For the fourth pro-file, I spoke with another popular member of Granular Gaming, Crash0verlord. Just to keep things interesting, I decided to give everyone someone else to poke fun at for making mistakes. I played a series of quick matches with Crash while doing the interview, see the Replays at the end to mock my horrible playing!
Real Name: Luj Roman Balzanti
Age: 19 years old.
Vocation: Student until end of august, currently finishing up High School.
What’s your plan after august?
Streaming full time. I’m taking a gap year before moving onto uni, and I decided to stream full time, since I love streaming 😀
What are you going to study at uni?
I’m going into IT. It’s the subject I’ll be most comfortable in, since I already spend so much of my time on computers. Another plus is that finding a job isn’t that hard and the pay is pretty dang good.
Are you hoping to make money playing Prismata eventually?
If Prismata gets big enough then yes, hopefully I’ll be able to make money playing Prismata. I’m not sure if that’ll be by playing at the top level, streaming or maybe even hosting & casting tournaments.
Which of those would you enjoy the most?
I think I would most enjoy streaming and casting. Both hosting and playing at the highest level bring in much more stress than the other 2. But that’s not to say I wouldn’t try and do all of those, assuming I’ll still be good enough at the game by that time.
Do you stream/cast any other games?
I used to stream quite a bit of League of Legend and Hearthstone, but nowadays I only stream some more niche games every now and then. I mostly only get viewers for Prismata, so I don’t do much of that though.
Do you still play LoL and HS?
I very occasionally load up LoL, I’ve just gotten really bored with it. Hearthstone I open up every now and then, when I feel like playing something that doesn’t require much thought.
Which do you prefer, HS or Prismata?
Obviously Prismata 😛
Can you say why?
Because every game is different. I’ve played HS to the extent that every game is just a repeat of the last. It’s constantly the same. Prismata always mixes it up though, and I love it for that.
That’s funny to hear given the differences in how RNG is used.
The thing is, sure outcomes of events in HS are different, but the games are very predictable. And sure, even in Prismata there’re sets that I find very predictable, but there’s still so much room for new lines that I never get bored. For HS I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even need to think about my plays at the level I’m playing at (not to say that’s the same for top players) and I’m actually just bored during games. HS is something I play as a background thing. While I’m playing Prismata seriously, it’s the only thing I can do.
Prismata in general
How long have you been playing Prismata?
I got my key on September 27th of 2014.
How did you find out about the game?
Prismata cup 2. It was a HS tournament that I had heard the finals of were insane. I went to watch the VOD and saw Elyot showcasing Prismata after the tournament was over.
Did you back the Kickstarter after that?
Yeah, initially I wanted to back with a centurion tier, but because I wanted to save up some money I only went for a steelsplitter tier in the end.
Do you use the new embargo system at all?
I would use it if I could select it for different time settings separately, just so I could ban iceblade in bullet games. But no, I don’t use it. I just really hate that unit in bullet. It’s practically impossible to defend against the rush.
Where do you see the future of Prismata going?
It really depends on the success of casual features and marketing. If lunarch manage to make prismata appeal to casuals, be it through skins, raids or campaign and market the game well, then it has a ton of potential to grow. If lunarch is unsuccessful, the game will stay as a small game with a very hardcore and focused playerbase, which probably won’t be enough to sustain the costs of running/developing prismata.
Do you have any specific suggestions on how they could do that?
They were actually very smart in how the marketed it during KS, so I trust they’ll do much the same. I think finding a way to really tell people why prismata is so great is important though. But the problem with that is that it’s different from person to person.
Assuming some random casual player possibly interested in playing Prismata is reading this interview to help them decide if they want to try it. what would you say to them?
If you enjoy the strategy in games, you’ll like it. Prismata, when boiled down to it, is pure strategy and tactics. If you also don’t enjoy chess and go because they’re the “same” every game and/or you dislike studying, Prismata offers a different game every time you play and requires no studying to be competitive at it.
What features are you personally looking forward to the most?
I’m actually very excited for raids. I think what Prismata is missing most right now is a fun mode and raids will offer exactly that.
Do you think you’ll spend much money on the cosmetic stuff?
No, I very much doubt it. I’ve never been one to spend a lot of money and I don’t think that will change with Prismata.
Is that the right monetization model for the game then?
Personally I’m afraid that it’s too fair. Players will be able to earn EVERYTHING by just grinding and that might just be too much. I hope there’s going to be a huge playerbase so lunarch will actually be able to afford everything.
Are there some other ways they could make money fairly without going into pay to win territory?
Probably just lock some cosmetics behind pay walls. Sure it would piss some people off or it might piss off a lot of people if they promised not to do that on KS, but I think that’s a much more sound business strategy.
You’re part of granular gaming right?
How long have you been part of that team?
Since even before it was officially created. Me, arka and Llama decided to team up, but we weren’t sure on the name. So the team just stayed in limbo for a few weeks. The we somehow found the name in twitch chat and decided to finally create it. I invited Hatharo and Arkanishu invited silverspawn. Then silver wanted Temron on the team as well, since they’ve known each other for a long time and Temron introduced silver to Prismata.
Do you practice with the team a lot?
We have our “scheduled” team tournament every week and we also just play some practice games when we want to/when someone asks.
Its been mentioned that people enjoy watching you make mistakes on your stream and teasing you about it. who’s streams do you like to poke fun at?
