I’m on the bus, on my way to my day job. The time is 7:10 AM, it is dark outside because I live in the Nordic, and I have another 15 minutes until I arrive at my stop. I look out of the window, seeing the sun rising amidst the trees flashing by. Suddenly, I zone out. I think about my life. About my dreams. About where I am right now and where I want to be. About everything I want to accomplish. And most of the time that’s where it stops for me. Dreams remain just that, dreams. It is safe to say I am not the only one who have experienced this. It can sometimes be hard, frightening, and anxious to step outside of your comfort zone and take a step toward your dreams, even if you know that deep down you want to do it.
But what if we jumped into the arms of the unknown and went for our biggest dream?
The time is around 9 AM. Matthew washes his face, brushes his teeth, and gets dressed. It is breakfast time. Accompanied by a coffee he chills for half an hour, catching up on social media, seeing if there are any messages he needs to respond to. While other people would go to work, Matthew does some exercise for between half an hour and an hour, which is followed by an hour walk, getting a dose of fresh air. After arriving back home, it is time for food and Quake. Duel practice, watching VODs, maybe even playing an official game. 7 PM is dinner, followed by more Quake practice, followed by a shower and finally it is time to hit the hay, never later than 1 AM. What we just read, is a very normal day in the life of Matthew Jaworski, known in the Quake scene as Lure, a 30-year-old Australian who moved to Poland in hopes of finding a more suitable home to pursue his dream.
Matthew originally started off playing RTS-games (Real-Time Strategy) such as Dune 2000 and StarCraft 2. It wasn’t until late 2014 that he came across Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, to which he found a new interest for. In 2015, Matthew was approached by some of his friends who wanted him to join them for a LAN event. He eventually agreed, and to his surprise, they won the entire tournament.
“I guess this sparked my drive to play competitively, but unfortunately most of the team didn’t want to stick together after the event and it was hard at the time to find people to make a team with.”
As a result of the difficulty finding a new squad to compete with, Matthew spent less and less hours playing the game, and eventually he would stop entirely. One day, he stumbled across the ESL Classics video of Rapha vs. Cooller on DM6 in Quake Live, and it made him very happy knowing there was a 1v1 game that had a competitive scene. Having gone through all the trouble of finding reliable teammates to play with in Counter-Strike, Lure’s interest for Quake started overtaking it. He eventually downloaded Quake Live, and played it on and off for about six months. The scene in Australia wasn’t very healthy though, so Lure had a hard time finding motivation to grind the game. “I did play regularly though”, he says. Not long into playing Quake Live, Quake Champions was announced, and suddenly something sparked in Matthew. A new game, a new opportunity… There was no way he was going to miss out on this chance.
The year is 2017, and at an event called PAX in Melbourne there was a showmatch between two of the country’s top players: dandaking and steej. Current Quake Pro League-player ZenAku was also present doing some booth work while the event was run by a mickzerofive. Matthew met all of them and had a great time, further fuelling the fire in him to start competing for real. Going into 2018, Lure was eagerly awaiting the next opportunity to compete in a high tier environment, and that opportunity would soon arrive.
2018 had come, and an event called BAM10 announced they were boasting a Quake Champions tournament. This was Matthew’s chance to show what he was capable of, and he decided to attend. After finishing 3rd in duel and 3rd in 2v2 under the team Nakama in which he played together with his friend Tony, Matthew understood he had a chance to become one of the top names in Australia. In September of 2018, there was an event called Melbourne Esports Open where Quake Champions was going to be played for two days. Matthew attended, and lo and behold, he finished 1st place which gave him a qualification spot for the 2v2 DreamHack Qualifiers at PAX 2019. The player finishing 2nd, “Crunchy”, also qualified and the two started playing together to practice for the qualifiers. Not long after they were both picked up by an organisation called Avant Garde, which was one of the leading organisations in Australia. Everything seemed to be smooth sailing from here on, right?
