One of India’s first Apex Predators and ex-Call of Duty professional, Shantanu “Aura” Pandey, is now preventing his option to the highest with fellow teammates at LevelZero Esports.

Along along with his teammates Adarsh “Paddox” Verma, Abhishek “YoLo” Rawat, and Shrey “shine’ Verma, Abhishek began LevelZero Esports as India’s high apex Legends roster. Since then, the group has advanced to incorporate a number of esports rosters like Super Smash Bros. and Fifa.

Throneofgadget Esports’ Suryadeepto Sengupta received an opportunity to take a seat down for an unique interview with Mr. Pandey and find out about his early days, LevelZero Esports, and his plans forward.

Here is an excerpt of the dialog

Q. So Shantanu, inform us a bit about your self. What’s life like outdoors taking part in video video games?

Shantanu: I’ve been taking part in video games casually and competitively for greater than eight years now. So, I actually do not have a lot to say about my life outdoors that, however I’m a k-drama maniac who has watched nearly each k-drama on the market. I additionally wish to journey and go on journeys every so often since I’m from a hillside space. I’ve visited many wonderful locations and want to go to extra sooner or later.

Q. Are there every other profession choices you’re looking into aside from focusing your entire time and power on being an esports athlete?

Shantanu: Not actually. I dropped out of faculty to pursue a profession as an esports participant. I’ve beforehand appeared into part-time jobs, however they’re very time-consuming, and time is one factor that flies when you follow to grow to be the perfect.

I joined a university later in Kolkata, the place attendance wasn’t a difficulty to finish my commencement. I spotted over time {that a} minimal qualification does no hurt to anybody, plus all of it fell into place once we didn’t should go to varsity anymore due to COVID norms.

Hopefully, I’ll be a graduate by the subsequent 12 months and stay a full-time esports athlete within the coming years.

Q. What are a few of your earliest gaming recollections, and when did you determine to pursue skilled esports?

Shantanu: I used to play quite a lot of single-player video games rising up. Call of Duty is one in all them. I keep in mind again in 2012 once I was nonetheless new to the web and randomly received a video on my YouTube suggestions explaining find out how to play Call of Duty 4 multiplayer. I watched that, and I believe that was the start of my profession as an esports participant.

Q. How was the scenario again dwelling? Were your dad and mom supportive of your esports profession, or have been they skeptical concerning the viability of the profession?

Shantanu: Definitely not within the early phases once I was nonetheless at school. I imply, again then, even I used to be taking part in video video games only for enjoyable for like eight-to-ten hours day-after-day. I might even bunk faculty every so often simply to play Call of Duty to the purpose the place my mother needed to lock my laptop computer in her closet.

But as I began to grasp and admire the depth of esports, I began taking it significantly. My mother finally started researching about esports on the web herself and realized that it’s really a fairly large factor on this technology.

So, she began supporting me so long as I used to be specializing in my research as properly, which I positively wasn’t. In 2018, I attended a LAN occasion in Chennai, and we got here 2nd, which was a really large achievement for me and my mother. She then knew that I’m 100% invested in changing into an esports participant, so she let me do no matter I wished after my twelfth so long as I used to be having fun with it.

Q. Other than esports, what are among the different genres of the game that you just take pleasure in?

Shantanu: There is not any finish to the listing of video games that I take pleasure in, however just a few video games I take pleasure in greater than others are the Resident evil sequence, RDR2, Tom Clancy’s video games, and most significantly The Witcher 3. I’ve spent greater than 1,500 hours exploring this game, and I can by no means get sufficient of it.

Q. You began as a Call of Duty participant, do inform a bit about your experiences again within the days.

Shantanu: I began taking part in Call of Duty competitively when its skilled scene was nearly to finish. I then randomly went to a TeamSpeak server, the place I approached Paddox. Paddox and I had been taking part in collectively since 2016, and we determined to type a workforce.

We used to have these WhatsApp teams to schedule scrims and had slowly constructed a tremendous neighborhood round us from the place we discovered our present teammates: YOLO and DOXZ3R.

Q. As a former Call of Duty skilled participant, what do you concentrate on the esports perspective of the present Call of Duty video games? Do you assume the yearly launch mannequin hurts the franchise from an esports perspective, or it helps to maintain the formulation contemporary and lively with new content material and additions?

Shantanu: I imply, Call of Duty has all the time been a console game with a giant console esports scene. Even Call of Duty 4 solely had a community-made mod known as “promod” that made a small aggressive scene across the game. Overall, the Call of Duty franchise has all the time been for informal gamers to take pleasure in and for devs to make cash.

Q. When did you determine to modify from Call of Duty to Apex Legends?

Shantanu: I had stop taking part in Call of Duty in early 2018. At that point, I had no intention of going professional in a game as there have been no video games left to play competitively aside from perhaps CS: GO, which I positively wasn’t concerned with taking part in.

So, I used to be taking part in random video games like Overwatch and PUBG whereas planning for my future. Then Apex Legends launched in early 2019, which gave me the massive break that I wanted. I used to be as soon as once more reunited with my ex-teammate Paddox and in a while Yolo to type an expert workforce for Apex.

Q. Do enlighten us about your journey as one in all South Asia’s first Apex Legends Predators?

Shantanu: Apex was the one game after Call of Duty the place it felt like dwelling. I loved taking part in it each single day and would play ranked with my teammates all day.

