WoW is out, Overwatch is in – at least at the Finnish professional player Joona “Fragi” Laine. The former WoW player who, with the well-known Paragon guild, has all sorts of world-first boss skills in the endgame of World of Warcraft ( buy now for 8,74 € ) has become a member of the Overwatch League team Philadelphia Fusion. From the cool north we went to the US, right up in the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California. That’s where we met Fragi and teased him with some questions. How was it then as a WoW professional and how does that differ from your current Overwatch everyday? How did you come to Philadelphia Fusion and why should the German Esport fans, who do not find a representative of their nationality in the League, just cheer on Philadelphia? And do you have World of Warcraft: Legion actually worth a look? Take a look at what we asked Fragi – and what answers we could elicit from him.
Joona “Fragi” Laine mainly fights tanks when it comes down to his team Philadelphia Fusion in the Overwatch League.
buffed: How do you get to World of Warcraft and Dota 2 to Overwatch? Joona “Fragi” Laine: When Overwatch was announced, I was still playing at Paragon; that was at the time Blizzcon 2014. The closed beta started in October or November 2015. About Paragon we got keys for the closed beta at that time and then I played Overwatch for the first time. buffed: You liked that so much that you kept playing? Because maybe it was more interesting than World of Warcraft? fragi: Back then we had problems with the Paragon roster anyway. So I decided to switch to Overwatch. buffed: How do you see as a professional player the differences between these two games, so Overwatch and World of Warcraft? You play at a very high level, not just Overwatch, but already WoW at the time. fragi: Of course there are big differences between the two games. In World of Warcraft you play with five groups, in Overwatch there are six players per team. But what is the same in both games: you need a good and pleasant atmosphere in the team in Overwatch as well as in your guild in World of Warcraft. On the other hand, Overwatch demands much faster responses and communications with your teammates. buffed: Do you sometimes think back to the good old WoW times or are you completely in Overwatch now? fragi: Well, I do not even think back to the times back then. I’m the kind of person who puts everything in one thing and focuses on it, in my case on Overwatch. I did not even have much interest in somehow banging on Legion. For me, World of Warcraft is in the past and it stays that way.
buffed: What’s your daily routine as an Overwatch professional and how does it differ from what you used to do for World of Warcraft? fragi: These days, of course, everything is more pressure, because at that time, I was not paid to play World of Warcraft. I have a schedule I have to adhere to, there are training games with the entire team and individual exercises for each one. In WoW, the whole thing was a lot more casual and “casual”, because we sat down every half a year for two weeks and prepared. Currently I feel like I said much more pressure. buffed: Are you training here in Los Angeles because most of the Overwatch League games are played here in the Blizzard Arena, or are you actually sitting elsewhere practicing hard? fragi: I think all the teams around here have a way to train, but we from Philadelphia Fusion and a few others are training in their own house. Of course this is much more comfortable and practical for us if we can play in a familiar environment.
The Overwatch League is one of the larger Esport events.
buffed: Where you already mentioned it, what exactly has made you decide to sign a contract with Philadelphia Fusion as a European Pro Player? Were you the first to ask, or did you approach the boss? fragi: This is mainly because Philadelphia Fusion has shown the most interest in the European esports scene. I think many of the other teams simply “overlooked” Europe’s talented players. Our Head Coach Kirby (Yann Luu, Editor) and our Assistant Coach Hayes (Elliot Hayes, Editor) both come from Europe, so of course they have a glimpse of what talents there are to let. That’s why I came to Philadelphia Fusion in a very natural way, and that’s why Philadelphia Fusion is probably the team in the Overwatch League with the most European players. buffed: The Overwatch League is already one of the bigger Esport events. Do you think that sometime comes the time in which Esport is considered a “real” sport? fragi: Esports are, in my opinion, still a long way from being considered and accepted as a real “thing” by the general public, especially older students. But now there’s much more media attention. I think in five years or so, esports will be a bigger thing. Maybe not as big as the NFL in the US, but probably Esports will be able to compete with the less popular sports. I can already imagine that Esports gain attention in the near future. buffed: After Philadelphia Fusion had a rough start in the current Overwatch League season, things went a lot better in the second phase. What do you think, which teams are favorites and where do you see your own? fragi: New York Excelsior plays quite consistent – and London Spitfire is also intimidating. For example, I am convinced that Philadelphia Fusion, for example, can come straight to the bottom in the third phase. Towards the finals and the playoffs, I think it all depends on what kind of day the team has. Philadelphia has to look that we play quite consistent, and then decides the day shape.
buffed: Why should German fans cheer on your team? We have a large selection, because there are no German players in the Overwatch League. This is your moment to do some advertising! fragi: True, there are no German players at all … We have the most players from Europe and we also have the best Reinhardt player in the league … I just do not know where he is … (laughs) that is after all, the only German hero. I think these are two pretty striking arguments! buffed: Thank you for your time and good luck with the upcoming games!
03:25 Overwatch League: Blizzard’s eSport league featured in the video
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