Steel Division: Normandy 44 is celebrating its first anniversary. For the occasion, we looked back to the early days of development of the game until the First Blood Anniversary Free Update. To that end, we have decided to start a focus on the community and we have written 3 articles in cooperation with the persons involved.

The first one developed the driving forces and the path taken by the tournaments’ organizers, they come from far away but they are nowhere close to the end of the road!It was followed shortly by an insight into the amount of work put behind 2 popular Mods (Strom in the West and Just Before Dawn) and the very complete Wiki, be sure to check them out!

And last, here we are, this article will focus on 3 casters, on Twitch and YouTube, and 2 of their castees, top players of the League. Enjoy the read and see you at the end of the page!

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VulcanHD

My name is Lewis, most people know me as Vulcan, I’m 25, British and a full-time YouTuber. As of today, I have 986 hours on Steel Division: Normandy 44 and since I have only played 464 multiplayer games, I’d say most of my time goes into admiring and adjusting battlegroups and watching or recording replays.
I’ve grown up with games, being put on my Grandads computer at 3 years old and loving gaming ever since. Transport Tycoon Deluxe, was where the strategy in me started to grow, making millions on it before I was 7 (if only IRL right?). Getting older I started to gain an interest in history, mainly influenced by my Dad. I played games like Sudden Strike and Blitzkrieg a lot.
I actually played the original Act of War when I was younger quite a bit and unwittingly for the longest time played most games Eugen released since, including RUSE and after that Wargame. I also have my guilty pleasures of League of Legends and World of Warcraft, both of which I’ve sunk more than 3000 hours into.

RANGROO

Hi, my name is Reece an I am a 21-year-old British Expat living in Ontario, Canada. I used to be an avid Wargame player but now I mainly play and create videos for Steel Division: Normandy 44.

KhanUlric

I am a nearly 29-year-old American. Until last year I was in the private sector doing financial analysis, before that doing stints with both OPEC and the UN. Currently, I am a tutor and in my private time pursue hobbies creating content on YouTube, Twitch, and I write, both short stories and full novels.

When did you start creating content on YT and Twitch?

Vulcan: I have an Honours Degree in BSc Computer Games Technology. It was during my studies in the first year, 7 years ago, that I created VulcanHDGaming, a hobby channel focused on DayZ, Battlefield 3 and Wargame: European Escalation. There was no real reason other than I enjoyed editing and creating videos.

Through university, I began to drop the FPS style videos as I wasn’t making them frequently enough to keep up with the booming FPS and Gaming YouTubers and since my views picked up a lot due to Wargame, I focused on that as I began to take my channel more seriously.

RANGROO: I opened my channel around 5 years ago for Wargame Air Land Battle.

KhanUlric: I began creating content on Youtube almost 3 years ago now. I was fresh back in the US and I was out of work. Looking for work was, honestly, a chore, and to keep myself sane I began creating material as a mean to stay motivated for my job search as well as to celebrate the games that were coming out. Now as to how long I’ve been on Twitch, it’s been far shorter a time.

Why did you choose Steel Division: Normandy 44?

Vulcan: Steel Division: Normandy 44 was such a natural progression for the content of my channel. Having previously made many videos for the Wargame series I saw the opportunity for similar content on Steel Division: Normandy 44 that I felt my audience would enjoy, and they did! It was also a game I thought I could make quality content on whilst remaining motivated. I’ve now made over 450 Steel Division‘s videos.

RANGROO: Because I was a big fan of the Wargame series and I liked the direction Eugen took when creating SD. It’s a great mix of realism/arcade gameplay that has a lot of depth to the mechanics. I really enjoy the division mechanics of the game as even though a lot of divisions use the same baseline units, there is a ton of variety of play styles thanks to the phase system.

KhanUlric: Having been an armchair general for most of my life (I can recall doing an eight-minute speech on Genghis Khan in grade 4 and then guest-lecturing in Uni on medieval arms, tactics, and history), Steel Division: Normandy 44 was a natural extension of an area I loved learning about so much.

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How long does it take you to come up with one video?

All: It really depends on the subject. If there is an on-going tournament or a new update coming out, it doesn’t take long to think of videos, it’s a super quick a simple process, but we think it’s fair to say that it isn’t always the case. Other videos can take a day worth of brainstorming and editing. Generally, for a cast between RANGROO and KhanUlric, video production time takes roughly 2 or 2.5:1 minute of gameplay.

You cast tournaments games and Vulcan even had the opportunity to cast on PDX channel, can we expect even more livestreams next League season?

All: Absolutely! We really like to cast, especially a game we enjoy! This is often dependent on players’ schedules but remains something we would love to do more of, given the chance. So yes, many more casts to come as long as the tournaments keep rolling.

To Vulcan, you are always the reference when a new player asks tips to begin Steel Division: Normandy 44, how do you feel about it?
In your opinion, what makes your content special?

I think since I am the largest YouTuber to consistently make content on Steel Division: Normandy 44 it does mean a lot of new and potential players land on my videos. The way I try to manage this is just making sure that I’m informative in everything I do. By watching my content over time, people can learn the game or become interested enough to buy the game and get involved in the community. The accumulation of knowledge and knowing there is always a purpose for a video I create keeps people coming back.

I do feel like there is a lack of tutorial specific content on my channel honestly but the main reason I haven’t focused on it so far is due to the in-game tutorial being quite comprehensive compared to Wargame.

