If you’re here, you’ve arrived at the new home of Team Liquid. Please come in! (We ask you leave your shoes at the door — and bring some cookies as a housewarming gift.)
You probably noticed that we spruced the place up — we’re going for a more modern look. But the renovations aren’t the only thing we’ve done, we’ve also consolidated addresses. Liquid Plus has moved in, meaning that Liquidplus.com brings you here too. When we say “home,” we don’t want it to feel like an exaggeration. We want Teamliquid.com to feel like a place where you can find most things Liquid, including our teams, our players, our content, our schedule, Liquid+, and (most importantly) our vibe.
Given all the esports teams, players, social feeds, YouTube/Twitch channels, and communities we have, we won’t ever get everything TL. But we can gather a lot of it here, and on top of that, we can add more articles, more poynts opportunities, more ways to engage, and more touches of love, history, and identity. Our new team pages speak to this change the most, featuring recommended content that updates seasonally (depending on the esport) as well as small player bios to get you caught up.
Before all of this gets too PR, you should know this website isn’t truly “done” yet. We’ve improved a lot of things, but we want to improve a lot more. Our hope is to keep building on the site across 2024, so you might see some things change and you may even see some new features and pages! (No promises yet, just plans.)
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean all the old things have gone, either. Liquid+ and the poynts are still around, as are our old articles. Though you can’t find them in the current newsroom, they still live at their old URLs, with an updated look. We'll also have an archive page where you can see all our old articles too! Don’t think of it as a complete overhaul, as much as a major upgrade.
Even with our old site being outdated, it might seem odd that we upgraded now, after all these years. Why the change, if no one was really complaining? Why the change if everyone is on Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, or TikTok anyways? Where did this new website even come from? That takes a bit more explaining.
No homes on the new web
These days it’s fair to ask if a dot com can really be “home” at all.
Over the years, sites have become less like places and more like categories: social media, storefront, mail, content, etc. And within those categories, you’re meant to carve out your place — sometimes directly against the site’s own design and desires. In the new world of the web, the true home of esports is probably some mix of Twitter, Reddit, Twitch, and YouTube. An actual “home page” isn’t really necessary.
Certainly, a super developed one isn’t. A lot of the new school esports organizations have fairly sparse or simple websites because of that, tailoring for the big social media hubs instead. It’s not a bad move for them because they were born in this new era of the internet. On the other hand, we weren’t.
Team Liquid came from the time period of phpbb forums and blogspots and geocities — where you’d set a “home page” for your browser to open to. Liquid was founded as a battle.net clan in 2000, then it became its own forum in 2001, built on one of those old forum hosts (cjb.net, now defunct).
Liquid expanded into its own domain in 2002 — becoming teamliquid.net (and TL.net in 2019, which we’ll call it for sake of brevity). TL.net isn’t the same thing as Team Liquid, the organization, but it is what put the roots down for our organization. In the early 2000’s, TL.net was the home for Western StarCraft fans. Since much of the best StarCraft happened on Korean television, fans would go to TL.net either to post videos or to write up battle reports that covered the matches, beat for beat.
This created a writing scene that was so unique that you probably couldn’t replicate with all the money and time in the world. It was a scene that helped produce a lot of the greats of not only esports writing, but esports organizing and thinking. (To avoid over-glorifying it, it was also a great mess of good, bad, and ugly posts from a myriad of teenage gamers.) Towards the end of the decade, TL.net had a certain weight, and that weight was part of what made both Liquipedia and Team Liquid possible.
Liquid as a team has long maintained a layer of separation from TL.net, so that the latter could truly be seen as an independent forum. In time, Liquid would make that separation more real by creating a .com for the org itself. That was teamliquidpro.com in 2011.
In 2015, teamliquidpro.com got an update, which became the previous teamliquid.com. Back then, the website era was waning, but going a lot stronger than now. Social media and algorithms had yet to fully take over and video platforms like YouTube had not yet learned how to become social media. SEO too, was younger, less exploited and websites could find niches in the search engines to live in and generally survive better in the media world.
In that world, teamliquidpro.com was a pretty simple media site that mostly hosted writing, provided a list of our partners and rosters, and linked out to stores, careers, etc. In that time the website did some remarkable and interesting work — not only from a writing perspective but a design one. There were articles we’d made that had all that creativity of the custom HTML days.
And we also had other forums for games like League, Dota, and Hearthstone which had lifespans and stories of their own.
Change is the one constant, though, and change happens faster online. So, over the course of years a number of the smaller forums shut down or shrunk or consolidated while esports found more of a home on social media. TL.net and Team Liquid both remain strong, though. TL.net still runs largely independently, still means a lot to StarCraft, and still publishes a lot of great work.
