Seb Barton is a professional Overwatch player who acts as the tank and in-game leader. He has played several games at a high level in the past, and in 2015 made the transition from League of Legends to Overwatch. He tells us about a typical working day as a pro player in esports…
How did you get into gaming?
I first got into gaming when my parents handed down a portable Sega Game Gear with Sonic the Hedgehog on it and I got glued.
I ended up owning a Game Boy, PlayStation, and eventually my first laptop, where I discovered Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and later down the line Counter-Strike, which helped me discover competitive gaming.
Please tell us about your background in esports specifically and how you went from amateur to pro.
The transition was a weird one for me. I had been really good at games for the longest time but I was never in a position where I could do it full-time, until I played League of Legends and ended up moving to Turkey and playing in the LCS there. I didn’t fully recognise myself as a professional player in the traditional sense until Overwatch came out, and I was able to quit my job and focus on Overwatch full-time, almost a year ago now.
Give us an overview of your role within your team and the game you play.
I’m the main tank and in-game leader for my team, NRG, and I play Overwatch. It’s my job to call which strategy we try to play, when we do it, and which enemy we should be focusing first.
What is a typical day like in your role? Talk us through what you do.
A typical day for me is waking up around 10am and getting any kind of boring stuff out the way. I’d normally stream from around 12/1pm until 5pm, then I’d have practice with my team until around 12am. Then I chill out for an hour or two before going to bed.
After scrims or in the morning is pretty much when I would watch a replay or two of our own game back. Almost every day is like that bar the one day off a week I get. I’ll still stream on that day, but I’d spend time with friends and just take a day out from fully focusing on Overwatch.
How much do you train on average and what does your practice schedule look like?
I have practice with my team for about seven hours a day, six days a week. Outside of that I put in at least four hours a day of individual practice, and then an hour or two of watching games from my team’s practice session back. It doesn’t really differ for individual roles, everyone on the team puts in equal amounts of work.
What advice would you give to aspiring pro players? Perhaps provide your top 3 tips…
1. Be prepared to fail. It isn’t easy getting to the top.
2. Always question your own decisions. You’re never always making the right move.
3. Watch current pros and question their decisions.
How can people get into this kind of role? What kind of skillset does it require?
Good hand/eye coordination, the ability to take and give criticism, being vocal, and having confidence. The last two are important for taking on the role of in-game leader. If you have no confidence in your own calls, why should your team?
It’s still not a viable career path, in the same sense that not every kid that plays football will do it professionally. Encourage it as a hobby, but it’s important that schooling and work takes priority.
What are the perks and challenges of your job?
The perks are that I get to do something I love and I’m passionate about day in day out. I get to travel the world and see some beautiful places.
The challenges are staying current. Sometimes changes in the game happen and will put your team at a disadvantage. It’s important you’re able to adapt as quickly as possible.