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Local Legend - Chatting with Aaron ‘ChuChuZ’ Bland from Legacy eSports
Post by Crash @ 01:53pm 31/03/15 | Comments
Aaron 'ChuCuZ' Bland is a young competitive League of Legends player who is one of the top Oceanic Pro Players. Read on for what he had to say about eSports in Australia, competing on the big stage and much, much more...

AusGamers: You’ve been playing League of Legends for quite some time but how did you get started in this particular game and what was it that kept you around.

Aaron Bland: So originally I was a DotA player at the time. I played a lot of DotA through my final years of primary school and one of my friends eventually introduced me into this new game. I saw the advertisements everywhere for League of Legends, so I installed it and when I played my first game with my friends I just absolutely loved it. Honestly I chose it over DotA just because I felt that there was a lot more in that game which was more attractable to me.

AusGamers: So with DotA and League of Legends were they your first steps into the world of video games or did you grow up always playing them?

Aaron: Yeah I’ve been gaming for a very long time; I think the first game I played was Age of Mythology. I grew up playing on the PlayStation a lot and then eventually I moved over to the PC. MOBAs are the main thing that I’m into these days though.

AusGamers: Riot now has a big presence here in Australia since they opened up their new office in Sydney, how has that affected the professional players and the local community?

Aaron: Riot setting up in Australia has been awesome; they have done so much for us so far. I think having a group of people within a local office makes it a lot easier for them to communicate with our local community here. With them setting up here it gives us – the players - the opportunity to speak to them about what we are thinking and what we would like to see. It really helps in trying to build the local scene, especially in underdeveloped eSports regions like Australia. Riot have just been so helpful, it’s been really good so far having them here.

AusGamers: In addition to them setting up locally players now have the opportunity to compete in official local leagues. What has the experience been like so far with the Oceanic Pro League?

Aaron: People call it the mini LCS (League of Legends Championship Series); LCS is what the Europe and North America professional scene is called. We’ve never had something like it in Australia so it’s been awesome because we are constantly practicing and it gives us more time to play games. Teams practice so much now because they want to be ready for that next match. I think what they are doing is a really smart idea, which is to build the skill level of the region.

AusGamers: So just expanding on that a little I guess in eSports Australia is usually considered a bit more of a lower level tier in the competitive scenes. I think because geographically we are so far away it can be hard for us to play good teams in other regions. Without having local teams just flat out move to a different country to compete do you see this changing at all or are we kind of restricted because of our location and the way technology currently works?

Aaron: Within my team we’ve always talked about this. We are such an isolated region and it’s very difficult for us, like, we can’t even fight any other region because the ping is just too high. We are pretty much our own little region and we – all the teams - have to help each other build. I think Australia is definitely getting better, we have one international tournament coming up and that’s going to show how much we have grown. So I think that is a good way to see where our region stands amongst all the others.

AusGamers: You’ve only just begun your professional career in eSports, but as a competitive player the career span is not very long – you kind of hit the mid 20’s and that’s usually about it for most people. Even though you’re just getting started have you thought about what you might like to do afterwards whether it is still in eSports or something entirely different?

Aaron: So this is my first year at university and obviously I have been thinking about what I would like to do afterwards. I’ve been in eSports for about a year now and I’ve loved it so much. I managed to do it in my last year of high school right through my exams and that was pretty interesting - when you have to talk to your teachers about having to go to Germany for a week to play a video game. I would really like to do something in the future within eSports but I haven’t put too much thought about where exactly yet. I’m currently doing a bachelor in communication, which is a fairly broad subject but that gives me a lot of options once I finish.

AusGamers: Obviously these types of games are very team focused and you need to have a lot of communication. Do you think doing that course could also help you within the game and as a team?

Aaron: Yeah it’s funny, I’ve been at uni for about 4 weeks now and the amount of things which are so relatable to being in this team – it’s just insane. Bachelor of communications talks a lot about what people are thinking, and within a team communication is probably the most paramount aspect when it comes to playing a game like League of Legends. It has definitely helped so far in resolving problems, issues, anything that’s come up really – it’s been really helpful.

AusGamers: In major sports, for example in Basketball, you have spectators or fans who watch a team. It’s usually because they have some association to that team whether it is their local home team or maybe they follow a specific player who’s on that team. In eSports the way players move around quite a bit between different teams can be fairly jarring for a lot of people because sometimes fans can’t keep track of who’s coming or going within the scene. Being amongst the professional players do you see any ways of addressing that or is it not much of a problem?

Aaron: That’s a really good question for our region in particular because were so small. It’s been very difficult for people to find a reason to dedicate more time to playing this game. With Riot setting up the Oceanic Pro League it’s given players especially that reason to dedicate that time. So one of the biggest issues that we saw was players just kept on moving, for example if a team just wasn’t doing well then they would move players in and out of rotation. That’s just the way things were working. Now there’s a constant tournament of games being played every week and players are being more dedicated to stick towards the same 4 other members. It allows them to go through some of their issues and problems which in the end builds them up into a stronger team.

AusGamers: So setting some focus onto League of Legends, some big updates have been made recently in particular to the way the jungle works. What’s the teams take on those changes been like so far?

Aaron: There have been a lot of changes to the jungle, and there’s a new item coming out called the Cinderhulk which seems to pretty good. I think Riot has been talking about champion diversity and making it so that players can play more than just the main tier ones. It’s really given the jungler role more options to play the game, and I think that creates an extra element of fun and allows them to experiment. That could be something which is really exciting.

AusGamers: Aside from that are there any changes that you would specifically like to see inside either the meta-game or surrounding components of League of Legends?

Aaron: Riot has this vision of having every single champion of being balanced, and for myself I’m a big fan of when a team pulls out a pocket pick. It can get really boring when it’s just the same champions being played over and over again. It’s really fun when someone can bring out something that no one is expecting and all of a sudden the game has completely changed because there is this new element that hasn’t been seen within the game. I think that is what Riot is going for with all these item changes and jungle updates, and that’s a direction I like seeing them go in.

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