In the beginning of December 2022, AAS Wolves Esports Team won the world championship of the International Schools Esports League. Their game sense, revolutionary strategies and constant drive for improvement are beyond impressive. Last week we interviewed five of AAS Esports winners and learnt more about their journey to international success.
How did you find your passion for online games?
Ben: I found my passion for online games by watching my older brother and sister play on the downstairs computer back in Australia. My older brother then started playing with me. That’s how it all began.
Noah: Everything started when I got Minecraft for the first time. I was only four when the game was released. Everyone at school thought it was the coolest thing ever and I decided to give it a try.
What was the first game you ever played and how old were you when you started?
Ben: Minecraft on the phone when I was about three years old.
Cana: I first played Wii sports at my grandparents’ house.
What is the most important quality a player must have to succeed in the eSports field?
Noah: What I’ve noticed is that a big part of Esports is a mental game. Even though a lot of the skills come with practice and repetition, you need to have the perseverance necessary/needed to develop those skills. You’re going to die in the game a lot and it’s important to realize that it’s just another step of the learning process.
Ben: I would say game sense. A person with a lot of skills but no game sense is not a good player. So far this year all members of our team have developed a decent level of game sense which probably is the reason why we are so strong.
Pol: In my opinion, there should also be a common goal that all players follow/ that unites all players. Such as, to improve themselves or to be a better team.
Cana: You also need to be open-minded. In the sense of trying new strategies and playing with new people.
What is the most valuable lesson you learnt in the process of playing e-games and participating in international competitions?
Pol: For me it was something very general, never give up. Despite the difficulties you should always keep going.
Noah: With the small nature of the map that we play on in our Esports league (called “Capture The Flag” map) a lot of it can come down to trying to target just one person. That’s why it’s very important to know how to recognize the thread and use your resources effectively.
Ben: In terms of a lesson, I learnt that teamwork is really important. Movement, in my opinion, is another crucial skill. Once you have perfected movement, no matter what game you’re playing, you will always be good at it.
What are your goals for the near future?
Ben: What we’ve been focusing on recently is team communication and building up the ability of other players to perform strategies that we make. Since at the end of this year we will lose three of our really good players, we’re trying to make sure that we have
good team communication and everyone knows the strategies that we want to perform.
Noah: A lot of our players come from past experiences of being very strong Esport players (especially with Minecraft). We would like to pass on the knowledge we have so that our “reign” over the Esports tournaments can continue.
Pol: There are two sides to team goals. One is team improvement, the other one is related to tournaments. Despite me not being an Esports next year, I would still like to see the team competing in international tournaments.
Noah: Actually there are plans to do this in the middle of March. We’re going to organise one big event where all the schools from around the world who have been training up to it will get together and do one big meet.
What motivates you before a competition?
Noah: I would say our reputation. At the beginning we were a new team but we were one of the most creative. When observing our game, the commentator was often making comments such as “the game has evolved.” This really motivated us to keep improving our outside the box thinking and PDP skills.
Ben: Also having fun while playing the game is another big motivation.
William: My main motivation is trying the strategies that we’ve recently come up with; building on the support from the commentator and how he said many times that we managed to change the game. Our strategies are one of our main strengths. Trying new ones is always very fun.
Noah: One of the best parts about Esports is that it’s not limited to group practice only. Everybody has an account that they can log on whenever they want to. We are free to learn the map individually and explore the game without having other people around. Sharing the things you discover on your own with the rest of the team is very motivating.
Tell us more about the AAS Wolves Esports Team. How do you prepare for all the competitions? Do you hold weekly meetings?
Cana: We meet twice a week for an hour-long practice on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Some of us practice outside of the scheduled time. We all like to work on our PvP and strategies in our free time. Before competitions, we meet up to discuss which strategies will be used throughout the game, so that we are clear on how we’re going to approach the game.
Noah: One of our strengths as a team is recognising other school teams’ weaknesses and creating strategies that are specifically designed for it. When we were playing with FIS Germany, for example, they went really aggressive and we tailored our strategy to be very defensive. We actually developed one of the first (at that time of the game) indestructible defences to combat that.
What is your advice to all e-gaming newbies?
Noah: ESports is one of the most approachable activities that you can involve yourself in. There is a really warm community around it. Everybody is focused on improvement. We’re definitely looking for more people to expand the league (both inside and outside of our school). If you are someone who might be interested, feel free to join.
If someone is interested in joining the team, how should they apply? Is there an age limit or any special requirements?
Cana: Anyone from middle or high school is more than welcome to join our team! You need no prior experience, we are happy to teach you the game and strategies. You can join our team when the after school activity sign ups come out. If you are looking to join in the middle of the trimester you can reach out to our coach, Dr. Horne, or to one of our leaders Noah H. or Ben B.