Lure playing Quake at BAM10 in 2018
Only a single day before the event, Crunchy was unable to attend the PAX 2019 DreamHack qualifier due to medical reasons. Instead, Avant and Lure decided to fly another player as a replacement to the event with him: “foedanny”. Eventually they finished 4th at the event, but Lure wasn’t disappointed with their performance. “We played better than expected considering the circumstances”.
The 4th place finish at PAX motivated them to play more to ensure a better performance at future competitions, and sure enough, the chance to compete in the highest possible tier was now announced to the world in form of Quake Pro League. However, Lure mentions he is not happy with how the situation turned out.
“Of course, Australia wasn't involved in any way, shape or form. Our only resort was to play on NA servers. This really did a lot of damage to the scene and a lot of people weren't putting in the hours and didn't really care.”
In early 2019, Lure attended an event called BAM11 under Avant together with “Danny” and they had great success. They finished 1st place for 2v2, and in Duel Matthew finished 4th while his teammate finished 1st.
A couple of months after, a LAN called QC Bash LAN was announced with a 10,000 AU$ prize pool which would happen in August the same year. Two key people who made the event possible are mentioned by Lure:
“Vu (Kuachi) and Mick (Mickzerofive) were the key organizers and Vu funded the entire thing which is completely amazing on his behalf. It was the best event I've been too hands down. I think overall QC Bash was an event I'll never forget, we managed to get over 50 duelers in 3 different divisions and it’s honestly amazing.”
Sadly, after the unforgettable experience that was QC Bash LAN, the OCE Quake scene was standing in the beginning of a long period of no competition. With Quake Pro League knocking on the door but with slim chances of qualifying due to the massive ping disadvantages, Lure questioned the future of his competitive Quaker career.
QC Bash LAN. Lure can be seen on the lowest row, 3rd from the left
The year is 2019. With the downfall of the Australian scene, something needed to be done in order to continue the competitive road. Matthew had a passion for Quake and wasn’t going to let it go so easily. Matthew describes his life during this time as “chill, full time work but nothing crazy”, all the while playing Quake on the side. Because of the Quake situation in Australia, Lure started talking to ZenAku about a potential move to Europe in hopes of improving their chances of qualifying for Quake Pro League. Poland was the country they both had an eye on, and since Matthew had a Polish background, he thought it would be nice to visit the country and absorb some culture. The idea wasn’t always met with happy faces however, but the one person who genuinely thought it was a good idea was indeed ZenAku. It was at this time that they both took an enormous step into the unknown and decided to actually make the move. The process before they moved is described by Lure as straight forward, but because they had this plan last minute, they had to rush to get passports and visas done. Thankfully, the process wasn’t too bad and before they knew it, they had purchased a one-way ticket to Poland. They were going to set foot on their new turf only 19 days into 2020.
Matthew describes ones of the biggest challenges with the moving process was moving the PCs and monitors. For those who have ever carried around any of these two, they know it is quite heavy. The difficult process wasn’t over there either since prior to moving, Matthew had accidentally told their host in Poland the wrong arrival date, so Lure and ZenAku had to spend a night in a hotel after arriving at 3 in the morning. Furthermore, the new atmosphere took a toll on Matthew, who describes the feeling of arriving in a completely new country as daunting.
“For me personally it was a pretty big eye opener, a completely different atmosphere compared to Australia. I wasn’t feeling super comfortable.”
But with time, Lure managed to overcome these feelings, and after some time he settled quite nicely in Europe. A new chapter in his life had started, and with that, new habits. Matthew changed his diet, started eating healthier and started exercising more. He says ZenAku helped him on that part, since he was very acquainted with a healthy diet.
Initially, Lure and ZenAku lived together for 9 months and in May of 2020 ZenAku qualified for QPL. Lure however, failed to follow his partner, attending several EU QPL Challenger weeks but never making it further than the semi-final.
9 months after moving in together, ZenAku moved elsewhere, closer to Av3k, leaving Lure alone in his “new” house. In 2021, Lure continued his road to the higher ranks, but with the uprising of many young players, the competition in Europe kept him from making it further than Challengers. Looking back at the move to Poland, Matthew says he understands why some people have a hard time understanding the gain from moving to the other side of earth to play a video game.
