At the time of writing, Battlefield 3 is enjoying 48 entries in the DGL 2013 – a very strong number as the game heads into its second year. A quick scan through the entries reveals a number of familiar teams as well as new names to the scene. Of the former, we have to mention SSG.
SSG's rAge team (UW) were stars at the Do Gaming Championships (DGC) last year, with a fantastic performance in the semis versus the eventual champs, Bravado. That team, at its core, is pretty much SSG Umshiniwam – a team made up of not only several Battlefield veterans (these guys have been involved in Battlefield 2, Battlefield 2142, Battlefield: Bad Company 2) but also friends who have played together on the same team for quite some time.
Jean 'WraithFiend' Barendse, a 23 year-old predominantly infantry player and vice-captain of the team, has been with SSG since its inception. He is joined by Alister 'Coweater' Ho (Captain), AJ ' ajZorZa' Morkel, Lyle 'Grizzlah_ZA' Thuynsma, Marc 'Th3NaRRoW' Mathews, Christopher 'Stats' Lotter, Hermann 'Niirv' Rademeyer and Jean's brother, William 'N4RCOlepsy' Barendse – rated by many as one of South Africa's best armour players.
In a short interview, I ask Jean what he thinks of that last comment. With a chuckle he responds, “Yeah, he can tank. Sometimes you've got to shout at him though! It's like that with all tankers. Too much noise in those things.”
The above is the core team and Jean says it could change as the team gets together tonight to finalise the Summer Leg line-up. One player may leave and will be replaced by one of the current registered reserves, Abdul 'Galaxy_za' Dhansay, Shaun 'I-Shaun37-I' Penny, Jandre 'Magnum-RSA' van Zyl (from the old Unity clan) and René 'UberMeister' Pieper, previously a Gs recruit who formed part of their DGC 2012 team.
Dhansay was originally chosen to play at the DGC 2012, but work commitments have kept him from being able to commit strongly to the team. Meanwhile, Penny's 384k line continues to be a problem as he lags out when the team calls on Teamspeak.
SSG UW at the DGC 2012 - Jean 'WraithFiend' Barendse on the far right.
So how is preparation for the Summer Leg looking?
“To be honest, we haven't played a single practice game yet,” Jean chuckles. “People are still on holiday and some guys are back at uni while others are putting in work hours.”
How will the team approach their game this year?
“We have some infantry that can shoot faces off and we have some tankers that know how to work that repair tool of destiny. But it's how we work together that's important,” he says. “Our style of play, we like to think, is 'well-rounded'. We change things up. if a team is weaker in armour we try to exploit that, and so on.”
Jean says that the new DGL format – two legs and two playoffs – seems like a great idea.
“It makes the pools a bit bigger, so we'll see more games per leg which will give teams more room for improvement in a leg,” he says.
So what makes a good BF3 vice captain?
“Not having Cow as your captain!” Jean laughs. He then gets a bit more serious. “I'd say someone that knows the team. I believe captains are responsible for organising maps – so in my position I'd look into what we did wrong per game, where we can improve etc.”