Sunday, September 02, 2007

TheBigGame interview

Quite frankly, if you play Frenzy and you don’t know who he is, then you’re rather clueless . He is of course, the creator of our favourite WC3 custom game – Footmen Frenzy.

It doesn’t get any better than this, folks. I’m really looking forward to this one, and I’m sure you are too. So go to the toilet, grab a snack, tuck your chair in, sit back and relax, for you’re about to undergo the ultimate (and somewhat lengthy) interview viewing experience.

Good morning, TBG. First off, let me just say that I’m thrilled you let me conduct this interview with you. I don’t know about other people, but as a passionate Footmen Frenzy disciple who used to play the game religiously, I couldn’t help but become curious about the life of the guy who made it all happen. As blatantly homosexual as that may sound, it’s the truth. And luckily enough, I now get the opportunity to have all of my questions answered. Let’s start off simple, and work our way into the juicy stuff.

Q: What’s your real name?
Bill Kazmaier.

Q: How old are you?

Q: What physique do you have (height, weight)?
6'3", 240 lbs.

Q: What is your nationality?
I’m from Guam.

Q: What is your ethnicity?
I’m an islander.

Q: Everyone knows you’re hot for The Hulk, but I’ll ask anyway. What is your sexual orientation?

Q: What is your occupation?
I work in IT.

Q: Do you have a girlfriend / wife / family? If so, please briefly elaborate.
Yes, I have a wife and family.

Q: Do you have any pets? If so, please tell us what.
Two dogs: Labradors.

Q: Share some of your PC specifications (processor, video card, ram, etc).
Dual core processor, 1 gigabyte RAM, Raedon 9800 graphics card.

Q: What internet connection do you have?

Q: Are you a sports enthusiast / do you play sport?
Yes and yes. I enjoy all sports, and I play like to play all sports recreationally. I play basketball and ping pong hardcore.

Q: What kind of car do you have?

Q: What is your music taste?
Rap / R&B mostly, but I like anything really.

Q: Apart from gaming, do you have any particular hobbies or talents you’d like to share?
Hmm… I’m a movie buff, and I like to cook. But I don’t have infinite time to do random things.

Q: While we’re still on the subject, is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your personal life?
Heck no. I hate talking about personal life with people I don't know .
SLB: I hope that explains your reluctance to elaborate .
TBG: Of course, last thing I need is Ohboy breaking into my house to iron my clothes.

Alright, that was enlightening. But enough about your personal life, let’s delve into the topic of games.
Sure, games are fun.

Q: At what age did you first start gaming?
Like as far back as I can remember… 7? 6?

Q: What were some of the first computer games you played?
I played this submarine game for the apple. And of course, Oregan Trail.

Q: What was it that drew you to the gaming scene?
Mostly the competition. It's always hard to make new friends so I didn't really stay in one place until I was 13. Before that I just had video games to really pass the time and be my hobby.

Q: I hear that you were quite the Starcraft player back in the day. Amongst the best in the US? Please tell us how you became such a good player, and what it is that you love so much about this game.
Again the competition is a reason I played it. The ability to pit your skills vs another human was always fun. I got really good mostly because I played the game way too much and I became friends with a lot of top players and they helped me improve. I do consider myself a top USA zerg when I was in my prime. Which isn't saying much really. USA players beyond a small handful were overrated.

Q: You performed quite well competitively at local Starcraft tournaments, I believe?
Local tournaments? Give me a break, I could beat everyone in random if I played locally. Nationally I had beaten everyone who was considered a top player, but that again isn't saying much. We've only had a very small amount of world class players.

Q: What do some of your favourite Starcraft strategies involve?
Hmm well my best race is Zerg, and my favourite build was probably 9 pool speedlings. It's an aggressive strat and against people who aren't top top level they really don't know how to deal with it and it's an easy victory. With protoss probably sair/dt was my favorite overall strat. It was only for anti zerg though. But I enjoyed it nonetheless. After that my favorite matchuup is t vs p as terran. I really enjoy using metal and pushing people. It's very fun and very challenging. Even if I lose this match-up, I totally will play it 100 times over. Back in the day that match-up was unwinnable unless you were like the Jesus of Starcraft so it's always fun playing it even though today it's more of a balanced match-up.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to mention about this game, which was obviously a great and memorable era in your gaming career?
Nothing major really. It's a game that I don't intend on focusing as hard anymore. But for those who are playing now guys like sphere, bark, congo, etc. They all really enjoy the game and want to get better.

