In the second part of BLIX.GG’s interview with FaZe Clan GC’s IGL Diane “di^” Tran, she covers how exactly she was signed by the org and reflects on her Counter-Strike career after moving to Valorant, as well as offering her view on the current state of the women’s competitive FPS scene.
Catch up on the first part of the interview here.
Getting signed by FaZe Clan
BLIX: I want to talk about how this lineup caught the attention of FaZe. What is the story behind that move?
Diane “di^” Tran: We were actually assigned with a different org at the time and props to our agent Derek for getting the whole deal for us. We were assigned to a different org and eventually that org was like, "Hey, FaZe was actually interested in your contracts," and we were like, "Let's f****ng go! FaZe is super interested in our team," and it kind of just fell in place after that.
BLIX: Was there any surprise or amazement from your family about joining this sort of team which is vastly different from your past teams throughout your career?
di^: I think they're fairly surprised. I think, if anything, they're very super stoked because my family is full of gamers too so they obviously know all the big-tier orgs like FaZe and 100 Thieves. I think they were all kind of excited once I told them. I was like, "Okay, here's an announcement. I joined FaZe," and they were like, "Oh s**t, okay."
BLIX: They actually said something like that?
di^: My brothers did. My family is a whole bunch of gamers but they were super stoked. They were like, "Oh my god this is cool."
BLIX: Does your family also play CS like you or FPS games?
di^: My brothers play a bunch of games. They definitely do play FPS--not necessarily CS but they do play Arma. Honestly, they just play everything.
Looking ahead to 2023 season and looking back at career
BLIX: Taking a look at the upcoming season, you're going to be part of a very stacked North America in the Game Changers level. While I understand that you guys have not played in a while against the rest of the region, but how do you think this team stacks up against the rest of NA this season?
di^: Right now, for me and the team, we're gunning for that number one spot so no matter what team we play, we're going in with extreme confidence and just knowing we're just better. And this isn't even to be egotistical or anything like that, but it's just more so we're going in there confidently.
BLIX: As someone who has transitioned to Valorant from CS after playing in the latter for nearly a decade, I'm curious as to how you reflect on your time in CS. Has there been any moment in which you felt you could have done better? Have there been any regrets so far as your time in CS went?
di^: With the last couple tournaments I played in CS, I wish I would have ended it with being on top, but going from our year in 2019 until then, for me, I was proud of what we accomplished as a squad. I think my biggest regret is just not winning all the last couple tournaments I played in CS and then moving on over here.
BLIX: What is your fondest memory in your CS career?
di^: I think my fondest memory was probably [the] 2019 Copenhagen Games. I will forever memorize that winning moment. We had just won WESG [2018 Female] but everybody was playing for their countries. For us, we were obviously, USA. There was Russia and Canada so everybody was playing for their countries and not their actual roster because everybody has mixed rosters. WESG was a good win but it didn't feel like a win win because we didn't have Goosebreeder and we didn't have our full roster. We weren't playing other full rosters. I think Copenhagen was our first tournament where we won as a five and it never felt better for me. We had so much prep work and so many scrims going on prior to that that the tournament felt so rewarding to win. It was just like that, like 15 seconds of adrenaline rush where we won the round and it was GG. It just felt good.
Credit: Copenhagen Games
BLIX: How do you view women's CS at its current state given that it's been helped by the presence of the Impact League? Also, how much bigger do you think it has been compared to the past?
di^: I would like to think that there was actually more CS gamers back in the day but for me, I thimore so exciting seeing all these orgs pick up these teams and have a good support system for all these female teams because back then, there was maybe a handful of orgs that were actually giving these female players a salary and all that stuff to focus on CS. I think the current state of it with how Impact is going with all these orgs putting money into it, I think it's going really well regardless of how small the population is.
BLIX: A few days have passed and there's been plenty of new orgs coming into the women's FPS scene. Frankly, it might be the most activity we've seen in the history of women's CS. What does that tell you about the support given to the women's FPS scene in general, not just CS or Valorant?
di^: I think it's f****ng awesome. I love the direction that this is going with female gaming because it's always been there but it's never been given the full support of a lot of orgs--or a lot of the esports scene in general. Right now, where the direction is heading, with all this insane support and all the money being poured into it, I think this it's so important. With this generation of gaming and how you can go to college fully sponsored by stuff like that, that's insane. If I was in college right now, I'd be taking that s**t 100% because I get to play video games and get paid to go to college.
I would have loved that 10 years ago and now, with how big esports is getting, there's just so many more opportunities for people to try. This will also look to build the female scene as the years go on. I can definitely see a 13-year-old down the road going "I'm gonna go to esports and start competing. I'm gonna go to college and start getting myself a gaming scholarship." To me, that is so cool. You could not have said that 10 years ago.
BLIX: How far or close do you think women are from reaching that same level of respectability as men when it comes to esports?
di^: I think there's always going to be a hurdle no matter what just because there's always that stigma of female gamers. It's getting better because, honestly, I haven't gotten that problem at all since I switched over to Valorant. I don't think I've ever been in a game where someone's like, "Oh my God a female." That's never been a struggle. I can't talk because I haven't faced it myself in lower ranks or something like that, but it's still a big hurdle. At the end of the day, females and males are in two different leagues. I'm not necessarily saying that females are worse. I have yet to see a female be able to compete in Tier-1.
And who knows? Down the line, once that female-male population ratio is different, then we probably will be able to see one because, regardless, even in the male ratio population, it's so hard for males to be Tier-1 in general, right? With females having a lower population, it's way more difficult to find that diamond in the rough where they can compete in Tier-1. With the growth of how female esports is going, you can definitely find one in a couple of years maybe, but for now, I think there's always just going to be that big difference.
BLIX: When it comes to looking at the progression of women's esports through the help of CS and Valorant, not to mention how your career has played out, how do you view your contribution to women's esports through your career?
di^: I've hope I've reached the right audience because once someone sees you as a role model--and it's probably because they see themselves in you--that's able to do what you want to do as a dream, then I think that's enough for me and I think I've hopefully reached enough females in general to give them that push to be like "if I can do it, you can do it too."
BLIX: There's autobiographies of people and they would describe different parts of their lives as chapters. What would be the title of the chapter about your transition to Valorant?
di^: I would put it down as a new chapter in my life because it's a completely new game. It's kind of an exciting one because I left CLG in CS, which was my comfort zone, and I think, for me, this is a whole new adventure that I'm taking that's really scary to me but also very rewarding if our team wins.That's the most rewarding thing because as a competitor that's always what you want. You want to be number one and if you're not number one, then you've last. For me, it's the most scariest, but funnest adventure.