The Overwatch World Cup became one of the most anticipated tournaments of the Blizzcon season. For a game still in its relative infancy, the amount of attention and popularity has skyrocked since its release in May, and the esports scene in particular has taken strides throughout the year. Players from across the world joined together to represent their countries in a battle to the top, with South Korea taking the gold. Among the many countries to make it to the Blizzcon stage was Team France – a team many considered the underdogs for the majority of the qualifiers. A team composed of pros, semi-pros and unheard of players, Team France took many by surprise by their ability to work together and make it all the way to the Blizzcon final qualifiers.
Among the players for Team France to stand out was their Ana support player, Kitty. Omnic Core writer Sara managed to get a chance to sit down and interview Kitty post-World Cup about the road leading to Blizzcon and what future plans she may have in the esports and Overwatch scene.
Firstly, I would like to thank you for this interview. I’d like to start off by getting to know you a little better. I don’t know much about you, and I imagine a lot of people outside of France may not either. Could you tell me about how you got into Overwatch?
Kitty: There isn’t much to know about me, just someone who enjoy playing video games and fell in love with OW, I started playing it during the public open beta just before the release and haven’t stopped since.
What other games do you have under your belt? Is Overwatch your first competitive game?
Kitty: Ever since I got my first PC, I’ve been playing team-based games, and almost only mobas: DotA, HoN, DotA 2, LoL. I’ve played some HoN competitively at some point my team was top 16 but unfortunately the scene was quite small so it didn’t have a huge meaning behind it.
Since you’ve been in the game since beta, I’m sure you’ve figured out your mains pretty well. What are your top picks? I noticed you played support and Ana almost exclusively throughout the World Cup, how did you end up gravitation towards her?
Kitty:I guess my top picks are most likely Ana, Mercy, Zen and Lucio ~
Well I basically had to drop off from Mercy when she got hit by a nerf at the same time Zen got buffed, as soon as Ana was released I started spamming her even though she had some flaws and everyone would flame me for picking her, it was quite frustrating at the time because even though she received several buffs and was super strong people still thought she was bad. After some time people figured out how to play around her and she was everywhere. Generally I just adapt to meta shifts and play whatever hero is needed (support only ofc :D!).
How does it feel to be nominated by the players of France?
Kitty: When I learned I had been nominated to represent France I was just surprised and very confused. At no point did I ever believe I’d actually get to do so, I mean, I wasn’t a streamer nor a youtuber, I didn’t play in any team, I was just a random person from the ladder haha. I was afraid people only voted for me because of my ‘feminine’ nickname but actually a lot told me they picked me because they wanted someone specialized in playing support and I was the only one in the list with 3 supports as my ‘most played heroes’.
I guess I was just lucky haha ~
Did you expect to get so much support?
Kitty: Not really, at the start there was a lot of negative comment regarding the french lineup since we could’ve arguable[sic] gotten one of the best possible lineup with a mix of Rogue and Misfits.There was still a lot of support at the time which grew stronger day by day which was super cool! Moreover it was really moving to see so much support from non-French people too, our underdogs story was appealing to a lot! Thanks so much guys, love you all ♥
You had a few pros on your team, like KnOxXx, Kryw and DeGuN, and shoutcasters like Alphacast, so you had an interesting dynamic when it came to teammates. What was it like playing with such a diverse group?
Kitty: It was definitely an interesting experience, the pros who had more experience obviously had to teach us (Alphacast, Mickalow and I) a lot and they were very patient which was very nice. It’s super awesome because we then all kinda gave ideas and discussing what we should do and the such, so it wasn’t like we were ‘forced’ to do whatever the pros were telling us, they were open to ideas which really helped with gelling together as a team. They already all knew each other’s so that most likely helped with the whole process.
I was the only one nobody knew but they were very welcoming so that wasn’t an issue!
Did you go into Team France knowing your role, or did things sort of fall into place the more you guys skrimmed?
Kitty: I think I was the only one with a fixed role right off the bat, I basically was only playing support on the ladder so there wasn’t much sense putting me on dps or tanks.
We then all talked about who should play what and that changed several times over the course of the whole tournament. Mickalow for example went from playing Flex (Roadhog/Reaper) into playing Zarya into playing Reinhardt.
Team France honestly took a lot of people by surprise by how well you guys worked together, considering you were going against teams sontimes consisiting solely of pro players. Did you expect to go in as underdogs, and did things change the way you guys try to push practices?
Kitty: At the start we were thinking, okay we don’t wanna get wrecked, let’s qualify for the final stages. Once we actually did we were thinking, okay we did it our part, we’re going to the U.S we’re probably gonna lose but we had fun and we went as far as we could’ve.
Then we saw our group and realized we actually had a chance of making it through to the playoffs at Blizzcon, we were still underdogs with China considered the better team in the group and Thailand being a full team and a surprise.
Regardless of that fact, we still really wanted to play on the big stage and we knew we had a chance so we did our best to practice efficiently and had pretty decent results against teams like Spain, Germany, Canada, Australia, Chinese Taipei… so we went in with high hopes.
