This time we are here to present a new interview, in this case with our star member, ropz !
ropz is a well known CS:GO professional player as well as a XJ record holder, and in this occasion, we get the chance to get to know him a little bit better, as a player, and as a person.
Hope you all enjoy the read!
rawe: Hey ropz, how are you doing? Enjoying holidays?
ropz: Hello, I'm great! Indeed enjoying the time off I have still, we only happen to get that twice a year in the winter and summer. Otherwise it's a busy and hectic year.
rawe: Glad to hear that! For those people that don't know you well, can you make a little introduction about yourself? Who you are, what things you do on your daily life?
ropz: My real name is Robin Kool, I recently turned 20 and I am from Estonia. I grew up with CS since I was 7 years old. I picked up 1.6 and spent most of my childhood playing that & KZ was a big part of it. I tried to become good at KZ during that time but never managed to do it. Then CS:GO came out and I started playing that competitively where I made it to the absolute top which became my job and career. Now I travel around the world and playing CS:GO almost every single day. During this time I also hopped back on 1.6 for the nostalgia but I decided to only play KZ because the in-game movement is the only part that brings me back to it.
rawe: And I gotta congratulate for your success in CS:GO! For those who don't know, you achieved #10 spot as the best player in 2019, congratulations for that! And don't say you didn't become good at KZ, I won't believe it!
I wanna ask, how is a day in your daily life, what's your routine?
ropz: Thank you ;)
I don't have a set routine, but obviously my work hours do, we have a defined schedule when we practice.
Like game theory, practice, food breaks etc. But outside of that I do whatever makes me happy, if I feel like sleeping extra I do it, if I want to sit behind the PC I do that. The best part of having your hobby as a job is that way less stress comes with it, compared to a lot of the normal 9 to 5 jobs. But still outside of work I think every person should find what they enjoy and find positives in everything. It sucks to be stressed all the time, I felt that when I went to school and being a pro at the same time because it was a constant force of work and becoming sleep deprived, etc.
rawe: Yeah, I agree on that, you gotta keep things balanced and stay mentally healthy, that will help you to enjoy better your job and your hobbies.
How did you discover KZ? When did you realize you were in love with this gamemode?
ropz: It's hard to say when I exactly discovered it, obviously my account here was made in 2011 so it must've been around that time. I do remember kz_xj_mountez being one of the first maps I ever played. I'm a very competitive person in almost everything and KZ enables that so easily. You can just hop into a server, try your best and compete with others. That's the reason it applies to me so much. The other part is 1.6 itself, it has the most pure, controllable & enjoyable movement mechanics in any game ever. All of that just makes a great combination.
I could play KZ 24/7, it's a great stress reliever, you only think about the run and making the perfect combos.
Time moves so fast when you really get into it.
rawe: Indeed man, we all agree 1.6's movement is unique, and yeah, the best way to improve in KZ is trying to improve other people's times but especially yours, you're always playing against yourself, it's a relaxing game indeed.
I was checking KZ Baltic and here it shows your first record was in 2012, do you remember it? Do you remember the path towards it? How about trying a world record, did you try to WR any map in your early days?
ropz: I definitely remember the urge to get an official record. And I still remember it was difficult to get the lan plugins to work at that time when I was still a kid, I was learning to use the computer still :D. I had played in public servers for a lot of time so it was about time I wanted to get my name out on paper. So I started looking for the easiest record and to be honest our region isn't so competitive so it was quite easy to find a map which suited me.
I wasn't good enough for a WR at that time, I think I could barely do a 250 LJ. So I was still far from one.
rawe: Which map was it?
ropz: It was kzsca_mc_diamondquest. Although the next one after that happened to be risk_inertia which I am notorious for :)
rawe: Yeah, I was spectating you during that run, the timing on those spinning blocks was unbelievable, I'm sure you know more than I do about that map but in my opinion, that WR seems really hard to beat.
Can you tell me a bit about the story behind your world record on risk_inertia? You took that map and then, your second WR was kz_bkz_egyptbhop, shortly after Juice discovered that shortcut, how did you come to try that?
ropz: Well they are both peculiar maps. Neither of those WR-s require an insane amount of skill, they are just very technical. I became familiar with risk_inertia very early as it was mentioned and it's a map about timings which you can learn very easily if you spend a lot of time on it which I did. To be honest you can also manipulate those timings but it's not against the rules because you do a clean restart before you start the run. So I tried the map for a few days and noticed I got really close to the WR, and decided to start making my own adjustments which gave me the advantage. The map has a hard limit, because timing everything perfect is close to impossible therefore you always lose some seconds from simply waiting for a prop to move. But I knew what my capabilities were and the version of the run I did exceeded the WR. Talking about Egyptbhop, then that was just a complete coincidence.
