Joseph Facciol and Vietnamese Tekken 7 - Interview

With summer ending soon, we’ll be taking a break from the international interviews which you’ve all been enjoying, shifting our gaze to a local personality in Joseph Facciol. As many of you recall reading in our previous article(link), this interview will act as a follow up to Joseph’s experience with Vietnamese eSports and a method of gaining further insight into his experience. We have interviewed Joseph before, due to another Tekken experience, which you may view here: (link) We hope you enjoy the following short interview!

1.) Good day Mr. Facciol! We hope you’ve had a great summer thus far and have found the time to relax from the ordinary stressful life. We’ll start with a general question – how has life been since our previous interview in terms of personal life and of course, your pursuit of eSports? 

Since last May life has been hectic but great. After May’s Tekken tournament, The Colosseum in Italy where I got beaten to a pulp by Tekken pros, I was shocked. I had anticipated that there would be a difference in the level of play in favour of the pros but I had never expected there would be such a gap. This did not make me falter from Tekken at all; on the contrary, I felt the urge to improve once more. (The first time had happened to me after I got beaten by the veterans in Malta 11 years ago).

So I decided to observe the top 8 live, really close. I was the one who arrived first on the premises and the last to leave. I just could not understand what I was missing. I had been playing the game for 22 years, been to local tournaments, performed well and always made it a point to remain updated regarding anything Tekken-related both for my sake and for the local community.

After watching the top 8, I knew that there was something which the pros knew and which I didn’t but I could not put my finger on it. That night I could not sleep and I spent a whole month thinking about what I could do to try to bridge the gap between myself and the pros.

Finally, I realised that the thing I was missing was ‘Punishes’ so I made a plan to improve. I decided to focus on just one character and study how to deal with each move of each character. This involved a lot of work. Particularly to complete this training you need to spend roughly about 6-8 hours on each character. Considering that there are 40 characters in the game it takes roughly 280 hours to complete this task. I am very close to accomplishing this, however, as of the update on 6th September, there has been some major changes for all characters so I must revise a lot of stuff.

In the meantime, I have also been to another Tekken world tour tournament; a Masters event in Birmigham: VsFighting 2018. Although during this time I was only halfway through my training I was eager to see if my efforts had paid off. Fortunately, it did. I managed to place 65th out of 274 during which time I eliminated a local famous pro from the tournament. In casuals, I was also very satisfied with my performance. I managed to win 3-0 against tenshimitsu (a famous pro player), 5-4 against the best member of Tekken dojo then lost 3-1 against the UK champion KaneandTrench.

Overall, I feel I’ve gotten stronger even though there’s still much I need to learn.

2.) Let’s dive straight into your experience. What were your original intentions in heading over to Vietnam? Did you have to abandon any potential plans once you discovered the Vietnamese eSports scene? 

My initial intention for my holiday in Vietnam was to take a break from Tekken. I have to admit that curiosity got the better of me and as soon as I arrived I searched online for the Tekken community in Vietnam. I posted on Facebook and received a prompt reply and a warm welcome to the Vietnamese community. People were willing to take a few hours leave just to play Tekken with me! I had only a 2-hour window as I had to catch the train to my next destination.

I really enjoyed my time during this brief session even though I lost against DK, Vietnam’s number 1, 6-4. Although arriving there was a bit hectic, due to the Hanoin traffic (which makes Malta’s traffic look like a walk in the park by comparison) the Vietnamese were not only welcoming but they were also complimenting me all the time. Most of them spoke very good English and kept asking me to play more matches with them.  They showed really good sportsmanship and I honestly wish we’ll have the opportunity to meet again and have more sessions in the future, however hard that may be due to the travelling distance.

3.) Continuing with the theme of being foreign – how did you communicate with fellow Vietnamese Tekken 7 player? What was their reaction to a foreigner competing at their event?

