Stake Interview: What's It Like Being a Professional Esports Player?

Last week, we revealed our conversation with Stake, his camera settings, MMR, and advice to players. Now, we round off our interview in Part 2: What's it like being an esports player?

Stake interview 2 professional esports player
Stake clearly loves being professional Rocket League player, and we can't blame him. | © Stake via GGRecon

Last week I brought a rather untraditional interview to your attention, when I took you through Stake's MMR, camera controls, tips, and tricks. I chose to present you with this first for one simple reason: it's rare for an esports player to be this open, off-stream, with his tips and tricks. That being said, I personally believe that his esports journey, the thoughts he shared on Rocket League itself, and Stake's unwavering loyalty to the game, were the most interesting portions of our conversation. That's what we're here to talk about today.

It's an obvious question, "What's it like being a professional esports player?", but what was so intriguing about Stake was that he answered it almost unprompted. There was no need to ask this vague and obvious question, as we came to it naturally, through questions about the way Stake likes to practice, his daily routine, his thoughts on the Rocket League Championship Series, and what drew him to Rocket League in the first place. What I enjoyed most about this interview, though, was that it truly reveals what makes Marc "Stake" Bosch Plujà... well... Stake.

You should check out the other half of our interview with Stake. Additionally, you should check out our interview with Maksym Bilonogov, CVO at WePlay Esports, the tournament provider we talk about briefly in this interview.

Interview With Stake from Karmine Corp: An Esports Player's Journey & Competing in the RLCS and WePlay Esports Invitational

Stake began his journey as a Rocket League Pro back in 2016 when he signed with a small team called OverMauze. It didn't last very long, though, as two months later he migrated to the Nemesis Roster, followed by a brief stint with PressureX and eMonkeyz in 2017. It was a long journey, culminating in a busy last two years: Canyons, Vodafone Giants, and now, Karmine Corp.

It's here that I began my interview with Stake, talking about his recent involvement in a brand-new Rocket League Esports competition: the WePlay Esports Invitational (featuring Rocket League)!

You came out on top of the European region at the WePlay Esports Invitational, could you take me through what the tournament was like?

It was insane playing the first tournament with my new team. We were pretty excited starting our first tournament together, and winning was especially insane. Playing a tournament with WePlay Esports was a really good experience, too. It was really well organized, but perhaps a little bit too long. We played four best-of-sevens, but in the end it was very good.

That must be very tiring, what's it like to play so many competitive rounds all at once?

Ah, it's very important to have a person behind you – in this case, it's the coach – to help keep you focused and on track. In the end, it's a tournament, so you're playing for the win. What is great is having good team mates with a good mindset, but the most important thing is to have a good coach who does a great job. That's the most important thing to keep your mind focused on the game. We were a bit scared going up against Team BDS, though, they are the best team in the EU.

Keep in mind that you can actually listen to the entire interview as an EarlyGame Snippet on Spotify and a variety of other Podcast Platforms. Check it out in Episode 10 of The EarlyGame Podcast as well! You can also play it right here on the EarlyGame website. Check it out:

So, you just competed in the WePlay Esports Invitational, which is how we connected, and you have also played in the RLCS in the past. I am just wondering what the comparison is like there? What's it like to compete in something like the RLCS, as opposed to something like the WePlay Esports Invitational?

Really the only difference is that in the RLCS, you play for a championship, but in WePlay, you play a single tournament and it is over in a couple of days. In the RLCS, you play for months, and if you make a mistake in one game, you can fix it in the next one – in the case of WePlay, you lose immediately.

This makes you more focused at the start [of WePlay], which is of course the same in the RLCS, but at least there you can fix a mistake. I don't necessarily prefer either, though. I like both. Sometimes it is good to play in a tournament like WePlay, and sometimes it is good to do something more like the RLCS. I like both.

Is it sometimes good to have a bit of variety in the different competitions?

Oh, yeah, absolutely!

