From the moment my brother and I unboxed our SNES, I’ve always loved playing video games. While my brother enjoyed fighting games, I preferred games where I had the ability to choose my own path and do whatever I wanted. Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat were never appealing to me as a kid, and if we’re being honest, it’s partially because I was terrible at them. I gravitated more towards The Sims, Diablo I and II, RollerCoaster Tycoon, Age of Empires, and Heroes of Might and Magic. These games let me escape into a world of fantasy, giving me the power to lead demonic armies or create deadly roller coasters. These worlds were mine and I loved it.
I didn’t start playing ‘competitive’ games until about 2011, when I had to drop out of school due to an injury. My inability to move meant I was forced to watch my husband play Dota 2 on our television screen. Back then, I saw Dota as a giant chess game with fantasy characters instead of pawns, rooks, and bishops. For the most part, the analogy works, and to this day, it’s usually how I begin explaining the game to the uninitiated.
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I would tell my husband to pick certain heroes because they looked cool or I liked their lore. He played a lot of Death Prophet, Sven and Juggernaut back then. After he’d finish his matches with his friends, I’d often find myself wanting more, so I started watching Dota on my own. One thing led to another, and soon, I was playing against bots–I was too scared to play against other people at first. (Reddit doesn’t lie about how cruel your first couple of “real” games are.)
I was hooked, and when I wasn’t playing the game, I was following the esports scene. My husband’s friends started to ask me what item builds were being used in professional games, and came to me for advice about counters to their least favorite heroes.
My new hobby became a source of strength for me, and I realized that I’d started to tiptoe my way towards working in esports.
Combining my love of Dota with my desire to get to know people is what helped me transition from esports fan to part of the industry. It sounds corny, but I love discovering people’s “origin stories.” Every person you meet has a story and a life you might never know about if you don’t ask.
It’s my job as a journalist to find those stories, and being part of Esports Edition has given me the opportunity to do exactly that.
There’s no greater joy for me than getting to talk about someone else’s journey.
My fear of failure has often kept me from chasing my dreams. One of my favorite questions to ask during interviews is about people’s “leap moments.” When did they throw caution to the wind and chase their dreams? When I was interviewing SirActionSlacks, he told me his “leap moment” was when he took a break from his serving job after getting the largest donation on stream he’d had thus far. AnnieDroid’s “leap moment” happened when she decided to take time off of school to dedicate herself to casting.
I also have a leap moment: when I started working for Esports Edition almost exactly one year ago.
I didn’t just say yes to a job offer.
I said yes to chasing my dreams and denying my fear of failure.
I’ll always remember the moment when someone asked me what my job was, and I responded: “I’m an esports journalist. I’m doing what I love.”
Where does your gamertag come from?
I created my gamertag in high school when I realized that my previous gamer tag was a little childish. (I won’t repeat it here.) I was bullied by a girl named Kendra. She was my arch nemesis. I combined her name with the Greek goddess Nyx, and that gave me Kendryx. I wanted to turn something negative into something empowering and positive.
What articles do you take the most pride in and why?
My interview with SirActionSlacks was the first time I got to hear a personality open up about their experiences working in the esports industry. It was amazing to listen to what he had to say about his dedication and how much he loved the community.
The other article that I’m most proud of is “Pride and Prejudice: Absent Women in Esports.” It combined two of my passions: gender equality issues and the industry I love.
Who is your favorite esports player and why?
Clinton “Fear” Loomis is my favorite esports player. He was the first player that I followed when I started watching Dota 2 almost six years ago. He’s always been down to earth, and a supportive player and person.
What’s your D&D alignment?
Lawful Neutral. My friends love to parrot my favorite saying back to me: “It’s the principle of the matter!” That’s the definition of lawful neutral.
What game do you find yourself playing when you should be writing?
When I hear the call of the Ancient, it’s Dota 2. When I want to craft items and get trophies, it’s Trove.
Who inspires you to write better and chase leads?
Victoria Rose (@riningear), Jacob Wolf (@JacobNWolf), and Pandora are some of the esports journalists who inspire me to write better. I’ve learned a lot about how to craft articles and how to present arguments to different audiences from them.
Marvel versus DC?
DC. Aquaman is the best, followed closely by Batman, and then Poison Ivy.
League of Legends or Dota 2?
No contest, Dota 2!
Check back next week for more staff spotlights! While you’re waiting, you should follow Gillian on Twitter.