Articles: Product Reviews: Console Pro
This 'review' is actually an interview with TSquared and Killer N, Instructors at Console Pro, a for-pay training site for console gamers (predominantly Halo).
What is it exactly that you guys give in your lessons?
T2: Well each person is different, for example KillerN and myself also offer Halo 1 lessons for people that still are interested in improving in Halo 1. Most people aren't so my Halo 2 lessons consist of the following:
Individual Lessons Include:
On top of that there is also a team package that is offered. If your team is serious about practicing and getting better so you can be a force online or in the tournament scene. This applies for MLG tournaments, CAL, CPL, AGP, VGL, or even local tournaments. What I do is take your team and we go through each map and gametype. We go over pro strategies, positioning, flanking tips, and how to keep map control for TS, CTF, KOTH, Oddball, and Neutral Bomb. After we go over the gametype we then put your team to the test. I get my team, or a group of other pros/tournament players and we play the map we just went over. I will break down what you guys did wrong in your strategy, and we will go over it. Its at a discounted price of 65 per team which is only 15 an hour per person compared to 20 for the individual lessons.
What advantages do you think these lessons have over written guides like, say, NSCS?
T2: Well first off, most people have reading issues or are just too lazy to read. Secondly you're not getting lessons or tips from pros, just people that are above average or trying to make money off writing books. Console pro is actual pros who are signed as professional gamers, travel across the country and are paid to do this. It's why you have text books, then teachers who teach what's out of the text, except more in-depth.
Killer N: Well it's pretty obvious that lessons are a lot better. It's kinda like reading a golf magazine with strategies and then taking a lesson from Tiger woods. It's a huge difference man. You can read up on so many things in a strategy guide and learn some things, but taking the time with an actual pro you can learn anything that the is best to know for competition. There are also plenty of examples that a pro can show you etc.
Do you think that a player should be at a certain skill level before they start taking lessons, or do you think that someone can jump in and take them no matter how good they are?
T2: Skill level doesn't matter, I have trained level 12's to level 31's. Yes it's true that if you aren't that skilled of a player it's going to take a longer time for you to improve. However, you will learn faster then someone who is already highly skilled in result, catching up to them eventually.
Killer N: I personally as an instructor teach anyone as far as total noobs to people that want to compete in major tournaments. Even people at my skill level I have given lessons to. But being good at shooting doesn't really mean a whole lot. You have to know what to do in what situations. As far as set positions and map control and whatnot.
What made you interested in giving lessons (besides money)?
T2: Console pro approached me a while ago with the idea of training gamers to improve their skills. I get tons of AOL messages and Emails asking me to play but I just don't have the time or energy to play them all. With console pro, instead of just playing with them, I'm training them, giving them tips and pointers to improve their game and in-depth strategies. Within the 4 days I have been training multiple people have messaged me telling me how much better they are doing from the material that I taught them. Hopefully we can form a top team of T2 Trainees in the future.
Killer N: Ok when I first heard about console pro, I was very interested mainly because I love teaching my playing style. My way of shooting/playing this game is very unpredictable. I want to show people that my style is the best out there and can win you major tournaments.
It is an honor to teach people how to play this game.
If you were training someone who you found was, or came to be due to the training, as good as most of the players on the pro scene, do you continue to play with him after the lessons are over?
T2: Definitely, not only does that give them practice, but I practice too. Even if your not at the pro level after our lessons, I still play with all of the people I train just so I can see them progress over time. Of course, if someone buys a 30 minute lesson and expects me to play with them until Xbox360 its not going to happen, but in time I always develop a customer relationship with the people I train.
Killer N: Most of the time yes, because after getting a few lessons with me they will be good enough to play with me/play against me.
Speaking of X-box 360, it'll be out fairly soon, and with it Perfect Dark. With all that power, you can expect PD and many other games to become prominent in the tournament scene. Do you guys plan on giving lessons for other popular games in the future?
