Hearthstone and esports in general is growing with every day and there are few places more evident of that fact than the ever thriving Twitch community where the pros are now making their most stable income. That is true even for one of the biggest personalities in the Hearthstone community.
– The top streamers do make quite a bit. But we don’t let the money change our lifestyle, Jason ”Amaz” Chan tells Aftonbladet Esport.
Few in the Hearthstone community doesn’t know who Jason “Amaz” Chan is. The famous card player travels the globe to participate on the tournament circuit. At the same time he’s one of the biggest streamers you can find on Twitch. Balancing those two completely different sides of esports have become a pivotal part of Amaz life.
– It is a hard line to draw, how much focus you need on both the competitive side of the game as well as the streaming part. At the beginning there was way more focus on tournaments. But now, obviously, there are a lot of different stream goals I want to accomplish, for example I have a show called Jeoparino. At the same time I’m in charge of a bunch of tournaments. So, it’s been a lot of more organizational side of Hearthstone for me lately, Amaz tells Aftonbladet Esports while the famous card player is in Stockholm to compete in Viagame House Cup.
When you are broadcasting on Twitch, are you adding something to your personality, are you playing a character or are you simply yourself?
– I just love playing games, they make me happy and the interaction with the community – and the chat – comes naturally to me so it is always a good time. When I first started I kind of looked forward to stream like every single day, but now of course there are to much other stuff to do like tournaments and I have to manage my team as well, so there’s a lot of work but I still enjoy the stream a lot.
”I didn’t even have a key”
Amaz rise to the pinnacle of Hearthstone began through a emulation program called Cocatrice. Along side most people who didn’t get a beta-key to Blizzards new card game he fell in love with the game while people were forced to calculate and attribute the damage done each turn manually.
The amount that the game have grown from the beta to the stage the game is in right now is staggering, and you Amaz, have been apart of the community from the very beginning.
– In the very beginning I didn’t even have a key and I was watching people play on a makeshift server. They had a program where they actually emulated the cards and the players had to subtract the health by themselves. I followed that way back when, but as soon as I grabbed a key I was super happy and it changed a lot, says Amaz who meet up with Aftonbladet Esports along side Team Archons latest signing – the newly crowned winner from ESL Legendary Series in Katowice, Jon ”Orange” Westberg.
– I know what program you are talking about. It was either Magic Workshop or Cocatrice, Orange explains.
– Oh yeah! Cocatrice. I was really into that from the start, and from the moment they announced it I was like ‘I really need to get this game.’
”I kind of crushed him”
The Hongkong native regularly reaches around 25-30 000 concurrent viewers on Twitch. In a game that quickly exceeded 20 million one could think that the professional players and the biggest names in the community would have some sort of say in the development of the game and the meta. But no.
– Blizzard rarely talk to us about balance in the game but rather like to talk about the community as a whole, and they like to get ideas from us regarding stuff like ‘what should we do with arena awards’ and ‘what awards should players get from doing x and y’, Orange chimes in as well:
– The only interaction I’ve had with Blizzard so far is that we had a dinner after the tournament in Katowice with some of the people from Blizzard and it was great. We talked a bit about the community and things they could do, but we didn’t talk about the game in particular. Our talk centered more around events and the world championship and such. It was really great and they care a lot about the community as well as the player.
You are obviously one of the most famous Hearthstone personalities out there, but when did you realize that you had turned into a celebrity? How was the journey going from a everyday player to who you are now in the community?
– At first I was kind of randomly queuing in to Daniel ”Artosis” Stemkoski a lot. And I kind of crushed him every single time with a Priest deck. And then people in Artosis chat was like ‘who the heck is Amaz? We need Amaz’s stream and what not.’ Then I asked my friends about streaming and they told me how to do it. So I started and it kind of went from there.
How is that working now in Team Archon when it comes to streaming and playing in tournaments. With, for example, Orange, how much will you be streaming while you at the same time are focusing on the tournaments?
– I’ll be streaming five days a week, Orange quickly replies.
– The main focus for the team in the beginning was that all the players had to be competitive in tournaments, enjoy them and at the same time maintain a regular stream. But now it kind of is turning to a point where we are hosting a lot of tournaments like the Pinnacle series and some other things that I can’t say just yet. It is interesting the different directions we are going but as long as it involves Hearthstone and the community we will be fine, Amaz fills in.
Is that a monetary question?
– Not really. With the Pinnacle Series we didn’t make any money. We just wanted to thank our sponsors for helping us out. When I first bought the team house I had to pay for everything my self. I thought that we needed a team house, but then later G2A came and payed me back the money, and that was a bit of a relief to say the least – it’s a bit less stressful now. The main thing of everything we do is to have fun.
”We just need our camera”
I guess that’s a question almost everybody have for almost all streamers, how much money do you make?
– The top streamers do make quite a bit. But we don’t let the money change our lifestyle. Sebastian ”Forsen” Fors is still doing his thing, the same goes with Octavian ”Kripparrian” Morosan. We are not afraid to do normal everyday stuff. And I believe that is the main difference between us and the millionaire who works in a office. I think we can relate to others better and we don’t need the high quality of life stuff, we just need our camera, play some games and roll with it.
For a bunch of teenagers and young adults who dream of going pro in which ever esport is just to be able to play the game and make some kind of living off of it. And seemingly to often those who have a chance to realize their dream also accept any salary they can get. But lately streaming is more and more becoming the esport pros everyday monetizing job and the tournaments to some extent have become the window for pros to stay relevant?
– It is true. Just being a professional player you are expected to perform a lot, and the moment you stop performing you just stop making money. If you look at the top players in Hearthstone who only focus on the tournaments, like Cong ”StrifeCro” Shu, they make no money if they don’t end up in the top of the tourneys. But they are also looking to streaming now and are becoming quite a bit popular, and that makes the money more stable.
”If I don’t perform during that time I might fall off”
Orange chips in again:
– Dima ”Rdu” Radu told me something really interesting after I won in Katowice, ‘Congratulations Orange, you’re going to be invited for exactly everything now – for two months’. And that probably is like how it is. If I don’t perform during that time I might fall off.
The superstar and the Swedish up-and-comer fall in to a lengthy discussion about the good sprit within the Hearthstone community, even at the highest level. Before Katowice, Orange had extended chats with several Team Archon players on specific classes and the ones who played f0r example Warrior the best.
– So to some extent I need to thank Archon for winning the tournament, the freshly signed Archon player says while Amaz nods with a smug look on his face.