30 Jul 2021 4:40 PM +00:00

How Shiv Balances Streaming, Esports, and the Apex Legends Servers

Shivam ‘Shiv’ Patel is arguably the biggest Apex Legends streamer in Europe. He’s also a member of the third-best team in the EMEA region, if the ALGS Championship results are anything to go by. Shiv’s legion of followers call him the “solo queue warlord,” and his esports team, the SoloQgoats, have a warcry-esque turkey gobble they perform before every match to get into the zone.

The off-season would usually be peacetime for the warlord, were it not for the hackers, DDOSers, and stream snipers invading the Apex Legends ranked ladder and the tournaments popping up in the ALGS’ stead. The SoloQgoats made a surprise exit from the first weekend of BLAST Titans last weekend, but judging by how much Arenas Shiv has played, that might not have been a bad thing.

Gfinity sat down with Shiv to ask him about the intersection of streaming and esports, what he would improve in Apex Legends, and how hackers affect his competitive performance.

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Read More: “I Don’t Want Apex to Die”: SCARZ’ Mande on the State of Competitive Apex Legends

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How Shiv Balances Streaming, Esports, and the Apex Legends Servers

“The offseason it's been kind of stale, there's definitely not much to do,” Shiv tells Gfinity. “I’ve just been streaming the whole time, nothing really else.”

We chatted before the first round of BLAST Titans, the first official tournament to take place in the ALGS off-season, but he was excited for a new esports tournament to break up the summer monotony.

“It’s something different, something that we don’t usually see,” he said of BLAST’s changes to the traditional ALGS format. Olympus shook things up in the first weekend of action, so much so that Shiv’s SoloQgoats won’t get to see the second weekend's Arenas as they failed to qualify.

SoloQgoats placed 16th and 18th in the two matches played on Olympus – but admittedly their results on World’s Edge weren’t a lot better, only placing in the top ten on one occasion in the ten rounds played. Maybe it was for the best, as Shiv says he has barely touched the mode since its release with Apex Legends Season 9.

“I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve barely played Arenas,” he laughs. “I should probably get some practice in.”

Bangalore, Gibraltar, and Horizon stand in the Apex Legends lobby.
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SoloQgoats

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Whether Shiv practiced or not didn’t matter in the end, as the third-best team in the EMEA region crashed out on the first weekend. While the SoloQgoats scrim pretty hard ahead of ALGS tournaments, their mantra is in their team name – they all solo queue. Solo queuing is the act of jumping into matches on Apex Legends’ ranked ladder without a pre-made team. Being matched with random teammates of varying skill levels adds to the challenge of ranked mode, but it leaves you to wonder if the team would have better synergy if they practised together more regularly. 

“We’re all solo queuers, so I don’t really get the time to practice with my teammates,” Shiv says. “We did do quite a bit of scrimming before one of the tournaments which helped to get the team synergy and game plan together, and get all the small mistakes ironed out, but there's still a lot to go. Solo queueing is maybe not the best thing to do for the team.”

While he emphasises the importance of knuckling down and scrimming before a tournament, solo queuing is a way of life for Shiv and his teammates, Mark ‘Zipeth’ Christensen and Nicholas ‘diffq’ Espersen. It comes across that streaming comes first for Shiv, and participating in esports tournaments is just a bonus, another opportunity to flex his warlord muscles. 

Streaming

“The way I came up in Apex was definitely through streaming,” Shiv says. “Streaming was pretty much the main focus, and Apex is one of the games I started playing. It worked for me, and that's what I've been doing pretty much ever since.”

But it wasn’t always smooth sailing. 

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“I think my mother didn’t really want me to go into streaming,” he explains. “She was more [encouraging me] to go to school and stuff.”

However, after five years of streaming and nearly a million followers on Twitch, it's safe to say his family are well on board with his career path now. A third-place finish in the biggest Apex Legends tournament to date won’t have hurt, either.

Many people of our parents’ generations don’t understand that streaming is a full-time job, either. Shiv streams nearly every day, usually for at least eight hours and often for longer. It’s a career, but he’s careful not to burn himself out with his long hours.

“Rest is very important,” he says. “I definitely can’t play sleep-deprived.”

However, he acknowledges that he could do more to prevent the onset of fatigue and burnout. “I don’t take many days off, which is kind of bad,” he says. “You should be taking days off and getting at least a day off a week to do it justice. It’s always nice to have a day when you’re not playing and you’re just chilling, because if you play too much, your muscles can seize up, and your fingers...” he trails off, flexing his fingers and grimacing.

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Cheaters

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But streaming isn’t just a career for Shiv, it’s also practice for tournaments - which provide additional income and, at the very least, bragging rights. However, as streaming is Shiv’s main source of practice for competitions, the state of Apex ranked may have affected his performance at the highest level.

“[Public lobbies are] a really low level compared to ranked,” he says. “Ranked is where we can actually try and focus our practice, and because of all the issues, all the DDOSing and cheating, all the aimbotters and stuff, it's just a hindrance. It can be a waste of time when you’re playing like that, and all the issues to ranked are definitely a bad thing.”

As one of the major players in Apex Legends streaming, Shiv gets targeted by snipers and hackers who just want the five minutes of fame by being featured on his stream. This can lead to people specifically targeting him by watching his streams and interrupting his games.

“I probably get quite a few people trying to stream snipe or harass me,” he says. “But I guess my reactions probably lead to people wanting to do more of it. Maybe it’s in my best interest to be a bit calmer about it and not give much of a reaction.”

But when hackers, including the now-infamous ‘Tufi,’ specifically target lobbies that Shiv is in, or players run directly at him for a chance to appear in the kill feed on his stream, they’re not only impacting his games, they’re impacting his livelihood. Shiv has already moved to playing in public lobbies due to the cheating rife in ranked mode, and you can forgive him for launching on a tirade when he comes across a stream sniper named ‘Shiv’s Big Toe,’ or ‘Shiv Fangirl.’

Despite the issues with Apex Legends’ servers and anti-cheat services right now, Shiv has stayed loyal to the game. ALGS Champion Mikkel ‘Mande’ Hestbek told Gfinity that he expected some streamers to abandon Apex if the problems persist, but Shiv is staying put for now. 

Despite his frustrations with cheaters and servers, this is the game that he rose to fame playing and – at least for the moment – he's going to stick with it. After all, after a premature exit from BLAST Titans, Shiv has a point to prove. And when the first round of the ALGS Year 2 comes around in September, we can expect the warlord to go on a rampage.

You can watch the (Shiv-less) second weekend of BLAST Titans on the BLAST Twitch channel.