This was around March, still very early on, but a few teams already announced they were going to QuakeCon, and even if there was still quite some time left, there was pressure for a team to form its line up and get some good practice. Found Em felt a bit of extra pressure as they were having problems with ZeRo4's internet connection.
The summary of br1cks attempt seems to be this: ZeRo4 really wanted him in the team, but then the two of them ended up not playing well together, arguing over strategies and details, up to the point one of them had to leave. rapha and cl0ck agreed they wanted to keep ZeRo4.
rapha: So we had a couple options to pick from, ZeRo4 really adamantly wanted br1ck on team. Which you know, after a lot of communication and deliberation, I was like “I understand why he wants that, because he’s played with br1ck multiple times” – not just Quake but he played with him in ShootMania a bit – and I looked at it like “Cool, they’ve been playing as defense since last year together, so going into practice this year, it really should not be that difficult to get on the same page, at least defensively.
rapha: I know for me the majority of times I play defense in ctf, rather than offense, and I know for Mark and I, going into this year we had to kind of get on the same page, click, and mesh our styles together. I looked at it like “You know when we pick br1ck we already have one piece of the puzzle solved, and Mark and I we just need to figure out ours”.
[cl0ck is entering the room – I get distracted]
Memento: So would you have played defense?
rapha: With br1ck? No, br1ck would have played defense with ZeRo4, and I would have played offense with cl0ck.
Memento: Right. So then I guess you started practicing?
rapha: Yeah, we started practicing for a good solid month, month and a half, like practicing a lot. During that time ZeRo4 was having trouble with his internet connection at the time. Mark especially was really pressing him to get – because at the time he had cable which was totally fucked, [laughs] it was really bad. And Mark pressed him to get DSL, since it was available in his area. He finally gave in, he got it. And it fixed his problem. He was actually able to play, he was not lagging anymore, was not timing out…
cl0ck: We lost two weeks of practice.
cl0ck: Maybe three weeks of practice before the issue, because John (ZeRo4) was reluctant to change ISP.
cl0ck: I mean, not a big deal, but certainly not optimal.
cl0ck: So between ZeRo4's connection being completely unplayable, and parting ways with br1ck, we lost about 2 months of practice. Not what you want to happen when you're trying to practice and figure a lot of stuff out for an event this big.
rapha: And br1ck, his connection was good most of the time, but even he had some problems. So Mark and I are sitting on easy street just trying to figure out our own thing...
rapha: We've got both of our defenders... they are not communicating very well, like we expected from them being on the winning team last year. I love br1ck, he’s been a friend of mine for a long time, I’ve even played with him before in teams, but going into this year I could just tell that, like – it may sound harsh to say but from him winning last year, he kind of… it’s not like majorly did but he kind of was a little bit more arrogant, if that makes sense. He thought that everything that he did…
cl0ck: He was more confident.
cl0ck: At this point br1ck was just really confident in his gameplay and how he ran his defense. You could argue this was stemming from being fresh of a QuakeCon win last year, internally confirming with yourself that you do in fact know what you're doing, and you're doing everything right. But I think ZeRo4 just felt that last year when the two of them won, they worked together and br1ck maybe took direction a little bit easier- and here they are this year and I think br1ck was being a little more stubborn. It's hard to say who was right and who was wrong regarding the specific, internal situations that came up during scrims. But it was clear that it just wasn't a healthy team dynamic and something had to change.
rapha: Yeah, and could not take certain criticism like usual.
rapha: It was like a grind to work through, not just major issues, but like minor things that should be fixed easily. And you know, it all kind of concluded when cl0ck was out on vacation, and we were kind of using Sparks as the ringer – Sparks was streaming and br1ck and ZeRo4 really hit head way that night, and they went all out at it, like full shouting match. And it pretty much got to the point when John was calling me afterwards and said “you know, as much as I vouch for br1ck, if he’s not gone, I’m done. So talk with Mark and make your decision. And you either keep me, or you don’t”. And that’s how it kind of ended up.
cl0ck: It was one of those things where I've just known John awhile and we've tried and wanted to play together on the same team for a long time and it just never seemed to work out with tournament formats or lineups or previous commitment. We won 2008 together and we had a really fun time doing it. Since then we just hoped for a CTF tournament that we both wanted to go to where we could play together in. In 2014 (last year) we roomed together, despite being on opposite teams, and we committed to each other that next year whatever the event was we were going to be on the same team. Shane as well, no matter what.
cl0ck: So we made it. So when there is a problem with the guy that you decided to pick as a fourth, […] there’s only really one option. If someone on our team does not want to play with him, that’s it. It’s not like we’re going to kick our… I mean I can’t justify kicking John, especially after we've made all these commitments to playing together. Not after trying to make a team for the past 6 years and it not panning out.
rapha: And especially the unbroken – until this year [laughs] - the unbroken rule is, if your team purchases his ticket, his hotel and stuff, he is your teammate! He’s committed to going! And at the time br1ck hadn’t committed to that yet. He hadn’t purchased anything yet, he was still up in the air in committing to going. And at that time we were kind of like “Ok, do we give the ultimatum of can he actually fix this, or…".
And the decision ultimately ended up coming down to me, because even though I could have said no he stays, I have two teammates that saw that his attitude and the way things were going as a team, it just was not gelling. And we could not believe that he could turn it around in time for us to properly get enough practice and to be at the point we needed to be to win CTF.
And I really had to look at it objectively and not blindly. You know, I like br1ck […] but I had to look at it from outside perspective. Like if I wasn’t me what would the spectator say if they saw all of this.
rapha: And that just kind of how it went down.
[later in the interview]
ZeRo4: I take most responsibility for br1ck's addition & removal from the team. I want to start off first with saying I've always been a fan of br1ck, we tried to create this exact team back in 2011, however later it was announced it was TDM which neither br1ck nor I had any interest in playing. In 2012 I created a team with br1ck which was a really good/fun experience. 2013 we played ShootMania together. And even last year in 2014, with the synergy we developed over the past I believe he would be a better/more capable defender than the one we had at the time (KGB) so I suggested that swap as well. Even at this event we talked and had the conversation of what went wrong and we both came to the agreement that we were both at fault.
For starters, br1ck has always been the type of player that would take my suggestions and advise and build from that. Last year we spent months tweaking our D of positioning and over arching strategy on how to defend. We listened to each other and cooperated very well with one another.
This year he came off with a little more arrogant/overconfident approach to the game where he would not listen as well. I was at fault for 2 fold, A) I probably over reacted to some of our initial arguments and B) I tried implementing strats/suggestions when I wasn't fully up to form. It's very hard for anybody to follow somebody who can't execute themselves and being back for a couple of weeks I definitely was not at the point I needed to be.