We had the pleasure to speak with Harrison “psalm” Chang about qualifying for the Fortnite World Cup, how he began gaming, and much more. The 24-year-old gamer from Southern California qualified for the Fortnite World Cup Finals in the Week 3 Solo competition. He put on an impressive performance and earned a spot in New York City. The grind is not over for psalm. He looks to qualify with his Duos partner Symetrical in the coming weeks. They recently began playing together and continue to improve as a team.
How it all started
Chang started playing video games before many Fortnite players were born. The first game he played was StarCraft around the age of five years old. From an early age, he was skilled at games and was very competitive. Psalm joked that his skill comes naturally being a Korean American. Then, he played Dota 2 at a high level in high school. This was the first time psalm recognized his desire to become a professional gamer.
Unfortunately, his passion took a backseat when he went to college to study computer science. Chang put gaming on hold to focus on his studies. The break did not last long, and shortly after beginning college psalm competed in Heroes of the Storm. He said that this was his best gaming experience thus far. He qualified for BlizzCon in 2016 as part of Murloc Geniuses. BlizzCon introduced psalm to professional esports, and he has been part of the gaming community since.
Eventually, he began playing Fortnite in June of 2018. His friends pushed him to start playing the game after some hesitation. Initially, he believed the game to be too childish or cartoonish but enjoyed the battle royale genre enough to give the game a chance. After playing Fortnite, he quickly changed his mind. Psalm enjoyed the game and continued to play. Shortly after, psalm participated in the 2018 Summer Skirmish at PAX West. Since then, he has competed in many different Fortnite tournaments.
Road to the World Cup Finals
The first week of the World Cup, psalm underperformed. He expected to play much better and was let down by the results. This turned out to be a blessing for him. His Week 1 performance forced him to look inward and push himself to become better. The next two weeks psalm reviewed his gameplay, critiqued his strategy, and honed his skills.
In Week 3, psalm came ready to play. He said he woke up feeling confident. He said, “It was the best I had ever felt before a Fortnite competition.” Through the first five games, he totaled 54 points. After each game, he was on top of the leaderboards. Then the reality began to sink in. He was a few games away from qualifying for the World Cup Finals and winning $50,000. Psalm managed to score only 10 more points in the remaining games. Fortunately, 64 points were all he needed.
His early play helped edge him past the competition for a qualifying spot. He put together a beautiful performance and held off the other players rising up the leaderboards. Harrison was stoked for an opportunity to play at the World Cup Finals.
Thoughts about Epic Games and the current meta
The gameplay style when psalm qualified saw the Pump Shotgun dominate. Since then, the Pump Shotgun has been vaulted. The Drum Gun, Combat Shotgun, and Tactical Assault Rifle were introduced into the game. Psalm said the current meta is really good. He wants a few small changes to the Tactical Shotgun and an increase in the Combat Shotgun spawn rate. Those changes would help improve this current state of gameplay.
In addition, psalm would like to see the competitive loot pool diluted. He mentioned, “There are weapons like the Semi-Auto Sniper that do not belong in the game.” Other professional Fortnite players have echoed similar criticisms towards the weapons and items.
His advice for Epic Games moving forward is to buckle down and focus on the bugs in the game. The developer should take the time to make “quality of life” changes that will improve gameplay. There are many changes that can be made that would only improve the game. An example psalm provided was removing the shotgun delay when swapping to edit or build mode. When introduced, the delay was meant to prevent the double pump strategy. Since then, Epic removed the pump and there is no longer a need for the delay.
Psalm plans to qualify with his teammate, Symetrical, for the Duos competition. Symetrical just missed out in Week 7 on qualifying as a solo player. He finished in third in the NA West region. The two have the skill and commitment required to compete at the highest level. Now, they need to put it together and play their best Fortnite as a team. Even if the duo does not qualify, psalm is still gunning for the Fortnite World Cup Final. He is confident and hungry.
Outside of gaming, psalm enjoys working out and basketball. Though, his time playing basketball decreased significantly since the World Cup began.
His favorite streamer or gamer to watch is Darryle “Hamlinz” Hamlin. Hamlinz works for TSM as a content creator. Psalm said he loves Hamlinz’s personality. The streamer makes him laugh no matter how long the broadcast lasts.
Advice and thanks
When asked if he had any words of wisdom for upcoming or aspiring players, psalm replied: “First and foremost, you need to be realistic.” He said, “Most people do not have what it takes.” He spoke about three aspects that players need to be successful: talent, mentality, and situation. If all of those come together, then you should go for it. Not all talented players are in the right situation to be successful. Time and responsibilities come into play. Psalm did not succeed right away; he worked hard to get to this point.
To end the interview, psalm wanted to take the time to thank his fans and followers. He knows that he is not the biggest name in the competition, but he is thankful for all of the people who support him. As psalm grinds to get better, he wants his fans to continue to support him through the World Cup Finals.
Humble, hungry, and respectful is how I would describe Harrison “psalm” Chang. It was a great opportunity to learn more about his past and plans for the future. He truly cares about his supporters and fans. Most importantly, he is grateful to be where he is today. We wish him the best of luck in the Fortnite World Cup and whichever challenge he chooses to take on after.
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