JohnNy_cz  /  28 Jan 2010, 11:11
Rikoll interviewed
Rikoll, relatively "new age" QuakeWorld player has won the recent QHLAN 13 duel tournament. I've decided to reveal what was his path to this victory and what he thinks about duels in QuakeWorld in general.
While previous interview with kingpin was related to teamplay, this one is more about duels. Finally, it was not an intention to do two interviews at the same time, both were started independently, but I think you will enjoy both :-)
Hello Rikoll, let's start with some brief introduction. What is your full name, how old are you and since when do you play QuakeWorld? Also, were there any interruptions in your QuakeWorld career?
Hello there! My full name is Håkon Rikoll Solberg and I'm 25 years old. Would say I started to play QuakeWorld the autumn 2007, so played for a bit over 2 years now. Also had a short period of playing it during 1997-98, for about a year and a half, but that was never too serious. But I guess you could say I had a 9 year break before returning to the best multiplayer game ever!

Which game(s) did you play before you seriously started with QuakeWorld?
My first serious attempt at gaming, was a game called Elasto Mania. Its a 2d motorbike game were the goal is to go drive to "checkpoints" (shown as apples) and drive to finish (a flower) a fast as possible. I was the world champ there with most world records and best total time on all the tracks together at the same time during a period, and had a World Record on one map until June 2009 even though I hadn't touched it for quite a while. My nick back then was zyntifox, and theres some info on the game @ if anyone's interested. I put this game away quite long time ago even though i play 5-10 min once in a while still.

My second serious attempt at gaming was Counter Strike. Was in a quite good Norwegian clan at the time, numbering #2 on the Clanbase ladder for quite a while. Even though I never reached world class level here, I played at a quite high level but the game got boring quickly.

My third serious attempt was (facepalm) World of Warcraft. Played an undead rogue, and actually enjoyed the competitive arena part of the game for quite a while. Was in 2 top teams during season 1 of the arena, and won the Netherdrake (a flying mount only members in the top 0.5% of the teams in their respective group (2v2 / 3v3 / 5v5)) in the 2v2 and 5v5 ladder. Shortly after this, WoW started to bore me as well and I sold my account for a decent amount of euros when season 2 started.

Could also mention chess, as its been a hobby throughout my life. Haven't played active for some years now, and never reached anything close to IM / GM level. Peaked at 1970 rating in normal games, and 1550 in blitz games. I'm probably much lower now . Thats it I think. Quite long reply since my gaming career is quite long!

I am sure you have prepared yourself before QHLAN 13 by practicing more or less. Is it true that in last months you've been playing quite a lot of games? By looking at your current stats I noticed that you (still?) duel a lot lately, is that a continuation of a longer trend?
I've always been interested in duels, and it is my favorite of 1on1/2on2/4on4/ffa/etc. The mind games where you try to figure out your opponent, as well doing your best to make sure the opponent doesn't get inside your head is really fascinating. When I play computer games I always strive to become better, since I find the development part and getting deeper understanding of the game actually more entertaining than playing the game itself. So yeah, I've played a lot of duels in the past and I guess I'll stick around and play duels a bit longer.

Was this your first QHLAN? What were your expectations before QHLAN 13? Did you expect to win the duel tournament? What do you think was the main reason that you won it?
Yes this was my first QHLAN. I expected to meet a bunch of great people and spend a lot of time playing QW with no interruptions from my girlfriend or friends. I did not expect to win the duel tournament, but I knew I had a chance. The main reason for me winning it I think was my ability to stay focused throughout all of the games and not underestimating any of my opponents.

How do you like the Warzon Trophy? How do you feel taking it away from LocKtar? He was very eager to get it. I saw you two playing duels not so long ago and you both seemed to take it somehow seriously. Any even a little drama involved maybe? ;-)
The Warzon Trophy is truly amazing! A memory for life (lol) and a nice achievement token for all the time I've put into the game the last two years. I'm sure that LocKtar is happy with the one he already got, but, who wouldn't want two of those babies? I love playing duels with LocKtar and to be honest, he always seems to take the games versus me slightly more serious than when playing others? Could just be my imagination, but my guess is that it is a result of my own gaming style. Even though there is some whine (mostly from me) when the two of us play, I don't think theres much drama involved. It's just two competitive people doing their best to beat each other in a game they both love.

