Interview With ROG Academy’s Pro Valorant Player Naivejester


AFK Gaming

Interview With ROG Academy’s Pro Valorant Player Naivejester

Moin Khot
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While academy rosters for esports organizations are beginning to become the norm in International esports organizations, Indian esports has just started to take its first steps into this foray with Asus' Republic of Gamers (ROG) Academy being the standout, consistently delivering high-quality training and education to its participants. The Academy has now successfully completed its sixth iteration, and early indications suggest that it may be the most successful one yet.

For the first time in its history, ROG Academy’s roster will be competing in a LAN event for the first time ever at the Esportz Premier Series 2022 Valorant tournament which is scheduled to take place in Mumbai, India from 3rd January to 6th January 2023. 

We got the opportunity to catch up with ROG Academy’s professional Valorant player Raghav “Naivejester” Chadha before the tournament commences. Naivejester spoke about his professional journey so far and shared insights into his life as a pro gamer.

Planting the Seeds

Naivejester’s journey in gaming began with PlayStation 2 (PS2) in which he played racing games and FIFA. However, after he moved on to 7th grade, he started exploring first-person shooter (FPS) games like Call of Duty on his Xbox 360 which laid the seed for a competitive drive that would see him get into lucrative titles like CS:GO. “Around 10th grade, I first started playing CSGO on my laptop, which got me into CSGO-type FPS games. I decided to compete professionally in games after getting to know CSGO better,” he added.

He revealed that he tried Valorant when the beta version was launched in April 2020 but decided to stick with CS:GO for a few more months because of the uncertainty surrounding Valorant’s future at that point. But with local interest in CSGO waning, and Riot Games’ extensive investments into the Indian market paving the way for a dominant PC FPS title in the country, Naivejester decided to make the switch. “I also realized that Valorant as a game was more cared about by the devs than CSGO, which meant I would be getting constant updates and meta changes in the game, making it much more fun to play competitively,” he added.

Challenges he had to Overcome

One of the main challenges that esports athletes face is the societal stigma that surrounds gaming. Many people, including some parents, still view video games as a waste of time and a trivial pursuit, rather than as a legitimate sport. This can make it difficult for esports athletes to convince their families to support them, especially if they are trying to pursue a career in gaming full-time.

Another challenge is the lack of a clear path to success in the industry. Unlike traditional sports, which have well-established leagues, teams, and tournaments, the esports landscape is still relatively nascent and erratic. This can make it difficult for aspiring esports athletes to know where to start and how to build a career in the industry.

Additionally, esports athletes often face financial challenges. Many of the top tournaments offer large prize pools, but the vast majority of esports athletes will never reach that level of competition. This means that they may struggle to make a living from gaming, at least in the early stages of their careers. This can make it difficult for them to convince their families to support their pursuits, as many parents understandably want their children to be financially stable.

Naivejester too faced such challenges and hence had some difficulties to convince his parents to allow him to pursue a career as a professional gamer “It was not an easy task to convince my parents, as the future of Esports is considered uncertain. But, when my parents saw me put in countless hours of hard work and dedication, they understood my love for the game and started supporting me in my endeavors. My parents reciprocated to my sheer will and dedication by upgrading my setup,” he said. 

The Blossoming

However, despite his parent’s support, Naivejester still had a long way to go before he could fulfill his dream. The first step was to find an organization and teammates that would allow him to compete at the highest tiers in the country. The ROG Academy program seemed tailor-made for him, but he had to go through the grueling ROG Tryouts to even get a chance to compete at that tier.

Naivejester had to compete against 2000 players in the ROG Tryouts for one out of the six slots in theROG Academy Valorant roster. But he managed to persevere through the trials and prevailed, and secured a spot in the roster. “When I got selected for ROG Academy, I was filled with joy. I remember contacting my parents and telling them about my opportunity. Also, I bragged about this feat to my friends and family,” he added.

However, it was not all smooth sailing for Naivejester. He faced a number of challenges when he joined ROG Academy, the most significant of which was adjusting to a more structured practice schedule. Prior to joining the academy, he had played Valorant with friends who were not planning to pursue professional careers in the game. As a result, his practice schedule was fairly casual and not as structured as it is now.

However, joining ROG Academy meant practicing with teammates who were just as dedicated towards improving and competing at a high level. This required a significant adjustment to his daily routine, as practice sessions with his new team often started at 3:30 pm and went until 2 am.

Balancing this intense practice schedule with his education was a major challenge for Naivejester. However, despite the challenges, he said that the experience of playing with highly dedicated teammates and being part of the ROG Academy was extremely rewarding. It also helped him to discover his full potential both in and out of the game. In the end, Naivejester said that he was grateful for the opportunity to join the academy and face these challenges.

As the Esportz Premier Series 2022 approaches, Naivejester and his team are feeling a mix of excitement and nerves. For many of them, this will be their first LAN (local area network) event, where they will have the opportunity to compete in person, rather than online. Naivejester said that the team has put a lot of effort into preparing for the tournament, and he feels that this is the true culmination of all their hard work.

As this will be the first LAN event for everyone on the team, the opportunity has added an extra layer of excitement. Naivejester said that it makes everyone want to prove themselves even more and show everyone what they are capable of. The team's goal for the event is clear: they want to win and show that they won't falter in the face of an audience.

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Moin covers the Indian gaming and gaming community for AFK Gaming. As an avid gamer himself, he has a passion for staying up to date on the latest developments and trends in the Indian esports scene. Moin's writing provides readers with a comprehensive look at the world of Indian esports. He is known for his ability to uncover stories and players that are shaping the future of the industry in India.

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