For sure one of the most interesting things that happened to eSports scene during year 2003, was founding of Norwegians of Americans, NoA, world´s first truly international gaming team. Having 3 European members and 2 North American ones, they are having some problems with practicing, and they only had been up for about 1 month or so before they went to CPL Winter. After their recent performances at CPL Winter(2nd) and at Cyber X Games(win over Adren[GX] to take home $10,000) I decided to interview belsebub(bsl) to ask him some questions regarding these matters.
First of all, could you please introduce yourself.
NoA|bsl: Holà. I`m Jonas Alsaker Vikan a 22 yerar old psychology student hailing from Trondheim, Norway. I`ve played CS consistently for little over 3 years now, currently I`m the leader of the #2nd ranked team in the world: NoA.
Could you tell us more about NoA, whose idea it really was to make international counter-strike team and what difficulties have you had, how are you going to practice now that 3 of your players live in Europe and 2 in North America and what are NoA´s future plans?
NoA|bsl: I was brought over to the USA to help build a team there, the initial goal was that I was gonna play with California based players but I found out that they were all granny(hi torrez) except Mikey So(method) so we had to bring some Euro power! With some crazy american skills and solid european players it was clear that we needed an eco cobra so we had shaGuars mother ship him down from Canada on a mounty.
You´re really one of the players who have had most influence in CS, first you moved to Brazil to play with mibr, and now you founded first international clan - What do you think about those 'achievements' and what are your parents´ thoughts on living abroad to play computer game?
NoA|bsl: I`m very proud of the fact that I didn't pass up the opportunity to go to Brazil to play with Mibr. When I went a lot of people within the community were laughing saying how it was a waste of time and money(for them) - and living in a place, where the language is totaly different, for the sole purpose of leading a Counter-Strike team can be quite scary. However when I got back this time, even with a #2nd place finish from the most professional tournament in the world my mother stated that she wanted me to be home a little bit more in 2004(I was 'on the road' for 211 days in 2003) - I guess we'll see about that ;)
It´s quite obvious that NoA´s success was some kind of surprise for most of community, did you honestly think you would go to finals of CPL Winter, only losing to SK, or was it some kind of surprise for yourself too?
NoA|bsl: Difficult question, I knew the potential in the team - everyone is also very experienced with big events, but I was sort of uncertain wether it was too soon for us. The results showed that we didn't have any problems with that and could play to our potential ;) Feels great to get 2nd with a 27th seed ! :)
What was biggest reason for adding Siege as your manager? Also, will you guys move back to USA before CPL Summer event to bootcamp over there, or will shaGuar and method visit Europe?
NoA|bsl: The biggest reason for adding Gary(Siege) is because he is an accomplised manager who worked very well with Rival for two years and proved his worth over and over with them. We need someone capable to help us with all the things associated with being the first truely international team. Right now we are working on things for 2004 and at this point I can't really give information on where our bootcamps will be;)
What are NoA´s future goals?
NoA|bsl: NoA's future goals is to keep playing together and further establish our name as one of the very best in the world.
Do you have contracts with NoA, I mean it might be too much for some gamers to wait for almost 6 months to get to play together again?
NoA|bsl: We are currently in the process of finalizing a lot of important things for the team and contracts for the players is one of them. Since we have a good mesh of players both socially and professionally we intend to keep the people we have right now in the team for as long as we can.
Whats up with shaGuar, is it true that ccx paid him $1000 to join their team?
NoA|bsl: I haven't really gotten the scoop from griffin himself about his cal-o ambitions but I heard he aims to be a very successfull fragger for the ccx team. I think he can help them a lot, he's my boi, my boi blue ! :)
How long do you think you will continue playing, and how long do you think counter-strike will last, as its been around for very long time. Also, do you think there will be some mod like CS2 for Half Life 2 when it comes out?
NoA|bsl: Counter-Strike has been around for what ? 4,5 years now ? It's a long time but the game is improving all the time making it harder to quit. The same goes for the tournament aspect of it all which makes everything much more exciting. I haven't really set a deadline for my personal career but I play for the fun, the enjoyment and the great experiences I get so I guess I'll stop when I feel I can't get this out of the game anymore. When or if HL2 comes this year I'm almost certain that Counter-Strike will be translated in one way or another. It's too popular not to be;)
What do you think about Cyber X Games - What went wrong, how could it have been fixed, have you got your prizemoney yet, and if you havent, do you think you will get it?
NoA|bsl: Unfortunatly for the community of gamers attending the Cyber X Games didn't turn out the way they wanted it to. They had some problems with things in and out of their control and that's unfortunate for everyone. All of the gamers would've loved to see such an event succeed thus taking gaming to yet another level, but I'm sure that they will correct the flaws @ their next tournament. NoA haven't recieved any prizemoney yet but we have every confidence in CXG fullfilling their obligations to us and the other teams that won money at their event.
What kind of hardware do you use?
NoA|bsl: Right now I don't have a computer so it would be hard to give you specs;) - at least I can say I use a microsoft 3.0 mouse with a funcpad and Sennheiser HD590 headsets.
Thanks for the interview, any shoutouts / last words?
NoA|bsl: Shoutouts to Odin's mom S0lvi, the guys that work hard with NoA and a hug to that special little someone in Horten who always needs one!