Enemy Down News
Cadred's Corin Cole has won the Journo Award 2009 at GamesCom in Cologne .. read more
Team Dignitas took a tough two map lose from Reason Gaming .. read more
Crack have taken out TCM, Dignitas face Reason in CSS Premiership Finals .. read more
CSS and TF2 have started in London in the UKeSA .. read more
Dignitas have secured a spot in the CoD4 PC Final after a narrow win over the ButtonBashers .. read more
Sens crushes Motown in Dell XPS Premiership Grand Final, Klash comes third .. read more
Dignitas are 1.6 Champs and in FIFA 09, Sensation beats Huge 4-2 .. read more
Infused Ben has won the Championship and the Jakal has taken the Alienware Cup in FIFA 09 on the 360 .. read more
A Console Clans Evolution - Part 2
Posted by Dekko on Jan 30th 2009 11:27
Hello folks, it’s time to emerge again into that dark, eerie world of the console clan with that best of the scenes exponents, none other than TV starlets and all round eye pokers; Betamaxx! We talk with three teammates who all travelled to the last XL event, including clan leader and chicken fiddler ‘Phattpantz’ (known in the daylight hours when not in full Batman costume as Wayne Morgan).
Chatting as well is ‘PDH’ founder member and 1998 runner up in Poland’s annual 500 mile pigeon race (also known by a small tribal community in Indonesia as Paul Haskett).
Last but not least we have’ Malcra’, sky diving, morphine injecting between the toes, Coco Pops eating mad man of the clan (rumoured to be known by some homeless drunks outside Kings Cross as Craig Mallows).
This interview is the second part of a two part article about how a console clan competes, how they find out about the clan gaming scene and their evolution from amateur to semi-pro and upwards yet. Read on for a look into Betamaxx’s thinking on the importance of LAN, their experiences of XL and what clans they admire. Their attitude is upbeat, confident and brims with respect and passion for their community, a key word for the clan it would seem. Read on, if you dare...
Enemy Down: How important do you think LAN events are, compared to on-line, for competitive gaming & a clan’s development?
PDH: I think LAN events are very important! It’s a different environment, no lag for a start and then the added pressure of spectators, but ultimately LAN is where you get noticed as a team/clan
MALCRA: As far as competitive gaming goes LAN events give clans the opportunity to meet up and not just be a voice over LIVE, also they give clans the opportunity to get there name out there and seen and mix it up with the pro's and both, I feel, are important to the development of new clans and ongoing for those established clans.
PHATTPANTZ: It goes without saying LAN is what its all about, I've played thousands of hours of online and competed at LAN a few times now and when you’re sat with your team and across the table is who you’re playing it’s a different game than the comfort of your home and the only way to get used to it is to attend as many as possible.
Enemy Down: What was the first LAN event you went to, individually & as a part of a clan?
PDH: First LAN I attended was ‘XL 3’ I think at the NEC, four of us attended as a team.
MALCRA: ‘XL 3’ was the first event I attended and this was a Betamaxx member.
PHATTPANTZ: ‘XL 3’ was the first event.
Enemy Down: So ‘XL 3’ broke all of your LAN cherries & as a team too. What Betamaxx members attended?
PDH: It was PDH (me) as well as BTMX Phattpantz, BTMX Malcra & BTMX Technobaby.
MALCRA: Langley also attended as coach, we hit the ground running in the first round of our first game and held our own but in the following two rounds things didn't go our way and ended up with a 2 – 1 first round loss.
Enemy Down: What games did you play there?
PHATTPANTZ: We competed in Halo 3 4v4 and the FFA.
Enemy Down: What were your initial impressions?
PDH: Tough. Very tough and a little embarrassing if I'm honest, we were no where near ready (laughs). We all thought we were pretty good in online matchmaking and had reasonable ranks but the teams we played were streets ahead of us!
MALCRA: Things didn't go exactly as planned but it was a learning curve and made me realise that to compete at that level I needed to step up my game.
