Three days into 2017 and we already have a new UK organisation looking to make an impact on the UK scene, within CSGO and Rocket League in particular.
Craig Robinson speaks to Dukes Esports founder Taylor Duke, the former IGI CSGO player, to see what drove him and his partners to go from players to org owners.
ENUK: What is your org's ethos? What sets you apart?
Taylor Duke: We are more about building a community and keeping a team. We will do this by running community-based events and building long-term relationships with our staff and players.
We believe in a stronger community with successful long-term relations. We believe this will make the scene prosper and make people feel like they are achieving, no matter where they are in their career.
What are your plans for 2017?
We want to do community based leagues and tournaments. We want to build a decent stream for our communities across a number of games.
Also, we'd like to create a Retake server and a Deathmatch server on CSGO where there will be a monthly point system. Points are based off of KDA, bomb defuses, bomb plants and other in-game factors. The five players who have the highest amount of points at the end of the month will win a cash or skin prize.
In addition, we have teams that will be entering competitions in CSGO and Rocket League. We are going to be streaming the competitions in which these teams play on twitch.tv/dukes_esports. We are looking for teams in League of Legends and Rainbow 6 Siege at the moment and are interested in getting people for FIFA, Call of Duty, Overwatch and Hearthstone in the near future.
"We believe that a sense of community is what is lacking in so many of these newly-founded 'bedroom/plastic organisations', and we are really keen to get this back on the agenda."
Why did you want to switch from a player into an org owner?
I was a CSGO player under IGI esports. They always supported us no matter what and I took motivation and inspiration from them. I wanted to step back from playing and build an organisation where we can help players with long-term relationships and build a community.
I have seen organisations pick up teams and drop them after a LAN or tournament has finished - and I believe it's better to have long-term relationships than short-term ones.
Can you explain your thoughts on the importance of community?
[Answer taken from the Duke website]
Some people simply don't have the time to play video games competitively, or they prefer to take things easy and use the games as a way to cool down after a hard day's work.
We believe that this sense of community is what is lacking in so many of these newly-founded 'bedroom/plastic organisations', and we are really keen to get this back on the agenda.
It is for this reason that we have decided to really focus in on hosting community events, hosting our own Dukes discord server where you can find buddies to play the games that you love with, and things such as a Steam group for the same reason.
Tell us more about your planned community events...
We plan on running weekly tournaments in CSGO and League of Legends, and then going into other games later into the year. We are planning on having another tournament above the weekly tournaments that allow the weekly winners to enter another competition with a bigger prize and stronger teams.
We will also be setting up another tournament for the Tier 2 UK teams, where they can enter for free and compete with people in their skill brackets. We have two highly experienced UK casters, Flakes and Obzticle, helping us out with casting these tournaments.
We are looking to start our weekly CSGO matches on January 27th and on February 3rd for LoL. We don’t know specifically when others will start but they will be up at varying points in the year when we know there is interest.
If anyone wants to run any community-based events in whatever game they think will work, then we will be happy to help you out. We will provide resources for it, as long as you have the ability to get it organised properly and if the interest is there.
How do you plan on funding these events?
We have a few people willing to back these tournaments with our full-time jobs and businesses. We feel that these tournaments and team commitments will be safe and secure and we should be able to achieve our organisation's ambitions throughout the year. Our opinion on the funds is that this as a hobby to us.
"People spend their spare cash on things that they find exciting or interesting. For us, it is about giving opportunities to aspiring competitive players."
What are your thoughts on the state of UK esports?
The UK scene is going to have the best year ever in 2017. We have multiple competitive games where UK talent is making solid movements across internal and external competitions. We have a growing Overwatch base after an already strong showing in 2016.
CS has lots of team ready to go further with solid players that can push into the big leagues, given time. We are also getting strong support from tournaments providers like ESL, Multiplay, Epic.LAN, and with smaller tournaments that have done well like RedBull.
We have the ability to go into European tournaments and try our best to make an impact on the continental stage.
Dukes Esports: Links