Join Han “Lola” Cilliers as she finds out more about the recent signing of Eq to Impulse Gaming by interviewing Lolita, head of Impulse and Xt3rM!n@tor, team leader of Eq. Lola also gets the low down on what the local TF2 community can do to grow and also picks up a few tips and tricks for improving game play.
What benefit will, firstly, Eq and, secondly, iMg, derive from this merge?
Xt3rM!n@tor: iMg is well known in the gaming community, by adding my division 1 & 2 teams I am hoping to expose TF2 to the other platforms and gain exposure for us.
Lolita: Merging clans has many benefits and should work as a symbiosis. Eq will benefit from structure and strengthened management as well as professionalism and a well balanced environment. The benefit to iMg? Well, I will have the pleasure of tapping into the potential that Eq holds and having more involvement in the TF2 community.
What does the short term future hold for Eq`iMg?
Xt3rM!n@tor: Trying to get to know each other, most of the players from either teams don’t really know much about each other or their respective games. Trying to build a solid MGO for future games, so that players can look forward to iMg as solid competition.
Lolita: The immediate future for Eq`iMg holds a little bit of admin, introductions, settling in and of course competing in the latest TF2 competition.
Lolita, what is a clan expected to do once they sign up with iMg?
Once teams sign up with iMg it really depends on the team’s goals. By this I mean, whether a team wants to be social, casual or competitive. A social/causal team is only required to have fun and behave like human beings in public and competitive teams are required to have a settled line up, regular practices, professional attitude, good sportsmanship and a structured environment.
Currently only Ventus and now iMg support TF2 teams. Lolita, why do you think MGO’s have been reluctant to expand into TF2?
It is my opinion that MGO’s have not again expanded to TF2 as there has not been substantial or enough growth in the community to suffice. Usually MGO’s will expand to gaming platforms that are big, popular and successful. From what I know MGO’s have before expanded to TF2 in the past but it had died out at a stage.
Xt3rM!n@tor, how does the current line up of Equilibrium look?
Eq has two line ups to represent in both the upcoming Div 1 + 2 TF2CSA League
Div 1: Xt3rM!n@tor (Captain, scout), Whisp (scout), Skiba (medic), Stratis (pocket), Legacy (roaming), Xolox (demo), Praxis (extra)
Div 2: Fish (Captain, pocket) Antie (roaming), Lola (medic), q²_dEmOn (demo), Soliton (scout), Cheeseofdoom (scout), deacon (extra)
Xt3rM!n@tor, you have been consistently involved in competitive TF2 longer than any other player. How do you manage to stay in the game when so many others throw in the towel?
Lol. Not sure if that’s a good thing. TF2 was/is my first real online game that I played, its real good fun and in every clan match and every new generation things change. Its makes for good fun and a captain needs to always be on his feet with thinking and adapting. Lots of other players stopped because of personal reasons, others because they lost a few players and decided it was too hard to find a new player and develop. I just find the game really interesting, challenging and extremely fun to play.
Why do you think it’s been such an uphill road for TF2 to break into the broader competitive scene in South Africa?
Xt3rM!n@tor: The game was doomed from the beginning in SA, it was released at a very similar time to COD4 which had a huge following in SA and was easy crackable and LAN played. TF2 was a steam game so therefore harder to play at LANs and didn’t carry a name brand like “COD”. The game had a decent following initially and still does, but the lack of proper exposure and, to an extent, proper servers hampered the progress of the game.
Lolita: As I have mentioned before, it is an uphill climb for TF2 to break into the competitive scene as the community is not big enough. When you have large and persistent gaming communities like Call of Duty 4, there is ample potential to work with. Those players are determined and not afraid to fight for what they want and work hard for what they want. TF2 will have to be more open minded and enduring to break into that competitive scene, but with help from some people with the know-how and connections, TF2 might just yet get there.
From your perspective, what are the key elements needed to run a successful clan?
Xt3rM!n@tor: It all starts with a responsible leader who takes care of his players needs. The leader needs to be able to manage his time and responsibilities. If a leader cannot plan his own life, how can his team expect him to manage their clan. In the end it comes down to management and communication between the leader and his players. This also works both ways, if a leader shows these characteristics, his team mates in return will respect him, listen and improve their game play, it’s quite weird but very true in every aspect.
Lolita: A successful clan needs strong leadership and determined players. There is nothing more important than communication in a clan when aiming to be successful.
Xt3rM!n@tor, there is a quite a big skills gap amongst some of the competitive TF2 players. How do you suggest this gap gets closed?
