The sole Dane on the team, es3tag, discusses the downsides of being on social media

es3tag on social media: "it's rough when [the death threats] start getting to you"

The Danish AWPer on the Swedish Ninjas speaks out about the recent wave of social media abuse he's experienced.

Continuing with' interviews at the PGL Antwerp Major,' Ryan Friend spoke with Patrick "es3tag" Hansen after his team lost 1-2 to Natus Vincere. The two discussed the match, looking at FURIA (which NIP defeated 2-0 earlier today), the recent changes within the team, and the pressures on social media.

You have just come off a tough loss against Natus Vincere, which included a comeback with the second map. Thoughts on trading the maps? Did you expect the map picks today and what was your thinking going into this matchup?

I think most of all, the thing about trading maps, a lot of maps right now are CT-sided because of the M4A1-S and everyone has really adapted to this meta. So generally a lot of teams will just choose to let the other guys pick the map and then start CT because then you can get the ball rolling. That's at least been the veto process so far for a lot of teams. You really have to have a stable T-side and also we weren't really good at being pistols and getting rolling, like we were always far behind and had to fight our way back which always sucks. On Mirage we somehow managed to bring it back on T-side, we didn't have that strong a side, we lost pistols, lost the second round. I think we only won one pistol round, CT-side ancient and then we didn't manage to convert after the third round and got money-fucked straight away. It means we can't really get an AWP rolling.

I was also curious to how the dynamic of the team is heading into this because there's the constant speculation about dev1ce, you guys have been solid, posting strong results, how are you guys having a strong mentality in this stage where it is more competitive?

I think it's just that we are not thinking too much about what could be we are just focused on what we've got and just rolling with it. I think most of all it's just everyone is changing roles all the time which kind of sucks but we are making do, and like you said we are posting strong results so we are just going to continue to do what we do.

Tomorrow you are going to be heading up against FURIA, one of the Americas teams, they play very fast, knowing that how are you guys looking to prepare and what are you going to pull out against FURIA?

I've seen quite a lot of saffee demos so I know how they play, but yeah I'm super excited, I think our map pool is pretty good against them. So yeah I'm excited to see how it goes, we obviously haven't prepped yet because we just lost to NAVI but I think it's going to go good.

There was some controversy today to do with the smoke bug that m0NESY was using, which quickly went away as every team agreed not to use it, what were your initial thoughts seeing that bug come out and PGL's decision to allow it?

I'm kind of surprised they would allow it, I don't know who we ask but I would imagine anyone with CS:GO knowledge would know that it is completely broken so I imagine it was just some random admin who doesn't have much knowledge. It's definitely game-breaking, I hope valve manages to fix it quite easily. We don't know what their perspective is on it but hopefully, it'll go away fast.

Especially cause it's been so new maybe they weren't even aware that it existed at this point.

Yeah precisely. I wonder if it's kind of like the Fnatic boost where someone made that joke about "hello I'm the Fnatic manager, please delete this VOD". I wonder if G2 had a similar scenario, like "delete this off Reddit" or something.

The reports that were coming out was that it was posted on VK, the Russian site, which m0NESY being Russian probably saw it there and then at the RMR he used it as well but it didn't seem to be successful. He seems to have known about it for some time and they asked and got permission.

I'm surprised no-one has really picked up on it till now, it was quite a while ago that he's been using it. It's a bit surprising. Definitely went under the radar.

What is the realistic goal that you guys have that you guys can walk away being happy with here at the Major? Is it making it playoffs, making it to semi? Realistically, what can you be satisfied with?

Realistically I would say playoffs, but everyone dares to dream right? So let's go all the way. But playoffs I would be happy with. I mean looking at everyone's Pick 'Ems we have really not been looking that hot for people so obviously a bit of an underdog. So playoffs should be fine.

Is it kind of those doubters and everybody pushing against you motivate you any more than you have?

Not me personally, I think it kind of invigorates Hampus and Rez and them, they're like "what are they doing, we just got Legends and people are doubting us."

You've obviously had a very interesting career for the last year and a half I would say, it was Heroic, and then Astralis, and then Cloud9. You've kind of been bouncing around for a little bit, does it feel good to kind of have an environment where everything seems to be a little more stable and long-lasting?

I wish I could say this was stable right (laughs) but it's really not been, it's been a lot of role swapping, it's been adapting to learning Swedish, and its been a hurdle to say at the least. But it feels like it's kind of stabilising in a sense, but every time it stabilizes usually something happens. Yeah it's been a turbulent period for everyone on this team, for me, especially with all those different teams and all those different roles but yeah what can you say you've just to make with what you've got.

Do you feel like that's kind of made you a stronger person, so even with the instability you've had here because you've been doing such you're kind of weathered for it?

Yeah to some degree, I would also when you are a support player which I've been for quite a while now, I'm okay with taking the shit and I'm still kind of a support player even though I'm AWPing. I'm still dropping pistols, dropping AK's, making sure that people are getting flashed properly and stuff so I'm still kind of playing in a support role but everybody in expecting me to put dev1ce like stats and just go in and wreck them playing against ZywOo and S1mple. It's going to be tough, I watch a lot of demos, I work really hard, I try to play as much CS:GO as I can, I think I have like 140 hours these past two weeks. I've been trying really hard but with the constant backlash from the community it's kind of hard, when they expect that much more of you, so it's definitely been a rough period for me but have to grind and look forward.

How do you kind of handle that backlash or those outside voices?

Um, yeah it's tough, I've always had it forever in this career. Like, you get death threats but I think it's rough when they start getting to you and I feel like as of late it's been kind of getting to me. So I don't know what I'm going to do but I just have to focus on myself, work harder and just try and not to think about it.

I'm sorry to hear that, that sucks.

It does suck, but it is what this career is, it's part of it.

I don't think it has to be.

But it is. Once you're one of those public people who gets bet on, and a lot of people bet these days, so there's going to be a lot of hate. To some degree I understand it, because there's a lot of kids who somehow get that access but like it does get rough but I just look forward.

Do you think the solution is just to quit social media or is it too required as a part of the job?

It's too much, you have to be active on social active because how else are you going to get any sort of traction, I want the people who actually care for me and want to see me play and support me I want to give them what they want. This is some kind of connection, so I think it's necessary absolutely and you have to take the bad with the good.

I wish you the best for tomorrow, I hope you don't let this stuff get to you and hope you're all successful.

NIP faced off against FURIA earlier today and ended up as the winners. They have advanced to the playoffs and await their first opponent.

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