Interview With Ermac - Part 1

    Jesse Stoppel lives in Virginia, he is 21 years old and works as a Web Designer for, a leading Internet development firm. But, that's in the real world, in the Gaming community he is known as Ermac, a top notch player who in my opinion is as naturally talented as they come. Anyone who has played against him online or at one of NJQuake's LANs can tell you just how good Ermac is at Quake.

    This weekend Jesse "Ermac" Stoppel will find out if he can beat the "big names" in Quake at Q3A. He has entered the CPL's Frag3 Tournament being held in Dallas Texas. Not only has he entered, he has won his way there. He won the FRAG 3 qualifier at Game Domain in Virginia. He received free travel to FRAG 3. He also received an autoberth for the FRAG 3 CPL Tournament.

    I have known Jesse for almost a year and when I learned that he was going to compete in Frag3 I asked him if he would mind doing an interview. I always refer to him as Jesse not Ermac because he won't call me Wench or MoparsWench as some of you know me in IRC.

Wench: Jesse, how did you start playing computer games, and how long have you been playing FPS games?

Jesse/Ermac: I got a computer when I was 14, downloaded Doom as per recommendation from a friend, and haven't stopped playing since.

Wench: After all this time, which game is your favorite and why?

Jesse/Ermac: Quake 1 by far. I can't think of any other game that has impacted so many lives. How many computer games can you name that have kept an entire genre entertained for 2+ years? I can't think of many either. Quake is a game that gets better with you. The more you play, the deeper it gets. There were always new challenges. I started off playing CTF, then, more than a year later, I rediscovered 1 on 1 and Team DM and played that for a year straight.

Wench: Have you ever belonged to a clan??

Jesse/Ermac: My first real clan was (is) Flag!, we used to be pretty good at the CTF aspect, we don't play competitively anymore, but we still game as a group.
I am currently playing q3dm for Ruthless Bastards.

Wench: Jesse, you have played both DM and CTF, which do you prefer and why?

Jesse/Ermac: I think I'm going to go with DM. I played CTF for a long time, but DM is so much more combat intensive. A lot of CTF is based on quick attacks, running/grappling and waiting around. DM is non-stop fragging. Every encounter is a thought process. You have to make 5 decisions every time you see something happen. And you have to love the feeling you get when you ace a good player. You know you just made someone pissed :)

Wench: It is rare for a player to be good at both DM and Team-Player mods? What differences in your playing style do you have to make to excel at both?

Jesse/Ermac: I think every player has a certain amount of raw skill that they can apply to any mod. If you think about it, the core part of all these games is killing the enemy. Close counter engagement. Being able to hit your enemy more than they hit you. The rest of the game varies from mod to mod.

Team play depends a huge amount on communication. You have to know your teammates, and know what they are doing. I think my CTF clan did so well, because I played with the same 5 guys the entire time. Everyone knew where they should be, and most importantly, we had fun doing it.

1 on 1 DM is a totally different game. I'm sure plenty of people have written about the aspects of 1 on 1 dm. I won't bore you with my petty thoughts.

Wench: I have seen players turn white when they have to play you in a tournament, is there anyone YOU have never been able to beat?

Jesse/Ermac: No comment.
      (Editors note: No one claiming to have beaten Ermac can produce proof of it)

Wench: Which of your matches is the most memorable to you?

Jesse/Ermac: Unfortunately, after playing 10,000 hours of quake, most matches seem to blend into one great big frag. Maybe I'm just getting old. :/

Wench: Have you ever played in a professional tournament? If so, how did you do?

Jesse/Ermac: I don't think so. I have played in a few private lan tournaments. Nothing really big.

Wench: If not,what made you try-out for a "professional" tournament now?

Jesse/Ermac: I saw a local qualifying tournament over at, and I decided if I won a trip, I would see how I did against the big boys.(Editors note: Some of the top players are women)

Wench: So, is this the start of a new career for Jesse Stoppel?

Jesse/Ermac: I'm not sure about starting a new career :) Quake is a crazy game. New talent is born every day. Just last week I met some 14 year old who had at least a 90% rail gun with a 50 ping. That scares me. Imagine that aim on lan? (insert shudder)

Wench: Who do you dread playing against at Frag3?? Who are you looking forward to playing against the most at Frag3?

Jesse/Ermac: I don't dread playing anyone. I actually enjoy playing difficult matches. You learn a lot more when the score is 10 to 8 than when the score is 40 to -11. I hope to have some fun playing lebesgue at the frag. He has schooled me on test2 more than once, and I would like to see how the pace goes when were are knocking each other around with 0 ping rails.

    Well, Good Luck Jesse I know all of the NJQuake gang will be rooting for you. We will be posting updates on how Jesse is doing at Frag3 in the IRC channel on Gamesnode #njquake.


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