We have players who started playing in 2007 all the way through to players who started in 2011. Players that started the game way back understand it much better and have much more experience. What we have is lots of players that have been playing the game for “6-18months” expecting to play the game and win everything and when they don’t, they want to quit or emo out. This isn’t possible, every player that has been playing the game for a while has learned different scenario’s and plays in TF2, having good aim or “mid-airing” players makes you good but does not really help your team get better. Experience will always beat talent in TF2 in my opinion and if you look at some of the really good players in TF you will understand what I am referring to.
Ways to improve and get better
When I first started my serious Eq Clan, about 2 years back we worked really hard on watching demos of internationals and learning wherever we could. The amount of things you learn from watching demos is amazing and the only way you can put these into play is if you watch them with your team-mates and then practice. Note on what I said in the first line, I only started watching demos after about 2 years of playing TF2. Some of the newer TF2 players watching demos now have been spoon fed with things and ways to improve, but are not taking the opportunity and using it.
We have a system in place now where games get auto recorded and put onto an FTP server for downloading (thanks to IS Gaming). This was not available to the older generation and each player had to pov record their own demos to watch and see their mistakes and find ways to improve. Some of the newer generation hasn’t yet realised these demos are not only there to “record” great air-shots for the latest frag video, but the primary reason is to see what you did badly, learn from your mistakes and get subsequently get better by fixing them. If you start using this facility properly you will get better.
The one thing that I initially thought would be advantageous to TF2 SA, yet now realize was not, is mixes. Mixes have caused a slump in our clan scene. Mixes were brought into action to bridge the gap from new players, to experienced players in pickups. Pickup players however demanded a higher level of skill in gameplay to improve their own abilities. This did not make the clan scene more appealing to newer players, or entice outsiders to be a part of the clan scene. It only made the good players better. In all fairness, this strengthened the skilled group of the clan scene, but caused that there was no platform for the more inexperienced players to improve and neglected the majority of players in the community.TF2 SA has come to a place where mixes have taken over and in my opinion, as a result of this, the skill level in TF2 has dropped substantially and deteriorates the skill of players who play in mixes.This is apparent in general clan matches; players have the frame of mind that they are good, having performed in mixes, but then do not perform as well in clan matches.What I propose is that #tf2 reforms, get active leaders and get a good system in place to gather mixed players, for instance having 8 – 10 good players in each match and 2 newer players, so that both groups of players may benefit.
Lastly, I think that players need to stop sitting and waiting for someone to ask them to join their clan, this is not going to happen. Take the responsibility and make a team, get players that are keen to play and play! Don’t try to over think things, do the basics right, communication, management and the rest will follow. Don’t try and find players of old, this won’t work, those players that you guys seek are not willing to step down to the current level of TF2 and struggle in a team, they had their glory and are past it, we need to move on to better things by taking the responsibility up by ourselves.
Where do you want to see TF2 going in the future, in general and in South Africa?
Xt3rM!n@tor: I have always hoped that TF2 would reach a proper LAN, where we have 6-8 teams, I’m not sure if this will happen, though. Perhaps with the involvement of more MGO’s in TF2 there might be a chance. If there is some sort of sponsorship that can help the TF2.co.za team host a LAN, that would be one way. I personally would like to see TF2 expand with more teams and players that are keen to play, not the type that jump ship every time there is a new ‘WOW’ update or another new game that comes out. The future of TF2 in SA is what the players make of it. We have about 100 – 120 competitive guys playing TF2, they will determine where the game goes by the choices they make. Hopefully this will bring more players from different games and the public arena.
Lolita: TF2 should be going real big in the future; it is on an international base quite the competitive game and an extraordinary experience over all. I would like to see the TF2 community grow and become more involved in other gaming communities.
Good luck to Equilibrium and iMpulse gaMing, may your reign become legendary 😉
I also want to take this opportunity to extend a special thanks to Xt3rM!n@tor. Allow me to point out a few of his extraordinary achievements in the TF2 community.
He has been the only player who has been with competitive TF2 since the very beginning. It’s almost 4 years later and he’s still here (now there’s balls of steel for you Duke). He’s the only clan leader who has taken it upon himself to train clans almost completely consisting of noobies and managed to lift their skill level up to that of division 1 player status and have them play in competitions (“Do or don’t, there is no try” – Yoda). Last but not least, in the 4 years, he’s not been involved in any scandals ( “I did not have sex with that woman”- Bill Clinton), not thrown 1 match (“The devil made me do it” – Hansie Cronje) and did not sell his soul to _Enemy (“Behold I sent you out as sheep amidst the wolves” – Jesus)