I also remember seeing you playing against Milton and some other highly skilled players before the QHLAN. How important for you is to play against top players? Some pro-gaming guides claim that it is also important to play against players who are clearly on lower skill than you. What do you think about it all, what do you prefer and what did give you the most valuable experience for the QHLAN duel tournament?
If there was no top players, or top players didn't want to play me anymore, I'd stop immediately. So yeah, very important for me to match myself versus the best. I disagree with the part that it is important to play lesser skilled opponents. From my experience, I only end up developing "false" routine and tactics that often just works versus weaker opponents. On the other hand, I doubt you ending up being a poorer player by playing weaker opponents. But the effect you get from a duel session with a top player compared to a weaker than yourself is much greater considering improving as a competitive player, no matter what level you're currently on. Constantly playing top duelers throughout my relative short career of being a QW player, is the one and only reason I had a chance to win that tournament, and the only reason I won it in the end.

How ofter do you observe matches? Do you watch demos? Do you watch your own demos from your own point of view? Some believe it's a good way to improve, what do you think about it? Who is your biggest current inspiration in QuakeWorld (as for duels)?
I don't often observe matches. Casual games seems to bore me somewhat. It often just ends up with one player raping the other, the other player giving up and rushing until he in the end gets a kill but is way too far behind to make the game interesting. Tournament matches on the other hand, can be really thrilling. The avenger vs locktar games from last ownage (both semi-final and the grand final) were awesome to watch. I do watch casual games now and then, but it mostly just ends up with me doing some cleaning / other house duties while checking the score now and then. I do however watch demos. Specially demos from tournaments in the past, or tournament demos including myself. I very rarely watch my own POV then, but rather the strongest opponent if 2v2 / 4v4, or the other player if 1v1. I usually knows what I was thinking, and find it much more rewarding to see and learn from the other player strengths and weaknesses.

If I would have to mention one player that inspires me to improve, it would have to be Milton. His ability to combine offensive and defensive play, his movement, aim and speed is not matched by anyone today and has never been executed better by any player in the past (from demos I've seen. Probably some griffin / dag fans would disagree here).

What is the main difference for you between an online tournament and a LAN tournament? Which one suites you better and why?
The main difference is that on a LAN everyone is playing on the best conditions possible (12 ms). Online tournaments are played on different terms, with usually one player having the ping advantage, which in my opinion kinda ruins the concept for a tournament. The best deal, at least now with ezQuake ability to increase the ms, would be to force every player to play with the same ping up to a certain point. That point would be 51 in my opinion, since most European players can get that to most European servers. If you're not playing on the same terms, are you really playing the same game?

From all the things we just talked about, what would you recommend the most to those who want to become good in QuakeWorld dueling?
Practice, practice, practice. Whine if you want, but never give up. Don't believe in the term luck. Luck has nothing to do with it. Richard Wiseman has some nice science read on this (even though its mostly on daily life issues). Be honored if a top player wants to play you, act decently and try to control your emo-rage when he rapes you (yeah can be hard, I know ). Analyze your mistakes, and do your best to improve them next time around. Watching some top players play can also help a bit, but I think your time is better spent playing 10 minutes yourself than watching a demo.

Which map is your favorite duel map and why? What is the key factor for you in that map?
DM4 or ZTNDM3. Lets take DM4 since most people who have heard about me probably associate me with that map. What most people seem to do wrong here, is that they're impatience. Playing a predictive +forward game vs someone decent here, is gonna be your downfall for sure. Never rush in with boomstick / ga vs a ra + lg and rl dude. Try to get him off balance. Make him follow you into ssg if possible. This specially applies if you're in lead. If you're under, take note when he grabbed the red, so you can die with a decent chance of spawning it without being spammed to death by grenades from above because you died before the armor actually was up. Sometimes you probably have to waste some time and frags to get there, but if you play cautious consistently you will have your shot sooner or later. Theres no shame in camping ssg either, not matter what other "top" players want you to believe. If going out is your certain death, better to wait there. You got all you need there. Health, rockets and chance for both cells and armor. If your enemy makes the mistake of going to grab an armor, its your queue to go out and take over the control. Timing is a big factor on this map.

