Joemeister, most recently a support player for the Philadelphia Fusion, recently announced his retirement from professional Overwatch as a player, and a desire to move into a coaching role. I sat down with him to talk about his time with the Overwatch League, what he did before Overwatch, and what he thinks he could bring to a team as coach.
Let’s start with a few easy questions. Tell us about yourself.
I’m Joemeister. I was a main support player up until recently. I’ve been playing Overwatch for almost three years now, since the very early beta days.
During your time with the Fusion, you had a fun little video working with Chef Heidi to make some ravioli. You seemed a little out of your element there. Did you ever help or work more in the kitchen after that?
Not really help out, in a cooking way. I’ve cooked my own things in that kitchen, but not anything impressive like Heidi. I’m not very good in the kitchen.
So it’s not something you have any aspirations for?
[laughing] Not at all. I’m not very good in the kitchen but I did enjoy that segment with Heidi.
Let’s talk about Season 1 of the Overwatch League. You didn’t get much stage time, none in fact. Armchair quarterbacks often say it’s because Lucio wasn’t in the meta. Do you agree with them? Do you have any insights of your own you can share?
Lucio not being in the meta did play a factor in it. Right before the season launched, Mercy became meta and stayed meta for a long time. For Lucio players, it was the first time they really had to learn a new hero, and that was a very difficult switch to make for a lot of Lucio players, not just myself. It was pretty difficult. Obviously we had to make that change and some progressed and learned faster than others, and that’s just normal.
Do you feel like that held you back? Were you not picking up a new hero as well or was there something else?
It was difficult at the start. That was the first time I really had to try to master a new hero because up until then, I’d been playing Lucio for two years. It’s not that I wasn’t playing other heroes, but I never had to master another hero, so when that time came, it was harder for me and I would say it took me a lot longer.
Also, the fact that we weren’t able to make the preseason and be in LA as long as other teams held us back a bit. We weren’t there to practice physically with each other as much. We had players in Europe, myself in North America, and we had players in Korea. We had to organize a schedule that made sense for all of us, and before the preseason we weren’t able to scrim as much as other teams. That made it a lot harder.
At that time were you trying to pick up Mercy or rounding yourself out with other supports or even other heroes?
I was only focusing on Mercy because I had never played her before, and it was clear that main supports would only have to play Mercy and very occasionally Ana throughout the season, but even Ana wasn’t enough where you’d have to master her. That meant that most main supports were mastering Mercy at the best possible level.
How did the team help you prepare for the hero transition?
On the Fusion we had it a little better than some others because we had 12 players right off the bat [NOTE: 12 players is the max roster size on an OWL team], much sooner than other teams, which meant we could start internal scrims. That helped since scrims are useful for a player to learn and progress. The fact that I had that environment made it a little bit easier, although it wasn’t enough for me to see stage time.
Now that everything is done and you’ve had some time to reflect, how do you feel about not getting any stage time?
I’m disappointed, but I’ve completely changed how I see the game and I’ve changed what I want to do, so it’s not something I even think about right now. My focus is completely elsewhere now that I want to be a coach.
Just because you weren’t on stage doesn’t mean you weren’t doing anything. What was going on behind the scenes?
We all lived together, we were always around each other, hanging out with each other, talking about the game together. VoD reviews were in our living room, so I was a part of those, too. I was pretty much part of everything the main team was doing, and everyone else on our B-Team was just as much a part of it as I was.
It was nice living in a house together. We did everything with the team other than the amount of scrimming as they would do it a lot more, but other than that we did everything together.
Inside or outside of the game, do you have a favorite memory from the season?
The fact that we were able to live in a house gave us the opportunity to build stronger relationships with our teammates: playing together, eating together, just being together. That’s probably the part I’ll miss the most.
You recently announced your retirement as a player and wanting to move into a coaching position, but you had a few hidden stories in that announcement I’d like you to elaborate on.
First you said that three years ago you completely dropped what you were doing to pursue Overwatch. What were you doing at that time?
I was in my last semester of university at the time I heard about the Overwatch beta. I was studying French Studies and philosophy to become a French teacher. As soon as I even had the opportunity to think about Overwatch as a possibility, I jumped on that and stuck with it. Myself and a couple of other friends I had growing up playing games with had an idea to start building a team, participating in every possible tournament we could and go from there. We all stuck with it and low-and-behold, it snowballed from there.
