Earlier in the season, I interviewed the coaching staff of the Shanghai Dragons after their 2nd match defeat in a row. I had high hopes for the team -- they had a sincere drive to win I thought would carry them through their awkward start.
But things never got better for the Dragons. Defeat, after defeat, the community narratives began to form and the Chinese team is now unanimously viewed as the Leagues official underdogs. With a record of 0-8, I was most interested in speaking with one of their best DPS players, Chao "UNDEAD" Fang.
He, alongside Diya, has been responsible for the Dragon's few sparks of greatness, and I was told the team consistently relies on his leadership. With the help of a translator, I asked questions that would both address the reality of his team's poor record, while also getting to known the positive moments in an otherwise disappointing season.
In what ways has your team improved since the beginning of the League?
In terms of the world of Overwatch, China is isolated from the rest of the world. So, when we first played from teams from every corner of the world for the first time, we used different strategies. Now, we are trying to adapt to all the different strategies we have encountered while also improving our communication.
It's obvious that changes need to be made. What can fans expect moving forward?
In the future, we will try to enhance our training regimen for our tank player. We will start developing different strategies for this position. Hopefully, fans will see a difference in our two tanks.
"Sometimes, when I am playing online in competitive mode, I run into fans and they are very encouraging."
What is the hardest part of leading a team that currently hasn't won a single match?
In our situation, it's no secret that the morale and the mentality of the players will be affected. Even though we are skilled players and have the ability to win, we need to improve our morale. We need to focus on building better synergy and teamwork among our players.
Team Morale is an issue for all teams, but even more important when you are struggling. How do you keep positive?
When the team is feeling extremely frustrated, they barely talk. That is the first consequence of low morale. This causes the synergy and communication to be very bad and, in order to win, you need to be coordinated and communicate constantly.
So we need to stay confident and inspire each other -- To remind each other we still have many matches to win and that we can still be hopeful about our prospects in the future.
Shanghai Dragons fans are still very passionate -- how important is it for your team to hear their encouragement?
I think it is very important. The fans encouragement and support are actually a huge motivator and driver for us to move forward in such an unfavorable condition. Whether it is support for me or for my team, it is super important.
Because we are from China, we appreciate local fans here supporting us very much.
"The first victory can release our eagerness to win more."
What has been your favorite fan interactions so far?
Sometimes, when I am playing online in competitive mode, I run into fans and they are very encouraging. They tell me to carry on and that I have already done a great job. That means a lot to me, even though we are just playing online.
Even after we lose a game, the fans will come up and talk to me. They cheer us up and say we can do better next time.
What are the moments that keep your team the most motivated?
For example, in our match vs. Seoul Dynasty this week, I went on a killing streak! The team was so happy about it. It made us very confident about the whole match and reminds us we can actually win.
When I carry my team, I'm so happy. Those are the moments when my team and I feel very good and the most motivated.
What are you looking forward to most in the next 2 months?
What I look forward to most, above everything, is a victory. We want to have more wins.
Because we are in a hard time now, the first victory can release our eagerness to win more. It will drive us forward and let us know we that we can actually win. It's actually very important for us and we are eagerly awaiting the first victory.
You can have the last words.
So, first, I am really thankful for the support from the fans. They should know that, as I play such strong opponents from other countries, this interaction allows me to improve and learn a lot.
I will keep on improving every day.
You can follow Shanghai Dragons on Twitter. All photos inside the Blizzard Arena stadium taken by Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment and subsequently released by Blizzard for publication.
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