My interest in video games started when I was eight, and received a Gameboy Color and Pokémon Gold for Christmas. Neither of my parents were gamers, so this was an entirely new world for me – one they quickly regretted introducing me to. For years, I eagerly devoured my one-hour-a-day playtime allowance. One of my earliest gaming memories is wanting to start a new game without erasing my old file. I’d start a new game, never save, and run it until the batteries died.
From there, I started playing MMOs and got pulled into the world of online gaming. I quickly found that I had a knack for these games, and in a few years, I was the boss run organizer for the top guild in my server. After that, I jumped into League of Legends, back at the start of season one. It took me a while to climb the ranks properly, but by season three, I had made it to Diamond, and playing against professionals was one of the highlights of my gaming career.
During this time, I started to play console games seriously. I was obsessed by trophies. I took pride in saying that I’d snagged every achievement a game had to offer, and joined a couple of communities for like-minded folks. I quickly started writing guides to help other players get every achievement.
While I was doing this, I learned I didn’t just love playing games, I loved explaining them to other people. I found most of my university courses dull and tedious, but realizing I loved writing about games was part of the reason why I decided to study English.
I continued to play games throughout university, and Hearthstone sucked me in. I managed to hit Legend several times, and enjoyed going infinite in Arena. As a competitive person, it’s difficult for me to pick up a game and not strive to be the best.
As I finished my degree, a close friend told me about a job opportunity doing the two things I loved most – writing and gaming. I started working at Esports Edition within the week. Since then, I’ve spent countless hours analyzing different metas, playing new games, evaluating design choices, and writing a never-ending stream of articles.
Is this what I had in mind for myself as a career? No. It’s so much better.
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Where does your gamer tag come from?
My gamer tag, DKsDragon, comes from Maplestory, and it’s based on a class from the game (Dragon Knight). I was young and tried to come up with something cool, failed, but I stuck with it after I started receiving messages from people who recognized me from run-ins in other games.
What article do you take the most pride in and why?
My favorite articles are the ones where I get to dive deep into game design and critique developer’s decisions–a good example of this would be my review of Destiny 2’s awful PvP. When it comes to the article I’m most proud of, I’d have to say it’s probably the first one I ever wrote for Esports Edition. It was the start of something that I never expected myself to be doing, and I’ve gone further than I ever thought was possible.
What’s your D&D alignment?
No bloody clue. I never really played much D&D. I guess if you go by my writing style, Chaotic Neutral? I try not to take sides, but I also have no reservations smacking down an underperforming product.
What game do you find yourself playing when you should be writing?
Path of Exile. I’m playing it right now!
Who inspires you to become a better writer?
I inspire myself to write better. I have a pipe dream of being a published novelist, and every word I write takes me one small step closer to that.
Marvel or DC?
Probably Marvel. Their movies are a lot better. The recent Iron Fist and Luke Cage stuff sucks though, and the animated Justice League series was amazing. I don’t really have a strong preference between the two.
League of Legends or Dota 2?
League, just because I played it for years. I have no animosity towards Dota, but I’d invested too much time and effort into League to ever really give the game a shot.
What video game level could you never complete?
None. I don’t do well with failure. If I get stuck on a level, I may put it down, but I’ll keep coming back after doing research and figuring out where I went wrong. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to video games, so it bothers me immensely if I leave anything at 90% completion.
Stephen has written over 300 articles for Esports Edition, and you can follow him on Twitter.