“A lot of people would think it's a waste of time and money doing what I did but it's whatever, take some risks and gain something from the whole experience.”
But for Lure the move was necessary. Perhaps the most important factor that led him to make the decision, was something that happened 3 years prior, back in Australia…
In December of 2016, Matthew was involved in a car accident where his car rolled off the side of a mountain. He says he was extremely lucky to survive but did not come out unharmed. He suffered neck damage, spine damage, kidney damage and he ruptured his discs in his lower back. After the accident, Matthew had to spend 3-4 days in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at the hospital and from then on, the process of getting better was going to be very long. The process started with having to do physio three times a week for three years, then transitioning into physio 1-2 times a week and doing pilates as an addition.
Mentally, the recovery process took a toll on Matthew, who had just finished his engineering studies for his specific trade as well as being 6 years into his career as a Refrigeration Mechanic engineer/technician and in Electro Technology.
“It was rough, something you worked hard for just got taken away so quickly but it's something I had to deal with.”
A picture of Matthew's car after the accident
In the light of recovery, Matthew tried returning to work duties, but eventually had to quit entirely. He was now unable to do the work he had done without any problem before the accident, because the pain proved to be too much since his job was very labour intensive. Matthew was not able to do certain jobs individually, time had to be taken off work if pain got too much and all the doctor and physio appointments became a stick in the wheel for Matthew’s continued career. Eventually, it all caught up to him. His body simply didn’t have any time to recover while working, and together with his employer, Matthew came to an agreement that the best thing both mentally and physically was to quit. At the time, Matthew describes the job as very stressful, with long hours, no free weekends, having to be on call 24/7, which didn’t leave much room for anything else in life. “A part of me was glad but also a part of me felt like I had wasted my time.” he says thinking back on his departure from work.
It has become clear to Matthew in recent years that this whole situation changed his view of life a lot. Continuing after the accident, he reveals he became more careful, paid attention to the little things and felt like he wanted to do what he really wanted to do. While he does describe it as “sort of a bummer” that he had to start over from scratch again, he also reveals he started appreciating life in a completely different way.
It has now been almost two years since Lure took perhaps the biggest chance in his life by moving across the earth to pursue his dream. He still regularly competes in Quake, but his dream of qualifying for QPL has not yet been fulfilled. He still expresses his love for the game whenever we talk about it and wishes for Quake to get bigger as an esport.
“In another reality I'd dream of Quake being as big as Dota or something, having 3-4 LANs a year, a good online tournament and league structure and then a massive tournament at the end of the year, the TI of Quake. Unfortunately, this will never happen but it's okay to dream.”
Matthew explains he thinks more people would find motivation to grind the game if there were more proper tournaments and leagues for people outside of Quake Pro League.
“There's a lot of very very good European and American players that I feel don't get the opportunity to show what they can really do.”
Finding an income in Poland has proved to be a real challenge for Lure, who has been living mostly from savings for nearly two years now. Getting a Polish passport has been a hard process and because of the pandemic the response times from authorities have been up to several months. Furthermore, the damage to his body caused by the accident five years ago still makes its appearance sometimes and effects his life as well as ability to do certain jobs. Money is running low, and if he can’t find an income soon, he might have to move back to Australia. But Lure keeps his head high and doesn’t give up. He says that he is still very happy he moved here to take the opportunity. If something, it has still been a big step for him: Proof that he had the courage to do something that most people wouldn’t dare to pull off.
Moving back to Australia would have both ups and downs, he says. He would be able to see his friends and family again, be able to feel like home again. The biggest and most obvious downside to returning would in his opinion be that he would probably not play so much Quake, if any Quake at all, because the OCE scene isn’t as big as it is in Europe.
“There will obviously be some small cups every now and then but nothing that you'd practice weeks and weeks for. “
When asked what he would do if he had to return, Matthew says he still doesn’t know for sure, and that it’s something he won’t know for sure until faced with. “I have some ideas” he reveals. Lure’s appreciation for Australia is prominent but has flaws when it comes to esports.
