COD:WWII In Malta : Project Eversio Interview

Following the discursive article that was written regarding the current state of the COD:WWII community, speculating about its future and potential, there was this voice at the back of my head which screamed for a second opinion. With that being said, we turned to Project Eversio for our third interview with the organisation. This interview was carried out in response to the aforementioned article, which one may revisit here. Before continuing with the interview, it's recommended you catch up if you haven't. Without further delay, let's see what Project Eversio thought of our questions. 

It’s great to be interviewing you again. Let’s start with some history; would you be able to briefly recount Project Eversio’s past affiliated with the local Call of Duty scene?

Project Eversio actually started off as a Call of Duty 2 (PC) team back in 2007 when competition was fiercest. Our debut LAN was ClubLAN'07, in which we competed as a 'mixed team' together with members from another well-decorated team in Malta: SAS Gaming. We placed 4th after losing to dOUBTFUL. We attended a second LAN event with our full lineup the following month, and we placed 3rd, losing 18-21 to eXosphere. A few months after that, Call of Duty 4 was released, and we immediately shifted to the new title.

The three years that we spent actively competing in CoD4 were the defining years of the organisation, as not only did we become the dominant force in the local scene, but we also became well known in the international CoD4 scene. Locally, we maintained our perfect track record, winning 11 LAN events out of 11, not to mention numerous local cups. Internationally, we had the opportunity to play against the top European teams on a daily basis, we were invited into international cups, including Clanbase's prestigious EuroCup, and we had the amazing opportunity to compete at The eXperience 2009 in Denmark, together with all the top teams of the international CoD4 scene, during its peak as a competitive title.

As the local and international scenes wound down, so did our competitive drive in CoD4. We competed in local tournaments till the very last one, which was held during the Malta eSports Festival 2013 at the Centenary Stadium in Ta' Qali, which we also won, and since then all of our players have moved on to other titles, and the core of the team still plays together in different titles occasionally.

Since late last year' we entered into the realm of console Call of Duty - a completely different scene to be honest, but a larger one than most PC-oriented esports fans can imagine - even locally. We were approached by Randu, who set up our current team, but who left to pursue other opportunities after a while. Unfortunately I don't see the same competitive spirit in the local console scene as we had back in the day, possibly due to lack of frequent tournaments for the game, or the lack of serious competitive teams, yet we're very happy to be supporting the local champions, and help them out in their esports endeavours.

What are your comments regarding the community’s past three years? What went wrong and why did the local scene depreciate? What was your reaction to the reveal of COD:WWII?

With the demise of Call of Duty 4 around 2011, the competitive community for Call of Duty on the PC has never been the same. Although there were still a few avid teams around, particularly in Call of Duty 2, it was a far cry from the days of SPEED-LINK, TEK-9 and Serious Gaming in CoD2, or the days of Fnatic, Dignitas and eSuba in CoD4. The local scene mirrored those deveopments to a certain extent, though classic CoD2 still remained a favourite amongst a core, close-knit part of the community. With that said, CoD2 wasn't a growing community, which is why I think everyone was looking forward to trying out a new game. Counter-Strike Global Offensive was too different, and perhaps a bit too punishing as a competitive title compared to CoD, and people quickly jumped over to the next game in line: Overwatch, which unfortunately however couldn't attract the interest of sufficient local players for enough time. Very few people from the competitive PC community held high hopes for CoD:WWII - despite the initial hype of going back to the roots. The lack of adequate competitive support on the PC means, including a competitive mode, dedicated servers etc meant most people didn't even give it a try.

On the console side of things, it was pretty different. The sci-fi element of the CoD franchise following CoD:MW3 and Black Ops 3 just couldn't retain the interest of players for long, despite the popularity of the titles. Whilst there are indeed some hardcore competitive players on console, the majority of the community does not have the same hardcore competitive pedigree as its PC counterpart. This is partly fueled because of the lack of competitive events for Maltese players both online and offline - unfortunately the competitive console scene hasn't had the same - but hopefully we'll ge there soon. CoD:WW2 generated a lot of hype amongst the community, though having only four teams turn up for MESF 2017 was quite disheartening, I hope organisers will try to uplift this untapped market with grassroots initiatives such as one night cups etc to create a healthy competitive scene.

