“I love competing. It’s literally all I have at this point. I mean, okay, sure, I’m a content creator, but I also love playing comp. It means everything to me.”
Shivam "ShivFPS" Patel is one of the most iconic Apex Legends streamers of all time. He rose to fame for his funny reactions, including that now infamous Lifeline clip that is one of the most popular Apex memes ever.
ShivFPS is also a very successful competitor. He was part of the SoloQGoats squad that got third place at the 2021 EMEA ALGS Championship, all the while playing Bangalore who was off meta at the time. Now, he is back in Pro League having qualified under controversial circumstances last December.
Unfortunately, ShivFPS has been battling more than just the other players in game. The 25-year-old player has thumb tendonitis and De Quervain's tenosynovitis, which have vastly impacted his ability to play the game and do what he loves.
Esports.gg spoke to ShivFPS as he opened up about his injury and the challenges he has faced in the last two years.
ShivFPS battles constant pain in his hands
The injury, which impacts ShivFPS' thumbs and a part of his wrist, manifests itself as pain and numbness in these areas. ShivFPS says the pain is significant when he plays games using his hands.
"I've honestly been fighting through this for two years, I would say. I've had this for quite a long time now. Way too long. But I would say it's more so that I'm stubborn. I'm not like actually resting up properly. You need to take like four weeks off minimum. Just resting and bracing, using a thumb brace to help.
"I would say [the long-term impacts] are mainly because I've been on and off still streaming and playing the game on the normal setup. This just doesn't help with the healing. I guess I'm just too stubborn. I need to stop doing that and just rest up properly."
ShivFPS has always been known as a grinder. Hours of streaming solo queue Apex are what helped his streaming career really take off. But now, he admits it has taken a toll on his body.
"[The cause] is just too much frequency of grinding Apex. Playing Apex and not properly doing warmups and stuff before I play. Things like stretches and hand stretches. There's certain movements and stuff you can do.
"When you're healthy and you're not injured it's really nice to warm up before you play. I just never like really did that. And the frequency I was playing at was really bad for me. It's just not the best when you're not doing the precautionary things to help you right before gaming."
ShivFPS was quick to emphasize that anyone who is worried about getting a similar injury needs to adopt a proper warm-up routine. Warming up, doing hand stretches, and getting ready for exertion — just like any professional runner, footballer, or tennis player would do for instance.
Keybinds also impacted Shiv's thumbs
Another factor ShivFPS pointed to was his specific keybinds for his right hand. ShivFPS bound actions in the game to the side buttons on his mouse. This led to him frequently using his thumbs during his long grind sessions. Then, pressing spacebar on his keyboard is what strained his left hand.
"I've been using side mouse buttons for healing and toggle crouching since the game came out, literally nonstop. It's been almost five years since the game came out. So ever since day one, using these key binds are just not optimal for proper thumb health. Especially because the amount of frequency at which you heal in this game and need to slide jump. It's just too much."
Injury has a big impact on ShivFPS' stream
During 2020 and 2021, ShivFPS was a constant presence in the Twitch directory. In 2020, he missed just 14 days in the year. This increased a little in 2021, as ShivFPS chose to take every Monday as his day off. He still only missed a handful of other days.
His injury started to bite in 2022. ShivFPS' streams didn't become less frequent, but they did become shorter. In 2023, ShivFPS streamed only 152 times, less than half the year. In July, he streamed just three times. This is a big decrease, especially when streaming is your main income. Even some of these streams were less than two hours in length.
This had a huge impact on ShivFPS both financially and mentally.
"It is absolutely heartbreaking... absolutely heartbreaking. When streaming is the one thing that you love doing and it's the only thing you want to do, but you just can't. It is absolutely horrible. Streaming is my career and it is basically everything to me. When you can't do it all the time as you used too, it is just heartbreaking."
Some might have accepted that such an injury could end their streaming career entirely. Not ShivFPS, however. He's always determined to resume the career he loves.
"I've never considered retiring because at this point, I'm not gonna lie, this is kind of all I know, right? This is all I do. So I still stick with it. But I've been trying to to stream without using my hands. I've been using an alternative control set.
"I'm also trying to do these watch parties or just watch my own gameplay instead. So I can still stream, but I don't have to be playing the game like crazy. It's not super taxing like that, like compared to playing the game."