I did expect to see more involvement from the gaming industry though, I thought there would be more developers and publishers represented and maybe even Microsoft themselves.
PHATTPANTZ: (We were) terrible! We need to train harder and think about strategies.
I thought the set up was great though and to cram so many people into one place that shared the same interests as me was fantastic, however watching the top players warm up I think we all could sense we were well out of our depth at this event.
Enemy Down: Seeing as your first LAN experience was XL do you see it now as an integral part of your clan’s agenda & is it a big part of your clan calendar?
PDH: Definitely! Going forward as a clan we want to be represented at every XL we can, we want the exposure for our clan and XL is the place to be seen.
MALCRA: As far as I am aware XL is the premium event for 360 gamers in the UK at the moment, so as long as that's the case and after many conversations with ''Phattpantz'', yes I think XL will continue to be part of the Betamaxx agenda until something, if anything, better comes along.
PHATTPANTZ: Yes I do, it's an event that’s central in the UK so most players can attend, our focus this year is XL events and trying to get a team at every event on all the main games may yet prove to be a challenge in itself.
Enemy Down: How did the pro clans treat an up & coming clan?
PDH: We didn't really get to speak too many of them, we were aware of the top teams and enjoyed watching their games but all in all a positive experience.
MALCRA: They were OK actually; some of them had played against us on-line and knew we could hold our own, so a healthy respect had already been established.
PHATTPANTZ: We didn't really talk to many people at the first event but after playing against some in some online leagues after they all seem willing to help you improve your game if you’re prepared to listen to what they have to say.
Enemy Down: In an event such as XL nerves must take their toll, how do you try & overcome them? Is it an individual thing or a team effort?
PDH: It’s completely different to playing in the comfort of your own home. I think my team mates would agree that playing at LAN was pretty nerve racking, I am impressed with how Dignitas or similar teams cope with the crowds they attract.
MALCRA: I think its a bit of both, I personally do internalize to some extent and I think the other guys might too, however it is a massive boost to have your mates with you, the four of us do get on well and have known each other for a while via avenues other than gaming, work, school, family and so on, so having a laugh with your mates will always help with any pre games jitters.
PHATTPANTZ: I didn't think it would bother me if I'm honest so I just picked up my joypad and started to play and realised I might as well have been playing with my hands tied together. It was horrible for the first few minutes and then you have to get your head around it and fast, as it’s so competitive.
You also have to be prepared in the heat of the moment for some smack talk coming over at your team, if you’re not on your game and you can’t handle that you will get crushed, so the more you can try and get in your head what’s going on and settle down the better you will play.
We have not been lucky enough to compete for top money but I don’t even want to think what its like for the pro's to be in the final & knowing one team is going to walk with £5000, the pressure must be insane and all credit to any team that gets into that situation and can hold strong.
One man can’t do it, you all have to do it and communicate. A break in the team’s communication and support well you might as well unplug now and walk away.
Enemy Down: Now you’ve competed, what have you learned from the experience for next time?
PDH: Train harder, train longer and never under estimate any team or player.
MALCRA: Practice, Practice, Practice!! After competing at two XL LAN events I have realised that the level of competition is extremely high and the only way to even come close is to keep playing and to keep playing with the team you intend to enter, this sounds obvious, but you could be top of the leader board in every game you play at home on your own but playing in a smaller team working towards the same objective needs a different strategy than just racking up frag's and also communication is paramount.
PHATTPANTZ: Communication is so important, it’s loud at events and shouting out strats to players is not always possible, people miss hear or don’t hear anything at all, so we have now invested in some headsets.
Practice sounds like a no brainer but any spare minute must be used, and also stick with the team you pick, don’t sub, work through problems if you can and help each other.
Relax, don’t work yourself up about anything if you loose your round you loose don’t get hung up on it there are more important things to worry about and always congratulate the winners.
