...and in the spirit of working together, let’s learn even more about the people who make CLG what it is through some OMEN Q&A with Trevor "Stixxay" Hayes from CLG LoL and Diane "di^" Tran from CLG Red.
HP: First off, thanks for participating in this Q&A! Let’s start off with something a bit light. What is your favorite food, childhood game, and who is your favorite traditional sports athlete?
Stixxay: My favorite food is pasta because there are so many types and I love eating them all. For childhood game it would definitely have to be Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, I have a lot of memories playing that game on PS2 with my brother growing up. My favorite traditional sports athlete is Tom Brady, since I have family in Boston, I grew up watching the Patriots and liked how consistently good he was.
di^: My favorite food would be cereal! Especially since you can eat it at any time of the day. My favorite childhood game is definitely the Nintendo 64 Mario kart balloon battle. It was always played at my sister’s house when I was around the age of 6-7 and ALL of my siblings played it and we always had a great time. My favorite traditional sports athlete would be Marshawn Lynch. He led my favorite football team, the Seahawks, to many great victories and a Super Bowl championship. I’m sad he left the Seahawks but he’ll always be my favorite.
HP: What excites you the most about the alliance that has been announced by CLG and OMEN by HP? What are some things you hope we can do together to make a positive impact in esports?
Stixxay: With this partnership, I’m hoping to be able to give back to the community and share my knowledge of League of Legends with others. OMEN by HP is a well respected brand that can provide a bigger platform to reach out and do this. I like how OMEN has integrated with the esports community in the past year.
di^: Most exciting thing about this partnership with OMEN by HP is doing some great content with them in the future! Not only is it a great way to connect more with the fans, but it's also a great way to help fellow gamers. For example, the OMEN Dojo is an awesome idea. The OMEN Dojo allows professional gamers to help players learn while also interacting more with the viewers. I’m excited to do mine in April!
HP: Esports at the collegiate level in North America is expanding to try and catch up with how big it has become at the pro scene. Assuming it was as competitive as other North American collegiate level sports (basketball, etc.) and came with the scholarship and structure a school athletic program provides, could you have gone that route?
Stixxay: I think I definitely could have gone that route. I even remember having the opportunity towards one of these scholarships around three years ago or so. At the time, going professional was just more feasible since collegiate esports was in its infancy. Nowadays, I do think that having a collegiate scholarship is a lot safer though.
di^: I think the idea of doing something you love that helps you with your future is an amazing thing for esports. I wish that this was a thing when I was in school. It allows you so many more opportunities and opens a lot of doors for your future. I think I could’ve chosen this route and still would have been happy with however it turned out just because it gives you a lot more choices in whatever you want to pursue.
HP: Let’s add to that last question. Assuming the above was in place at the collegiate level; as someone who has already made it to the pro scene, would you suggest current high school graduating gamers to take the college route? Why or why not?
Stixxay: I think that if you have a scholarship towards college, you should always take that route as it’s the safest. There have been a number of pro players who have taken the college scholarship for esports and after a bit of time had an opportunity to play professionally and done that. So even if you go to college on a scholarship, you could still have an opportunity to go pro if you prove yourself.
di^: 100% I suggest someone currently in high school to take the college route. Making it to the professional scene has a very slim chance of happening and is all dependant on how hard you work and how naturally talented you are at a game. Lots of people look up to young players that made it, but the percentage that do is very small. If you can take an esports route into college, not only do you get to do what you love, but also have a backup plan for your future. It gives you the best of both worlds. If the college esports scene grows, it will help you market your value and give you great exposure.
HP: We love that CLG has a focus on female pro gamers as well. What do you think is being done right and wrong when it comes to how the industry supports female esports athletes?
