What is your name, how old are you, and where are you from?

Canada Higgs: Patrick Higgins, 25 years old from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Canada DevastatioN: Chris Felix, 25, Nova Scotia Canada.

How did you get into the FPS scene? What was your first game?

Canada Higgs: I grew up playing FPS games on the PC. I played pretty much every big name single player FPS game from the early 90s to death starting with Wolf3D and loved them all. I played Quake and Quake II but never bothered to try the online multiplayer component for some reason. Maybe it was because I knew my internet connection was way too unstable at the time. I can remember using the internet to download custom DOOM WADs though. Anyway, I finally went into my first online deathmatching with 1998's Half-Life after getting broadband. I can remember staying up all night many times those first few weeks playing HLDM. It was a brand new world to me and I was so eager to play and learn the skills I saw others displaying in the servers. Not much time would pass before Valve introduced its flagship mod Team Fortress Classic to the masses of the Half-Life Community via a Half-Life update patch. At the beginning it was more or less a port of QuakeWorld Team Fortress but over time it became an entirely different entity due to Valves' updates and the players adaptations. It was in this game that I discovered how great FPS gaming can be and how competitive and fun the matches and community can get. I played TFC from 1999 - 2007 and gained the majority of my fps gaming / teamwork skills through it.

Canada DevastatioN: I'll try and keep this story short. When I was 10 or so I visited my cousin on a regular basis and would use her boyfriend's computer to play games. The two main games he had were X-Wing vs Tie Fighter (XvT) and DooM, which I immediately loved.

I was in grade 8 (year 2000) when someone gave me my first computer, a 486-33SX, an old machine even in those days with Windows 3.1 and no CD-ROM drive. I still remember phoning up stores asking for DooM on floppy disk and getting laughed at!

So later that year, around August 2000, I went out and bought a Pentium 120 (with a CD-ROM drive!) and proceeded to buy DooM for Windows 95 and XvT.

I started playing XvT competitively online at MSN Zone in September 2000, with battlestats.com being the event hosts. And played DooM on MSN Zone when I could find someone. I met nc_ds on May 21, 2001 and he gave me DooM 2 (As I only had DooM for Win95), and gave me a devastating loss of 50-2 in Doom2 Map1. Note that at this time I was playing random guys on zone and my real life friends via modem, and had never lost before, so this gave me a drive to improve. He gave me a demo to watch of him and his brother esox, where I learned how to use the BFG.

I met Dominus on June 21, 2001. Dominus beat me 50 - (-2) in Doom2 Map1 and I decided I wanted to be like him, his skill level was far beyond anything I had witnessed. I immediately scrapped my keyboard-only configuration and asked Dominus to teach me how to play. Over the summer we would play every night and have games without frag limits that ended with scores like 240-80, he taught me everything he knew and I guess the rest is history!

Have you always been strictly into multiplayer deathmatch or has single or cooperate mode been important to you?

Canada Higgs: Like I touched on in the last question at first it was all about single player. After finally throwing myself into the online portion of these games in the late 90s with HLDM and TFC I've never really looked back. Human opponents are simply much more fun and challenging to play against. I also enjoy the team vs team sports-like atmosphere you get on multiplayer games with CTF and TDM. Even in something like Call of Duty, I find online Search and Destroy to be 100x more engaging than the single player campaigns. To me they are two totally different things. I play single player campaigns to view an interesting story in an interactive manner. I play multiplayer to
help my team win and compete in an adrenaline filled and challenging fps game. As for co-op modes. they usually bore me to be honest. But I think thats more because the co-op games are usually not story driven, which is what I look for first in single player or co-op campaigns. Skill driven co-op games are just blasting away at dumb AI with no good storyline while laughing about it with your buds, ya its fun for a few days maybe, but it always grows stale quickly for me.

Canada DevastatioN: I have always been strictly deathmatch in every game I play; I enjoy the challenge of facing other opponents and challenging myself. In everything I do I try to push myself to the best of my abilities, and facing a computer just doesn't provide that mental challenge. I did do a bit of speedrunning for Compet-N, but it's just not as enjoyable for me.

I see DM as a high-speed strategic game, almost like chess but with guns. I enjoy getting into my opponent's head and knowing what they will do even before they do!

How would you compare Doom and Quakelive movement? Which do you prefer?

