Get To Know Azael, Pro Warlock
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In-game Nickname and Alts:
Azael but my Warlock is named Azaelz. My only alt is my Holy Paladin Bregor.
Any interesting background to the name Azael?
Honestly I'm really indecisive with choosing names or figuring out what I want my character to look like so after sitting at the character creation screen for an hour or two trying to think of a name I started just spamming Random Name Generator. It eventually came up with Azazael which I thought sounded pretty good so I went with that, and later on when I transferred off of that server Azazael was taken on my new server so I just ended up shortening the name to Azael.
Real Life Name: Isaac Cummings-Bentley.
Location: Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
How did you get into gaming?
I used to play games very casually when I was young on Consoles and whatnot like N64 Goldeneye and Mario Kart etc, and eventually started playing PC games. Once I stopped playing competitive sports after High School I think I got a lot more seriously into gaming as it was a good competitive outlet.
Favorite game of all time?
I think I might have to say Mario Kart just because I have so many good memories playing that game with friends, but WoW is definitely right up there too since I've gotten a lot out of the game and it's honestly the only PC game that I've really played for very long without quitting.
Did you have a character you like to play as in mario kart?
I usually would pick Toad since the smaller guys were a bit faster and easier to handle even though they could get knocked around by the bigger ones I just found it more fun.
Tell us about your personal gaming rig. Type of mouse, keyboard, and headset?
Right now I'm using an MSi GT660 gaming laptop courtesy of my sponsors, and I'm using all Steelseries peripherals - 7G keyboard, Xai mouse, and Siberia v2 headset.
What do you do in your spare time, besides playing WoW?
I spend my spare time reading, working out, spending time with friends and more recently getting back into some pickup sports once again, I have also been playing some SC2 lately.
What sports are you getting into pickup games of?
Well when I was younger I played pretty much every sport Basketball, Rugby, Football, Soccer, Volleyball etc etc, but Basketball was definitely what I enjoyed the most and played the most. Lately though some of my friends have been organizing a lot of pickup Soccer games so that's what I've been doing but I never played Soccer seriously so I'm pretty bad but it's a lot of fun and I'm getting better.
When did you start playing WoW?
I started playing WoW shortly after the game came out but I maybe only played 20-30 minutes a day if I even played every day for quite a long time.
Since you bought playtime up, mind sharing whow much you play daily now?
It varies so wildly that I couldn't really say how much I play with any accuracy on a day to day basis. I basically only login for arena, so for example for a week or so we played every day for probably anywhere between 2 and 6 hours. Then things got busy and with the new patch coming out we figured there was no rush to play since we could never get queues on our mains and were having some issues playing other characters so we didn't play any for like 2 weeks. Then this week with the patch coming out we played a bunch, probably like 6 hours of arena yesterday all told and 3 or 4 on Tuesday for me.
Mind sharing your /played?
My played is closing in on 200 days on the Warlock I've had since release basically, but a massive amount of that would be idle. Like they say, WoW is a chat room with better graphics!
What classes do you play in WoW? Which are you competent with on a competitive level?
Well the only characters which are mine at 85 are Paladin / Warlock, but I have played Warrior since 70 and I've been rank 1 a few times on it so I'd like to think I could play Warrior at a competitive level if given a bit of time to brush up on it. I don't think I'd ever play Paladin in a tournament unless there was some setup that it was extremely advantageous to have a Ret Paladin or something in since Tenderloin will basically always play the healer.
Current PvP Spec?
I'm playing Affliction and I've been respeccing a few times each week pretty much just trying out different things and trying to figure out what will be the ideal spec for next patch. I think my favourite spec at the moment is the one shown here http://us.battle.net...lent/secondary.
Any changes for 4.1?
I'll still be playing Affliction, the only thing I'll really be changing around is getting Dark Arts instead of Demonic Embrace for the extra Felhunter damage.
Horde For Life?
I honestly don't care if I'm playing Horde or Alliance. I went to Tich Alliance at the end of Season 8 to play with friends and everyone pretty much ended up going there and I was happy as that, but due to horrible connection issues I've been having on BG9 we transferred and eventually ended up as Horde just because Tenderloin thinks it looks more cool and there's a lot of people on Illidan Horde.
What is your most important gaming accomplishment to date?
I'd definitely say winning the last IEM Global Championship was my most important.
That makes me realize, I watch the tournaments from my computer, but you actually get to travel. What's the coolest place you've gotten to travel so far?
As far as the places that I've actually been at for tournaments Cologne, Germany was really nice and 2good took some of us out bar hopping and whatnot and it was a pretty fun scene. I've been able to use tournaments as kind of a starting point for traveling quite a bit though which has let me travel all around Europe in Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy etc so I'd have to say Amsterdam was pretty awesome, and Nice in France was also a really really great place so probably down to those two for my favorite. Traveling has definitely been my favourite part about it all since it has allowed me to go a lot of places and make a bit of money doing it that I otherwise wouldn't have had the chance to see.
