eSports Interview: Tyler “TsquezE” Pastorius Of Dienastic Ambition
Tyler “TsquezE” Pastorius is a member Dienastic Ambition, a team dedicated to teamwork, support, and leadership. During tournaments and training sessions, communication is key; in the video at the end of this interview, you’ll hear the communication between TsquezE and his teammates in a game of Search and Destroy onÂ Call of Duty: Ghosts.
In this interview, I ask him about the evolution of eSports from when he first started until now, how it’s grown, the changes that have been made and how he feels about them, amongst other things.
How long have you been playing games competitively?
I started playing game competitively around 2009; I’m going on my fifth year of playing at a competitive level. I followed competitive gaming before that watching Halo and Gears of War but didn’t get a chance to go to an event until 2009 when I played Gears of War 2.
What are your reasons for playing? (Love of the games, love of the competition, etc.)
For me, my reasons for playing are definitely the love of competition and the intense moments you can have during a game after clutch kills or objective play. Plus the crowd at tournaments – those are great. I would also say I feed off of the energy of the crowd and my teammates in game. Also, the overall environment of the venue. It’s awesome because you go and you share the same passion for games as everyone else if you’re competing or even if you’re there just to watch.
When did you first know you wanted to play shooters competitively?
In late 2008/early 2009. I started to play in online matches for fun on a site called NX Gamers (which doesn’t exist now). I started off just playing for fun and I just got better to the point to where the online matches weren’t much of a competition. Then I started to follow the MLG scene for Halo and Gears of War heavily. My cousin, who to this day is still my teammate, offered me a spot on a Gears of War 2 team competing in MLG Anaheim 2009 and I knew to I would get the most out of the experience. Literally, within the first week of practicing with that team, I knew I wanted to do this for a long time.
How would you say playing each game is different from the other in a competitive space? (I.E. How is Gears different from Halo and CoD, etc.)
Man, playing different games is crazy. There is a lot of differences in the play style and mind set you have to have. In Gears of War,Â I was more of a support player when I first started; that entire game is very team orientated and slow paced. Fast forward to Gears of War 3, the game changed and it was a little more fast paced but was still relatively slow compared to other games. Then my play style changed to a main slayer, which is the person that held power spots on a map and used power weapons like a sniper rifle.
Once I started playing Halo,Â that was a weird feeling because I didn’t do the traditional 4v4 that I have always played. I did Free For All’s instead so it was very fast paced and I had to learn spawns which was different for me.
Then Call of Duty was a whole new beast in itself for me when I first started that. There were three different game types: Hardpoint, Capture the Flag, and Search and Destroy. I understood Search easily because that gametype was identical to a Gears of War play style where outsmarting your opponent is key. With Hardpoint, that had a Halo feel but way more fast paced. Going to each spot on the map to control the Hardpoint, playing an objective role was very different but really fun. Then there was CTF which I really enjoyed. It would be really fast paced and then it would slow up so you had to compose yourself during that game type every time you played, which was really fun and probably my second favorite gametype; Hardpoint would have to be my favorite.
Which game was the hardest for you to win in a tournament? Gears, Halo, or CoD?
Call of Duty is definitely harder to win in. I came into Call of Duty during Black Ops 2, which was when the competition was really elevating. In order to win, you need to put mass amounts of time playing and going over films of other teams playing. Gears of War was small when I played so if you won about 2 series’ at a tournament, you where pretty much Top 32 so it wasn’t that competitive for me in my opinion. Halo is up in the air because, like I said, I played FFA’s so I would advance into later rounds pretty easily and then the final rounds were where it got tough. The 4v4 for Halo has always had tough competition for sure – at least from Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo: Reach.
Right now CoD is at a point to where you need be on top of everything constantly – watching other teams, watching your own team, always working to get better – and the teams now are extremely good and they all have different play styles. Definitely Call of Duty is harder to win in my opinion from what I have competed in.
eSports has evolved a lot. Looking at it from 2009 to now is unbelievable. The size of tournaments was super small and now there are some tournaments selling out the Staples Center in Los Angles; I never thought I’d see that. The prize money used to be small also at like $5,000 for 1st; now there are million dollar tournaments, so it has changed a lot. The sponsors that are involved have grown – companies like Redbull and Dr. Pepper – plus there are even international events now across the sea so it has grown a lot. But it was definitely in the right direction and players can now make a living off of it.
Is it harder now than it was back then to get into the tournament and win, or is it easier/about the same?
Way harder now by miles. For invite only events you need to be a Top 8-16 team in pro points, which is like the official standings of the teams. Like I said before, the amount of competition now is through the roof so it is definitely harder to win now than what was compared to 2009. I like it though; I’d rather say I struggled getting to the top competing against a lot of the top teams rather than saying I played one top team and now I’m at the top. I don’t mind it; it just takes a lot more dedication and practice but that’s what you have to do if you want to be the best.
What goes into the preparations for a competition?
