When a game rises quickly in popularity over a short period of time, one of the first questions that pops up is "will it be an esport?". With Playerunknown's battlegrounds quick ascent in 2017, that question was answered fairly early on with the PUBG Gamescom Invitational held in August. Since then, the scene has slowly picked up steam, and on the train from the beginning was Shoot To Kill's Adam “adamdids” Didiano. We sat down with adamdids to talk about his tenure in the scene, team dynamic, and how PUBG has progressed so far.
My name is Adam Didiano and I play Competitive PUBG for Shoot To Kill. I am 20 years of age and currently reside in Toronto, Canada.
Do you have any experience competing in games before PUBG?
I don’t have any experience competing at a pro level in other games, but I do have high-level experience in Call of Duty, Counter Strike and Overwatch.
You’ve been in the competitive PUBG scene for quite some time, and have witnessed a gamut of changes across the board. For you, what stands out as the biggest improvements made to the esports side of PUBG since things first kicked off?
Since things first kicked off at Gamescom in Germany, I had a ton of faith in the PUBG esports scene. At that point, I had a craving to enter the scene and grow with it because I saw the potential. Since then, many online leagues have improved on the viewer experience by taking feedback from the pro community and implementing those changes. Recently, prize pools have increased dramatically, streams are much cleaner, and overall, things are smoother.
Shoot To Kill entered PUBG back in October. As the only remaining member of the original core, what was it like playing in an essentially brand new team? What went into the changes, and did you have a lotof say into who was brought into the new roster?
Having roster changes in a game where teamwork plays the biggest impact on a teams success can only hinder the teams ability to perform. It is always difficult to remove a player from a roster and find a replacement, although sometimes it is necessary given the right rhyme and reason.
If I were to explain the details as to why we changed the roster and who we picked up, you’d be reading this a while. In short, some players were brought in because of experience and some were brought in to fit a playstyle that we needed.
You’re currently standing at sixth place in the Auzom Pro League, and 9th in Global Loot League. How do you personally feel about your performances across the various leagues and what are you looking to improve on most?
So far we have performed fairly well in all of the online leagues and we hope to keep it up. We need to work onkeeping consistent as sometimes we have good days and some mediocre. The mediocre days have easy fixes most of the time and we will continue to learn from our mistakes moving forward.
Which teams are your biggest threats in NA?
We don’t really consider any particular teams big threats, but I will admit that we worry about the teams that we don’t see too often because we are less informed of their playstyle and the kind of decision making they have in combat/rotations. Sometimes this catches us off guard when teams we are less familiar with make unexpected plays.
There have been some challenges for PUBG as an esport, from in-game issues to the spectator experience. What do you believe affects the game most in terms of its growth and perception as an esport?
Both in-game issues and spectator issues have to be dealt with in order for PUBG to continue its growth as an esport. From a player standpoint, the in-game issues are frustrating (low FPS, crouch bug, water circles, etc). Although, for PUBG to grow as an esport, the viewing experience needs to be refined. Spectator needs to be exactly what the player sees, multiple observers need to be a standard, more thorough analysis by casters and analysts, etc. In terms of how people on the outside perceive it as an esport, the amount of RNG seems to have the biggest impact and that amount can be diminished by new map design/circle settings/loot tables, etc.
You recently joked on twitter about your future career as an analyst after participating in an IEM Katowice fantasy contest at smash.gg. You actually ended up in fourth, picking Rogue to win the event. Quite a few people pinned Rogue as a top contender heading into the event, what went into that decision?
I chose Rogue to win IEM Katowice as an underdog pick. I assumed most people would choose FaZe or Vitality and I believed, with Rogues’ recent performances, they could potentially pull it off. For me, the two “underdogs” that had a chance to win were Rogue and AVANGAR but I decided to go with Rogue because I am familiar with AVANGAR’s inconsistency online. I guess I picked wrong.
Your teammate Uncivils also participated in a fantasy tournament in October for IEM Oakland, taking second. Were you aware of this beforehand? Why is STK so good at Fantasy?
In October, both Uncivils and I finished the smash.gg picks in the top 10, and I feel like this comes from the amount of time we both watch vods. When I review vods, it gives me an idea of a teams’ recent performances, their current form, if they have any momentum, etc. We spend a good amount of time studying other teams and trying to learn from them, so in exchange we get info about how they might perform at an upcoming lan.
What surprised you the most about IEM Katowice? Most standout team?
Nobles’ performance was what surprised me the most at IEM Katowice. They found ways to be the most consistent team in the tournament regardless of circle. In the qualifiers I presumed Noble made it with luck being a major factor, although I was wrong and they performed in Poland. The most standout team for me was OpTic Gaming. They went to Poland with a goal in mind and put on a show for NA PUBG, big ups to them. Also, Cloud9 impressed me quite a bit with their performance regardless of their current roster issues.
Do you have trouble balancing between competing in three leagues that move their schedules around so often? Do you believe there needs to be a more rigid system in place?
As of right now, PUBG is my number one priority. This means that I put aside all other things in my life and focus on playing PUBG, whether it be scrims or in tournaments. Although, I can’t speak for everyone else in the scene. Currently the schedules change so often that I can imagine other players run into problems. I feel like there definitely needs to be a more rigid system in place and all of the leagues need to work together to come up with a good system.
What’s your communication like in game? Is there a dedicated shotcaller, or do you have multiple voices making decisions?
I am the IGL for Shoot To Kill meaning I call the drops, rotations, and even combat positioning at times. Even though we have members of our team that have opinions and input when it comes to a situation in which we have options, I have to consider the opinions of my teammates and make a decision based off that. Overall, I have the final say when it comes down to making an in-game decision.
What are the biggest changes you want to see to the game?
I want to see the game become more optimized, and I think that should be the priority. I also want to see the current bugs fixed and matchmaking to be a thing again. It would be nice if there was a separation between Casual PUBG and Competitive PUBG.
Shoutouts to Coach Didz, who is also my IRL brother. Didz puts in an insane amount of time and effort for our team and myself even though he gets nothing out of it currently. You can also follow me on twitter.