A former international gamer who found love and friendship across the globe as an avatar in a video game is lending his world class skills to a top IT services firm in Wrexham.
Dominic Buckley, 26, who once teamed up against some of the best professional gamers in the world, is bringing his extensive troubleshooting experience to Rawson IT Services as a senior systems engineer.
At the peak of his gaming career, Dominic, who grew up in Buckley, was playing video game classics such as Smite and Guild Wars for up to eight hours a day against hundreds of thousands of players simultaneously.
It was while in the virtual fantasy world of Guild Wars that he found love with fellow gamer, Hillie Van der Veen, 27, from Holland, when she joined his “guild”.
The game depicts the fictional world of Tyria and sees players or groups of players creating an avatar to take on the heroic duty of saving Tyria from its antagonists.
The couple, who now live together in Coedpoeth, “clicked” through their shared interest of gaming and have been together for the past six-and-a-half years. They also developed lifelong friendships with two other members of their team from Sweden.
Dominic, whose greatest gaming success was beating world class gamers in a preview event for the World Series of Video Games in Manchester four years ago, has relished the opportunity to support growing IT business Rawson IT Services, helping to solve customer’s IT problems.
Rawson IT Services is a new division of photocopier and printer supplier Rawson Digital, based in The Bridge Business Centre on Wrexham Industrial Estate.
Rawson Digital has a 19-strong team and a second base in Dinorwic Marina, Y Felinheli, near Bangor. The firm now has a turnover approaching £2.5m and has close to 1,400 machines out on site to its wide variety of clients.
The new IT firm was set up to provide IT support, consultancy, security and cloud service to new and existing customers and was always part of the long-term plan for Rawson Digital managing director and founder Vaughn Rawson, who set up his fast-growing business from home, six years ago.
Dominic said: “I’m very competitive and if I play something I want to be the best. As far as work goes, I try to provide the best service I can and keep everyone happy. It’s part of my personality and I like to get things right.
“My background in gaming has given me great troubleshooting knowledge because you’d often have to figure out what was going wrong with a game.
“My job now is to manage the networks and servers of our customers to ensure their IT systems are running as efficiently as possible.
“It’s all about after sales support for the customer and a large part of the reason why I came to Rawson was because the firm is so focused on looking after the customer.”
Dominic, who worked at one other IT firm prior to his new position, was at high school when he developed a love of video gaming.
“I played a lot of video games and became pretty good at a competitive level. I entered a few tournaments and did ok.
“By the time I was 21, I was competing against professionals. You join a queue for a game and get matched with other players of the same calibre and I was always matched against professional gamers.
“I went along to a World Championships preview event four years ago and there were a bunch of professional players there who didn’t quite make it through to the real event. They arranged a one-to-one tournament between us and although there was no prize it was one of the hardest contests I’ve been part of.
“I also met my girlfriend through gaming. We were playing a game called Guild Wars which is a massive game involving more than 100,000 players. I was the leader of a clan and Hillie decided to join.
“We got talking and just clicked. She’s originally from Holland and came over for my birthday and it all worked out pretty well from there. That was almost six-and-a-half years ago now.”
Although professional gaming today can net players millions of pounds in prize funds, Dominic is quite happy to stick to his new day job.
“My professional career has always been my focus,” he said.
“Gaming wasn’t as big back then as it is now. You can now win $60million which is pretty big.
“You have to spend hours every day like a real job until you get better and better. You improve as you would any sport.
“I’m really enjoying the new job as I get to do what’s right by the customer and have more of a say about what happens.”
Luckily for Dominic there are no curfews at home when it comes to video gaming.
“Hillie is very understanding. If I want to spend eight hours on my PC she is fine because she often wants to do the same,” he said.
“It definitely helps that she’s a fellow gamer.
“I’d like to get back into gaming soon as a hobby. At the moment I’m really enjoying Rocket League and going through the ranks but I might start competing again in the smaller leagues.”
Commenting on his latest appointment, Craig Davis, managing director of Rawson IT Services, said: “Dominic has quickly become a key member of the team and we warmly welcome his experience and extensive technical knowledge.
“Dominic has enjoyed phenomenal success as a video gamer and always challenges himself to achieve more. He always gives 100% to any task and I’m positive he will have a successful impact on the reputation and quality of our work in the future.”