In Spydr’s Web: Insights from a Top 100 Bloodhound
What exactly does it mean to be competitive? It mostly means feeling like you have to be the best at whatever it is you choose! It doesn’t mean you actually need to be the best though, as some people love competing just to play the game. Others love to compete but know they will never catch up in skill. Competition is a way for us to gauge ourselves with the rest of those who participate in the same activities and find out where we stand. It can be a healthy thing to strive for, but also detrimental if taken too strictly. It’s also a tool we can use to help ourselves improve and get better at the things we love to do in our lives.
In this article, we had a chat with a top 100 Bloodhound player in Apex Legends to see what gives him his competitive edge. In order to see if we can determine what separates a casual gamer from a competitive one, Andri “Spydr” Naranjo Jr. let us pick his brain a bit to give an idea of what makes him competitive. so we can compare it with what we think separates the two types of players. The best place to find Spydr is on Twitter, Twitch and Tiktok where he posts frequently.
Hotspawn: How long have you been gaming & what genre of games do you mostly play?
Spydr: Well, I’ve been gaming since I can remember. I was first introduced to the Nintendo 64. I mostly play first-person shooters but I can get into some RPGs. I really like Skyrim and I play Fallout here and there.
Hotspawn: What do you enjoy most about gaming?
Spydr: Video games for a lot of people are like an escape into another world where you have abilities you don’t normally have. I would say it’s therapy for a lot of people.
Hotspawn: How many hours a week do you usually spend gaming & streaming?
Spydr: Mostly on the weekends if my brother isn’t trying to drag me out of the house about 8-10 hours a day. During the week, I work a lot and only get to play about 2-3 hours a day. Unless I’m like super tired and know I’m not going to be energetic or not talking at all I won’t stream. But for the most part, I try to always stream and post clips on my social media.
Hotspawn: Do you have a squad you play with or do you prefer to solo-queue?
Spydr: I have some people but they’re not on all the time. I’m very picky with who I play with so I usually end up solo-queueing most of the time though.
Hotspawn: What are your favorite guns to use in Arena Mode and in Battle Royal?
Spydr: In arenas, it’s usually Wingman, C.A.R. SMG or the Flatline. I play a lot of Battle Royale though and the C.A.R. SMG is for sure one of those go-to weapons. And the R-301 Carbine now that it’s in the crafter is just so easy to get.
Hotspawn: What would you say makes you a great gamer from your own perspective?
Spydr: What makes me a good gamer? That’s a good question. I mean there could be multiple answers, it could just be dedication. It could be the word used nowadays “passion” which is how much you feel towards the game and how serious you are about it.
Hotspawn: Do you have a competitive background? Any sports or anything like that & do you find those skills transferred over to gaming?
Spydr: Oh, for sure, dude. Since I can remember, any free time I had was playing video games, but that free time was always limited because I was always in either baseball, football, basketball, etc. At one point I tried picking up soccer for my school. And, oh yeah, definitely, the leadership skills, teamwork skills, all of that definitely transferred over and helps.
Hotspawn: Does someone’s setup relate to their ability to play competitively or not?
Spydr: Yes and no. In the competitive sense, a lot of people focus on mainly PC. So if you don’t have a PC like me you lack all of that attention and can’t really compete in those tournaments and you’re stuck to just a console. Stuck to the frames you get. Like me, I probably max out at 55 frames a second and can’t get any more than that. I stream off my Xbox, so I don’t have that quality stream that can really hold viewers. Once the game is over it is hard to retain viewers.
Hotspawn: When you’re about to sit down for a gaming session how do you prepare?
Spydr: I usually grab myself a few water bottles so I don’t have to get up for that. I make sure I have everything done, nothing is going to distract me. I usually tell my girlfriend, “hey”, you know, “I’m going to play, I’ll be back in a few hours”. In a sense, you always want to make sure your personal hygiene is good. That’s something that bothers me. I used to not be on top of that until I realized how much it affects my gameplay. Like I used to be playing and like halfway through the session thinking “damn I need to brush my teeth, it’s bothering me” and it starts to distract you. If you feel good, you play good.
Hotspawn: What are your thoughts on the changes to Season 13’s ranked system?
Spydr: I feel like it’s good. It’s good, but too hard. I feel like the KP system, like someone dropping early and getting like 6-7 kills, placing 13th and still not going positive, is insane to me. When you’re getting that amount of KP and still having to struggle and play for placement it feels like kills are unrewarding. It encourages people to rat and camp. It makes the game more competitive, however. I like how in every end game there are more teams, it’s more chaotic, more hectic. You have to play with more rocks, close encounters and stuff. That’s what I like about it, but I don’t like how unrewarding it is to get to that point.
Hotspawn: What advice would you give to someone who wants to elevate their gameplay?
Spydr: At first, I would want to see their gameplay and learn what their skill base is so I could learn and tell them from there. Really, I would say one thing helped me get better at the game. What people don’t realize is that the firing range is such a good thing you can use to get your aim on point, use different guns, and different attachments, and get used to everything. It helps with getting used to the movement and how everything feels. Rewatching gameplay footage too.
Hotspawn: What do you think separates a competitive player from a casual player?
Spydr: I would say opportunity in the sense that competitive players have more time to play. They have better opportunities and better equipment. It can be hard if you don’t have other support like family or friends who may be able to help purchase equipment or take up the workload. Some people have to work more and pay bills and can’t afford to spend money on top-notch equipment. So between a competitive professional gamer and a casual sweaty gamer, I would say it’s the time they have to put into the game and how seriously they take it and how their support can help them with it.
Every aspect of life can be taken with a competitive approach or a casual one. It doesn’t need to be games. It could be striving to be the best at your company, competing with other artists to make the best song or painting, or even just striving to be your best self in comparison to others. When it comes down to the spirit and drive of competitiveness, I believe it’s a uniquely individual aspect of each of our personalities. Something that many of us are born with, and something others develop over time. A level of competitiveness will keep someone on their toes and always looking to improve, as you can’t perform your best if otherwise.
Like Spydr, if you have a background in something like sports, you may be keener to develop a more competitive personality. However, when it comes down to it, someone’s competitiveness comes down to the amount of interest and passion they have for the activity, while someone’s actual ability to compete comes down to their level of commitment and actual determination to improve their skills in that area. With that, I think we can agree it has many factors including setup, playtime available, support and much more. Having a competitive aspect is definitely healthy, but we have to remember to stick to Spydr’s closing statement:
“Spread love and positivity. No hate. There is no reason to hate. If you don’t like something, turn the page and move on!”