At the end, of my short session in Hanoi whilst asuha8593, one of the top 4 in Vietnam whom I had played against, was showing me to a taxi, told me that in Ho Chi Minh City there was also another Tekken community. Knowing this, as soon as I reached the city I asked the community there for some Tekken casuals. They told me that they had a tournament on a day when I was supposed to go on a tour to Mekong river. I immediately cancelled the tour to go to the tournament. 

Upon arrival, I was cordially asked to play some casuals with some local players. I knew that this was in fact a test to assess my strength and observe the way I play. At the same time, I also wanted to play to try out the frame-lag of the monitors so I played using a different character from which I planned to use during the tournament. 

4.) Of course, Joseph went ahead and won the event, with only a single loss. With that in mind, what are your comments regarding the level of competition you encountered in Vietnamese Tekken? How does this compare to the Maltese level of competition? 

The competition was pretty much the same as in Malta. What struck as most interesting was their play style. It is the exact opposite of the Maltese community! Maltese tend to play really aggressive (a style which is referred to as Pitbull in the Tekken scene) in Vietnam, people tend to play defensively (turtle - style).

5.) Competing with international players must have been quite the experience. Did you learn any new styles of play or absorb any strategies or techniques which the Vietnamese players utilized? 

I feel that this experience helped me a lot. I managed to go head to head with a style which is really not popular in Malta and come out on top. This has proven to be a rewarding experience since it is quite rare to fight someone in Malta who plays turtle.

6.) What are your comments regarding the stereotype of ‘gamers being antisocial’, especially after such an experience?

In my opinion, that stereo-type has been challenged ever since eSports tournaments started being held and has been rendered obsolete when online gaming was introduced. Not even the argument of favouring face-to-face communication over digital communication is relevant in the eSports scenario anymore. This is because there is a clear mixture of both direct and indirect communication in eSports. People meet online and they also meet up and play offline.  Even more so, as regards Tekken; priority is given to offline play due to the fact that even the slightest lag online, affects the gameplay badly as the game operating at the frame-level. Furthermore, after this experience, I do not how one can uphold that stereotype. I mean I managed to travel and an engage in a competition while transcending the cultural boundaries and linguistic barrier only because both the Vietnamese community and I love Tekken.

7.) A final question. Do you have any intentions to return to Vietnam in any way? What are your goals as a Tekken 7 player for the remainder of the year?

The trip to Vietnam was indeed a pretty expensive one, as are most of the travels outside of Europe so, unfortunately, the chances of me getting back there a kind of slim. This does not mean that I do not wish to. In fact, I made it a point to keep in touch with the community here. Some already showed interest in coming to Malta in the future. If that happens, and I hope it does, it would be my turn to show them around our beautiful island and introduce them to the Maltese Tekken community to have some sessions. 

I am currently in Cambodia and was planning on meeting the local Tekken community here as well but unfortunately, I have been told that the Tekken scene here has been missing for over a decade. Since my training has been fruitful my plans now are to train and study the game even more. Not just because of the new update which has changed the game quite a bit but also to have a better chance of winning more tournaments. So as soon this holiday is over I’m guessing it’s back to the lobby and more training with my sparring partner Dylan Caruana- who also has a good thing going for him in the local Tekken community. I hope that in the end, this will help Maltese Tekken players get sponsored. This would not only allow us to increase the Maltese eSports scene and encourage more people to join the Tekken community but it would also allow us to represent Malta in more events, both locally and globally.

Some fantastic replies out of Joseph! Esports bring people together; that is one of the many messages which Gamers.com.mt stands behind as it’s one of the reasons why we do what we do – organizing events, offering two lounges across the country and trying to better the local community as best we can. Joseph Facciol embraced this theme on his surprise trip to Vietnam, as he happily told us about it. We’re very happy for him and we wish him a great end to his summer. 

Here's a final comment from him: "I do not deserve all the merit of this victory for it is thanks to the Maltese Tekken community that I was able to gather enough experience and win the tournament."

If you’ve got an eSports experience which you’d like to share with the community, let us know! 

Posted by Gabriel Sciberras on 12th September 2018, 11:57

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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