News Article

Interview with riolu

He's known as the best all round player in Trackmania, with being at the top level in all of the games. We asked riolu about all the different styles, favorite style, Gamers Assembly, Trackmania Turbo, ZrT Cup #4 and TMX Driving Academy.

Let's see what he has to say!

Hello riolu! Glad you took your time to do this interview with us. Can you introduce yourself?

Hello earthlings and fellow memers! As you might've guessed, I'm riolu. With my 21 years of existence I already consider myself as an old and wise man. Currently, I'm studying information and communication science in Dortmund, which is in the western part of Germany.

About myself as a TrackMania player, I'm playing this weird game since April 2008. I've had a spinoff in TrackMania Original when I was younger, but that was only a short phase and I don't really consider that as my start into my TrackMania "career" at all. Everything started when I bought my first "gaming" laptop. I was looking for dank racing games and found TrackMania Nations Forever, which I got addicted to almost instantly.

Ever since then, I'm playing pretty much non-stop without any major breaks (except for holidays, exam phases, stuff like that). Can't believe I'm still here after more than eight and a half years!

Picture of riolu


Name: Burim "riolu" Fejza

Age: 21

Team: EURONICS Gaming

Country: Germany

Used TM perspective: Cam 2

Controlling device: xBox 360 Pad

In the introduction of you, I called you the best all-round player in the game. Why haven't you, like most other players, focussed on one style and environment?

First of all, thanks for this compliment! Honestly, the thing which makes TrackMania special is its diversity. Focussing on just one environment or just one style for me is just a waste, since you don't get to know the other awesome sides of the game. Since I'm playing this game, I always enjoyed playing and mastering the different environments, especially when I bought TMUF about one month after having discovered TMNF.

Indeed many players prefer to focus on one environment and/or style and there are certain people who became incredibly good at what they're doing in their "home" environment - and that's something I can understand as well since not everyone likes every environment. It's a matter of taste, obviously.

To come back to why I personally developed myself as an allround player: I always felt the urge to become good at everything I do. You gotta know I'm a little perfectionist. Same applies to video games, and in this case to TrackMania - I just couldn't stand being bad at something, especially not when I was younger and when I actually had the time and motivation to learn and master an environment. After having wasted a whopping 8 years on playing this game, I simply know all the environments by heart, even though I'm still honestly shit at Stadium.

As being a player that plays every environment and style, I got to ask you: What is the best, and why?

Haha, I knew this one was going to come. People ask me this kind of question rather often and I always struggle to find a suitable answer on this.

In all honesty, I like all the environments - as long as the map is good. At this point of time however, I prefer the TM2 environments over the TMUF environments, simply due to the fact that I kinda "overplayed" the TMUF environments and I've gotten to a point where I reached my limits. Playing TMUF usually results in frustration for me, which is also a reason why I try to avoid the game nowadays.

Canyon and Valley are super chill and fun environments, so I prefer to hang out there for the moment, let it be casually or competitively.

In 2015 you showed how dominant you are at the styles of Valley and Canyon, by winning both styles in Gamers Assembly. This is something that nobody has done before or after. How did it feel, and how is it possible to win two separate events at once?

My victories in Poitiers, France at the Gamers Assembly in 2015 have truly been an awesome experience, which I will always keep in my heart. It was my very first LAN attendance, and even though I've been considered the favorite (even by my opponents), I went into the whole competition without any big expectations. Since I didn't know how I would perform in offline events under pressure, it could've gone either way - luckily it went very well for me with myself winning both Canyon and Valley, which is something noone ever achieved in the history of the Gamers Assembly.

Winning the Valley tournament in day 1 was already worth the trip. I considered Valley as the easier environment for me, which meant that Canyon would be a little closer - and that's exactly what ended up being the case. My biggest opponent Laurens fought incredibly hard and the battle was lit up until the ending. Taking the Canyon tournament as well just made everything perfect. Knowing that I can also perform well under different circumstances (I even played on my shitty ass laptop instead of my PC which I didn't want to carry 1000km from home to GA), my self-confidence and self-awareness raised even more.

