Lawyer by day, gamer by night
URUNGA local, admitted lawyer and world champion, Luke Jones is no stranger to hard work.
Since completing his law degree and commencing work in the legal field earlier this year, Luke has managed to juggle his demanding schedule with another lucrative passion of his - being one of the worlds best World of Warcraft players.
Launched in 2004, World of Warcraft is an online MMORPG that continues to be enjoyed by millions. Today, it is one of the biggest esports titles in the world, with two distinct professional competitions - the Arena World Championship and the Mythic Dungeon Invitational (MDI).
As Captain of "Free Marsy", Luke guided his team to victories at the world championship in 2017 (winning a share in $50,000 USD) and again in November this year, where his team beat the best in the world at a special invitational event at BlizzCon in Anaheim, California, in front of 40,000 fans in attendance and millions more online.
This has made Free Marsy one of the most successful Australian esports teams, with Luke under is online name "Xerase" claiming more than $20,000 worth of prizes.
What's the future look like for esports in Australia?
"Australia is definitely lagging behind a little, especially when compared to Western Europe and South Korea, but it's on the rise for sure. People just need to look at the stadium events for games like League of Legends and Counter-Strike if they want to see how seriously some parts of the world take competitive gaming. I think something like 200 million people watched the 2018 League of Legends finals."
How intense is your practice schedule?
"Not very intense to be honest. We haven't played together as a team since going to the States, though we all still talk regularly. Because there are so few events and we all play the game for fun anyway, there's no real need to practice properly until an event is actually announced."
What advice would you give to anybody looking at a future in competitive gaming?
"Don't play World of Warcraft. Play League of Legends, Dota 2 or Counter-Strike and chase that money. "
Another trend in esports has been the rise of gamer cafes in the major cities, a hub where gamers can go to watch livestreamed e-sports events, play games and enjoy a nice drink - something Luke says would make a killing on the Mid-North Coast.