The easiest way to get better is to always keep your money at 0. Also people think that expanding is the key. Sure expanding is great, but the best way to practice is to never expand and instead just pressure your opponent from 1 base. If you macro better hen him and keep him pressured you can win 100% of the time. People try to get 3 bases and they can't even begin to spend that money effectively... sometimes people watch these replays and try to emulate it. This isn't War3.

Q: How did you stumble across Warcraft III and World of Warcraft?
Well, both are Blizzard games. I mean what more can I say beyond that. Blizzard makes another RTS? Okay sure, I’ll play that. I'll play anything Blizzard. I'm very devoted to them.

Q: Tell us a little about the World of Warcraft guild, Nohunters.
I don't really play with them anymore, but they are a bunch of sexy men whose sole guild goal is to come up with hilarious catchphrases which I’ll hear whenever I talk to them, and then I end up using them in front of bark for like 2 weeks. Gaytown comes to mind.

Q: What was the inspiration for the name “Nohunters”?
Nohunters is an old Starcraft guild (which I think is explained already in our FAQ tsk tsk SLB)
SLB: Meh, no one reads it.
TBG: In Starcraft there is his horrifically gay but fun map called Big Game Hunters. So this channel hated on that map, making the channel Nohunters.

Q: What are all the gaming aliases you’ve used in the past? How did you come up with such names? And finally, why couldn’t you stick with the one name?
Fox^1 is my original name. My RL nickname is Fox, but couldn’t get Fox on the large, so I went with Fox^1. My AIM name and MSN as you know are foxisquick. My War3 name was HatoUP created from an article I read about a Magic the Gathering player that I respected. He named his new deck "HatoUP" which was basically the most dominant deck at that time. After a while somehow the account was taken by someone else. Because of this I used the name TheBigGame. Which is partly from the wrestler HHH who had the nick The Game. I instead put the BIG game and it just stuck.

Q: How did you get your HatoUP account stolen on battle net?
No clue, I just didn't have it one day

Interesting. Okay, time to talk about all things Footmen Frenzy!
Sure, sure.

Q: I’m very interested to know about the origins of Footmen Frenzy. Please explain how this map came into being.
Well I tried out some war3 games and there was this map called Footman Wars that was a lot like Zergling Madness (Hydra Rancher is also like it, but I played mostly Zergling Madness) and I realized how fun it was with heroes and units flying around, and killing 100 units with one swoop of your hand. But there was a problem. All the maps I played were horrible and imbalanced and just gay. So I decided to make one myself.

At first I called it Advanced Footmen Wars. But then Jaood came up with the idea to call it Footmen Frenzy. We started the map balance in but that has since gone under

And that's when I also created Halpmeh, CattleBruiser, Jaood, Ravage (Bark), Edge, Dino Din, and all the other custom heroes, were helpers / fans of the map from Nohunters. So that's how it started.

Q: How many years have you worked on Footmen Frenzy for? What support did you have to assist in its creation?
I’ve worked on it forever, and I did it by myself really, and just had other people help me test it. Not until the past year or so have I brought in the public really.
Currently balance is done by the balance staff as you know it. A group of good frenzy players and vets of the game. I'm currently more interested in new additions, which is a reason I wanted to create mine in the first place, so I can just make it as I see fit.
I played FF because I like the game. So I like to change it based on how I like the map to play out. People sometimes don't like that (3.8 fags unite!) but I don't really care. But I do enjoy that there are people who support our vision and follow us whatever path we decide to go down. For those people I thank you.

Q: Did you have any specific aim or goal for Frenzy when you first started working on it; and did you predict it would become as massively popular as it is today?
Yeah I had no idea it would get popular. I like made 1.3 and left it for like a year. Then Bark is telling me that everyone plays it and I need to update it because it sucks.
Finally I said "okay", and we are basically where we are now.

