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Interview with Bernard Vella - The Young Maltese SIMRacing Prodigy

For those that don't know, SIMRacing is a sector of esports which deals with simulated racing, giving racers the opportunity to get on the track without opening a single door - this is made possible thanks to the recent leap in technology within racing simulation. One other thing which you may not know is that Maltese talent is viciously present in many competitors. An example is the young Bernard Vella, a 16-year-old who has just won an international Sim Racing competition by taking down a renowned competitor. We decided to learn more about the youngster and SIMRacing in general through an article interview, which you can all enjoy below! 1.) Let’s kick off the interview by focusing on you – please introduce yourself in terms of personal life, work, esports and anything else you’d like to mention!  My name is Bernard Vella; a 16-year-old sim racing driver at GT Omega RPM Esports. I am currently a student and I’m preparing for my first year in sixth form at St Aloysius College. My passion is to become a race car engineer and to work on what I love. 2.) This interview is being carried out on the back of an incredible achievement by Bernard Vella at an international simulation racing event – the ADAC SimRacing Expo. Could you break it down for us?  The ADAC Sim Racing Expo is the biggest simulator expo there is, which is held annually in Germany, and together with my team we competed in various competitions against the best drivers in the world. My teammates Keith Camilleri, Brandon Tabone and Terence Grech competed in the GT 500, while me and Omar Barbara competed in other competitions at the event. I focused on the Wave Italy Championship because I love to drive F1 cars and there was also a great prizes for the top 3 drivers. 3.) To win it all, you took down a reigning champion in Brendon Leigh by a mere 0.016 seconds! Describe your journey as a racing competitor up to this point in both the virtual and real sense.  I started sim racing last November and from the start I loved the competition it brings and I would balance training on my simulator and my school work. I competed in my first race on the 14th of December in the Sim Racing Malta GT3 Casual Race, where me and Keith Camilleri battled it out, which led to me being fastest in practice and qualifying and also winning both of the races. The main reason that I got used to sim racing quickly was due to me racing in real life with a go kart which helped me adapt to sim racing. I never expected to win against Brendon Leigh the current F1 Esports Champion that I watched win his championship when I had just bought my steering wheel last November, but it goes to show that with dedication and hard work, anything is possible. 4.) SIM Racing is a sector of esports which many people are not familiar with. Of course, one can easily bridge the fact that it is digital racing – but in your opinion, what makes SIM Racing as a competitive genre different to other genres such as MOBAs, FPS and Fighting in terms of gameplay and strategy?  Unlike other sectors of esports, skills learned in sim racing translate to real life racing which I experienced in my first few months of sim racing where I saw improvements in my real life racing almost immediately. One of the main reasons sim racing is becoming recognized by many professional racing teams is due to the fact that it can become the grass roots of motorsport which currently is karting, that is very expensive and not many people can get the opportunity to show what they’re capable of. 5.) With this in mind, how does one practice and become better at SIM Racing? How much does actual karting help out?  Real life racing and sim racing go hand in hand and just like in real life; to improve in sim racing, the main goal is to focus while training. Training sessions don’t have to be extremely long like most people think, for example I train usually for 2-4 hours a day depending on my school work with training being split throughout the day as to not exhaust myself. Actual karting helped me from the start because I already had the feeling of how a car will respond to my inputs in the simulator. 6.) What are your views on both the local and international scenes when it comes to SIM Racing? How could both be improved?  Sim racing in Malta has taken a massive step forward with events being organized by Sim Racing Malta and World Pro Racing locally, which gives opportunities to sim racing drivers to show their worth in a simulator locally. Internationally, sim racing is constantly growing, shown even in Formula 1 where actual F1 teams are picking simulator drivers to compete in events and even help on the actual F1 simulator which teams use to set up the actual car during a racing weekend. There aren’t major improvements that have to be made, but if sim racing continues to grow and small problems are polished out it can definitely become better in the coming years. 7.) You also form part of a team – GT OMEGA RPM Esports. Describe the process of being picked up by the team. How does the team support you in your competition?  When I competed in my first two races I competed against drivers of GT Omega RPM Esports where I showed I am capable of matching and even beating them, therefore Justin the manager of the team selected me, Brandon Tabone and Omar Barbara to join the team last January. The teams gives us constant support in our competitions, they help us find sponsorships, find engineers that can help us work on the setup of the car to make it faster and give us exposure to help further improve our image as drivers. 8.) Let’s take a look to the future; what are your goals as an individual competitor and what are your goals as part of a team? Do you have any separate goals for real and simulated racing?  My main goal is to push myself to the limit so I can extract everything I can from myself and earn respect from other drivers and teams, along with my team who have the same ambitions of winning. In both real life and virtual racing I try to improve as much I can, so if I ever get an opportunity to prove myself I know that I would have given everything that I have.  9.) Advice time; we like to conclude our interviews by asking for advice on behalf of our viewers. What advice do you have to offer to any Maltese trying to make it as a professional racer in any dimension? What does it take to arrive at your level of competition?  It’s important to train seriously, this means that it is important to balance all things and to put hard work and dedication in to all of your ambitions in life which in my case were racing and school. It’s also very important to look at how other people drive and think while racing to learn from them. To compete at a high level it is important to remain level headed and even if you reach a certain level, to look at the small things that prevent us from reaching our limit. Some phenomenal answers out of Bernard- prior to this interview, I was completely unaware of any local SIMRacing scene and as an esports journalist, I appreciate the enlightenment. I was also fascinated by how young the competitor is; just one year younger and attending the same sixth form, he's off winning international races and I'm here writing about it. Overall, wishes him the best for his future in both virtual and physical racing, of course, also wishing his team a similar amount of luck. 

Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018 - Interview with NoNames

NoNames is an odd name for the following five guys:  nieSow, Marre, xinjini, kN and bRUDiii as they're some great names with some great history, as the team formed from the remains of Online Owls and Team Legit, a couple original Battalion 1944 names. One of the earliest qualifiers for the event, the squad didn't even have time to think of a proper team name. Their early entry is due to their impressive record online, which some in the community are finding too impressive with empty accusations of cheating. Let's hear what Robin xinjini Korte, of 24 years, responded to our interview questions.  1.) How are you preparing yourselves for the upcoming event, the first ever Battalion 1944 Major? To be honest, we were not able to prepare at all. Since everyone still thinks that we have a cheater team, no one wants to play against us. I believe that there is a reason for this.  Roughly half of the Battalion 1944 community are ex-professional players from CoD 2 and 4, and of course,  they think they’re still the top players off the world. This might be true in some ways, but they literally cannot accept the fact that Battalion 1944 is a new game and it's only natural that there are new players with huge potentials. We look forward to disproving all of these claims on LAN and I'm looking forward to seeing all the faes, when we keep playing on LAN like we did online.  2.) For how long has your team been waiting for an opportunity to play Battalion 1944 at this level? Actually, I think we had this level from the beginning because we all played Cod 2 and Cod 4 competitive and that made it easier to reach a high level in Battalion 1944. The main problem was to gather a bunch of people who fit together and have fun playing with each other. 3.) What are your goals heading into the event? What placing are you aiming at? It's obvious, isnt it? To win and prove that we’re a name to remember on LAN and online. 4.) What was your experience in the online qualifiers? Where there any negatives and positives you’d like to point out? It's hard to say; we just won every match and from our perspective, everything worked fine. Our team play was good, and overall the motivation within the team was great - well organized, and we cannot wait for the main event.  5.) From the online qualifiers, what is your team’s judgement on the level of competition at this time in the title’s lifespan? How much room for improvement is there? I think there is a lot of potential in this game. Same goes for all teams and players, and I'm sure we will see way more good players and new teams, which will improve the overall level of competition in the future of Battalion 1944. 6.) If not yourselves, what teams form the top competition for the first place spot? To be honest. it's nothing that we think about. For now, it's hard to say, because many teams are on nearly the same level at the moment, so it could be every team, I guess. It's all down to preparation now, and showing up on the day.  7.) Do you plan to keep competing in Battalion 1944 after the Major is finalized? Of course -it doesn't make any sense to stop after the major. We will be competing for all upcoming events and I'm pretty sure, we will all meet again in the near future.  8.) How do you view the updates which have recently hit the title? Have they all been general improvements? Yes and no, the ideas behind their actions are clear, but I think there are some small points, that bulkhead should work over again. However, in general, the game is heading in the right direction. 9.) What would you change, if you could, in Battalion 1944 mechanics, maps and weapons? Well, I guess it's easier to say what somebody would change than what somebody actually can change. I would probably work on everything and do some fixes here and there and I would concentrate on the main points which people give feedback about. 10.) Any advice for those Battalion 1944 rosters which are struggling to reach the level of competition needed for the event? it's pretty simple -, train harder, work harder on your team play, analyze what went wrong and then get better after fixing all the issues. All of that should be obvious. It must be rather annoying to be accused of cheating in an online qualifier. However, I'm certain that the team's players couldn't care less - being so talented that you are apparently 'cheating' must feel pretty sweet. They'll be fighting with a fire to prove themselves at the Blitzkrieg Masters - I'd watch out for NoNames if I were you, they may have no name, but they've got an aim. 

