Team SoloMid's Gonzalo 'ZeRo' Barrios has been a force in the Super Smash Bros community for years now - ever since Brawl, he's been one to watch, and Smash 4 has been no exception to that rule. After a record-setting run of consecutive tournament victories, he was sidelined by injury, but determined to prove he's still up to snuff compared to his peers.
He's on track to do just that after a singles and doubles victory at KTAR this past weekend. We caught up with ZeRo to discuss the state of the Smash 4 community, as well as his new classes that he's offering in conjunction with LVLUP Dojo.
You've previously told us that the field is constantly improving in Smash 4. Do you still feel that everyone is still leveling up, or have things started to develop into a hierarchy as far as skill level goes, like Melee?
The level and intensity have gone up quite a lot. Everyone is perfecting their tricks and finding new ones, and people are keeping aces in their sleeves all the time now. It gets harder and harder for sure and in a game with 50+ characters, it's definitely a big deal to know everything relevant to know.
With rumors of a Switch port flying around, what are the biggest things you'd like to see improved in the enhanced port? Any characters you feel are missing?
I actually think the game is just great now. I really enjoy it and I'm not entirely sure how you can make it even better. I'd rather have the current patch stay.
In a perfect world, what would you change about the Smash 4 scene?
I'd say interactions with fans/followers both in person and online. Things get out of hand really quick, and it can be very hard sometimes. I'd like for things to be a bit different there.
Since you've returned from your injury, your results have been good, but not 1st place all the time like they were. What would you say is the biggest reason for that?
I had to play a lot of catch up and stuff from being gone for so long and months without playing takes a hit on you. I've been busting my ass training ever since then, and it's paying off recently which makes me happy. I'll continue practicing hard!
What would you say is the biggest reason you changed from Sheik to Cloud?
Sheik is just uncomfortable for me to use a lot of the time. The range and needle nerf along with grab rewards just makes me play her in a way that I don't feel as comfortable. Cloud is really comfortable and powerful too.
Your approach to Smash 4 content has been based more on YouTube and less on streaming like Nairo has. From the business end of it, then: what were the most important lessons you've learned from doing so? And what issues have you been getting with YouTube's sometimes harsh monetization policies?
I just enjoy YouTube more than twitch stuff in the long run. Much more comfortable with making videos than live content.
The biggest thing I learned was discipline and the importance for scheduling stuff. YouTube is all about consistency, innovation and staying on schedule. That takes discipline in your lifestyle. That's the biggest thing I've taken from the whole experience.
Sometimes the whole strike system and copyright stuff can be very unfair. Legit videos get flagged all the time and creators suffer a lot from it. It's not perfect and I think it should be redesigned to protect creators more.
What could Nintendo do in 2017 that would make life better for Smashers?
Definitely a professional circuit. We need a professional competitive structure with a proper season and playoffs and I also think the player compensation and prizes should go up a lot more, that way we'd see more full time smash players and the professional scene would be more established.
What do you plan to cover in your LVLUP Dojo courses that Smashers can't learn elsewhere?
Most of the things people can access nowadays are specific in game stuff. But performing well is more than just that. There's important outside of the game factors that can help a lot. My course offers just that.
How much value do you think a Smasher would get from these courses as compared to 1 on 1 tutoring?
The difference is the production. I worked with a great staff to make this professional and unique. Nothing else on the market delivers what we have here right now. It's different. It covers an angle that's not being covered right now, which is important.