Alberto "Crumbz" Rengifo is one of the latest additions to the already stacked talent lineup in Blizzard’s Overwatch League. With his experience as a former professional player, as well as a caster and analyst in League of Legends, he brings to the OWL a unique perspective, experience and a healthy dose of showmanship.
Last week, we had the opportunity to ask Alberto a number of questions on his return to The States, his transition into Overwatch, how reminiscent the Korean dominance here is to that in LoL and more.
Before we get into Overwatch-related topics, how's your readjustment to the life in L.A. been? As some fans know you were in Korea for a while, is there something particular you find yourself missing about the lifestyle there?
Readjusting to Los Angeles has been seamless. I was here for 5 years before going to Korea, so many of the connections I had simply took a short hiatus.
Yes, there is! I miss the Korean diet, it’s no secret I like to embark my taste buds on wild adventures and Korea fit that perfectly. Pufferfish, Live Shrimp and Octopus, Dog, Ox head you name it! You get shunned for even thinking about eating that here.
You've been on the analyst desks before, but, in LoL, you had the authority of being a former professional player who's played at the World Championship. How difficult has been transitioning to a new title, in which you lack not only the background of playing at a high level, but also the historical presence within the scene? Have you found yourself questioning your analysis more than you're used to?
It’s had its challenges. I think I’m lucky to have peers that are very helpful and knowledgeable as well as a wealth of content to consume. The toughest thing is just finding a rhythm for the analysis within the game, which, luckily enough, I think I figured out last week! I think looking at the games as a series of fights, and highlighting each one creates bullet points for the story that is developing within the match. I’ll get to test it out in full force this final week.
I question my analysis a lot. It’s a healthy habit. I think I would be foolish to come into a new game without the respect for the people that have been doing this longer. Over time, I’ll develop the repertoire to not only stop questioning my analysis but also present new ways of looking at the game.
In the last couple of seasons, some LoL fans have been complaining about the lack of potential for individual outplays at the highest level. How does Overwatch compare in that aspect? Overall, you appear to be more interested in tactics and strategy; as such, does this matter to you, or impact the enjoyment you get from watching the game?
I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while. The differences lie in the location of players in the games. In League, for the majority of a game, an individual does not interact with everyone else, rather a handful of other players. One or two teammates and one or two enemies. This means that mechanical outplays are less likely to happen as there is significantly less interaction between all players.
On top of that, each player can potentially ruin a game by feeding so they tend to play more conservatively. On top of that, Riot has been systematically removing elements in the game that allow the individual skill to shine through. That was when I started becoming disillusioned with the game. No longer could an individual find a way to rise above the rest and outplay one or even five enemies. It’s been dragged down to timings and teamwork which is fun but should never be at the sacrifice of individual skill.
I’m interested in tactics because it’s the key to understanding the mindset and behavior that is imprinted from the coaching staff onto the players. I can also understand the game from the top down view. I am interested in mechanical outplays, but most of the time the explanation behind them is fairly simple which is why it’s less alluring.
I do think individual outplays are sick though. They’re just so short lived and end up impacting tempo within the game, which is just me drawing it back as an x factor for macro.
As someone who comes from a high-level analysis of another game and brings a fresh set of eyes, is there a specific composition, hero or a style of play you are surprised isn't utilized more/at all?
I wish there were more heroes in Overwatch to have something truly groundbreaking in here! I’ve always thought Mei was very powerful, and while she has seen nerfs I think she holds such a wild amount of potential. Her entire kit has potential to dismantle either the enemies or your own team and that’s cool. I think she’s just hard to coordinate with beyond set plays on specific maps. Oh and she can 1 shot tracer which is nice.
I know some players had a hard time adapting to Overwatch initially, since it combines so many aspects from different genres. Have you had difficulties with something yourself and, conversely, has your experience with LoL helped understanding better some of the strategical and tactical elements of the game?
The hardest thing has just been keeping track of everything that happens, which I have concluded is not possible, so you just have to train your eyes to weed out the less relevant information. Much like today’s world, things are no longer about acquiring information but rather knowing which information to ignore.
I cannot fathom how I would view the game without League. It’s helped in absolutely every element of the game.
Is there an OWL team that you've found to be particularly exciting to watch? What makes their game so enjoyable for you?
The NYXL. When I first started playing Overwatch, I was instantly drawn to Zenyatta as this image of singularity. They have JJoNaK who turns this gentle monk into a killing beast, which is fun to watch.
You mentioned in a recent interview that the map view has helped you a lot with understanding the game. If incorporated into the overlay, to what degree do you think a minimap would make watching and understanding easier for casual and brand new Overwatch fans?
The map view would help but not much. I think, at this point, the game doesn’t need it to be incorporated. There’s a certain charm to understanding the game without it and, frankly, it does heavily force a player to increase their awareness. I like that; encouraging positive behavior.
When it comes to analyzing the game, how helpful are the stats we have access to right now? Is there a specific stat you'd like to see that might be hard to procure, even for the guys at Blizzard?
They are very useful as they continue to improve them. I think the proximity of heroes to each other would be massively helpful for understanding the way a team operates. I’ll ask to see if we can get that stat or if I didn’t look before and am just dumb.
How reminiscent is the OWL right now of the Korean dominance in LoL? In your opinion, is it realistic be to expect Dynasty, Spitfire, and NYXL in the top4 by the end of the season?
It’s not the same and it won’t ever be the same as the teams live and practice together, elevating every other team’s level as well as competitive [queue]’s level. That would be a safe bet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t the case and I sure don’t expect that dominance to continue for stretches of time as long as League.
For any League of Legends fans who might be reading this and made it this far, please recommend a specific match that could get them more interested in Overwatch.
I would recommend the Philadelphia Fusion vs the New York Excelsior series in Week 3.
I’ll leave the closing words to you.
I want to thank everyone who has come from League and is part of this new journey with me.
To keep up with Alberto, make sure to follow him on Twitter at @ProphetCrumbz!
(Photo credits: Activision Blizzard)
About the author:
Hello, readers! I go by the ID RadoN and I’ve been watching different esports since I found out about the industry in 2009. The titles I follow closely for the time being are Overwatch, CS:GO and Quake, while occasionally dabbling in some other games as well. If you wish to reach out, follow future content, or simply know more about my thoughts on esports and gaming, you can find me on Twitter at @RadoNonfire.