Ttesports Shock Pro RGB Headset Review

You’re halfway through summer and anxious to pick up some cheap gaming peripherals to properly enjoy the rest of the season? In that case, sit back and relish the air-conditioned air, as we show off the TteSports Shock Pro RGB Gaming Headset – the brand’s attempt at creating the ultimate budget headset for the price of €30. Did they succeed? Let’s answer that question in this review.   

Online Gaming Addiction Statistically Leading to Divorces - Thoughts

Looking around the web for some inspirational news to cover for all of you, I encountered a shocking piece of information which marries Fortnite and divorce through statistics - how one leads to another. How could such a statement ever be concocted? Well, according to the UK's largest filers for divorce petitions, nearly 5 percent of all divorces this year have blamed an addiction to online games, with special mention of Fortnite, as a culprit of separation. What?  Such research and information are what is continually fueling the system of thoughts which labels gaming as a  possible 'mental disease', which can't stand, and we're sure you've all heard of this development. The UK company involved is that of, having collected 4,665 petitions from this year; meaning that roughly 200 were gaming-based. According to the company, they aren't surprised at all by this statement, as they boldly stood by recent medical development by saying:  “No surprise that more and more people are having relationship problems because of our digital addictions.”  Let's talk about it. Before we discuss and protect the name of gaming, it will be said that it's likely that a few of the cases were indeed due to an incurable addiction, in which one of the partners could not do anything else but game all day. That is one extreme of the situation and one which is indeed an addiction that may lead to the termination of a marriage. On the other hand, here's our reasoning in defending gaming. The internet and online gaming have both become so influential that they are beginning to have an effect on all aspects of life, reaching out and having a presence in our lives due to the fact that we enjoy interacting with the two. Hence, negative things in life such as death, marriage, addictions and others may slowly become correlated with it as online gaming grows as an industry.  However, the most important aspect of this statistic, which few take notice of, is the fact that the degree of an addiction depends on the person partaking in the 'gaming addiction.' Unlike other surveys, which usually involve a much younger audience and discusses how gaming is affecting the youth and whatever, this information pertains to once-married couples; ADULTS. It's easy to make it sound like online gaming is a vacuum which sucks people in unwantingly, although some games purposely make it easier than others, it is expected that anyone above 18 years of age, especially if they are married, should strike a balance in life.  Gaming addiction continues to be a hot topic, with politicians claiming violence and parents being rather concerned overall. If gaming is interfering with your relationship, you've got to get your priorities straight - I mean this in no offence, simply referring to the adults involved. Personally, I'm not one to place 'gaming addiction' besides something as serious as drug addiction, saying that it's just as potent, but that's just my opinion.  Let us know your thoughts below!

