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Q&A with HTC’s Smashbox Arena VR eSports Team Ahead Of ZOTAC Cup
 
 

On Friday June 2nd HTC’s eSports team will be sending two players to take part in the ZOTAC Cup Smashbox Arena VR tournament taking place at Computex 2017.

Ahead of their first foray into the VR eSports battle, we took some time out to chat with both team members about how they got involved in VR eSports, as well as some of their favorite aspects surrounding Smashbox Arena.

What’s your favorite strategy working as a team?

The most effective strategy as a team is working together to set up flanks. This usually works best on maps that have a lot vertical movement/cliffs to move around on. If one player is able to get up high and take advantage of power-ups, then his teammates can pick off opponents that are focused on him from below or behind. A huge mistake that new players make is becoming too absorbed in a 1v1 and they are easily flanked by a second enemy.

What got you interested in VR gaming?

I sit at a computer for hours each day for my profession and until I received my Vive last April, I would sit for hours each night playing PC games like Dota 2, Overwatch, or World of Warcraft. I knew VR gaming could change that and really immerse me into the gaming world. I loved the idea of physically blocking sword attacks or dodging shots in games like Smashbox. I have played it daily for the last year with over a 1000 hours played and hundreds of VR titles purchased. To me, there is no going back to the “flat world” of 2D gaming. With VR, I am able to be a part of my favorite games and the health benefits are great compared to sitting in a chair for hours playing traditional PC games.

What do you think is best part of Smashbox Arena?

  1. The Smashbox community and development team.
  2. The best part of Smashbox is the frantic strategic gameplay. The best players are constantly aware of their surroundings and must make split second decisions. Smashbox takes VR gaming to the next level.

What do you think about the future of VR eSports?

VR Esports has a very bright future. Games like Smashbox are paving the way for VR esports to be recognized and appreciated by normal PC gamers. If every traditional PC gamer could give a game like Onward or Smashbox an honest try, I don’t think they would be disappointed and would realize how big of a game changer VR is for esports. VR esports are very physical and fitness plays a large role in how well a player can perform. This allows it to be better understood by normal sports enthusiasts. This will be especially true as we see more titles that incorporate traditional sports into the virtual reality setting. VR has the potential to bring in a lot of new people that see esports as too “nerdy”.

What makes VR good for multiplayer games?

Virtual reality adds so much to multiplayer gaming. Players in VR feel like they are really a part of the experience with you. It is so much fun to stand on stage next to your allies after a hard fought win. You really feel connected to other players and I have made some amazing friends in VR over the last year.

What is your favorite video game of all time?

Dota 2. I have over 4000 hours in the game and have been to multiple esports tournaments in the U.S over the past few years. The game has a huge amount of depth and it so entertaining to watch at the professional level.

What is the worst video game you have ever played?

Probably Diablo 3. After 10 years of hype and expectations, it was a big letdown for me. At release, the game had a ton of bugs and a pay to win model. They have fixed a lot in the game, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Diablo 2.

What are you doing to get ready for the tournament?

Since December of 2016, I have lost over 35 lbs playing Smashbox Arena and Soundboxing daily for a couple of hours each night. Since I was invited to the tournament, I have stepped up my fitness program and began working out at my University’s gym. I haven’t skipped a day of exercise and I want to be at my highest level when I compete in the Zotac event. The competition better watch out!

What is your hidden talent?

Being over six feet tall allows me to perform a lot of tricks and shots inside Smashbox that aren’t as easy for smaller players. I am able to grab power ups from higher areas without teleporting and make shots over barriers that aren’t possible for some players.

What does this trip and tournament mean for you?

This trip and tournament are like dreams come true for me. As I said earlier, I have went to multiple Dota 2 LAN events and watched awesome teams like Navi and Evil Geniuses duke it out on stage. This trip allows me to perform in a similar manner and compete with other VR professionals. When I received the message from the BigBox team that I was invited, I literally started shaking within enthusiasm. Traveling to Taiwan and participating in events like this just don’t happen to nerds from Kentucky! I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and I would like to thank the BigBox Team, Zotac, and HTC for allowing me to participate in this event.

What’s your favorite strategy working as a team?

Having one player (usually me) head up front and draw the other team’s attention while rest of the team come from the sides and clean up.

What got you interested in VR gaming?

The immersion into the game’s environment. Being lost in that world.

What do you think is best part of Smashbox Arena?

The strategy of the game is often overlooked by new players, But teleport strategy is one of the biggest keys to the game.

What do you think about the future of VR eSports?

I think as the VR systems become more affordable and portable, VR eSports are going to be huge. The excitement of gaming plus the realism of VR.

What makes VR good for multiplayer games?

The immersion of the VR game. There are times when a sniper shot just misses or a player jumps right in front of me and I still get startled and jump back.

What is your favorite video game of all time?

Master of Orion (The original). That game stole my life for a year or so and cost me my first marriage.

What is the worst video game you have ever played?

Montezuma’s Revenge (1994) is not a bad video game, but man it had me so frustrated

What are you doing to get ready for the tournament?

Just playing the game every night like usual. It is an addiction at this point.

What is your hidden talent?

The Ta-Tao shot. I will shoot two balls at once at other players (one high and one low) can’t block them both.

What does this trip and tournament means for you?

I am looking forward to the opportunity to show off how competitive and fun this game truly can be. I believe this game would be an excellent eSport as it combines physical movement with good strategy.

Stay tuned to the HTC Vive Facebook page for more information on how you can watch the live broadcast of the ZOTAC Cup Smashbox Arena VR tournament this Friday 2nd of June.