QuakeCon 2018: How Overwatch Prepared DaHanG

August 09 2018

DaHanG is excited to be playing Quake again.

After a brief hiatus from the game, Tim “DaHanG” Fogarty is back and better than ever, making him and Rapha the duo to beat at QuakeCon 2018 this weekend. All he needs to win is proper sleep.

DaHanG is not cocky. He's just straight to the point. He's technical. Precise. He calls it as he sees it, taking percentage of probability into account more than anything else. In other words, DaHanG is a Quake player.

“Quake, as far as I can tell, is probably the most raw competitive game out there, in terms of esports,” he stated. “It's a very non-random game. It's completely dependent on you as an individual, unlike the 'two capture point' map types in Overwatch, which are not optimized as competitively as they could be, since it's extremely easy to defend the second point. It's almost like the attacking team has to have one really good push, where things go your way with luck. To me, that's not optimized.”

It's not like Quake. Not at all.

Esports have grown substantially from the time DaHanG started playing Quake professionally at 17 years old, back in 2006. In fact, esports viewership has more than doubled since 2015 even. According to Newzoo's Global Esports Market Report, awareness of esports have jumped up 36% from last year. It's fair to say the esports landscape has been deeply transformed since 2006. But Quake fans seem to hold onto the more traditional esports approach.

“They're really interested in the skill that's shown on the screen,” noted DaHanG. “They don't really care about the personalities of the players. At least not as much as Overwatch.”

The Overwatch League has been all but taken over by player personalities. There's the Florida Mayhem's weekly meme dances, like the time they did a ponyride down the isle and up onto the Blizzard Arena stage. There's the San Francisco Shock's endless supply of memes, and the endless tweets showing funny dialogue between two of their players. The Shanghai Dragons didn't win a single match during season one and they still have dedicated fans all over the world, people who have fallen in love with the team's humbleness and their rosters' likability.

All of that isn't really of interest to DaHanG. He'd rather be known for his skill level. His precision. His timing. His positioning. So it's probably a good thing he never pursued the Overwatch League during his brief stint as an Overwatch player for us.

Yes, DaHanG played Overwatch. Professionally. It was never DaHanG's plan to play Overwatch. If it were up to him, he would have played Quake – and Quake alone – forever. But it was time to take in the percentage of probability. It was time to find a solution.

It was the end of 2015, and Quake had started experiencing a major decline in its number of meaningful tournaments. Like many serious gamers, DaHanG turned to Overwatch because it was a fresh, new game and everyone was competing on a level playing field, instead of entering an already established esport.

And he admittedly enjoyed it. The physics felt more constrained than Quake. And there was a lot more reliance on teammates than Quake. But he enjoyed it.

Having played Quake for over 17 years, DaHanG didn't really need any help when it came to Overwatch's basic mechanics. The movement. Aiming. But one thing was very, very different: The communication.

“In Quake, you're announcing items and locations. 'Red armor at 28.' That's all you would say,” explained DaHanG. “But with Overwatch, you're saying, 'You need to flank over here.' You are coordinating ultimates. You're taking everyone's abilities into account. You're telling people who to heal.”

For a while, this was very tricky for him. He remembers not calling out things quickly enough. Or teammates not reacting to his call-outs in time. And as a support main, it was definitely imperative that he learned how to get a hang of that communication so he could properly heal his team.

It took a lot of practice and an open mind for DaHanG to get the gist of Overwatch's communication-heavy play style. Soon, his mindset shifted: “You don't go in saying, 'I want to do this to win.' You go in asking, 'What do I do to win? How do I optimize our chances for success?'”

When id Software and Bethesda finally released a new Quake, DaHanG knew it was time to go back full time.

It took about two weeks to feel he was back in prime shape. It would have taken even less time, he said, except that Quake Champions had just been released. And with Champions came abilities.

Since 2006, Quake had been about raw skill. There wasn't a button, said DaHanG, that players could press to have something done for them. Everyone moved the same speed. They jumped the same height. It was up to the Quake player to maximize their own potential. The reason that DaHanG had continuously described the game as more competitive than other esports.

But surprisingly, DaHanG said he liked the addition of the abilities, and the introduction to various champion advantages, like faster speed or more armor. He played in four major Champions LAN events, including QuakeCon 2017.

“Overwatch helped me approach Champions with a better mentality,” he admitted. “Trying to be unbiased. Not caring about my personal preference. Instead of asking myself, 'Do I like this meta?' I think, 'What is the best way to approach this meta, given the current game state?' Before Overwatch, those questions never crossed my mind. There was no meta.”

So maybe Overwatch really wasn't that bad a detour. Despite the memes. Endless, vast memes.

Plus, abilities still require raw skill: “You still need to move efficiently. You need the item pickups. The positioning. Abilities can't really help that at all. They can't make you position well, time things well, aim well...”

So maybe Overwatch —

“I personally have no interest in other esports,” said DaHanG, who is all eyes on QuakeCon 2018. “I don't care about other esports. Like if you're an NBA fan, you don't care about golf growing or baseball growing... Playing Quake again has made me optimistic about fast-paced arena FPS esports. It seemed like they were going to be gone, but there's a horizon. They have a place. And I hope Quake has more tournaments in the future.”

DaHanG isn't a jerk. Just blunt. He calls it like he sees it. He's precise. He's a Quake player.

Going into QuakeCon 2018, DaHanG is feeling confident not only about Quake's future, but his own. DaHanG and Rapha are going in as favorites after their recent win in France. They're shooting for number one. He knows they can win. It's only a matter of playing to their full potential: Hitting their shots. Moving well.

And, of course, remembering to communicate that proper ability timing a la Overwatch. And that is something DaHanG has a unique advantage over.

Writer // Olivia Richman

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