Canada Higgs: It's hard to compare two things that are so different. I definitely prefer QL's movement though since you have more freedom of movement and freedom to aim while doing said movement. That said DOOM's movement is a pretty neat study, especially for something that looks so ridiculously simple at a glance. It is for sure one of the most unique movement systems I have seen in any game and is lots of fun to learn and master. It's also one of the fastest. However, QL's movement is superior because their is more freedom/touch/control/depth. It is really hard to put into words why.. but yea that's my opinion.

Canada DevastatioN: DooM is constant speed and you have the ability to move quickly in all situations, this forces you have to be at your top reflexes and think extremely fast to take advantage of situations. Quake is more selective speed, where you can move fast but your opponent will hear you because of the jumping. You need to know when to move fast and when to be sneaky.

I would say getting a great UPS (Units per Second) consistently in quake is harder than learning to straferun optimally in DooM, because you need to get those mouse angles pretty tight on your jumps. In DooM however, it takes a long time to learn to cut every corner optimally in each situation, and to be able to do it while strafing backwards, under fire and in hectic situations can be very daunting.

Overall the movement styles between the two games are very different; I personally prefer the movement style of DooM. Everyone can straferun, but not everyone can straferun and cut corners really well. It's also more intuitive to new players once they learn than to have to constantly jump for speed.

Doom SSG dominates, CTF especially, what are your thoughts about Doom SSG? Do you prefer a balanced weapon approach like QL or a unbalanced one such as in Doom?

Canada Higgs: Again I definitely prefer QL's balanced approach. DOOM's overpowered shotgun is probably the 2nd biggest detractor for new players next to the graphics situation (software mode, 35fps). At its current state the game almost plays like instagib because nearly every shot is a kill... But I honestly don't see how DOOM would work any other way because of how fast the game moves and because of how slow and hard to aim the rockets are... maybe introduce a lightning gun? HAHA j/k =) The overpowered nature of DOOMs shotgun is probably necessary and can't be changed without major alterations elsewhere in the game. The only thing I really really hate about it is that there is random damage outputs. That makes no sense at all to me and is a major detractor for new players, especially if they're coming from balanced games.

Canada DevastatioN: I think in DooM duel the weapon balance is much more obvious. Chaingun and shotgun have long range uses, rockets and the BFG are used to control and constrict your opponent. The SSG is still your main weapon, but failure to utilize other weapons will give you a massive strategic disadvantage. That being said, I think duel maps without an SSG can be heavily balanced. The shotgun and chaingun can balance themselves out really well in the right environment for a map.

I think SSG dominating CTF is bad in comparison to Quake's weapon balance. DooM CTF is a lot like instagib CTF on quake, although it's not a guaranteed one shot kill, that's how a lot of scenario's play out. On the other hand, quake powerup's can make it extremely difficult to kill a flagrunner, so a lack of item control is a major disadvantage.

I think balanced weapons, but no powerups (except health and armor of course) would be the best format for CTF, but maybe I'm wrong. I'd enjoy seeing some CTF maps without an SSG, this would balance chaingun and rockets a bit more.

QL seems lacking in any serious long running online leagues, do you think this will ever change? What are the reasons for this?

Canada Higgs: In North America. I'm pretty sure they've built nice communities for themselves in other parts of the world. I'm not certain on why it didn't happen here but my main argument is that the age of clanning is simply dead in North America. Nowadays everyone just wants to boost their stats and leaderboard positions via public server play. This is the force that keeps an FPS gamer sticking to a game now instead of competing with and against friends and teams of other competitive people. EXP points and leadboards man, that's what its all about now unfortunately, not high level competition between clans. This is a sad reality I've had to slowly come to grips with over the last few years watching the NA QL community go nowhere and form next to no clans. Even when we did have some active leagues in the 2008-2009 era it was mainly made up of oldschool Quake 3 clans kinda just poking their heads in to see what QL was about and then leaving not long after. There are of course numerous other reasons I could go into but that overall attitude of the current generation of FPS gamers towards clans I think is what underlies it all.

Canada DevastatioN: I think this will change, at least the North American duel scene has been picking up with things like Cyber-Sports Network duel cups and Autumn Duel League which I participated in for the first few weeks before I became extremely busy. I think this is a good start to getting the North American scene more active, and also bring more amateurs into the scene.