After reaching the top 8, our contract was ‘over’ haha, there were only really stacked teams left and we just wanted to not get humiliated on stage and even though we lost to Russia, I’m quite happy with our performance and we went out honorably!
How was the shift from playing in your own home to playing in person?
Kitty: It was a new experience (obviously), it is completely different than playing from home where’s you are comfortable you have your setup everything’s cozy and safe (haha..) but it was also super cool and intense, 96 players in one room practicing is very intimidating but also super motivating, really made me want to be the best and give it my all!
After that playing on stage was just crazy, with the crowd all around us, cheering, it was insane. We could barely hear them but whenever something cool happened we could hear a roar in the background, it was very exhilarating!
In fact, how was California for you? Was this your first time to the States?
Kitty: California was awesome, it’s the 2nd time I came to the U.S, but I was 11 the 1st time so it doesn’t count (haha). Everything’s so big, the cars, the buildings, the food… I ate way too much I don’t think it was very healthy for me but I don’t regret it haha!
If I had to say something negative it’d be how the A.C was always full on, it was so freezing inside Q.Q! Basically needed to have my sweater or a coat plus my scarf at all time if I didn’t want to catch a cold! Now that I’m back in France, it’s 3°C, without the A.C… almost missing it haha!
How was Blizzcon? Did you enjoy meeting some of the other players and fans?
Kitty: It was super cool, meeting the players was crazy but since I’m quite shy and people didn’t rly come toward me I didn’t speak to them much, except for Skipjack who saved me because I couldn’t figure out I had to press a button for the light to turn green so I just stood in front of that crossroad for 15 minutes until he showed up haha! He was going to the Target too and I was getting worried by myself so big thanks to him!
Do you stream your games or have a twitch? I’m sure there are people interested in following you up after your performance at the World Cup.
Kitty: I do stream but unfortunately my connection is quite terrible because I don’t have the fibre… so I’m stuck with a terrible upload and I can’t stream Overwatch properly which is very frustrating. I’m looking into solutions right now and will probably end up moving out so I can have a good setup for streaming!
You recently announced on your Twitter that you’re a free agent and looking for a team; was this something you originally intended to do when you started playing, or did the World Cup help with that?
Kitty: I did intend to play competitively but I probably had close to no chance before the World Cup, it gave me a lot of exposure and I can’t believe I was lucky enough to get that opportunity, thank you so much to the French community that randomly decided to vote me in ♥ ♥ ♥!
Now I might actually have a chance to make it, I’ll try my hardest to improve and make my way!
Heya, officially a Free Agent and looking to join a team as a support player.
RT are appreciated, DM me for any inquiries ~
— Kitty (@KittyKathee) November 7, 2016
Well, since we’re talking professional esports, is there a dream team you would like to sign on with?
Kitty: I don’t really have a specific one in mind, although playing with Miro would be so cool, he’s so cute, always smiling 😀 (and he’s also very good but shhhh hahaha)!
But that’s very unrealistic!
I know it’s a bit obvious, but I have to ask since she’s been the talk of the town since Blizzcon: what do you think of Sombra?
Kitty: I believe Sombra is very strong and will cause a shift in the meta, she opens up so much possibilities, she can render a Reinhardt close to ineffective and her ultimate is so good to counter defensive ones like Zen’s or Lucio’s.
I could see a 3 flankers meta with like, Genji, Tracer, Sombra, rendering Reinhardt obsolete!
But that’s just some crazy thoughts thrown out there.
That being said she’s probably slightly too strong and I believe maybe some nerfs on her E’s cooldown or reducing the radius of her ultimate would be a good way to tune her down to a healthy spot.
Have you tried any of the new game modes, while we’re talking Sombra and the PTR?
Kitty: I did try some 3v3 and 1v1, they are pretty fun and offer variety to the game which I believe is important!
Since Overwatch is still a fairly new game, what do you think about the possible route Overwatch will take in the years to come?
Kitty: Despite being a new game, Overwatch already has a huge following compared to others Esport games at their start, it’s crazy to imagine that the scene has grown this large is such a short span and I doubt this is gonna slow down any time soon.
The Overwatch team at Blizzard is doing a great job and is very close to its community by keeping us in the loop and listening to our feedback and various concerns in order to improve the game, it’s amazing to witness!
What are some featuers you’d like to see implimented later on in the game?
Kitty: I think the one I wanna see implemented the most is a replay system.
Being able to review your own or pro’s gameplay will be super useful to improve as an individual and a team, it’s gonna help out immensely and in my opinion will boost the competitive scene to new heights!
We’d like to again extend thanks to Kitty for taking the time to do this interview with us, and hope that her ventures into the esports scene are successful. Kitty is one of the first women to appear as a player in Overwatch and made comments on this in the article by The Meta, and stands as one of the none-pro players to look out for as teams continue to shift and rosters open up. The World Cup opened the door for lesser known players to take the stage and possibly become part of the major esports scene as Overwatch continues to grow as this year comes to a close.
Kitty on Twitter: @KittyKathee