Interview with Reload
It's Monday afternoon and Reload and I are sitting at the IT Palace waiting while Izn0 uploads a tonne of demos (believe me, he has uploaded about 400 MB of demos). It seems like a good time to catch up with Reload and ask him a few questions about his trip to Sweden, and what it has been like to compete in an international event against some of the best players in the world.
Hoony: How do you like Sweden? Seen any good-looking Swedish blonde chicks? Do you enjoy meatballs and potatos?
Reload: I love it, its a bit too cold but you get used to it after a while. Chicks? Plenty of them ;) I dunno about the meatballs and potatoes, but Macdonalds rocks.
Hoony: When the event started, were you over any jet-lag that you had? Were you feeling ready?
Reload: Yeh I was feeling ok, a bit tired but still ok. I don't think you can ever be ready for a competition like this :).
Hoony: You had like an extra day to get your stuff ready, was your computer setup just how you liked it to be?
Reload: Yup, everything was feeling fine.
Hoony: Before the match started, you declined several offers (by for example, Izn0) to play any duels online. Why was that?
Reload: Basically I knew the players online were very good, and I didn't want to lose some games before the competition. That might sound like I was scared, but it was all about keeping my confidence as high as possible.
Hoony: At the TGI itself, in the match warmups, you played a LOT of DM2 using dmm4 rules. In fact, I believe that aside from one game against Sectopod you were undefeated in something like 40 games (each lasting 15 minutes). You played Xenon in something like 15 games, as well as Nikodemus, Sujoy, Columbo and Blitzer. These games seemed to me to do a lot to announce your presence at the TGI. Did you notice that many of the other players were sussing you out in those games (using POV chasecam on another monitor)? Did you notice that their attitude changed somehow (from "no idea what he's like" to "this kid is pretty fucken good with the RL!")?
Reload: hehe, ah not really. I think I might have surprised a few of the players because none of them had ever seen me play in real life.
Reload: I wasn´t as worried about Xenon as I was about Lakerman, but anyway that was the group I was put in and I accepted that. I would have preferred to be in the other group, but things don't always go your way :(.
Hoony: In your first match, you played Timber from the UK. You lost the toss and he went first on DM4, and won 23 to 18. Then you played your choice, DM2. Tell us what happened in that game.
Reload: As you´ve probably heard the computers were not always perfect. In the beginning of the DM2 match I locked up due to cpu lag. I told Timber I had locked up but he proceeded anyway, which gave me the shits >:(.
Hoony: He then went and hid in an alcove above the GL/MH, with a 1 frag lead. You must have realised that he was hiding somewhere. Was he that hard to find?
Reload: Nope, I just forgot to look to where he was hiding. I must have missed him the first couple of times I ran past.
Hoony: What did you think of his tactic in that game? Did it seem "unsporting" to you? Did it get you riled up? Or did it strike you as the tactic of a Quake larrikin (which Timber is)?
Reload: His tactics were lame, but I knew someone in the comp would play like that on DM2. I suppose it was a bit "unprofessional" of him but I didn't expect anything better from him :P.
Hoony: Then it came down to DM6, and you took away the win. How did it feel to win your first match at the TGI?
Reload: I felt extremely happy. It would have been a real knock to my confidence to lose my first match.
Hoony: In your next match you came up against Columbo, the Danish player about whom not much was known. Did you think that this was going to be a relatively easy match to win?
Reload: To be honest I didn´t know what to expect. I hadn't seen any demo´s of Columbo and hadn´t heard anything about the way he plays.
Hoony: You chose DM2 and he chose DM4, and he won the toss. In DM4 he won by something like 20 to 0, was that a big shock or did you have a pretty unlucky DM4 game in terms of spawns or something?
Reload: Bit of both i´d say. But like I said, I wasn´t sure how good a player he was on any level.
Hoony: Then came your map, DM2. You won by something like 20 to nil. The decider was going to be DM6. You knew that you HAD to win this game. He won it by 11 to 7 (or something). Was it hard to put that behind you and concentrate on your next match, with LakermaN?
Reload: Not really, I had lost and that was over. I knew I had to prepare for my next big opponent.
Hoony: With Lakerman, you actually won the toss and got to play DM2 first! This was the game that so many of us here in Australia had wanted to see you play. Reload vs Lakerman on DM2 :). Was it as hard as you thought it might have been to beat the champion on DM2?
Reload: It was harder. Everyone was watching and I had never been as nervous as I was in that game. I had won that game but knew I was only half way to winning the whole match.
Hoony: I remember you said to me just before you went into DM4 with Lakerman, "I'm going to get owned now" :) hehe. OK, so then it came down to DM6. Lakerman also played like a demon on this map. But at the end of the day, you had beaten him on DM2 (and remain undefeated at the TGI on DM2). Feels good?
Reload: Feels great :]. I had done partly what I really wanted to achieve at this tournament.
Hoony: Then you were out of the tournament. Was it a big relief or were you really disappointed?
Reload: I was both relieved and dissapointed. Relieved that the DM4 spankings were over, but I was obviously dissapointed I was no longer in the tournament.
Hoony: From that point on, you became a spectator. But you were able to sit behind Kane and watch the finals. How did you find the atmosphere in those games?
Reload: Tense. EVERYONE was quiet and enjoying the two finalists duel it in their three games, which were the best three games I´ve ever seen.
