Escapist EditorialsGoing Pro: How a 20-Year-Old Succeeds at eSportsEscapist Editorials - RSS 2.0
The Escapist: What kind of games did you grow up on?
Joey Deluca: Growing up I played N64 with my older brother. I think that's where my competitive drive came from, I always wanted to beat my brother and impress his friends. As I got older I kept getting the newer consoles until I played COD4 on 360 and that's where I started playing competitively.
Was there a moment when you realized that you were naturally that much better than everyone or is it something you constantly have to work towards?
I think that there are some people who are naturally better at video games, I don't think it has to deal with the skill of the person but more of the person's ability to pick up a game and understand it better than anybody else.
How did you get started in competitive gaming?
I got started in 2008 when I was playing Call of Duty 4 on Major League Gaming's online competition site Gamebattles.
Was the competitive scene something you were always aware of or did you get introduced into it?
I got introduced to it by one of my buddies who I met online. I signed up on the website and started my competitive career on there.
What drove you into wanting to get involved?
The more I played the more I wanted to get involved. I learned so much about different games and different scenes. I would watch all of the events and just think to myself how much I wanted to do what these people were doing.
In your opinion, what sets apart a pro-player from just your average good player?
I think hand eye coordination are very important but what a lot of people over look is the intelligence of the top players. The top players are able to notice so many little things in game and make mental notes on them. This allows them to take advantages over other players and give them the best opportunity to win.
If someone wanted to get into competitive play what would you say is the best route?
The easiest route to take is the same way I did. Sign up on MLG's Gamebattles site, and get comfortable with the competitive scene. Once you can compete at the top of those ladders players should then move towards signing up for tournaments and traveling to them. These big tournaments are way you make a name for yourself.
How do you prepare for a tournament?
Is there more emphasis on practice, scouting or any attempts to break the meta?- When it gets close to a tournament you want to practice at a high intensity for 5-8 hours a day. It's very important to re-watch your games afterwards and fix mistakes. Lastly, I think it's important to do your research and try to see what your opponents are doing and how they are playing so you can counter them at the tournament.
What's your view on team houses and can you explain a team house for those unfamiliar?
Team houses are very important for practice and chemistry. A team house is a house where a group of gamers lives. This gives those team opportunities other teams don't have. It is very important to get the best practice you can for a tournament and that was what team houses give. Secondly, you build chemistry with everyone on your team. It is very important to connect with your teammates outside of the game. Teams who have good relationships outside of the game tend to play at their highest level inside the game.
How often and how much do you practice?
We try to practice 5-7 days a week. The amount of time changes depending on how close the next tournament is. This can be a smaller amount of 2-3 hours a day and go all they up to 8-10 hours a day.
Is practice mostly scrimmaging or do you experiment and look for specific map features and such?
Practice consists of playing other top teams, as well as playing smaller tournaments to play at that higher intensity. When we aren't playing, it's good to get just the team in a private lobby and go over the maps and objectives so that we are all on the same page.
Do you have time for other game titles?
There is time for other titles. Myself I play games like League of Legends and Diablo 3 if I have any spare time. I'm also looking forward to Titanfall.
Can you take us through what a day at an event is actually like?
A day at an event is wake up, eat a good breakfast with the team, watch other important matches so we can scout our opponents, and then play our matches. Every event I try to take time and interact with all of the spectators and fans that are attending the event.
Do you have anything you like to do before an important match to either psyche yourself up and/or calm yourself down?
A lot of people listen to music, I tend to just usually warm up and focus on the game. I usually think about who I am playing, trying to remember how they play in game, and talk about all the things we went over in practice with my team.
What's it like playing on stage or under the cameras? Is it different from at home or do you tune it out?
It is very different but it is one of the best feelings in the world. It may take a few games for some people to adjust but once you are up there your adrenaline never stops pumping, it's an awesome feeling.
What do you feel you bring most to your team?
I think I bring a huge amount of communication to my team and keep my team calm. It's very important to not let your emotions get to you on a big stage and stay level headed.
What's the best moment, besides winning or hoisting the trophy at a big tournament?
Spending time with fans and spectators at events.