Patrick "Frosz" Lu is a former professional Swedish PUBG player and coach of Why Tempt Fate who has recently been a broadcast talent in the analyst role for the PEL and on the stage for big tournaments such as the recent Faceit Global Summit. This interview was conducted byBenjamin "Gratz" Graham in the leadup to the Faceit Global Summit.
What was the transition like from player to caster?
To start it off, I'm going to say talent instead of caster since I work both as a caster and on the analyst desk. Moving on from player to become a talent was rough in the beginning, the hard part was not knowing how to work and act as a talent instead it was the reason to step down as a player, something I've dreamed of since way back in the days. I did achieve one of the things I've dreamed of which was to play in an arena in front of an audience. It was almost like giving up on a dream that I was a part of and had within hands grasp. I started to realize the time I was putting into the game didn't really pay off in terms of money, since I was running my own company for around six years it meant that I put down a lot of time into that, but I sacrificed it to be able to pursuit my dream. Running my own company did mean I had my own work times and so on, I could pull out a decent salary at that time but after putting almost all my time into gaming I couldn't do that anymore, and even when I was signed with a org it didn't pay close to the salary I had running my own business.
I knew with my passion for gaming and esports that I wanted to continue to work in this industry and was thinking about transitioning into a coach (at this time coaches in PUBG were not really embraced in the West yet).
I'm an open and social person so I tend to talk and hang out with more or less everyone both online and at events, and during my last event as a player (PGI EU qualifier in Leicester) I lowkey said during a conversation that this would be my last event if me and my team wouldn't qualify for PGI which we didn't (ended on a 7th place which already was higher placement then we expected). One person that over heard this was Matrym, I've talked with all the talents before and knew them quite well but when Matrym heard this he started talking with me and basically told me that I should give it a shot, he believed I could be a good fit and do good.
I had never even given it a thought about it before this but now this was circulating in my head, and during the after party Matrym came up and said, "Hey, you see that guy sitting over there? That is my agent and he wants to have a chat with you tonight." At this time I had already consumed a few drinks and was tipsy but I went up and talked with the guy and he was interested to work with me, but we said it's better to take a talk when I'm sober instead. With that said I kind of forgot about it, time past by and GLL season 2 finals was closing in, it was going to be hosted in Stockholm and since I'm from Sweden I was determined I should attend even though I wasn't going to be playing. So I sent out a email to Simon and Joakim at GLL and told them I'll be coming over to hang out (they did have a hang out area and asked if anyone wanted to attend).
A week before the finals I get a call from Simon asking me "Hey, what are you doing next weekend?" with me responding, I'm coming over to watch the finals as I told you before and he goes "no you're not, you are going to be working here." A bit confused he explains to me that he needs a caster for the finals and wanted me to do it. Without any experience I was super nervous, had no idea what to expect or really how to prepare myself, at this time I had no idea how it worked at a event being a talent, what do I do? When do I do it? What do I say? How does everything work?
But I said sure count me in! Before I even knew any details, I got super excited about it. Without further a do I started doing some research on what I could do, I knew I was going to cast with Deman so I started to look at vods for hours and hours and take a lot of notes, how the flow is, what the other casters said and when to say things. Days went by and it was time to fly out for my first event as a talent, also first time casting. During a pre-dinner the day before the event I got the news that the plans are changed and I'm going to be on the analyst desk instead, that's when I started to panic a bit since I did all me research on how to cast, I never even looked at the analyst desk or how it worked there.
Luckily I had Toffees on the desk that thought of me a lot, not just on that event but afterwards as well. During my transition period I had so many questions as I didn't know anything. What helped me the most was talking with some of the talents that was out there, and I owe them so much for helping me out and welcoming me with open arms. The people that helped me most in the beginning is : Avnqr, Matrym, Simms & Deman, any questions I had they would help me out with explaining and make sure I would grow as a talent. After GLL I looked back and saw how much I actually enjoyed working as a talent, also I still got to hang out with everyone and be a part of the community I've been with since the start of it, and here we are today!
What have been the biggest hurdles to overcome as a caster in a battle royale esport where action is happening all across the map simultaneously?
So, I don't really have any other games to compare to really, but if you would deep a bit deeper into this you would see it goes deeper depending on what TO you are working with. Different TO's will have different work methods, different production teams and observers different goals what they want to show and achieve during the show. All of this matters when you work as a talent, different producers will say different stuff and function in different ways, specially in terms of setups and how they talk to you while on air.
