It all started with Shootmania.
I had just finished University, so it was the first time I’d really had the opportunity to play the game properly. I have always played games, but obviously, a lot of my time was being given to completing Uni.
The first team I played on was Reason Gaming in the UK. I think this was maybe seven years ago, so it was nothing like esports is now. A lot of big name Quake players were competing in Shootmania at the time like Garpy, Rapha, Strenx, AKM, Unkoe, and s00n…A lot of future Overwatch players in there.
Back then a lot of the competition was online. I won a fair few tournaments, and it was my main income for a while. Having just finished Uni and still living at home, I didn’t exactly need a lot of money. I was playing video games to pay for my drinks when I went out with my mates.
There wasn’t really a specific reason that I decided to drop Shootmania. In the end, I guess I decided to shift a bit more focus on my actual career, which was graphics design at the time.
It wasn’t until Overwatch came out that I found myself caught by the esports bug again.
Overwatch is a fun game, but when it first released I realized I couldn’t keep up with everyone while still working a full-time job. When I go for something I always want to dump as many hours as I can into it, and it just wasn’t feasible really.
Rocket League was another game I flirted with and did compete in for a while. As a predominantly FPS player, I didn’t expect Rocket League to end up as anything close to serious, it was just a game I played with friends. Every now and again there would be a UK event like Insomnia, and we’d play there and place fairly well, but it was just a laugh mostly.
To be honest, it was just a game that filled the need for competition. I didn’t even really enjoy playing at a high level. The best times I had on that game was playing with friends and having fun.
Compared to most of the professional PUBG scene, which I’m now a part of, I started pretty late in the game.
When the game released, I was preparing to play in season one of the Gfinity Elite Series as a part of Reason Gaming’s Rocket League lineup. That didn’t go very well and after a few weeks, I was already making my transition over to PUBG, back to the shooting games that I enjoyed the most.
That was when I decided to quit my full-time job and go all-in on esports.
I am getting older, so I knew that PUBG could possibly be my last chance to compete at a high level. When I made the decision to dedicate my time to the game, I wasn’t even competing at all. I trusted myself to be able to get there, and I knew there was good money in the industry now.
The first notable team I was a part of was Slime Squad. I had been playing with American players for months by that point, and I can’t even really remember how that started. Eventually, I just joined up with them to compete. We played in the PGI qualifiers and came fourth, just one spot outside of the qualifying spots.
Now you’re probably thinking about how the lag and ping affects me since I’m playing on NA servers from the UK, and the answer is A lot.
I’ve had guys walk through buildings facing the floor and not even shooting, but the next second they’ve killed me. That example isn’t really out of the norm, and stuff like that happens all the time.
Although it started out as an accident, it’s worked out quite nicely for me after the announcement of the pro league. I’d love to move out to LA and live out there. You could say I’ve been playing the long game, but it’s been a slog.
It takes a toll on your social life, but thankfully since I’m getting older I’ve already been losing my social life for years. When your friends start having kids you know your social life is about to take a dip.
Generally speaking, I wake up at around 3 or 4 PM. I’ll be aim training for the next couple of hours, and then I get a bit of downtime to do whatever I need to do while I wait for the Americans to get ready to play. I normally finish playing or watching the game by about 4 AM, but I’ll often be up later doing another VoD review or talking strats.
Most days I’ll get to bed by 6 AM, at the earliest. In the winter months it can really take a toll, and at the moment I usually only see the sun just before I go to bed, if at all.
I joined up with Flyquest after PGI NA. We were one of those teams who always did really well in practice, but could never replicate that performance on stage.
There are a lot of teams who never practice how they would play in tournaments.
On Flyquest we always dropped south Georgopol. Everyone knew that we dropped there, and eventually, it meant that no one ever contested our drop. That’s how it goes for most of the top level teams as well, they have their spots and everyone leaves them alone.
There is very little adaptation in a game that you’d think is largely based on being adaptive. It even feels like there’s a push from the pro scene to lower the need to adapt in-game. Of course, no one likes getting screwed by RNG, but in a battle royale, it’s part and parcel really.
At this level, most of the time, you know roughly where a certain team is likely to be at every point during the game. It will be interesting to see if anyone will capitalize on the consistency of these teams and catch them off guard when it comes to pro league.
Hopefully, I’ll be there in LA. My move from Flyquest to Tempo Storm was a little strange. Flyquest decided they didn’t want to have a PUBG team anymore, and Tempo Storm wanted me on the team.
Initially, I was meant to be a player, but now I’ve transitioned into a coaching role. Coaching was always something I was planning on moving into. As I mentioned before, I am getting older, at least in esports terms, and moving into coaching is a natural move.
I’d describe myself now as a coach that could probably play again if I wanted to, but with a team like this, I don’t feel the need to be a player. I’m excited to work with the team and help us improve in any way that I can.
What I do know is that with this team, with me on the server, or working behind the scenes, we can do big things.
Photo Credit: OGN, Gfinity, Flyquest