Fans love it; some even dream of this life, but few know the efforts, struggles, and sacrifices needed to make it.
Working in esports is the dream of many fans, whether as a player, coach, or even a caster. Many see this opportunity to work with games as an easier life, full of joy and happy moments, but not everything in this field is rosy. Many sacrifices are made, and there are sad moments beyond the daily struggles of maintaining performance and improving.
We present two different perspectives from those currently working in esports and gaming, to show how professionals have lives and feelings, just like their fans. It also offers guidance and advice about what it takes to reach the top and the kind of sacrifices players should be prepared to make.
Working in another continent
In Rainbow Six: Siege, it wasn't very common for players and coaches to change regions until the 2020/21 season. Up until that point, the French player Léo "Alphama" Robine’s shift was the biggest example of a regional change. During his time in the EU, Alphama played for Supremacy, LeStream, Giants Gaming and others before embarking on his journey to play in other regions. He joined eUnited in NA, where he played with Soniqs' star player, Pablo "Gryxr" Rebeil. After that, Alphama still sought new horizons, moving to Fnatic, where he participated in two APAC North stages with the team before retiring and becoming an analyst.
But recently, new cases have emerged, and the reigning Six Invitational champions are proof: Brazilian Karl "Alem4o" Zarth and Australian Jake "Virtue" Grannan, both of whom did excellent work for teams in their respective regions, caught the attention of legendary organization, G2, and went on to help the org win their third world title.
Since September 2022, we’ve seen more instances of players moving into new regions: Kaique "Faallz" Moreira and Luiz "Miracle" Abrantes are Brazilians with backgrounds at MIBR and FURIA, respectively, and today they’re players for Team Secret. Adram "nudl" Hryceniak, who played in the last Six Invitational with Heroic, is now part of Geekay, who will compete in their first international tournament at the BLAST R6 Major Atlanta.
During the same period, there was also a region swap between Ben "CTZN" McMillan and William "Spoit" Löfstedt. We try to ascertain how both players fared with swapping regions by taking a closer look at the stats.
In the case of CTZN, a historical player at G2 Esports, with over 2 years on the team, didn't achieve success in international and high-level tournaments. However, he was a prominent figure in the team, standing out in various competitions. He was one of the first players signed during the team's overhaul when the legendary lineup disbanded. His arrival coincided with the departure of Fabian, a historic Rainbow Six player. When he was signed by Soniqs, it was a shock to the competitive scene, with high expectations of winning titles. However, these expectations have not been met, even though the fans still hold out hope. Nevertheless, his performance remains on par with his last year at G2.
As for Spoit, he joined M80 as the star player from KOI, a legendary player who was the MVP of the Six Major Berlin when he played for Rogue. He joined a team that isn't as reliant on an aggressive player, with a well-structured core in the team. This transition made him just one piece in the chess game, without the same level of prominence he had the previous year with Rogue and KOI. However, he has proven to be efficient and valuable to his team.
Both players managed to maintain their technical quality despite changing regions. They adapted to the local playstyle and their new countries, without a significant impact on their climate or professional performance.
As mentioned earlier, Team Secret hired two Brazilians to complete their lineup, but this comes as no surprise. The team's coach, Marlon "Twister" Mello, is also from another region. We spoke with Twister to better understand how the team operates with their diverse lineup. "In general, all my work with Secret has been remote from Brazil." He explains. However, during the preparation period for the championship, he resides in Serbia with three other players - Brazilians Miracle and Faallz and Portuguese player Lucas "Savage" Da Silva.
Traveling and living away from home isn’t a problem for the Brazilian coach. "I've always been a person who enjoys traveling a lot and is extremely adaptable to different environments, so it was very smooth. Serbia also helped because it's not very different from Brazil in many aspects, including food, leisure, and support for our work, which is 'remote' in any case since it's online."
Struggle and setbacks
The player's dedication to achieving their goals is taken to the limit, sometimes requiring them to set aside important aspects of their lives to focus on training. One touching case was that of the Brazilian player André "NESKWGA" Oliveira, who experienced the birth of his first daughter at the same time he had to travel to compete in the Six Major Paris.
In addition to missing important moments, players are also susceptible to injuries. In 2021, the player Felipe "FelipoX" Lucia was playing for MIBR, and, due to a ligament laxity issue, was forced to sit out the team's first match in the second round of BR6. In the second match, the player returned, using a joystick to avoid worsening the injury, as he initially started his Rainbow Six journey on console.
Defeat is a very tough pill to swallow for all players. Thai player Paramin "Onigiri" Suwanwattana deals with it more quietly, saying, "I just deal with it; a loss is a loss, nobody can win every game or forever, and I focus on the next game." For Onigiri, the most difficult losses of their career were: "A loss at SI 2022 and the W7M match at the Berlin Major".
Family and friends' support at the beginning of a player's career is crucial for success, serving as motivation and a support system amidst the challenges the player faces. Onigiri revealed that initially, his family had concerns, but "since then I earned a salary, they started to support me."
Amidst all the challenges and efforts to achieve their dreams, family and friends are rooting for and waiting for their victory. Onigiri also spoke about his reaction after an important positive result: "It's the best feeling you could get. Whether you win or lose, they greet you with a smile and words of support”.