FIFA 19 Tournament at the Airport Food Court

Following last year's incredibly warm reception the MIA Games Weekend, this year we are back with a tournament for the newly released FIFA 19 with the main highlight being the great venue and the incredibly social atmosphere.  Recap of Last Year Last year, MIA Games week celebrated the titles of Tekken 7 and FIFA 18 with dedicated tournaments and prize pools thrown in with a lively background consisting of board games, a DJ and a wheel of fortune - all maintaining a 'retro' theme. It's safe to say, that you all loved this event very much, as it was quite the shakeup compared to our usual events while the venue served as the perfect opportunity to reach out to travelling foreigners and also many Maltese people. The serving of hot food and airport shopping vouchers was thrown in, too, following a small entry fee.  This Year Kicking off on Sunday 14th October, the event will focus its main attention on the new release of FIFA 19. The event will act as the first ever Maltese FIFA 19 tournament, just as last year's did for FIFA 18. The tournament will be handing out huge shopping vouchers to the top three finishes, with first place receiving €200, second €100 and third €50; all of which may be redeemed at Forestals Matrix, SkyParks Business Centre. After much thought, the entry fee will only cost €10, although two separate vouchers, one of €5 for Matrix, SkyParks Business Centre and another one of €5 for the food court should altogether balance the equation. Yes, you heard that right, all who pay the entry fee will receive €10 worth of shopping vouchers - making it practically cost nothing!  Tickets are available from the MIA Administration Offices on Level 2, which are open between 08.00 and 16.00 on weekdays and from the Gamers Lounge in Msida. More info regarding the tournament can be found here -

Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018 - Interview with Entropy Gaming

Entropy Gaming, consisting of the following roster:  uzuma, dltr, zlatan, k1aStaR and sus , formed from the remnants of DefuseKids and always looked dangerous due to the individual capabilities. After a team change following a disappointing finish at Gallantry Budapest, the team has plenty of time to integreate their recent changes and perform well at the Blitzkrieg Masters. To learn more, we interviewed Axel  uzuma Maes on behalf of his team.  1.) How are you preparing yourselves for the upcoming event, the first ever Battalion 1944 Major?  After our disappointing finish at Gallantry earlier this year, we discussed the things that went wrong and the things that could have gone better. Our biggest challenge was to stop playing against ourselves and to keep the atmosphere positive at all times. The recent replacements, picking up k1aStaR and sus, helped out incredibly, as there’s a lot of extra positivity in our lineup. We practice as much as we can to improve the communication and to adapt better to our opponents during the game, instead of talking about what we could have done better after the game. 2.) For how long has your team been waiting for an opportunity to play Battalion 1944 at this level? Most of us started out playing at the highest level. Though, it’s only just now that we’ve found the right set of players. After taking a look at the state of Call of Duty 4 in 2017, we knew we needed something new to play for. Battalion 1944 is still in a fairly early stage and we’re all eager to master the game. We’re all really excited of what is yet to come. 3.) What are your goals heading into the event? What placing are you aiming at? Obviously, our goal is to win the event. We’re investing a lot of time in the game, making sure we’re fully prepared to win against every team at the Major. We won’t disappoint. 4.) What was your experience in the online qualifiers? Where there any negatives and positives you’d like to point out? Unfortunately, the qualifiers were in the weekends, so for some teams, it was hard to play. Luckily, we managed to qualify during the second week which gave us time off on the weekends to spend with friends, girlfriends and family. I did like the system though; five different qualifiers where two teams qualify. All the teams who qualified deserved their spot and I’m glad we’re going to have an event this soon with the current best teams in the world. 5.) From the online qualifiers, what is your team’s judgement on the level of competition at this time in the title’s lifespan? How much room for improvement is there?  There’s a skill gap between some of the qualified teams in comparison to others, but in the end, as the game is still in development and not everything has been discovered yet, I expect some upsets in Amsterdam. The best team will be the team which plays together and reads the opposition better than the other teams- they will take the trophy home undoubtedly.  6.) If not yourselves, what teams form the top competition for the first place spot? Comrade Gaming, Demise and Endpoint and hopefully Method, if they manage to sort their lineup out are at the top of the list for me.  7.) Do you plan to keep competing in Battalion 1944 after the Major is finalized?  Absolutely. As far as I know, everyone in Entropy enjoys the game big time. Major update two has been a step in the right direction. I hope the game grows in numbers though because we’re 31 days away from the major and it’s quite hard to find decent public games on a regular base. 8.) How do you view the updates which have recently hit the title? Have they all been general improvements? In general, all changes were improvements in my opinion. There are still a lot of things, including the economy system, that need refinement. I do have some questions about why Bulkhead launches updates close to events. The MU2 update went live 3 days before Gallantry whilst teams had been playing together and stratting MU1 for 3-4 months. At the start of September they'll launch MU2.5, introducing some huge changes to player models and movement. I do hope it’s not going to influence the game as much as MU2. So in general, yes, I appreciate the updates. The timing of launching the update(s) could be a lot better though. They could launch MU2.5 after the World Championship for example, but I’m not a part of Bulkhead and I’m sure they have their reasons to launch them at those moments. 9.) What would you change, if you could, in Battalion 1944 mechanics, maps and weapons?  Weapons. I would make it more of a Kar98 - M1 game and get rid of the SMG meta. On some maps, SMG’s are very overpowered in comparison to the other guns. You need to have an A-game on the Kar98, M1, Gewehr or Carbine to compete against a Thompson or MP40, and still, it’s a 50/50 gamble for each gunfight.  Maps. Most of the maps have been balanced out, we’re going to start stratting Invasion soon. I’m really curious as to how the map has changed and about the new plays people can make. Mechanics. The movement feels great right now. I’m kind of disappointed that they will take out crouch jumping in MU2.5. In my opinion, it adds another dimension to the game. In CS:GO and Call of Duty 4 there were some jumps that were hard to master. It’s something you have to put the time into. In my honest opinion, getting rid of it reduces the skill gap slightly. 10.) Any advice for those Battalion 1944 rosters which are struggling to reach the level of competition needed for the event?  Analyze the things that go wrong or went wrong in the past. Make those things a point of focus and work hard on them, both in-game and out-game. There’s a lot of highly skilled people in this game and the strength of the current teams is going to be nowhere near as good as the best team in a couple of months. Work together, talk to each other, have open communication and stay together. The game in my opinion, is a raw diamond and I hope new talent starts showing up fast. If your team hasn’t qualified for the major, don’t give up, please. There’s going to be plenty of events in the future. Good luck to everyone! Despite the recent change, uzuma, the 23-year-old player, is confident in his team's ability to perform in the upcoming event and potentially win it all. His comments on the skillgap are quite interesting, as of right now, the skillgap is quite narrow; we're receiving all types of answers for question six! Sadly, one team will place 16th and one will place first, that's just the nature of competition.  We'd like to thank uzuma for the interview! 

Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018 - Interview with Primal Extinction Gaming

As I'm sure they'll reiterate in the following interview, Primal Extinction Gaming dominated the first season of the Blitzkrieg North American Community League - not dropping a SINGLE map. They continued this run until Fragadelphia 12's Battalion 1944 tournament, where a single loss costed them the victory and gave them 3rd place. With this impressive record, it'll be interesting to see how they fare against the European competition which they are yet to face. We're on board with the in-game leader of Michael xIzghost Dellisola of 28 years to learn more.  1.) How are you preparing yourselves for the upcoming event, the first ever Battalion 1944 Major? We are putting in the time that’s needed to prepare for an event like this and we look forward to an amazing opportunity to show the world what we do best; competing at the highest level.  2.) For how long has your team been waiting for an opportunity to play Battalion 1944 at this level? We haven’t waited very long to play amongst the best. We’ve been on top in the NA scene for some time along with 2 other teams. We are excited to show off our skill set against the teams on the opposite side of the world. 3.) What are your goals heading into the event? What placing are you aiming at? Well, we wouldn’t be a very competitive team if we weren’t aiming for number 1. I’ll leave it there. 4.) What was your experience in the online qualifiers? Where there any negatives and positives you’d like to point out?  Our experience in the major online qualifier was interesting for sure. We haven’t lost a match since February of this year until the first qualifier against PURE. We got a chance to feel what a loss felt like, and as a team that was winning everything, we needed to taste defeat. The second qualifier came around and we pulled through a tough match but we came out the victor. We certainly didn't breeze through the qualifiers.  5.) From the online qualifiers, what is your team’s judgement on the level of competition at this time in the title’s lifespan? How much room for improvement is there?  In the NA scene, there are very strong teams amongst the top 4. Matches are close and tough and exciting. The teams going to the major deserve to be there, 100%. A fantastic level of competition.  6.) If not yourselves, what teams form the top competition for the first place spot? Haven’t had an opportunity to care enough about the European teams. I know they’re good players and have good teams over there but respectfully I like to keep my focus on our team and our team only. 7.) Do you plan to keep competing in Battalion 1944 after the Major is finalized? This will be my last stage personally, but I know my team will continue as I fall into a coaching role for them. There are exciting things to come for this team. 8.) How do you view the updates which have recently hit the title? Have they all been general improvements? The updates that have hit the game so far have been playable and enjoyable. True gamers understand a game can’t be perfect by itself, it needs help from the community and the developers working hand and hand to make a great game; only time will tell.  9.) What would you change, if you could, in Battalion 1944 mechanics, maps and weapons?  I like the game, I think more playable and enjoyable maps should be created. Unlike Sovia, that map is atrocious. 10.) Any advice for those Battalion 1944 rosters which are struggling to reach the level of competition needed for the event?  Keep playing, listen to your IGL and understand that his role is the toughest and stay positive. Everyone can Aim...communication, information, and positioning win games and differentiates teams.  The North American roster of West, disRupt, xIzghost, Vic and FoxRox are dominant within their own continent and don't seem to concerned about their future European competition. With the element of surprise on their side, Primal will be looking to make a statement at Blitzkrieg Masters. 