Q: What do you attribute Footmen Frenzy’s colossal success to?
Well probably because there are a lot of people who want to believe they are good at a game. That they are not abusing obvious flaws and that their own skill is allowing them to win.

It's a great thing to your ego to know you beat the other guy not because you abused some random thing that he didn't know about, but more that you're a better player then him. I think that Frenzy gave people that feeling. Because of our preaching of balance. Other maps had no balance and ours preached it as the primary reason to play.

Q: Through years of grueling balance changes and countless additions to the map, Footmen Frenzy has come a long way, and is still improving. Are you happy with the direction it’s heading in?
Not really, because it’s difficult to get it to where I want to go. There are problems with the map that cannot be circumvented because they are just impossible unless we completely were to change the map around. The biggest one is the 4 team concept.
Having 4 teams makes it very hard to keep everyone in it. Usually what happens is you get one team with a better advantage than the bottom team. So much, that the bottom team will have it very hard to come back. The top 2 teams isn't a big deal, itis that if you're the last placed team you're fucked...

Which is where the 12 footmen rule comes into play. Things like that. AOE being too dominating, etc. It would seriously be much easier to just make it a 5 vs 5 game. That would be so much easier to balance for competitive play. Which is why when people compare it to DotA it’s kinda annoying. DotA has more resources, and is a much easier game to balance. It's a great game because of those two HUGE factors.

Basically we'd almost have to scrap the entire game and build from the ground up again. Bark and I are already talking about doing a few things along those lines for 6.0 but until we are able to achieve it, I won’t be happy.

Q: Where do you see the game in 12 months from now?
Hopefully we will have 6.x out and I’m hoping to see major improvements mostly in flow of game and ability to come back. The thing about frenzy is that if I attack first with footman, I basically lose unless I'm 10x better than everyone in the game.

When skills are equal, there are so many gay tactics to be able to gain an advantage as opposed to just fighting someone and winning. Like think about DotA or ladder. If my hero dies, they do not get a HUGE advantage. But if you lose your hero early game in FF? Or are the 1st to attack and get all your footmen flanked? You're fucked . You'll be like level 1 and someone else will be level 4?

Q: How do you feel about being responsible for the immense amount of joy you’ve caused for literally tens of thousands of individuals all across the world?
I’m glad people like the map, but I don’t really think about it. I’m the type of online person who has his online life and his RL. When I'm doing RL stuff I totally do not even think about online at all. Bark is probably the same way.
Online is fun for us, it's never serious and we never take it serious. But on the flipside our RL are very serious so it's like 2 different worlds for us. But I'm glad people like the map but I don’t really think about them.... unless it's you SLB... and while I’m having an erotic dream.

Q: How long has your Footmen Frenzy forum been online for; and just how much have your loyal forum goers influenced you in the balancing of and creating new ideas for the game?
In the past year, the forum people have been my major influence. This is why I rarely lock threads. I listen to everything and ideas are very useful. There is a reason this is the best footmen map (imo) is that we use the best ideas. Some guy says "you should do this" then even if he’s a fag or whatever… if it's good I’m going to use it!

I just want to enjoy my map and anything I can do to increase the enjoyment is great. Right now bark and I are basically going to scrap the tiers and build them from the ground up.

Q: How many hits does your website get weekly? Is this number growing?
We get a huge number of hits. Let me find the number for the past month.

For October we got 4 926 010 hits.

Q: What does it cost to run
It’s pretty cheap for the site itself. Like around $30 a month.

Q: Approximately, what is the total value of monetary donations you’ve received through the site?
Hmm… probably $1 000? That’s about 75 cents per day since the site went up. It’s not as high as you think .

Q: What do the badonkadonks (site advertisements) earn you?
Oh god, like nothing. Last month we got like $10 I think.

Q: How long do you believe it will be before the sad day arrives when you decide to “retire” from Footmen Frenzy?
Retire? I'll never really retire from Will I ever pass the map on to someone else to have them be the head of it? Yes. But I will probably always be on this site; I enjoy it and its fun to talk to random people about gaming. Or at least be able to give people a place to come and talk about it.

