"Mose" Interviewed - The Maltese Professional Halo Player

As the local gaming industry grows, more and more opportunities are arising for Maltese enthusiasts to pursue a career in esports. Many have tried, are trying and will try, but only those who take their chances and are completely fearless will really make a name for themselves. Luciano Calvanico is an example of one of those that made it. Ever since 2016 he’s been tearing up the Halo scene and we’ve been dying to interview him - that day has finally come. The interview was begun on December 13th, hence the reference to the public holiday.

Hello Luciano, we hope you’ve had a great day. We’ll start off the interview properly; from the very beginning. You weren’t always 21 and part of a huge esports organization. Tell us how it all started, when, where and all the necessary details. Who was your inspiration, if anyone?

Thank you very much I had a fantastic day! It all started around Halo 3 days which was about more then 10 years ago when I found out about esports and that you could actually make a living out of it. I started playing with competitive settings always trying to get better every day, then when Halo: Reach came out a few years laters my parents decided to send me to the first ever European event I attended. I was about 15 years old back then and from there the dominoes started to fall because I started playing with better players and climbing the ladder always joining better teams.

For the past two years, you’ve immediately risen to the top of the Halo scene with four 1st place finishes and a single second place to create quite an impressive record. Of course, there were three finishes outside the top two. Anyway, how have the past two years of your life been? What’s changed? Did you ever expect to be where you are at the moment?

Yes, so I broke into the pro scene in 2016 when the first big team picked me up which was Dignitas. This was a short run with them as we fell short at Gfinity Finals, placing 2nd. Then we had a really disappointment finish at EMEAS, the World Championships qualifiers. We were the favorite to win it, to qualify for the 2.5 million dollar tournament but got knocked out in the group stage which to this day is the biggest upset EU Halo has ever had. After that,  I won everything Europe had to offer and it's been more than a year now with my team that we've remained undefeated in EU. My life has changed a lot since then, I couldn't be more lucky with the position I currently fill in. It has always been my dream since a kid and being able to make a living like this is exactly a dream coming true for me.

The lifestyle of a professional gamer is unlike any other job. Do you agree with this statement? Share your daily routine on a normal day. How do you prepare yourself for competition online and offline? What’s it like to compete on the largest stages in the world?

I think that being a professional esport gamer is like every other job. Usually, my daily routine starts by going to the gym before I start playing, then when I get back home I start warming up and at around 6pm is when we usualy start scrimming and practicing against other top teams. Competing on large stages dosen't get to me anymore - I keep myself focused on winning. At the start I used to get very excited but now I only focus on winning the match and don't really pay attention to the stage or crowd; but watching it back from twitch after every tournament I can't belive that I manage to do this as my full time job.

In shocking contrast to these huge tournaments and events is Malta, in terms of Halo of course. How has the lack of a local esports scene affected you? What do you think is necessary for Halo to rise in prominence locally? How did you go international?

It hasn't really affected me to be honest. My main goal was always to play with British or European players because that's where you are going to find the best players in the game and learn from them. That's why I put my name internationally instead of locally -  going to English events and making them recognize me as a talented player.  

Now let’s take a look into the future? What’s next for “Mose”? What are your main goals for 2018, improving on 2017, and how will you achieve them?

This year, 2018, I'm gonna keep doing what I've been doing but I will start streaming again once I get my webcam consistently working and I'll be working towards winning an international event!

Only one more question remains. For all the keen Maltese enthusiasts; what is your advice for starting out as a professional player? What does it take? What mentality and what sacrifices did you have to stick to?

If you want to pursue this as a career. my advice is to just play a lot to be one of the best in the world and sacrifice time instead of going out with friends, but most importantly use that time wisely. Don't build an ego and always try to improve daily as a player! And last but not least you have to go to international events and always try playing with people better then you so you can have the opportunity to learn from them.

The interview did take a while to complete; such is the dedicated life of a professional gamer which Luciano Calvanico is fully embracing. He puts in a tonne of work and it pays off incredibly as he is now on of the top Halo players in Europe. Right now, he's got the world in his hands and he's targetting all of it for 2018 - yet, he remains humble and levelheaded like a true professional. Gamers.com.mt couldn't be more proud and supportive of his ambitions and goals for his career, and we'll always be here to help if necessary. 