Enemy Down: That all sounds like great advice for anyone starting out. Do you feel that competitive console gaming is as well represented as PC gaming in Europe today?
PDH: I don’t think it is no. For me XL is the only major LAN event I am conscious of, But Konspiracy has got it nailed though. He has the venue, he has the kit he has the motivation and he has the prizes/sponsorship to make the events popular.
MALCRA: To be honest I think both platforms are on a par in Europe, You don't hear much about ether if you’re not into the scene!
PHATTPANTZ: My opinion is the console gaming scene is the 360 gaming scene, I'm not aware of PS3 or Wii doing well in a competitive sense, XL represents the 360’s competitive scene in the UK at a top quality and the difference Konspiracy has done since my first event at ‘XL 3’ and my latest event at ‘XL 6’, well, its a different event all together now, a much more professional set up and to be honest three very important dates a year for my gaming now.
Comparing it to PC gaming I don’t think we have the same level of events, only recently have I looked into PC gaming and there seems to be an event very other weekend but not on a large scale all the time so I think to compare them is wrong as its two completely different set ups and both seem to building strength with UK Gaming and that can only lead to a good thing.
Enemy Down: What do you think could help the console gaming scene to develop?
PDH: It’s up to the community to support these events, if there is a demand for console LAN events then people will take the time to organize them. The community is crucial. At XL in November for example it was touch and go whether there was going to be a COD4 event as the sign ups were so low.
MALCRA: I think the UKeSA will be instrumental in bringing e-Sports into a more pubic light in the UK, or at least I hope it will.
Enemy Down: What impact do you think the UK e-Sports Association (UKeSA) will have on competitive gaming & how it is viewed in the UK?
PDH: It could be very successful, but only if the gaming community gets behind it and utilizes everything that it promises and offers.
MALCRA: I hope that UKeSA will give the e-Sports scene a distinct structure and a credibility that people not into gaming can understand and maybe dissolve some of the stigma surrounding gamers and the events they attend.
PHATTPANTZ: How is it viewed in the UK? That’s a difficult one to answer so soon! I know it’s caused a lot of hype and with the news of £35,000 up for grabs you can’t help but welcome it with open arms, but until all the T&C's are clear of how it will work we can only look forward to what they might bring to the table. So far so good with what they have said and I cant wait to get started in the events but one thing I would like to stress is that they’re keeping us well informed with information at least once a week, they need to keep this up and keep all the players updated as much as possible.
Enemy Down: How hard is it keeping a console clan together while keeping it active in the scene & how do you see the role of events such as XL in a clan’s development?
PDH: Well with www.betamaxx.co.uk we set out to create a clan, following Phattpantz’s original vision that’s what we worked towards, we spread the word and spammed the other forums out there. We recruited some great people and some of them have made the clan their home. I think we have earned the respect of other clans out there for being a friendly clan with a mature attitude and we welcome everybody to join us. But getting people to LANS has proved difficult.
MALCRA: I don't think its been that hard keeping the core members of Betamaxx together, from the early days members such as myself, Technobaby, Oda Bling, Langley, Fud2Fud ( to name just a few ) and of course ''Phatty'' and PDH have all been regularly active and still are active under the Betamaxx banner over two years later.
Events like XL can only consolidate a clans members, you get to meet the people you have been gaming with for ages but never been able to put a face to the Gamertag and together you share in any ups or downs the event throws at you.
PHATTPANTZ: You have to keep things fresh, if you want to keep that community together and your teams in order, we have just done a whole new launch of the teams website this was a gamble as we had to take the forums down while we did this and they were down for 3 weeks but the community we have still arranged games and still kept in touch and when the forums and new site went back up we got all the members coming back.
Enemy Down: Have you had many member problems?
PDH: In relation to competing as a clan at LAN events we have always found it hard to get players to commit to attending but it’s completely understandable in most cases. Phattpantz and I both fully appreciate how difficult it can be to get to LAN events.