In 2016 Trackmania Turbo was released, and it brought a lot of attention and new followers to your twitch channel. Can you give us your view on the game? What is the best parts of it, and what is missing?

TrackMania Turbo has been a curse and a blessing at the same time. While Turbo brought a lot of attention to my Youtube and Twitch channels, which I'm really thankful about, it wasn't really the game the community expected to come. Many missing features and an overall slacking game experience made this game a huge disappointment to many TM veterans unfortunately. Things and features, which have been vital parts of previous TrackMania titles, have suddenly gone missing for the sake of having a beginner-friendly and easy game especially oriented towards console players. The idea of porting Trackmania to consoles was definitely worth a shot, the way it has been made (especially for PC) leaves a lot to be desired though.

The hype around the game has diminished a long time ago already. Whilst Turbo was quite a success among many players in the beginning, the public interest quickly decreased once everyone realized how much the game is missing. Almost no customization, a limited editor, several severe bugs, a rather bad online mode with almost no customization options either were often mentioned negative aspects of the game.

Despite all the negative stuff however, there are some positive aspects about the game. Again to mention the huge success it brought for me personally: without Turbo, I probably wouldn't have ended up becoming partnered on Twitch. Other personal and private things also happened just thanks to Turbo.

Very positive is the solo campaign. The tracks are challenging and maintain a fair difficulty for most of the part and grinding out the regular campaign to unlock Super Solo, which is probably the best idea ever in my eyes, really adds value to the otherwise rather empty game. The multiple party modes aka Double Driver, splitscreen, hotseat and the collision/item modes are super fun with friends and family as well, make sure to try them if you haven't done so!

All in all, the game still could've offered more considering its price, however I cannot really be upset about it regarding how much I benefitted from it.

At 25th of September 2016 you became the first to collect all 200 Super Trackmaster Medals. Did you find it challenging and motivating to battle against other professionals from the scene? And is the motivation in Turbo gone now that you have all medals?

This date will also remain in my heart forever. Collecting all 200 Super Trackmaster medals was something I have considered impossible in the beginning, especially because I didn't expect myself to keep grinding for that long in order to beat them all. After a while it just happened and the closer I got to the magic number, the more my motivation grew and in the end it was well worth it! Being the first one to "beat the game" is a huge honor and I'm very proud of achieving that. As already mentioned above, the idea of the Super Trackmasters is incredibly good and I'd love to see more of this kind in future TM games - I'd definitely volunteer to set some of the STM times again.

Fighting and grinding out tracks for the best possible time and knowing that other pro players spent a fair while on setting those times just makes it more satisfying in the end. Now that I have them all, my motivation for Turbo is still "kinda" there because I am still playing the campaign maps to set/recover world records, which is still great fun. However that's the only thing which keeps me playing this game since the rest is pretty much dead.

ZrT Cup #4 took place in Paris this summer, and you were one of the 8 who qualified for the event. The tournament was played in Stadium and maps was made my ZeratoR himself. How did it feel to play in front of a big crowd, and did you go into the event with a hope of winning?

ZrT Cup was another experience on its own. As you already pointed out, the event was played in Stadium, which is my worst and least favorite environment. However, the rather unusual and weird map style was the reason I gave it a try because I knew I could perhaps stand a chance on such maps, where it's not only about drifting like in Tech. Since I played all of those Nadeo maps in the past, I knew how to handle the car in extreme situations and how to perform certain tricksters others didn't know about.

But then again, since it's Stadium, I didn't really expect to get that far because really anything could happen on this kind of map. One unlucky bug and you're out of it. The tournament however went better than expected in the beginning, coming towards the 1/8 finals I almost RIP'd until the last map, where I started the sickest comeback 2016 and luckily ended up qualifying for the quarter finals. The quarter finals were as hot and my favorite map, ZrT Random Rugby, saved me another time from RIP'ing and brought me to the semi finals, which were played in the Grand Rex in Paris, a huge theater with a crowd of 2000 people.

