World of Tanks commentator from Kazan: ''I choose active tanks in games. They are very active, nimble, dynamic''

In big cybersport competitions, players earn more than in classical sport t

World of Tanks commentator from Kazan: ''I choose active tanks in games. They are very active, nimble, dynamic'' Photo: vk.com

Why did the final of the regional cybersports league World of Tanks move to Europe? What is the secret of WoT's popularity? How much one can earn in Dota competitions? Is it true that cybersport left classical sports behind in terms of spectators and money? Wargaming.net League commentator, citizen of Kazan Aziz Khabibullin answered Realnoe Vremya's questions.

First achievements in game and move from Kazan to Poland

Aziz, could you tell us about yourself a bit? How did World of Tanks capture you and when?

I am from Orenburg. But I moved to Kazan in 2007 to enter the Kazan National Research Technological University to become an oil and gas engineering technologist. The game World of Tanks came about when I was a student. It interested me, I started to play and show good results almost from the beginning. As a result, the top group noticed me and invited to play with it. Then we were first. In general, we managed to participate in many competitions, won China, Sweden, competed in Kiev, Minsk, Moscow and Kazan.

How did you manage to turn from an ordinary player to commentator of the league?

Wargaming started to invite me to its events as analyst about 1,5 years ago. It is a person who observes the battle after it ends and explains what happened, why, why this or that players used these tanks and so on using a simple language. The thing is that by that moment I had great experience and ability to explain actions to an ordinary person who, for instance, sees the transmission for the first time.

Last summer Electronic Sports League, which is one of the biggest cybersport leagues in Europe, offered me a job in Poland. I refused this job five times at first, I did not want to move from Kazan for personal reasons. Then I agreed, so I have been living here since 2 August.

''We managed to participate in many competitions, won China, Sweden, competed in Kiev, Minsk, Moscow and Kazan.'' Photo: Maksim Platonov

I can't help but ask you about Poland after Kazan. We had an interview with a girl who moved from the capital of Tatarstan to Krakow. She says the life in Poland is more comfortable.

I moved to Katowice: the city seems to be modern but it looks a village after Kazan. Kazan is the capital, a very developed city. Here there are few places to go out, go for a walk, etc. And the language barrier causes a perceptible discomfort, of course. I learnt German at school and university, while here Polish is everywhere, English is also used. Of course, one can explain in English somehow, but the majority of the Polish speak English bad — like me. Mainly they speak Polish, which is a bit complicated for me. Probably it would be easier if I were Ukrainian or Belarus. As I am Tatar, this language is difficult for me.

On the other hand, earlier I thought that Kazan is quite a clean city. I have lived here and understood it is not. Poland is very clean, everything is in order, cut, roads are always great. Our shops like Auchan could have rotten products or those that are about to expire today or tomorrow. In Poland, food is always fresh, delicious, cucumbers don't cost a like a plane while their price in summer decreases.

''There will be few fans, we perfectly understand it''

Many people were indignant about the news that the final of Gold Series will be in Poland. Can you explain why? Probably Wargaming did not sign an agreement with Kiev again or they could not find a suitable site.

It is a question I am not able to answer…

Fine, can you just express your own opinion?

As a former cyber athlete who travelled around the world, I did not have a positive attitude to it. On the one hand, as a worker of this organisation, I perfectly understand why the final will take place here. On the other hand, I can't have a positive attitude to it.

''In general, we will have a grand final further. It is the biggest tank competition held once a year. It will be in Moscow. This information is 100% true. Grand final used to take place in Warsaw, the Russian city was chosen. I think this decision will be a good compensation.'' Photo: Maksim Platonov

To start with, it is a final of CIS countries but is held in Poland. As a fan of one of the top teams, it would be pleasant to go to Minsk, Moscow, Saint Petersburg or Moscow to support the favourite team. A visa is needed to go to Poland. In addition, it means additional costs.

Are you not afraid that there will be few fans?

There will be few fans, we perfectly understand it. But at the same time we hope more people will watch it online.

In general, we will have a grand final further. It is the biggest tank competition held once a year. It will be in Moscow. This information is 100% true. Grand final used to take place in Warsaw, the Russian city has been chosen. I think this decision will be a good compensation.

Alisher Usmanov's millions for cybersport

Aziz, what is the secret of WoT's popularity?

The secret of this game is maybe that it is quite simple for any age. Mainly young generation plays complicated games because they can learn, while men don't understand the technique and a sophisticated gameplay. Tanks is a simple game for men. It is not necessary to improve a character, gain experience all day long – you just come, take a tank and go to war. If you push a button, it shoots. If you push another button, it goes. Everything is very simple. And the game is available, one can play it for free. But if you want to get some additional functions, naturally, you will have to buy a premium account.

''Tanks is a simple game for men. It is not necessary to improve a character, gain experience all day long – you just come, take a tank and go to war.'' Photo: Maksim Platonov

By the way, as for military hardware, do you like the choice of tanks in the game? Which vehicle do you prefer to fight with?

As an experienced played, it is fine. When I started to play, there were two branches only – the USSR and Germany. Now not only these two branches were expanded but America, France, Japan, Sweden and others were added. So the choice of vehicles is huge, novices just are confused and don't know which to choose.

As for my choice, as an active person in life, I choose active tanks in games. They are medium-sized tanks. They are very active, nimble, dynamics. It is a French medium-sized Bat.-Chatillon, then German Е-50М and Soviet Object-140.

In the end, I would like to ask you about perspectives of cybersport. Can we say that cybersport caught up with classical sport in terms of money, audience, etc.?

Cybersport has a big future. We can see even now how players in big cybersports competitions earn more than classical sports events. Let's take Dota 2. It has an international competition held once a year. The prize fund reaches $20 million. But Tanks are far from it.

More people join this sphere, many sponsors who start giving money for competitions appear. Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov invested millions to develop cybersport maybe last year. Classical sport and cybersport are almost in line. By the way, the latter has a bigger audience than usual sports at times. And athletes also sacrifice their health.

By Lina Sarimova