One of the largest names in Esports is getting into one of the biggest games on the planet. Optic Gaming has formed a Fortnite team just in time to try and claim some of the $100 Million that Epic is investing into Fortnite Esports.
The official Optic announcement is below. This is going to be good!
“By the dancing emotes over their enemies’ fallen piles of loot shall you know them: OpTic Gaming has acquired one of the very best Fortnite teams in the scene. The four-gun squad of Kenneth ‘BaldyKun’ Anderson, Robert ‘WizKay’ Simone, Marco ‘MarkyWap’ Soto, and Dade ‘Dramas’ Lesch have already made a splash in the nascent competitive community – multiple splashes, in fact.
“We just kind of took the scene by storm,” recounted Soto. “We hold three of the kill records – solo kill record, duo kill record, squad kill record…” Their practice and scrims can only be described as relentless – when asked the usual interview thing about their personal lives and hobbies, two of the four’d sheepishly admitted that, at least for the last few months, there hasn’t really been one.
Said Simone: “The last four months has been nothing but Fortnite, scrimming, sleeping, and repeating that process.”
“I love Fortnite, so it’s hard to get me off the game,” said Soto. Though in their now-rare free time, half the team kicks back with basketball games – and groaning at the Cavaliers, in Simone’s case.
“I’m a massive sports fan for all the teams in Cleveland,” said Simone, who currently resides in the city. “Browns, Indians, Cavs – the Cavs are in the finals right now, so I get together with my friends and that’s what we normally do: we watch the game and yell at the TV like little kids.”
It wasn’t possible to avoid bringing up J. R. Smith’s infamous moment.
“Yeah, see that’s not – that wasn’t a very happy moment for the people I was with. Let’s just say that.”
None of the four players started with Battle Royales, of course, much less Fortnite. But they do have a common origin as Call of Duty players – some starting out as late at Call of Duty 4. Dade Lesch, however, has touched the entire lineup, all the way back to the first iteration of the franchise. For many of them, Call of Duty and MLG Gamebattles was where they first cut their teeth in competitive play – and H1Z1 the point in which their paths fatefully intersected.
Three of the four of them were a long-established competitive force in H1Z1’s Battle Royale community – the triple-threat of WizKay, MarkyWap, and Dramas. All four of them boast, at barest minimum, 400 hours in the game, with Lesch claiming to have sunk over 4,000 into it himself.
The transition to Fortnite instead of PUBG, the latter of which arguably shares stronger roots with their original focus on H1Z1, largely fell onto preferences in the respective game’s pacing. “Marky and WizKay liked PUBG, I’d say,” recalled Lesch. “It was just too slow for me, and I didn’t enjoy it at all.”
“PUBG is just a much longer process of landing, looting, and finding people,” explained Simone. “Fortnite, you can land, find a gun in five seconds, and you’re fighting someone 10 seconds after that.”
Robert elaborated more on what drew them into the Battle Royale space in the first place: “When I started playing video games, it was strictly Call of Duty Search & Destroy, a little bit of Halo and Gears on the side, but that was it. It was team versus team, S&D style games, so when I got to H1Z1, it was just something I’d never played.
“It’s REALLY satisfying to win a game. In CoD, you win a game, four people win, and there’s only eight people in the lobby. In Fortnite, you win a game, one to four people win, and there’s a hundred people. That feeling just kind of pulled me in.”
Dreams to Reality
That combination of experiences, with both competitive Call of Duty and H1Z1, led them to where they are today – and helped sculpt their remarkable set of skills. Notably, most started fairly young. Anderson started with competitive sniping when he was just 11 or 12 with Modern Warfare 2. “I’d just play competitive quickscoping pretty much,” he recalled. “And then I started playing actual competitive Call of Duty, which was like GB. I played GB matches in tournaments, and eventually got pretty good and started playing with better people.”
And the entire time, the dream of black and green was on their minds.
“We haven’t told a ton of people; we’ve been trying to keep it a little low,” said Simone. “Anybody that I’m friends with that games obviously knows who OpTic is. They’re obviously really happy ‘cuz a lot of them, like me, come from a CoD background, and OpTic is obviously the org you want to be in no matter what. So when we told people that’s the tea we’re joining they kind of freaked out a little bit.”
“I’ve just been dreaming of joining OpTic since I was a little kid, ad it’s unreal that I’m finally about to be a part of it,” said Lesch. “And I’m excited for the future.”
Epic Games has not yet announced their plans to distribute that staggering $100 million prize pool through competitive events – but anticipation is high that announcements will come in the wake of E3.”