You started with QW in autumn 2007 and won major LAN at the very beginning of 2010. That's pretty impressive to me. People who started playing QW in last 3 years are a minority, like only a fifth of the scene. You dedicated lots of your time to this old game and you also claim QW is best multiplayer game ever. Why? What's so good about it? Typically people say speed, but as you fancy duels with tension and in your favorite map you like to wait out for your opportunity, it can't be the speed. What factor is so special to you? What would you recommend to emphasize when showing this game to people who never played it? Can the same thing that attracted you possibly attract more new people to the game, if properly "advertised"?
The true beauty of QW is in its brutality and rawness. The fast rockets with huge splash, the insanely powerful LG with pushback and limited range and the super-tactical grenade launcher. Combine this with the movement in QW with direction shifts midair, and you have an insanely dynamic game compared to most other games who seem to take the more static, sniper-friendly approach. All this makes QuakeWorld much more merciless than other FPS games. One tiny mistake, like firing your rocket a hundred of a second too late or early, can lose you the game. This makes it even more important to think ahead of your opponent, and in my opinion favor the more defensive player who take no risks. Of course, skills can overwhelm tactics if the gap is big enough and I know myself I'll probably never be at the skill-level of the best players at the moment as long as they keep playing. I do feel that its a huge difference of being defensive and being passive / apathetic about your game. People in this community seems to talk a lot about "cs'ing" when one player is defensive and waiting the other out. Lets take DM4 as an example again: Who is really the more "cs-like" player of the one camping big expecting the one in lead to march out of RA into his LG, or the one in lead who's holding RA until his opponent takes some initiative himself? For me the answer is obvious.

Back on topic again. I wouldn't really recommend showing slow, intense duels for new players who seems interested in this game. Even though that was the thing that attracted me, I consider myself to be quite weird and extreme when it comes to competitive gaming. I would probably focus more on the "fun" part of the game: careless FFA, some 2on2 / 1on1 with players like themselves, and maybe some mixes. Let them find out themselves which path they want to take once they've learned the basics of the game. And again, new recruits is the only hope for a surviving scene. Act nice, don't yell at people for doing things that maybe have taken you 5-10 years to learn properly. The ones playing now will not play forever, and its naive to think that old stars will return. New ones have to be born.

A small jump back to QHLAN. What do you think about QHLAN in general and the QHLAN 14 proposal? Do you think it's possible to attract new (and young) players if the event is done close to other games' LANs? Do you plan to come to the future QHLANs to defend your duel crown? :-)
QHLAN 13 was a great experience for me even before the tournaments started. Sure there could have been more players, but it was some obvious reasons for why it was abit few this year as pointed out in different threads on the forums. The plans for QHLAN 14 is ambitious, but clearly achievable. It all boils down to if the players in this community still cares about LANing and meeting those players they spend several hours a month playing with on different servers. Its nothing wrong with not wanting to show up either, and as pointed out in some discussion somewhere whatever excuse you have for not showing up is good enough. Its just a game.

Attracting new players to the game should be easy, but will take time and dedication. If someone took initative and created a newbie tournament during these LAN events for the non-QWers, I am sure we would get a couple of new players each event. It would also require some support for the interested players, since QW is not the easiest (nor hardest) game to set up.

As for me defending "my duel crown", yes I will probably try. Hopefully though I would have much less chance (probably close to 0) than I had on QHLAN 13 because all the big names would show up. Imagine a tournament with LocKtar, Locust, Mutilator, Gamer, Marklar, Mawe, Scenic, Avenger, Reppie, ParadokS, Bulat, Xpr, Arnette and of course Milton showing up. Gaming history would be made immediately, and I'm sure the appeal would be much wider than just our community. Just a dream I guess though.

