" Quiquerez sits down with Esports Heaven for a chat where he talks about his career as an ex-pro CS player and his biggest regret during that time, his transition to being a full-time analyst and commentator, thoughts on the 6-man roster, Valorant and more.
Disclaimer: This interview was conducted on March 16, 2021.
You’ve been a part of events hosted by ESL, Flashpoint and BLAST. While ESL is a behemoth itself, BLAST has been making insane strides in terms of hosting events while Flashpoint can still be considered in the nascent stage. How would you categorize the “BIG THREE” in terms of their strengths and the value they bring onto the scene?
To be honest I believe diversity, would it be in terms of format, crew, visual etiquette, etc. is very healthy for the scene. ESL will forever hold some extremely key moments in the CS:GO calendar with legendary tournaments such as Katowice and Cologne, BLAST is now proving, every day, that the effort they are putting towards improving the viewers experience are paying off and they are becoming a jewel to watch (and to work with)
Other tournaments are always welcome to push the boundaries, rethink how we can create content (like Flashpoint did with their hilarious skits) and offer platforms for the teams out there that don’t often get to participate in the highest leagues and events.
What is your biggest regret in your professional career – as a player and as an on-air talent?
I guess if I had a time machine, I’d go back to the time in Titan when shox and SmithZz joined and I would put a lot more effort and discipline into my game. At this point in my life I was unfortunately running out of steam and I was not a great teammate.
They removed me very logically. Though I don’t really have regrets, I did the best I “could” at the time. But if I had the power to, I’d go back and try to do things differently. I don’t really have regrets in my on-air career, it’s still relatively fresh. I guess I have time to make mistakes! :)
Burnouts aren’t uncommon in any field especially esports. Similar to pro players, on-air talents also face burnouts due to constant travelling to events one after the other. However, would you say that burnout was on a lesser scale when COVID hit the globe and events went online? Kindly share your view.
Of course one of the few silver linings of this very challenging period is that the non stop travelling around the globe has been put on hold and as a result we travel less or not as far as we used to.
I cannot complain about it. I spent a long time in Copenhagen for BLAST but instead of events being strides of one week here, then there, I’ve created sort of a second home in Copenhagen, which makes me feel very comfortable and I appreciate this routine that we created over there with this amazing group of people.
Is it safe to say that you’ve been getting regular gigs despite the hit in broadcasting opportunities – owing to the pandemic causing cancellation of LAN events – as you can be counted in the top tier list of analysts/commentators?
I believe I’ve been very fortunate to be able to work so much during this period. A terrifying amount of freelancers (invested in all sorts of activities) are facing huge struggles during this pandemic and I was blessed with a lot of work opportunities. I try to remind myself of that as often as possible and it helps me look for ways to improve.
Has playing Counter Strike on a professional level helped you grow in your commentating career? How has being an ex-pro player added value to what you bring or deliver on-screen?
My past as a professional player helps me everyday, not only knowing what I am talking about when I describe how players approach the game, or feel, etc., but also legitimizing my statements.
Having that etiquette has been a tremendous asset for me to kickstart this activity as broadcast talent. I can relate with players and teams and I try, as much as possible, to convey that to the audience. Plus, as a player, I was always fascinated with the tactical aspect of CS:GO, that helps too.
Many top tier casters/analysts across different game genres are expanding to VALORANT beside their existing choice of game and expanding their reach for various reasons such as financial, versatility, etc. What are your thoughts on this topic?
Anyone is free to take his or her career in whatever direction. I personally like VALORANT, I even played it for a fair amount of time and had a couple of desks here and there on the game. CS:GO will always be my one love and my situation is currently quite fortunate in terms of job opportunities.
I’m a fan of your online streams. Be it when you’re at home or at an event, you always manage to find time to stream consistently without fail. You also cater to a niche audience that tune in to relax and chill while simultaneously gaining knowledge of the game. Is this how you envisioned your streams would be like when you decided to get into streaming?
I’m definitely aiming for a compromise between a competitive gameplay and educational vibes. There are two main reasons for that. First, I actually truly enjoy interacting with the chat, explaining what I’m doing, what my opponents are doing, why we are winning (or losing…), this is something I take great pleasure in.
Second, I am aware that if people are looking for hardcore skilled gameplay, I might not exactly be the one channel to go to, although I still have some pretty good rests from my active career. I guess it all made sense for me and the direction of my stream came naturally.
Your bio mentions that you’re a Master of Science in Work Psychology. Is that one of the reasons why you’re able to manage your time and schedule with ease? How else does it help in your career?
I know a lot of people try to see a connection here but I don’t believe there is. The topic of the studies interested me a lot (still does) but I see it as being quite disconnected from my everyday activity. I guess achieving a Master does require a lot of organizational skills, dedication and sacrifices and I’ve learnt to do it. To an extent, this helps me as a freelancer.
Hypothetically, if you could go back in time and invest your hours that you put into earning your education further into esports, would you?
Absolutely not. By the time I believed it was very important for me to build a safety net, a second possible way in life that I would enjoy. I would do exactly the same again.
There’s been a lot of debate on players not being fully utilized in a 6-man roster environment such as Nivera on Vitality and Bubzkji on Astralis. Isn’t it a risk to a particular players’ abilities while sitting on the bench or being removed from the active roster for a prolonged time period? This raises questions on the viability of a 6-man roster. Is it partly Valve’s fault? What do you think?
Of course Valve’s rules are impacting teams’ willingness to invest into a 6-man roster. I personally think it is a shame as I thought, for the longest time, that rotating roster would be the very long term future of CS:GO. I would still like it to be the model towards CS:GO tends as I believe it opens up a lot of tactical solutions plus it might help improve players’ well being (on the long run, maybe as a protection against burnout).
Thanks once again for taking the time out to answer these interview questions Maniac.
You can follow me @Karyb4u.
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Image credits: ESL One: Belo Horizonte 2018