On the day of Call of Duty: WWII’s release, you announced a new roster specifically for the game. What were you motives for creating the roster and what are your plans for the coming year?

We had been looking at the local console competitive community for a while, and CoD:WW2 presented the perfect oppotunity for a clean start 'with a bang'. We had been in discussions with Randu, who would eventually become our team leader for several months in anticipation of launch, so we had a solid plan going into the game. Our ethos is to push Maltese talent in esports to an international standard. Considering the esports profile that CoD:WW2 presented, and its potential, we were very happy with the opportunity to partner up with our present roster of talented players.

At this stage, our plan is to keep the team stable and motivated, and we look forward to any local competitions on the horizon.

 Just a week before the MESF 2017 COD: WWII, you were hit with a roster change – yet still managing to find victory anyway. Describe what occurred and how you managed to maintain focus during this period of time.

It was quite a shock to tell you the truth. The lineup for the squad had been in place for months before the release of CoD:WW2, we had the tickets for the event in hand, and we were really looking forward to the debut of our squad at MESF, especially since we already had to cancel participation in the Quickfire Nova Series event due to the fact that not enough teams signed up. Unfortunately there was a disagreement between the players and the team's captain, and the latter eventually opted to pursue opportunities with international teams. We were actually read to cancel our participation in MESF, but at the last moment we found Owen "Owages" Agius as a stand-in, which turned out great, as it not only allowed us to compete, but he also turned out to be an excellent player. Notwithstanding the departure of their captain, I think the team knew that they still had an excellent opportunity to win the event. Their performance in international tournaments leading up to MESF had been outstanding, and they knew it would have been a pity if they didn't at least given it a shot - ultimately they were rewarded, as they received their first on-stage competitive experience, and first place in the tournament.

You won the MESF 2017 quite decisively. Who are your most threatening local rivals at the moment in the scene? What plans do you have, if any, for international competition?

4 Man Army turned out to be the main competition during the event, and to tell you the truth, it wasn't as decisive as the scoreboard might tell you. The matches were all very close, each victory and defeat hardly fought, and a thrill to watch. Props to them for a great performance.

At this stage, there are no plans for international competition, as some of our players are focusing on exams.

The final question. Having read our discursive article; do you agree or disagree with anything that was said? Is there anything you’d like to add?

I don't believe the CoD franchise on PC will ever have the same competitive following as it had during the days of Call of Duty 1, 2 and 4, both locally and internationally. Battalion 1944 does capture some of the same competitive spirit of those titles, yet it's very hard to imagine Battalion ever being anywhere close to the international esports titles such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or Dota 2. The game doesn't have the backing of a mammoth game developer, so it will be hard to have the same amount of funding and exposure as other titles. Nonetheless, I do believe it can manage to get a decent competitive community running, both and abroad, and especially locally - so we are very much looking forward to what Battalion will bring in the very near future.

With respect to CoD:WW2 on consoles, four teams for MESF was quite disheartening. We know that there are many more local players for the game, which hopefully can be converted into being part of the competitive community. The game does indeed have potential here, and hopefully, organisers can give it more attention by trying to build the scene from its roots, as aforementioned, by creating one night cups or leagues online, and having more tournaments in summer, which would allow the younger players to participate.

Unfortunately, however, I don't see the commingling of competitive players on different platforms to happen. Keyboard and mouse is completely different to console controllers, as is the playstyle - and I do believe that both communities can remain healthy whilst developing in parallel.

Thank you so much once again for providing us and the whole community with insight regarding the local esports industry. Such content is pivotal to the progression and improvement of it on the whole and we couldn’t thank you more. We wish you the very best for the coming year!

Again, Project Eversio pleases with some incredibly in-depth answers. As we stated in the final message, Gamers.com.mt wishes Project Eversio the very best for the coming year!

Posted by Gabriel Sciberras on 8th February 2018, 09:13

I'm Gabriel - 19 year-old dental student attending university working as a part-time esports journalist. I've been doing this for 3 years now. Having worked with GMR Entertainment in the past, I've come on board to write some articles this summer :).

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