I noticed some of your comments under the Steelseries Xai Review. Which mouse do you think suits you or would suit you best? What sensitivity do you actually use now and why? Anything else you would pick from your current gaming setup as potentially "special"?
Ah the mouse. Have used 5 different since I started with QW. IE3.0, MX518, Lachesis, DA and G9x in that order with G9x being the latest and current. All of them except Lachesis are really good mice. I've actually the latest days really started to enjoy playing with the G9x. It is probably pretty close to whats perfect for me, with its light weight, high DPI and small grip. My sensitivity is now about 4.5cm / 360 degrees, recently lowered by about 1 cm to be able to handle my new mouse properly. The reason for this choice is for me to be totally independent on arm movement no matter what situation I'm in, and it is still low enough for me to keep my aim very steady at one static point while strafing.

What about the Norwegian QuakeWorld scene? You had a great return in 2009, including Nations cup appearance. How does it look now? What are all the other big names doing at the moment? I noticed three of you signed up for the Clanwarz Poland tournament. How do you see your chances there?
The norwegian scene looks quite grim at the moment. Most of them are busy with real life stuff like studies, work, other hobbies etc. Think TCO is playing the unmentionable. Maybe a new nations cup would inspire him and some more to return? Arnette is around now and then, but is probably a bit busy with studies and working out? Played some duels with him recently, and he still got it. PreMortem is up for a game now and then, and he is still a really good 4on4 player. We already played vs fusion in the polish league. Lost 3-0 but what to expect vs a lineup of Valla, Skillah, Moltas, Squeeze, Tom and Slabi. All top notch players backed up by div0 Valla! Think we're gonna struggle to not end last in this league, but I'll be optimistic and say 4th place in front of Hard Guns Dealers!

Thanks for your time and patience to answer all the questions and good luck in Clanwarz Poland! I hope we will see you on servers as often as we did until now.
2010-01-28, 11:48
Good stuff. GL in ClanWarz and your duels Rikoll
2010-01-28, 13:09
"The main difference is that on a LAN everyone is playing on the best conditions possible (12 ms)"

Have to disagree on that. Latency is the only condition that is better on LAN. All other conditions are typically terrible. Crap chair, no space on the table, crap display, chair/table height is wrong, noisy, no sleep, lightning sucks and makes reflections to display, too cold so you play with frozen hands, etc etc etc...
2010-01-28, 13:17
nice interview

gotta agree with #2 on the lan issue
2010-01-28, 13:20
#1&3: ty

#2: Haha it's not that bad is it? But I see your point
2010-01-28, 13:28
As always I'm half kidding but it also has some truth to it. At least I have always thought that LAN favors players who are the least affected by bad or at least changing playing conditions.
2010-01-28, 13:52
I've never been to QHLan but, LAN is the true test of a competitor, because it's one of those things where you train for it 100%. And you go there with the mind-set that should you lose, you were the worse player on the day. There are no excuses, everything is on the line. In online cups your real-life can distract you, many things can distract you or cause you not to put your best game out there with the most focus and determination. So for me, the nature of LAN competition forgoes any negatives in the way of setups etcetc, most of the stuff you mentioned can be, with mindful preparation, avoided or at least mitigated sufficiently. So yeah, what i'm trying to say is, no-one can whine and say Rikoll wasn't the best player at the LAN, and that's what makes it fair.
2010-01-28, 13:57
Nice interview btw, it's always great to be reminded that the communities I'm involved with have such pools of talented individuals. It's great what the competitiveness can bring out of people whether good or bad, and I guess that's why I've stuck with e-sports so far, I'm too competitive, =(.
2010-01-28, 14:30
We'd better invent a way to propel QW into biggest money-involved tourneys again and bring back some well-deserved fame. Or is it out of reach definitely?
2010-01-28, 14:45
I totally disagree with everything ddk said about LAN gaming except for the last bit about Rikoll. For sure he was the best LAN player there that day, there is no question about it. I'm definately a 'home player' and can't play seriously under bad LAN conditions. I need my perfect setup just so and not 1cm otherwise. For LANs I'd go just for fun and to meet people.
2010-01-28, 14:57

Well, if we can get our players to go and show off our game at dreamhack and that sort of lans maybe it can happen (what other big euro lans are there?). We need some good players to find the motivation to go there tho
2010-01-28, 16:32
nice interview!