The biggest issue is getting more people into the competitive scene. Quake is very rough for amateurs, you can easily lose 20-0 by being only a bit worse than your opponent. In DooM you're going to get frags no matter what because of the nature of the game, so amateurs can see progress by their frag count easier. I think quake needs more amatuer only tournaments to get people into it.

I think of Quake scores as very dynamic, players who are close in skill level often have huge varying scores, even some pros have lost without getting a single frag in major tournaments. To an amateur, they may not understand that yes they are losing constantly 20-0, but they are still improving. Against some extremely good players like everkill I still lose by the same scores, but I can tell the situations are ending much closer. Not every amateur can tell that. DooM scores are very static, if youíre better, you will win by a certain amount with small variance. An amateur player can see a massive improvement by going from losing 50-20 to only losing 50-25. It gives players a goal.

When I was learning DooM, I would set goals for myself when I played the top players, I would normally lose 50-20, so I made a goal of playing my best the entire game to get 25 on average, and then to get 30 on average, and so on. Players need to be able to see improvement or they will usually just give up.

Duel is a major part of QL, where as in Doom IDL CTF is the major part. Do you think a community does better made up mostly of duelers or teamplayers?

Canada Higgs: Define "does better". Teamplayers require more leagues/tourneys than duelers I think. I think most duelers are content just to kinda freelance around the scene servers playing whomever whenever and just kinda get a feel for where everyone is ranked at. So a scene made up of mainly teamplayers will appear to be much more active with all the tourneys they setup for themselves even though it may not necessarily be.

Canada DevastatioN: I feel a community of duelers does better. Duelers only have themselves to blame, and they refine their abilities to such insane levels that a community of duelers can push the skill ceiling up higher than teamplayers. In teams you need to be extremely good, but you don't need to be perfect in all scenarios. If you make a mistake in a team game, a team mate can bail you out, in duel it's just you.

Team games do require a lot more varying skills though, in order to have the synergy you need to win. But in terms of raw ability such as aim, movement, strategic positioning and etc. I think duelers raise this level of play in an amazing way.

In terms of spectators though, I feel most spectators like unpredictable team games. Itís more exciting to the general public because they can understand whatís going on easier. An average person isnít going to understand why Rapha positions himself here, or why he doesnít pick up a red armor right away, or why me and JKist are slow playing against each other in Dwango5 Map1. But the average person certainly understands that you need to grab a flag and bring it back to score, and that there is constant action.

Do you have any regrets from your last IDL season? Do you think you would ever want to be an IDL captain?

Canada Higgs: Last season went OK for the most part. I'm glad my teammates turned out to be cool people and not some bratty kids or something. My only regret really is my performance in the playoff game we lost to SUC. I had a few things throw me off that night and I really wish I could do it over again. I'm confident we would win if I didn't have such an average game that evening. As for being a captain that could be a possibility much further down the road... I don't know enough people in the DOOM community to be a captain right now.

Canada DevastatioN: Of course, everyone has regrets. I most likely have fewer regrets since we won the last season we played, but everyone wishes they played some of the games a little bit better than they did. I made mistakes, and that's part of the game. There is still room for me to grow in the CTF world and I hope to be able to give it my all.

I would love to be a captain except for one fact, I have very limited time and I feel I wouldn't have the time required in order to lead a team. I am an analyst at heart, and have many ideas on optimal strategy for maps and how to play, but I feel with the time I do have I would be letting the team and league down as a captain. I'm very happy just being a player for now and supporting the community with what I can give.

Are you planning to return to play in the IDL this upcoming winter season? If not, what are you reasons? It would be the 11th consecutive IDL season.

Canada Higgs: I will most likely return because Quake Live is very inactive and laggy (It's actually down as I am writing this).

Canada DevastatioN: Damn straight I intend to play!! I haven't played many games lately, but I'm definitely coming back for any competitive doom I can get!

What do you think of Devastation as a QL player? He started a while back he now has over 2,000 duels played but only a bit in other modes.

Canada Higgs: I think itís great heís trying to branch out from DOOM and trying something as difficult as learning how to 1v1 Quake in 2011. I've only played him a handful of times but from what I can see he has a very cool head which is crucial if you're going to be successful in Quake. I hope he eventually finds out how fun TDM can be as well sometime!

What do you think of Higgs as a Doom player? He came out of nowhere his first IDL season and put up a solid performance of 28 captures playing offense.