Why are you a hardcore arena player and not a hardcore raider?
As I think most people will say in these interviews they were a hardcore raider at one point, and I did enjoy it but honestly for me I enjoy competing against other players more and I always found it frustrating to be held back by the weaker players in a big raid. The biggest issue for me with raiding though is being stuck on a schedule as I always have hated planning my week around raiding so I haven't really done it in years.
What goals do you have for your gaming career?
The only thing left I'd like to accomplish is to get to Blizzcon since I haven't played there before. I've qualified for the Regional Tournaments three times and was one game away from knocking out TSG and going to Blizzcon before getting gibbed and losing that series which was funny because they ended up winning it all that year. Sadly last year I was traveling for basically the entire tournament realm so we weren't able to qualify which just makes me more determined to do it this year.
Which other wow player(s) inspire you/do you respect?
I think that a ton of players / comps come and go so the ones that inspire me and who I respect the most are those who have consistently been competitive over the years with a variety of setups and players. Two people that really come to mind are Sodah and Venruki who have been playing at the highest levels since the first MLG and they're also two players who're very positive which I like as many people can be very negative at times (myself included).
Who's the better warlock, you or Charlie Sheen?
Haha Charlie Sheen makes about a million times as much money as I do so I think he has it hands down.
Team and E-Sport Perspective
What's the most critical aspect to any team's success?
The ability to talk about losses and be critical of each others play without offending or getting someone mad. If you can't discuss what each other did wrong and what happened in a game then you won't be able to change it.
So, lots (if not all) of the people we have interviewed so far have said something about communication for the most critical aspect to a team's success. So, to flip the question a little bit, do you think communication breakdowns is the number one reason for teams failing? Or would that be practice or skill?
I mean it's obviously a combination of all of the above as well as some other things. I think that the biggest reason for a lot of teams failing is the way they look at the game since when I hear a lot of people talking about losing to a certain team or setup or whatever they look at the matchup in a very specific way and eliminate a lot of possibilities for beating them before they even try them. A lot of the time those strategies they're eliminating are the ones that my team is using or other teams are using to win the matchup that they're struggling with. For example since Warrior / Hunter / Healer setups are extremely popular I get a ton of questions on how to beat that and most people preface their questions by saying well you can't turtle cause you can't win the Mana game so what should you kill? But the thing is you basically have to play ultra defensive and if you make swaps and only get out into the open when you have one of the DPS CCed you can win on mana and create opportunities to win the game that way.
People just need to be more open to trying different strategies and try to filter what is important and what isn't because when I play with a lot of people or just listen to some videos they're emphasizing communicating so much that they basically just end up spewing bullshit which isn't really helpful to anyone. Communication is very important but what you communicate is even more important, people don't need to know every little thing that you're doing because it just makes it harder to hear the actual important things going on.
Current ideal team composition?
Even though it's probably not the #1 comp at the moment RLS forever and always.
You've been with EG for a long time now. What does the future hold for you guys?
I'm quite close with the people and sponsors at EG, so I think that I am really able to go and do whatever I want in gaming knowing they'll be supporting me which is a great feeling. EG is without a doubt the best sponsor around and they're supporting us strongly and giving us salary even this year when WoW hasn't been active tournament wise. They offered to support me for SC2 if I was interested but honestly I can't see myself putting in the time to become a top player. I really do hope that I can stay active in e-sports in one way or another over the years though be it commentating, playing or more of the administration side.
What does the future hold for you in tournament play?
I think that as long as I'm having fun playing the game and there are tournaments to play I'll continue attending them, but as it really seems to be slowing down I think a lot of players are reflecting on if it's worth the time investment to stay at the top level when there aren't many events.
What are your thoughts on the future of arena as an e-sport?
I have always felt and still do that WoW could be great as an e-sport as it really has so much untapped potential. It always had amazing viewer numbers and a ton of fans simply because of the massive player base, but most of it was an untapped market as events were often hard to find information about and poorly promoted. Even people I know who wanted to watch me at events would have trouble finding out where / how / when to watch the events which is quite disappointing. If they were able to even put links / announcements about tournaments ingame as you logged in think how many viewers they could get just from people interested in checking it out casually. WoW has always been plagued by some imbalance but the best players find ways to overcome it and stay competitive whether they're running the best setup or not, and even SC2 the premiere game at the moment also has a massive amount of imbalance so I think WoW still could've been much more successful.
How does a player know when they might be ready to try and go pro?
I think that it can be hard to know simply because most people have a much higher opinion of themselves than others have of them, so I think a good way to tell is when you're getting recognition from other top players. I'd also say a good indicator is if you're able to consistently take games off of other pro teams with a non-fotm setup.
