Panda wears many hats. Content creator, official FNCS caster, podcast host, and self-proclaimed Pokémon guru. Fortnite remains one of his main passions, however — and it's clearly visible when we interviewed him about his thoughts on current meta, Competitive play, and his thoughts on the future. Check out our interview with one of Fortnite's most exciting content creators below.
Can you share a bit about your story and how you got into Fortnite, content creation, and professional casting?
Since I was young, I’ve had a passion for gaming.
While I grew up being told, “You can’t do anything with this!” I always kept it a big part of my life. When Fortnite was released, I was beginning to hit a stride in my career in hospitality. My whole career at the time was centered around training people and public speaking. While I was very busy with my day job, I quickly became obsessed with Fortnite. Coming home to game with my friends was the highlight of my day. At the time, I would even stream occasionally and have some fun with viewers.
Now, skip forward a few years, and COVID hits. With us all inside, I figured I’d turn on the stream more consistently. Within a few months, I felt this urge to take a chance and expand. So, I hired a consultant in BraveEdits (now CEO of MOVMNT Digital) and got to work. Over that next year, I rapidly grew, became a podcast co-host, started casting, and even got onto the main broadcast for the game I loved so much, Fortnite.
What was your path to becoming a successful content creator? How did you start to build momentum?
The key to success is hard work and surrounding yourself with the right people. While I streamed from time to time, I didn’t really see success until I brought on BraveEdits to help. From there, I built stronger content and connected with people like MonsterDface to become the esports personality known as “Panda.”
You’re on the pulse of what’s happening with Fortnite, especially as a co-host of The Fortnite Podcast. Can you share some of the biggest conversations or topics happening within the Fortnite community at the moment?
The biggest conversations in Fortnite right now are surrounding the future of Competitive. With content viewership and streams at a bit of a low point, the community (myself included) is searching for ways to improve the overall appeal of Competitive Fortnite. The addition of Zero Build has been another hot topic in the scene as well. With it being such a growing interest, I feel like Fortnite will continue to focus more energy on it.
Within Competitive, Fortnite announced that the new season would not have an FNCS or Solo Cash Cup, instead opting for a series of new Divisional Cups kicking off on 9/24. Why do you think these changes were made, and what does that mean for Fortnite Competitive going forward?
Personally, I love the Divisional Cup formats. It feels like we are heading closer and closer to a proper ranking system in Fortnite. Now, while we don’t have a traditional FNCS, we do have the Invitational. With this being the first in-person event since World Cup, it makes perfect sense why they are focusing all their attention on that instead of hosting a standard FNCS as well. While it feels like a heavily changed season for Competitive Fortnite, in my opinion, it feels like a test for the future. Hopefully, the community enjoys this, and we see positive results from it.
What are your impressions of Season 4, and what impacts do the wider changes from the season have on the landscape of the game, for both casual and competitive players?
Season 4 has been an interesting season for me. The Battle Pass is one of my favorites of all time. However, we continue to see less and less item-focused mobility within the loot pool and more focus on the natural mobility built into the map. This causes players to focus on their surroundings to rotate in standard Competitive lobbies.
While this can have an adverse effect on the Standard BR, Zero Build has hit a new peak. With this being said, I feel like Fortnite is trying to find balance on the map/loot pool between the two separate modes. Hard to add much more with the season just starting, but I’m sure we will continue to see the game evolve over time.
Who are some of the most exciting players in the game right now, and why?
Malibuca and Merstach. This powerhouse EU duo has been the community-chosen MVP of Chapter 3. While they haven’t won an FNCS yet, their hard work and consistency show that they are here for the top spot.
Another team that I’m focused on heading into the Invitational is the newly reunited Muz and Looter. Looter had qualified for the Invitational but his teammate Volx has since been banned due to a mishap late last season. Muz and Looter have played together in the past, which is what makes this team so interesting to me. Knowing their potential, I believe they can be a Top 10 team in November.
What do you hope to see added or changed for the future of Fortnite? What are you excited to see evolve?
This is the loaded question on everyone's mind in the Competitive scene. What could be done to make comp better for everyone (player, viewer, community)? While there is so much that could lead to accelerated success for the game, the main thing I want to see evolve is the level of commitment to Competitive Fortnite.
While Fortnite uses a TON of resources to make comp great, I think there is still more work to be done to make it a top-level esport. From more content, comp-focused marketing, and in-game recognition alone, we could see a huge spike in interest for competitive. While I could go on all day about this topic, I know that Fortnite genuinely wants what is best for everyone. Hopefully, we get to see more of that over the next year.
As a content creator close to the game, what are some of the best ways for casual players to improve their game and try their hand at more competitive play?
My best advice for players looking to improve is this: Play with a purpose. A lot of players log TONS of hours into the game, but they are mindless hours. Use the time you have in-game effectively to grow. For example, you want a creator/pro to showcase a new build style or mechanic in the game. Next time you log in, focus your time on building up that mechanic for yourself. Every Fortnite session, look to improve in some way, shape, or form. If you aren’t sure how, don’t worry. Watch creators like Reisshub or Somebodysgun to help dive into the mind of the pros.
Any other exciting info or news you’d like to share with us?
While I can say much yet, I’m working on a few new projects that are going to be MASSIVE. One of them is an in-person podcast revolving around esports. Stay tuned to Twitter for all the updates coming before the end of the year.