I miss old days. Sometimes when I'm watching some old rec's I say to myself "why I started playing this game so late!" When I read Elfanor's first post at our forum, I didn't believe it. Inmediatly I thought "this is my oportunity, old times are now in front my eyes". Ladys and gentelmens, take a while and read about this AoC-Legend, now hard working professional and beloved father
Name: Gaspard Gilot
Date of birth: 03/07/1982
Town: Baisy-Thy, Belgium
Favorite Civ: Random (altough I like Viks and Celts)
Favorite map: Random
Fuzer: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Elfanor: Sure, Im 28, I work as a professionnal lending advisor in a bank and I live with my wife and daughter whos 1 year old.
Fuzer: So, is hard now to play some games!
Elfanor: Well, when real life catches up you really dont have that much time left for you hobbies, Id say I can save 1 to 2 hours during weekdays, maybe another 2-3 houres during the week ends.
Fuzer: What music do you like?
Elfanor: I really dont listen to music much, I actually just turn the radio on when I drive.
Fuzer: Favourite color?
Elfanor: I should say grey because its hard for your opponent to see it on the map but since I wear contact lenses Id rather pick yellow or blue, colors that really stand out on the mini-map.
Fuzer: Do you practice any sport?
Elfanor: I know I should but I dont ^_^
About AoC and other games
Fuzer: When did you start playing AoC? When did you quit?
Elfanor: I started playing AOK when the first alpha test came out. So I was around for the beta and the ladder games before zone.com set up the game. I quit for about 6 months when AOC came out, I went to live in the US for a year and I just didnt have a computer the first few months. I played another year untill EE (Empire Earth) came out. I was a member of the testing team so it was natural to keep playing it, the opposition was lower and there were a few cash tourney (I won the World Championship held in Paris in 2002). After that I never really came back, I started working, so I played less and then I bought AOE III and started playing it.
Fuzer: Tell us what do you love about AoC.
Elfanor: Balance and innovation; there isnt really a civ standing out (they are civs that are better for 1v1 arabia but thats just one setting among hundreds). You cant just go for one unit and mass them and win, there is always a counter, and that often allow the smarter player to win. Innovation : there are hundreds of ways to win, you can drush and win, you can flush and win, you can fast castle and win. So unless you play one specific setting over and over (arabia 1v1 hun war) you cant predict what your opponent will do so you have to adapt. Thats means of course that you can do something unexpected.
Fuzer: How was AoC scene in Belgium?
Elfanor: Small for a small country. Wich isnt so bad : its easier to qualify for national tournaments. Id rather be #1 in Belgium thant top 10 in Korea
Fuzer: Could you describe your playstyle back in days?
Elfanor: Well, I believe you cant really have a gamestyle because when you do you have a predictable pattern that your opponent may exploit. When the game first came out I was pretty good at booming and then rolling over with a huge army. Actually at the very beginning of the game (early aok) I would do a tower rush (just 3 well placed towers built at the same time with vikings) and fast castle while the opponent was busy trying to take the towers down; more or less like the drushes that are taking place today. A little later I would just win cause I was a lot faster than the other players, that is untill the koreans showed up Later on since I wasnt the fastest, I wasnt best at micro, I just had to outsmart the opponent (or try too). So a general guideline for my playstyle would be adaption and anticipation.
Fuzer: Where did you travel to play AoC tournaments?
Elfanor: Ive been to Paris, Amsterdam, Seattle, Seoul and Moscow.
Fuzer: Wich was the most exciting tournament for you?
Elfanor: Hard to say, going to Seattle for the MS tourney and to Seoul for WCG were the obvious highlights. It feels like the organization in Seattle was more personnalized; we would have the developpers and testers welcome us take us to dinner, we could chat with The Sheriff or Mainmin Matty. It was also more exciting because all the focus was really on us, whereas in Korea there were so many players that people woudlnt even watch you play untill you made it to semi final.
Fuzer: That sounds amazing. Did you travel for EE, AoE III or another game?