You have to consider entry fees, travel costs and location, plus you may need accommodation.
Younger players may need parental guidance/permission, there are many factors and as a clan we are looking at ways to make the whole process as easy as possible for the people who want to play at LAN and represent Betamaxx. We don’t have the resources to sponsor players/teams yet, we need sponsorship but to get that we need to perform at major events.
PHATTPANTZ: We don’t have many member problems but we do have a few that shall remain unnamed that cause some problems and this is why LAN can help, on the internet anyone is who they want to be where as at LAN you cant escape who you are so lots of genuine players play LAN and all get on fine but you do get the odd one, you can normally tell one within a few days and they then get dealt with depending on how bad it is, being the front man at BETAMAXX I tend to find these people want an online fight if they can get one so yeah being at the front of a clan you put yourself up for some abuse and you do get the odd message that makes you scratch your head about people.
I tend to try and steer it away from the players and take the brunt of it rather than take it public, you don’t know what issues the other person has had so you have to keep face and just deal with it the best way you can without causing World War 3.
Enemy Down: A lot of clans seem to suffer from what I call ‘Rolling Stone Syndrome’ where they have trouble keeping hold of talented members who have a habit of both lone gunning in a game & flitting from clan to clan, joining whoever is currently top & not actually sticking & working. Do you find this & how do you combat it?
PDH: We want to avoid this problem by recruiting people with the right attitude, we don’t want people who are NOT team players, I hope we can offer everyone a place where they want to stay and be part of a community and an up & coming team.
MALCRA: We have had members come and go and there are a number of reasons why, some have left due to time constraints and changes to there life style but we have had a few that have been asked leave due to behavior that the community wont tolerate but these have actually been very very few compared to the number of people registered on the site, a community such as Betamaxx can only add value to your gaming experience and most members don't wont to be told they can longer be a part of that.
PHATTPANTZ: Again you do get some clan rollers but normally after day two they’re off on another clans site, by then anyway lol its not really been a problem, but then again we don’t just say yes to someone who says they’re amazing and are the best player in the world, we first ask them to prove it and most jumpers don’t like having their bluff called.
Enemy Down: From your experience & history, including your recent trip to XL, can you name any clans that you admire?
PDH: Any clan that can stay together, win together and lose together as a team gets my admiration.
MALCRA: At XL6 a clan from France came to compete, TnR is the clan, these guys had not only gone to all the trouble of attending an event held in a different country but also played very well. I saw them play in the Gears of War 4v4 and I came in as TnR were 2 nil down and taking a bit of a verbal beating from a very confident member of the opposing team, I think the thing I admired about them was that they did not let their heads go down, and despite the score line and the verbal assault they came back to win the game and knock the other team out, and did so without responding in kind to the trash talk. I like that they let there game do to the talking!
PHATTPANTZ: For me it has to be Dignitas. Its a combination of learning about the gaming scene and seeing the Dignitas logo all over that made me realise something was there for teams in gaming, I then learned about 360 online leagues and the XL event so decided to have a go, Dignitas have moved into console gaming and all the players are top quality as well and I've got to know a few who always seem willing to help from different games.
They have helped to structure UK gaming and bringing in sponsorship deals to console which can only help more sponsors invest in other teams.
Thanks to Betamaxx for sharing their views and worthy opinion. Betamaxx can be seen at i36 in April as well as most LAN events the UK cares to host.
The clan is currently looking for full sponsorship and with Phattpantz’s determination and drive for his team, as well as the clan’s strong sense of the importance of community within gaming we can wish them nothing but the best.
Check out www.betamaxx.co.uk for more details.
All at Enemy Down look forward to seeing one big ambition from Phattpantz, the Don Corleone of Gaming’s catalogue being fulfilled, that of getting the clan’s logo up as a download on the Xbox 360’s Marketplace.
Keep your eyes pilled as I don’t think they’ll be waiting long…
Part 1 of this 2 part interview can be found here.