Injury behind SoloQGoats withdrawing from Pro League
When it came to competitive, many were surprised when SoloQGoats chose to not take an invitation to the Year 3 ALGS Pro League. They had been reasonably successful, bouncing back from a relegation. While DiffQ chose to move to North America, Zipeth and ShivFPS still held the spot.
ShivFPS has revealed that this was due to his thumb injury.
"Yeah, the reason I didn't go forward with anything was because of the injury itself. The injury was just hindering me massively. I just didn't want to go forward knowing I can't play at my best. Although, looking back, maybe I would have continued.
"I think, in hindsight, I do regret the decision. I probably should have just continued and taken the invite to to play. But, I don't know... health is just such an important thing and it's not something you should not take seriously. You should always be thinking about your health before anything else."
ShivFPS was desperate to return to competition
Across the entire conversation, ShivFPS' passion and enthusiasm for competition was clear. He was clearly incredibly upset to not be able to compete. His return, while challenging, is clearly a relief to the popular streamer.
He is managing his play time and only playing when absolutely needed. While his own expectations were low, alongside Mande and Xerrifer, he was able to finish 5th in the overall Preseason Qualifier leaderboard.
This approach is contrary to the general consensus around mouse and keyboard players. The assumption is they have to always grind the game or else their skill declines in the era of controller dominance. While ShivFPS' case is unique, he feels his approach is disproving that theory somewhat.
"I feel there is at least a little bit of impact, a negative impact from not being able to play and be on point. When you play a lot and you're in the zone, you're in the mode, you're able to practice like properly and consistently.
"When I'm not able to play as much, obviously, I don't get to put the time in. It's just more difficult to stay locked in, I feel. But in terms of aim, I don't know... it's a double-edged sword for me. If I play too much, then I have more pain in my thumbs and I can't perform my best."
ShivFPS described what he is lacking as "sharpness" because of not being able to play as much as he would like. However, he doesn't feel that his aim is deteriorating to a "massive degree."
VOD reviewing benefitting ShivFPS
One of the things that ShivFPS is doing on stream instead of gaming is VOD reviewing his own gameplay. This allows him to prepare for future competitions while also resting his thumbs. While a lot of competitors do this, not many do it on stream in such a public way.
ShivFPS says that spotting his own mistakes and misplays has been very valuable. More players, especially in lower tiers of competition, should be watching their own games as well as putting in the hours of practice.
ShivFPS didn't know if he could handle the ALGS qualifiers
ShivFPS returned to the competition in November 2023, playing in the ALGS Preseason Qualifier events. He joined up with his former teammate DiffQ and Xerrifer to try and reach the Pro League.
They finished in 16th, and after the event, DiffQ decided to part ways and look for a new roster for the remaining events. It was unclear if ShivFPS would look for a new team for the remaining events.
"To be honest with you, at the time, I didn't know if I was gonna be able to play through the all reseason Qualifier. Even after the first qualifier, my hands were in pain. The more I play, the more difficult it gets. Those days are really long.
"I don't even think I did much warmup, honestly. My warmup at the time was just going in the firing range for five minutes and shooting at dummies. I didn't know the capacity at which I could play. I just didn't want to overdo it. Working through an injury, it's just so difficult."
Stubbornness behind refusal to give up
"SoloQGoats didn't work out, sadly. Then it was just me and Xeri. We were thinking do we continue or do we split paths. It was a strange one. I had my doubts because of the injury, and I didn't know if I wanted to keep going.
"Xeri consoled me a little bit. He said, 'If you don't feel like it, it's fine. We can stop at any point.' But I just kept going. I guess I'm too stubborn. So that left us looking for a teammate. It was Xeri's idea for Mande to join the team. We messaged him and he said 'yes.' So we went for it."
Mande to take over IGL duties for the Pro League
One of the notable aspects of 40%Worse once Mande joined was ShivFPS taking up IGL responsibilities. Previously on SoloQGoats, it was always DiffQ who made most of the calls.
However, now as they prepare for their Pro League debut, ShivFPS revealed that they are making an adjustment to their roles on the team.
"Back in PSQ I was trying to IGL. It's the first time I IGL'ed a team properly. I know I may have been overcoming a bit too much. Now we're trying to put Mande on an IGL role when we scrim. There's so much for us to improve on."
