Perth, arguably the epicentre of the zeitgeist on the Australian continent, is losing one of its brightest stars to the ever-looming threat of competitive gaming. Lana Rothnie, a renowned perthonality, has decided to give up playing live music to make a living wage. Age of Empires 2, an 18-year-old game, is experiencing a renascence and cashing in on this has proven quite lucrative to some professional players. Competitive matches can fetch winners prizes of upwards of 500 dollars. In 2014, the largest Championship ever had a prize pool of 120,000 dollars. Needless to say, Lana was keen to get started. Lana managed to squeeze us in for an interview between killing peasants and urban planning topography.

Jesse Wood: what’s your favourite civ in Age Of Empires (AOE)?

Lana: Portuguese

What’s your “strat”?

I love extending the game after all your team mates have died until the opposite team gets mad.

Favourite match type?

I like to play chop trees. All you start with is a boat and three villagers, and you have land covered in trees. When you land there’s no space for a town centre, so you have to chop trees, drop the wood and chop more trees ’til you have enough space for a wood mill so you have somewhere to drop the wood.

What order do you build things in?
The food place and then you need houses.

Bodies of water are a crucial factor in any map they feature, what’s your general approach to dominating the sea?
Boats are terrible, and by the time they’ve turned around to shoot someone they’ve already been shot down.

Favourite unit, aesthetically and professionally?
Jesse are you going to ask me about my music career.

Preferred tactic?

I like to pretend I’m not in a team and then team up anyway and fool everyone. Also, sometimes if all you have is lots of villagers and you have nothing to lose you can make the villagers fight but only on some teams. That’s real life, that would be us if we went to war, just little villagers trying to fight big guys.

What’s your reputation like on the professional circuit right now? Got any beef going on with other players?

I have beef with everyone, ’cause in Australia the ping is so bad (meaning the internet is bad) and you can’t get into any games. I am doing ok on the pro circuit, just got to keep my head in the game and keep the stress down.

How does AOE2 rank in comparison to other “eSports” games you have played?

I played Dota for about 20 minutes and nearly died in real life from stress. So far AOE2 is my favourite, but I am yet to play Civilisation.

Thanks for talking to us today Lana.
Was this the interview, weren’t you going to ask me about my EP?

Thanks Lana.

…ok.

To follow more of Lana’s gaming journey, find her @annalrothstein

Words by Jesse Wood

This interview first appeared in print volume 88 edition 4 GIRL