Fariko Dragons will take on the world's best at Call of Duty this week.
Four young British gamers are flying to America for the first time this
week - aiming to turn a love of all-night Xbox sessions into serious
money. The team, Fariko Dragons, aim to win the $1,000,000 (£690,000)
prize in the World Championships for Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
The UK gamers will face 31 global champions in Los Angeles on April 5-7 - including full-time professional U.S.-based teams who claim to play Black Ops 2 for up to 12 hours a day.
“We are aiming to go over to the States, take on the world and try and do the UK proud,” says Andrew McClure, 21 - gamer name ‘aMaze’.
“We’re all friends outside of the game - which is an added bonus. I think this could give us an edge over other top teams.”
His team, Fariko Dragons, consists of McClure and team-mates ‘MeLo’, ‘Biss’ and the more sensibly named ‘Luke’ (also called Luke in real life).
Dragons won a place in the Championship after placing second in an earlier European round in Cologne last month - beating TCM, a team who had previously humiliated them. “You could call it revenge,” says McClure.
McClure’s team attracted controversy after a video appeared to show them throwing a ball of paper at another player - an approach McClure described as “mind games.”
None of the young team have been to America before. In Los Angeles they will play Tournament matches against hardened professional teams such as Quantic Gaming, whose captain Andrew “Nameless” Wheeler said that their team members had been practicing three to four hours per day together, and six to eight hours on their own in preparation.
Fariko Dragons are not professionals - and started off competing for Microsoft Points and discount PC gear.
“Being able to live off something I love doing - that’s the dream,” says McClure. He says he fell in love with Call of Duty 4 when he first played it, buying an Xbox just to play more - although he claims it was the first shoot ‘em up he had ever tried.
“I soon realised I was actually pretty good,” says McClure, who says that the Dragons practice the game’s Tournament mode three to four times a week, so that they each know where all the others are at any time. “You have to put the time in if you want to be the best, simple as. Years ago I used to stay up all night playing the game, simply because I enjoyed it. Now I put a couple hours in each day.”
“The perks [bonuses that allow players to modify their skills] are the most important thing in this game,” says McClure. “They can win and lose you games. I just think game knowledge is the most important thing in Call of Duty. Knowing what to do when, where items appear and being able to outsmart your opponent wins you games. On top of that, having a good aim to go with the brain tops off the perfect player.”
The matches will be streamed live online at www.callofduty.com. Edited highlights will be shown at CallofDuty.com and via Xbox’s Live internet service.
“I wouldn't class myself as a pro gamer - yet,” says McClure. “If I could turn this into a profession, I would. Our chances are pretty good - I just wish we were able to put more practice in. No excuses, though!”
- Sports & Recreation