft raiding guild, and for three straight years we had meetups in various spots across the US. But meeting Justin was different because it was just one person, and not a group. Justin and I communicate very frequently through a number of different avenues now though, and we’ve grown pretty close.

That’s awesome. I too have met some people in the TESL community and it was a blast. I hope that QuakeCon is just the beginning of opportunities the community gets to meet in person. I’m sure you of all people are pretty excited about the future. You and Justin seem to be team NDA. RIP. Staying within what you can speak on, what are you looking forward to the most in TESL?

It’s hard to pick just one thing that I’m looking forward to. The thing about Legends is, you can see so much potential in the game that for one reason or another has never been fully realized. I just hope that with all the changes coming, we finally get to see some of those things come to fruition. We’re getting some of that now in the form of real tournaments and events, but there is a laundry list of little things that people have been asking about for as long as I can remember. Little things like custom avatars and more alternate art cards were mentioned as desired items when the game was still in beta, and we’ve never gotten them. All of the little quality of life changes, potential APIs, and ways to customize the game experience are what I look forward to the most. Elder Scrolls as a franchise has always been about playing a game the way you want to play it. I’d like to see that trickle over to this game as well.

Agreed. The future is bright and has so many possibilities. What is next for you though? Where do you plan to take your content or casting to next? Any ideas you have ready to throw at the community?

Well, on top of traveling for casting I have been moving into a new home which has drastically impacted my ability to make content. The near future is just about getting my new office setup so that I can start contributing to the community again. I’d like to get back to making more deck spotlights to help newer players, and I’d love to bring “The Forge” back in some capacity. The podcast will also be resuming soon, so I’m excited to start talking with others in the community again. Justin and I have a list of guests we want on the show, and it gets bigger every week. As you know from your article series, there’s no shortage of interesting people in the community to talk to. The one thing I want to explore in the future is ways to improve my play-by-play casting, and I have a few ideas on how to do that. Obviously, Legends has some great community run tournaments that I would love to help with, but my work schedule makes my ability to commit to those kind of spotty. I’ve started toying with the idea of spending some time on Twitch solely spectating some of the top players in the game, and casting things from their perspective. Doing it that way will allow me to still get practice in, but without having to worry so much about my schedule aligning with everyone else. I just need to get the blessing of some folks first and add them to my friends list in game.

Congrats on your new home! Well deserved. I’m sure everyone will be glad to have you back in the mix of content creation. Maybe we can collaborate sometime in the future! I’ve always been impressed with your quality of content and I think everyone can learn from you as well. I look forward to watching you grow as a caster and can’t wait to see you at QuakeCon. When things settle down, when do you think the community will be able to catch your streams?

The goal is to be up and running very soon, at least in some sort of functional capacity. Justin is also buying a home, but the podcast will be returning as soon as he’s moved in. Streaming and YouTube content will resume as soon as my old setup is finished being put up in the new office. I’m working on changing my overall setup to make better use of the new office space though, so things will be evolving over time. Hopefully people will be able to “pardon my dust” until the “construction” of the new space is done. So, in short, things will be ready to go very soon but I don’t have an exact date and time yet. I’d call it “Bethesda” Soon™.

Haha…we know that term all too well. Before I let you get back to setting hotels on fire, is there anything else that you’d like to say to the community?

I’d like to say is “THANK YOU” to everyone. I’ve been a part of several different gaming communities, and Legends is still by far the best one I’ve ever been a part of. I know sometimes people say that as hyperbole, but I really mean it. I also want to thank everyone for being so welcoming to Justin and me as casters. I know some were apprehensive about us as choices, and I was worried about how we would be received. Everyone has been very encouraging and helpful, which is very reassuring. I can’t speak for Justin, but I know that I just really want to do what I can to help the game succeed. I enjoy the game and the community, and I want to help out in any way that I can. Even if that means flying across the country to broadcast all day, just to fly home and go straight to work from the airport. The community makes it all worth it.

We are glad to have you. Members like you is what help build a strong community and make it successful. Keep up the good work. By the way, this just in, Justin Larson has a better t-shirt than you according to my small Twitter following. What say you?

I say it was an unfair fight. His shirt features his face multiple times, and my shirt has but one cute Khajiit.

Sounds like it’s time to fight! Thanks for joining me today Darick. It’s been a pleasure.

Thanks for having me!

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