n0thing: "I hope all Americans win"
This interview features one of the best known American gamers of all time, former EG member Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert who now plays for Team Dynamic.
Although many are unaware, Gilbert quickly made the switch to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive upon the game's announced release to compete in the North American ESWC qualifier in Seattle, WA.
However, he missed the qualifier due to Braxton "swag" Pierce being under-aged for the North American event, and then saw his team die due to maxing up roster changes in ESEA Invite Season 12.
n0thing makes his CS:GO LAN debut this weekend
Shortly after Team Dynamic's 5-8th place finish at DreamHack Winter 2012 the team decided to let go of Francis "kiko" Lao and Phillipe-Olivier "PEX" Crepin to recruit Sal "Volcano" Garozzo and Gilbert.
Gilbert has missed Dynamic's two last North American LANs with Pierce, but will now make his CS:GO debut on LAN this weekend while also competing in the Counter-Strike 1.6 tournament.
Out of curiosity, how many Steam hours do you have in CS:GO? You haven't been to any tournaments yet, how anxious are you to get to play CS:GO against some of the world's best teams?
Dynamic n0thing: I've played 830 hours. Looking forward to it, especially since I have missed a few events I should have been at already.
Your team has attended RyuLAN and LAN ETS without you in 2013. How come you weren't at those events? Do you think not having played together on LAN will hurt your chances at ESEA?
Dynamic n0thing: Well, I already had a family scuba diving trip planned to Belize, Central America during the same dates. I would have possibly sacrificed the family trip for my team if it was a bigger event, or even something we planned, but it wasn't. I don't think not having played on LAN with this 5 will hurt us more so than the fact that we haven't competed vs. these top European teams. ETS and some of these other USA LAN's would hardly prepare us for anything we didn't already know. I'm hoping we can get comfortable quick, because our only chance of going far in this tournament is if we play our best game and not too hesitant.
How have you prepared for the global finals of ESEA Invite Season 13? How much have you practiced as a team and individually?
Dynamic n0thing: In terms of what type of practice, purely online, no LAN bootcamp :(. Normally about 4-5 nights a week. We've been trying to play as much as our schedules allow us too individually and of course we spend time as a team trying to find our comfort zones mentally since we're coming in without any prior CS:GO competitions under our belt.
Have you been preparing specifically for VeryGames and how do you think you will do? What about the next match versus ESC or Quantic, which one would you rather face and would you expect a W?
Dynamic n0thing: I mean, we would be dumb for not preparing in some specific sense for VeryGames, but we know they are a smart team so it's not like we can know how they are going to approach the match either. They might think nothing of us and just try to send ScreaM flying at us early, or maybe they will try to take us slow and steady and beat us with team work, or maybe they will play confident and do whatever they want and work off picks, they have a lot of strengths so if we just try to counter everything it will only hurt us, we need to focus on finding our own tempo of play. I try not to have expectations for these types of matches you know, I know we can win and that's really all I want to think about in terms of the outcome.
As far as ESC or Quantic, I think it could go either way if Quantic finds their rhythm, but ESC obviously have a way more solid team foundation than Quantic purely based on how long they've been together. I would like to play ESC cause it's no fun playing Americans (but if we get knocked out of course I want any American team to do well) :D. I would expect nothing, as I said above- I don't think its necessary to let expectations get in the way of your results.
Considering those match-ups, how well do you expect to do in terms of your placing at the finals? What would you feel happy with?
Dynamic n0thing: I'll say it again, we don't really have expectations. We know we have to play well to do well, so there hasn't been much more speculation than that on our end. I'd be happy to win the tournament, just like everyone else. It's not like we want to just beat VeryGames and then get whooped and we'd be happy. We know we can beat everyone if the circumstances are right, so we're going to try to facilitate the circumstances :D. I think rather than asking what would we be happy with, you could ask what we would not be happy with, which would be winning no maps vs a European opponent. We really want to show that USA is not as weak as people think. I believe the circumstances of our gaming environment as well as the size of the USA is a big factor that people don't take into consideration when comparing our players/teams.
Who do you think will win the other first round match-ups? Can any of the North American teams surprise the Europeans and if so, who would you put your money on?
Dynamic n0thing: I hope all Americans win for the sake of pride, but I doubt that will happen first round. It seems Quantic has the best chance of doing that on paper, so I would bet on them.
n0thing playing CS:GO at IEM 6 GC New York
Is there more pressure for teams like Dynamic to perform since you don't get as many chances to compete against Europeans?
