KYKLOS: Hello Arailla! Can you please introduce yourself?
Arailla: So I’m Arailla, I’ve been a League of Legends player since the end of season 1, and an analyst on the game for over a year. I now work at Gentside Esports, but I first went through smaller teams, for example at a Diamond level, but I was also an analyst in the team of Samchaka, the current coach of Solary.
K: Okay great! And can you tell us what you were doing before you became an analyst? What led you to this type of position rather than, for example, the status of player or coach?
A: Actually, before being an analyst, I was coaching. I had a Gold/Plat level myself, but I really liked helping players in difficulty, those who were stuck in Bronze or Silver for example. And one day, a manager of a Diamond-player team asked me for help, and as he saw that I was doing well with explanations, recaps, imporvements etc. They offered me to join the team as an analyst.
K: Are you still a big player?
A: Not really. I am an analyst in my spare time, I have a job as a computer engineer. So even when I get out of work it’s to do reviews, attend scrims, which leaves me very little room in my agenda to play. But basically I’m not a big player by the way.
K: Oh, that’s interesting. How do you explain that you have this ability to understand and analyze a performance on the game without playing it so much?
A: I’ve been playing it for a long time now, and even if I don’t play for 6 hours a day, I can say without too much pretension that I know the game quite well. In addition, I really like watching esport content, as well as game analyses that can be found on Youtube for example. I find it very interesting to try to understand why this or that team plays in such a way, pick such champions etc. And I prefer spending time watching how the game works at a high level rather than going to Solo Q at a Gold level and getting rekt while playing Annie mid. The game varies so much depending on the level.
K: I understand. Can you tell us a little more about the analyst profession? And if there’s a typical day, can you detail it for us?
A: For the moment, as I do this on my free time, it will be more of a typical evening. I’m be back just in time to watch the team’s last scrim game. Then I ask Xani, player and coach of the team, if there have been any more interesting games than the one I just saw that should be analyzed. I’m going to spend my evening reviewing one or two games, I’m going to give them a powerpoint on what I saw with screenshots and notes. Otherwise the analyst will also have a scouting role when preparing for competitions, i.e. I will observe the streams and replays of the other teams in order to see which champions are played by which players, in which way etc.
K: Gaming and more particularly esport are predominantly and traditionally male environments. Was it easy for you to step-in as a young woman?
A: I didn’t think at all about the gender-equality stories when I first started coaching. I was just looking to do something I liked and I met a lot of people who were there for the same reason. Maybe I was very lucky, but the people I worked with always respected what I had to bring to the team and I’ve always felt listened.
Also, the analyst position does not require the same proximity as for coaches or players, but in my mind I had more to prove myself because of my elo than because I am a woman!
K: Have you ever faced any obstacles that a man would not have faced?
A: I didn’t feel any obstacles strictly speaking, but you really have to be comfortable with your own image before you start appearing on streams, or never read the chat.
K: Do you think the environment is changing well? What do you think needs to be improved?
A: As for the evolution of the environment, I know that there is Women In Games, which is doing a very good job of promoting gender diversity in the video game industry.
Otherwise, I don’t know, asking these questions to everyone and not just women would perhaps help everyone to become more aware of this issue.
K : Thanks a lot for the time you dedicated to this interview and we wish you the best of course in your future adventures!
A : Thank you too, good luck!