Interview With TeamXSpark’s Esca: “It is about my passion and how I want to prove myself in the industry”
The Esports Club New State Open is the first-ever New State Mobile LAN event in India. Sixteen teams, eight from the group stage and eight invited teams, will compete against each other in the Grand Finals on 19th and 20th November for the lion’ share in the INR 10,50,000 ($12,894 USD) prize pool. AFK Gaming had the opportunity to interview TeamXSpark’s professional New State Mobile player Anubhav "Esca" Dobhal at The Esports Club New State Open. Esca is a former Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) and PUBG Mobile professional player, who made the move to New State Mobile after its launch. Esca is representing TeamXSpark at the New State Open LAN event in The Arena on 19th and 20th November. He is also the in-game leader (IGL) for the team.
TeamXSpark and Esca are all ready for the LAN event
Although the LAN events resumed earlier this year, they were briefly halted again after the government of India blocked BGMI under Section 69A of the IT Act 2000. After a long wait of almost three years, BGMI and New State Mobile players will finally get to play at a LAN event.
With the TEC New State Open LAN event starting today, Esca was excited to be at his first-ever LAN event. “It is my first LAN event, so I am really excited about it. So far, the experience has been great, and I am really looking forward to the upcoming matches,” he said. “The most important thing for this LAN is to have fun and enjoy being here. But we are definitely going to try our best in the competition.”
Further, explaining TeamXSpark’s preparations for the LAN event, Esca said, “We do have our own synergy. In terms of preparation, as the IGL, I have read the teams’ rotations and their game plan. I have also prepared some strategies of our own. We will try to implement those strategies and come out on top.”
Esca’s thoughts on New State Mobile
Esca revealed that he believes New State Mobile is more like the PC version of PUBG, and it is tougher than BGMI because of the difference in mechanics in both titles. “In my personal opinion, I think New State Mobile is tougher than BGMI because of the mechanics. New State Mobile kind of resembles the exact PUBG PC gameplay,” he said.
Following this, Esca explained that one could not expect to learn New State Mobile based on their BGMI experience. New State Mobile is tough and requires time to learn and adapt to the different mechanics and physics of the game. “It is not so easy, and it will definitely take some time to adapt to the game. You have to give it some time; you have to learn the mechanics and how things work in the game. It is also difficult because of the physics this game follows. It is more realistic in New State Mobile whereas it is different in BGMI,” he said.
Esca opined that New State Mobile is better than BGMI in multiple aspects, and added that players will like the game if they gave it a chance. “Personally, I think this game is amazing. If people actually try it and play for some time, they will enjoy it; they will enjoy watching the game. The gameplay is far superior to BGMI, in my personal opinion, because it is more difficult. It is also fun when you see people doing something which is difficult. So I think New State Mobile definitely has a lot of potential. Visually also, the graphics are very beautiful in New State Mobile. I think it does need some work. If Krafton figures out the esports part in a proper manner, I think, eventually, this game can do well.”
Esca talked about watching the gameplay and understanding the game’s nuances. “I think what I am looking forward to is the audience watching the tournament. Since many people haven’t tried New State Mobile, they are kind of hesitant. If they watch this tournament, they will understand what kind of game New State Mobile is. We might eventually have a larger audience in New State Mobile, just like BGMI,” he said.
It is impressive to see Esca being so versatile among multiple esports titles. Naturally, we were curious to learn about his PC esports title preferences and which title he would compete in if he could. “Valorant, definitely,” he said instantly without any second thoughts. Following this, he revealed that he had gotten exhausted playing the same genre in the last five years. “It is like [just like how it was] back in 2017 when I actually started playing PUBG Mobile after playing PUBG PC. So for me, I got saturated playing the same genre for the last five years as a professional. Right now I’m very saturated, exhausted, and what I want is something new.”
He further explained why he prefers 5v5 tactical shooter games over Battle Royale games. “There is this thing, which people call luck, a luck part in the game; you have to get the zone. If you are in the zone, you have better chances of winning unless you do something which might throw your game. But when it comes to Valorant, a 5v5 tactical shooter, there is no luck. It is all about your skills and strategies. That’s the reason why if I had to pick, I’d pick a 5v5 tactical shooter game.”
Words for fans and aspiring pros
Esca shared how players should approach their esports career. He stated that players should aim to strike a balance in everything that they do, without compromising on anything. “I think esports is not really easy, considering the kind of mindset Indian parents have. But I would say that you should never give up and keep trying. You don’t know; even I didn’t know my first LAN would be on New State Mobile, comparing the fact that I have been playing PUBG Mobile professionally since 2017, and I have played numerous tournaments, but I never got to play LAN. After five years of hard work, somehow, today, I am here. It is not easy. You can’t compromise other things in your life; you can’t compromise your studies and other stuff,” he said. “You have to balance it out. I’m not saying you have to completely give up something to gain another thing. You have to balance out and have to keep working on the esports part until you get to that place where you can pursue it as a career.”
Following this, he revealed that he is still struggling in his esports career. “I think I’m still struggling. I’m still struggling to find my place in this community. But I would say getting the recognition, being able to leave an impact in the community so that you can be a part of it, that’s the biggest challenge.”
Esca also shared what his family thought about him pursuing a career in esports, and how he convinced them. “In the beginning, they didn’t understand what was happening and definitely didn’t agree. So I just had to keep doing it secretly, without letting them know I was doing it until I managed to do something that made them happy. Once I did it, I showed it to them and told them I could do this. That’s when they said it was okay, I can do it, and if I find success, I can continue it, and if I don’t, then I have to go through their plans,” he said. “I’m still in the middle of proving myself to my parents. They haven’t completely agreed, but they aren’t rejecting the whole idea. They have allowed me but asked me to manage other things as well,” he added.
Esca talked about how he felt when he first won actual prize money through the game. “My first prize money was back in 2017 or 2018. It was in the very first tournament of PUBG Mobile, the Star Challenge. That’s when I got something around $500 USD. I didn’t even know I could earn money this way. I managed to go to the semi-finals of the tournament, and according to the prize pool, every team was getting $500 USD,” he said. He revealed that he bought gifts for his parents from the $500 he won and also bought something for himself. He said he was happy about it as he was making money out of gaming, which he was passionate about.
Esca also revealed that the first thing he purchased with his prize money was a pen tablet. “It is kind of hilarious because the first thing I purchased with the prize money was a tool for studying. I bought a pen tablet because I was doing graduation in animation, and you needed a pen tablet for designing and stuff,” he said.
Esca was nostalgic as he recalled his esports journey so far and thanked his fans. “I would just like to say thank you very much; to all the OG fans who have been supporting me throughout the journey. So many people were happy about me joining Team XSpark. The fact that I have been struggling for the past five years and finally got some opportunities because of how big a name Xspark is. Some fans were disappointed that I left BGMI as they wanted me to continue playing BGMI, and some were happy that I shifted to New State. I want to say that it is not only about the game; it is about my passion and how I want to prove myself in the industry,” Esca said.
The pro player promised to give his best shot moving forward and to make his fans proud.
Esca appeals to players to try other games while BGMI is unavailable
Finally, we had to ask Esca what he thought about BGMI’s potential return. “For BGMI’s comeback, I hope it does come back for all the people who love it because the BGMI industry is very big,” he said. He appealed to players to try other games while the game remains blocked. “But by the time BGMI comes back, people should explore other games too because there is no point in spending time on the game that is not right here; it is not in the community right now. It will definitely come back, but it might take six or eight months. Once it is back, you are definitely going to switch back to BGMI, so why not use this time to explore other games?”