Wow! A French teacher. I didn’t know what to expect when you answered that!
It is really weird. A lot of people don’t believe it because, I don’t know, some people don’t see it as fitting my personality. Yeah, I was doing something completely different.
Do you have any aspirations to pick that up again in the future some time?
I wouldn’t say teaching. I’m not sure what it would be but I do still have an interest in what I was studying, it’s just that at the time I was looking for a change, and Overwatch seemed like the perfect change for me. It was very interesting, it was the start of a completely new game. I had always been into in competitive gaming. It made sense to me. It may not have made sense for a lot of reasons, but it seemed like a good change for me at the time.
You also said that Season 1 of the Overwatch League was a very tough year for you. Was there anything more to that than what you’ve said already?
That refers to me not playing as much as I would have liked. It’s just that being a disappointment and it doesn’t go any deeper than that.
In the post, you mentioned that after some thought, you came to the conclusion you wanted to try your hand at coaching. What made you want to do this?
Prior to me even thinking about Overwatch, I did have an interest in teaching. Coaching was always something I thought about, even in my early days as a player, but I was doing well as a player so I didn’t see the point in making the change since I was enjoying what I was doing. It didn’t make sense to make that change early on, but it was always something that was in the back of my mind.
Now that I’m getting older, now it seems like a very good time to get into that if I want to be doing that. Yeah, it’s part of a previous passion I had before Overwatch, and so if I’m able to put those two interests together, that would be ideal for me.
What do you feel you have that makes you feel you could coach?
To start, I do have an extensive history in the Overwatch scene. As a player I’ve been around for a very long time, I know a lot of people in the scene. I’ve obviously studied the game at a very deep and thorough level for almost three years now. I do have the experience in the Overwatch League. Even though I didn’t play in it, I was still around and still doing a lot of the things that most of the players who did play were doing. I have the same passion as a lot of players and coaches have of the game, and so I feel like I would fit right in.
Is working with the Fusion again on the table?
For now I don’t think so. It doesn’t look that that I’ll be continuing anything with the Fusion. They have a lot of staff and had a full roster in season 1, so they already have a lot of people working on the things to be worked on. I don’t think that’s going to happen, at least for season 2. It could happen in the future, I don’t know.
So you’re okay with it, you just don’t see it happening because of what they already have?
Yeah, absolutely. I met a lot of nice people. Talented, professional, and respectful people and not just the players but the staff as well. So yeah, I would be open to it.
Staff from other teams, such as yeHHH from the Florida Mayhem, have been on Open Division teams in the off-season. Have you ever considered forming your own team, if not to play, but to manage or coach?
Potentially down the road. I don’t want to say this because I want to be optimistic, but if things don’t go well with coaching, then I probably would look into something like that. I still have a passion for the game, and that would be one way to fulfill that. If it gets to that point, then absolutely would consider that, but for now I have no intentions.
Streaming has become a common things for former players to do. Have you ever considered that?
I’ve given it a lot of thought, but I haven’t actually tried being a streamer. I think streaming a realm of its own, like as soon as you turn your stream on, you become not only a good player or good coach, but you become an entertainer. I think that’s challenging in its own way. Not everybody who was or is a pro player or coach can be an entertainer, and I think that’s the most important thing to being able to build a really good stream that people want to watch.
So I mean I’ve given it some thought but there’s nothing serious, nothing that I absolutely need to get into, at least not for now. I could just sit there and do what I like what I like to do and hope people like it, but I feel like that would be kind of boring. I don’t want people to sit there and be bored. I want to be entertaining on top of being able to seen as good at what I’m doing.
We touched on this a bit already, but in the future when you decide you’re done with Overwatch, what do you see yourself doing?
I’m not sure. I haven’t given anything other than Overwatch a thought really, at least not for the last three years up to now, so I’m not sure what I would be doing after the whole esports thing. I’m not too worried though, I feel like there’s a lot of things I could be doing, even outside of esports. Pursuing something else in education, doing something off what I had already done in college, but I haven’t really given that any thought to be honest. For now my focus is still Overwatch.
You can follow Joemeister on Twitter.
You can follow the interviewer, Sabriel Mastin (a.k.a. Miko), on her Twitter profile here.
Gameplay photos from the Overwatch Winter Premiere.