“Australia is a fantastic place to live, but if you want to dedicate yourself to esports or anything to do with gaming, it's hard. There's just no real support from any company for any game, and it makes it hard to break through.”
While the biggest games like CS:GO have direct qualifies to have an opportunity to compete in major tournaments overseas, Quake is missing that form of regional support. And with the geographic location of Australia, it makes it hard reach the top in Quake, which without a doubt currently resides in Quake Pro League.
Quake is a rough game, with every other esport getting the spotlight I feel a lot of people don't even know of or forget how intense and brutal 1v1 in Quake can be. For anyone that's still a regular dueler, low or high skill, good on you. Not a lot of people know how difficult this game is to play, which is why I think the player base is so low, it's just too hard. But if you're a dueler, TDM player or whatever, thank you for playing and thank you for contributing to the scene. Whatever the future holds for Quake is uncertain, but for any competitive player who is a dueler or TDM player and maybe in a few years have to/want to venture to another game, playing Quake will help you immensely.
Mentally though this game is very taxing. We'll use CSGO for an example here, if you're having a bad day in a tournament or just not playing well in general, or you're down 6 rounds, you have 5 team mates who can lift your spirit up, tap you on the shoulder and be like "hey man it'll be cool, we got this." In Quake, if you're down 6 frags you really need to dig deep and almost convince yourself it'll be fine, it's rough but that's the game. And you can really start to appreciate every pro/top player because it's impressive what they can pull out.
I don't have much more to say, I'd really love for this game to keep going because it's honestly the best esport to watch hands down, and every player puts their heart and soul when it comes to tournaments and it's amazing to see. I'd like to say a special thank you to Jakob from DBE, even though he's new to the scene I think he's helped a lot to boost the competitive drive with the tournaments he's doing, so from me and everyone else in the Quake community, thank you.
Shoutout to Dandaking, Steej for helping me a lot when I first started and for just being chads, and shoutout to Stevo, Hazey, Vu, Tony, Mick, Egge and Zenaku for just being lads. And a big thank you to Estoty too.
One thing that Lure said when we talked over Discord really stuck to me. When we talked about the move to Poland he said:
“…but I did cos fuck it why not, money comes and goes man, if I didn't do what I'm doing now it's what I would want to be doing anyway.”
I feel like this is something many people would say, but very few would live up to. Matthew did it though! He said “Fuck it”, sold everything he had and left the safety of his home country behind. How many people can actually say they have done that? Most of us want to have a safe place to always return to, a stable ground so to say. Sure, we can try new things, but most of want to return to safety occasionally to recharge our energy. I cannot even imagine how it is to arrive in a completely new country where you don’t know anyone and start life anew. For me it’s like something out of a movie or something, and that’s why I find his story so intriguing.
His incredible humbleness and ability to appreciate even the smallest things in life is amazing. It’s how we should all aspire to think. But that sounds so stupid to say, because it’s not that easy. Lure reveals the accident made him realize that he wanted to focus on his passion, and had he not been involved in that car crash in 2016, he would probably still be working and living a “normal” life. Perhaps that’s what we need to start truly appreciating the small things in life. Not necessarily a car accident, but something that really wakes us up, something that makes us realize we only have one life and should take hold of every moment. Maybe a death of a loved one, a change of something we took for granted, a hard break-up with our partner...
Needless to say, I really enjoyed writing this article, talking to Lure about his life and hearing his story. My transition to Quake from Counter-Strike was a big investment of both time and money, and when I hear Matthew’s story it fuels me to continue. To make a mark in the scene, to do something I can remember for the rest of my life. Because Matthew certainly has done just that. Even if he will eventually be forced to move back to Australia, this will be a chapter in his life that he will never, ever forget.
I really wish I can meet Matthew in real life at some point. Thanks Matthew for letting me write this article about you.
By Jakob "DEFENSE" Jansson