Elfanor: Ive only played EE on a very competitive level, I went to Paris for the World Championship held by Sierra. It was a nice trip, I live like 3 hours from Paris so it wasnt like a big journey for me. We stayed in a hotel very close to the Champs Elysés, we played the tournament in a restaurant that had been rented on the famous avenue. First price was 20.000 bucks and you could then pick one box out of 50. One of those would contain 100.000, the others 20.000, I won but got unlucky (98% to miss though) and picked one of the 20k boxes. I defeated Toxicundergroov in final, who has also played aoc I believe.
Fuzer: About old AoC progamers, who was your idol?
Elfanor: At the very beggining I was trying to be as good as The Sheriff. He was a tester so he had a lot more practice than any of us. Once I reached #1 on zone I was training against 7 computer on hardest. I couldnt play myself but I would have. When the koreans showed up and took the first few ranks I had someone to look up to. Koven for his gamestyle, Halen and Rd Champion for their speed; Grunt for all of the above along with his calm and serenity.
Fuzer: Can you do a short list of the AoC clans in which you had been from the beginning until you quit? (most importants)
Elfanor: Its gonna be though to remember them all. I read somewhere I joined Storm at some point (I dont remember to be honest). So; in no particular order : Evil (I was Evil_K4P), french clan started by some guy that organizeed an european championship in Paris; DnC (dm clan), Ninja (I was Ninja_Juichi), SHS (SHS_Gaidin), Arch_ (Arch_elf) and probably a lot more that I dont remember. Although I wasnt a real clan guy, Id rather play with new people when I have the chance.
Fuzer: Are you still in contact with old expert players? Who?
Elfanor: Not at all, Ive been away too long to keep any contact. Although I still have a lot of players on msn.
Fuzer: Grunt, HALEN, Koven or Kmkm? Why?
Elfanor: I admire Kmkm for his focus and concentration, he will give 100% every single game. Koven plays more like I do (or used to play), trying to understand the other and react accordingly. But I believe Grunt is doing better than both of them : I dont think he is more gifted but his overall attitude outside the game is better. He will train as hard as he can for a single objective (tournament for instance) and will invest the money in a smart way. Hes owning (at least he did back then) a cybercafe in the center of Seoul, got a manager checking out the tournaments for him and allowing him to focus on his gaming.
Fuzer: Can you tell us some secrets or not know facts about some old expert players?
Elfanor: I can, but I wont.
Fuzer: Do you miss old AoC times?
Elfanor: I miss playing 10 hours in a row, not having to get up the morning after, traveling the world, inventing new strats every day, still discovering the game.....
Im certainly nostalgic, I will probably never have another time like that but I guess thats just how life is. People always say that every age has its pleasures and downsides but thats not true, life is better when you are 16 and all you have to do is play your favorite game
Fuzer: Nice words Gaspard.
Fuzer: Can you tell us about MS International Tournament?
Elfanor: To qualify was a piece of cake. The best other belgian was rated 1800 while I had 4 nicks 2200+. The day after I won I got a call from Microsoft asking if I needed any hardware to help me for the final stage. I asked for a mouse and keyboard, I should have asked for a new computer, flatscreen along with a brand new car, I might have received the computer and the flatscreen
When I landed in Seattle the cab (it was a limo) drove me to the 4 stars hotel in the center of the city. The organization was just great, they gave us some money for the trip wich we didnt use since they were paying for everything. All the other players were very nice, Zhaz from Sweden, GX_Iron from USA, North from Britain, DK from France, Crouvex from Germany, Grunt from Korea, Crexis for Canada, Lady Woody from Australia, etc. When I think about the gameplay, everyone back then would do a flush + castle and pump knights (on arabia that is).
GX_Iron surprised everyone by going full CA's with Hun. If I recall he made it to semi-final cause everyone thought that strat was useless (from what I hear people go mass CA's nowadays). Anyway, the trip was a real pleasure, a wonderful experience, Im so glad I had the opportunity to experience that.
Fuzer: Tell us what do you know about what are these guys doing nowdays:
Crouvex, EvilBlitZ_NG, Kaiser_Willhelm, Mimmox, StorM_Panther_, The_Sheriff, Grunt, Kmkm, Crexis.
