Haukur Freyr Hafsteinsson became European champion in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft 3v3 in Warsaw, Poland, last weekend along with two of his partners from Italy and Croatia.
They earned a prize of ISK 1.4 million (USD 12,000, EUR 8,000) and the championship organizers paid for their flights and accommodation, Morgunbladid reports.
“We competed for about ten hours a day, Saturday and Sunday, during which we had to stay focused all the time, which can be fairly nerve-wracking when there’s a huge crowd watching,” Hafsteinsson said.
“I’m in fact the only Icelandic player who has gotten this far,” he added. Hafsteinsson is a former Icelandic champion in ballroom dancing and stated the experience from being on stage helped him deal with the stress of playing in front of an audience.
Contestants compete in a fantasy world where each player has his or her own character. Players team up and then try to conquer other teams. Coordination and team unity is key.
In the competition, players are given characters who are all at a similar level of strength. There are different classifications of characters who play with weapons or sorcery.
“My character is the sorcerer Resto Shaman. I use healing powers to aid my team and help us stay alive. I have to know which magic to use and when to use it,” he described. “I can also use magic to stop the enemy and it is important to use it right.”
As European champions, Hafsteinsson and his partners have earned the right to compete in the World of Warcraft World Championship in Los Angeles in October. They could win ISK 4 million (USD 35,000, EUR 24,000).
World of Warcraft has two million players in Europe alone and 11.6 million worldwide. Part of the game is to develop a character and it can take some time before it reaches the highest level of strength.