||Artosis about eSports
By: Toni Spanjol a.k.a. ReiKo PC PLAY
PCPlay: Could you explain to our readers what is SCForALL, what are your current projects and are you planing to expand to another games so you can cover other ones that are popular in progaming like CS, Tekken,Warcraft 3, DotA etc.? What does your website offer to visitors?
Artosis: SCForALL.com is a website created by the South Korean eSports company International Esports Group (IEG). IEG also owns the eSTRO progaming team, as well as the broadcasting rights to the ProLeague and the MBC Game Star League. IEG created SCForALL.com last year as a way to make the Korean progaming scene more accessible to foreign fans. Currently we are just working to create some quality content, as well as run some events for the foreigner players, such as ESWC. Currently we offer many English commentated games, as well as behind the scenes videos and information. The only game that SCForALL will expand to is StarCraft 2 (upon its release).
PCplay: How did you get into job of being caster and editor in SFA organisation? What are your daily routines includeing job you are currently doing for SFA and in your free time?
Artosis: SCForALL, at the time under the leadership of Daniel Lee (the former eSTRO head coach), was looking to create new, better content, and to draw more viewers to the site. Daniel Lee did not know too much about the foreigner StarCraft scene, so asked the only foreigner progamer at the time (who Daniel had brought over earlier that year to join eSTRO), IdrA, if he knew anyone who might fit the needs of the site. I had met IdrA a couple of years before and had recruited him into my StarCraft team (Micro Media), so he suggested me. When I showed Daniel the work I had done in the past with my commentating on StarCraft matches, he was impressed, and offered me a 2 month trial period in South Korea. After the 2 months, IEG was happy with my work and hired me on full time. My daily routine changes quite drastically from week to week. I normally get up in the morning and start off going to the IEG office, but from there anything can happen. If there is some interesting or exciting event taking place, I will go to film, watch, cover, or interview whatever is going on. Otherwise I am busy running tournaments or commentating on good StarCraft games.In my free time, I spend a lot of time with my girlfriend and friends.
Seoul is an amazing city with endless things to do. Recently I have
finally bought my own computer, and have started playing StarCraft
again after my longest inactive period ever.
PCPlay: South Korea is the only country that has real progaming scene. Could you in your own words explain to us how it all works over there and your views on that phenomenon?
Artosis: The progaming scene in Korea is unlike anything anywhere else. There are 12 different professional StarCraft teams which participate regularly in 3 StarCraft leagues. There is the ProLeague, which is broadcasted on both the MBC Game and OnGameNet TV channels, the OnGameNet Star League (broadcasted on OnGameNet), and the MBC Game Star League (broadcasted on MBC Game). The ProLeague is a team based league where both teams field large rosters against each other. It is on about 5 days a week. The OSL and MSL are both individual 1v1 leagues, which are broadcasted just a couple days a week. All of these leagues have huge amounts of fans who watch on TV as well as live at the studios. Because of this, there is a lot of money in eSports in Korea. The proteams have evolved in such a way that all the players on a given team now live together in a barracks-style house, and practice up to 12 hours per day. The best players are paid up to 200,000 Korean Won per year. The Korean scene is definitely unique, and really amazing to witness first hand. It makes any gamer happy to see how well accepted this profession is over here, but at the same time there are things to dislike. Forcing players to practice 12 hours a day, for instance, is ludicrous. Currently that is the normal standard, but hopefully in the future there will be some sort of player's union to protect the young kids who are giving their lives for the game.
PCPlay: You meet up with lot of progamers and you are regular guests at progaming houses where they practice. Could you tell us how are most of progamers in person ( friendly, conservative etc.), what are their duties and routines, how much they practice and how it all works with progaming houses and how KESPA and other organisations work?
Artosis: Progamers are people just like anyone else. Each one has a different attitude. Some are loud, outspoken, and friendly (like SangHo), and some are shy (like hyvaa). Over all, they are a polite and amiable group, perhaps due to the Korean culture, which is a respectful one. Progamers are split into 2 different groups within a team. The A-Team is the top roster, the players who you see on TV and in VODs all the time. The B-Team is the lower tier of players, the group which A-Teamers will rise out of. The B-Teamer routine is to normally wake up at 9 or 10 in the morning and do some chores. Normally this will consist of cleaning up the house a little bit. They will then begin practice. A-Teamers often times have no chores and will wake up a bit later. Both eat about 4 times a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and an after practice meal). Practice schedules vary amongst the teams, with as little as 7 hours of required practice per day, up to 11.5 hours of required practice per day. Even if a team is required to only practice
only 7 hours, everyone will practice about 12 hours daily. This is
sometimes because they want to, and sometimes just to please the coaches (the Korean work ethic is actually the most intense in the world). Proteam houses are run by the head coaches and managers. They will choose who gets to live in the house, how much any players are paid, when to kick people out of houses, etc. KeSPA is the governing body over eSports in Korea. All the proteams and leagues pay fees to KeSPA, which ensures that everything runs smoothly. All teams have members on the KeSPA board so that their voices are heard. If something goes wrong, KeSPA will step in and help out. For instance, last year the proteam Stars lost their sponsor. Instead of letting the team die,
KeSPA stepped in and ran the team while helping them look for a new one. Some time later, they became sponsored by Woongjin, one of the richest companies in Korea.