Canada DevastatioN: Higgs is a great gamer, he's played a lot of different games, so already knows how he has to play, and he just needed to learn to physics and game dynamics. He also had some great players helping him along the way, like Hatred. Higgs still has a ton of room to grow, he's got the brain to get the flags already, imagine what will happen if he chooses to completely masters the physics of DooM. If he wants to be a top player, he will become a top player. As it stands now, he is a great player and I hope to see him playing more, and I'd love to opportunity to play alongside him on the same team.

No one was going to draft you your first IDL season until I started bugging JKist3 (a top Doom dueler) about it who then told Hatred, an IDL captain, who ended up drafting you in 35th pick out of 36 total. Why do you think most captains over looked you?

Canada Higgs: Simple, I had no history at all in Zdaemon. What little history I do have in DOOM came from a brief stint in 2008 with Skulltag which had totally different people (for the most part). I didn't play in enough pickup games prior to the IDL draft because I was too busy playing
Quake and it really didn't matter to me when I was picked, I just wanted to play a few games of DOOM again at that point.

You've been a top dueler in Doom for a long time. Do you think competitively QL duel is harder? How would you compare duel in each? Has coming from Doom helped you in QL?

Canada DevastatioN: I cannot compare if it's easier to or harder directly. I was 15-16 when I started to play competitive doom, and spent hours each day playing. I was 24 starting to play quake, and can only play maybe an hour or two each day. I feel I am competent at quake duel, but I'm nowhere near the pros. Both DooM and Quake have extremely high skill ceilings nowadays that are very daunting to new players, in either game it would take you a few years to master everything to get anywhere near the top even if you're playing full time.

The longer a game is out, the more you have to catch up on. You have to learn all the theory of the past, master the physics AND keep up-to-date with the new theory and plays. DooM duel has been basically mastered to the level where any little mistake you make will cost you a frag, quake is more dynamic of a game based on item control so you need to still think on your feet sometimes and make erratic plays. In short, both are hard to master and in reality any game you play where players all around the world are trying to master is going to be extremely difficult to compete and learn.

To me DooM is more about map control and capitalizing on your small positional advantages. You control a map by having more space and confining your opponent. Quake is about item control and map control in order to constrict your opponent. So both games are about controlling your opponent and limiting their options, only in Quake it's done through items and forcing playing to move to collect those items, and in DooM it's about constant fighting to gain every little space you can, controlling rooms and corridors.

Coming from XvT, DooM and every other game I've played competitively has helped me in Quakelive a ton. I am able to go into a new game and know what I have to do to improve; practice, watch demos of pros and learn the correct moves, and also analyze my own demos for mistakes that I make. I also have a good understanding of how to evaluate positions and think about all the different variables. Someone new to gaming who has never played competitively before has to spend time learning the best way to improve, and even then they are not sure what they have to improve on! Playing competitively in anything will teach you an analytical method to improving yourself at anything you wish to accomplish in life.

You went on to end that season tied for 5th most captures, a very respectable first season effort, especially for the 2nd to last draft pick. You actually tied my brother Mikehail who is one of the best runners in IDL history. Do you think IDL is just easy competitively compared to Quake or do you have some special secret?

Canada Higgs: In my opinion DOOM is easy to get good at but hard to master. Whereas Quake is hard to get good at and incredibly hard to master... Like stupid-hard :) I also think DOOM CTF is just my style of gameplay and suits my strengths nicely. I was also already accustomed to insanely high speeds in offensive CTF games via TFC... so there is a lot of little things that set me up to be successful in DOOM even before my first game on it.

You were drafted in spot 12 season W2011 and 15 season W2010, do you think those are an accurate draft spot for your skills? The upcoming IDL season is W2012.

Canada DevastatioN: I think I might be a bit undervalued sometimes in draft, but I can see why. A lot of people are hesitant because I'm a dueler and they don't know what I'm capable of in CTF. I played a ton of CTF when it first came out in ZDaemon and worked hard to develop the optimal strategy for the first maps. I played as [CTF]Dalu along with my teammates [CTF]Malu and [CTF]Balu.

The other thing about me is that people don't know how I'm going to play! I stop playing for 6-8 months and people are like "Wow, Dev hasn't played in forever, wonder if he's gonna bomb or be good, he's prolly rusty" and then a week later after playing I'm back to my usual skill level and everyone is surprised. It's engraved in my brain how to play this game, just like riding a bike, just a little warm-up to get my aim and movement back.