Q: I’m sure that people who play the game, particularly in previous versions, wonder how many of the custom heroes and creeps attained their name. Care to tell us who they’re named after?
Just people who have helped with the map.

Q: Do any of these people occupy a special place in your heart?
Hahahaha honestly... CB / Jaood / Bark are very good friends to me. They know things about my personal life and they are cool. Also other people like Halpmeh or Avalanche, they are good friends but I don’t think they are as close as to me as CB / Jaood / Bark.

Q: You have been criticized in the past for your rather controversial balancing techniques. This involves over-nerfing the overpowered subject, and then increasing its power in subsequent versions in “baby-steps” until it’s just right. You must realize that rendering these subjects practically useless, if only for a temporary period of time, is extremely frustrating when players are trying to cope with using them. What do you have to say about that?
It’s fine, learn2play. Haha but honestly, the major example to people is probably the Shadow Hunter. I’ve gotten tons of e-mail about him. And there isn't much you can do that about that. I mean we can try to tweak him over and over again to get him right. The thing was he was so incredibly strong that if you want to tone him down enough so that he's "just right” it’s really gay because even then you'll have people who say "okay he's still too strong, you didn't do anything to him". You can't please everyone. So for me I rather just make sure he's not overpowered and if he's underpowered then that's okay, I’ll be able to find what heroes are too strong since he's out of the way and fix them. People need to look at versions 2.0-3.0 and oh my god, they had some super isnane heroes.

Also realize that recently we've had all these tournaments; more resources for us to figure out issues with the map. That has helped a GREAT amount. Big props to teams like Rainfall and German teams who use their godly frenzy skill (lol) to help us learn what's imbalanced or not. E-mailing me "Jaood kills heroes too fast; remove his chaos damage" doesn't help. But when Tek tells me "X hero's Y ability is too strong and here're the numbers to back it" then I’m going to listen and I thank him for that.

I'm really looking for 6.0 to HOPEFULLY make 80% of the heroes mainstream usable. Unfortunately, not even ladder can boast that number. No one ever starts with TC in ladder, same with Paladin, Pit Lord, and others. Even ladder with all its balance and high level play, they still can't do it. I don't expect us to do the same. But we can make an effort and hopefully with the publics’ help we can get it down to the point where you can again random and still be ok.

Q: I’d bet many new newbies wonder why your website says that there are approximately 5000 members, and yet they get branded a member number in the 11k’s. Care to clear up this confusion?
Yes. I blame Congo. He’s up to something. I don’t know what it is, but I’ll find out. It could also mean we have a bunch of members banned, unverified, etc.

Q: How long ago did the great Forum Crash occur, and what are the reasons for it happening? didn’t back up their SQL database. I do so now once in a while, because of their gayness.

Q: How frequently do you play Footmen Frenzy?
Every fucking day, and it's annoying sometimes to play it everyday. 50% of it is for research, which gets old.

Okay well what is annoying is that someone e-mails me that hero X sucks. So what do I do? I login and play that hero 50 times that week and see how bad he really is. Then from there try to balance him to make him better. Like some guy told me that Naga sucks. So I played her like 25 times in a week, and she's such a boring hero to me and after all of that I was so glad to be done with it

Q: Do your children play Footmen Frenzy?
Hell no.

Q: What are the prerequisites for one to join Clan HALP?
If you’re cool and enjoy gaming, that’s it.

Q: Why are there so few custom spells in Footmen Frenzy?
Mostly because I haven’t gotten to that point yet. The standard was just to keep it simple, so balance was simple. I think soon we'll have a good overall hero balance, and we can start adding more fun custom ability heroes, but the problem is this: who the heck wants to use a custom ability hero when you have PALADIN... see where I’m going? Paladin is boring... but a hero who can cast ice Flame Strikes that lock the hero in place and also make a wall of ice in that area so it's not easy to get by. I mean in DotA, all the heroes are custom. We have ladder heroes, to thrust custom abilities in there would be "bleh?".

