In the past, our industry may have thrived off live events both domestically and internationally, but the fight against COVID-19 has put a hold on those opportunities. A team here in Oceania, who have been at the top of their game for quite some time, have unfortunately found themselves fighting both a battle against restricted overseas travel, and a lack of opportunities - FURY Global PUBG.
FURY PUBG, who signed with the organisation in February of last year from Incognito, have been at the top of their game in Oceania for a few years now; having represented the region in a number of overseas events. But in recent times, they have found themselves fighting an uphill battle with both travel restrictions and minimal opportunities being provided.
I had the opportunity to speak with Nathan “Ykikamucoww” Lynham, Captain of FURY PUBG, to talk about the circumstances they are faced with and his overall thoughts on the state of the title here in Oceania. Nathan also provided advice for aspiring players and some insight into what is on the horizon for his team moving forward.
2020 presented plenty of unfortunate circumstances for your team, largely due to COVID-19, has this put any strain on the team’s competitive spirit?
“It certainly has. For myself, Insight and Ronon, it was looking like one of the first times we would be a sure thing to receive an invite into an international LAN, let alone the biggest of them all; given that we have missed out on the multiple invite opportunities that had been offered to OCE over the course of PUBG’s lifespan.”
“It hurts when you have to watch and remain silent on the sidelines off the back of not receiving any invites for previous international tournaments, knowing that not only would you feel confident to obtain a slot through qualifiers, but also that you would perform well over there.”
“If we’d had opportunities handed to us on previous occasions I think we would have reacted to the PGI.S situation very differently. We are slowly, very slowly, moving forward though, which is positive and also reinforces that it's something that we need to not let affect us so much in the future.”
With 2021 now underway, how does the team plan on approaching the competitive calendar. Is it business as usual or do you plan on taking it lightly given COVID?
“It’s tricky to get our hopes up about the future seeing as the Covid situation isn’t showing any real signs of letting up anytime soon, but we did enjoy the revised 2020 PUBG PCS tournaments that kept PUBG Esports not only alive, but actually flourishing.”
“The team and I would love to continue with that style of online structure, but definitely welcome the opportunity to go abroad should that be possible. Time will tell!”
Oceania has been hit hard recently by developers and tournament organisers due to COVID-19. Do you think it’s possible for PUBG in Oceania to come back from this and if so, what steps do you think need to be taken?
“Absolutely. PUBG in Oceania can thrive as shown by the many opportunities and audiences we were afforded in all 4 PCS leagues played throughout 2020. I really hope to continue the merge with the South-East Asia region and strengthen our ties to ensure we remain as APAC moving forwards.”
“The time zones, the viewership and then playstyles all just lean to a more positive experience and future for Oceania PUBG teams compared to the previous plan to merge with North and South America. I would add that it shouldn’t even be a discussion that in lieu of Oceania not being represented in PGI’s, PUBG should be looking to run a tournament/league within the region. It would help patch the mistakes they made that have negatively impacted and hindered the region as a whole – well, it definitely wouldn’t hurt.”
Given the current circumstances around the world, how do you think players should approach competing and do you think it’s possible for them to continue to push for overseas opportunities?
“In PUBG specifically we are fortunate enough to have many opportunities whilst playing from the comfort of OCE as high ping only has small negative impacts to gameplay that doesn’t make the experience (for most) game ruining.”
“This still allows any players from our region seeking overseas opportunity a chance to do so and make their name known globally throughout the PUBG community.”
What advice would you give any aspiring players looking to enter the competitive scene of PUBG in 2021?
“Don’t be shy. From an outsider's perspective, I think competitive PUBG looks chaotic and messy at times, which deters some people. PUBG is a super dynamic esport (yes okay RNG) and once you get the grasp of the basics, you see there are set patterns and play styles that can work for you and all of a sudden that dynamic gameplay, once you get the hang of it, becomes really enjoyable and fun.”
“Every game feels like there is something new and rewarding to learn in competitive PUBG. So find a scrim server, find some teammates and just give it a crack if you are unsure!”
What can fans look forward to from yourself and your team over the next few months?
“To try and stay in touch with PGI’s, the team, along with the help of @Saga_UK, a UK based caster, we have decided to run a podcast during the off days of PGI’s to talk all things PUBG whilst 32 of the best teams are competing there in Korea.”
“Talking highlights, fails, results, analysing and more we hope to bring some funny and engaging moments whilst there are breaks in between days – the series will be called ‘PGI’S Downunder’ with details to be announced in a few days time.”
If you want to stay connected with Nathan and his team, be sure to follow FURY Global on Twitter.