Stixxay: It’s great that female esports athletes have been getting attention in the industry. I think that the female esports players of today will inspire the next generation of female players. It’s something that will take time and increased representation won’t happen overnight, but I believe we’ll get there.
di^: As the years have gone by, the gaming industry has had an influx of female gamers which is awesome and I feel as though the industry has tried to promote female gamers a lot more. There are many more female tournaments, which is a great lead by example to help motivate or influence other females to become more competitive in whatever game they play. Seeing female professional players for me at a young age gave me confidence in my gaming ability and it led to have my job as a professional gamer today. The only issue I have with how the industry portrays female gamers is that they give us a victim card. For example, there’s always an argument on how much prize pool female players receive compared to males or how much a salary a female player makes compared to males. Or how they portray females as a weak victim to the bullying/trolling that happens online daily. All in all, the scene has grown exponentially and it's thriving with more female gamers, which makes me happy knowing the population is getting bigger.
HP: Following up on that question, do you believe we can get to a point where men and women play on the same team? What issues do you believe must be overcome and what are some positive steps to get there?
Stixxay: I think there can be a point where men and women compete on the same team. Obviously if there is a female player that is the best player in the world, then you want her on your team no matter what. For it to be the norm however, I think there needs to be higher female participation in competitive gaming which will take time.
di^: I do believe there is a point where we can have men and women play together. Geguri in Overwatch has already proved that by joining a male Overwatch team. I’m actually such a big fangirl of her, haha. But, for other games I do believe there will be females who can compete at the same level as men; we just haven’t found them yet. The team dynamic needs to be comfortable with having a female on the team and treat them as if it were any other teammate. For example, not being afraid to tell them they did something wrong, or argue that the decision was wrong in that instance, etc. I do believe that maturity level should already be there as a professional gamer, so that should not be an issue. Having the same level of respect for one another is big thing. I think some good ways for us to build a wave of female gamers being able to compete on the same level as men is by having that raw skill and showing everyone that you can hang with the top dogs. Another thing would be having females that aren’t on female teams play with males and see how well they do in the lower divisions. At the end of the day it’s really all about how sick of a player you are in a game not about your gender.
HP: There are many gamers out there who look up to you as a role model. How do you try to be a positive example to them and what advice would you give to those who want to make it in esports?
Stixxay: As for being a positive example to those who follow me, I try and do my best to replicate good behavior and work ethic that others can follow. If you want to make it in esports, you have to be willing to work with a lot of people, be persistent, and never lose confidence in yourself. Work hard and you will be rewarded!
di^: I portray myself how I would want to see myself if I was 15. I always try to make sure the choices I make are a good example of how a professional should act. The only advice I can give to someone who’s striving to do something with esports is to just keep trying and never give up. Don’t let anyone bring you down on your goals in life.
HP: Let’s end things by pretending it’s the year 2030. Where do you see yourself and where do you think esports will be by then?
Stixxay: In 2030, I see myself still working in the esports industry, whether as a player, coach, or staff. I think esports has the potential to be fully mainstream by then, even incorporated into things like ESPN on TV on a daily basis. There’s a good chance for esports to have a lot more diversity in 12 years.
di^: I see myself still participating in some sort of way with esports, whether it be within an organization helping with something or playing games casually. I want esports to be a part of my life for a long time, if not forever, because it’s something I love. I also see esports getting even bigger than actual sports with the way it’s been growing. I think by 2030 we’ll have celebrity esports stars getting recognized down the street.
Thank you both for participating in the OMEN Q&A! As our own Chin Wu put it so well in today’s announcement, “we’re tremendously excited for what CLG is working towards and proud to help them become better athletes, a stronger team, and ultimately the champions we all know they are.” This goes for everyone else as well. You can expect OMEN by HP to continue making investments in esports and the gaming community as a whole. Any of you reading this could be the next Stixxay or di^, and we hope to be a contributing part of your monomyth...and if pro gaming isn’t your goal, we’ll work to make sure you have the best equipment possible to enjoy both competing in and playing your favorite games.
Find out even more by following @OMENbyHP and the hashtag #DominateTheGame
Also, to celebrate our announcement with CLG, we’re giving discounts on various OMEN PCs and displays! Use the codes CLGWIN & OMENCLG as shown within this link until 4/30/2018 or while supplies last.