Coach Corner: Romail Khan
Season Zero of our Collegiate Fortnite League was successful entirely because of our players and coaches. They signed up for a platform they’d probably never heard of, showed up in the preseason, and kept showing up every week. We appreciate their dedication and their talent, so we wanted to get to know some of our community on a more personal level.
Next up: Romail Khan from Florida State University, better known as 'Aroma'.
Romail, thank you for joining us! Could you tell me a little bit about where you are from?
I'm originally from Karachi, Pakistan and I moved to the United States about 10 years ago.
Why did your family decide to move to the United States?
We already had some family here and they wanted us to come over. My dad saw that as an opportunity for us to get better education and quality of life.
Can you tell me about the gaming club at FSU?
So the club consists of many games, not just Fortnite. It truly feels like a community rather than your typical club. I would say almost everybody knows each other regardless of what games you play. So across these multiple games we have officers, game managers and all sorts of positions. But really the best way to put it, is to explain how it feels more like a community.
Also due to the recent COVID situation the school has been focusing more on esports rather than sports because they are canceled at the moment. So right now we're actually in talks of hosting a community game night for Fortnite. Where everybody in the seminal FSU community, including the athletes, can come and play with each other and even have broadcasted.
What a great idea to bring together the community when they can’t actually interact in person. How did you get your role as a coach on the Fortnite team at Florida State University’s (FSU) gaming club?
When I first joined FSU, they were holding interviews for the position. This happened to be when Fortnite was the biggest game out there, literally everyone was playing it. I enjoyed playing the game and I felt like I'm good enough to be in that position. So I applied and actually got the position!
Congratulations, that’s very impressive to be holding this position in your freshman year. How has the COVID-19 situation affected your teams?
So one of the players has to play on console. He's not too comfortable using it and would rather prefer a computer, but his current computer is broken. He’s ordered a part for it that is now taking forever to get to him because of the delays in shipping. So the whole situation has had quite an effect.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I imagine there's a huge difference between playing controller and playing with a keyboard and mouse?
Yes. Also, the monitor refresh rate and stuff like that. Obviously using a computer will give you an advantage over a console player in that sense.
Where did you get your start in gaming?
So I've been playing video games since I was little. I used to play arcade style games, like King of Fighters and some Spiderman games growing up. But then I started playing FPS games when I moved to the United States. And I absolutely loved the FPS genre, so I started playing those more and getting kind of good at them. Finally, I got my computer a few years back and actually started competing in video games at that time. It was at that point when I realized I really want to step into this field.
I noticed in the PlayVS Discord that you've had some serious success playing Valorant, can you tell us a bit about your experience with that game thus far?
I've had an amazing experience playing Valorant. I was able to take my skills from CSGO and or Fortnite and was able to do well. Currently, I'm Immortal 3 and its really fun playing against good players from other games as well as streamers. I'm really hyped about the official release, most game breaking bugs and glitches will be fixed by then hopefully and more maps will be released. I'm considering playing this game competitively and I can't wait to see how far I go.
From a consumer standpoint, what are your favorite games to watch?
My favorite game to watch would be either CS:GO or Fortnite.
Do you have a favorite team?
Not really, no. I enjoy watching the best players play in order to try and learn from them. See what specific strategies they are using and what our teams can emulate in their own matches.
What kind of training do your teams go through either when trying to practice generally or imitate what they see a professional do?
Within Fortnite, they will do movement training, aim training, building, etc. Then they’ll play against each other in an attempt to improve together.
Even before a match, they will play solo or together while trying to discuss their gameplan. They try and go into every match as ready as they can be.
That makes sense, the same way you wouldn’t want to go into a test without studying.
Speaking of academics, what are you studying at FSU?
I'm studying Computer Science, which has definitely been really fun for me. I especially love the teachers. They are extremely willing to help you out a lot when you're struggling and I love the theory, logic puzzles and programming aspect of it.
Did you have any coding experience going into FSU?
I did code a few games by following tutorials and other educational tools. So I had some knowledge of programming.
When did all that start?
Right before high school. I just have too much free time and I enjoyed playing video games, so I thought to myself, why not start learning how to make them?
Who is someone you admire in the professional gaming community?
I admire a lot of people such as Shroud and Nadeshot. They have built communities around gaming and brought together a ton of people. That’s what I think is really amazing in this field and why I look up to them.
Finally, is there someone or some group of people that you’d like to shoutout that helped you get to where you are?
I would shout out the people in the gaming club at FSU for helping me out. Setting me up to succeed in this club and having me be part of this community from day one. They're amazing people and are all very supportive.
As always, we appreciate players and coaches taking the time to talk with us about their experiences in life and esports. Keep an eye on this space for more conversations with the people who make our Collegiate Fortnite League special.