Elfanor: I dont see them anymore, so Im afraid I cant help. Last one I saw is Mimmox in the L Clan Tournament held in Moscow late 2001 or 2002. We got treated like kings there, each of us got a room in the best hotel in russia (I think it was called the Metropol or something) anyway, I got told Madona was there a month earlier, it was really pure luxury.
Fuzer: Can you remember an important AoC match wich marked you?
Elfanor: More than one actually. I remember the first time I beat The Sheriff in early aok. He has been designing the game for years, so he had a huge knowledge in every way and would always come up with some counter to what you did. Beating him (after a lot of losses) was like defeating Roger Federer when you started playing tennis the month before. One of the other memorable games I had was in the Tourney in Seattle in first round vs Grunt. I rewatched the game a few days ago, I realize that I sucked and got owned, although at the time I had the feeling I could win the game. Game was archipelago, basically 2 islands, I kick the ass out of Grunt on sea, I had the land checked out with outpost and scout for possible landing but he landed accidentaly at the only point I wasn't watching and killed me
(Note: You can check the game here.)
Fuzer: Are you informed about current AoC scene? Expert players and clans?
Elfanor: I have no idea whos is who nowadays, Im being told Chris has been around for a decade and that he owns the game. For what Ive seen Storm is still around, I have to thank them all and especially Karl (Storm_Country) for allowing me to play with them while Im still rated 16xx something. I look forward to meeting everyone, but Im kinda looking for fun and teamgames rather than competition. I dont have enough time to be competitive and Im old now anyways.
Fuzer: AoC stills have cash tournament. On May 2010, Brain Champion Cup 3 finished, and it had a prize poll of US$12.000. Also Master of Huns Tournament, who won DauT, had a prize poll of US$ 2.900. What do you think about it?
Elfanor: I think that those amounts dont sound as attractive as when I was still in highschool or college On the other hand its crazy to see they are still prize money for a game so old. It will draw and attract new players so its good for the overall competition and game itself....
Fuzer: Are you training against AI or watching some recorded games? or just playing on Voobly?
Elfanor: As I said, I dont have that much time to play, so right now Im just trying to enjoy the game and try to get 2-3 teamgames at night. I aint really into the strategies and 1v1 arabia whoring, doing the same thing over and over untill all your games look the same. Id rather have a fun time with people on random map
Fuzer: We have played some games, and you didn't knew Arena map until I mentioned it. What maps were the most played on your time apart of Arabia?
Elfanor: I dont remember I think everyone was playing arabia, Fortress and Arena were definetly considered as noob/rook maps (I never played Arena ever before our first game). I remember people playing highlands, continental and archipelago somewhat. Continental was my favourite along with migration, there were so many possibilites in teamgames you would never do the same thing twice.
Fuzer: Tell us about AoE III. Did you earn money playing it?
Elfanor: Not a penny, I think Ive played 200 games, wich really isnt that much, I made it to top 25 or something then quit. One good feature was the random match up but that was it. Gameplay was terrible, people would always pick the same civ (there were not that many to choose from anyway) and the shipment thing along with the cards deck was utterly gay in my opinion, lagging excessively too.
Fuzer: After it, have you played other game competitivly?
Elfanor: I have not play games, wether competitivly or for fun after that. I was doing 2 jobs at a time so when I had some free time I would sleep or watch a movie and fall asleep
Fuzer: What do you think About AoCZone?
Elfanor: In my opinion, it is extremly important to have a real fan site where people can gather and set things up together, like games, tournaments, where they can share their ideas and strats. It can also bring new players or old players back; like myself, I actually started playing again cause I was bored one night and decided to re-install the game and check a few old recs.....typing "aoc rec games" in google lead me here. You guys are doing an awesome job on keeping the community together, AOC is the only game that old along with Counter-strike and Starcraft that is still alive.
Thanks a lot Gaspard, talking to you was like a time machine that connected old and current time. I hope you can play AoC constantly, would be nice to see such a legend on Voobly looking for some games from time to time. I wish you the best, good luck!