Dignitas Alumni: Interview With Robert 'Roscoe' Wery
Sat 11th May 2019 - 10:00am
Robert "Roscoe" Wery is a Dignitas alumni who was with the organization from 2013 to 2016. He did a lot of work with our League of Legends team and was our main interviewer at the time. After Dignitas, he moved on to Corsair where he held the position of Editor-in-Chief.
I talked with him about his experiences while with Dignitas and how they helped him start his esports career. I also spoke with him about ways for anyone to pursue what they love and get more involved in the scene. Roscoe has helped produced a large amount of quality content for Dignitas and Corsair and will more than likely keep doing so in his next venture.
You’ve been around the gaming scene for years now. What got you into gaming and what was the first game you spent most of your time playing?
Roscoe: I think one of the first things that got me into gaming was my parents getting me Pokemon Red when I was a kid. After that it was Age of Empires 2, just playing at a friend's house. Pokemon Red was really the first instigator of my now daily habits.
You’ve done some volunteer work in the gaming and esports scene. What have been some of the favorite moments in your esports career so far?
Roscoe: There’s a couple that come to mind. When it comes to the volunteer stuff, when I was with Dignitas, I was able to attend the Season 3 Championships in LA. I was there for press and got to meet another Dignitas staff member from the UK. That was really awesome. The whole experience was a great trip from where I was in Oregon to California and seeing all of these people I had seen on Twitter and on streams was really cool. On top of that, being able to flash my press badge – I felt important all of a sudden and it was really nice. The other one that really is the most important to me is the time that I got to spend with the LCS team at the time – the spring of 2016. Being there and doing the work that I was able to do there was a lot of fun, on top of getting to know the team and the rest of those guys.
You were part of the Dignitas family when you were a League of Legends writer from 2013 to 2016. What were some things that you enjoyed about being with Dignitas?
Roscoe: I learned a lot being a part of the staff. Hanging out in Skype with people from different walks of life from all over the world. That was one of the coolest parts – interacting with people that I would have never contacted, let alone met. Being able to meet some of them later on at events like PAX and the World Championships. Sui is also a mastermind at this stuff – he’s been running this thing for so long.
You did some interviews while you were with Dignitas as well. Do you have a favorite interview that you did? If so, who and why?
Roscoe: I think the first one that comes to mind was before I was in-house. I interviewed Imaqtpie. It was just a text interview and it was around the time that Draven was out or being changed. He said something else was changed and I remember we posted it on Reddit and it did really well. I remember 'Phreak' commented on it and that was a really fun moment back in the day before I really got involved in the scene. I also just really loved doing the interviews at the LCS studio.
They were always kind of difficult and stressful because I was a one-man crew. I had a tripod, a camera, and a microphone. I was always trying to get someone who was a good candidate for the day who did well or was popular. It was always really tricky because if a team lost, they would decline because I was part of another team and not a neutral news outlet. It had me “McGuyvering” a lot of interviews which was challenging at the time, but fun memories looking back on it.
You ended up being hired by Corsair. Did any of your work with Dignitas contribute to being brought on with them?
Roscoe: Yeah, I would say so. A lot of my experience with creating all of that content was directly relevant. I even had a couple of articles that I wrote that were just interviews with a pro player. I didn’t have to do any crazy stretches to come up with new ideas. After I got a hold on that with how things were with Corsair, then it was time to step things up to figure out how to connect it to Corsair. That was the biggest difference between interviews working with Dignitas and Corsair. At Dignitas it was all about getting a good interview. With Corsair, it was also about incorporating Corsair into the interview. No matter who you interviewed, you had to find a way to fit in in to how it related to the ecosystem at Corsair. I definitely had a great base from working with Dignitas.
What type of work did you do with Corsair and what was your day-to-day schedule like with them?
Roscoe: Comparing it to Dignitas, this was actually my first real 9-5 job in an office. It was a big change. Dignitas felt like it was some weird freelancing thing with odd hours. With Corsair, the day-to-day was a lot more what you’d call a corporate, cubical lifestyle. That’s not how it was when it came to the actual job, though. There were a lot more meetings. The day-to-day really came down to setting up and filling out a lot more organizational trackers. There was a lot more to juggle.
Of course, when you’re getting paid full-time, a lot more is expected of you. A word of warning for people that get involved with larger companies – not only do you need to do great work, but reporting it through things like slideshows and analytics is important to prove your worth and that what your doing is good and working is important. You can’t just sit there and do your work – you have to show how it’s doing with traffic on the website. I was so used to just finding a really cool story, but in order to succeed, you have to show to your employer that what you’re doing is worth it for them.
You recently announced that you were departing from Corsair. What led to that decision?
