There’s obviously a couple of huge pluses to being on a team in esports. You get a salary; don’t have to worry about arranging flights; and, most importantly, you get to play alongside like-minded folks who you can rely on to have your back.
But for Adrian “Lifecoach” Koy and Mirijam “Wifecoach” Koy, all of that is automatically included. After taking on poker, Hearthstone, and Gwent, the happily married couple now has their sights set on Valve’s Artifact.
We met the two during the WePlay! Mighty Triad Artifact tournament and had a brief chat. They shed light on the decision to switch to Artifact; shared what they learn from each other; and, divulged their goals and intentions for competing in the game.
You two are diving into a new challenge: Artifact. When and why was this decision made?
Lifecoach: Ehm, about half a year ago. It's an awesome game, we have a lot of fun. Strategically, it's very complex; it has a very high skill ceiling. Valve is behind it as its publisher, and I think they're doing an amazing job. In comparison to other games, Artifact seems to be the best out there at this moment. So it wasn't a coincidence that we started playing it. And we haven't been disappointed yet.
What I mean by that is that usually there is something not quite right. Obviously in the beta, when the games are new, there will be a lot of changes. Artifact also had those changes, and usually you have a range of positive and negative changes. That ratio sometimes is 80-20, 70-30, but in Artifact there were nearly only positive changes, and those were very impactful. Valve is really bringing those changes to a new level. They make something you want, before you even knew you wanted it.
"If you've seen card games in the past, they were either targeted at casuals
or at the competitive. In Artifact, we see both of these things combined."
Wifecoach: I started playing when the private beta started. There wasn't much action in the beginning, so we really started half a year ago, as Adrian said. I played it a lot. I couldn't get enough of it. My husband has this extremely analytical and mathematical approach, but I also cherish those evening games where I just want to play without deeply analyzing every single move. Artifact gives you that too. You can really dive into the game, but you can also just play it and take a relaxed approach.
It's an outstandingly beautiful game, I have to say. From all the card games out there, it's visually very appealing. It's not only complex with the mechanics, it's also beautiful. The animations, graphics... it doesn't feel heavy on the eye while playing.
Lifecoach: Yes, that's a thing too. If you've seen card games in the past, they were either targeted at casuals or at the competitive. In Artifact, we see both of these things combined. As Mirijam said, it's appealing to the eye without the game losing complexity.
We saw you two in Hearthstone, Gwent, and now in Artifact. What's the process like of switching games, together?
Wifecoach: Well, for Adrian, these games are his life. So he basically makes the call which game he wants to play, because he invests the majority of his time and brain power. Usually I agree with his game of choice, because he has an extremely good taste in games. But it also wouldn't really be an option to play a different game competitively, I think. We want to talk about a game together, we want to enjoy the gaming experience. Just for that I would also play a game my husband likes, even if it's a slightly less fun game for me. But so far, we've always agreed on the game.
Do you learn the game together too, then?
Lifecoach: Ehm, no. We have different approaches to the game. I'm on the analytical side, whereas Mirijam is more on the empirical side. She really learns while playing or by trying things out, and I analyze more and then implement it in my game.
I think when you have an approach like mine, you need to love analyzing. Otherwise it gets very boring. If you don't like that, you'll just have to play more to practice. Obviously I help Mirijam if she has questions, or if I see something I would've done in a different way. We discuss those things.
Wifecoach: I think when we talk about playing skill, Adrian is just far above me. I would say he educates me, and I learn a lot from that. I think my contribution is sharing experiences or ideas, which he then can analyze. But in terms of ideas I usually listen to the results of his analysis and implement it in my gameplay.
Have you two set any competitive goals for Artifact already?
Lifecoach: Well at the moment there isn't really a ladder system, but once they implement that or some other kind of skill-measurement system, obviously I'll try my best. Hopefully I'll get high placements there, or even the best placement - that would be cool. Ladder systems in other games have always proven that quantity is a factor, and I just hope that Valve will implement a system where that's not too much of a factor. They're clever enough to do that. And I'm confident that I'll get to the top - it's always an aspiration. I don't want to play a game and be mediocre or just 'good'.
“I just want to create high-quality, educational content
where people feel like they belong to a community.”
In terms of tournaments, I'll play and prepare a lot of course. But for example there's not a goal to place first in the $1 million tournament. I think goals have to be realistic, and in tournaments the sample size is often too small. You can increase the odds by making a bigger sample size. So if you say there are 100 tournaments, I could definitely have the goal of having like 10 first places. But if it's just one very big tournament, I wouldn't dare to set any goals, simply because you cannot guarantee to achieve that goal.
Besides competing I also stream. My goals there -- which in part I already have achieved -- are to have a lot of people who want to learn the game and become better. I guess there's a critical number I wouldn't like to stream for, like below 50 viewers. Then I'd seriously ask myself whether it's really something people are interested in.
"...this is the first time in my life, or our lives, that the kids
are big enough for me to dedicate time to competing."
But the opposite is also kind of true, I value what I see as quality over quantity. So I'll never have the aspiration to become a super big streamer with 10k viewers. I just think that once you get to those regions, your quality will deteriorate towards the 'mainstream'. Your numbers will go up, but the quality will go down.
I just want to create high-quality, educational content where people feel like they belong to a community. I want to teach people that they shouldn't blame things on RNG or something like that, but that they always have to ask what they could do better.
What about you, Wifecoach? You said Adrian is better at the game, but do you plan on competing a lot too?
Wifecoach: Well, now I feel bad talking about my goals in comparison to Adrian's! [Laughs] Well, this is the first time in my life, or our lives, that the kids are big enough for me to dedicate time to competing. But with two children, a household, and Lifecoach taking the work as seriously has he does, I don't have the same resources other gamers might have. They're younger and have fewer obligations. So I don't set many goals for competing.
“I just love competing, and I hope that maybe I break
some clichés about who is 'allowed' to played competitively.”
I love doing it, and I enjoy it a lot. I'm super happy to compete in the WePlay! tournament and in the Chinese tournaments, I'll try my best at a ladder if they implement it and I hope I'll do well, but it's not my main focus in life. [No] doubt, family comes first, then comes the game. For me, it's not that much of a priority.
I just love competing, and I hope that maybe I break some clichés about who is 'allowed' to played competitively. I'm a woman, I'm older, I have a family... So I hope that I can prove Artifact is a game for everybody. With streaming I started a couple of weeks ago, but it's not targeted at becoming a super big stream. It's just for fun. A community thing.
What if one of you will win this tournament?
Wifecoach: If I would have to place a bet, it would be on Lifecoach.
Lifecoach: Well I'm in the top sixteen, so that gives me about a 6% chance on average because I do have a small edge, so maybe 11-12%. I think Mirijam, because she's still in the group stages has around a 3% chance, but she has an edge too.
And then there's SuperJJ! So that means in one of four cases, someone from our group will win the tournament. That's pretty good, isn't it? But most of the times that won't happen. If it does, we will always have a small celebration.
Right, a small party.
Lifecoach: No no no, a small celebration. Maybe 20 minutes of joy or something, drink a coffee. There's a lot of stuff to do, you know? These are exciting times! [Laughs]
Images provided by Mirijam Koy.
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