With the inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championships fast approaching, we spoke to our Home Nation teams to learn more about them, and their involvement in the event.
In this piece, we are going to focus on Dota 2, and a few of the amazing individuals representing the Home Nations.
Louise ‘Mrs Nesbitt’ Davies – Esports Wales
Louise, more formally known as Mrs Nesbitt, is a Dota 2 carry for Wales’ women’s Dota squad. But, when she’s not getting stuck into esports, Louise is an Application Analyst and Developer.
In terms of her involvement in esports, Louise’s’ journey is only just beginning as a player – even though she’s been an avid casual player and spectator for many years.
She explained: “I started playing Dota 2 in 2016. I have always been a spectator of the competitive scene since. I have been to many Dota events over the years e.g. ESL, and have had amazing experiences. So this is my first time participating as a player!”
Taking the leap into esports, especially becoming a player, can seem quite difficult at first, but Louise tackled this by just diving in head first.
“Just go for it! I had serious hesitations about joining the team initially, as I said before, I have never taken Dota seriously, so it was an intimidating thought to have to play the game I love in a professional manner (or attempt to!),” Louise said.
With the Commonwealth matches now underway, Louise has had some time to look back on the journey of the team – which has come a long way over the last few months.
Louise said: “We had an interesting start, as all 5 of us in the team play support positions and we have all had to get stuck into positions we are very much not used to. Having said that, it’s been a positive experience, despite new personal health issues I have had to manage along the way. When I started playing Dota 2 in 2016, I rarely met another woman in a public match, but now I have met so many!”
Female representation is on the rise in esports, and the many teams of women competing at the CEC are paving the way for future talent. Having been playing games for a long time, Louise has had many experiences with being pushed away from it – but she did not let that stop her from creating a legacy.
She explained: “I’ve been playing video games since I was 7-8 years old when I had my first Nintendo. The only “competitive” gaming I did then was playing Mario Kart 64 or Goldeneye with my friends. I was always told growing up, by society, that gaming was for boys and a complete waste of time. I wish growing up I had a role model in gaming to look up to and think “Yeah girls can do this too” and to have felt like less of the odd one out.
“If I can inspire anyone to get into gaming, who feels like I did, that would be amazing,” she added.
With high hopes and expectations for the Commonwealth Esports Championships, Louise shares her thoughts on where she believes the event could go in years to come.
“It’s a first, isn’t it and everything must start somewhere! It’s showing that esports is indeed a sport, despite stereotypical views some traditional sports viewers may have about the scene and its participants. It’s a great opportunity to educate people. I feel so privileged to be part of a first-time event!
“This is a great start to integrating esports into traditional, long-standing sporting events and showcasing what it is capable of. And I hope it inspires people to get into esports, and I cannot wait to see esports become mainstream, in line with traditional sports in the UK. I want to see esports as big as the Premier League one day!,” Louise said.
Ashley ‘MrAshleeD’ Davies – Esports Wales
MrAshleeD, aka Ashley, is the coach for the Esports Wales Women’s Dota team, and is working hard to make sure the team go all the way in Birmingham.
Similarly to Louise, Ashley has been a gamer for many years, but this opportunity with the CEC has given him a new venture to follow.
He explained: “So I started playing Dota around eight or so years ago, but in terms of actually being a part of the esports scene, about six years back, I tried to get into it as a player. I didn’t manage to get into a tier one team or anything like that, but I did manage to get into some smaller tournaments and get involved that way. I’ve also been involved in amateur casting and commentary on tournaments for around six or seven years – so quite a long time I’ve been involved in it but this is the first time I’m coaching a team like this!”
Having a lot of experience in the industry in many different fields, Ashley has established a good method to success.
He says: “Getting into it, I’d say if you already know your game, like your game, then don’t get into it with the idea that ‘I’m going to be this number one person’ because it takes a long time. Don’t think it happens overnight – it can take its time! Get used to winning and losing, like I know people who’ve gotten into esports and in the past have done really well in a casual environment, but as soon as they go into a professional seat it’s a completely different mindset.
“I’d say expect loss, but don’t let it get you down like try and fight past that and realise that it’s normal for even the best players,” Ashley added.
Getting to this point in the tournament, Ashley has worked really hard with his team to make sure they succeed – and this has led them to a really good position in the current matches.
“So it’s been a lot of practice and just getting people to play together, because we’re not full time esports players and coaches, so we have to arrange all of that too. It’s been a little hectic getting game times for everyone, but it’s just been playing as much as we can together and chatting outside of games. I think being friends with your teammate is important, in that you gain this level of trust which can be of great benefit.
“In essence it’s just been weekly sessions of analysing games, doing one-on-one sessions to go through particular weaknesses or particular strengths – and really just basically improving on what we’ve already got!” Ashley explained.
Now that the industry is booming in the United Kingdom, Ashley shared his thoughts on how the CEC can potentially be the final piece needed to make esports even bigger.
He said: “In the UK, well at least for me personally, esports has always been lacking compared to some other countries, especially if you go to China and places like that. The UK has always been a little behind, so I’m hoping that the CEC, having that sort of recognition with the Commonwealth Games, will get more people interested. We want to get more people investigating what esports is, and I’m just really hoping that the legacy of the CEC will be the starting point of the wider recognition of esports in the mainstream.”
Tickets are still available for the Commonwealth Esports Championships this weekend in Birmingham, and can be purchased here.
Want to keep up with all things CEC ahead of the 6th and 7th August? Make sure to follow all of the Home Nations on Twitter for updates, and keep your eyes peeled for more content.