Roscoe: I felt like over time I was out of opportunities to grow in my position. The company as a whole has its flaws that nearly every company does. There are so many people in the company and so many things that I got to do that were just awesome. It was a really great experience being there. I had to stop and step back and reflect on what I was doing – like shooting a video at PAX with a PUBG helmet on while I’m holding a pan in my underwear. I’m like, “this is f*cking crazy – how am I getting paid for this?” There was stuff like that, and it was great and really fun to shoot. In general, I felt like it was time for something new. I would definitely recommend the company for sure.
What are your career goals for the next 5 to 10 years? Where do you see yourself going?
Roscoe: That’s something I’m actually nailing down right now – what I want to be working towards. For the short-term, what I’m looking for now is continuing in web work/web management and content, or a Community Manager role. I got a lot of experience at Corsair running a website and I also realized that a lot of the work I was doing for them; creating content and maintaining a fresh website paralleled a lot to being a Community Manager. Instead of a Twitter account, I was in charge of a website. I’m pushing towards those kinds of roles and hopefully mastering them to a point to where I’m worthy of being a manager in whatever capacity.
Of the things that I’ve been trying to nail down, one thing that rings true for me is that I would like to not only know what I’m involved in well enough, but to also be able to have someone under my wing – to be able to be a mentor to people and help them grow in a similar field and see them be effective because of how I’ve helped. As far as end-game careers goals... God, I don’t know. The worst thing that can be done is just not doing anything. Every step you take in one direction tells you more and more if you’ll like it or don’t like it. If you don’t like it, then you know that, and you can start to move towards something else. Forward progress is the best way to find what you’d like to do.
With gaming and esports rapidly growing, thousands upon thousands of people all over the world would love to make it their career. Do you have any tips for someone who hopes to achieve the level of success that you’ve had in your career growth?
Roscoe: I’d say this relates to what I answered previously about not being sure what you want to do and just taking steps forward. If you’re not sure, take a look at any aspect of esports that there could be; writer, on-camera personality, host, video operator, social media, and even a player. There are so many facets to esports that you can specialize in. It is valuable to have some ability to do multiple roles, but really finding what has a demand, or even find a new demand is great. Find what you really like to do – that you think you have skill in and at least somewhat enjoyable.
For me, things like doubt and anxiety can come into factor for this. When you feel like a nobody on the scene, even in your content, it might deter you from digging into a long article or finishing a video project. Some of those doubts that come from creative work are unfounded most of the time. Push through them and keep writing and creating content. The more you do anything, you conceivably get better at it. You just have to keep pumping things out. Quality over quantity, of course, but you’re not making any progress by doing nothing. It’s worth it in the end.
Was there any point in your gaming/esports career that you thought about leaving the industry? What’s been the hardest part of finding work and/or growing within the industry for you?
Roscoe: Yeah, actually, it’s crossed my mind semi-recently. Esports is awesome and so much fun. There are so many games that I love and play myself and with friends. Esports, however, can be sometimes smack your head against the wall frustrating – especially in content creation. Interview subjects are not well trained in social media most of the time. It’s only when they’ve been on the scene long enough that they’ve gotten some experience under their belt that they make good interviewees. It can be very difficult to make content around some of these players, especially since the industry is so young.
So many processes are being hammered out and that has to happen for it to grow and get to a point where there’s less things up in the air and less things falling between the cracks in terms of quality of industries and organizations. It is a reality of the scene for now in many ways, but it’s also going to be a reality for a long time. The audience for gaming and esports is probably going to be pretty young for a long time. Esports could be followed by the pitfalls of being surrounded by young people and keep going through the same experiences over and over again like generations do.
As a final, fun question. What are some of your favorite non-gaming/non-esports activities to do in your free time?
Roscoe: I just recently started rock climbing. I took a class in college but didn’t really take it up until I got back in the Seattle area. I was talking to a friend about it and I equated it to progression in a game. You start at level one and have a long way to go until you can do top tier stuff. Every so often when I’m climbing different routes, I find one that is just right there at my level and solving those problems of each route is a lot of fun because it might be just that I need to think a little more. It’s about piecing together different parts of the wall and then when I get past that, I get stuck by something else. When I find the routes that are like that, just right there to reach out and overcome, it feels awesome. The exercise part of it is great too.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for us! Is there anyone that you would like to give a shoutout to?
Roscoe: Definitely Sui – of course. He took me in when I first got involved with Dignitas and shoutout to the OG Skype squad and the being paid in mousepads meme. Shoutout to the LCS guys back in Spring 2016 – it was a great experience that I was super happy to have gone through. Also, more recently GloriousGe0rge and Nexy at Corsair. They taught me a lot through a lot of different experiences and the content that I worked with them on.
Be sure and follow Roscoe on Twitter to keep up with everything he has going on!
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