This interview does not represent the opinion of Heaven Media Ltd or the opinion of any affiliates.Hi BuLba, it's good to have you here. Could you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
Hey, I am BuLba and I play both the 2 and the 3 role for Team Liquid. I love casting and playing competitive Dota 2.
I usually focus on my university when not playing Dota 2. As for hobbies, I enjoy watching basketball both on the college and professional level and playing it. I am an avid trivia lover and was on my state-winning quiz bowl team for my HS.
Brood war brought me into DotA actually. I loved playing the game with all my school friends. As soon as I realized how fun the RTS and blizzard name was, I switched into Warcraft 3. DotA was pretty popular in Warcraft 3 and I started just playing by myself. I met a few friends along the way that I know to this day. (shoutout to inphinity) My competitive DotA history started with Dota 1, albeit a small one. I was still in high school at the time and the competitive scene in Dota 1 was significantly small. There were no stable teams and not many reputable sponsors looked into DotA as a real professional e-sport. Around 2 years ago, Dota 2 was announced and I decided to try to improve as much as I could in anticipation of the game that I loved.
DotA 2 came and I started playing with It's Gosu (Korok, Universe, etc.). The team started doing well and shortly thereafter I got the opportunity to join EG. I took it and convinced Universe to come along with me. I did feel bad for leaving Korok but I felt that EG as a sponsored team could have a lot of potential. Also the stable salary could allow me to play Dota 2 more and treat it as a kind of hobby – like a job. I went to TI2 with EG and it was an unfortunate defeat to TongFu in the loser bracket. I had planned to shift my focus back to school following TI2 since I took a semester break for TI2. EG and I parted ways as well as with Universe. I didn’t have much time to play competetive this semester because of my class schedule. The problem with being an NA player is that the time zones for finding practice and playing matches is so early in the day. I was usually in class till like 24 CET every weekday (European time).
I joined Liquid shortly thereafter and will explain it later. So far I felt a bit disappointed in 2012. I felt that if we practiced more we could have done better in TI2 but you can’t control everything.
Most of my friends know that I am a pro-gamer. The funny thing is most of them also play video games and they all think it’s really cool that I get to travel to places and get paid to play a game. A lot of them actually watch my games and then talk with me after. MY university actually has an E-sports club (shoutout to UNC Chapel Hill!) and I shared my experiences with most of the members there. Even a few of my high school friends that I stopped having contact with messaged me after the Team Liquid announcement. That was really exciting.
My parents at first did not support me. Going into college you often times have this set goal of doing this and doing that. My goal was med school. However, as the years progress and you find other interests because of your newfound independence, to put it bluntly – shit changes. I wanted to try out Dota 2 for a bit and after TI2, that “bit” became bigger. The event gave me a lot of motivation and I hope the game gets bigger and bigger. My dad actually follows my competitive experiences on a frequent basis. My mom knows but still wants me to go back to focusing on my studies.
I had no idea Liquid was really looking for a team. Bumblebee and I met in Denmark when we (EG) stayed there for our bootcamp. In October or so, he contacted me about making a possible team at the time. I was also frequently playing with Dignitas and had to make a decision on my future. I saw Liquid as a really amazing opportunity. Bumblebee also wanted Korok to be on the team as well as the 3 ex-coL players, Fluff, mike and TC. I was good friends with all of them (especially mike) and the team seemed to be a dream come true.
We talked with Nazgul and he expressed his desire to help us grow and It all felt really surreal. I hadn’t expected such a warm welcoming from everyone. We got to meet all the Liquid staff and even the players who I have followed since I was such an avid SC2 Fan. Heyoka and I were also pretty good friends after meeting at TI2. Liquid really feels like a family and we have an open relationship with the staff, something that I enjoy a lot. They watch our practice games (shoutout to Kennigit, pro Disruptor) and we talk a lot about everything.