Just imagining to play in front of that crowd was absolutely surreal because that's something I never experienced in my life. When I entered the stage for the first time, I was like "FUCK, how am I supposed to perform here?!". I felt so small standing on the stage in this giant theater. While I really don't feel much pressure when playing matches anymore, just being there already pushed my blood pressure to unseen levels.

Knowing that I'm the underdog against people like Javiflyer, CarlJr or Wally, I really didn't expect to get to the finals. Even reaching the semi finals was already a huge achievement, so I couldn't be upset no matter what the final result was. In the end I ended up getting smashed in the semis with a pretty bad performance from my side (which wasn't really pressure related to be honest but rather just my stupidness LUL), but then again I was absolutely happy with that.

I can tell you one thing though: Having 2000 people scream in the crowd while you perform a 360° bugslide is the best feeling ever!

You have been dominating the NADEO maps in both TMNF and TM2. We have created a event called TMX Driving Academy, where there are 5 levels in each of the style of tech, speedtech, fullspeed, dirt and RPG. Will you try out the event or maybe just one of the styles?

The times where I actively play Nadeo maps are sadly over due to lack of time and motivation. I heard about the TMX Driving Academy and I really think it's a good and promising format, however I don't see myself participating due to said reasons unfortunately. I'll try to follow as much as possible from the spectator seats though!

Many people are probably wondering, why don't you try to claim the title as the best in the World at tech?

Indeed people are always asking and wondering why I'm never really giving Tech a shot. To be honest, I just can't get along with the drifting physics. I've mastered all environments and all styles, but drifting in Stadium - to this date - still remains a mystery to me for the most part. I wouldn't consider myself as "bad", but I just cannot get a real feeling for it and I just don't feel confident enough when I do my drifts, which ends up in inconsistency and "silly" mistakes.

I really wish I was able to compete with the top, and if I was younger with a bit more time on my hands, I'd definitely give it a shot and attempt to learn the whole thing - but I don't see myself doing so anymore.

Watching other people rock the tracks with epic drifts is much more satisfying for me.

You're also part of an organization, euronics. How does it feel to get a chance to play for a big organization like this?

Honestly, it doesn't feel that special at all. Sure it's good knowing you have a big and known organization like Euronics Gaming in your back, but since TM is a rather small game with not many opportunities to establish the name through big tourneys, etc., there isn't really much for Euronics to do for us at this point.

I'm still proud to be playing under their name together with my teammates and I do think our active presence in the game gives Euronics a small boost at least.

There ain't many offline events in Trackmania, and when there is, it's normally in Stadium and tech. Do you wish there was more events in the other environments or should all offline events be in Stadium Tech?

Giving Stadium Tech too much attention shouldn't happen in my eyes. As I already pointed out in the second question, TrackMania offers much more than just Stadium Tech. While it is really pleasing to see so many different tourneys and formats for Stadium at the moment, e.g. eXes Cup, spmWeekly or ZrT cups, similar formats could be held in the other TM2 environments as well. They do have a lot of eSports potential as well, for example Canyon which has been a huge success after its release with regular tourneys including (cash) prizes and even an event at the ESWC in 2012. Also Valley can be very competitive due to its difficulty and many different tricks and driving techniques to bear in mind. As long as good maps are being built, both Canyon and Valley have huge potential for close battles and interesting formats.

Personally, I wish there would be more competition for the other environments, but since the community in non-Stadium environments is rather small, there isn't really an audience to reach for at this point. Here we need some support from Nadeo's side with the help of the community to push the other environments forwards.

Thank you so much for this interview. Is there anyone you wanna give a shootout to?

I have to thank you for giving me the opportunity to answer these questions, I feel really honored! Shoutouts go to the whole TrackMania community, all my supporters from Twitch and Youtube and all fellow memers, thank you so much. Special shoutouts to bbonbbon, Hype, ben3847, Lars, Shortz, Ozon, Spam, my mom, dad, sister, rabbit, the hobo from nearby, Donald Trump and Angela Merkel LUL


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