South Africa seems to be making a mark on the international eSports scene, more so than ever. Another South African Battlefield 3 team, competing in the World Nations Tournament (on console this time!) beat last year’s champs over the weekend. We had a chat with the platoon founder Ruan Kraft about the tournament and the match against France.
After a rather swift assembly, this local Battlefield 3 team decided to see how they measure up against the international community, and so far they’ve proved to be more than just good. Imagine that… Battlefield 3 on console! Okay, I kid! These guys have been committed to the game on PlayStation 3 despite the complications that go with it. Leading the platoon into battle, is Ruan “Mr-Beefy” Kraft.
Kraft found out about the World Nations Tournament for PlayStation 3 a mere day before the tournament started and saw that there was no local team, and along with another local player he decided to remedy that. Putting together a team within 24 hours is nothing short of miraculous, putting a team together within 24 hours and beating The World Nations Tournament Champions, France? that’s one of those Pratchett-esque one in a million chances.
“We found out about the event on the 20th January and the event started on the 21st, so I approached the host and asked what is needed for RSA to also enlist in the event. They said that we needed a platoon of 20 members strong, all of whom needed RSA flags next to their profiles and also we had one hour to do that.
So basically what we did was: we brainstormed the top names that stood out from all clans over past three Battlefield 3 tournaments that was held to fill up the numbers in the platoon to 20, we just put names in so we could be accepted. From there we posted on Battlelog and SAGamer for next three days so that anyone who wanted to come and try out for any role in the team could do so.
We sort of had a quick trial session where if you wanted to try out for air or armour you’d join a specific server and we would check out your performance, or if you wanted to apply for infantry you would join a different server and someone else will monitor your performance there.
All this had to be done within four days as our first match was versus the United Kingdom on 24 January, so we rushed through training and also planning tactics and doing trails within that time.”, said Kraft.
Playing against international teams is no joke; South Africans suffer the consequences of ping disadvantage, having to play with latency almost 20 – 30 times higher than their opponents. The fact that we lack regular play against international teams, also leave us at a loss when it comes to learning new tactics and ways to counter them. I asked Kraft whether he found the international competition to be stronger than playing against local opponents; this is what he had to say:
“Yeah, very much to be honest, while playing in a local environment we did not learn as much with regards to tactics etc. The international level is a whole new playing field!! Those guys take things serious!! Tactics, commitment and skill are of a very high level in international teams. The ping is huge problem as we don’t have local server in RSA for console, so our latency to a European server is 200-300 m/s on average where the guys we play against in Europe ping to their server 10-50 m/s. To compensate for ping is already a challenge.”
The match against France was played on 2 February was a heated match. Even though the local team didn’t expect a win, they were determined to give it their best shot, literally.
“France was last year’s champions of the WNT2012, so we knew it was going to be tough match and we need to prepare well. We didn’t expect a win but at least to give them a good battle, leading up to the match we practiced every night of the week and had three practice matches. One versus USA, LATVIA and a local clan GFY so we were prepared to a MAX!! “
The teams faced off on three maps, each map twice. Having lost both times on the first map, France was confidently in the lead. In true South African spirit, our platoon didn’t give up and evened the score right after, winning map number two. The score was now 1 – 1. They didn’t lose momentum after that either. The local team went on to win the third map as well and took the win 2 – 1.
Even though the team is still in the pool stages of the tournament, which is basically the first round, they will be pushing hard to go through to the knockout stages, where the top four teams of each pool will progress to. The match against France was the team’s second match. After losing the first against the UK, they are now third in their pool (Pool C), with the UK in the lead and France running up. During the next three weeks, the team will go up against the Netherlands, Switzerland and the Ukraine.
“We are really putting a lot of effort in with regards to practice and training of tactics and improving members’ skill by constantly practicing versus some international clans and getting input for our jet pilots from some of the worlds best pilots and training with them.
France and the UK are the top two teams in our pool, The Netherlands look very strong but we think we can give them a really good battle. Then we will have the last two matchups against Switzerland and Ukraine that we really want to ensure we win to ensure a spot in the knockouts.”
The team has made a really awesome highlights video, which you can watch below:
The match versus the Netherlands will be played on 9 February at 20:00 GMT +1 and might be streamed on Twitch TV through the Netherlands’ live stream, but this has not been officially confirmed.