Scrimming is something that 40%Worse will only be able to do occasionally. ShivFPS is managing his injury with his desire to prepare and improve. Team 40%Worse will scrim two sets per week. ShivFPS says he would love to scrim every day but it's "just not feasible" with his injury.
Desire to compete is very clear with ShivFPS
One thing that was incredibly clear during the conversation with ShivFPS was his passion for competition. For example, when a reference to the final game of the 2021 EMEA ALGS Championship was made, ShivFPS immediately recalled what he should have done differently and embarked on a detailed breakdown of every mistake he made in the moment.
That tournament was over two and a half years ago.
That passion and desire to compete and be successful was on full display after the fourth Preseason Qualifier. Having initially not qualified after a dramatic final game, ShivFPS was holding back tears as he apologized to his viewers for letting them down. ShivFPS explained why he got so emotional in the moment.
"I love competing. It's literally all I have at this point. I mean, okay, sure, I'm a content creator, but I also love playing comp. It means everything to me. It means everything that we qualified as well. I really wanted to qualify for Pro League.
"It was knowing that on the last day I didn't perform as well. We were steamrolling the previous rounds. I think we actually got first place in every round before finals, but then we got second in the finals and missed it by that much.
"Knowing that I let my teammates down when I could've played so much better. It just hit like a truck, you know? I don't know... it just brought me to tears. I really wanted this for us, I wanted to qualify for Pro League so badly. It really means everything to me"
ShivFPS determined to prove himself
One of the factors driving ShivFPS is the desire to prove to himself and the world that he can still compete. At times, he has felt that he might never get to compete again because of his injury.
"I want to show that I've still got it and I can still do this. That I'm still the warlord!"
ShivFPS also goes on to say that while he isn't completely satisfied with how 40%Worse earned their spot in Pro League, he still takes some pride from their performance.
"The situation is what it is. We did still put the effort in, and all the work to even be that close to qualifying. I'm still proud of how we did, but I base stuff on merit — not weird situations."
Playing at LAN is on ShivFPS' bucket list
ALGS Year 3 was almost too good to be true for Apex lovers in the U.K. All three events were held in there, but ShivFPS was never able to make it to any of them. He hopes that he will qualify for a LAN instead of attending as a spectator.
"Hopefully we qual for LAN and I can go next time. I've never played at a LAN, and it's definitely on the bucket list. It's on the list 100%."
ShivFPS wouldn't commit to the idea of playing a game at LAN using just his feet, as he has done in recent times to rest his thumbs.
"I don't know about that one... I guess if I was to flex on the rest of the teams. Up 100 points after three games and bust out the pedals. I might have to bring my quadstick and feet buttons with me!"
ShivFPS shows off alternate controls
One of the very few upsides to ShivFPS' battle with injury has been his journey to highlight the many ways that you can play Apex. While ShivFPS has an injury he hopes will heal with time, there are gamers out there who have no choice but to use other methods of playing video games.
"I hope it has shined a light in a positive way. I've been talking to Rocky NoHands about the QuadStick. He loves [me trying it]. I hope everyone has a positive outlook on me using it.
"It's a nice challenge. It's very challenging to see and to play and improve using other inputs. It can sometimes be a bit comedy seeing your own gameplay when I am totally terrible! But this is the best way for me to keep playing without using my thumbs at all. I can't use my hands period.
"When you're not able to stream because of injury, it's so difficult. So it is super nice that I've found a way to be able to still play the game, but obviously not stress my thumbs or hands. It's a little bit of relief, a little bit of a consolation."
Will Shiv ever be free from injury?
One of the most common questions is will ShivFPS ever shake off this injury? A command in his chat says that "With proper time & healing, our WARLORD WILL BE BACK!" However, ShivFPS is balancing recovery with his need to stream and desire to compete.
"If I keep playing and not fully resting I don't think... I don't know. It's going to be very difficult to fully heal. Unless I just take off four weeks to maybe two months or maybe even longer than that.
"Essentially, I'm going to need to rest the hands up. But obviously, with Pro League, and [the] need to scrim a little bit and still play on MNK a little bit, I don't know. It's going to be very difficult. But I would hope that I can get back to an uninjured version of myself."
It will undoubtedly be an emotional moment when ShivFPS and 40%Worse start their Pro League campaign. No one in the ALGS has overcome so much adversity to make it to the top level of Apex esports.
For full coverage of the ALGS Pro League, stay with esports.gg all season long.