At first, we thought it could be very easy to get via the ranks and get to Predator, however as we began rating up, we began getting increasingly cheaters in our video games, which was actually irritating.

At one level, we determined simply to cease taking part in ranked for the sake of our psychological well being. We determined to take a break and go to one another for just a few days. So, Paddox and I went to Delhi, the place Yolo was presently residing, simply to relax and luxuriate in for a few days, which was actually refreshing.

It additionally gave us a lift of confidence. We went again to our locations a few days later and began grinding once more. It was actually arduous and irritating, however we overcame all obstacles to grow to be the primary Apex predators from our area.

Q. Who is your favourite champion in Apex Legends, and what’s your reasoning behind selecting that particular champion?

Shantanu: Pathfinder. The principal purpose behind me making an immediate reference to that character from the day I began taking part in is as a result of you’ll be able to play extraordinarily aggressively with him, and I all the time like to remain within the frontline it doesn’t matter what game I play.

Q. What do you concentrate on the long-term sustainability of the Battle Royal style as a main esports choice?

Shantanu: Battle Royal will all the time be some of the enjoyable to play and thrilling genres of video games, but it surely’s principally about who will get the higher loot at first of the game, and I do not assume all that RNG belongs in esports.

Q. Tell us a bit about your early days earlier than LevelZero Esports.

Shantanu: When we began taking part in Apex, we have been making an attempt to method organizations to get signed up as a workforce, however we have been unsuccessful each time. Then we began to appreciate that there is quite a lot of uncared for expertise in our nation ready for a possibility to show themselves. From there, we received the thought of constructing LevelZero Esports.

Q. What’s the workforce dynamic like within the LevelZero Esports Valorant roster?

Shantanu: In the early phases of our progress, it actually wasn’t that nice as a result of not one in all us had a counter strike background, so it was actually arduous for us to adapt to the game as a workforce.

But we have been grinding lots as a workforce and constructing good synergy amongst one another, and it’s beginning to present. The boot camp we’re presently in has been serving to us develop lots as a workforce, and there was important enchancment total. If we are able to preserve this momentum going, I’ve little doubt in my thoughts that we’ll grow to be among the finest groups within the area in a short time.

Q. What was the driving issue behind you switching from Apex Legends to Valorant?

Shantanu: Honestly, as a result of there was no different game to play competitively on the time. I’ve all the time been into fast-paced shooters, however there aren’t actually many video games of that style for me to play.

I used to be actually hyped once I noticed Valorant’s teaser as a result of I believed the game could be just like Overwatch close to gunplay and mechanics, however I used to be severely disillusioned at its launch.

Q. How do you assume Valorant units itself aside from different 5v5 FPS esports reminiscent of Call of Duty or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?

Shantanu: Valorant is a mixture of Overwatch and Counter-Strike by way of skills and game mechanics, respectively. On the opposite hand, Call of Duty is a really totally different game from each Counter-Strike and Overwatch by way of mechanics.

Valorant is a really new idea, which is particularly made as a aggressive esports game created by wonderful builders who hearken to the neighborhood and convey vital adjustments and content material to the game every so often to maintain the game contemporary and alive.

Q. Where do you see the game within the upcoming years?

Shantanu: It will simply grow to be one of many high esports video games as quickly as LAN occasions begin taking place once more.

Q. Who is your favourite Valorant esports participant?

Shantanu: It was surely BRAX (beforehand performed for T1), however he is presently not taking part in in any workforce. I presently take pleasure in watching Envy Victor lots as he has a really related play fashion to mine, and I get to be taught lots from watching him play in tournaments and streams.

Q. Let’s switchgear and focus on the Indian Esports Community. How do you assume it units itself aside from different overseas communities?

Shantanu: The Indian esports neighborhood remains to be within the making in comparison with NA and EU. We are very small, however we’ve got numerous hidden expertise in our nation, which I’m certain could be introduced out via Valorant.

But, even when we’re smaller in comparison with them, I suppose we nonetheless handle to have the identical quantity of toxicity as them or much more. I really feel just like the individuals in our neighborhood are very narrow-minded and really feel like they’re superior to everybody, which positively isn’t the appropriate mindset for something in life.

Q. Do you assume within the close to future Indian Gaming Community might be competing on the similar degree because the NA or EU esports neighborhood?

Shantanu: It will take a long time for that to occur because the dad and mom of our present technology haven’t been launched to issues like esports and aggressive gaming. Hence, it’s actually arduous for the present technology to attempt to make a profession out of it. However, it’s positively doable.

Q. Where do you see your self and LevelZero 5 years down the road?

Shantanu: Dominating on no matter game I’m taking part in at the moment with Levelzero in entrance of my title.

Q. And lastly, your high 3 suggestions for a budding esports participant?

Shantanu: 1- Focus on the grind. Find gamers with an analogous mindset to yours and type a workforce with them. It’s very easy to search out individuals to play with as of late due to discord.

2- Don’t enhance your ego by believing you’re the finest after getting a small match win. There will all the time be somebody higher than you on the market, so preserve grinding till you compete and win on the highest degree of the game.

3- Keep your socials lively. Social media is without doubt one of the finest issues about our technology. Post clips on Instagram and Twitter, and actively make small montages. Create YouTube content material and reside stream every time you will have free time.

Published 06 Apr 2021, 01:09 IST

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