Interview with Dean 'Frag' Ciantar - A Semi-Professional Fortnite Player

It's safe to say that Fortnite has been one of the most popular games for a while now, refusing to slow down in terms of enthusiasm. So much so, that it's growing steadily into an esports title with prize pools that rival those of Dota 2. To learn more about the title's current situation, took up the topic with Project Eversio's Dean frag Ciantar, a semi-professional Fortnite player.  1.) To kick off the interview, please introduce yourself to the readers in terms of private life, social life and of course, esports and your relationship with it.  I'm a 20 year old Fortnite player, studying Software Develtopment and currently competing under Project Eversio both for the Local and International Team. Current local champion winning all 3 LANs held for Fortnite so far and a big amount of small events hosted on the side by both and Quickfire. I have been in the esports scene for about 6 years starting out with League of Legends and COD 4 Promod although my first ever LAN I attended was back in September 2017 which was the Malta Cyber Series #3. 2.) Dean finds himself on the Project Eversio Fortnite line-up on which he engages in international and national competition. Describe the process of joining Project Eversio and finding yourself on their current Fortnite roster. We first started out as 4 friends who started the game together back in January slightly before the game blew up as League of Legends was getting boring and stale. I remember we loved the game so much we decided to start playing it as our main game. We spent about 3 months playing squads and practicing until we eventually participated in the Nova Series #2 under the organization Team Paradox. We won the event fairly easily and got in contacts with Project Eversio which we ended up joining as our new and current organization. Ever since then we've been very dominant in each event we participate in and haven't dropped a single loss regarding any LANs and tournaments, winning the Malta Cyber Series #4 and the Nova Series #3 as our last big achievements. 3.) As I mentioned, Project Eversio is doing their utmost to participate in international competition. What has international competition been like up to this point? What is your stance on the international Fortnite competition at this early point in time?  So far I'm the only player from the local team that has been involved in the international scene and I must say it's a tough one. Tournaments and Leagues happen very often and missing one or failing to qualify might put your reputation down the drain. We placed pretty well in the majority of European tournaments we participated in surpassing and playing with many professional organisations such as Team Secret, Team Atlantis, MisfitsGG, Epsilon and Team Method just to name a few. The international scene is very promising, just a few weeks ago over $1.5 million were won at a 3 day LAN hosted by Epic Games themselves at PAX West. We just hope we can qualify and hopefully attend an international LAN around the winter time and show what we are all about. 4.) Focusing our gaze on the local scene, Eversio have been quite dominant locally, especially in the weekly tournaments we’ve been organizing. What are your comments regarding the level of competition locally? What is required for further growth to occur for Maltese Fortnite? As I already stated, we'be been very dominant in the local scene just through the number of hours of practice we all do and how consistent we are with our mechanics and game sense. I guess other local teams just haven't grasped the game as well as we have. I've also noticed that the majority of local teams are still very young with roster changes happening left and right. This, in my opinion, is the biggest culprit in having an unsuccessful team, always stick to 4 players and change players when it's absolutely necessary not because of grudges, jealousy, etc. The biggest thing needed right now for the local scene is by far custom lobbies for the game as those aren't even out yet. Who knows, maybe once we have proper lobbies a team might step up and actually win or perform, it's a battle royale game after all so some RNG is involved. 5.) I’ve got a curious little question. The genre of Battle Royale has only recently gained the interest of professional esports through titles such as PUBG and Fortnite, trailing behind MOBAs and FPS especially in this aspect. Why is this? Is it due to the nature of the genre or the quality of the titles?  