The professional Call of Duty gamer talks to the British Esports Association about how he went pro, what he does and his time with his former esports organisation Millenium…
How did you get into gaming?
I’ve always played games ever since a young age, but it was actually my brother who introduced me to the Esports scene. He’d always played on various different sites competing against other players across the world, and back on Call of Duty Modern Warfare, he let me play alongside his team. Ever since that day I fell in love with it and haven’t looked back since.
Please tell us about your background in Esports specifically and how you went from amateur to pro.
I attended my first event back in 2009 (or around that time) with my brother and two friends we’d always played online with, and unexpectedly we placed second at our first LAN. But not only that, I also placed second in the FFA tournament that they used to run.
The community wasn’t the biggest as this was the early stages of Esports within the Call of Duty scene and if you were noticed as a good player, it sort of went around quite fast and led to various different offers from some of the top teams. I didn’t immediately jump at any of them as I wanted to stay loyal to my current team, which I did for the next title, and we had some great times, even making it to the first ever world finals on Modern Warfare 2 which was hosted by GameStop. After that, I parted ways with the people I started out with and I’ve been competing at the pro level ever since.
Give us an overview of your role within your team and the game you play professionally.
I never thought I’d take on the role I have, but I’m the team leader within and outside of the game.
What is a typical day like in your role?
The role isn’t that much different from the others within the team, I just tend to speak more in-game and shot-call. The rest I do the same as everyone else, get on practice, watch videos on other teams and players and prepare for events.
How much do you train on average and what does your practice schedule look like? What are the hours like in your role overall?
On your average day I’d try to play around six to eight hours, five nights a week. Although that’s not all you put in, as I watch a lot of games too.
What advice would you give to aspiring pro players?
Whenever I get asked this, the first thing that pops into my head is that you should never think it’ll come easy or quick. It takes time. You need to prove yourself within the game and outside the game, as attitude and mentality plays a massive part in being a professional gamer.
How can people get into this kind of role? What kind of skillset does it require?
If you have a natural talent at playing any sort of video game, pick the one you enjoy the most and put time into it. Study the game, look at how you can play it better to suit how you are as a person. Then it comes down to what I said before: attitude and mentality.
What would you say to the parents and teachers of aspiring pro gamers, and those who perhaps aren’t convinced that pro gaming can offer a viable career path?
I was quite lucky, all of my family and partners family were very supportive of me since the start. Especially my mother and my girlfriend. I didn’t ever plan to become a professional gamer, it just sort of happened. The scene right now is heading in the right direction, there is more investment, more tournaments and more opportunities than ever before and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down.
To any person that wants to convince their parents that this is something they want to be involved in, do a little bit of research and show them what it can do for you and how it’ll work. I’m sure that will turn any parent who is a little sceptical, and rightly they should be as they will only want the best for their children.
What are the perks and challenges of your job?
There are so many perks, it’s a dream job for anyone who enjoys playing video games. You get to travel the world competing against the other top players for various different prize payouts. You get to meet people and go to place you never thought you’d ever be able to.
The only downside to it personally, is the time I have to dedicate which is taken away from my personal life, meaning that I don’t get to spend as much time with my partner or family.