Dr. Lupo Interview
JBeck - Week 3 of the DCS is down and we have with us one of Destiny's most known personalities, DrLupo, stopping by for an interview. Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself beyond the typical "I play and main.”
DrLupo - Hey JBeck! My name is DrLupo, and I play...just kidding! I'm a dad, a husband, a gamer, and full-time broadcaster on Twitch. I've been playing Destiny since the Beta on Xbox, but I've been gaming since I could hold a controller. If I remember right, my brothers received an NES for Christmas the year after I was born. Being the youngest of four though, and extremely tiny at the time, I think it took until Secret of Mana or NBA Jam on SNES for them to really let me start playing with them at the same time. That wasn't a big deal though, before I would go off to kindergarten each day my mom and I would sit and play Tetris together in the morning. She got seriously dangerous at Tetris. She'd probably still whoop me now if we went toe to toe. Since those days, I've been an avid gamer and nerd. Since I'm 30 now, that's a whole lot of nerd concentrated into one person. Because of the Twitch community and all the people I've met through the years before that, it's become extremely clear that embracing that "nerd-dom" instead of hiding it has been the right decision. I'm glad I chose to do so.
JBeck - I am 32 myself so it's nice to see some old schoolers that do not say Call of Duty 4: MW was their first game. When you first became interested in Destiny, what drew you to the game? I know for me it was the company as I loved Bungie since the beginning.
DrLupo - I've been playing Bungie games since Pathways into Darkness. Man, what a great game. And Myth, Myth II, Marathon, Marathon 2: Durandal, Marathon Infinity, Oni, every Halo game. I've played almost everything the company has produced since my parents bought an Apple that could run the games. Naturally, when I found out that Bungie was no longer producing Halo games after Reach, I was disappointed. I had spent so much time devoted to killing aliens with Master Chief, I wasn't sure what to expect from something new from them. I may have even gone so far as to dismiss it at first. However, I will fully admit...Bungie's cinematic team has a way of making players get fanatically excited over something, even without presenting any specifics in the slightest. We're seeing it now with Destiny 2, in fact. My love for Bungie was easily one of the top reasons I went after Destiny how I have. I'm creeping up on 6,000 hours into Destiny right now, that alone should speak volumes.
JBeck - That sounds a lot like me. I got into Bungie games through Halo (got it on launch) and never looked back really. I still collect all the Halo series games and their remastered collections, including Halo Wars. A lot of what makes Halo great, beyond the amazing stories, is the competitive PvP that has been there since it’s inception. Tell us about how you made the transition from casual to competitive.
DrLupo - Hey now, let's not go telling people I'm even remotely competitive! I'm a filthy casual, you know that. Honestly, I wouldn't even be able to consider myself competitive if it weren't for the drive that others have instilled in me by being energetic and excited about trying to reach the top of the skill ladder, so to say. I'm extremely lucky to be able to call some of the best players in Destiny, my friends. Through them, and a very strong internal desire to improve every single day - I think that's what has pushed me to where I am right now.
It's funny, I actually took a break from Destiny for three or four months when a World of Warcraft expansion came out. Turns out it was the exact same time that competitive PvP matching in Destiny started to become a thing. I jumped back into Destiny after a hiatus, before Trials came out, and a friend of mine was playing a game of Skirmish that he had specifically set up to match another team of three players. "Sweats." The level of play I watched while he was streaming them was insane. Seeing that, and having friends that I knew I could keep up with that were playing at that level; I instantly wanted in.
JBeck - Back then, before Rise of Iron, there was a lot of difficulty to do matches. Do you have any fun stories of those times as the competitive scene was starting to be created?
DrLupo - Oh. Man. The first FarCognitions tournament was a mess at the start. Some teams could not stop matching incorrectly. Some teams waited multiple hours to get their first series in because there were so many other teams playing. Coordinating that was like herding cats, an impossible task. After things got moving though. That first tourney is still the one I look back at and think just how exciting it was. We ended up matching God Squad for a best of 3, and came incredibly close to beating them both games. We lost, sure - but man, the whole thing was insanity. Dropping a triple on War, Gabe, and with Quiver on Thieve's Den. I will never, ever forget that.
