Interview with FalconePunch55!

Today, i managed to grab UK Casting Superstar FalconePunch for a interview, heres what he had to say!

Kieran:

So Dan, Everyone knows you as FalconePunch, How did the basis of your name come around and what’s your history with it in gaming?

 

FalconePunch:

I’ve always struggled with coming up with names if I’m honest. FalconePunch started for me with Hearthstone. The only other online name I’ve ever really had associated with me was ‘Daman2’ which was the Xbox Live Gamertag I came up with when I was 10.

I thought of FalconePunch when I had to make a twitch account, it was a play on my last name (Falcone) and Captain Falcon’s attack in smash bros (Falcon-Punch). I came up with the name very quickly, with no idea how important it would end up being to my future!

 

Kieran:

You mentioned that you played/was involved in Smash Brothers before Hearthstone, what else was you doing before the game hit the scene in 2013!

 

FalconePunch:

I just played a lot of games casually. I was never a PC gamer back then, but played a lot of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft Consoles! Halo was always my favourite series, with my all time favourite game (until Hearthstone) being Halo 3. I’d play the game every day after school for years when it came out.

In real life, I was just starting University where I studied Digital Film Production at Ravensbourne when I got into Hearthstone, in closed beta.

 

Kieran:

So what actually attracted you to Hearthstone? Since you didn’t have a history in cards games, what made you produce this game instead of Halo?

 

Falcone:

So I had actually played world of Warcraft in the past (very casually- and not for long. I didn’t have a good device for it!) and I was a huge Yugioh fan. I’d play competitively with friends, and even when my friends weren’t around, I often wanted more and would spend a lot of time on my laptop playing some kind of online battling service like Dueling Network. It was when one of my friends who I’d play Yugioh with announced blizzard were making a card game, that I figured I’d check it out, and after actually seeing the quality of the game, the sounds, the animations etc- I was instantly hooked!

Suffice to say, the Hearthstone ladder replaced the time I’d spend on Dueling Network. I’ve hardly touched Yugioh since, only to play with friends.

 

Kieran:

You mention that your time has been taken away from Yugioh to Hearthstone, how has your playing career been in Hearthstone? Or have you always focused on being a caster?

 

Falcone:

I’ve never really been interested in competing at the highest level. That’s not to say I don’t like competing, but I like to do in my own way. In the past, while streaming, I always enjoyed making my own decks and doing well with them, and I still enjoy that now. But ever since I got a taste of casting professionally, I know that’s what I meant to be doing. It’s the perfect mix of my different loves from the past: acting, public speaking, and the game.Now that the focus is on casting, however, a lot of my time spent playing hearthstone is practising the very best decks. Again, not because I want to be one of the best players in the world but because I want to be able to understand what the best players in the world are doing because that makes my casting better.

 

Kieran:

Ah, I see! So you talking about casting, how did you actually get involved in that? What was one of your first big events!

 

Falcone:

Well, my first event was i55, I casted in a room only a little larger than a closet with Callum Leslie. As with all things, a lot of getting casting jobs comes down to who you know rather than what. Raven put my name forward as he used to cast the event, but wanted to compete instead this time.

I then spent the next 6 months doing a very little casting. I hosted my own event twice a week, where I’d cast a show match between two players… so I did get some practice in! But I wasn’t doing it for other people, and therefore not getting paid! In august last year, thanks in part to my team at the time Fade2Karma, and also in part to my girlfriend Katie (who used to admin for Gfinity and therefore had some contacts) I was able to start getting some work for Kinguin as a caster. Raven and Sottle saw me working with my cast and helped pass some more work my way, and it sorta just developed from there!

 

Kieran:

So, starting from British tournaments to the world stage! What’s it likes casting in front of thousands? Is it nerve racking at all now you’re so far into it?

 

Falcone:

Honestly, I’ve never actually casted with a live audience sitting in front of me- so I can’t speak from experience about what that feels like! It’s never really been the number of people watching that’s bothered me, it’s always been who I’m casting with, or how well known the players are. For example, my first cast with Noxious during Kinguin for Charity last year was nerve wracking, and when I went to Germany to cast Esports Superstars I was terrified! As I had to meet and be professional with these streamers who I used to just be a fan of!

And this has been the case every time I’ve had to face a more challenging cast- once I start, it is JUST another cast. I know how to do it! I’ve done it a lot of times in the past, and the scenery, audience and other casters don’t change my knowledge of the game.

 

Kieran:

Do you think the same situation with casting as you’ve just described, is the same for players? Is it just being another tournament?

 

Falcone:

It’s not for me to say, and I’m sure it depends on the individual. I think it’s more high pressure for them, as there is often a lot of money on the line, and if they make even the smallest mistake, they could lose everything. For me, it’s not as extreme. The worst thing that can happen really, is fumbling a couple words. And while that’s not ideal, I won’t lose my paycheck, and life will go on.

 

Kieran:

So, you say the smallest mistake can lose everything for the player, how hard would you say it is to become a professional full-time Hearthstone Player?

 

Falcone: I mean it’s difficult to put into words. You must do REALLY well really consistently if you want to earn a living playing the games. And it’s not like you can just be good and start winning. You need to be good enough and popular enough to get invited to the large tournaments that have the big prize pools. It’s not actually good enough to just be good at the game, you need to build up a brand. You just won’t get invited into tournaments unless your name being in that tournament makes people want to watch. It takes a lot to break into the scene properly, and only a few small mistakes to come tumbling out of it. I’m much more comfortable with the idea of casting! Making the most of my passion for the game, without the risk of losing.

 

Kieran:

Lastly, you mention about building your brand! How would someone do this while playing?

 

Kieran:

Streaming! There are other ways to do it, but I think the most consistent way is building up a following on stream. Some players are good enough that people want to watch them based off that alone, but Hearthstone is getting to the age now where there are A LOT of good players, and new players who want to break into the scene need a niche or some way of showing just how good they are too a lot of people. J4ckieChan is my favourite example of this. He is incredible at the game. And very clever when it comes to deck building. He’s could achieve incredible results with decks that other players just don’t think to use, and that, paired with his entertaining (and genuinely kind personality) allowed him to build a brand very quickly and easily.

 

Kieran:

So thanks for taking the time of your day to do this interview! Any shoutouts you would like to give?

 

Falcone:

 Those that I’ve mentioned already! Fade2Karma are an amazing team, and I remain good friends with the members.  Theude, Sottle and Raven have been infinitely helpful to me over the last few years. And finally my girlfriend Katie, who constantly supports everything I do! I can be very demanding at the time and busy even when she comes to visit and spend time with me, but she always puts up with it and never complains. I couldn’t do it without her!wfalcone

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s