As we close out the decade it’s time for our yearly wrap, and a look back at what we accomplished this year.
In 2019, we went through some major growth at Snowball in a couple of areas. At the beginning of the year, San Hoang and Chelsea Moss became the first content producers outside of myself on the team since Snowball began. Having them on board allowed us to maintain the same quality while continuing to pump out more content, especially during the OPL splits.
We hit up IEM Sydney, the Melbourne Esports Open and PAX Australia this year, and brought our flavour of coverage to those events.
In September, we announced that Snowball will partner with META High School Esports next year. We’re really excited to work with Nigel Smart, Woody Wu and the rest of the team on this for their 2020 season, providing high quality content and regular coverage.
I took a different approach with my year in review, going month to month and picking some key pieces from each to give you some insight into our year.
The likes of Andrew Wray and numerous others try and cheekily convince me to take on ridiculous time consuming projects all the time. After finding out there would be no tipping system for OPL like in 2018, we’d had discussions about trying to fill that gap and do something via Snowball but ultimately decided it wouldn’t be worth the time and effort to set up and maintain a competition.
We now know how weak-willed I can be when the community yearns for something. I ended up building an entire tipping league just days before the OPL returned in January. Over 200 OPL fans participated in the competition during the Split 1 regular season and some won some great RP prizes courtesy of Riot.
A great feature from Reece Perry on Jessica “ARTeMis” Majrouh and Carnage after their efforts at the WESG qualifier in Perth. This piece was also produced by one of our talented new additions at the start of this year in Chelsea Moss.
I am intensely proud of this piece from Ellis Longhurst. Ronan’s story is one that resonated with League of Legends fans both here and overseas, and is one of the most viewed Snowball pieces of all time. Ellis took a unique approach composing this story as if it were to become a six-part Netflix series, it’s an intensely inspiring read.
I’m fairly sure this is the longest OPL recap of all time from Isaac McIntyre, and with good reason. It tells the tale of Order’s run through the OPL gauntlet, after barely scraping into the playoffs and taking down each team against all predictions on their path to the final.
Also worth noting in April was an interview ahead of the Mid-Season Invitational with Bombers coach Westonway which garnered international attention as people looked to find out more about the oceanic representatives, and announcing our IEM Sydney coverage, with the intent to bring a team to the event for the first time in Snowball’s history.
Along with a myriad of written and video interviews with CS:GO’s biggest names, we had one of our newest writers Ashley Whyte put together a great feature on IEM Sydney, and the legacy that it’s created in our region after we talked with Michal ‘Carmac’ Blicharz.
After a stellar split in the OPL, Victor “FBI” Huang became the first Australian to make the journey to North America following in the footsteps of New Zealand’s Lawrence “Lost” Hui as told by Isaac McIntyre.
Other notable pieces from June include Emma van der Brug putting a spotlight on the Girl Gamer Festival coming to Sydney, a foray for us into Hearthstone with Legacy signing Grandmasters star FroStee, and the acquisition of the Chiefs Esports Club by ICON.
Building up grassroots esports in Oceania has always been a focus for us at Snowball, so when Ashley Whyte pitched a feature on the latest BrisVegas LAN in July and why it’s important to have these kinds of events, it was a no-brainer.
The Melbourne Esports Open was Snowball’s biggest event by far of 2018, and this year was no different. Armed with a team of 7 at Melbourne Olympic Park, we worked to bring high quality coverage to as much of the event as we could.
I’ve spotlighted the two OPL final previews, on Chiefs and Mammoth, because it marks something really important to myself, and the wider management of Snowball. These pieces show more than most the growth in both Harry Taylor and Emma van der Brug. Both of them were added as community panelists for Snowball’s OPL Power Rankings in Split 2 of 2018.
These features are a testament to their hard work and dedication to growing themselves, and I’m intensely proud of that. Pair that with some stellar creative work from producer San Hoang and you have some bar-setting content.
Although we capped off MEO coverage in early September, also with the
unfortunate debut of Roaming Wray, this feature from Andrew Amos on James “Yuki” Stanton is my highlight for September. It’s not often you see players have careers spanning this long, and it’s even rarer when they span as many titles as Yuki has, and Ducky did an excellent job bringing this story to life.
Also at the tail end of September, Go Next Media was announced to the world.
I believe this feature is the crown jewel of Snowball’s 2019. It was an absolute pleasure to produce, and was a complete product of circumstance. Andrew Amos was in Korea to cover the Overwatch Contenders Gauntlet right in the middle of Raid’s stay in Busan.
This is the calibre of content we strive for. You don’t often see this kind of unbridled view from retired esports pros in Oceania, and I can’t thank Julian enough for sharing his story with us.
In one of the most worked-on investigative pieces in Snowball’s history, Andrew Amos with the help of Isaac McIntyre and myself aimed to tell the full story of the scheduling controversy between multiple Oceanic orgs and ESL Australia.
It’s a story we didn’t take lightly, and took the time to make sure we reported the facts of the situation after obtaining full email transcripts between the teams and various other parties.
Other notable pieces from November include my report on the Essendon Bombers leaving esports and selling their OPL slot to Pentanet.GG, Ellis Longhurst’s visit to the Red Bull Fight or Flight PUBG event in Sydney, and Kevin Walker’s Snowball debut with pieces exploring Overwatch 2 and its impact on competitive and a chat with New Zealand’s Overwatch World Cup team.
I love this feature from Isaac McIntyre, and it’s a good one to grasp the scale of the offseason oceanic League of Legends has had. We’ll have a piece recapping every move of the ‘OCE exodus’ as its been dubbed in the new year, but his chat with Stephen for this piece shows how dedicated these pros are, and I’m super happy to see so many of them head overseas next year.