Interview With Stake from Karmine Corp: The Life of an Esports Player

What is it like being an Esports Player, though? Stake shared a lot about the tournaments themselves, insights into the likes of RLCS and WePlay, but how does a player prepare for such events? How does one practice? What made Stake fall in love with Rocket League, and is he excited for post-pandemic Rocket League Esports? Oh, and what does he see as the future of Rocket League? This is where our conversation got personal... and really interesting!

So, going back in time, you started playing Rocket League when it first came out in 2015, what was your first experience of competitive esports. What was your first LAN event? Can you take me through that experience?

I started playing Rocket League since I wanted to become a competitive player way back in Season 1, having fallen love with the game since I saw the first videos of it. My first competition was an MLG, and I was like "I want to play this". The other thing is that I am strange and I play with keyboard and mouse, and most LANs are on PS4, and I don't know how to play on controller.

Because of this, I really needed to wait until 2018 before I could play competitively, and my first competition was really a Spanish LAN, because I'm Spanish. It was a really great experience, and since that LAN, I have won every single LAN that I have played in Spain. I mean, it's always so good to feel the crowd supporting you, and a lot of people get impressed by the fact that I play with keyboard and mouse, which is kind of strange.

Are you looking forward to LAN events kind of coming back now that the pandemic is almost over?

Yeah, definitely. There is already an RLCS LAN event announced, and I am really looking forward to being there, to be with my team, and make sure that we are good enough. I also hope that WePlay can one day do a LAN event as well!

So, shifting away from the specifics of tournaments, what does an average day look like for you?

So, if I am within a season, I always need to play for at least 3-4 hours a day by myself, followed by maybe two hours or so with the team. So, to keep a good level, we need to play a lot. It's our job in the end, and in a normal job you need to work maybe 8-10 hours a day. If I stop playing for one day, I feel it and I need to play more hours to feel good again.

I split up the practice, though. Usually after breakfast I stream for about 2-3 hours. After that I take a break for lunch, and then we do a team stream, where we play with the team and we talk with the coach. After that, I like to play one or two more hours, but that's really only if I want to.

This might be a strange question, but in total, how many hours do you have in Rocket League at this point?

I have been playing since the game launched. That was 2015, so six years, and I have a total of 10,000 hours.

You were saying before that you fell in love with Rocket League way back when it came out in 2015. What was it that caught you about the game, what would your pitch be for people who maybe haven't played Rocket League? Why did you fall in love with the game?

Okay, so I was watching videos and I was like 'It's football', and almost everyone likes football, and then it's 'a car'. You already see it right there: it's a game about car football. To be honest, if anyone saw this game, even if it was a bad one, or a mobile phone game, this game is so complete, you can fly, there are a lot of mechanics, what's not to love?

It's a game that, at the start, you don't know how to hit the football. It's a game that, at the start, you don't know how to play. It's a game that you need to spend a bit of time with to really learn. When you have the patience and you start playing and practicing, then you start wanting to train and 'do this' because it is so cool to watch, and so cool to do, and I don't know... it's just the best game!

I just want to end the interview, though, with a bit of a broader question about Rocket League as it is today. We're currently in Season 4 after the shift to free-to-play last year, and Psyonix have announced that they are shifting the game to Unreal Engine 5. Do you think that Rocket League 2 is coming, how do you feel about the state of Rocket League right now?

I think that now, after the pandemic, it's just going to go higher and higher and higher and higher. In every way. This is because the last season [RLCS X] was the hardest one. Rocket League was at the top at that moment, and then the Covid thing came along and they managed to keep the game and the competition quite hype. It is still quite an important season, as there are a few LANs, but still no crowd, but a big prize pool, and they are starting to introduce some big updates.

I think that the most important and best season will be the next one, though, because I think with Unreal Engine 5, they will do some very cool things. I think that they won't do that this season, but next season will be insane. I think that this season, they will keep with Unreal Engine 3 and the next season will be the one where they will bring all these new things to the game.

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