I think I really enjoy watching Hatharo and Temron play and getting angry at their mistakes. I just find it enjoyable when Hatharo goes “Curses” and Temron starts making excuses or starts asking for coaching 😀
Do you coach other players often?
I’ve done some coaching in the past. It’s been a mixed bag of it being really enjoyable and it being a bit… annoying.
Any players you are particularly proud of?
I don’t really atribute people’s skill solely to my coaching, so feeling proud about a player I coached getting better is just a bit too much imo. If I was coaching more seriously then sure, but with the casual way I did it feeling proud would just be an ego boosting thing that I don’t really need.
So what’s the story with the whole Vanguard challenge dodging?
I just don’t feel the need to play a team match vs them. I feel like if a team match is going to happen there needs to be more… stuff for it. Actual organisation, scheduling casters, deciding on a stream to have it on, etc. And I think there’s just nothing in it for us if we do the team match. Sure there’s “some” fun to be had playing the tournament, but the result will be completely meaningless.
Do you think both teams having so many members in the masters league is enough then?
I think master’s league is irrelevant of the team. There can be some success atributed to the team as a whole if there’s a lot of support going on, but it’s a single player tournament. If you mean enough as in to find out which team is better, I think that that’ll be impossible to say untill a good team tournament format is introduced.
Are there any good team formats you know of?
The one I’m personally the most inclined towards is a discussion based format where 3 or 4 people play at the same time. A time setting of say 90 or 120 seconds (with no/smaller timebank) would be preferable, though I wonder how, if at all, it would work at 45 or 30 seconds.
Have you seen that format used somewhere before?
It’s possibly been used in games like Chess and Go, but not sure if I’ve personally seen it anywhere else.
Do you think granular gaming is the better team at the moment?
If we just take a look at the top player in both teams I think we are definitely better. But it’s very close, the top 10 players are all very close in skill and both of our teams have 3 or 4 of the top 10 players.
Who do you think the 3rd best team would be then?
Team dev/team waterloo (if it gets formed). Elyot and Will are very good when they put their mind to it and if team waterloo happens then it’s also going to include Timex and Dbelange.
Do you think its a benefit to the game having the devs play like regular players?
I am 100% certain that it is. If the devs themselvs are very competent at the game than balance issues are much less likely to be a problem.
Do you think they might have any kind of unfair advantage either through knowing the design better or access to the code?
No, all the info that they have can be made by yourself. There’s nothing hidden in the code that plays don’t know about.
You ran the q cup which was a very high speed tournament correct?
Yeah, there’s been 2 of them up to now and I’m planning on running more. I don’t host them by myself though, argeiphontes is my co-host and it’s a project we made together.
What made you decide to do a tournament like that?
I thought the number of people playing fast speed queues was just tragically small, so I wanted to incite more people to play with a fun focused tournament.
Do you think that low of time controls affect how people play pretty significantly?
Definitely. You can’t play bullet and blitz the same way you play normal or long time settings and I think people don’t realise that. I’ve seen so many players not play blitz or bullet because they’re afraid of not being able to calculate and plan for future turns, while that’s practically impossible for everyone. All you want to do in bullet is just build enough defense and keep buying attack until you can buy anymore attack.
That’s part of the reason I find bullet so much fun, you just play and play and play until you can’t play anymore. And the thrill you get from the clock chasing after you and crushing your hopes of winning is just exhilarating.
Do you usually play better or worse like that?
Bullet and Normal time settings are incomparable in my opinion. It’s just a different game. I play bullet better than normal compared to other people, but I think that’s only because there’s so few players playing bullet.
Do you have a q cup #3 planned?
Yeah. The date hasn’t been set or anything, but it will happen.
How’d you go about learning how to play?
I watched the twitch VODs of Elyot, Will and Timex playing the game before I even got a key and learned a bit. Then I just played.
What did you find the most difficult part of the game to learn?
I honestly don’t remember finding anything difficult to learn. I think I was just having a ton of fun with the game so I never found anything to be difficult. Other than the game itself ofc.
Are you pretty good at the mathier aspects then?
Not really no. The math is honestly really simple addition, so It’s not like it’s hard, but then it’s not like I do all the math in 3 seconds and it’s always correct >.>
Do you have some favorite strategies?
Not really, but I do enjoy centrifuge games. They’re very fun to figure out.
Any other favorite units?
I have a hard time defining favorite. There’s units I find really fun to play and then there’s units I find are really good and play with them a lot because of that. So no, I don’t really have favorite units, since I don’t prioritize my feelings towards units over the best strategy in a set.
Any preferred tech color?
Whats the best advice you have for new players to the game?
Be patient with the game and don’t get discouraged by losses. Everyone losses at the start. I know it can be very frustrating to lose games and don’t know why, but with more and more games you’ll start noticing what you’re doing that you shouldn’t be. Watching streams will help you understand that faster.
Which streams would you recommend the most?
Any final thoughts?
Wanted to thank you for this interview, it was a pleasure. Other than that, shoutouts to my team for being absolutely awesome and shoutouts to all my stream regulars and top players on the ladder, I wouldn’t enjoy Prismata and streaming as much as I do without you all! <3
Thanks to Crash for doing the interview and here’s the replays of him beating my amateur self mercilessly!
Bonus links to Crash’s stuff: