We chat to pro Counter-Strike player h0bbit
While everyone understands the necessity of changing LAN tournaments to online because of the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the globe, the switch isn’t beneficial to all teams and can even give an unfair advantage to wealthier sides and those who are closer to Valve servers.
Every LAN event on the calendar for the next couple months has either been postponed or moved to online, including the two major Counter-Strike leagues, Flashpoint and ESL Pro League, as well as events like DreamHack Masters Jönköping. Teams not participating in these two leagues are looking for ways to stay sharp in the run-up to the Minors.
With Winstrike not currently participating in any events while gearing up for the CIS Minor Qualifier for ESL One Rio 2020, GGrecon caught up with Major winner and Winstrike player (on loan from HellRaisers), Abay “h0bbit” Khassenov to talk about the differences between playing on LAN and online.
Do pros usually like playing more at LAN events or online?
To be honest, online and LAN CS:GO is really different. Online, every player is comfortable, without much pressure and can show his best. But, the ping issue is a problem for the CIS community, because you can feel the difference between 5-10 ping and 45-50. We (CIS players) have 40-50 ping on the German server while Europe has 5-25. On LAN, everyone is playing under the same conditions so there are no excuses. In general, LAN tournaments are the most important thing in esports. On LAN, everyone can show their winning spirit and we get to share that with our fans.
So, you think there are some advantages to online play? Which do you prefer?
I prefer LAN for sure because of equal ping and the atmosphere around me. On LAN, you can really feel a tournament’s atmosphere and it’s extra motivation to show your best. Also, technical support is really an important part of the game. I mean, if I have internet issues, I can’t fix them by myself at all. Luckily, I haven’t had any PC issues during online matches.
How does higher ping manifest itself most obviously to you?
That’s tough to explain. You can try to kill the bots on aim_botz or on a DM server with 50 ping and then try it with 5. There’s just a feeling of comfort with aim and movement. The game feels faster and crisper. For example, I have 100 ping right now because I’m in Kazakhstan and needed just a bit of time to adapt when I came back.
To be honest, all pro players can adapt to ping changes but it takes a few hours. After leaving a LAN event, I can play for 2-3 hours and adapt to the higher ping. But, the game feels much smoother the lower the ping.
Is there anything unrelated to the game that you like about LAN events?
We get to travel and there are other teams nearby. I get to hang out with my funny teammates, stay in a hotel, check out the practice rooms, interact with the crowd, and the fans give us the most motivation to play well.
You guys can be on the road the majority of the year. Is there anything you don’t like about live events?
I don't like to give video interviews because of my English, and I’m not a fan of doing media when it's live, because you need to be like an actor. But, photo signing sessions are good. I like interacting with fans.
Do you miss your family when you’re at events? We know your wife goes with you sometimes.
When I start to think about that, yes I do. I mean, I try to focus only on the tournament, but when I'm trying to fall asleep and I have a lot of time to think - at that moment, I miss them.