The Battle Royale genre is a fairly new and very fragile genre in my opinion. Any slight mistake from the developers and the game completely dies as we've already seen with games like H1Z1. With regards to proper E-sports, Fortnite right now is just under Dota 2 with prize money and winnings to be won as Epic Games have already announced a $100 million prize pool for the 2018/19 season. That should keep players interested in the game for a while at least. As for PUBG, I don't really follow the scene as I think the game is insanely boring and has no counter-play with insanely long and slow-paced matches for my taste, respect for anyone that actually has enough patience with the game to play it at a pro level. I think the battle royale genre is pacing up to be very promising as we've already seen it beating titles such as League of Legends on twitch when tournaments are on so overall, really hopeful for Fortnite's future. 6.) Yet, regardless of my fifth questions, the genre is beginning to invade all titles with even Call of Duty and Battlefield conforming to this apparent need in their incoming titles. In your opinion, why has Battle Royale become so popular over the last two years? The genre right now is a huge cash grab for big companies such as Activision and EA so no doubt that everyone is trying to jump on the hype train right now. The reason for the popularity surge in my opinion, is due to casuals and beginners starting out to play the game. When you're just starting out you play and get to top 10 or top 5, your heart starts racing thinking that you might win a lobby with 100/150 players and then you die. It destroys you but you go in again trying to win and once you do, the feeling is unreal for casuals and even pro players sometimes. No other game genre provides the same satisfaction in my opinion and I think that's why the battle royale scene gained such popularity. Regarding all companies trying to do BR's as a cash grab, I'm pretty sure most of them will die out or just fail miserably and maybe 1-2 games will survive for more than a year. 7.) Fortnite still has a long way to go to match other esports. In your eyes, describe the future of Fortnite as a competitive title. What does it need to thrive and what could potentially harm this growth? If the game keeps on going in this direction with the developers listening to the community and providing what it wants, I don't really see anything harming the game apart from some patches that might be disastrous on launch. In any e-sport, if there's a huge amount of money invested into a game, the game will succeed. The only threat I might see coming Fortnite's way is it getting stale but with all the content patches coming out I don't really see this happening. I mean, I'm pretty close to 1000 wins myself and still haven't gotten tired of it so props to Epic Games for making an insanely fun game. 8.) As a Fortnite player and teammate, what are your goals for the remainder of the year as an individual competitor and as a member of Project Eversio?  It's been a really successful year for me and my teammates. As for the local team, all I'm hoping for is that we keep on dominating the local scene and winning every event with also closing out the year with another LAN victory. As for the international team, the biggest goal right now is participating in a proper international LAN. Just being on the main stage at an invitational is motivation enough for me to keep on grinding and competing. 9.) To conclude, we’ll ask for advice on behalf of attempting competitors. What does it take to succeed in such a young esport such as Fortnite? What have you learnt from your own experience that wasn’t taught to you?  The biggest advice I can give is never to give up even though people put you down either saying you're trash or they say the game is trash. Keep grinding and you'll eventually make it. The hardest thing I've probably learnt is that being team captain is really stressful, basically managing the team, scouting, practising, schedules, etc etc. Letting players go is also the most difficult decision to make although it's for the better of the team. Some fantastic replies out of Dean "frag" Ciantar here, offering incredible insight into local and international Fortnite; a great interview! One thing I will add, in the threat department, is the fact that Black Ops 4's rendition of battle royale is prospering incredibly at the moment - perhaps pulling some of the player base of Fortnite? We'll have to see.  We wish Dean the best for the upcoming year of competition!

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