Interview with DIG CS:GO Fe player, artStar
Sat 6th Jan 2018 - 11:53am
Carolyn “artStar” Noquez is part of the Team Dignitas CS:GO female roster. Team Dignitas recently won the GIRLGAMER Esports Festival 2017, back in September. Afterwards came some roster changes, with the addition of milk. We sat down with artStar to ask her some questions about these and other topics.
You and the team were invited to attend Dew Tour Breckenridge 2017 last week. How was the experience?
artStar: Attending Dew Tour with Rain, milk and Sapphire was such an incredible experience! I've never been to a snow sport event so it was surreal seeing skiers and snowboarders flying down the mountain and soaring off the ramps! It was milk's first time seeing snow so we played in it a little bit, Rain and Sapphire got to snowboard and ski down the mountain then we all got to hang out in the gaming condo, refuel with some mountain dew and snacks and head out to the town, which by the way looked beautiful all lit up with Christmas lights and powdered snow everywhere!
Do you think that this event helped your team build a better chemistry outside the game? How much impact do you think that a good chemistry can have inside the server?
artStar: I definitely think we had some awesome bonding experiences, especially with milk who's our newest member! Hanging out with her for the first time was so much fun, her personality fits with the team vibe so well and her positive attitude is contagious and its something that definitely shows in-game
Its pretty important to build that chemistry outside of the game for any eSport team. You don't have to be best friends with someone but if you don't like them or your personalities clash too often, not only will you not get along in-game and you won't trust their calls or their plays and that would just cause unwanted tension from everyone.
Let's talk about CS:GO and the team. Your last LAN event was GIRLGAMER Esports Festival 2017, in September, where you came out victorious. Afterwards, you have parted ways with CAth and picked up a new player - milk. How are the morale and spirits in the team at the moment?
artStar: Releasing CAth right after a victory was a pretty rough bump for us. It shortened the time we had to celebrate a win together. We just won and we released a player right after, so no one's thinking "WOO! We just won, let's dominate the next big tournament." Instead it's more like welp... we have tryouts now, then analyzing the players we try-out, and planning how much time we have to mold/practice with a new player before the next tournament. We were pretty stressed about finding a new 5th that we really needed to take a step back and remember that we just won a tournament, and that we are capable of doing it again we just need to really think about the type of player we need and what they can bring to the table. Milk stepped up to the plate and ended up being a player we were looking for. With her, the team spirit is probably the highest I've ever seen it, everyone is ready to grind for 2018 and hopefully start the new year with a big victory.
How is practice going with milk? Is she adjusting well to the structure you already had?
artStar: Milk takes criticism very well, she's always looking to get better and open to everyone's ideas and plays and it's inspiring to a stubborn player as myself (laughs). I admire her consistent effort to improve and her drive to just game all day!
I think she is adjusting well, it certainly helps that she is open to play any role or any position, even if she's not comfortable she would still try and give it her best. With a few changes and adjustments from everyone it was fairly easy to figure out the chemistry in-game and eventually everything fell into place and we got the ball rolling.
What are the team's main goals for the next few weeks and months?
artStar: Well we just ended a 2 week break for the holidays and new year. We haven't had a break this long in a long time, so we wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to visit and spend time with family and enjoy a little break. Now that our break is over its back to the grind and prep for IEM Katowice, which is expected to be the first tournament in 2018 for us.
Some changes are approaching the map pool in CS:GO, with the introduction and continuous polishing of the new iteration of Dust2. How do you feel about it? Comparing to the older version, which one do you prefer and why?
artStar: I actually haven't gotten to play the new Dust2 that much. From the ~2 times I've played it, I actually like it a lot more than the old Dust2. Considering the layout of the map is still the same, the biggest difference for me has to be the color scheme between the 2 versions. The old version was very bland and boring to me because everything was just... well... dust. The newer version is much more appealing to the eye and with the brighter color scheme it's easier to distinguish who and where the enemies are.
If you had the opportunity to change one thing in the new Dust2, what would it be and why?
artStar: If I could change one thing about dust2 I'd probably open up the skybox in B and allow Ts to throw nades into the B site from Tunnel.
Have you been practicing it with the team to get a head start against other teams when it is released in the map pool or are you still focusing on the current maps?
artStar: I think we've all had a chance to play it individually in PUGs but not all together as a team. We're definitely more focused on the current map pool considering there isn't much time before our next tournament to practice an extra map especially since we have a new player.
With the entrance of a new map in the competitive map pool, one has to come out and Valve has not yet said which one will be. What is the map that you would like to be removed from the map pool and why?
artStar: Personally I'd like to see cbble replaced. I'm just not a big fan of the long rotations on the map.
With milk as a new member of the team, are you focusing on practicing the same maps and keeping the same perma-ban or are you trying new things focusing around milk's past competitive experience?
artStar: Well every player brings a different dynamic to the team so it's important we play every map with milk before deciding what map(s) we want to veto. Our strongest maps can certainly change with the swap of a player.
Since the team members are from 2 different countries, bootcamping is not always as practical as you probably wanted it to be. Are you planning any bootcamps to prepare for 2018 and to practice more with milk?
artStar: I think right now our biggest issue with practicing is that milk is from Hawaii, so she pings ~110 to central servers, which are usually the servers we practice on. So we definitely plan to bootcamp with milk on the mainland with us before our big events so she can get used to playing with decent ping.
Does your daily online practice differ a lot from bootcamping practice? If so, what are the main differences and what are the biggest advantages in bootcamping over online practicing in your opinion?
artStar: Yeah our bootcamp practices tend to be very strict and serious for the team in the sense that you have zero distractions and everyone needs to buckle down and focus up. Online practice is obviously to be taken serious as well, but sometimes you can't control someone's surroundings and their distractions at home. I think bootcamping helps bring a sense of togetherness and you're able to make sure everyone is grinding. We wake up, eat breakfast together, talk CS, watch CS, play CS, talk more CS... it's very important we do this as much as possible so when the time comes and we're on stage, there's no pressure on ourselves.
If you could to give one advice to the readers that want to follow the same steps as you in professional gaming, what would it be?
artStar: Well I'd like to start by saying that I took a huge risk I don't recommend and I dropped out of college to play CS. It doesn't always work like that, in fact I don't know many other professional gamers who have done that. Finish high school at the very least, if you decide not to go to college and play CS just make sure you have a backup plan. Right now everyone is trying to be a pro-gamer, everyone is trying to weasel their way into eSports. It's a huge industry now and there is a lot of competition. If you don't truly have the drive, passion OR time to invest into gaming, you will not make it far.
But if you DO... then my advice to you is don't give up. It can get really hard if you're working your a** off and either feeling like you're taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back or feeling like no one wants to give you the chance... but that's when you just push yourself a little harder and bam, it will all pay off in the end.
To close the interview, any words you would like to say?
artStar: Thanks to Mountain Dew for having us at Dew Tour, looking forward for more events with you! And thank you mom, for watching my puppy while I travel LOL
I want to thank artStar for her time! Don't forget to check her social media to keep in touch and stay tuned: