As far as the PvP community goes, few players are more renowned than Angelus Demonus. Known for such things as soloing PotD and enemy tanks alike, hosting the largest known PvP illegal immigration network on Aether, and proudly causing team wipes since 1872, the iconic Summoner gracefully accepted Volene's invitation to take part in our Aether League Portraits series. This third interview aims to show Angelus's outlook as a team leader and Light Party veteran.
Volene: First things first, thank you for accepting this interview, it’s much appreciated!
Angelus: Of course!
Q: Just to start us off, could you speak of your overall profile as a PvPer? This interview will focus on your role as a team leader, if it influences the angle you wish to take.
A: Sure. I started PvP since it was first introduced in Wolf's Den, but arena was not so much my flavor at the time, so I didn’t have as many matches as some of my fellow PvPers who also started when it was first introduced. But when Frontlines was released, that really peaked my interest, so much of the community probably knew me first through Frontlines before the Feast.
I started the Feast in season 1, but I didn't really push too much with it so I didn't reach any significant rank. Season 2 I started very late, basically at the end of the season, and ended up at rank 55. Seasons 3 and 4 were where I played it pretty seriously, getting ranks 17 and 29 in season 3 on two characters, and ranks 7 and 18 in season 4 on Aether, and rank 9 on Chaos. I've pretty much played SMN for a majority of my matches, both in Frontlines and the Feast. I just felt comfortable with it once Heavensward came out and stuck with it up until now. I have always gravitated to caster classes overall in various games, so it made a lot of sense to me.
Contrary to possible belief, I started being the "team leader" with the start of Aether League. When my team did the Aethercup, Raiden Gensai was our designated team leader, at least by title. He didn't want to continue into the Aether League unfortunately, so I simply took up the reigns.
Q: I see. And how far back does your team go? Was it only formed for the Aethercup, or were you on the 4v4 Light Party scene prior to that?
A: We formed in season 3... Raiden sort of just collected us just as a "thing" to try. Personally, I did not Light Party before then; didn't have a team or anything, and Cactuar wasn't exactly a big PvP community at the time. Additionally, I wasn't really searching for a Light Party group either, so when the idea was proposed for the team to form, I wasn't opposed to it, and I thought it might be something fun to try out.
Q: And I think it's safe to say you don't regret it - what do you like the most about Light Party now?
A: Definitely don't regret it! I like the coordination for the most part. Especially now with how Stormblood PvP really focuses on team play, it's refreshing to be able to play with people who are more or less on the same page and you can make plays in a match that you usually don't see in solo queue. Another reason, and I can only speak for my team, is it's just a lot of fun getting the group together to play some matches. The members are very chill, and it's pretty fun just playing the game, win or lose.
Q: What do you think is the most important in a successful Light Party team? Would you rather form a team with a few friends even though they might not be the best PvPers and work on the gameplay from there, or make a team from strong players and learn to work better together over time?
A: Let me answer that as two different questions. I think the most important thing that a team would need to be successful is synergy. Knowing your teammates’ strengths and weaknesses, what they might do in certain situations, their limitations, so forth, can really make the difference in my opinion. When teammates can predict what their teammates will do multiple steps before it actually happens, that can be superior to just having someone read out orders for each and every play.
To your second question, that one is a little harder to answer... This is just me speaking personally here, but I would much rather run with people I like personality-wise, or just playing with... so friends, yeah. This is a game after all, and I think it's still important to be able to play and have fun. You might have more success pulling in top-tier players and mashing them together into a group, but that might be a gamble. You might get conflicting personalities, and perhaps that power team will only stay together for a short amount of time to just achieve the nearest goal. But it's also possible that said team could thrive and learn to like each other...it's not something you can predict. But at least with friends that maybe you have known for some time, you might last a while as a team, therefore continuing to evolve and improve, and produce something that could be of a unique quality.
Q: I see. And now, I believe you brought in Lester Holmes to replace Raiden, who like you said wasn't interested in going on with the Aether League. Is that someone you already knew? What made you turn to him in particular?
A: That's correct, we brought in Lester Holmes to fill the empty slot we had. He was almost like a forever rival of mine in seasons 3 and 4, since he played Machinist while I played Summoner... so naturally we were never on the same team. But over time I was able to talk to him here and there, get to know him a bit, and I had a lot respect for him as a player overall. He had done very well in ranks, so he was definitely a strong player in his own right. I knew in season 5 he started to play a lot of Dark Knight, and my team had decided what roles they preferred to play for the season, so it ended up we were in search for a tank. He was the first name I had in mind when I started my search, and he happily agreed to play with us... and so far he seems to fit right in with how my team is. To kind of bring in the question you asked previously, we are still working out a lot of kinks synergy-wise, since we don't have too much playtime together prior to season 5, but we are steadily getting there I think!
Q: Right, that was going to be my next question. Talking strategy here, while it is widely assumed that you will stay on the Summoner and Triple Mango will remain your team's healer, I did see Atchh play a lot of melee while he previously your tank, while Lester mostly plays Dark Knight and Warrior. So, is that a confirmation that you are switching things around for the Aether League, with Atchh now on melee and Lester as tank?
A: Well, in the process of figuring out what we were going to do moving forward, I basically just wanted to find out from Mango and Atchh what role they were feeling this season... that's simply it. Atchh loved Dark Knight in Heavensward, but for Stormblood he put a lot of time into melee, and at the end of the day felt most comfort running as melee. I had tried my hand at a few different roles, but Summoner is still my cup of tea. Essentially I wanted them to decide on what they were comfortable with first, then once we decided where we stand, we would look for a suitable member to fill the empty slot.
Q: Did Lester Holmes work on his TBNs? Every time someone died, the TBN went on himself, and TBN has no delay like benediction or Hallowed Ground so there really is no excuse
A: Hehehehe. It's a work in progress everyone. Please look forward to it~.
Q: Sorry, I had to. In all seriousness, what do you expect from the Aether League? And from your (everyone's) first season competing in it as a reformed team?
A: From Aether League I expect just a lot of people coming together to have a good time and learn and be better at FF14 PvP. Thus far, to me, it looks like people are having a lot of fun, and we are all learning from each other each week. I'm actually surprised at the amount of teams and interest it currently has right now, and it's very refreshing and exciting to see. From my team? I hope we get to a point where we are considered a strong threat. I don't expect us to be the top team in existence; as I said we still have a lot of work to do. But I believe we can stand pretty high and be pretty successful. I feel my team has a lot of upside and potential....and worst case scenario I know we will simply have a good time each time we gather up. They are a great group of guys that play to have fun, and that's good enough for me.
Q: Right, I'm also excited with the amount of people who signed up already, and a fair many of them are in new teams. If there was one thing you could say to an aspiring team leader as a team leader yourself and a veteran of Light Party, what would it be?
A: I would try to remember two very important things as a possible new leader and new team: patience and positivity. One of the biggest things I learned trying Light Party out for the first time in seasons 3 and 4, is that you need a lot of patience... patience in understanding your team, patience in learning and executing strategies, patience in knowing you're going to fail a lot and lose a lot. But that's when you start seeking the positives from each match. Maybe you got stomped and 600'd fast, but try to see what you did well, or what didn't work, and fix it for the next time. And also understand some people might need more time to understand their roles and their abilities in a team format, and give them a chance to succeed. Getting frustrated at your team because they aren't doing things you are talking about will drive your team to the ground, and you'll get nowhere. It might take an entire night of matches to work on 1 little thing, but if it makes your team better than it was when you started the night, take that as a victory.
Q: Lastly, I wanted to ask you about job loyalty. As you mentioned, you're mostly known for your Summoner play. It was the job you stuck with in the 3.X meta, where it wasn't bad, but where Machinist just blew everything out of the water - in fact, in the Aethercup your team was the only one who didn't have a Machinist. It's been said before that job loyalty is pointless in this game where you can change at will. What are your thoughts on this? Would you still play Summoner if it was bad to the point of being unviable? Would you switch jobs? Or just not enjoy Light Party as much altogether?
A: I personally think each job has its own niche and usefulness, and with how Light Party is currently situated in Stormblood, that might become a bit more prominent. It is difficult to argue against what is meta, and running with the roles that are clearly more successful by the raw data or the results. But sometimes, at least for me, you've played a job for so long, it still feels better than playing a job that should out-perform on paper, but might not have that much experience with. Yes, we were probably one of the few teams that would have run a non-meta composition. Insert more teams into Aether Cup, it probably would have been a lot more PLD/WHM/MCH/MNK. Frankly, at least for my team at the time, we didn't even discuss running as what is "meta". I personally had zero experience on Machinist, Atchh had some experience on PLD but really played DRK the most, so we just stayed with what we were good with and tried to have success with it.
We were handicapped by our job choices, perhaps, but I'm a strong believer that something is more fun and enjoyable when you try out different possibilities and different routes to victory. It's probably the far harder path to take, but sometimes you just might pave a road for others to follow and have success where others just simply were unable to. You might surprise yourself and the people around you.
Q: I see. Well, that was all I had planned. Before we conclude, is there anything else you wished to add?
A: A lot of the kneejerk reaction to PvP and its community is that it tends to be toxic, and I've heard a lot of stories of people being discouraged to continue trying it or even attempting it. I think much of that is simply just passionate players wanting to succeed and accomplish their goals, not true toxicity and hatred towards specific individuals and such. What I can tell you, though, at least with the Stormblood Light Party scene and Aether League thus far, that particular community of players are all very cool people. It's being run and organized very smoothly and professionally, and everyone participating thus far has been very respectful to each other, and it's a huge departure from what is being perceived as the "PvP community" as a whole. I strongly encourage any group of 4 friends or players to form a group, find out how to join the league, and get your matches in. What you'll experience is not only a fun time, but an awesome learning experience, and perhaps this could be your perfect chance to step into that solo queues or into other PvP modes…
Q: Thank you very much for your kind words and your insight, I'm sure many players will find it really valuable. And thanks again for accepting to take part in the interview, best of luck to you and your team!
A: Not a problem, thank you!
As a reminder, Angelus will be participating in a streaming marathon at twitch.tv/Angelusdemonus in aid of the Children's Hospital of Philadephia (CHOPs), which will include two official scrim nights for the Aether League before the start date on November 12th. Be sure to tune in should you have questions for him yourself or be interested in the final two Aether League scrim nights - find more information at https://www.extra-life.org/participant/angelusdemonus.