Jamie Wootton recently attended the 2019 PUBG Global Championship (PGC) Grand Finals on behalf of Esports News UK. He wrote a PGC 2019 tournament recap that covered the weekend’s events and conducted interviews with TSM’s UK PUBG players and UK caster Richard ‘TheSimms’ Simms.
He also had the opportunity to interview another experienced and talented UK caster – Lauren ‘Pansy’ Scott – about transitioning from CSGO to PUBG, her thoughts on TSM and more. For context, this interview with Pansy took place during the fourth game of the first day of PGC 2019.
ENUK: You were a regular caster at CSGO events. Did it take long to adjust from casting CSGO to PUBG, and what would you say differs between the two?
Pansy: Casting-wise, the biggest difference is the structure. CSGO is incredibly structured, you can kind of tell the pace of the round from the very offset … CSGO is one of those games where you can potentially see an individual go and win a 1v5 whereas it is very rare in PUBG for that to happen, because of the way that the game plays out.
So at its core, it was easy enough to transition because the flow of the game is actually more open; you can do a lot more with PUBG. It can be more conversational at times, it can be manic at times, but you see it building and it’s quite obvious to tell when it’s about to happen, so I guess the structure does somewhat carry through.
Being able to cast both helped me hand-in-hand to get better at casting PUBG, because I came from the ability of just having to go hype at times and then bring it right back down.
Moving indirectly to PUBG is a focus for me, because whenever I wasn’t casting or playing CSGO, I was playing games like DayZ, Arma, PUBG.
It was nice to almost adapt that one side of me that is a bit more conversational, a bit more banter. With the down-time [in PUBG] you can actually capitalise and attach yourself to the community and the storylines a bit more. It’s a bit more relaxed in that regard, whereas in CSGO you have to be on-point all the time, there is no real downtime.
[In CSGO] There’s always something to be said that is a bit more poignant than a casual conversation, whereas PUBG does have lulls – which has its own benefits and its own strengths.
I find this is a really enjoyable factor to be able to transition my job into something I do, even related to gaming, into the next stage in my career.
Since 2018, the number of top-tier PUBG competitions have grown. What do you think about this and how PUBG are so involved, when some other games and their developers can be more hands-off?
I’m happy to see it, I think it’s just kind of creating this structure around the community so it becomes more open towards the competitive scene and that becomes an important and enjoyable centre-point.
We can build the facilities to make sure PEL, NPL, all these different pro leagues are lining up the same rule set, building towards a similar goal which kind of brings eyes on the product, right?
So it’s good seeing the community growing with it, I think PUBG had its highs and lows, people said ‘it is going to die in a week’ and it didn’t, it stayed and it kept building, so I think as PUBG stabilised, it has kind of created its own stable esports environment as well.
It is a very different world with CSGO to PUBG, it is nice… PUBG has become more hands-on with their product which I like. I actually enjoy that, I like the fact that I have a good line of communication meaning I have someone to turn to and talk to. It’s just nice to be able to say at the end of the day, ‘this was really good today’ or ‘this was bad’ and they take it on board. It is really reassuring and quite nice to have that.
Do you think there’s a chance UK fans will have more teams and players to cheer for in 2020?
I mean if you’ve ever followed UK esports it’s usually pretty bleak. It has been rough but we do have some quite strong UK-based players and PUBG seems to attract a fair few.
In the upcoming leagues I think you could potentially see more – I think we see some strong individuals but you may never get a full UK line-up.
I think there is more to be seen from the UK. I think they find really good housing in PUBG, I’m kind of happy to see it coming from CSGO where there’s almost none. PUBG seems to attract a few more which is really good, I guess it kind of finds a place for those who didn’t really love CS as a game and maybe competed at older titles and have come across here.
I think there is a good chance to see more UK players finding their footing in PUBG, they just need to keep grinding and not allow the typical UK attitude to kick in every now and again.
TSM of course have a couple of UK players. What steps do you think TSM can take to become the number one PUBG team in Europe or the wider world?
TSM has been mainly in an upward trajectory. They readjusted the roster and moved towards more of a competitive squad which we saw coming in through the phases of the PEL (PUBG Europe League)
I think for them to continue on this upward trajectory, they need to find the right balancing point for their aggression to utilise their individuals. After that it’s then a matter of finding their roles and finding who to be the star player at the right time. And I think everyone then, accordingly, starts to step up.
So I think it’s about finding the right roles for the players they now have, putting them in the right places and then allowing them to excel.
During the PGC’s semi finals, I saw you tweet that you weren’t quite as confident as you would’ve liked to have been. What sort of preparation does broadcast talent make before big events like PGC?
So with the PGC for me I think I came in cold, I came in the semi finals. You have to pick up where the show left off and I was frustrated in one of the semi finals, because I just didn’t think I was as good as I should have been. I don’t know if I just hadn’t warmed up enough… sometimes you walk away from your work thinking: ‘I did a bit shit here.’
It wasn’t that bad, I listened back to it and I thought it was okay to listen to, but I know internally I could have done better, I could have refined something and it frustrated me.
Coming into the Grand Finals, I tried to adjust a few bits and pieces, try to change my mentality and treat it as a fresh start. The preparation for the semi finals was more about keeping up with the group stage and trying to feed off of that.
Whereas for the Grand Finals I was like: ‘Let’s try and start this off fresh, start anew, build it from the last time we were at Oakland which was IEM, years ago now, treat that as a springboard, treat it as a brand new way to approach it.’
So the mentality shifted – and so did the preparation. It went from just carrying on what I had already seen to creating something new for myself which made me feel more comfortable.
I think it’s important to remember that we’re all a bit jet-lagged, we’re all a bit knackered but we’re still damn lucky to do this for a living, so sometimes you’ve got to bring yourself back a bit. I’ll just go get myself a drink from the bar and just shut up and stop whinging and then crack on.
Jamie has been following competitive Counter-Strike for roughly four years and has fallen in love with esports ever since, slowly branching out into other titles and learning more about the industry. He has recently started an esports degree in London.
“I started playing CSGO when I first got my own PC and haven’t really stopped ever since," he said. "After playing more competitively I opened my eyes to esports and have been doing my best to learn as much as possible about both the competitive side within CSGO and the business side across the industry as a whole.
"Much of my work so far has consisted of interviews, however I hope to branch out in the future and write more content about Counter-Strike."