While the world rejoices triumphs in the Olympics, Transcendz was inspired by the world-class home grown e-sports players competing at world stage. Fnatic, a Malaysian team won US$1.4 million in the recent world Dota 2 tournament, The International 6, held in the United States. Our writer, Qui Nee gets up-close and personal with Adam “343” Shah.
When did you start playing Dota?
When I was 11, my best friend brought me to a LAN (Local Area Network) shop and showed me this game. It looked really interesting, gave it a try and I got hooked.
How did you get into Fnatic? How did it all start?
One of the Fnatic players, DJ, went back to the Philippines for personal reasons and Fnatic needed a stand-in. So when they approached me, I jumped at the opportunity to play with the best team in South East Asia (SEA) at the time. After playing with them for a few days, I felt the difference between them and the team I was playing for at the time. I asked if they needed a substitute and they said yes. Then, I continued playing with them as a sub after DJ returned as Mushi fell ill and wanted to take a break. Following that, we placed 3rd/4th at ESL Manila and the question of whether I should be a main player or not came up and the majority said yes.
What was your family’s reaction when you decided to go professional in gaming?
My mother wasn’t too surprised by it, although she was a bit worried at first. After a lot of explaining and meeting with Fnatics’ manager and captain, she agreed to let me defer my studies to pursue this dream.
Who is your biggest supporter/motivation?
My family, my friends, my girlfriend; they’re all amazing so I couldn’t possibly pick one.
Many people think that going professional is every gamer’s dream as they get paid to play games all day. What is your opinion?
Yes, I would say that it is a really nice career to have but at the same time it’s no walk in the park. It’s exhausting and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
What are some challenges you face as a pro-gamer?
One of the challenges is maintaining focus. It’s hard to put in your 120% into every game. You might try to do it 10 out of 10 times but it might only work 5 out of 10 times; it’s hard.
Do you play other games than Dota?
Yes, I play a lot of Counter Strike: Global Offensive and some other stuff.
Describe your day-to-day activity.
We wake up at whatever time we want as long as we are in front of our PCs by 12pm. No social media, no phones, just Dota. Practice timings vary as it’s scheduled with opponents. Some days we start at 2pm, some days we start at 4pm. We usually play somewhere between 5 to 9 games of practice, as well as watching replays and brainstorm, with meals in between of course. The day normally ends around 10pm or 11pm. Then, we’re free to do whatever we want. Most of the time, we’re too tired to do anything else and just stayed where we are. We also try to fit in swimming or gym time in the evening between scrims.
How do you mitigate health risks from playing games for long period of time in a day?
Most of us exercise daily and eat healthily. We have a chef who cooks all our meals every day.
What’s the story behind your competitive name ‘343’?
At a point in my life, there was a person that had a big impact on my life. 343 is a reminder of what the person stands for, the fact that I have so many people behind me supporting me whether I’m getting 1st place or last. It gives me another reason to go through tough days.
What do you wish further for the gaming industry?
I’d like E-Sports to be more recognized. Everything about it is so big; I feel it deserves more exposure especially in the SEA region.
What do you foresee of your life in 10 years from now? Will you remain in the gaming industry?
I’m not too sure. Right now, I’d say I’d like to be in the gaming industry – maybe not as a player but it’s hard to say where the industry will be in 10 years.
Your team won a cool US 1.4mil at the recent International Dota 2 tournament. What do you plan to do with your prize money?
I’d probably look for something to invest in or put it in a fixed deposit. I’m not really a materialistic person so I wouldn’t spend money on stuff I don’t need. It’s a big sum of money but I’d rather invest in my future.
Tell us what happens behind the scenes; i.e.: were there conflicts between your teammates?
No, there wasn’t. Most of us leaving were due to personal reasons and we merely had a discussion. Everyone spoke their mind and we knew our paths were separating.
Any plans after Fnatic?
Right now I’m just enjoying my holiday. I don’t really want to reveal anything before I’m sure about it.