Good luck Luciano and to any Maltese gamers still making their way into their respective scenes!

Posted by Gabriel Sciberras on 5th January 2018, 10:02

I'm Gabriel - 17 year-old student attending a sixth form with a little free time on his hands. I've been working with Gamers.com.mt for a roughly a year now - spreading my interests in technology, gaming and writing over the platform along with interviews and hardware reviews. All constructive feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading!

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Interview with Mark Horner - Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018 MVP

As promised, we've landed an exclusive interview with Mark Horner, the captain from the squad of EndPoint and also the crowned MVP form the recent Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018 where the team established their dominance in concrete. We've conducted the interview in order to gain further insight into the winning team mentality and the experience of being crowned MVP, while also offering some well-deserved spotlight to the incredibly talented team. We hope you enjoy! 1. Describe your overall experience at the event, including the online stage and the LAN portion as a player and as a team. The event was really great, we didn’t have to participate in online qualifications as we had won Gallantry Budapest. The offline portion was great, the PCs were amazing and we had plenty of desk space which was always sometimes a bit of an issue. The admins were really helpful and any PC related issues we had were sorted very quickly. 2. What teams seemed to give you the hardest times when you matched up against them? The hardest game was definitely CRG, they are (or were, given some players left) the 2nd best team easily. It’s a real shame we had to meet them in the semis as that would have made an awesome final. It took us a little while to get into our groove against Avenue’s B team as it was our first game of the day, but as soon as it got to Manor we knew we couldn’t lose. For the final, we kind of knew that we won before it had started, it felt like Demise settled for 2nd knowing that they maybe should have been 3rd or 4th if CRG wasn’t on our side of the bracket. 3. Why is it that EndPoint placed first? What makes your team the best team in the world at the moment? I think it’s our teamwork, our ability to adapt and that anyone on the team (minus me, ha!) can pull of some ridiculous clutches/plays. One thing you’ll notice if you watch the VODs back of the stage games, when the cameras are on the players inbetween rounds or even mid round on our team, usually me or one of us is always talking. We use the 18 seconds or whatever to re-evaluate, why did we win the round? Why did we lose the round? How can we win the next round? Most other teams, especially when they are losing just look sad and don’t talk. It’s talking that plays the most fundamental part in winning – understanding the gaps in our defence/attack, how to plug them, etc. We also have the best team spirit; good luck finding a team that laughs and jokes and has as much fun as we do whether we are winning or losing! 4. Extremely well-deserved, you were awarded the MVP award. Comment on this achievement by referring to your individual performance within the team. I was happy to receive MVP, but as cliché as it sounds, in my eyes there were 4 MVPs. Everyone stepped up; Synde was clutching absolutely everything, Kevin was…using all of our coins, Cozje and Replan were getting some mad multi kills too. I guess my part to play is just get a few frags but read the game and find the holes in the enemy’s play, and keep the team motivated so even if we had a sh*t half they believed we could still do it – and do it we did! 5. The Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam was the first Battalion 1944 Major for all. Do you have any suggestions to improve any future Battalion 1944 Majors? It’s hard to say really, as an event it was carried out really well. There’s a lot to think about in terms of how the game grows, would it perhaps be better to run a couple of smaller events for the current player base than one big one? It’s hard to make that call now, but going forward we’ll just have to trust in Bulkhead and their plan for MU3 and beyond. I do really hope that another major or big event is announced soon though! 6. Apart from the fact that EndPoint is the top team at the moment, what else has the event proved in your opinion, about the state of competitive Battalion 1944? That we are #1 by far, CRG (were) #2 by far, then the rest at like 3-16 I believe are really close. A lot of teams, when practising online use all of their strats/nades/rotations that they will use at LAN and play exactly the same or more passive and wonder why they lose to us. When we are practising, we’re losing a lot of our practices because a) we are holding a few things back, yes, but most importantly b) we are learning from every game – most teams don’t do this they just say 'oh it’s unlucky' and move on rather than working out why we lost A/B so much on defence etc. I’d happily lose every PCW for 6 weeks and win the LAN because people underestimate us (hello, CRG 😊). 7. How does your team plan to keep up this position within the scene? Who are your biggest threats? 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A huge thanks to EndPoint and all their sponsors, the support they gave us massively helped us and I can’t reiterate that enough. Going from having 0 support at Penta to having everything taken care of at Endpoint made it much easier for us, especially having a gaming house to use. A special shout out to Pronic for being the best coach, he did a lot for us before the event and at the event that played a big part in our win. Thanks to the guys in my team for being awesome and carrying my ass to another victory. Thanks to Brammer and his team, as well as Sean and The Plays for making the event possible. Shout out to everyone we met old and new at the major, it was cool hanging out with some new people and getting the beers in! Finally a huge thanks to everyone in the B44 scene for being distinctly average and changing rosters after each LAN rather than putting in the hard work to improve, because it makes our job of staying the best a bit easier 😉. One can only admire the confidence in Mark, which hasn't changed from before the event as an earlier interview sported the same casual approach - EndPoint knew they were going to win because practice doesn't lie, it seems. Perhaps some of the remarks are indirect jabs at other competitors; we hope that this will serve as motivation for other teams to step up their game for the next event, which will hopefully be announced soon. Will EndPoint manage to maintain their form throughout or will they falter? Can a team such as CRG knock them down? The Battalion 1944 scene will only grow from the event.  A final thanks to Mark for the speedy replies and a final congratulations on behalf of Gamers.com.mt!