I was playing a 100aa server and noticed the start area looked strange. The roof was so close and felt like you can get onto it somehow. I had no idea there had been a SC theory to that beforehand. I just tried to find my own way in 100aa and noticed there is a tiny area on the box where it's possible to jump on the roof without bouncing your head to the top. It was very easy to do in 100aa but then I went to 10aa it took me a lot of time. I'm not gonna lie I think it was close to 1000 attempts at recording that SC but I was very happy when I managed to do it.
rawe: Yeah, we all know about adjusting movement boxes/entities, it can either favor you or be against, seems you did a lot of homework before recording Inertia! And did you really discover the shortcut by yourself? That's really more impressive! I'd never thought about it, I remember Juice discovered it some time before your record, didn't expect it to be that way :D
This is a question I like to ask to everyone: What's the origin behind your nickname?
ropz: Ropz is a common nickname for a person named Robin in Estonia, but I had a friend who's mother used to call me "Ropzkah". It was quite cool so I just adapted it. I shortened it later because it was too tough for some people to pronounce it :D
rawe: Do you like any sport? What are your hobbies outside CS?
ropz: I used to play a lot of football, but once I went pro in CS:GO it's very hard to find time for anything else, even seeing your closest ones like family, friend etc. But I do enjoy playing football, basketball and a few other video games.
rawe: You play Runescape as well, right?
ropz: Of course, all the games from my childhood I have stuck to. I enjoy the nostalgia.
rawe: One year ago you surprised us with a Christmas present for the whole community, it was a tournament with the biggest prize pool in XJ's history and it was sponsored by you. Where did you get the inspiration to make such a nice gesture? Did you expect all three maps to be beaten on time?
ropz: There were many reasons to do something like that. First of all it gets a lot of hype and more activity so it's great to see people return and go for some historic records. I myself am in a position where I can afford to do something like that and it feels great to give back, especially to something that's close to my heart, something I grew up with. And personally I also wanted to see if it's possible to push the limits on these historical maps.
I didn't expect them to be beaten so fast but I hoped they would.
rawe: Lovely words out there man! Everyone was indeed hyped up and very grateful by what you did, we appreciate it! The results were astonishing, all three maps were beaten, I even remember I asked Toffifee if he was going to try kz_cliffez and he replied "no", I asked him why and he told me "because I already got it".
Some people may not know that you're the record holder of longjumping in 100aa, with a crazy 261 stats on 260 block, what's your background on the 100aa scene? Did you play HnS? Deathrun? I also remember watching you in a 100aa KZ Server and you really surprised me with the times you were doing on such speedy maps.
ropz: I mainly used to play 100aa KZ servers, it fits my style better. I like to push the limits with certain styles and the amount of strafes I can do. I think there's been many occasions where I landed a 260 stat with 13 strafes, which is humanly not possible in 10aa. My record is indeed the 260 block which I landed with a 261 stats. It's sad there isn't really a community for 100aa KZ because I would be one of the best haha, I could do crazy times on some maps which obviously aren't possible in 10aa. I did look into more official stuff and found that people record some stuff in Deathrun but I wasn't so interested because I would like to stick to KZ maps. To me 100aa makes the movement even more fluid which is also the main reason I play it.
rawe: Yeah, I remember when I watched the demo of your 260 block landed for the first time, I saw 11 strafes and it blew my mind, can't even imagine 13, plus I also recall your improved the world record on cobkz_woodsnow by like 5 seconds on 100aa, I couldn't understand such difference.
You really started showcasing your skill in 2018, when you decided to record for Cosy-Climbing and even beated a couple of maps from LeblE, proving you're a really skilled bhopper, tell me a little bit about that, what made you play KZ again after such a long time playing CS:GO and how did you realize you were able to beat some of the best bhoppers in the world such as Dolphin, promax or LeblE?
ropz: I realized I can transform some of the stuff from 100aa over to 10aa. Specifically talking, just regular bhopping without ducks. I can make use of my strafes way better. Some of the maps only require you to do that and that's where I'm best at, just need to get the right prestrafes. And I think overall I've gained a lot of experience and knowledge over these years which allow me to be very technical. In general I like to tune back to 1.6 every now and then, get the injection of nostalgia.
rawe: So we can say it's possible to see you getting back and trying some maps from time to time? Is there any favourite/dreamed WR you'd like to take some day?
ropz: I'll always be returning back but I don't think I'll record any time soon. It takes a lot of dedication.
I've never wanted a WR specifically, I only go by my capabilities.
rawe: Do you have any specific favourite player or players? Someone who you really like maybe because of his style or because his ability in certain maps?
ropz: I like all-around players who could beat any record in theory, like shNz, Toffifee, fykseN, shooting-star. I don't have anyone specific but a lot of respect to the best players.
rawe: Is there any of your teammates in CS:GO who have watched something or even played KZ in 1.6?
I'm aware for example of electroNic, who was recording back then for XJ as duct1, or even AleksiB, but I've always wondered if you know any on the scene who saw KZ as an interesting mod?
ropz: I think everyone in general is interested in KZ but a few try to seriously test their skills. All my teammates are aware that I have a KZ background with some records but I'm not sure if any have played it.
rawe: Any interesting/funny story about your KZ career you want to tell us?
ropz: Hmm, I don't know if I have any stories but I can tell an interesting fact that I've always preferred membrane keyboards over mechanical for KZ. It feels way better to strafe.
rawe: Let me tell you're not the only one with that taste, I've heard a couple of times that is hard for players to adapt to mechanical keyboards, so they end up switching back to their old membrane ones.