Hoony: What do you think of that last game, where Kane ALMOST forces the playoff?
Reload: I really think Kane should have won, and I´m sure a lot of other ppl do too. Kane had some unbelievably bad luck on DM2 in the first 2 minutes, but managed to make an amazing comeback like I´ve never seen before.
Hoony: What did you think of the Europeans' level of skill on DM2?
Reload: They aren´t bad at all on DM2 but I´m under the impression DM2 isn´t played often, which limits their skill on it.
Hoony: Why do you think that the Europeans are so good at DM4?
Reload: It´s the fact that Europeans can practice from home for hours with pings below 40 or so. Plus it´s basically the only map they play in Europe.
Hoony: You told me that you had practiced DM4 a lot before the tournament. Were you surprised by how big the skill difference on DM4 was?
Reload: I wasn´t too surpised because I knew that they were really good on Dm4. I was just practicing it to get as good as I could get on DM4.
Hoony: You also told me after the tournament that you hadn't practiced DM6 AT ALL, and this is despite DM6 gurus such as Methos recommending that you strengthen your game on DM6. A few of your matches (eg, with Columbo and Xenon) were decided basically on DM6. Do you wish now that you had changed your preparation strategy?
Reload: Definitely. But I was under the impression that there were no DM6 "experts" competing.
Hoony: After the tournament was over, you finally got to play Xenon. The first game was DM2, and you won. The second game was DM6, and at about the half-way point you were 5-0 up. Then he got back into the game and won. On DM4, he won by something like 50 frags. I know that you really wanted to beat Xenon, but in the end he was too strong. After he won the match, was he cool about it all?
Reload: Firstly, after I was knocked out of the tournament I decided to change configs. I had nothing to lose because I was under the impression I had no more official games to play. Everything in the cfg was different, the fov was now 110, the gun was not showing, my jump button, rl button, gl button, shaft button, shotgun button were all changed, but the major change was my sensitivity which was now 13 instead of 23. Instead of having to push a button to select my weapon and then fire, I was using "+fastxxx".
I continued to use this cfg in muck around games on DM2 dmm4 to get used to it. After I was playing with this cfg for about 6 hours I was told I still had to play Xenon. Now, I had to use this new cfg against Xenon primarily because of the sensitivity change back to 23 was too big. This isn't an excuse but is an explanation as to why I couldn´t do rocket jumps and and other "fancy" stuff on DM4. The cfg was fine for DM6 and DM2. I´m not saying I would have won overall against Xenon but maybe things would have taken a different path.
OK, back to the question :]. After the game Xenon was pretty cool actually, we went out to a fancy restaurant called Pizza Hut, I dunno whether you heard of it before, but you should try it one day :). He´s nothing like I imagined he´d be, but before I came to Sweden I thought he´d be a little "arrogant" <-- I put another word here but apparently it was too "rude". :)
Hoony: OK, so now we have this 24 hour plane trip to look forward to :P. What are the most important experiences that you think you will bring back home to Australia?
Reload: Motivation to kick the Euro´s asses in Q3 :P
Hoony: All through this incredible adventure, you have had the most amazing level of support from Australian (and New Zealand ) Quake players. In fact, during the tournament there were something like 450 Quake players on IRC enjoying the action live, of whom about 80 had AU-something as their nicks. I noticed that many of the AU-players were New Zealanders, even Irish players. What would you like to say now to your supporters. To those dudes who said: "GO RELOAD, GO!!"
Reload: Thanks to EVERYONE who has supported me before, during and after the tournament. It was so cool to go onto IRC after beating Timber and being flooded with msg´s congratulating me and wishing me luck for my next matches. It was just a massive buzz :). I´d like to thank my sponsors Intel, Village and www.consult, Hoony, Izno and all of the other organisors for this event. It´s been sooooooooo much fun competing in the competition and representing Australia (and Egypt! HI MUM!)
Hoony: One last question. I mentioned to you this morning that I'm in discussions with Clan 9 about getting them to Australia to play a Challenge.AU Team. Do you think Australia would have a chance of kicking the Swedish asses of Clan 9 when they come to Sydney?
Reload: hehe, I think Clan 9 will get O W N E D :)
There you go. It's been an incredible trip and an amazing exprerience for both Reload and myself here at the TGI. Some of the highlights for me have been Izn0 and HeKSeN snoring in two-part harmony, Whimp relying on me for directions to Izn0's apartment (we ended up going the wrong way down a bus lane), and Tuborg. You have got to appreciate Tuborg, becuase you just can't get it anywhere else.
OK, time to sign off. A long flight awaits us. THANKS from me to all you guys for your support. I feel that Reload has done us all very proud, and that he is the undisputed master of DM2 in the world. Anyone serious who might like to challenge him on that, feel free to get in contact with me. I would like to thank Izzy and all the TG team, and Svenska Maccas, for making all this possible. I would like to thank all the players for being SO COOL. Hope you had as great a time as we did. It was such a buzz to meet you all, and to see you in your element, playing Quake against the best in the business.
Really, you played the best Quake games that have ever been played. You created out of thin air the most incredible Quake demos - so many that Methos will probably be overdosing on them for weeks. Thanks btw, to Methos for his great coverage of the TGI. His poll was always hugely entertaining, his analyses provocative and illuminating.
Time to sign off. Once again, this is Hoony LIVE at the IT Palace in Gothenburg, Sweden, for the very last time. Enjoy all those demos!