We talk exclusively to Team Epsilons captain about what its like and what it takes to be a professional gamer.
Since January, the best competitive Call of Duty® teams from around the world have gone head-to-head in regional qualifying events in order to secure a spot at the 2014 Call of Duty® Championship, presented by Xbox, where 32 teams will compete, playing the fan favourite Call of Duty: Ghosts, on Xbox One for the tournament’s $1 million prize pool and the coveted title of "Call of Duty World Champions."
Epsilon eSports are one of four UK teams flying out to LA for their chance to be crowned overall Call of Duty Champions. The squad consists of captain, Jordan ‘Jurd’ Crowley, Callum 'Swanny' Swan, Tom ‘Tommey’ Trewren & Ryan ‘Flux’ Oldfield.
We managed to find out a bit more about what its like to be a pro gamer from the sacrifices required through to the euphoric moments of glory and bagging prize pots by chatting with Epsilon eSports team captain Jordan 'Jurd' Crowley before they head off to L.A for the Call of Duty World Championship.
If you aspire or want to know what's its like and what it takes to be a pro gamer then read on.
Epsilons eSports Captain Jordan 'Jurd' Crowley
How did you become a team?
The Epsilon team consisted of Shane 'ShAnE' McKerral, Dylan 'MadCat' Daly, Callum 'Swanny' Swan and myself. Our first event of the season was MLG Columbus, where we ended up finishing in a disappointing 9-12th position.
After coming back from the event and practising again for a few weeks, we felt like we needed a change, which at that time the collective decision within the team would be to release Shane and look for a new player. It had nothing to do with Shane's ability to perform I might add, we just needed something new within the team. After playing with a few players and being unable to find what we needed in a team mate, ‘MadCat’ got the offer to join TCM Gaming in place of Ryan 'Flux' Oldfield, which he gladly took and I don't blame him as we were in a bad situation at the time. Which left ‘Swanny’ and myself looking for two players.
Call of Duty Championships was approaching fast and we were unsure what to do as there wasn't that many players to choose from. I ended up approaching Tom 'Tommey' Trewren, who at the time was in French team, Vitality. ‘Tommey’ decided it would be beneficial for him to leave Vitality and join ’Swanny’ and myself in Epsilon. We had one more spot and ‘Flux’ was the player we needed. The Epsilon team now consists of ‘Swanny,’ ‘Tommey,’ ‘Flux’ and myself.
How many hours do you practice play for?
As a team, I would say we practice at least six hours a day, 4-5 days a week. This includes playing other pro teams and various online tournaments hosted by the European Gaming League, Multiplay, Gfinity, MLG and Gamebattles. Individually, I game six days a week and anywhere between 6-12 hours a day.
What are the good and bad parts of being a pro-gamer?
There are many pros and cons with being a professional gamer. The major con being that it is very time consuming and to stay at the top of your game you need to make a lot of sacrifices. There are a lot of pros however. I am fortunate enough to be doing what I enjoy, which is playing video games. Not a lot of people can say that and the fact that I get to fly around the world competing at the highest level of a video games is quite surreal. I am always making new friends and meeting new people every time I go to these events so those are definitely the best pros of being a professional gamer.
What’s the biggest prize you’ve won so far?
The biggest prize I've won from gaming so far is from the Call of Duty World Championship 2013. Epsilon ended up finishing 6th as the highest placing European Team, winning $50,000 split between three of my team mates and myself.
Where do you see pro-gaming in five years time?
In five years’ time, I can see pro-gaming being recognised as a sport by mainstream media. I feel eSports could replace one of the major sports in today’s society. eSports will easily outperform all the sports online, including NFL and NBA. Every year it feels like the growth of eSports is doubling with the size and scope of tournaments and its sheer popularity.
With League of Legends leading the charge in eSports and showing what is truly possible, hopefully Call of Duty can follow. It's similar to the YouTube effect. Ten or so years ago, people got a webcam and tried to broadcast themselves on the internet and some people thought they were odd. They then became the next generation of celebrity. It's the same with games. People holed up in their bedrooms playing a video game and then all of a sudden, cheques started coming in. I believe they will become the next generation of celebrity.
Any advice for anyone wanting to be a pro-gamer?
Becoming a professional gamer is not an easy task. Based on my own experience it comes down to two things – practice and find team mates who you appreciate the company of and just have fun playing with.
Practising is the key reason why you will reach consistency in your game. Practice in a way that fits you. For instance, every time I practice, I make sure it's against strong competition as that's when I will perform to the best of my ability. I try to be innovative in my game by taking risks and trying new things out, even if they aren't working out I am still learning from it and bettering myself as a player.
Team building and having fun together is also important. There has been countless times where I have heard other pro players say that they are struggling with keeping motivation up as it's just not fun anymore - even I have said this. So ask yourself if you actually enjoy gaming so much that you can justify the hours you will need to spend to reach to the top. That will obviously vary depending on your current skill and the type of player you are but I will tell you one thing, you will be required to sacrifice a lot to become the best.
So there you have it. If you fancy yourself as a pro gamer you now know what it takes to become a pro. If you have time, dedication, commitment and the desire to win then you too have a chance to play against the best.
HITC Gaming will keep you posted on their progress during the finals which you can also follow at Major League Gaming