As for Team Liquid, we’re here now unveiling a new website, despite all the shifts we’ve seen. Because through all the changes — in the internet, in the world, in ourselves — we try to remember our roots.
A website is part of that root. So it should be a part of our growth too.
You can only go forward
It’s important to note that you can’t go back with these types of things.
There is no recreating the era of the forum, no return to a world where YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok don’t centralize the online media landscape. (And even if we managed it, we’d all be older now, and it’d probably feel like an adult sitting in a cramped treehouse.) Instead, you can only go forward and create something that works for where you’re at now.
For Team Liquid, there were so many ideas of what “forward” meant. A good part of starting this process was finding the right direction. We agreed the website should be a place for the fans, where they can find useful info and good content for their favorite teams and dive deeper into the TL world — but there are a lot of ways you could reach that goal.
We toyed with being a well-polished content repository: somewhere you could find everything TL, constantly updating. Feeds on feed on feeds. But then, that’s what a lot of the internet already eagerly provides and so we felt like we were wading into very competitive waters. Not to mention, updating the feeds would become a large, dull, and very necessary task for Team Liquid staff.
We also looked at a “story-based” approach: Tell the various histories and narratives of Liquid in fancy, well-developed web pages. The story-based approach had a good foundation to it, but in practice it was a massive endeavor that immediately involved picking favorites across our many esports. It was unclear how many esports we could dive into and how we would wield their stories together. And even if we could, isn’t the content that we make already telling the stories of our teams?
We do hope to give the story-based approach another look down the line, but in the end, we chose to look at what we’d had for years, bring it together, and modernize it. The prior version of our website was made in 2015 and 8 years is an eon in the world of web design. It had grown to have an old look and even older backend. (All the way until, well, now we were uploading articles entirely in HTML, which is a peek into the inefficiencies of updating the old website.) We wanted to make the website move and breathe and fill with color, detail, and all kinds of nice touches.
In truth, we wanted to be more ambitious than what we’re showing now. But we quickly realized that we’d have to reel that ambition if we wanted anything at all. Perfect is the enemy of good and part of the reason why we’d struggled to update our website in past years was that no effort felt good enough, except for an effort that was too large to be realistic.
So we scaled back and focused on making the core parts of the website look good. We honed in on the home page, the about page, Liquid+ the article, and the team pages as a core we could improve and then build around. (Liquid+ was a question of both “improving” and “integrating.”)
We also quickly recognized that while the fan experience was central, it couldn’t be the only thing we build around. A lot of new esports websites aren’t far off from being digital business cards. Money, after all, can be exchanged for goods and services. And truthfully, if you’re a new school org, you know that your average fan is more likely to go to your team's reddit than your team’s website. A part of modernizing means following suit, and so parts of our website are commercial, designed to help us keep the lights on.
Even in these commercial spots, we tried to keep the heart that we all believe Liquid has. We’ve tried to speak in that unique TL voice on every page, we’ve peppered this site with little memes, and we’ve filled it with moments we care about not only as employees, but as fans. There are going to be some areas where we fell short, but we’ll shore those up.
In time, we also hope to build in more and more of Team Liquid’s identity, history, and spirit into this website. We hope to bring back the old ideas we left behind to get here — as well as throw in new ones as well. We hope that, fitting to Liquid, we can build something that raises the bar.
And even if it doesn’t become “home” for you, we hope you’ll keep visiting.
Postscript: Thank you’s and credits
Building a website is shockingly tough work, especially for an organization that is as large, as multifaceted, as storied, and as nurtured by the web as Team Liquid. Getting this launch version together took so much thinking, debating, compromising, designing, writing, coordinating, coding, presenting, pivoting, re-presenting, and pure work. It took work from pretty much every end of the organization.
But some parts of the organization really put their time (and their sanity) on the line to make it happen. We want to give a special thank you to Lisa Yanovskaya, Kathryn Madden, Luuk Barten, Ken Vreman, Austin Ryan, Sabrina Suazo, Jose Carlos Correa, Richard Stanway, Steven Gillis, Bonnie Qu, Indu Reddy, Jordy van den Boom, Tiffany Peng, Yasen Trendafilov, Stacey Yamada, Kalina Galabova, Michael Samonte, Nikolas Sadler, Gabriel Strauss, Marllon Alves, Menno Wielhouwer, Wilmer Weeink, KadaverBB, and João "Jows" Brufatto for putting extra love into this project.