Dynamic n0thing: I guess so, yeah. I never really thought about it like that to be honest, because we don't really feel these types of pressures as players when we are competing, but now that you asked the question, I guess we all are aware of the fact that most people think USA isn't as skilled as Europe, but that might motivate us more than anything.
Can you tell our readers what the roles of each player in your team are? Who AWPs, who is the in-game leader, lurker, etc.?
Dynamic n0thing: Eric (adreN) calls strats, enjoys long walks on the beach, and likes to put his tongue out in photos. Keven (AZK) is mainly our sniper. He's from Montreal so naturally he likes to sit in the snow all day and eat poutine.
Me, Sal (Volcano), and Brax (swag) tend to play all roles, because we're just that cool. We enjoy fast cars, fast women, and competitive table tennis on the side. You can find us three at any point in the day sippin' on some Mojitos loungin' on swag's yacht in the South Pacific. (we practice on a boat)
With fRoD, Storm and Warden seemingly playing some CS:GO together, have you thought about teaming up with any of the old EG members in this game?
Dynamic n0thing: I haven't thought about it really, no. But, I suppose anything could happen depending on who fully commits to competing.
What do you think the North American scene needs to get back to its glory days? How does the scene now compare to the one in the past?
Dynamic n0thing: Well, comparing say 2004 and 2013 for CS, I'd say the main difference is that back then you mostly just had more to play for. You had more tournaments each month, more professional organizations to fund your trips, and in some cases salary to help you focus purely on CS as a job. Now that the CS scene is more segregated (CSGO/1.6/CSS), there's less events for any one game and it's hard to pull sponsors in this situation.
I feel like this is mostly due to the current condition of the global CS community, so I'm going to rant a bit about what I think the community needs in general, so bear with me and please give me your thoughts specifically on this answer in the comments below!
As a pro? I think it needs what it's always needed, a sufficient amount of yearly events. In general? A non segregated and better connected community (not just in the USA, but as a whole). How do we get these things? That is the tougher question. There's a lot of things you could speculate that would grow the community (like free 2 play), but would that improve our competitive community? Yes, and no. More casual players would eventually mean a larger talent/player pool, but in the short term, the only way that could help is if it led to higher viewership of current competitive events which would lead to more new sponsor interest and potentially more events.
Still though, being f2p is not guaranteeing that there will be a huge influx of players to boost said streaming #'s and its also not guaranteeing that the CS communities (CSS/1.6/CSGO/CSOnline) will randomly become a synergy because f2p was implemented. So, to say what we need first is tricky, because a lot of organizers only want to throw events for games that have huge stream numbers (LoL/SC2/DotA), and CS is currently getting trumped in those areas. Especially now with the fact that events like WCG/ESL don't have CS:GO, the residual viewership/marketing the CS community would normally get from being part of such prestigious multi-game events is now limited, which doesn't help either.
So, it seems like it would be nice to just ask Valve to solve all of our problems by hosting a $1million tournament while announcing the game free 2 play altogether and hope that it attracts old/new players alike. But, that's still not guaranteeing that the game will stay as popular after the event. So, I think at the current time the $1 million tournament could be a debatable investment from their point of view (even if they are worth more than $2 billion), but I feel implementing free 2 play probably wouldn't hurt to at least try.
Unless they have something else up there sleeve to improve the community by the end of the year, I think a f2p petition is in order. I would even go as far to say they wouldn't even need to market it much. Just make the announcement, remove the price, and let the gaming portals spread the message. At that point, if the growth was there, we would let nature take its course and hopefully community efforts and viewership would increase. If growth isn't really there, there would be a reason and they would find it out, and I think thats why it would benefit the CS franchise.
You are also competing in the Counter-Strike 1.6 tournament at ESEA. Do you think playing two separate games will hinder your performance or mess with your on-site focus/preparation?
Dynamic n0thing: In this case, I don't imagine it will hinder my performance too much, but I suppose it could because I've never had to switch back and forth so rapidly. I suppose I'll let you know how it goes after the event, hah.
Next up in our pre-ESEA interview series is Sam "DaZeD" Marine from Quantic Gaming as we hope to introduce the North Americans to our readers. Keep your browsers here for full ESEA Invite Season 13 global finals coverage.