In TI2, the team that I probably hung out with the most was actually compLexity. Mike and I have known each other throughout DotA and Dota 2. He’s a really funny guy and can make any serious conversation into an encore of laughs. I have known Korok the most and was on a few teams with him before. We had our ups and downs but we still share the same determination to do well. I knew TC somewhat in DotA. I met him more at the start of the beta and predicted his rise to the top. He had a lot of potential and was a really nice person. As for professional players, he has by far has the smallest ego. We theorycraft a lot and play inhouse games together. Fluff and I have known each other as well but were never really close. I used to play early beta with him and regularly lose to his Chen every game and rage quite hard. He is an amazing captain and a really cool person. He makes our team focus and helps us all improve.
He’s not afraid to criticize someone for a mistake and that openness we have on our team is really healthy. There is no back-talk or flaming. We all say what we want in front of each other and that is pretty uncommon in the game of DotA. Korok and I are both new to this atmosphere and it shows why coL did so well. We all go over replays and keep tabs of what we did wrong. We still have a lot to improve on and I hope to show the world our potential.
Most of us have been busy with class and school so we have not practiced much as a team. Classes and final exams are over so we hope to start playing a lot more. Practice definitely is a big part to stay on the top. Especially now that there are so many competetive teams and players. Strategies and teamwork is a significant aspect. This answer is quite unoriginal but practice Is what makes you better regardless of what you are doing. Personally, I have had to switch my role and get acquainted into a new position. I watch replays of myself and others to see what I need to work on. Playing isn’t everything. You need these extra things to be able to take on the Asian teams.
I think that scrims don’t mean much but if we had to base our status on them, we are definitely at the highest tier. I am waiting to play more matches and the adrenaline boosts that come with them. I want to cement our place alongside Na’Vi as the western scene’s top contenders.
We are still testing our roles out. The cool thing is we can all play everything so there is a lot of versatility. I think that is needed to be a top team. Predictability is one of the weaknesses of the Chinese teams. They have set roles and lanes and don’t adjust. I don’t think it affects the team's performance much.
For now, my main goal is TI3. Everything else is just practice. This mentality is shared by most other teams as well. I want to go to DreamHack as well and possibly even a China tournament if we prove ourselves.
With an event like TI, you can’t escape this mentality shared by the players. Dota is a game where prize pools for tourneys <10-15k is marginal at best since it is split into 5. TI is the only tournament which can be a sustainable goal. Obviously, what can accompany this is more tourneys that have around a >10k prize pool. You either have to increase the prize pool or increase the frequency. This is 1 of the reasons that I hope MLG and other NA lans acquire Dota 2.
I think their skill and results is above ours because of how much dedication they put and the practice they get. They practice vs each other and play more versus each other. On the other hand, we don’t as many stable top teams to play on a regular basis. LGD.int proves this hypothesis that PLAYING BETTER opponents and playing them a lot improves your own ability tenfold. How to solve this? Have faith that the Western scene will become more stable and have better teams. I hope teams like Na’Vi realize that they can’t just sit idly by and not practice or train anymore. If they want to do well in TI3, they need to take it more seriously.
Hard to outright name top 5 teams. Na'Vi, Empire, Liquid, EG, NTH=Dignitas=VP=maybe Fnatic? Sorry for cheating. This question is hard :).
Valve has done the best job out of any developers. Key testament is The International. This event far outscored every other developer held support. Having individuals like Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson is what Dota 2 deserved and needed and I love what they and the company have done for DotA.
Everyone has their quirks with balance. Sven this, mag that but ultimately Icefrog has always created an amazing product. People are too quick to rationalize a patch and say an exaggeration(including me!). This will always be like that but Ice can’t listen to everyone. He has to make his own decisions at the end and I trust him indefinitely.
It also takes a while for a patch to realize its best playstyle. People are too quick to copy each other and not find solutions or different playstyles. This lack of innovation is what made these stupid stacking-games possible. That wasn’t what dota should be. Two teams just farming and stacking for their carry to get X items and then push as 5. No pressure, no pushing, Nothing. No ingenuity. People don’t want to think outside the box and are scared to try different things out.
Shoutout to my team, Liquid and its sponsors: Shiny things, Razor and Twitch. I love the Liquid community and thanks to everyone for their support on the pickup! Shoutout to Nazgul for giving us this opportunity and my team for being awesome. Also, shoutout to Charlie Yang.
|Ats Mägi // mazz0r|
Posted 5 months ago: Sun, 16 Dec 2012 16:42:05 +0000
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