As one of the best warlocks in the business, what 3 pro-tips would you give a Warlock that's new to arena?
- Positioning is the most important part of arena, make sure you're always forcing people to use a gap closer (Intercept, Shadowstep, Skull Bash etc ) to swap to you before you demon portal to kite them much more easily.
- I think that people need to really think about when they're using Fear more simply because I get a lot of messages about people asking me why I don't spam fear more in my video, and you really just have to realize that there should always be a reason to use it. If you just Fear for the sake of using the ability then the person may be on DR for when you really need it to peel, or when you really need to interrupt a cast or free yourself up to get casts off without having to fake against Melee. Just make sure there's you're not wasting your DRs and focus more on keeping damage up if the time isn't right to use it.
- I think that a lot of people aren't very good at faking interrupts, and one of the biggest issues I see is that they're locking themselves out simply by wasting so much time doing it or not doing it at the right times. You need to make sure you're always faking with an instant meaning start your cast then cancel it by using Corruption, Agony, a curse etc so that you're not wasting the global. Also don't get too caught up in faking, because although avoiding interrupts is very good if a top level player notices you will only cast when interrupts are down they'll simply stop using them.
Would you be willing to share a couple macros with us that you use the most?
I use pretty standard stuff, a ton of focus macros (CoEX, Fear, Coil, Weakness, Tongues, Spell Lock etc), and targeting macros such as /target arena 123 and /focus arena 123, the only one I have which people might not would be - #showtooltip Fel Flame
/cast [target=mouseover,harm] Fel Flame; Fel Flame. It basically just casts Fel Flame on my target if I don't have a mouse over target, and casts it on my mouse over target if I do. I also use the same macro for Banish and some other stuff and find it quite nice.
WASD or ESDF?
Neither actually, I use QWE and have everything else bound to abilities since I have like 100 binds I have to use pretty much everything on the keyboard haha! I use as far over as Shift-M on the keyboard, and I have a huge amount of ctrl and alt modifiers as well of course, then a lot of stuff on my mouse as well bound with modifiers.
So, it can be really hard getting used to new keybinds - what advantage do you think having such extensive keybinds gives you in arena?
It just allows me to do basically whatever I want to do in arena quickly and easily instead of having to fumble around trying to click stuff. I see a ton ton ton of people who target by clicking on Gladius or Arena Frames and honestly I think it's not very good as it's simply a lot slower and you could be using your mouse for other things that you can't do without it like mouseover attacks and whatnot.
For example if I'm trying to watch Hex while killing a Mage against a Shaman / Mage team then I can simply scroll on my Mouse wheel to focus the Shaman then Shift Scroll to target the Mage, and then if the Shaman drops Mana Tide or Spirit Link totem etc I can use my mouse to mouseover pet attack or Fel Flame or I could mouse over Banish the Water Elemental etc all at the same time without having to be clicking anything, it just makes it a lot easier and makes your gameplay more smooth.
I just figure if there's something you don't have to use your mouse for then why would you do it when you can accomplish the same thing in a faster / easier way and still have your mouse free for things that you can't otherwise do.
General Wrap-up Questions
What do you enjoy MOST about WoW?
Playing arena with friends.
What are your thoughts on World of Warcraft Arena and where it is going?
I honestly like how Blizzard is making changes so much more often lately and I feel like it's balancing out a lot more and a lot faster than it was in the past which is very nice. I also do like this pace much more than WotLK simply because instant kills are less common at least for Warlocks so I think that in general WoW Arena is headed in the right direction.
If you could change one thing about World of Warcraft Arena, what would it be?
I think that I'd make it so that you could only run setups with one Healer, one Caster DPS class, and one Physical DPS class simply because the vast majority of the obnoxious cheesy setups would be eliminated with that change. No more Melee Cleavers, no more Wizard Cleave, no more double Healer teams etc. I think it'd be a really really nice change.
Are you happy with the state of warlocks currently? If you were in charge, what changes would you make to the class?
I've had the ability to give some feedback on the class which is nice, and honestly I think that with the upcoming patch Warlocks will be in a pretty nice spot. I do enjoy Warlocks now, but it can be very frustrating playing against some setups simply because you're not able to put out enough damage (at least as RLS) to even more peoples HP while their healer strafes back and forth dispelling and using instants and basically never having to cast. I don't like the feeling that I could play a healer against myself and live with minimal to no effort when I'm trying my hardest to create pressure on a Warlock.
What song are you listening to right now?
I'm sort of a music addict so I'm listening to music 24/7 but as I type this I'm listening to Santito vs Black Crown - Back it up (Club Mix).
Big thanks to Team EG and all our sponsors - Intel, Steelseries, Kingston HyperX, Thermaltake, Bigfoot Networks etc, and also to my teammates Chuck and Emerson.