The scenario of esports in India is seeing a rise with national and international tournaments being organised back to back. Several Indian esports players have become the first generation who are putting the name of this nation on the map in front of the world. But, it’s not easy for them. Shooting up through the ranks is not as easy as it sounds when you’re doing it. It is a common misconception that gaming is very easy. The problems that Esports athletes deal with daily are quite often overlooked.
In an exclusive interview with ABP Live, renowned BGMI player Ritesh Nawandar aka ‘Fierce’ talked about the difficulties that esports athletes face not just in terms of shooting up the ranks but also the problems that they have to face when they are off the device.
Fierce has a following of above 65,000 on YouTube, and he currently plays for Revenant esports. His fragging capability is quite famous as he has won the title of the Top Fragger in the LOCO Diwali Battle: Grand Finals twice. He has also been awarded in the Battlegrounds Mobile India Showdown 2022 for his fragging skills. He recently became the MVP at the Skyesports Championship 5.0.
Q. How are the esports tournaments going for you? How are you scoring a win there? Any particular strategy or routine that you follow?
Fierce: The tournaments are going well, we are scoring Chicken Dinners, however, we aren’t able to win a tournament as a down phase is going on for our team at the moment. We are preparing for it strategically.
Q. How do you look after your physical health, especially with the number of hours that you have to put in the game and the screen time that you have to endure to make yourself tournament-ready?
Fierce: I am not that focused on my physical health, however, one of my team members is quite focused on that aspect and does gymming regularly. I am mostly focused on my game only.
Q. When it comes to balancing the lifestyle, do you feel that gaming – particularly competitive gaming – offers up any emotional advantage or disadvantage to your lifestyle as an athlete? Let’s say you have a big win or a loss or a tough day of training, does it have any after-effects on the rest of your day or the people around you?
Fierce: I don’t let my gaming life affect my personal life mostly, I keep them separate but, yes, if something really bad has happened in my gaming sphere then my personal life does take a hit. Other than that, I try my level best to ensure that it doesn’t happen and I give as much time as possible to my family. I accept my defeat if I encounter any and don’t carry out that frustration throughout my day or lash out at other people.
Q. Does the frustration of losing a match or a tournament also last for a long time in your head?
Fierce: Yes, that does happen sometimes. Previously in the Master series we got eliminated, we were in the bottom four teams which was a great upset for us. But, we can’t stop there and just wallow in sorrow. We have to focus on our gameplay and work on it. If we let it affect our heads for a long time then it will impact our gameplay which is not good. We are athletes at the end of the day and we have to accept our defeats as well.
Q. What in-game skill do you think is the hardest to master?
Fierce: The most difficult to master in-game skill I believe is ‘Game-sense’. This is hard to master I believe. Even I took a lot of time to master it properly. Also, I believe that this is one thing that only comes with experience. No matter how much you undergo training, it will only come with the real experience of matches.
Q. Could you please elaborate a bit as to what exactly you are referring to when you say ‘Game-sense’?
Fierce: If I elaborate on the game-sense then in a nutshell it is the understanding of what tactic to apply in a particular scenario during the game. For example- The understanding of when to run from a spot, when to fall back into the safe zone, when you should take on a fight, or when to give which call to teammates, that I will say is having the game-sense. Even a small mistake in any of these can result in your whole squad ending up in a box. So, this I believe is the hardest because you also have the responsibility of the whole team on your shoulders.
Q. What do you feel is the best way to improve with someone that has pro-potential? Say they already have the basics, they are already solid on mechanics, but they are not quite at the pro level. Is there a trend, something you normally see, or something you normally recommend for those people to work towards the pro level?
Fierce: For such a player the only advice will be to form a team and start playing Scrims and then focus primarily on the tournaments that Krafton brings for BGMI. Also, another key suggestion from my side would be to let your family know that you are pursuing this professionally so that later in the game they won’t impose any restrictions on you due to which you might have to quit. If I talk about my personal experience, I followed these and apart from that, I also followed other top players very closely, I watched their gameplay and learnt from it.
Q. How did your family react when you told them that you will be playing this professionally now?
Fierce: I first faced the device issue, I had an Android phone and if you want to pursue BGMI professionally then you need an iPhone. So, first I convinced them to get me an iPhone and I started playing. Meanwhile, I had already asked my parents to give me a year and I will do something. Within 4-5 months of getting an iPhone, I signed the contract for my first organisation under salary.
Q. Why do you say that if one wishes to pursue the game professionally then they must get an iPhone?
Fierce: See, when you play on an iPhone then firstly you get better graphics secondly, the frame rates are constant on it so it gives you a comparative advantage against Android players where the frame rates often drop. The gameplay is also smooth on an iPhone. No matter even if the Android is in the premium range of above Rs 1 lakhs, its frame rates will still drop and heating issues also happen with that.
Q. Currently, the foundation of esports is not yet stable enough. Many people believe that mobile esports have yet to gain mainstream recognition. However, BGMI has a solid position. How do you think it has or will pave the path for the establishment of Esports in India?
Fierce: I believe that we are the first generation of eSports in India but in 10 years I think it can even match the level of fandom that Cricket has in our country. BGMI has significantly contributed to this I believe. However, I believe that if we want eSports to grow in India then we need an official regulatory body for that to happen.
Q. What do you feel is the greatest misconception of being in esports?
Fierce: The biggest misconception that people have is that it’s very simple, we just play and we get money for that. That’s wrong. It’s just like a job. If I talk about just my experience, with the tournaments that go on, I barely get the chance to see my family once or twice a year. People think it’s very easy but, we have to work a lot for that as well and sometimes we even have to work for the whole day without any breaks. I’ll say that you will actually get to understand the struggle when you step foot into this territory.
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