Q: What are your ladder and Frenzy APMs?
Like nothing. Barely 80? Heck probably lower. 50. My ladder APM is like 25 and I still beat Bark in ladder. It doesn’t require a high APM . if you need more than 125 APM to play frenzy, you're wasting clicks. Heck 100 should be enough .

APM is so overrated it's retarded. In Starcraft I had like a 125-175 APM and I still beat people who had like 250 APM who were Korean players. There are like only a handful of people really can effectively use high APM. In War3 there are a few guys that use it effectively. Grubby / Moon / Sky / Fov - there you go. You seriously should destroy 95% of in frenzy if you have a 75 APM.

Q: Do you play DotA, and what’s your opinion on the game?
DotA is a great game for what it is. It’s easily the best game of its type hands down, no question. The problem is, it's like me saying "This is hands down the greatest fork I’ve EVER SEEN" Wtf does that mean? It’s a fucking FORK who cares if it's the most ELITE FORK OF ALL TIME. DotA is a great game but requires 0 skill to play. It’s ONE hero... ONE... Wtf ONE?!?!???!?!?! That game should be won on coop ability alone, and that's the big reason why it's played at a high level. Is because it's coop… like CS is. The big reason it's so popular is it gives people a false sense of skill and also it's fun getting L33t ITEMS. Halpmeh is like the best DOTA Player in the US. He loves the game which is cool. I like it as well, I just don't also believe that it's some super skill based game. Because it's not .
I mean the most skill based game on the internet overall is Caravan Assault. But no one in the world even cares about that map. Even though it's probably the most brilliant map EVER MADE OF ALL TIME. And I’m somewhat joking. It's probably the best UMS on War3 .

Q: Why does Jaood have chaos damage?
Because he’s so overpowered. The RL Jaood is even more overpowered.

Q: Is Jaood black in RL (lol)?
Yes, and he’s large. Bark and I have confirmed he’s at least 11”. These are the reasons why we felt he should do chaos damage.

Q: Why are you so bad at writing tooltips ?
Oh because I’m lazy. That’s about it really. I should put someone else in charge like you to do all the tooltips for me.

Q: The Footmen Frenzy hero, TheBigGame, is quite popular amongst intermediate and advanced players alike. Could you please tell us why you chose to create “your main hero” in the fashion you did?
I threw dice and found 4 random skills.
SLB: Oh so like Falcon?
TBG: Yes.

Q: What was the inspiration for the Death Sheep? Care to shed some light on its history with regard to balance?
Death Sheep comes from Advanced Hero Arena. The 1st map that War3 Nohunters players fell in love with. It was such a great game, and basically games of that type were one of the founding fathers to a game like DotA (imo). Death Sheep in hero arena had the biggest damage skill in the game, but he was so fragile and died all the time. Like our own guy!

Q: Reworking the Naga Sea Witch’s Tornado so that it sported a powerful Immolation was an ingenious idea. Who came up with that?
A random guy, forgot who it was. But it wasn’t me!!!

Q: Planning on naming any future heroes after forum members who have contributed significantly to the community ?
SLB: I know ohboy is itching for one.
TBG: Yeah sure totally. With new heroes I’m very much inclined to reward people for their efforts.

Q: Why Hulk? There’re plenty of other handsome bachelors out there.
Because when it comes to strength and power, there is no one cooler.
SLB: Or greener .

Q: You are bankrupt at Tier Zero with a stacked Pit Lord, a Dark Troll High Priest, a Sorceress, a Shaman, and a shitload of footmen. You are about to get attacked by an army consisting of 50 Tauren and a stacked TBG with a spell shield, itching to Stampede your base. What do you do?
Cast doom on his building and make him call me a hacker.

What do you think of Kristin Kreuk ?
She’s pretty cute.

Q: Why so pro?
I can’t help it if I was born this way. You can’t act non pro; it’s just wrong to do so.

Thanks for taking the time out to do this interview with me, TBG. I’m sure the fan base shall enjoy it.

Q: Any last things you’d like to say?
Yeah sure. Thanks to everyone who support us. While the forum can be abrasive to your ideas, that doesn't mean they aren't heard! Footmen Frenzy rocks, and I'm really pumped about 6.0. Hopefully it's as good as I want it to be.

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