Interview with European Champion Mando and World Champion Ph0bi401.12.2011

What were your impressions of Korea? What do you think about the people there, the food?

Mando: It seems to be a truly breath-taking region, everything is automated and very different to how it is in Italy: all the skyscrapers and the people who seem to move according to some kind of logic that I haven't quite understood. The people that I met were very respectable: for example, the people at Masang who I had stressed out before I'd even arrived in Seoul and all the people at the show stands and in the restaurants. You could tell that we were in an Asian country, with a completely different tradition from that which we are used to in Europe. The food was tasty. A couple of people had told me I should go to McDonald's so that I knew what I would be eating. But to them I can now say the following: Korean food tastes really good! One thing that I found really good was the festival on the 11th of November, where skewers of chocolate were exchanged. Very nice!

Ph0bi4: Well the first thing that came to mind is that it's overall more colourful than Europe. At least in Busan, every street was filled with eye-catching colours. The people there all seemed to be really kind, even though most of the time we couldn't understand each other. As for the food, well I didn't like kimshi that much but I can say that I loved the rest (if only my stomach was bigger!).

What were your impressions of the tournament? What was the atmosphere like?

Mando: Apart from during the duels, the atmosphere at the tournament was not very tense, because we supported each other throughout - how it should be between players! Mr. Jeon also lent us his support.

Ph0bi4: Well, it was a world tournament, so you knew that the best players from all around the world would be there and that can only make you nervous. How could you not be right? Particularly in the beginning, the atmosphere was really tense, but then as we familiarised with the environment (the tournament's site was REALLY noisy) and the rest of the players, things smoothed out.

How was the atmosphere among the players?

Mando: The atmosphere between the players was very relaxed. We all had similar thoughts and new ideas for the improvement of AR, which we were able to talk about directly with the programmers. I was also able to make new friends: those that I was able to get on with the most were the two Thais and the Russian - we are staying in touch via facebook now. I still have a friendly rivalry with Tiago because we didn't manage to see each other in the final for a chance to duel each other for first place once again.

Ph0bi4: It was really tense at first, but as we got to know each other, things smoothed out between almost everyone, I say almost because some of the players didn't speak English at all so we had almost no way to communicate. I did make some new friends from all around the world. I knew Mando already but we could talk much more this time and we could act as a team giving tips and advice to another. As for the rest of the world, I can tell you guys that I had some nice conversations with the Thais and the Taiwanese guys, spoke a little bit with the Japanese player and had a big chat with PhiDoi's Product Manager who is also a player (not in the championship of course). Also I got to hang around with our dear Gina and some of the Masang developers for a while.

Tell us something about your opponents,were there any differences?

Mando: What I noticed first was that the A-Gears (the Korean and the Russian) were almost continuously in ground siege. Tiago had no explanation for it either. Then there was Pucca with an M-Gear with 300 defence and 300 skill. I'd never seen anything like it, because you would be killed quite quickly with that set up on a normal game server; he wouldn't have stood a chance at the European Championships either. Maybe you could say that the tournament in Germany was harder, but if you consider the abilities of the players, this one was better in my opinion.

Ph0bi4: One of the things I noticed was that the players that chose to use different gears (M-Gears) than the ones they regularly do, couldn't quite keep up with the rest of the players. Also, especially on the day of the tournament, you could see how fierce the competition was, with everyone trying to check how their opponents were going to play, checking their stats, weapons, everything! Heh sometimes it almost felt like we were being spied on, we would turn our head and we would see some player or their friend eavesdropping or sneaking into someone's pc to check their build. Everyone wanted this title, and they would do whatever they could to get it.

What did you like most?

Mando: I liked that a dance group of four young girls drew more visitors than an intercontinental tournament! Seriously though, I really liked the spa landscape. It was a spa where we were able to relax a little on the second day. I had never been to one before, but I’m certain that there aren’t so many in Italy.

Ph0bi4: Even more than the money I brought home, it was all the people I met, all the things I saw and everything I learnt. I can't describe how awesome the trip was!

What happened back home? Party in your brig?

Mando: Everyone at home was a little disappointed that I didn’t win, but they said to me ‘you have been on a journey to the other side of the world just to take part in an intercontinental tournament, you should be proud! Besides, you’re still European Champion.’

Ph0bi4: Heh... When I got to the airport my girlfriend and mum were waiting for me with huge smiles on their faces: I would have never thought that me playing a PC game would make them so happy! Anyway after giving some presents to everyone I love, when I got home/back to university/back in game, well... people I've never met came to congratulate me both in-game and in real life, I was like ‘wow I didn't know this was so big’! Everyone congratulated me on the title and almost everyone pulled the ‘now you're going to buy us all [a fine dinner/a truckload of credits]’... but overall, people were really happy and proud of what I did!

What do you want to tell all other AirRivals players?

Mando: We spoke to the Masang programmers about the problem with the Gears, especially the M-Gear. I can tell you that in future there are going to be many changes made: there were many suggestions made by Ph0bi4, the two Thais and myself. 4.0 sounds like it is going to be spectacular, from what they have told us. I would like to send my best wishes to all and I would like to thank Product Director Martina for accompanying us on this magnificent trip!

Ph0bi4: Even though sometimes you might think that Gameforge and Masangsoft don't care about us anymore, I can tell you that it is not true: I've seen it with my own eyes, both in Germany and Korea these guys work really hard for us! Don't give up on them. As for the championship, I'm still just a simple paper plane that dies a lot in wars (laughs), but I can tell you that your skill is not determined by how many times you die or by the number of times you survive, your skill is determined by what you do during that time. Train to get better and don't be afraid to try new/old things and most of all, don't be afraid to be bold!

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