Orangutan Esports is one of the numerous Indian organizations that has recently signed their BGMI roster. A well-known PUBG PC player, Vedang Chavan, has taken on the reins as the coach of the star-studded team consisting of big names like Shubham “Drigger” Quriyal and Ashish “Ash” Bhatnagar.
With over 8000 hours of experience playing PUBG, Vedzz has come a long way from being a player. In conversation with Debolina Banerjee of Sportskeeda Esports, Vedzz discussed his esports journey from a player to a coach. He also dished out a few tips for being a top-notch esports athlete.
Q. You have been playing PUBG for a long time - starting as a player and moving to coach. Tell us about your journey in the esports world.
Vedzz: Initially, getting into esports was never the plan. In 2017, I used to play video games like CS:GO, GTA, etc., casually and watch other streamers. I used to go to cybercafes since I didn’t have a PC at home.
My mom was the one who bought me my first PC after I convinced her by saying that I’d use it for streaming. I showed her an online stream and how publicly playing games can be quite profitable.
PUBG was the first battle royale game that intrigued me. The first team that I represented in PUBG PC was 5CZ in 2019. From 2020-2021, I majorly played with the team Gabru Esports.
The player base for PUBG is not very high in India, mainly because of accessibility to gaming PCs. This is why, even back then, players wanted to compete on a global level.
I played as a part of teams from other countries, like Australia and Malaysia. This was a whole different journey altogether, where sometimes communication was a problem because of different accents. However, the entire gaming experience was thrilling, so eventually, I worked around the communication barriers.
PUBG Mobile has many more opportunities in India to compete globally. Much more than PUBG, which is also one of the main reasons I got into coaching. Ultimately, the game is the same, with a few minor differences. Since I have an in-depth understanding of PUBG, coaching PUBG Mobile was the next step.
Q. You have a long list of achievements at such a young age. What were you pursuing before you started playing PUBG professionally? Were your parents supportive of your decision?
Vedzz: Before I got into esports, I was an engineering student in a college in Navi Mumbai. I had always been academically sound, so when I decided to pursue esports full-time, most of my friends and family were shocked. Back then, most people had a stigma towards a career in esports. The fact that I was pursuing it professionally was a constant conversation amongst relatives. But as soon as I won my first tournament, the scenario completely changed.
While my parents were also shocked initially, they eventually came around and have been incredibly supportive throughout this rollercoaster ride. They understood the amount of dedication and discipline that esports requires, and they started supporting my decision to make it a career.
Q. From TEG (India) to Forbidden Gaming (Australia), you have been the IGL (in-game leader) in most of the teams that you have played for. How important do you think being a leader is in a squad? What are the responsibilities that come with being an in-game leader?
Vedzz: All players in the squad look up to the IGL, so they need to have the correct attitude and mindset both inside and outside the game. The motivation for an IGL is that they become the inspiration for the whole team. So, in a way, their actions are going to impact the squad.
The foremost responsibility of a leader is to manage teammates during the game. This applies to making sure every position is covered to directing the fights, and finishing the game.
Q. You were the coach of quite a few rosters before you joined Orangutan Esports. What is it about this roster that made you feel like becoming a part of it?
Vedzz: I have coached Team Marcos, Team Blitzkrieg, and Team Megastars, and my experience with each organization was different. All in all, I have worked with experienced and novice talent.
As a coach in Orangutan Esports, I had the freedom and opportunity to take a call on the players who joined this roster. This is one of the main reasons why I came on board.
Q. The BGMI lineup for the Orangutan roster is pretty good. What are your expectations with the team? How would you go about preparing your team for competitions?
Vedzz: This team is a mixture of seasoned and budding players. It is each player’s skill that matters the most. Whether it's a young and budding player like Fiction or someone experienced like Ash. As a coach, I found that their skills and abilities as players would lead the team to victory.
We discuss game strategies and mutually agree on the decisions to be implemented during the game. As a coach, I ensure that the entire team is in the right frame of mind and everyone is on the same page about what they will be doing during the competition.
Q. BGMI – AIEL 2021 Qualifier is coming soon. Will Orangutan Esports take part in it? What other tournaments is the team aiming for?
Vedzz: It’ll be a spectacular opportunity for the team, and we are hoping to participate. Aside from that, we’re currently looking forward to preparing and participating in the Battlegrounds Mobile India Series 2021.
Q. Indian players were shocked when PUBG Mobile was banned a year ago. Now that the Indian version of PUBG Mobile (BGMI) is back in the market, do you think it has the same charm as PUBG Mobile? How different do you think is its effect in the Esports scenario?
Vedzz: BGMI increased the player base in India. Therefore, the number of people taking an interest in esports has risen substantially.
During the ban, when the game was not around, there was constant hype about making a comeback in Indian esports. Since then, competition has increased as more people look at esports as a promising career option.
Q. The competitions of BGMI are restricted to Indians only. Do you think this is a drawback for the development of esports in the country?
Vedzz: I don’t think it is a drawback per se. But I am hoping that BGMI gets recognition on a global level. PUBG Mobile was banned in China as well and then re-introduced in the market as Game of Peace. As a result, when Chinese teams qualify to play globally, they play PUBG, whereas the teams play Game of Peace within China.
We are optimistic for a similar scenario in India, where we can play BGMI and compete globally. Ultimately, I want the team to represent our country on a global level, and for that to happen, the game getting international recognition would be a crucial stepping stone.
Q. You have your fair share of medals in international tournaments. How important do you think it is for gamers to take part in tournaments outside their country?
Vedzz: Different styles of games are followed in different countries/ regions. Accordingly, we have to change and adapt our game to the teams in that region. It is crucial to gather the experience of playing with teams from different countries to learn and adapt to the different styles that teams in that region have.
Playing with teams in Australia and Malaysia helped me understand the importance of this. Hence, I want my team to be exposed to different gaming styles as well.
Q. PUBG Mobile is part of the 2022 Asian Games (esports section), but it is uncertain if Indian mobile gamers will participate. If the Orangutan Team gets the chance to participate, who do you feel will be your most formidable competitor?
Vedzz: Irrespective of the competition, our goal is to put out the best version of ourselves. That is what matters.
Q. How important is it for Indian teams to participate in the 2022 Asian Games? What are the key aspects that players should remember before taking part in international games?
Vedzz: Given Indian gamers’ talent in esports, I feel it is crucial to get the recognition they deserve globally by participating in the 2022 Asian Games.
Here are the key points that all players must remember:
- It would be best if you were open to adapting to different game styles while competing internationally and not be adamant about playing in the same style. While competing globally, it is important to remember that the teams you are competing with are all from different regions, so your gameplay cannot remain stagnant.
- You have to remember that you are first representing your country, then your organization, and then yourself. As a result, your mindset, attitude, and decision-making also have to reflect the same.
- It is also important to remember that all the competing teams are the best from their particular regions and they deserve a certain level of respect from you. However, at no point should you start underestimating yourself because of this.
- You should continue to follow the same discipline during the game irrespective of who the opposite team is. Just be the best version of yourself.
Q. Finally, as a coach, what tips would you like to impart to players interested in competing in BGMI tournaments in the future?
Vedzz: First, like any other sport, esports also requires immense dedication and discipline. The first step would be to follow a routine and remain dedicated to the game irrespective of the wins and losses.
Secondly, budding players should understand that it is not just about their mechanical skills. They have to start learning how to analyze a game early to compete in tournaments later.
Finally, every player should have their priorities sorted. Competing in esports should be at the forefront of the agenda. The ultimate goal should be to win games.