Also, the fact that working as a talent I do both casting and analyst desk and there is a difference when it comes to this topic as well.
When you're casting it comes down to mostly talking about the present, what's going on, why they did it, what kind of position they were in etc, but you have to do it quick since more things are going on. So you have to be quick, speak with a language the general audience understands meaning not using too much terminology but still explain things and then adapt to your co-caster. This is how I work as a color caster (co-caster to the play-by-play caster). This means you have to have all the knowledge about the game, about the players, about the teams, about everyone’s background to back up what you are saying and knowing when to say it to create an impact that makes it interesting for the audience. Jumping around from one team to another isn't the big problem, not being able to tell two stories about two teams but having to tell 16 different ones at the same time is the hard part. I can jump into any fight and know what is happening and what just happened since I watch the map stream a lot to gather info at the same time as I cast the main stream.
Working on the analyst desk is much harder but that only makes it more fun in my opinion. Being on the desk you have to analyze the game as it goes and always pick out the most important and crucial parts to talk about during a very limited time that you share with others on the desk. To be able to do this you need to memorize the whole game and what happened because a fight that happened 5min into the game when there is 16 teams left could be the crucial point you need to know about by the end of the game. That means you have to memorize everything from the game all the time, not only that but also previous games and what form every team and player is in at the moment. Also making sure you are prepared to fill out if there is any technical issues and so on.
To sum it up, the hardest part is to tell the story of 16 different teams and try to follow it up.
Do you feel PUBG Corp has taken the right steps in evolving the game?
They have definitely being moving in the right direction, even though I feel like its steps that could have been made much faster there are reasons why it hasn't. PUBG Corp has been helping the scene to evolve and listened to the competitive scene to make sure it goes the right way. It we look at how far we have come in a short period of time I don't think anyone could complain, we have pro leagues going on, playing the same settings and point system all around the world and Faceit grand summit coming up just around the corner as well.
All of this was something we couldn't even dream of a year ago, sure we did have PGI but if you look at how that was done, everyone played on different settings and point structure, it was even split between people playing TPP and FPP. All of this is just evidence on where we are going, sometimes it might feel like PUBG Corp is moving forward slowly and not the right way, but that's also because the want to ensure they are making the right move instead of just making a move and having to go backwards after that.
How has the play at the top of the game changed over time and would you compare it to other BR experiences like Fortnite/Apex?
As mentioned, the game has been changing but for the better good, and we are moving the right way even though we are not all the way to where we want to be at the moment we will eventually reach it. The top teams and players have changed a little, we see new people rising up all the time, and this is expected. New settings and changes in the game also means new meta, new meta means who is best on adapting to it, or does it already suit a specific team that could thrive more on this than previous settings and point structure? I think over the upcoming years we will see a lot of changes in the top, there is so many talented players out there that still haven't gotten the chance to show their skills to the audience yet.
A lot of people going around saying that Fortnite would be the PUBG killer, and then Black out and now Apex, what people don't understand is that the only thing these games got in common is that they are all Battle royale genres. The games are targeting different audience in terms of gameplay and age ranges, sure it does affect PUBG by taking some people away from it, but without competition you will not thrive to become the best, some competition is just healthy for PUBG and the sooner people realize this the better, it's not a competition which game is the best or whatever, everyone has their own personal preferences to what they want to play, which game suits them best. Instead of seeing other games as competition I think we should see it from a perspective on how every BR game could help each other out instead.
Do you feel like the PEL will be a good success as most of fans come from the CIS region?
I don't think we should say that PEL will be a success because of the CIS region, the whole EMEA is a part of PEL, every region in contributing with teams, players, fans and viewers, and I think it's important that we recognize all of them no matter how big or small they are. Together we are PEL and standing together we are strong. PEL had a good start for the first phase, but we are just gracing the potential we have in EMEA, working together we can get more fans and more people to recognize PEL.
This doesn't stop with PEL but goes for the whole PUBG community and all the other PUBG pro leagues, the more we can learn and teach each other, the quicker we can grow and become a bigger and greater esport game.
Why do you think that PUBG appeals more to the CIS/Asian market more than the NA/South America market compared to games like Rainbow Six or CS:GO?
I believe one of the reasons PUBG is so big in Asia is because a lot of the people over there knew about the movie Battle Royale before PUBG even existed, also the fact that it all started with Bluehole which is based from South Korea. It's far more familiar and not as restricted over there as it is for other games. Instead of games struggling to launch because of different culture and rules it's easier since the game has it's roots from over there.
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