i totally agree with blaze. "too cold so you play with frozen hands".
did it years back at mindtrek lan and it was horrible. had many great games there
but afterwards always remember how cold there was and truely missed some shots because fingers did not respond at all sometimes even i played with some kind of gloves.

chair/table thing is true too.. atleast what it comes to blaze. saw him few times playing live and think he needs around 3m long table since hes "lying" on the table both arms straight on back on the monitor. (can't tell better on english.. sry. atleast it was real fun to watch. div0 style!) **or was it ihminen? both? TVS'S KEY TO WIN REVEALED
2010-01-28, 16:42
Hehe yeah it was back in the days when I had movement bound to arrow keys, so I had to be able to move my keboard way over to the left, which was always a problem with the very limited space on LANs. Nowadays I play with WASD just like everyone else and my setup is pretty standard.
2010-01-28, 16:45
going quite offtopic now.. but: roger blaze
2010-01-28, 18:47
Nice rikull!
2010-01-28, 20:37
I agree that LAN conditions are tough, it's not like 10 years ago when a lot of people had crappy connections and there was a big difference between LAN and inet.

Obviously for people living near the LAN who can easily bring their own setup including monitor, it's not so bad.
2010-01-28, 22:53
Smart guy.
2010-01-29, 13:33
#8: Should be possible, but would require some more of the top players to show up at those events more often than how it's been the last years. I also doubt all of them even want QW to turn into a "pro e-sport game".

And on the LAN discussion..

Yeah some things can be different and a disadvantage compared to playing from home (theres a reason I'm holding my hands under my armpits on most pictures of me taken at the LAN. Was sitting pretty close to the windows as well ), but at least it is the same for everyone. I would still concider tournaments on a LAN to be more "fair" for everyone, but I also clearly see the point that some adjust to changes of setup better than others and that also could be a deciding factor. Think LANs is pretty much more about what Blaze said though; Meeting people and socialize.
2010-01-29, 16:17
First: Very nice interview. Interesting read. I like your competivity. I kinda have it too, but I'm also too lazy which contradicts it

I think the big difference with ddk and most qw players is that he is from q3/ql/cpma. For these games all the big finals were usually played on LAN. LAN's organised by lots of $ and with nice $ to win. At LAN it was were the topguns were fighting for the real title of who is best.
In qw there wasn't really such a thing, besides maybe TGI. ALlthough 5 years ago when reppie/griffin and dag were at QHlan things were quite a bit more competitive too.

Anyways in QL there is a term "online hero". There are people that are really good online, but don't reach the real top on LAN. Online heroes don't have much respect usually
2010-01-29, 17:07
Pff @ it's okay not to show up to LANs and e.g signing up for dreamhack!

If you ask me every single top player SHOULD come to LANs etc, unless it's really really impossible to get there. It's a requirement!!! If you simply don't because you're lazy or retarded, you don't deserve to be among the top scene of Quakeworld. Have a look at other games and you'll see how huge the percentage of top players is that show up for LANs. It's amazingly much higher than in QuakeWorld so I guess we have a bunch of lazy idiots who don't care about the scene yet they claim to be among the best players of it! Pffff!!!

Drama. <3
2010-01-29, 18:58
create a new post, cos this topic is about Rikoll, not Lan issues. Btw when i saw that u are an elma world champion, i realised why u are so good after just 2 years of qw nice post, keep fragging and dont play again that harry potter bullshits(wow, dota, dragons age...)
2010-01-31, 19:03
Hahaha, thats a new one. Harry Potter bullshit. I'll keep that in mind.
2010-02-10, 12:11
Nice interview.
2010-02-11, 06:35
lol @ #20

harry potter bullshit = EPIC DISS to WoW and similar games hahaha

you own miku

Ontopic : Nice interview :p
2010-02-11, 10:07
Haha nice one Miku. Not sure if its really any similarities between Elasto Mania and QuakeWorld apart from the competition part, but that might be enough? 10 year anniversary for that game now, so I actually got interviewed by someone who is planning to do a documentary from that community quite recently as well. It's not out yet, though.

And yeah, think I'll manage to stay away from the Harry Potter bullshit, at least for a while. Miku owns for sure! Thanks for comments as well. Nice questions on Johnnys part made it completely impossible to answer short and plump to any of the questions
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