David 'Avilo' Blowe, a look into the mind of an esports villain
Every community has its monsters. From the local chess club to the NBA finals, there will always be a personality who is viewed by many as unlikable while simultaneously driving interest in viewership. They’re the figures that people love to hate. Most cheer against them, few cheer for them. Either way, they’re an integral part of any competitive scene.
In StarCraft, David ‘Avilo’ Blowe is the scene monster. A Grandmaster Terran player who plays mech in the vast majority of his games, a rarity in SC2. While he has no tremendous tournament results to his name, Avilo made a name for himself through his stream. With nightly mech play, Avilo filled a niche that many fans longed for early in StarCraft 2’s life.
As time went on though, Avilo developed a reputation for toxicity. He became infamous for accusing his opponents of maphacking, even during tournament broadcasts, and for complaining about the game balance and design that he sees as detrimental for SC2’s lifespan.
Although he has his fans and supporters, for some Avilo has become a more of a spectacle than a personality. Someone to laugh at rather than with. A fascination that simultaneously holds your attention, while making you wrinkle your nose in distaste at the same time.
More fans wish that Avilo would simply disappear. They view him as a liability in the scene. Someone who brings only negative attention, allowing new viewers to paint the whole of the SC2 esports community in a negative light. They see Avilo contributing nothing of value to SC2, and bringing only unfounded accusations of maphacking and often bizzare balance feedback delivered in the most abraissive way possible. Avilo has become StarCraft 2’s very own ‘boy who cried wolf’ in many ways. In many more, he is the old man yelling profanities from his porch to any passerby. Recently, he was banned from /r/starcraft for a history of abusive language towards other users.
Even my announcement of this interview raised some eyebrows. Like him or not though, Avilo has remained one of the most famous SC2 personalities through the years. His stream is still consistently one of the most watched in StarCraft 2. While his opinions may draw ire and vitriolic debate, people DO still take the time to listen/read what he has to say (if only to shake their head or laugh in some cases). He has been a guest on every major SC2 talk show of yesteryear, State of the Game, Unfiltered, and The Late Game. Other streamers consistently publish stream highlights of their games vs Avilo.
To me, this strange fascination that so many fans have with Avilo makes him an important figure to document. So many people want Avilo out of the SC2 scene, but he maintains a sizeable fanbase despite this.
I have to thank Avilo for being willing to sit down and grant me the opportunity to go through the looking glass.
0:47 – I was surprised to see that there aren’t that many interviews with you. Why is that?
1:27 – How did you get into video games?
4:10 – When did you take your first steps into the world of esports?
5:37 – When and why did you decide to take the leap into a fulltime esports/streaming career?
7:22 – What do you consider yourself to be, a streamer or a progamer?
9:57 – What do you consider your role in the SC2 community to be?
12:26 – Would you agree that you’re a controversial figure in the scene?
13:34 – One of the interviews that I was able to find from your past was on a Command and Conquer fansite. They asked you about your ego/arrogance that you displayed at the time. What was your reputation in the C&C scene and is it similar to the reputation that you have in SC2?
20:35 – You’ve dabbled in LoL and Heroes. What prevents you from switching to another game?
22:45 – You’re 29 years old, approaching 30, which makes you one of the older people involved in SC2. Are you ever worried about your job security? Is the end of Avilo imminent?
25:20 – Have you ever felt compelled to pursue a career with your degree in computer sciences?
26:40 – Why don’t you play with your healthbars on?
30:30 – What Terran unit would you consider to be over powered?
36:54 – Do you really believe that casters are paid to say that LotV is the best iteration of StarCraft?
40:49 – What leads you to believe this?
45:22 – Casters and personalities often talk critically of Blizzard’s choices though. Doesn’t that make you rethink this stance?
48:21 – You’re infamous for calling people maphackers and stream cheaters. These are hefty accusations. Do you ever feel that you’re too hasty to make these accusations?
52:29 – If people are intentionally sniping you with hacks as you say, what strategies have you employed to lessen this?
54:45 – You accused your opponent of hacking during a WCS tournament broadcast. You were temporarily banned from WCS due to unsportsmanlike conduct. Do you believe that the player in question was hacking even though Blizzard said that they had no evidence of such a thing?
57:09 - Do you believe that you could have handled this situation better than you did?
58:55 – How accurate do you think your accusations of hacking are?
1:00:40 – There are several videos on YouTube of your accusations being debunked. Does this make you rethink any of your past accusations?
1:05:20 – You’ve called some pro players maphackers on your stream before while they were playing on barcodes. Does this affect your assessment of your hacking accusations?
1:07:20 – How much of what you do/say is tied to a persona that you’re playing? Are you playing a character?
1:10:51 – You recently held a fundraiser to send yourself to WCS Austin. What was your initial monetary goal for that fundraiser?
1:11:14 – Many remarked that this goal was very high for travel costs. Why did you set your goal so high?
1:15:56 – Did you make a travel costs estimation before you set the goal for your findraiser?
1:18:17 – You took part of the money from this fundraiser and made a balance mod tournament with a $500 prize purse (which was later raised to $800 thanks to a fan’s donation). Many people were upset that your pirze pool was so low compared to the money that you had made in your fundraiser. Would you do anything differently in retrospect?
1:19:56 – What were your goals for this tournament? Did the tournament accomplish what you wanted it to accomplish?
1:26:10 – Your inconsistent with your language in regard to your detractors. Are they few, or plentiful?
1:28:01 – Would you handle things differently if you were to go in time back and do it again?
1:28:36 – There’s been some friction between yourself and TLO in recent weeks. He issued a challenge to you saying that if you won a game while he imposed army composition restrictions on himself, he would pay you $100. The prize pool steadily rose through TLO, Matcherino, and community contributions. You made no comment at the time though. What are your thoughts on this?
1:31:46 – Fan questions
Zelderan asks ‘what is your greatest weakness in game?’
1:33:40 – Avex asks ‘if you could drastically change a factory unit into anything that you wanted, what would you change?’
1:36:11 – EndOfLine asks ‘Would you consider making maps to increase the viability of mech?’
1:38:06 – BOBSPONGESC2 asks – ‘What Zerg/Protoss unit would you delete from the game? ‘
1:39:59 – If you remove/nerf the adept, what do you do to supplement the Protoss race?
1:43:35 – What do you believe Blizzard’s goals are for SC2?
1:46:47 – Why do you believe SC2 should have frequent patches when Broodwar hasn’t been patched in years?
1:52:56 – Do you think that you make these suggestions in a productive/constructive way consistently, or do you think that you fall into hyperbole and anger at times?
1:56:47 – Do you believe that Blizzard reaching out to you for your thoughts is the benchmark for them caring about StarCraft?
1:59:10 – In LoL, one of the most controversial figures in the scene has been Tyler1. After trying to reform though he’s experiencing a lot of success through his stream. Would you ever consider attempting something similar?
2:04:07 – When you were banned from the battle.net forums you had a very angry reaction, saying on stream that nobody was going to buy SC2’s dlc if Blizzard let this happen, yelling about the situation and being so angry. Looking back, do you think that you could have handled this situation any better?
2:06:21 – Blizzard is a massive company. Do you really believe that the company’s ego is what makes them ban you from the bnet forums or from WCS? Wouldn’t this behavior be detrimental for this huge company’s long term success if they were really ignoring reasonable feedback from users?