Interview: Heaton


Do you think there are too many tournaments at the moment?

H: I think the stage CS:GO is in at the moment there aren’t too many tournaments but they’re too disorganised and in such a short time-span. We have Epicenter, ESL Pro League finals in Brazil and then IEM Oakland, and it’s too compact.

Teams don’t have time to practice and prepare for new tournaments so it won’t be the highest level of Counterstrike.

In my opinion it feels dragged out with so many tournaments in a row. Overall there aren’t too many or too few tournaments, they just need to be more evenly spread out.

How do teams deal with the schedule pile-up? Do teams have to pick and choose their tournaments?

H: I mean as a team we have to choose what tournaments we want to go to.

The secure ones you have are the Valve majors, ESL Pro League finals and FaceIt finals. The rest, it’s kind of open to which ones you want to go, which you get invited to, and which tournaments fit your own schedule.

In my opinion we need WESA [World Esports Association] to step forward and talk with tournament organisers to create a better schedule that fits the players and fans.

It’s getting better but it’s still like the Wild West out there.

How does this affect different tier teams? Doesn’t more tournaments mean more chance for smaller or semi-pro teams?

H: I don’t really see it being a good thing for top-level teams having lots of tournaments. I think it’s actually a negative thing because you can’t focus on your own game and develop new playing styles from tournament to tournament.

For up-and-coming teams it’s obviously a great chance for them to play against the top-tier teams who haven’t prepared as much as they have going into the tournament, so they have a better chance to cause an upset.

Being paid to travel and play Counterstrike sound great, but what toll does it take on the players?

H: Being on the road that many weeks in a row and focusing on tournament after tournament takes a huge toll on the players. They have to travel for months straight and sleep in hotel rooms.

Obviously it’s a good thing at the start and everyone says: ‘How can it be a bad thing?’ But when you’ve done it as many years as some of the players have, it starts to get in the way.

I would like to see tournaments more spread out so the players can have a well-functioning life outside of the game”.

Do you think some kind of enforced break or rest period is needed?

H: The players are human like the rest of us, so obviously they need some sort of break sometime during the year.

Back when I was playing, and up until last year, it was kind of impossible to schedule a break.

You could go two to three years in a row without taking a break from the game. You need to have a little bit of a break to get the glow and motivation back when you’re going into a tournament.

It’s necessary for the greater good of the game.

Someone has to take control of this situation, right?

H: What I would like to see improved with organising tournaments is WESA taking charge. If necessary, teams could boycott tournaments that don’t have the best interests of the players and community at heart.

We don’t need a tournament every week, we want one or two a month. That way you can build some hype for it and teams can put more effort into practicing and we can see the highest level of Counterstrike possible.

The bottom line that is we watch Counterstrike to see the best players and teams compete. I think someone needs to take control and have more structure, and if tournament organizers don’t agree then perhaps the top teams shouldn’t attend.