What would you like to do once you finish your CS:GO career? Maybe being still in the scene in a different spot?
Or studying something perhaps?
ropz: As of now I have no plans to do anything else than CS:GO, it looks like I'm going to have a very healthy career in CS:GO and it wont stop so soon. There's always other gigs you can do if you're a big name in the scene like be an analyst, coach for other teams, other stuff behind the scenes in esports. I haven't even finished my high school (gymnasium here) as I left in 2018 when I already had long success in CS:GO and it was just slowing me down. To be clear I was one of the best students in school, I went to different contests in maths, chemistry, physics etc. So it wasn't like I couldn't handle it but rather it had became clear to me that school is currently no use for me and only making me more stressful and tired. I always liked astronomy, the universe is so big. I don't think I'll ever study though, you kind of become lazy in everything else other than CS:GO because it's just my full time job and taking up the whole day, every day. I think I'll make a good living from CS:GO enough that I wont need to work when I eventually quit.
rawe: Indeed the right decision, it was just a matter of prioritizing your career, totally understandable.
And about retiring once you stop playing CS:GO is everyone's dream, I'm sure you'll make it, you're in the right path.
How do you see XJ's future?
ropz: Well the 1.6 part of it can't obviously grow, it's gonna stay as it is with people who still record.
But I know the XJ crew have the kreedz.com domain and if I was trying to grow that's the first place I would start. It's possible to become the official kreedz community for any game (like CS:GO) especially because the history with 1.6 is already so long and it's a well established official community. I think that's the best place for improvement.
In the future I would expect XJ to be the official community for multiple games including 1.6 and CS:GO.
rawe: That's right, XJ needs us everyone helping to make it true, we have the chance to create even a bigger community and keep this beautiful game alive.
Do you know any KZ friends in real life?
ropz: I haven't met any other then my friends who I grew up with as 1.6 was the main game for almost a decade here and we all played a little KZ in our time.
rawe: What's KZ for you? How would you describe it?
ropz: I think KZ is very similar to parkour IRL, you use the best techniques to get from point A to point B in the fastest way. The game mechanics come into play and they define the characteristics of techniques which you try to use to the best of your ability. It's very enjoyable and takes a lot of skill and patience to master the craft.
rawe: Any KZ player knows that completing the maps in the fastest time possible is not the only challenge in the process, we all get nervous during a nice WR run, where you did everything perfect and you don't wan't to fail. You, as an experienced professional player, are you able to control your nerves in elite tournaments? How do you do it? Do you think after all the experience playing in big stages in front of people you would get nervous during a WR run?
ropz: It definitely depends on experience. I am less and less nervous every time I play on stage and it goes the same for KZ players who consistently do WR runs. If I was to be in a WR run I would definitely get nervous, because I enjoy and like KZ and it would be amazing to do one. The same would go to a KZ player who would play on a big stage, but it gets less and less with experience. I think being nervous in the process to do something important, amazing or whatever applies to all aspects of life and it's always a part of you. Being nervous isn't anything anyone should worry about, it's very natural and goes with all things.
rawe: It's both a beautiful and a horrible feeling, right? The adrenaline when being close to the timer, yet making the things more complex, a strange but fun feeling.
Now are you ready for some quick questions?
rawe: Favourite food?
ropz: A good steak.
rawe: Any place where to spend vacations?
ropz: Maldives, for relaxing.
rawe: Any place where you'd like to live?
ropz: No idea, I travel almost half a year, it's hard to feel "home"... Let's just say, somewhere warm.
rawe: Any activity/sport besides gaming?
ropz: Football, basketball, right now Rubik's cube, escape rooms.
rawe: Any KZ player you admire/like?
ropz: I respect and admire everyone who manage to do a WR.
rawe: Any CS:GO player you admire?
ropz: I wanted to be like n0thing while growing up, nowadays I only focus on myself.
rawe: Favourite KZ map?
rawe: Any WR run you really like?
ropz: Maybe fu_extreme, crazy that it has actually been completed.
rawe: Any moment in your gaming career? Either 1.6 or CS:GO
ropz: Faceit kind of changed my life (from nobody to pro).
rawe: Favourite song? And artist?
ropz: Song changes every day, but maybe Post Malone, Hans Zimmer also makes beautiful movie tracks.
rawe: Any movie you really liked?
ropz: The Dark Knight trilogy, Interstellar, Inception - funnily enough all from the same movie director.
rawe: What sensitivity do you use?
ropz: In CS:GO as a pro 400 dpi, 1.77 sensitivity, whenever I surf or KZ I like to change it 2x higher as it's impossible to do some maneuvers with low sens.
rawe: Last but not least, this is your free space, you can say whatever you'd like to say!
ropz: KZ has been a big part of my life and so has XJ, I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed to the community and made it worth our time. I wish everyone more positivity and enjoyment in whatever you happen to do in your life! I'll always stay lurking ;)
rawe: Thank you very much for your time! Hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did.