The GO Malta Esports Festival - GALLANTRY Malta

Gallantry Events will be partnering up with GMR Entertainment to provide the best Battalion 1944 tournament ever to date in Europe with a nice prize pool and the perfect offline gaming conditions for the participating teams. After their success in organizing a 16 team event in Budapest last July Gallantry Events will be joining forces to host an international and high-quality event during The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018. Starting with the physical venue itself, we’re taking gaming to one of the largest commercial centres on the island, that being the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta’ Qali. All the competition will be hosted over 2,500 square metres of area! The central stage will match an incredible size, while spectators will also have the possibility to enjoy an Expo area and a Careers Convention area. A maximum of 16 international teams will head their way to the sunny island of Malta to participate in the Battalion 1944 Tournament, were friends and families can join the teams for a relaxing holiday. Casters and a production team over will also be present to broadcast the games online at a top notch level. The Battalion Tournament will start early morning at around 9am on Friday 7th December where teams will battle out each other in the group stage matches. Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th will be all about the elimination stage where the top teams will face each other and play on the biggest stage ever in Battalion 1944 history in order to crown the champion. Teams don't have to worry to search for Hotels, Transport etc since they will find all information one needs on our website, with very cheap and reduced rates for both. All one needs to do is get the team together, book the flights, check the website for all info and he is good to go to come to Malta. Due to the international coverage which the tournament will be treated with, it’s a fantastic opportunity for organisations to reach out internationally alongside a national presence. Thousands of viewers who will observe through the broadcast, while locals and foreigners will be present at the event - ready to witness some breath taking matches.  Be sure to visit the event website for more info regarding the battalion tournament and comment on the thread below if interested in joining.

The GO Malta Esports Festival - PUBG Open

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Recap of the Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018!

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The ePremier League - Inaugural Investment of a Football League in Esports

One of the most prominent football leagues in the world is, of course, England's Premier League, with certain powerhouse teams fielding fans and support from all over the world and embellishing high-quality competition. Many Maltese are quite invested in supporting some of the top teams. There's the Premier League and then there's the ePremier League? Haven't heard of it? It's a new idea fueled by the recent iteration of EA SPORT's FIFA.  Competitors investing time into FIFA 19, corresponding to those of British citizenship, can demonstrate their skills and represent one of the many Premier Clubs indirectly through the new ePremier League. Just like the field-played sport, a league will be carried out through the controller to discover a 2018-19 season champion - the first ever ePL champion.  All the curious action will require much less time than full 90 minute games; hence the inaugural ePL tournament will begin in January 2019, ending with March at the ePL Final to be broadcasted live on Sky Sports and Premier League social media channels. Note that online qualifiers will progress between January and March to skim down the registered participants through playoffs and group stages in order to arrive at 20 Premier League representatives per console. Registration opens on the 3rd of December through FUTChampions.com, with the chance of being the first ePL champion ever - winning prestige, prize and also some points to register into the FIFA 19 Global Series Playoffs.  This is exciting news for esports; one of the largest football leagues is recognizing esports for what it truly is - a different yet equal sport to that played with boots. It will be interesting to see how it develops over the years in terms of size. 

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