Within the underbelly of what seems like a dormant UFO, deep within the coronary heart of the rising “esports capital of europe”, Staff Liquid has been coaching it is expertise to change into the “most winningest” crew. Here is how.
Working from the Het Platform in Utrecht, the fourth-largest metropolis within the Netherlands, Staff Liquids space-age temple of pro-gaming is a shining beacon of elite esports. This place has is all, and we have the news on the way it’s being utilised by the expertise to remain on high of their sport.
The constructing itself sits atop a reasonably sci-fi trying transport hub, and is the ultimate addition to Utrect’s metropolis heart renovation. As such, the Utrecht municipality has been “enthusiastically involved” within the challenge, in accordance with Brittany Lattanzio, Staff Liquid’s Senior Expertise Supervisor.
The entire construct is just below 280,000 sq. foot of eco-conscious structure, constructed utilizing recycled and bio-based supplies, full with a flowery residing wall. And Staff Liquid itself takes up a strong 11,400 sq. foot of that house.
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The completion of the power landed simply shy of Staff Liquids 10 12 months anniversary in partnership with Dell Alienware, who put down over $452,000 price of PCs and screens alone. Now that is a tin anniversary reward I may get behind.
That is actually the primary time Alienware has achieved something of this scale, explains Lattanzio. So, it’s been as a lot of a psychological funding for the corporate because it has been a monetary one. The event has additionally been a chance for Alienware to discover “what the future of esports can really look like for them,” says Lattanzio. Truthfully, it’s trying vibrant if these photos are something to go on.
She additionally notes that a number of work went in on Staff Liquid’s finish to make sure Alienware’s “vision came to life in a way that they were happy with.” Up to now, the mothership appears happy.
Lattanzio jokes that the inside is “like being in a space-ship”, and though we weren’t in a position to go to as a result of pandemic, I’m inclined to agree trying on the photos we’ve been despatched. The fixtures and furnishings are out of this world, and there actually is an excessive amount of—ahem—house.
In any case, it’s a hell of an improve from the crew’s humble beginnings in 2000.
Now, a far cry from its roots, the assorted Staff Liquid groups have entry to the bottom latency connection in esports. Not solely are they sitting on ridiculous web speeds, in addition they have two swanky scrim rooms, themed round Alienware’s signature lunar mild and darkish facet of the moon aesthetic.
“Everything in the facility was selected to mirror tournament on-stage specs. This includes our desks and chairs, the equipment and hardware we play on and the respective configurations for each,” one other spokesperson for Staff Liquid tells us.
The entire facility has been kitted out with top-end tech, together with 75 Alienware Aurora R11s, every operating Intel Core i9 10900KF CPUs and Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti graphics playing cards. That’s an entire lot of processing and pixel-pushing energy. There are additionally 140 AW2521HFL screens throughout the power, together with 15 ultra-wide variations for the design groups. They’re additionally showcasing the newly introduced, 24.5-inch, 360Hz AW2521H esports monitor on the facility, as nicely.
Simply off every scrim room, there are ‘movie theatre’ type overview rooms, every with a 4K Projector and a Dell Canvas for scribbling methods. Gamers even have Huge Brother type ‘call pods’ for personal video chats, and streaming. There’s a stunning eating house with skilled cooks on the prepared. There isn’t any set menu; it is consistently adapting, with thrilling themed meals from throughout the globe.
There are open places of work, convention rooms, and ‘chill zones’—foosball desk, and all. Staff Liquid can be renting out the complete first ground of residences on the Het Platform, located above the coaching facility. This implies gamers have their very own self-contained ‘luxury flats’, simply upstairs. These are comparatively modest en-suite mattress and desk dorm rooms, designed to “facilitate relaxation and leisure.”
Each comes equipped with two AW2521HF 240Hz monitors, and a shiny new Alienware Aurora, with Intel Core i7 processor and RTX 2060 Super graphics card, for “light streaming and leisure use.”
“The major thing we want to provide for the players, is a place where they can practice at the highest level, to allow them to compete at the highest level,” says Lattanzio. She explains Team Liquid’s goal is (and I love this) “to be the most winningest team.”
Of course, as an esports organisation, the biggest priority is to have teams that win, but this would be truly impossible without happy, healthy, and comfortable players. I’ve been asking how they look after the players physical and mental wellbeing at the facility, so they can stay ahead of the competition.
First off, many fail to consider the immense mental pressures inherent in this line of work. These teams practice 6-8 hours a day, longer than most mere mortals could stand physical exertion; sometimes they’re on all day at tournaments—so, cognitively, it’s a big strain.
Having been the first team to bootcamp at the facility, the Dota Team were really the “guinea pigs” for the facility. After their morning workouts and warm ups, they would practice from 1 or 2pm until 8 or 9pm. That’s a full day’s work, plus the pressures of potential esports fame on top of it all.
Not everyone at Team Liquid can be like Speed, who says he’s “dead in the middle” of the introvert-extrovert spectrum. For a lot of us nerds, it’s difficult to get into that sociable place, and we might need longer to recharge. To ease the psychological burdens, the lounge offers a space to chill after a long day’s clickin’.
The talent also has access to two sports psychologists, or ‘mental coaches’, at the facility. Players can schedule sessions with them for support, advice on how to get in the zone, or (a really common one) how to handle burnout. They also help with things like building general resilience and communication skills.
“The advantage of this place,” Rocket League pro, Speed, explains, “is the flexibility to separate my make money working from home… Going to sleep the place you’re employed… it means my mind’s at all times in it.”
At home, he would be working and resting in the same room, essentially sleeping in his office. So, for Speed, living on site makes all the difference, as he feels he’s more able to switch off by physically distancing himself when he leaves the training rooms.
Obviously a big contributor to player health is their diet; here, energy drinks don’t constitute as meal replacements, no sir. Team Liquid’s two dedicated, on-site chefs are there to provide three nutritional meals a day.
They cater for each individual player’s dietary requirement and, according to Speed, “the food they cook is really, really, really good.” Sounds like a win for the kitchen duo. The pair were also asked for their design input for the kitchen, too, “so they’re happy,” says Lattanzio.
When it comes to physical fitness, it’s important the athletes keep up their core strength, to improve posture, and arm strength for those game-winning, competitive clicks, as well as the all important carpal tunnel prevention. There’s a nearby gym that players will soon be given passes for (once the world opens again). For the moment they have individual lockdown setups they are encouraged to make use of. Nothing too fancy, so I’ve been told, but they get the job done. Lattanzio also notes that they “don’t have a physical therapist, yet,” so maybe they’ll be making this kind of service available in future.
Obviously, it’s imperative the hardware on site is always working, that way the athletes can just plug in, and play on. Lattanzio explains that Dell Alienware are “very cooperative” when it comes to providing hardware. Players are given a lot of options when it comes to peripherals, and are even involved in the equipment design process through critical evaluation.
The athletes provide invaluable feedback as to what features work (or don’t), so it’s a win-win for both parties. Alienware gets access to testers who will push the gear to its absolute limits, and players have serious input so they know they’re getting quality, attentively designed, ergonomic equipment.
The players even have input as to lighting levels, so they can request to be put in the dark if the mood takes them—no one wants to be bombarded with fluorescent lighting when they’re trying to game, right? They also presumably have 24 hour tech support, so that takes away a lot of the hardware stress.
Besides, they have all these fancy sci-fi LED strips to increase their FPS, now, so no worries in that department.
Through the years, the world of esports has been steadily evolving, with athletes lastly getting the remedy they should excel. Now, getting the popularity it deserves as knowledgeable sport, groups are not exiled to darkish and dingy setups of their mother and father’ basements.
Staff Liquid have set the bar fairly excessive with this Alienware-imagined coaching facility, additional bolstering the imaginative and prescient of being a holistic esports group. It could actually now stand proud within the information that the assorted groups shifting by means of HQ are being correctly taken care of.
A minimum of whereas they await the return of the mothership. Let’s hope they depart the perfect esport specimens for us, right here on earth.