Also, motivation is key to what I do and sometimes putting out a good game that I enjoyed playing, watching, or casting is just much higher on my priority than a tutorial. This is also a reason I think people like my content because the way I present my channel is very honest. I make content based on my motivations and what I enjoy. If next month I get an awesome idea for quick-fire tutorial videos, you’ll see them, and by the energy I’ll put into them, in most cases, generally, I’ll see that people enjoy or appreciate them.

In short, consistency, quality, motivation, honesty and energy. That’s the YouTube cocktail.

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YueJin

Hi, I’m YueJin 26 years old and British. I’m employed as a primary school teacher with a specialism in History. I’ve played around 700 hours on Steel Division: Normandy 44 and have been around since the open beta. Other games I’ve sunk a lot of hours into are Wargame, Company of Heroes, Dawn of War II the app version of the board game Twilight Struggle and my favourite game of all time; the 1999 space dogfighter sim, Freespace 2 which is the only game I’ve ever joined the modding community for.

How does it feel to be the top players of the League?

I’ve really enjoyed playing the various tournaments for Steel Division: Normandy 44. It really gives me the motivation to keep playing and trying new things to improve my play. Taking part in the Bo5 series finals on the PDX livestream was some of the most fun I’ve ever had in gaming and I’m really hoping we manage to get some more of that sort of thing done during the second season of the league especially as the league has gotten bigger and the competition even stronger.

Despite your skill level and playing time, do you feel like you master totally Steel Division: Normandy 44?

I wouldn’t say I’ve totally mastered SD just yet. I try to put a focus on one area at a time in practice games before moving onto something else although obviously, you’re practising all your skills in every game. Most recently I’ve focused a lot on improving my air micro and I think if you compare some of the casts I’m in from a couple of weeks ago to the finals games you can see how much I’ve improved there.

The next area for me to focus on is going to be my smoke play as I’ve noticed myself not using it as much as I used to and I’m curious as to whether it’s because my playstyle no longer requires so much of it or if I’m underusing it. Besides that, more practice of armoured micro around narrow hedgerow maps is always important.

Do you have any advice for a new player to begin successfully?

If you’re looking to get involved in the 1v1 scene I’d suggest hopping onto the SDLeague discord to ask for help and advice. You can post decks or replays there and there’s no shortage of good players who are willing to analyze them for you (seriously the amount of deck chat that happens whenever someone posts a screenshot is insane). Don’t be scared to play games against players better than you.

Watch the replays, highlight units and use the shift key to show how they’re giving orders and try to work out why they brought a certain unit into a position.

My top tip though is patience. Almost every player will blunder units against you if you position properly and set up ambushes. If you feel a position of yours if breaking, then don’t throw reinforcements into it. Chances are by the time they reach the front they’ll be alone, and you’ll lose those units too. Set up a new position further back which can punish the opponent if they extend too far and which you can use as a springboard to take back the ground later.

Don’t stress out about being at a -1 or even a -2 until you’re into C phase. Take ground if you can but if you keep making good trades or picking up kills for nothing then the ground will come eventually.

Corbeau

I’m Corbeau, a 25-year-old Aussie (no, not a Frenchie) who does IT for a living. I’ve clocked in over 1000 hours in Steel Division: Normandy 44, I’ve spent a lot of time playing other RTS games, but I’ve never really been that good at any of them. I don’t particularly have a genre focus, managing to simultaneously be mediocre at a sizeable number of other games, though I make sure they’re not multiplayer so that nobody can bear witness.

How does it feel to be the top players of the League?

I’m absolutely stoked to be considered one of the best players, for sure – though I must admit it feels weird because in a lot of ways I feel I don’t deserve it, in part because of your next question on mastering the game.

Despite your skill level and playing time, do you feel like you master totally Steel Division: Normandy 44?

I haven’t even come close, and I never will. I’m reliant on a very specific, aggressive gameplay style dictated by heavy air superiority, elite infantry, and light tanks. I don’t really have any intent on changing that – to me, it’s the most enjoyable way to play the game. But I love that the game actually supports how I play the game in a very specific off-meta fashion and still do extremely well, even as I focus on being exceedingly good at one area of the game at the expense of everything else.

When I play the game in a typical playstyle I find I don’t get the same enjoyment or results. I can barely operate a mortar, so forget about me mastering the game, although I think that it’s more or less impossible to truly master Steel Division. It’s just far too complex, and I mean that in a good way. Instead, I’ve focused on taking one very specific style of gameplay, a few unit types, and mastering them as much as possible rather than just being very good at everything combined.

Do you have any advice for a new player to begin successfully?

In a sense, that’s the sort of advice I’d give to a newcomer. Don’t try and to master everything. Scout around, look at your options, and wait for something to ‘click’. A playstyle, a division, a unit category, whatever it is, find it, and then exploit it to the best of your ability. Shore up the rough spots later. Or, uh, never.

In seriousness, there’s no singular piece of advice I can offer to new players that’s truly helpful, but the way I learned the game was simple – read up on all the mechanics, learn how the game works, play a single skirmish match, then jumped right into 1v1, and did it until I got good at it.

That said, these days that we’ve got a very solid community. There are plenty of friendly people on the League discord who will happily answer any questions and do the best they can to get you up to speed.

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And that’s it, we are at the end of those community-driven articles! Thanks for everyone involved in the project for the awesome answers and the good discussions. We will continue to work closely with the community and support them. We encourage you strongly to check their work, test their mods, watch their videos and join the Steel Division League Discord.

Stay tuned for the incoming announcements by following our Facebook and Twitter pages, we have something spicy coming right at you!