As long as I'm still able to come back to my usual level and play well, and I feel I can help the community in some way, I'll keep playing!

What's your greatest achievement in Quake? How do you rank your best of 3 IDL playoff match that stretched into 5 rounds in comparison? See the stats of that playoff match here - http://www.intldoomleague.org/stats/games/312

Canada Higgs: I think my greatest achievement in Quake would be defeating some teams or people in the game I can remember spectating in 2008 and thinking "jeez, its going to be 20 years before I catch up to these dudes" even if it was just in some mere practice scrims. Nx helped UFX train for some LANs this last year and although they won 99% of the games we were able to win one or two. Those are some big names to be victorious versus and it felt awesome :) beating zero4+fiend in some 2v2s also comes to mind... they seemed untouchable a few years prior. I would love to quote some stuff that happened in league matches but unfortunately I don't really have many achievements there aside from a few 3rd place finishes in 2v2 cups no one remembers.

As for comparing it to the SUC match, I can't. I don't see it as that big of an achievement although I am very happy we made it to the playoffs. I view my QL achievements in much higher regard, even if they are mainly from mere practice scrims.

What's your greatest FPS gaming achievement in both Doom and QL? Are you more proud of your Doom or QL achievements? How does your IDL MasterBowl victory rank against those? See the stats of the match here - http://www.intldoomleague.org/stats/games/318

Canada DevastatioN: DooM: 1. Meeting ocelot in Washington 2003 and playing him, along with a bunch of other players. 2. Beating Hatred and Arrogance in Toronto 2006. 3. Being a top player for such a sustained amount of time, and also developing some training aids that I've gotten great feedback on. 4. Winning IDL with Jenova and Rottking

QL: 1. Being up 1-0 against griffin in ztn for about a minute and a half after some amazing LG work (then he creamed me for the rest of the game). 2. Playing a great game against Judge on ztn about two years ago, where many spectators even said my game was flawless for about 7 minutes.

As you can see I haven't done anything noteworthy in Quake (yet at least!), just some games I played that felt really good and that kind of broke my skill ceiling and put me into a new level.

Are you fearful this interview might make people think you are social and don't hate everyone?

Canada Higgs: No, come say hi in #nxclan, come play some quake.. or doom whatever. Even if we hate each other we should mutually respect one another for the love of QUAKE! =)

I want to personally thank you for your time to answer this interview and I'm sure the replies I get back will be fastidiously answered! If you want to add anything else or shout outs please do so.

Canada Higgs: Shout out to clan Nx, playing TDM the first half of 2011 was some of the best times I've had in a video game in the last 13 years :) Shout out to all my doom friends, specially dev and miek for helping me learn and cfg the game, and to hate and rust for competing with me! Shout out to everyone still playing qw and tfc in 2011 keep them going guys :) Play the game for the love of the game. Peace!

Canada DevastatioN: It's been a pleasure to answer these questions, and I think competitive gaming is a great thing. I hope these communities stay alive and that competitive gaming will become an even bigger boom in the future.

I most likely have way too many shout outs to name them all, but I'll throw some down.

DooM: nc_ds for giving me DooM back in 2001, Dominus for teaching me how to play and how to think, ocelot for kicking everyone's ass in DooM, Sslasher for being a Map1 genius, BahdKo for running doom2.net, Raider/Kilgore for keeping ZDaemon up and alive, Ralphis for running IDL, JKist3 for being a good friend, practice buddy and running ZDDL, switcher and kevins for hosting me up in Toronto, Xenaero for being a great practice buddy, collision, delusion, chewy, nostar, and everyone else who always plays with me! Rottking and Jenova for being great IDL teammates! Dannyboy for reviving ZDaemon tournaments.

Quake: Stywo0 for helping me out, krid and bo0m for always playing me whenever I want, everkill for teaching me how to play better. Ragef1st for getting me into CTF.

To my best friends Chris, Danny and Rory for everything, and of course for being my earliest competitors throughout my life!

And of course my wife Lisa for still allowing me to play a bazillion games! Even though (apparently) screaming into a microphone at my teammates is annoying and distracting.

Anyone who has ever played with me, thanks for the games and helping me improve!
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