This Is 6Mans - Origin
Love it or hate it, 6Mans is an integral part of the Rocket League esports scene. It's a highly competitive alternative to ranked matchmaking and tournaments, especially if you don't have a team. Players queue in their separate ranks until six in a given rank have thrown their digital hat into the ring. In a twist on ranked matchmaking, the players have to hop into their team's designated voice call, which encourages more communication. Matches are best of five, as opposed to best of one, and the match winners take a step towards ranking up. In this, the first of two articles, I explore the early days and growing pains of 6Mans from the perspectives of its founders and leadership team.
6Mans was started in Oceania in mid-2017 by shadey and Plitz, who were pro players for Legacy eSports and Just a Minute Gaming at the time. Since then, the staff team has expanded to tens of people, and even though shady and Plitz are no longer captaining the 6Mans ship, the platform is still going strong under Aspire and Wunder. I sat down with Plitz and Aspire to talk about the history of 6Mans.
How did 6Mans come to be? What's the origin story of 6Mans?
Plitz: The idea of 6Mans had existed for quite some time in the OCE scene. Our region was notorious for super long queue times when you hit the higher MMR levels, so 6Mans was the natural progression for us. We took a lot of inspiration from the likes of ESEA and FACEIT, and really just tried to provide a platform for the highest level to play together and improve more easily. I was experimenting with Discord bots around the same time that I heard about 6Mans and found an easy opportunity to improve their system. I put forward a prototype to shadey with some very basic queuing functionality, and automatic score reporting, which automatically updated the spreadsheet they were using at the time. It caught on quickly, and we went from there.
How did you go about generating interest in such a small region, and later in other regions?
Plitz: Generating interest in OCE was fairly easy. We had lots of influential pro players and trusted orgs like RLO that helped us to promote OCE. When we were ready to launch to other regions, I reached out to Freakii on Twitter and explained the idea of 6Mans and what we had done with OCE. Remkoe had put out a tweet just days beforehand asking for a 6Mans platform, so it was perfect timing. FreaKii and remkoe were super helpful in spreading the word and helping get us set up in EU, and they are a large part of why everything kicked off so fast when we expanded.
Aspire: Basically, my involvement with 6Mans started with Plitz' reply to remkoe. It for sure took a while to develop into a bigger thing, but the membership has been rising steadily. It took about a year for NA and EU to get to 7000 members - well I guess that's actually pretty fast. YouTubers like Rizzo and Squishy playing in Rank S and making YouTube videos about it helped a lot in that sense.
What was the largest issue you ran into in the early days of 6Mans and what kept you going?
Plitz: I'll never forget sitting up until 6am on launch day manually adding well over 2000 people individually into our database based on their rank. We never expected so many people to join so fast, and coming from OCE we had nowhere near as many players, so we didn't have the same automatic rank checking and player setup that we developed later on. It was tough. I remember finding literally anyone who was willing to help out and giving them the moderator role so we could keep up (we couldn't), but the mods were the only thing that got us close to making it through launch day.
Aspire: It's extremely time-consuming sometimes but thankfully having a staff team (from upper staff to mods to supports) allows us to split tasks and work on them efficiently and get them done faster. It's only thanks to them that I am able to do this and not be overburdened by the amount of work. As for what keeps me going: even after all this time, I like doing this just as much as when I first started. I'm the developer for the 6Mans Discord bot, and I love adding new features for users and staff to use. I also really enjoy interacting with the community and the fact that 6Mans has also become a social environment too. We have a few regulars hanging around in general chats and talking a lot of the time, and it's extremely refreshing to see that.
Is there anything you would change in 6Mans if you could travel back in time?
Plitz: The only thing I would have changed about how we did 6Mans is having more people on the development team from the start. Shadey did all the website design and front-end work while I did all the backend work. After two years, it was difficult to come up with fresh ideas, and when Aspire took over, 6Mans received a ton of interesting new features. It would have also taken a lot of the stress off of us, and we might still be running it.
Aspire: I don't think I would change anything major from my time in 6Mans. Perhaps, one change I'd make is adding Rank B+ sooner than we did (February 2019 I believe), which would have allowed us to provide a more structured competitive environment for bubble players from the get-go.
6Mans changed management in September last year, what were some of the contributing factors and what's it been like since?
Plitz: Last year I lost a lot of motivation as I had already retired from RL [in 2018], and was focusing on my last year of uni while also transitioning into my first proper job to kick off my IT career. 6Mans became stale for me, and while I tried to spice it up with the popular Easter event, it wasn't quite enough for me to continue with 6Mans. Shadey and I had been leading the charge for two and a half years at that point, so I thought that the best decision was to hand the torch over to Aspire, who has done a really incredible job with everything.
Aspire: I was kind of scared, not going to lie. This applied not as much for the managing the server/ranks balance as I was already used to that from the upper staff position I was in prior to becoming admin but rather to taking over on the technical side (coding/servers hosting etc.), which Plitz had been handling egregiously until then. Luckily, with some time and Plitz helping me through some of my difficulties, it ended up working out well.
Aspire and Wunder must now continue to walk the narrow tightrope of keeping the 6Mans community happy while maintaining the high level of competition the platform is famous for.
Keep reading GGRecon for more Rocket League Esports news, and the second part of this feature where I interview pros, bubble players, and community figures about their experiences in the 6Mans system.
Images via 6Mans