Like his fellow First Generation teammate Robdab, Estevao “Hooey” Gama has a long and storied history in T2 Overwatch. For him, making it into OWL is just a matter of opportunity- making the most of the ones he’s got, and always looking for new ones along his way. We sat down with Hooey to talk about his past experience in esports, where T2 Overwatch is going, and where he’ll be when it gets there. Enjoy!
Who are you? What’s your history in Overwatch?
Hello, I’m Hooey. I’m a long time player of Overwatch, and video games in general. My time in Overwatch compared to most others’ hasn’t been very pretty – there were some good moments, some bad. For example, when I and most current OWL players got started, we had endemic orgs invest into Overwatch, sign players, and so on. Things were looking good. Once OWL was announced, though, there was a lot of dead space, a long period time where there was nowhere to prove your skill. It was very frustrating. Recently, though, things have been lining up for me. After a very long time (roughly 2 years of no pay and counting,) I finally had the chance to showcase my talent in NA Contenders.
You’ve had a fairly long Overwatch career that has spanned multiple roles – a rarity in this game. What gives you the ability to move between these roles and still perform at a high level?
I’d say the main thing that gives me the ability to play all the roles in the game is the diversity of my gaming background. I come from TF2 and Quake, both very mechanically intensive shooters, and I also played SMITE for a while, which gave me a good understanding of important ability/ultimate management and the concept of tanking. The game that has arguably helped me the most is Super Monday Night Combat (which I played with Surefour!), a game which combined all these elements of objective based gameplay, with shooter, ability/ultimate management and class based gameplay. With this background, it made applying and understanding certain concepts very easy coming into Overwatch, which allowed me to pick up and understand every role at a very high level.
What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed from playing in the pre-OWL era to playing now?
The biggest difference from playing in pre-OWL to now is the difference in play – primarily from tank and support players. Before OWL came around, the game revolved around DPS players performing very well and carrying their teams. Now, though, players have learned to min/max the tank and support role, whether that was from increased resources, help from more developed coaches, or from players just watching OWL. Right now, it feels like if anybody fails to pull their weight, the entire team will suffer. The level of overall play and understanding of the game has been taken up several notches.
Who’s a player you look up to/try to learn from, at any level?
As for American off tanks, I look up to NotE and Space; for Koreans, Meko and Fury. For Europeans, I’d say Poko. I believe all these players are outstanding and all have different strengths that I find very valuable for studying to improve my own gameplay overall.
Who’s a player that you enjoy facing off against? Someone you consider to be a worthwhile challenge in your role?
Bernar for sure is very solid. He makes very few mistakes and is very quick to punish mistakes of others. It’s very fun to play against him, to be honest. He forces me to be on my game.
I’ve interviewed a lot of EU players that are proud of their region. Do you agree that EU is in a good place right now with a tank-focused meta, and do you think that would give them an edge in a cross-region match?
I think Europeans have good reason to be proud. They have pretty much a whole season (year) worth of experience and time with GOATS comp. They will more than likely be much better than most teams in this match up. However, this advantage won’t last for long – I think many teams and regions are catching onto min/max’ing the composition.
Who would you want to face off against in a showmatch, with that in mind?
I’d say either Runaway or StormQuake. It’d be very interesting to see how our region has developed and how we would stack up against top tier Korean talent.
What is the best Contenders region in the world right now?
Korea definitely. The level of talent all around, the discipline these players have, and most importantly the level of coaching this region has is far above every other region.
How do you feel about the changes coming to Contenders in 2019? Is Blizzard helping or hurting?
I think the changes help local talent in each region much more, with the soft region locking. Obviously, NA benefits the most, if more Academy teams take spots. It might suck not always being able to have your spot guaranteed back into Contenders, but it’s better than having an Academy team get booted out of Contenders when these teams should always be around to provide for players. OWL teams should be encouraged to field Academy teams, not discouraged. Hopefully as OWL grows, more regions will field Academy teams to provide for their players. Overall, with time, these changes should be good.
What message do you have for your first round playoff opponents, Second Wind? Are you worried about the match, or is the team feeling good?
I’m not scared to play Second Wind. They are definitely a very momentum based team; they always want to set the pace and play in your face. However, I think with our recent practice and analysis of VODs, there are ways we can exploit their play style. It will be a good match for sure.
What would you say to an OWL scout that was on the fence about signing you to their team? How would you convince them you’re worth the shot?
Only way to convince them that I’m worthy of the spot is to play out of my mind in my tryouts. Otherwise, I try my best to play out of my mind in Contenders. There’s no other way!
What would you say to your fans reading this right now? Any other shout-outs?
Follow me on Twitter @thibbledork! Ask me questions, or tell me how I’m doing!
You can also message me on Discord! (thibbledork#0282)
Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment