Numlocked: "...if Blizzard go through with those changes, we're going to go back to deathball tank comps."
This week I got to sit down and talk to legendary Demoman; Seb “numlocked” Barton about how NRG is doing after recent announcements, some of his history with Team Fortress 2 and his thoughts on the new Lucio PTR changes.
Mr. Seb Barton, how are you doing today?
Doing great, a little tired as I’ve had to switch from NA sleeping schedule to UK, but other than that, I can’t complain.
You all have been mute since MLG Vegas and the signing of IDDQD. What is going on over at the secret NRG training facilities? I don’t want to intrude too much, but how are things going with you and the boys?
Things are going great. We’ve obviously just finalised our roster and we couldn’t be happier. Things are still going to be pretty mute in terms of tournaments because we still have 2 players in Europe and we really don’t want to play with myself and iddqd on 130+ ping.
With being away from the spotlight for so long, it's safe to assume that you and the rest of NRG have been putting your nose to the grindstone. When can we expect to see you guys next and how excited are you to show off your hard work?
Hopefully we can show off what we’ve been working on in April. The real work starts now that our roster is finalised.
The most recent thing to come out of the NRG-camp was the announcement that D.C Events, the convention and sports committee for the nation’s capital, has aligned itself with team NRG. Knowing that parts of the Sacramento Kings and D.C Events are at your back, how different is the esports scene coming from 2012-2013 Team Fortress 2’s sphere to now?
It's pretty crazy to think how far it’s come since then and how different it is for me now. Back then, I never would have dreamed of this level of support for esports, let alone myself.
Last year, you did an interview with Sideshow where you said that out of TF2, Overwatch and League of Legends, you thought that “TF2 was the most fun to play and watch.” After playing Overwatch now for close to a year or so, do you still hold the same sentiments on the game?
No. I’m enjoying Overwatch a lot now, although I do think TF2 is easier to watch than Overwatch. Fun? I don’t know about that. I think TF2 is super stale, but there’s a lot of variety in Overwatch at the moment and that in itself makes it exciting.
Coming back to TF2, you’ve mentioned in a ton of interviews that you chose Demoman because he was “very mechanically demanding” and that you “wanted a challenge.” Looking at Overwatch, my question to you is; Why Reinhardt? Why not something with that same carry potential -- something like Genji or Phara?
I didn’t make the choice myself in Overwatch. In TF2, I was going into it as an individual, so I played whatever I wanted. When Overwatch came out, I was going across with a team, so I was more focussed on playing whatever role was necessary/someone else couldn’t play, and that ended up being Reinhardt. I just kinda stuck with it. I don’t regret it; he’s very rewarding to play.
With the heavy use of dive compositions in the current meta, does this free you up to play something more than just Reinhardt? Is there any chance we see Numlocked on Winston, maybe a Roadhog? Possibly even a new role?
I get to play a lot of Winston with dive, yeah. He’s possibly my favourite hero, too. There’s only like 1 strat where I’m playing anything other than a tank, so I don’t know how often we’ll see that, *laughs*.
At MLG Vegas, in an interview with you and your teammate, Dummy, you mention that you need different styles of shot calling. You say that NRG, at the time, needed “someone to look at the bigger picture.” Have you or Dummy stepped into this role, or have some of the new acquisitions taken this role by the horns?
That’s the role that Ajax is going to be fulfilling. He’s really good at it and is going to help us a ton improving and having a plan in future games.
Speaking of calling, you and KnOxXx both have quite the history together going back years playing TF2 together on Team Epsilon. After KnOxXx’s recent move to tank, what are your thoughts on where the team’s voice should come from? Do you think that it’s possible to shot call from a tank role?
I think it’s much easier to do it from a support role, specifically Lucio. It’s hard to get a good overview of what all players in the server are doing as Reinhardt -- you almost never see your teammates -- but Lucio can see everything.
With the meta being in a very “open” state, what are some of the heroes that you think that could surprise people that haven’t seen use? Perhaps a Mei or Hanzo?
I was hopeful of it being open and moving towards more dive or more variety in general, but I think with the recent PTR update, if Blizzard go through with those changes, we’re going to go back to deathball tank comps which are super anti-fun.
And lastly, I’ve just had some quick, “speed-round” questions for you:
Which country has better food: Turkey, the United States, or the UK?
Counter Strike 1.6, CSS or CS: GO?
Do you still hate Hanzo?
If you had to play any other esport professionally, what would it be?
...and from your years playing TF2 with KnOxXx, can you do a pretty good French accent?
I can’t believe I sat here trying to do a French accent. No I can’t.
Thanks so much for sitting down with me taking a couple of questions. Anyone you would like to shout out or any sponsors you would like the thank?
Shoutout to the NRGFAM, lots of love to everyone part of the org. and our fans and sponsors.
Interview written and conducted by: @Volamel
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment, Turner Broadcasting/Eleague, and @numlocked on Twitter