Although being a Pro gamer seems to be end goals for a lot of gamers, there seems to be a group of people who are overlooked massively, these are the support staff that make pro players evolve. They help them grow and direct them to help, even inspire them to be better and become the best that they can be. Coaches are integral to a team; they help guide the players and think of strategies, most of all help the team cooperate. I feel like looking at that aspect of the pro scene is important, how you become a coach as well as what inspires you. A lot of coaches are just players who have decided they want to remain in the Esports scene however are not able to play anymore, as the job of being a pro player doesn’t last forever.
A Swedish Player who was a coach for the Florida Mayhem is someone we are going to be talking about today, they are known as Mineral or Vytis Lasaitis. Spanning from 2017-2018 coaching the Florida Mayhem, the team unfortunately only took 11th, 9th-11th however in the Majors of Misfits a contender’s team that Mineral coached they managed second place. Mineral also coached Sweden in the 2018 World Cup where they reached 4th in the qualifiers.
As a player Mineral also saw many achievements with coming first in:
⦁ Go4Overwatch Europe Cup #6
⦁ Lenovo Summer Championship #3
⦁ Go4Overwatch Europe Monthly Final
⦁ ESL Arena Open Romania
So, Mineral has had his fair share of victories, his signature hero being Lucio, the countries he has represented previously is Lithuania and Sweden. Mineral studied journalism in Sheffield, UK then returned to Sweden to focus on his career in the Esports world. Understanding a players/coach’s mindset is something I haven’t really had a chance to showcase, however, this interview by casino.org expresses Minerals goals and attitude.
Q: ‘How did you get into Esports?’
Mineral: ‘I got into eSports at an early age. I’ve always had a passion for video games and been very competitive in everything I do. That naturally drew me to eSports, because it satisfies that competitive drive all the while allowing me to commit a lot of time to what essentially is a hobby. I had a little run in Team Fortress 2 and played in some top European teams in my late teens, but the scene was tiny by comparison. I ended up quitting to focus on university and only started pondering a comeback when Blizzard announced Overwatch.’
Q: ‘Can you give us a quick rundown of what Overwatch is and how it works?’
Mineral: ‘Overwatch is a First-Person Shooter game with unique elements that separate the game from other titles in the genre. It’s a class-based shooter, with a large pool of unique heroes with special abilities. The game is played 6 versus 6, with players generally having designated roles (support, damage, tank) that they specialize in. The game has several different game modes, all focused on objectives which teams have to attack or defend.’
Q: ‘Can you tell us why you chose Overwatch?’
Mineral: ‘I was focusing on my journalistic career and taking some other jobs last summer, which is when I heard about Overwatch and its upcoming beta in the fall. I checked out some trailers and thought that it looked like a game I’d enjoy. It had some striking similarities to TF2, and I knew a lot of pros from that scene were planning to migrate to OW. Since I already had an established skill set for a class-based FPS game I thought I could give it a shot. I managed to get into closed beta relatively early and began grinding right there and then.’
Q: ‘Do you see yourself as an Esports Athlete or something else? Why?’
Mineral: ‘I think all that talk regarding whether gamers are athletes is kind of irrelevant, but the terminology has become a topic many want to discuss. Do I think eSports is a sport? Absolutely. The viewership, competition, financial backing and sold out arenas are all there. Some argue that it isn’t a sport but maintain that golf or chess is sports, so it comes down to where each individual draws the line. I think it takes an insane amount of practice to get to the point where you play in these huge tournaments, and there is immense pressure on the stage that few could handle. It’s also physically demanding, more so than people realize, even though we sit in front of computers.’
Q: ‘Why did you decide on Luminosity Gaming? Were there other offers?’
Mineral: ‘We had plenty of attractive offers on the table, with many prominent organizations inquiring about signing us. When we ascended up the rankings we quickly emerged as the best-unsigned team, so it’s only natural that many reached out with offers, since every major organization wants to dip its toes in Overwatch as early as possible. We settled on Luminosity because its offer made the most sense and our future visions aligned.’
I think what to realise when reading this interview, is there is a lot of time and pressure that is put on players and staff alike. There is a lot of stress that can influence players and to make decisions in and out of games and I think that’s what Mineral realised; he didn’t want to just let his talents go within the industry. Helping players evolve is what he aimed to do with the end goal, looking out for his mental and physical health kind of made it clear that coaching would be the way to go.
If you are interested in working in the Esports industry realise there are more jobs than just being a professional player, helping someone giving them drive to go on by being part of the teams coaching staff is just as much of a rewarding job.
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Written By Jessica Clarke – Associate Writer at Dart Frog Gaming