Preparation for tournaments is ridiculous but in a good way. Pretty much every night you have to get on and practice with your team, go over your strategies, and play other teams. Some players like myself, I take time out of my day to watch other teams and see what they do, compare it to my team’s strategy, and see what works and what doesn’t. Then you have crunch time, which is usually a month- 2 weeks (depending on the team) before a tournament. That’s when you start playing every single night for extended amounts of time. That’s the real preparation time because you are training your body to play for extensive amounts of time as well as getting your endurance up. Plus you’re going through the motions of practicing also, so you should be getting good practice in to perform better.
The only down thing is emotions will start to run high so there may be fight on your team (which I have been in a few, haha). But it grows the team and you just have to be mature about. For me, I started working out and it helps me when I play by increasing reaction speeds and endurance which is good. One thing I also tell my team is play how you would play at an event so you are as comfortable as possible once you go to the event so you feel normal.
What was the longest training session you ever had and for which game?
Longest training session, that’s tough. I would probably have to say getting ready for my first Call of Duty tournament. My crunch time for that event was 2 months before so there was a lot of Call of Duty play, haha. My schedule was wake up and play all day and night until about 1 or 2 AM, then wake up at 9 AM and be back on the grind. The week before the tournament I probably had a total of 10 hours of sleep. I had to learn about Call of Duty in a short time so I definitely learned quick and it helped me to where I’m at in Call of Duty right now for sure.
The pressure really is a factor. It’s weird though because you would think it would affect your gameplay but I would say 9 out of 10 players would say it elevates your game – but there is only small group of players that could say they take advantage of it, probably. When you know what’s at stake, you make smarter plays. You do have to control your emotions from the pressure though because, for some people, it can get to them and it will effect their play style in a negative way. That’s where the players that have been around a while have to take a leadership role and talk to their teammates and keep them level minded.
What can every member of a team do to boost morale, confidence, and overall gameplay?
Hype hype hype. If a player brings hype early in a game, your team will be on another level. Always staying positive in your mindset is great too so that leader has to take charge and keep everyone level minded and focused. This way, if you’re down in a series or even if you’re winning, it helps to make sure you don’t let it slide away. Also, in between maps talk, to your team, crack a joke or two to keep that morale high and having a good time; it’ll help in the long run of the series.
Do rival teams make the competition and training more intense?
Rivals play a big part for sure. There are teams that you know you can’t lose to and the emotions run high in those games. I’ve seen plenty of times people get up and start yelling, getting their team hyped up, and talking trash to the other team in those rival games. The intensity that you see or are playing with is incomparable. It’s an awesome feeling and an awesome experience to witness. Like I said, emotions run high so if you’re on the losing end of things it affects you; but the next time you play that team, you bring it 100 times more for sure.
Have there been any changes to eSports over the years that you donâ€™t particularly agree with?
Yes, there have been a few things I don’t really agree with. One is the whole invite only events. In my opinion, they limit the viewer experience and some of the teams want to play against more teams than, say, 7 teams. At the end of the day it is a business though so I can see why MLG would do it; if they are still getting good numbers and it costs less than a normal event, it makes sense on their end.
The only major thing that I think a lot of players disagree with is the “Pro Points” structure. So each player on a team gets points after an event or an online tournament. So if your team wins, all 4 of those players get the points and gain a huge lead in the points. In my opinion, the structure should be rather than the players getting points, give the points to the team/organization so the points are closer and it limits team changes.
What was your worst experience during a tournament?
Worst experience… Probably my first Call of Duty event, which is contradictory to what I said earlier about how much time I put into it, haha. But it was a growing experience afterwards. Losing our first series 0-2 but losing close games hurt a lot, and losing an overtime replay of the first map was nuts. But like I said, I used it as a learning experience and it made me a better player. At every event I always trying to make the most of it and gain something positive out of it; so even though we didn’t perform at all with that team, I gained more experience and more leadership as a player.
What was your best experience during a tournament?
Best experience has to be my first event playing Gears of War 2. I placed 16th, which was considered semi-pro. So to get that was a huge accomplishment for me. I played out of my mind that weekend making clutch plays. I remember this one game the series was tied 2-2, and we were on the last map up 3-2 in-game and we only needed to win one more round. So the round started and two of our players died within the first minute so the other team had a quick advantage and pushed my teammate and myself. But my teammate picked off one and I picked off another so it was evened up. There was a stalemate for power weapons and, somehow, my teammate died and I was forced to make a move in a 1v2 situation – I clutched it to win the map and the series. So that was for sure a big moment for me just as a player. But winning a major live tournament would take the best experience once it happens. Things are looking good with the team that I have now so hopefully this year my best experience will be winning a huge event.
You can follow TsquezE on Twitter,Â subscribe to hisÂ YouTubeÂ channel for other videos of him and his teammates on Call of Duty, and you can follow Dienastic Ambition on Facebook. Watch the video below to see TsquezE and fellow members of Dienastic Ambition in action: