Hello everyone and welcome to this special community spotlight with none other than everyone’s favorite “silver boy”: TheViper!
He is a well-known community leader, streamer, and represents Team Secret on the competitive scene. If you tuned in for the Hidden Cup 3 Tournament recently, he participated and won as the hidden role, “Saladin!”
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WORLD’S EDGE: For those of you who may not know you, please give us a small introduction!
THE VIPER: Hello there! I am TheViper—also known as Ørjan—and I come from Norway. I am 28 years old and have been playing Age of Empires II for too many years now! Recently moved to Germany, where I am continuing my journey through life in Leipzig.
WORLD’S EDGE: Congratulations again on winning Hidden Cup3! How was that?
THE VIPER: Thank you! The uncertainty of not knowing who you’re facing always adds extra excitement for the players themselves as well as the viewers, so it’s quite challenging in many different ways. It was a lot of fun and the event was a huge success, and I’m naturally really happy I was able to win!
WORLD’S EDGE: You’ve participated in many Age of Empires tournaments over the years; do you have any favorites?
THE VIPER: There have been a lot of amazing tournaments over the years, but my favorites will always be the LAN events where I get to meet other players and see the fans in-person. Being able to put a face to the names you see online all the time is an incredible experience: meeting fellow teammates, rivals, community members, and fans. Competitive events that stand out have to be all the Nili’s Apartment Cups, the Escape Euro LAN at gamescom, and the Escape Champions League final.
WORLD’S EDGE: Are you excited for the future tournaments in Age of Empires?
THE VIPER: I truly am. We have a few upcoming ones as we speak. I’m in the RedBull Wololo and Battle of Africa 2. Microsoft is supporting the scene a lot, and seeing other companies such as RedBull getting involved now just kicks it up another gear. I can’t wait to see what the tournament scene holds going forward!
WORLD’S EDGE: Could you tell us about one of your best plays, and one of your silliest ones?
THE VIPER: It would be really difficult to single out best plays. The game allows for so many cool engagements and moves in general, and there’s been a ton of cool and fun moments over the years. I have a tendency to goof around in multiplayer and do the so called “mastapieces,” so there are too many silly ones, as well, to mention any specific ones.
WORLD’S EDGE: What got you into playing Age of Empires? Do you have any favorite maps, civilizations, play-styles, etc? And if so, why?
THE VIPER: My dad. I saw him playing Age of Empires 1 when I was a kid and obviously it caught my attention. Shortly after Age of Empires 2 was released, naturally, my dad followed. I played a fair bit when I was 10 years old or so and my nickname became Th3_Kid—as I was obviously a kid, and very rarely did anyone believe my real age when I was able to beat them in the game. Naturally, I grew older and other things grabbed my interest in life, so I had a long break from the game until I returned in about late 2009.
The reason I returned again was because I saw my dad playing in his office as I had moved back home with my parents. I recalled that I used to love it and gave it a go again. I quickly rose in skill level from there and realized there was a competitive scene as well—again, due to my dad, as he was running AoEZone.net. He played a big part in the community staying together with the website, and obviously he’s had a huge impact on my becoming an AoE2 player: being able to do it full time and all the impact I’ve had on the community and scene trails back to him.
Regarding favorite maps: I would say I like maps that are fairly open, invite early game action, and dynamic throughout the ages. Arabia springs to mind here. I also appreciate maps like Arena where there is a lot more of a strategic approach: where decision making and the understanding of the civilizations and game have a bigger effect.
Civilizations usually differ over time, but I played and loved Khmer before they were cool, and they’re still probably one of my favorites. I kind of have some favorites for competitive play—such as Mayans and Aztecs—and some favorites for ‘mastapieces’—such as Portuguese, for example.
WORLD’S EDGE: Do you have any advice for new players or fans wanting to get better at Age of Empires?
THE VIPER: I think they key component for every player aspiring to become better is that they (first and foremost) need to play the game because they like it.
Secondly, they main ingredient is to just play a lot. The game has such incredible depth and variety to it: from all the different civilizations and bonuses, to team bonuses and multiplayer with up to 8 players, and then all the random map seeds. You cannot learn this by reading a book or listening to a person talk. You need hands-on experience to understand.
This, combined with watching better players’ streams, Youtube videos, tournaments and reviewing your own recorded games to try and understand why things happened. We’re in a fortunate position where most of the top players stream and commentate their ladder games or create Youtube content, and have their own discords where they answer questions, etc.—so there’s unlimited learning possibilities out there.
We have such a great community where everyone helps each other out. I can’t imagine there being a better, more supportive community for any game out there.
WORLD’S EDGE: What goals are you aspiring towards right now as a professional player? Any inspirations?
THE VIPER: I’ve had my share of good results in tournaments, and I would like to remain competitive and bring home some good results going forward. I’m hoping Age of Empires 4 becomes an amazing game and a proper e-sport as well, where I would love to have a go at that game as well. Besides that, I would like to continue to be able to make a living from this awesome game—through my content creation and the tournaments.
WORLD’S EDGE: Would you like to give a shout out to anyone?
THE VIPER: I would like to shout out to the whole community. It’s an absolutely incredible group of people, and I couldn’t be more happy to be a part of it.
We have so many individuals that have put in so many hours for the game to thrive and be in the position we are in now. Tournament hosts & admins, players, viewers, community members, mod makers, map makers, people that have kept clients alive, websites, and so on—all dedicated to improve the game we love. They will never get the recognition they deserve, but they are all the reason we are where we are today.