Aussie Gamers To Battle It Out In Massive E-Sports Tournament
Australia's best PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds gamers are descending on Sydney for the Red Bull Fight or Flight Grand Final.
The country's biggest amateur PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) competition will descend on Carriageworks in Sydney city on Saturday.
Competitors from across the country have qualified through competing at PAX Australia -- an annual convention showcasing the best the the gaming world has to offer -- or have a final shot as a Last Chance Qualifier before the final on Saturday.
There will be 12 teams made up of four people competing for the $45,000 prize pool and an all-expenses-paid trip to the PUBG Global Championship Grand Final in California.
Ben 'MaccaBoi' McEvoy qualified at PAX Australia in October with his team 'Space Rats', and said this competition is a little different to traditional PUGB competitions.
"There are different settings so it is quick and fun with no boring parts," he told 10 daily.
He'll be facing off against Vasili 'Vasili' Varipatis, the In-Game Leader for 'Team Immunity'.
Varipatis told 10 daily the Red Bull Fight or Flight competition is a great spectator sport, in the same way Big Bash compares to Test cricket.
"It's a lot faster than the other styles, you get out on the plain and you're grabbing weapons, there's no break time," he said.
McEvoy, who lives in Melbourne, spends eight to 10 hours a day training, between working as a photographer and basketball coach.
"I get up typically early, generally play a few hours in the morning and then go for a walk or something that doesn't involve a screen for a lunch time break," he said.
"Then I'll play for a few more hours and then go to basketball, see my girlfriend and friends and be home for 6.30pm to train for a few more hours."
Training is all about building muscle memory and teams regularly take part in scrims -- invite-only lobbies teams use to simulate competition scenarios instead of against the general public.
"You can practice different styles, practicing different rotations and movements," McEvoy said.
"It's about general quickness, being really sharp and not lagging behind."
Like for any job, Queenslander Varipatis said it is important to keep a healthy work-life balance.
"I go to the gym, socialising, looking after myself, we enjoy what we do," he said.
"But with anything, if you take it too far it will have negative aspects on other parts of your life."
Varipatis competes in smaller online competitions regularly, but has travelled the world competing, usually attending three to four major events a year.
He's just returned from Korea where he took part in the PUGB Nations Cup, and has also travelled to Thailand and Sweden in the past 18 months.
Varipatis' experience will help him block out the noise on Saturday, as more than 500 spectators are expected to be watching on.
"It can be full on having a crowd staring at you, but after multiple events it toughens your skin," he said.
"It's an adrenaline rush, but it can be a bit stressful at first outside the safety of your room."
Fellow pro-player McEvoy uses in-ear noise-cancelling headphones to try and block out some of the distractions.
"I mentally try and block it out, there's no way to block out spectators completely but I try to block out as much as possible," he said.
While there are no full-time PUGB teams in Australia, the online community in the Oceania region like a "family", said Varipatis.
Teams from New Zealand and Australia compete in scrims most days of the week, creating a tightly knit community.
But while it means players learn how the opposition plays, McEvoy said they all know how he plays as well.
"I know every player in the other teams (at this competition), I know what their tendencies are," he said.
"But they also know your weaknesses.
"It can be hard to guarantee anything because anything can happen in certain simulations."
For those who can't be at Carriageworks on Saturday to watch the Red Bull Fight or Flight final, it will be streamed worldwide.