Watch live video from aclpro on Justin.tv This week on Training With The Pros we take a look at an e-sport that we've yet to touch upon: FIFA 12. Fresh from his win at the Australian Cyber League's National Championships, we speak to Kieran "Fray' Muzza" Murray, Australia's reigning champion of the sport.
Playing for e-sports team Frenetic Array, Kieran "Fray' Muzza" Murray is currently the national champion of FIFA 12. As anyone who has tried to guide a virtual team to victory against seasoned players would know, mastering FIFA is no easy feat, let alone becoming the best in Australia. So who is Fray' Muzza and how did he make his way to the top of the Australian ladder?
Hey Muzza! Can you introduce yourself to the Kotaku community? Hey, I'm Kieran Murray or Fray' Muzza as I'm known in the FIFA community and I play for the Frenetic Array gaming organisation. I've had great support from Fray who have helped me get to every competition possible. I first started gaming at the ripe old age of five when I used to play Sonic the Hedgehog on Sega Mega Drive. Outside of gaming I am a full-time student at Monash University in Melbourne.
[Muzza in the centre] What was it about FIFA that drew you in? I first started playing FIFA way back with FIFA 97 and loved it — it never left my disc tray. Every time I turned on my Playstation it was to play FIFA. It's a great game to play with friends, a real one-on-one battle, and bragging rights are always on the line.
Do you play much football in real life? (If so, how does it compare to the videogame?) I play a little bit of football socially, both indoor and outdoor; I've never had much of a knack for the real thing, though. It's very different from playing the video game where you can control everything: which formation is used, team mindsets, tactics and so on.
When did you know you wanted to play competitively and what drove you to want to do so? I first started playing competitively on FIFA 09. I played a friend of mine who'd been playing online a fair bit and was into playing Call of Duty competitively, and when I beat him he suggested I start playing FIFA competitively. I signed up to a few online competitions and have been playing ever since.
What kind of skills are required to play at such a high level? To play FIFA at a high level the main thing required is to be able to keep a cool head. You're going to get unlucky from time to time and some players let their heads drop and just start to think everything is going against them. You need to be able to put the unlucky things behind you and just have faith in your ability to win games no matter how unlucky you get.
Can you describe your training regime? I tend to play for a couple of hours most days. I find that when I'm practising, a good thing to do is try different formations which can focus on different areas of my game. For example, one of the weaker elements of my game used to be defending counter-attacks, so for a while I only used formations with three defenders to get used to defending with fewer players.
What are some of the rookie errors you see people make when they play FIFA? The biggest rookie error people make when playing FIFA is being impatient, both in defence and attack. When defending, you need to pick your moments to try and win the ball back — try and corner the player and then make a tackle. In attack, not every pass can be a forward one — if you're being led to a dead end you need to be able to have the presence of mind to just hold it up and make sure you don't make an unnecessary turnover.
What tips do you have for people who want to get to your level? For players that want to improve, the best piece of advice I have is to sign up to competitions on websites such as ACL and CyberGamer. In these competitions you can play the best players and try to integrate some of the better parts of their play into your own game. With the recent release of FIFA 12, there's never been a better time for new players to join the competitive scene, so get involved!
Can you show us your gaming set-up?