Interview: Getting to know Draven

Jeffrey ”Draven” Debipersad has been on the Quake scene since 2002 and has recently picked up the first place finish in the eSports Heaven one night of Quake tournament. Not much is really known about this 22-year-old Dutchman except that he plays on a pretty high level. So I decided to dig a little deeper and get to know Draven.

Today, Draven is still studying at University and also working, “I was studying to become an accountant, but I already had some internships. I kinda found it boring so I might try something else”. Before being sucked into the gaming world, Draven was actually a martial arts champion in Taekwondo. I’m also not talking about local gym champion – Draven boasts an impressive amount of victories in both national and international Taekwondo tournaments. Just a small peek into his enormous trophy cabinet speaks for itself:

Despite being a top player in Quake who has travelled to many different tournaments, Taekwondo still has taken Draven to more places than video gaming. He attended World Championships in Korea, Greece and basically places all over Europe. However despite being the national champion, he didn’t manage to win the international tournaments, “I didn’t win, was too jetlagged and too nervous on those podiums as 15-16 year old kid”.

3 years ago (when he was 19) Draven stopped Taekwondo as he didn’t have a lot of free time. At the time he was in the Netherlands national team so they were training a lot, “Sometimes we trained 3 times a day in the weekend”. Since there wasn’t any prize money offered in these tournaments, “going pro” wasn’t really an option.

Gaming is something which Draven has always enjoyed, “My brother, my cousin and I were really gamers, we played a lot of Super Nintendo and Playstation 1. We could play for days and not get bored.” But of course in those kinds of environment there is always rivalry, “We all wanted to be the best. For example in Super Mario or Tekken we wanted to prove who is the best :)”

Then he discovered Quake. “Around 2001, I found out about Quake2, in 2002-2003 I started to play Quake3 single player, after that I found about mods and stuff so I downloaded RA3 and I totally fell in love with RA3. Actually I didn’t like duel at all, I was more a team based player ra3&ctf.”

Like with a lot of gamers, Draven was introduced to Quake first by his brother, “My brother brought a cd with quake2, so he installed it and started to play, but he got bored of it so I started to play the single player, and later on found out about multiplayer and irc. He then found out that Quake 3 was already around, “my brother borrowed quake3 cd from a friend who didn’t play it anymore so we installed it and I never looked back to Q2 again.”

Preferring team games over duel, Draven currently plays for the Dutch national team in Quake Live for both CTF (blad3, solar, draven, sc00t, forever) and TDM (draven, forever, sc00t, silencep, and tua). He started to get into duel in the Quake 4 days (2005 / 2006), “When Xhep from Tek9 asked me to play Q4 TDM for Tek9 I was like ‘sure why not’, but my pc was to shit to play Q4 TDM so I started playing Q4 duels. After that I kept playing duels in Q4/Q3/QL.”

Draven considers himself as kind of a “new” player on the duel scene, as he didn’t really watch the oldschool players play; “I started following duel scene after I saw the hub3aeroq game at ESWC [2005] fox vs czm where fox won in the end classic and awesome match. I started following it then, but did not play. I wasn’t really into the pro gaming scene. I was training 5-7 days week (taekwondo)”.

Obviously since a young age Draven already had the competitive edge in him but is yet to take a podium finish at a big international LAN tournament. He believes that; “If I could stop working and school I think I could focus a lot more and I would be a lot better. I’m busy with school, work. When I was at taekwondo I was really young, I could focus a lot on it. School also wasn’t that hard and I didn’t really need a job back then”. For a lot of University students events also come at bad times such as during or after exam periods. This makes it a little more difficult for those who are studying to fully focus on the tournament.

Currently we have seen a lot of the European Quake stars participate in the Saturday / Sunday Zotac and G-Data online cups. However Draven has never been able to play in those as his schedule only permits him to play mid-week and after 16:00, making it too late to make the tournament on time. He basically feels that what he needs to catch up to the current top players is simply more time to be able to practice. But he also feels that practice can’t really get you everywhere, “for a lot of people yes [practice helps], but a lot of people are so talented. For example burned – he caught up with a lot of people in short amount of time, even though he’s very young. He has loads of time and no responsibilities”.

As time goes on we have seen the top players come and go and new talent has emerged on the scene. Draven believes that soon this generation of top players will also need to concede to the younger generation; “The older you get the more priorities you have, cause you cannot have this lifestyle when you wanna get married and have kids, maybe if its Korea or MLG. But simply the last years of quake you cannot keep this lifestyle when you’re old and fat :)”.

Despite winning the first eSports Heaven Quake Live tournament, Draven still remains modest about his skill, “Not a lot of good player signed up for this cup, but if you look at the last QL tournaments (Dreamhack & IEM Europe) I had one of the toughest groups. Both events I was kinda disappointed. It didn’t give me confidence at all, when you play QL you need confidence to win. Even though I came out my group at Dreamhack I had to face av3k right in the first round what was really bad too”.

Rumor has it that MLG is very interested in picking up Quake Live for their competitive circuit. Like most other competitive Quake Live players, Draven would love it if MLG chose it as a game. He’d participate; “but it also depends on prize money and if it’s in Europe or America. If the prize purse is like a CPL world tour then I would go cause it would mean that I have to make free time from work and school what costs money”. Like other top players, Draven is sponsored by his team LowLandLions but even if sponsors do pay the trips, time off from work and school is still needed to go to these tournaments.

Draven is actively involved in the Benelux Quake community and has often been seen spamming messages on IRC trying to get people to participate in the ESL Benelux amateur series. The more participants means that the more likely it is that next season the game will be fully in the ESL Pro Series. He seems a little disappointed at the Benelux scene, but not because of its size, “There quite a lot of Benelux players but most of them just play CTF, but we simply cannot make a Benelux only CTF league cause there’s not enough teams, so we have to start with duel then maybe try 2v2 then TDM/CTF if there’s enough interest”.

That said; it is quite difficult to get people to try dueling for many reasons. Draven believes that “Simply a lot of people don’t even wanna try duel and improve in it, because they get so bashed by good players they just give up on it”. But Draven encourages those who perhaps are interested in trying to not give up, “I think EPS is a big step, I see a lot of people trying duel. By playing better players, and seeing what you’re doing wrong and keep improving your game you’ll enjoy duel. If you keep improving you cannot stop playing :)”.

In closing, he submitted the following words:

Thanks for the interview, I’m also really happy LLL picked me up. They supported and believe in me 100%. I’d also like to thank all the sponsors: asus, sennheiser, puretrak, easport, hostbasket

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4 Comments

  1. Hell5pawn says:

    Nice interview. Didn't know much about draven, looks like a nice and modest guy. Thumbs up and good luck in future tournaments!

  2. cna training says:

    nice post. thanks.

  3. Hershel says:

    Nice interview. Didn’t know much about draven, looks like a nice and modest guy. Thumbs up and good luck in future tournaments!
    +1

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