JBeck - What makes Competitive, or "sweats" much more appealing than the Counter-Strike Style of Trials to you personally?
DrLupo - Balance, or at least the attempt at it in a game with so much RNG behind who gets what. Being presented a level playing field with the flavors of Destiny is exactly what I want from the game. I spent a lot of time in Halo. Because of that, my view of competitive multiplayer in a shooter resolves almost entirely around gun skill. Destiny takes some of that away by presenting options for builds and randomness in the perks on guns.
JBeck - You are pretty well known for your Keyboard and Mouse set-up. Could you talk a little bit about why you decided to use that and give a bit of history?
DrLupo - Back when I first started playing Destiny, I played on a standard Xbox controller [with] 6 or 7 sensitivity. After a while though, a couple things were happening. First, I was seeing that with the default button layout, I couldn't revive teammates and move/shoot/aim at the same time. Other players could. I had to be able to do that if I wanted to be at the top of my game. The other was that the palms of my hands started to cramp excessively when I played for longer than a few hours because I would grip the controller incredibly hard without realizing it. I tried to train myself to not do that - no luck. So, I looked at alternatives. The Xbox Elite controller wasn't an option at the time, and I wanted to avoid third party controllers due to a history of stick drift I've had using them. Found out at a LAN that there were converters available for use with consoles that would allow you to use a mouse and a keyboard. I never had any issues with pain or discomfort on a keyboard, so I figured I'd give it a shot. A little research led me to the XIM4. Almost two years later, it's still the best device on the market for mouse and keyboard input translation to a console. It can do so much more than that, too. I've even managed to use the XIM4, combined with some tech tricks and a Wiimote + Nunchuk to go flawless. Let me tell you, motion controls for aiming are a huge pain in the rear.
JBeck - I heard about that. It’s a pretty amazing feat. What was it like constructing the team Casuals as it is set up today?
DrLupo - Honestly, rather confusing at first. Typically I play on DrNinjaRam with two of my friends, but before the first season started for DCS, there was some confusion. A team ended up being made out of that confusion that didn't include me, so I went ahead and posted on Twitter about looking for a team. Tagged FarCognitions in it. Immediate retweet, and replies. DMs from friends. There were a number of players I had been with in competitive games before that in Destiny, including Stevryu, Gene_e_us, and TrueVanguard. All great guys. Great friends. And they asked if I would be interested in forming a team with them. Next thing ya know, I'm dropping an Unbroken medal in Zone Control on Burning Shrine with these guys during a round of DCS Group Play. Feels like a good fit, and they are a ton of fun to play with.
JBeck - Speaking of DCS, you have been involved in FarCognitions events since it's infancy, what's it like entering the DCS now and what does it mean to play in the event?
DrLupo - It's incredible to see how the tourney scene has embraced this guy and made him the "go-to" for competitive Destiny. When things first started, there were a number of groups trying to coordinate some form of tournament for the game. FarCog's got traction. Advertising. I know, personally, I talked about it REPEATEDLY on stream. I was incredibly excited to finally be given a chance to play against some of these names that I'd see around in other streams. The people that were considered the best of the best. Since the DCS started, I get to see it from both sides. I'd like to think I'm a little more well known now than I was then, and the family of people that have joined the competitive scene for Destiny continues to grow. Who knows, maybe I'm "that guy" to them - the one they can't wait to play against and destroy. We all know they will.
JBeck - Let me ask this before you go. As a player what sage advice could you give to those in the challenger division and looking up to make themselves better?
DrLupo - Never stop trying to better your preferred playstyle. The meta will come and go. It will change and evolve and grow. It's okay to acknowledge it, but to not feel forced to embrace it totally. I've been sniping in competitive play for a long time. I took a chance and ran shotgun on Bladedancer for a while. I knew it wasn't my strength, and it showed. Some pretty inventive strategies have popped up from teams that have gone against the grain. These kinds of players are the ones that start trends. They are the ones that get talked about. They are the ones that others see as the players to beat. Embrace that, play what you know you can dominate with, and never forget the age old rule: "Use whatever, don't apologize."