Illini Esports has continued to grow its loyal membership year after year. As the vision of the organization begins to shift towards a more communal, casual atmosphere, members are encouraged to broaden their horizons and not be afraid to try out new games or take on a new role within the group. Exemplifying that mission is Seth “Skoss” Kossoff, a former competitive Rainbow Six Siege player turned Minecraft Moderator. Now a Junior at UIUC studying Engineering Physics, Skoss began Rainbow Six Siege back in early 2018, however, he took a hiatus because none of his friends had the game at the time. After discovering Illini Esports in 2019, he became more involved in the competitive scene, learning operators such as Nomad, Flores, Kaid, and Mute.
While talking with Skoss, he told me about his experiences with his first ever tournament for Illini Esports, showcasing the reality of nerves in any form of competition. “For the first event I took part in I made sure to not let my nerves get the better of me”, he said. “I remember thinking how this match would be the same as any other game and that I just needed
to support my team throughout it. Beforehand, I of course practiced, but Siege can be very fatiguing if focused on for too long at once, so I gave myself a much-needed break before the match.”
After 2 years of competitive play with Rainbow Six, Skoss decided to go back to the game that introduced him to Illini Esports: Minecraft. Like for many players, competitive play mentally became taxing to Skoss. While he won’t forget the experiences of playing on an organized team and representing his school, Skoss picked Minecraft back up again to experience the casual side of video gaming that Illini Esports has branched out into. “Rainbow Six Siege and Minecraft are very different games so I don’t think any of my skills transferred over”, Skoss told me, “but it is always nice to have a few games that are drastically different from each other that you are playing at the same time.” The balance between competitive and casual gameplay has been key to Skoss’s continued interest in Rainbow Six and Minecraft. The diversity between the two games helps avoid burnout and keeps the feeling of each game fresh.
What attracted Skoss to Minecraft was the building. The freedom of designing projects and creating something from scratch allows Skoss to employ a part of his mind that wasn’t utilized as often as in Rainbow Six Siege. He was brought on as a Worldbuilder back in late 2020 to help with the construction of the campus on a previous world and has played a big role in the community ever since. Seeing how impactful Minecraft is to supporting and building a community, Skoss applied for a moderator position for Minecraft. He figured that if he was as active as he is, he should look to use that activity in a more positive manner and help build the community and encourage more players to participate.
Many people have come and gone from the Minecraft community. YouTubers become inactive and switch to a different audience and servers once overflowing with players have started to dwindle or shut down, yet this does not phase Skoss. To him, “Different modpacks, server ideas, and challenges you can put on yourself can always make the game feel like a breath of nostalgia and childhood amidst the evolving industry of video games.”
Knowing Skoss’s stance on Minecraft and its ability to evolve, I inquired about the evolution of the community itself and what the plans are for its future in Illini Esports. “The plan for the Minecraft Community in IE is to make it accessible for everybody and a casual environment where nobody feels threatened to do more than they don’t want to. I know tons of people look for many different things so we plan on figuring out ways to get what those people want into the server but sometimes it can be a challenge.” On top of Vanilla Minecraft, the server has tried to incorporate mods, faction gameplay, roleplaying modes, PvP, large-scale build projects, and more. One thing will never change, however, and that is the energy that Skoss and the rest of the Minecraft community bring to a time-honoured game.
Thanks again to Skoss for taking the time to interview with Illini Esports and share some of his experiences with the community! To learn more about our other fantastic players and the teams they play on, be sure to follow our Twitter and Instagram pages and get the most up-to-date content. If you are interested in joining the community and receiving live competitive reports as they happen, be sure to join our Discord at https://discord.gg/illiniesports. We hope to see you there!
Ryan “Swovine” Lawless