T2: Every FPS coming out on Xbox360 you can guarantee I will be giving lessons for. ESPECIALLY Perfect Dark if it lives up to its hype. Also I have been hearing rumors of a Halo 3 release in 2006, but that's just forum talk. Console pro is here for the long haul, even after Halo 2 has had its run.
Killer N: Yes, because anything that is gonna be huge in console tournaments is something that I will put a lot of time into. I will absorb everything that is needed to know to win major tournaments in that game. Any first person shooter that is going to be in major tournaments I will make myself perfect at.
If Halo 3 is in fact released on the same day as PS3 (the rumor floating around), there will probably be many people wanting lessons for that as well as Perfect Dark. What do you do if too many people want lessons from you and you don't possibly have time for them all?
T2: I guess I'll just have to make time now wont I. Just kidding, Console Pro will definitely be looking for more pros in the future. Perfect Dark and Halo 3 will be completely different games on a different system. So expect to see some new faces in the pro and tournament scene when that happens. However, at the time, the Console pros consist of KillerN, Sergio, Tupac, Vash, Xena, and myself. Zyos should be giving lessons soon too.
Killer N: I will personally make as much time as I can. If it is getting to that point I will probably have to drop my classes. From there I will have a whole lot more time. I will also make a waiting list just incase I don't have enough time to do all the lessons.
We all know that teamwork is a large part of any team game, and certainly the most important. But when someone is playing by themselves in Free For All or Head to Head, what would do you think is the most important aspect of gameplay?
T2: The more important thing is getting a lesson from Tsquared at www.consolepro.com so you can destroy everyone in Free For Alls. I'm ranked number 3 in the world for a reason.
Ha! As far as individual skills and strategies, what is most important?
T2: The most important is definitely awareness. You have to be aware of everything going on in an 8 man FFA game. When I'm playing I know exactly who's playing bad, where everyone is, and what weapon they have. Same goes for Head to Head.
Killer N: I'd have to agree with T2 there. Awareness is definitely a top priority.
1v1s in general have gotten a bad reputation on Halo. Since there is no equalizer, people have resorted to camping in odd places or hiding until the timer runs out. Do you support this kind of behavior? After all, it's very effective and it does help you get to the top of the leaderboards.
T2: That's not their problem for camping; if you didn't die in the first place then they wouldn't be camping. You need to know the odd camping spots, and how to counter it, which I can show you in the training.
Killer N: Well the first thing you have to worry about is getting that first kill. From there you have total map control. I mean if there is a time limit you have to come up huge. Especially against someone that is up by one kill and camps in a corner with sword waiting for time limit to run out. The thing that I suggest most is winning that first 1v1 fight because that first kill is the most important thing when it comes to head to head. Then you don't have to worry about things like camping.
Something that really determines how well you do in Halo 2, and in any FPS, is your aim. I know that you can tell your pupils how to sweep snipe, to aim for the head, and to lower or raise their sensitivities to suit their playstyles, but how can you truly help them to aim when you can't even see their screen?
T2: Most of the time I can tell how your aiming and what your doing wrong from playing against you. However, for people fortunate enough to have a capture card, they capture the games that we play and then send it to me via AIM. After I review the footage we break down what you were doing wrong kill by kill.
Killer N: I personally run a quick FFA and have the customer describe to me how he shoots, and if the aimer is all over the place etc. I give them my way of shooting and plus tell them what they are doing wrong
Do you charge normal hourly wages when reviewing the footage, or do you do it for free?
T2: I do the footage for free, like I said if someone buys 30 minutes lessons compared to someone who bought 6-7 hours worth, I'm obviously going to put more time into the person who is more serious about the training.
How much do you guys charge, and are there any sort of discounts, benefits for long term members, or group rates?
T2: For individual lessons its $10 for 30 minutes and $20 for 1 hour. There is the team package which at a discounted rate of $16.25 an hour which comes out to $65 per team. We are currently working on long term member discounts along with some other packages. All info can be found at www.consolepro.com.