Lowelo is one of the most popular streamers in France. He started in 2014 at Gamers Origin, and is now at ArmaTeam! Passionate about video games, he is best known and recognized for his ability to top deck… Legend has it that by subscribing to his Youtube channel, you get legendary cards in your Hearthstone card packages…
K: Could you introduce yourself for people who don’t know you?
L: I’m Lowelo! My first name is Omar. I’m 25 years old, almost 26! I’ve been in the esport business for five years now! And I started living off it four years ago.
K: Before you arrived in esport, what was your academic background?
L: I had a pretty classic journey! College and General High School and I did a baccalaureate in Engineering Science. Then I studied engineering at Pierre and Marie Curie. But I didn’t have any particular passion. You know you always have your friend who has in mind of becoming a doctor, a pastry chef, or a singer or something special. I didn’t care about anything. I was studying because I had to do it and I had to earn a living one day! And when I had the opportunity to enter the world of esports, I seized it in parallel with my studies. And I didn’t hesitate for a second.
K: And how did an engineering student with a great academic background get this opportunity? Could you explain how it went?
L: I used to play a lot of video games! Really a lot! I played LoL at the time. But before that I played Dofus, Call of Duty… I played more than 10 hours a day! It was indecent. And all that during my studies! But I still had correct results! And one day I decided to stop playing LoL. But that meant stopping video games because when you play so much a game, well, that’s all you play! When I stopped, it was a difficult time because I wasn’t doing anything anymore. I spent hours looking at the ceiling in my room laid down on my bed. I had friends and everything, that’s not the problem. But I don’t know, something was missing.
So I figured it wasn’t the right solution to stop overnight. I thought, “Okay, I’ll start a game that doesn’t take too long: Hearthstone.” Except that when you have a past of gamer like me… in fact even a little card game at the basic becomes the game I play for 10 hours a day! And that’s how I first positioned myself among the best French players. There weren’t many players at the time so it was quick. I qualified at BlizzCon and it all started from there. I received many offers from French and European structures. And that’s when I joined GamersOrigin.
K: At GO, you started as a professional player and then became more and more of an “entertainer”. Can you tell us a little bit about this change?
L: When we all arrived at GO, we were professionals. It was really competitive. Then, David and Eksilax (two Belgian youtubers) who had a huge youtube TV wanted to start with pro players! And our first steps in streaming actually started from there! But at some point, when you have the status of a pro and streamer player you have to make a choice. Doing both is not at all easy. And from an economic point of view, it’s very hard to live off just from HS tournaments. The big problem you have with this game is that it is not sponsored. That is, you can’t sell a specific keyboard or mouse for the game or anything else. And this inevitably has an impact on the viability of the professional world because structures can quickly lack off sponsors and players are only paid by their tournament performances…
So little by little we had to choose one or the other. And when you have to fill the fridge, the choice is made pretty quickly. But it has been done over time. And even as a streamer, we kept playing tournaments so it was the right compromise!
Today with ArmaTeam, we find a little more competitive scene because the structure allows us to play tournaments!
K: To come back a little bit on your arrival at GO in 2014, you immediately had a professional contract?
L: Contracts have always existed! It’s just that before it was a little bit of a snapshot. Now it’s done by lawyers, big files of 15 pages. The contracts have just evolved.
In addition, today we are considered as athletes. Just like a football player or anything else! So the social status has changed in recent years. It didn’t exist five years ago. The streamer activity also has a value today so it’s great.
K: You are now at ArmaTeam, how has it been going since you arrived with the old GOs?
L: It’s going well. It’s a structure that makes it out of order! So it’s great! You see GO, I love them and respect them for everything they have done. And I thank them again for giving me a chance. But HS was a little forgotten and set aside for the rest of the esports scene. And we’ve been in the dark a lot… Now we’re in a structure which is all about the game! There are lots of events, LANs that are organized! They are really the best! We are supported internally because Hearthstone is at the heart of the company!
K: At Arma, you come under the status of Pro Player / Streamer. Do you have the ambition to become a very competitive player again as you did when you started?
L: Sometimes in life you have a feeling of “I have accomplished what I had to”. You know what I mean? And often I think about it and you see I wonder “what do I have to do as a professional player to be satisfied?” And the answer is BlizzCon. But I’ve already done it… I have this feeling that I’ve achieved the best possible thing on the competitive level. And from then on, I can only be disappointed. I say that with 0 pretensions! But I’m less interested in a passionate side! It lost interest as it went along. But I’m back in competition, not at the same level as before! I’ll make the qualifiers for Vegas etc. but not like before.
K: If we spend a little more time on the game, what do you think about Hearthstone’s evolution?
L: It’s always a bit difficult to ask! In my opinion, Blizzard has made big mistakes in recent years. The tournament mode that never came out reduces the randomness… Now they start to put some on the last extensions but for a while there were almost none left! And all the cards like Ragnaros, Sylvanas, that made the game so charming have been removed! And that was not a good idea! In fact, a lot of people were laughing because Hearthstone is a card game and “it can’t be esport”. So they wanted to adapt! But the people who criticize, they’re always there. And the casu players, who were playing because there was randomness, well they left the game.
But here in the extensions that come out and those that come in, there is more and more randomness. They now want to give back this identity to the game!
Globally the game is a pearl. It is very well done, it is very well worked… There is an incredible sense of details.
K: And you played other card games? Or has none of them ever attracted you because HS is a great game?
L: No, for the moment, I was never thrilled. Artifact was not great. Magic, the game is legendary, but for people who know. GWENT I didn’t like it at all.
You had Krosmaga, which wasn’t really a card game, but it was not bad. But it’s a game for Dofus universe’s fans. For example, before Heathstone I never played a Blizzard game. I didn’t know the universe. But that doesn’t stop you from enjoying the game!
K: I saw that you were also streaming a little more on your personal channel. You’re streaming a lot of LoL right now. Could it be Lowelo’s return to the Summoners Rift?
L: (Laughs) Yes! I like streaming on my personal channel again because it makes streams in smaller groups! I find that the webtvs in the background distort the streaming. You are “forced” to make schedules on this or that game. Streaming normally is : I like a game, and I want to share my passion for this game when I play it. It’s something you don’t necessarily plan for. The Webtvs told you to come at such and such an hour, you lead a community that is not necessarily your own too! It’s an obligation and it’s your job! So it’s nice to come to my personal channel and land on another game. And on LoL I threw myself a little challenge in addition to reach the Diamond rank this season!
K: If we talk a little bit about esports in general. What do you think about the evolution of esport scene? Do you think it’s going to calm down a little bit?
L: Why would it calm down? You know, it’s just a fad. A few years ago, MMORPGs dominated the thing. Then you got the FPS thing. Then the MOBAs came and broke everything too! And now we have the battle royale. The BRs are enjoying it and will stay in the top and drive part of esport for a few more years. And when people will start to get bored, another type of games will break ground. It’s a rotation, actually! The best is not behind or in front, it’s just there all the time eventually. Video games are evolving well and are always innovative! With VR and all these technologies, there will inevitably be new things in the future!
K: I saw that you will also attend the ZLAN too! Ready? What do you think of the event?
L: Not at all (laughs)! I almost never touched the games offered! And Starcraft scares me! It’s not going to be easy.
But the concept is great! The fact that it’s on several games is great. You wouldn’t have a team really on top! It’s going to be a fight between enthusiasts! In terms of passion for esports, it’s extraordinary! I’ve been doing LANs for five years, and I’ve often been paid for all this. Now I have to pay for my train, bring my PC. It’s a real old-fashioned LAN and it’s great!
K: Thank you for everything Lowelo!