[Interview] Jasper Nicolas, GM of Wargaming.net SEA

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(Left) Jasper Nicolas, GM Wargaming SEA and his translators, giving his speech during the press conference, a day before the Tanks Asia Masters Open Season Finals.

(Left) Jasper Nicolas, GM Wargaming SEA and his translators, giving his speech during the press conference, a day before the Tanks Asia Masters Open Season Finals.

With the conclusion of the World of Tanks: Tanks Asia Masters Open Season Grand Finals, we wanted to know what’s next for Wargaming. So, we caught up with Jasper Nicolas, General Manager of Wargaming SEA right after the event for a quick interview.

It was a first for me, to sit through a press conference in three different languages. Jasper’s speech was being translated into Thai and Mandarin for the media and the teams that were present. While that and the image above should wipe any doubt from your mind about their dedication to e-sports (electronic sports) in the region, we wanted to hear from the man himself, about Wargaming’s plans and the future of World of Tanks.

So, what’s next?

Jasper Nicolas, who officiated the event and was present throughout, gave us some insights on why Thailand was chosen among all of the participating countries together and he spent some time answering our questions. Among the few who were there spewing the questions were Aaron Yip,  Freddy Tan from IGN (coverage here) and Jinn Wei from HWM (coverage here)! So here goes!

Brian: It’s generally difficult to run regional events in this region, particularly with different cultures and language barriers. What’s Wargaming’s secret to success in this region?

Jasper: When we first started the World of Tanks‘ initial push here in Asia about a year ago, we were just thinking about the main South East Asian countries, and we were only present in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. But we were actually quite surprised when we saw a huge number of other countries that were participating not only in the game but in community activities.

To me, the key is that, no matter where you’re from, no matter what language you speak, there’s one very simple language that everyone understands – competition and fun. So those are the two key elements that I believe are the strongest factors why World of Tanks is becoming more popular and more people are picking it up, not just as casual gamers but also as competitive players as well.

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Brian: Why Thailand? Was there a particular reason this country was chosen?

Jasper: My main drive in this region is to showcase every country, not just Thailand itself or maybe you were thinking, well.. your headquarters is in Singapore, why not Singapore? Well, that was also an option but for me, the kingdom of Thailand, the land of smiles, was the perfect place to showcase the Tanks Asia Masters series because there’s actually a lot of World of Tanks players in Thailand, firstly and secondly is that we wanted to be able to bring a different kind of cultural experience to the players.

However, like I said, we want to move from one country to another and showcase the different cultures and I think that is the only way we can strengthen the communities we currently have.

Brian: So, where’s the next destination?

Jasper: Ah, great question! We have several different choices. As you know we’re covering ten different countries…. so, it’s one less now. *laughs*

We’ll definitely send out more details when we figure that out.

Freddy: Are there plans for the next Tanks Asia to include teams from the semi finals, or just teams from the finals in the next one?

Jasper: We might look into that format, you know, just watching two teams battle seems to be too short for a grand final, right? So, yes, we will consider maybe including the semi-finalists in future trips and finals. As you know, this is our first time casting and streaming live of a league series in the region and it’s quite difficult because there are a lot of different languages involved. So, there are a lot of lessons to be learned here, which we are taking with us to make sure that the next we do this, we’ll be a lot better than how it is now.

Brian: An outdoor gaming tournament, would that be the first for Wargaming?

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Jasper: Yes and it’s quite a challenge. As you can see, we’re exposed to the elements and this morning, it was raining. So I immediately got up and prayed! *laughs*

But it turned out well, because if it didn’t rain, it would have been way hotter.

Brian: Last question! (yay?) If there was one thing you can change today, what would it be?

Jasper: Honestly, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I loved the fact the Night Eagles almost got wiped out but then showed that even if the odds were heavily against them, they can still win and fought back. They tried to fight back and win the tournament but the U Are Dead team just showed that their drive was stronger. In the end, it’s that competitive spirit that keeps it alive. So, no. I wouldn’t change a thing. We learned a lot, the players learned a lot and although each person may have varied experiences, all in all we tried to provide the best possible experience to everyone.

Brian: One last question! (I thought the previous question was the last? – Vernon) We’ve seen the Hong Kong team and Taiwan team, which teams do you think we should watch out for next?

Jasper: Oh my goodness, there are so many! There were teams in Mongolia, Vietnam, India and I’m sure that these teams are new but there’s going to be a higher level of competition. I thought that Australian teams were very strong and I was very surprised that they were defeated by these two teams. So, it’s very difficult to say which team will be great performers unless you really see them during the tournament. There’s a lot of factors you’d be playing against – the environment, emotions, chemistry. My hope is that all Asian countries will have strong participation and whoever wins, to me, what matters most is the level of competition and the fighting spirit that they have.

Brian: Well, that’s that! Thank you for your time, Jasper.

Jasper: You’re welcome. Thank you so much, guys.

And there you have it. It looks to be a fun and vibrant future for fans of the Wargaming title. So stay tuned to their website for upcoming events in your region!

About The Author

Former Lecturer. Gamer. Idea Generator. Tournament Organizer. Loves Kairosoft games. Lived in a box twice in Recettear. Never turns down a Catan challenge. Cheats in Monopoly. Broke Skyrim. Sucks at Dance Central. Plays a fem Shep. Heavy bow-gunner in MH3p. Completed Persona 2 Portable 4 times. Well, he's just too damn free.