Spilo, a burly dude with wild hair and a hoodie, looks slightly worried as he talks via webcam. “You’re kept away from the things you really love because of your fear of letting yourself down or letting others down, and that’s honestly probably quite disappointing considering that’s really where you would find the more fun, but you can’t get there.” He broadcasts live on Twitchlooking at a Surveillance 2 match via Discord call with a high-ranking Winston player who struggled to play ranked mode. It may sound like therapy, but it’s part of Spilo Surveillance framing process.
At 28, Jacob “Spilo” Clifton had a career in teaching, long before Surveillance never entered the picture. He taught high school gymnastics, became head instructor at an all-ages MMA school, and even taught advanced math. It’s no surprise that his career with Surveillance took him to Surveillance League, and he is now a sought-after expert in evaluating players at all levels.
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Spilo’s life and career with the game gave him a specific perspective on improvement. Like many who have been drawn to Surveillance, Spilo had little first-person shooter experience; he spent his time doing extended world PVP in the Lord of the Rings Onlineas “the best Warg in the world.” After being pressured to try the popular Blizzard game in 2017 by his brother-in-law, Spilo was immediately hooked. The game was both fast-paced and tactically dense; in an interview with Polygon, he described how he felt Surveillance offered the “perfect combination” of these elements while still not requiring mastery of first-person shooter mechanics.
Spilo’s journey in the competition Surveillance started small. “I was, you know, the typical Bronze player,” he said. “I actually had a lot of competitive anxiety. I didn’t like playing ranked. I just liked playing Quick Play. Spilo’s own journey of learning how to improve Surveillancecombined with his love of teaching, first led him back to creating YouTube videos, such as when he posted edits of his The Lord of the Rings online days. While at the start it was more light contenthis videos always focused on what helped him improve as he rose through the competitive ranks.
Create Surveillance content on YouTube is an “oversaturated market,” as Spilo told Polygon; he decided to start coaching instead, as well as creating a community to share his knowledge. What happened next was the ‘evolution’ of his growing love for the game. “Basically, over time, as I got better at coaching, as I was getting better at the game, I started doing more and more practices, and I ended up doing them all. [for my community]. That’s basically where the transition started,” he explained. At that point, he thought to himself, “I like doing this, maybe I would be like an educational streamer. Maybe it’s something I could do in the long run. I started looking [season 1 of] Surveillance League, so at the same time, maybe I could do it at some point.
Spilo eventually built a Twitch following, as well as worked as a pro coach in both. Surveillance The suitors as well as Surveillance League. He credits his “ability to communicate” as what led him to learn to coach at this level. According to Spilo, some of the “most rewarding moments as a team coach” have come from working with shy players for a few months and seeing their personal development. He recounted an experience as a coach of a Surveillance League player who then came back to him in the playoffs. The player told Spilo that he had a lot to think about and that he couldn’t have finished the season without Spilo’s help and support, and that it really changed him as a person. “It made my week,” Spilo said. “That was it for me, knowing that – you feel like you have a permanent impact, you know?”
Along with esports requiring long hours and changing venues, Spilo’s interest in having a personal impact on players led him to move away from formal esports coaching and back to streaming and esports. engage one-on-one with players seeking feedback. “Sometimes I just wanted to talk with people,” he said. “You know, sometimes the best parts of my coaching are when I can have candid, honest, relaxed conversations, or when I feel like I’m having a significant impact on someone personally, or even just the stuff. Stupid when I chat with people at Twitch to discuss patch notes.
Surveillanceand now Monitor 2, can be a deceptive game; although it’s visually cartoony, there’s a tactical complexity beneath the surface that makes it feel closer to chess than Call of Duty. And yet, this complexity can be easy to overlook or misunderstand, as the game offers little information about its mechanics. For many people, becoming “good” at Monitor 2 may seem like an unnecessary sink of time that lowers the game’s fun factor. But for others, getting “good” is the main draw – even if it’s made more difficult by the game’s stressful competitive environment and its often toxic.
Spilo is well aware of the toxicity that can occur in competitive gaming spaces, especially male-dominated ones. “It’s like toxic masculinity where it is – if you’re not a winner, you’re a failure,” he explained. “So either you do one of two things: you win at all costs, which becomes toxic in itself, or you are dishonest and pretend that everything you do is winning, when there is no nothing wrong with losing sometimes.
Back in 2019, Surveillance launched a robust “replay” feature that gave players the ability to watch an updated list of their 10 previously played matches, as well as share them with others via a unique code. An essential part of coaching in competitive games is the “VOD review”, where post-game footage is critiqued for areas of improvement. Spilo told Polygon that the replay feature makes it easier to review VOD, by seeing what everyone is doing in a game. “But I think [a positive of the replay feature] what was underestimated was the ability to go [to a player]’Hey, do you know what’s going on behind you?’” Spilo described how he can show someone a moving piece, from a bird’s eye view. “All of a sudden, everything opens and it clicks. And they go, ‘Oh, I didn’t even know.’ It just gives the possibility to like, to zoom out […] it just gives context, better context.
Spilo now does these VOD reviews as a service, and he runs a handful of them live on his Twitch stream. In order to get a coaching session, a potential client fills out a lengthy questionnaire that Spilo uses to get an idea of a person’s goals and lifestyle, which he then talks about, often during a significant portion of the session. Much like Winston’s anxious player from the start of this story, many people open up when Spilo talks to them. Despite his prolific experience in teaching and coaching, he still seems surprised by this. “Most of the time people are really, frankly honest with me. I don’t know if it’s just because the people who end up taking the coaching sessions are more comfortable with it. It’s something that I always try to pursue, it’s that level of upfront honesty.
Spilo encourages a level of emotional vulnerability that might seem unusual for a reviewer if it weren’t also attention-driven; his manner is less like someone separating a graded diamond Surveillance matches and more like that of an avid diagnostician, probing below the surface for more serious underlying issues, as indicated by the symptoms presented. He has a deep understanding of the game’s tactical mechanics, but more than that, he just wants to help people with what’s stopping them from succeeding.
“There are like three levels, I guess, of things that we attack. One is gameplay. It is the least important. The second is how you approach the game: your training, your mindset, your mindset [attitude], your training habits, things like that. These are much more impactful, much more important. The third, which is the more important is just how you are as a person. I think that one is much harder to dig up. He continues: “But it’s something like, can we make you more patient? Can we change your view of improvement? Can we change your perception of trust? »
For Spilo, being able to bring out the best in someone, whether they’re a shy Contenders player or a Mercy principal who just wants to get out of Bronze rank, is what sets him apart from people who just know how to get away with it. to improve. the game.
“I’m trying to do everything I can on this hour-long call, to try to bring all the value I can to the developing players,” Spilo said. “Because some players are great, and they’re well developed, and they just need some guidance and how to position themselves. Some players have a lot of issues with who they are as human beings, right? And they need help with that too I guess my job for this short hour is […] to try to find out what is going to have the most impact on them. Because like I said, even if they leave the session and they don’t rank at all, but I got them thinking about who they are as a person, I find that so much more satisfying than something else, to be honest with you.”