PCPlay: Do you think that in near future forigen scene could have the same thing going on? What we need to make better in order to get to level of organisation and eSports that Koreans have?
Artosis: I don't think that the foreign scene will ever have anything quite like Korea. One of Korea's big advantages is the size of the country compared to the size of Seoul. All progaming takes place in Seoul, which is one of the biggest, most densely populated cities in the world. This allows for all the teams to easily live together, and also to have enough people in the area to actually attend the events. Also, the Korean government subsidised the internet, giving the entire of Seoul fast Ethernet connections. This made a rise in "PC Bangs" (Personal Computer Rooms) where the youth of Korea gathers to play together. When you put all this together, you have a very original situation which enabled progaming to develop in this way. Although I don't think western eSports will ever look quite like
Korean eSports (organizationally speaking), I do think that it can
become just as big, especially in Europe. As gaming becomes more socially accepted, and less viewed as a "nerdy" or "geeky" hobby, more and more people will be drawn to it. All it is going to take is some time and dedicated people driving it forward.
PCPlay: We see alot of other games like SilkRoad Online and Kartrider making their way in progaming. What are your views on these games? What games do you think could do good in matter of progaming?
Artosis: There are actually very many games in Korea that have "progamers". Some of these games even have small teams which mirror the StarCraft teams from an organizational standpoint, if not from a financial and popular standpoint. For the most part, these are Korean-made games which the publishers are paying to get on TV. They do this to popularize the game, hoping that it will take off. None of them have yet, but just having a bit more money as well as more people interested in eSports is a good thing. I don't think that any of the current 2nd tier Korean professional games have any potential. I think the future of progaming is in games such as Counter Strike, StarCraft 2, Halo, Quake, and fighting games.
PCPlay: Tell us something about life in Korea, after all you did came there as forigner, how do you handle language and cultural differences? What are main differences between Korea and the rest of the world? What do you think why did progaming succsessed there and not worldwide? How's food and nightlife?
Artosis: Life in Korea is far different. The eastern culture is just so strange to a westerner. Luckily I had a ton of guidance on the cultural differences and how to handle them correctly from Daniel Lee and the eSTRO manager Kim Seung Hwan, so I've adjusted very well, and haven't done anything too taboo yet. I've learned enough of the language thatI can order food, get around, show respect, ask important questions, and the like. If anything is every too hard to figure out, I just call one of my bilingual friends.Korea really has its own way when dealing with situations. There are
lots of respect issues which must be obeyed. Some of it can be
frustrating at times for a westerner who is used to doing things in a
totally different, and sometimes more efficient, way.Progaming succeeded here due to so many things, but I think the
largest things have to be, the social acceptance of it (not totally,
but moreso than in USA for sure), and the subsidized internet which is everywhere and extremely cheap.The food in Korea hits my taste buds exactly. I love spicy food, and that is exactly what is here. I am a vegetarian though, so it can be troublesome at times finding food to eat.The nightlife in Korea is great. With such a crowded city, there are countless bars and clubs, and Seoul is a 24 hour city. It doesn't close down at some arbitrary time in the early morning. You can always find something to do, some way to have fun.
PCPlay: You had chance to play Starcraft 2 on Blizzcon. Could you tell us your impression about current Starcraft 2 build, what should stay and what should be removed and what do you think about MBS and automine?
Artosis: I actually only played 1 game, in which I just sat there and made 1 of every unit with terran. StarCraft 2 is coming along really well I think. I believe that Blizzard will find enough extra things to do
with the game that MBS and automine won't make that much of a
difference. Even so, can it ever be as beautiful a game as StarCraft
1? I must say I doubt it in my heart, but my brain tells me Blizzard
is capable of such a thing.
PCPlay: You also seen Diablo 3, could you tell us what do you think about that Blizzard megahit? Impressions on World of Warcraft : WOTLK ? Do you think Korean Starcraft 1 progaming scene will die when Starcraft 2 comes out?
Artosis: I always loved Diablo games, and I'm sure this one will be no different. I will certainly buy it and play some for fun :D. I must
admit I have never palyed World of Warcraft. My computer back in the USA just was not good enough for anything aside from StarCraft, so I never tried it. The Korean StarCraft 1 scene will continue on for at least 1 year when StarCraft 2 comes out. They already have too much invested, and contracts signed. I don't know how long it will last afterwords, but I hope Korea can make a full switch eventually like the rest of the world.
PCPlay: Besides being editor and caster, you are passionate gamer. What games do you like to play besides Starcraft? What is your PC perifery (mouse/keyboard/headphones) ? Do you have any tricks that enhance your gameplay?
Artosis: Aside from StarCraft, I don't play too many games. Since the game came out, I only played head to head games on the console systems against my brother, such as racing games, shooter games and fighting games. I really do enjoy a good RPG or a new Legend of Zelda game from time to time. For my PC, I use a very old and discontinued Logitech Wheel Mouse Optical. I just bought a new Logitech Access 600 keyboard, and I love
it. I currently have SteelSeries 4H headphones, which are comfortable, but seem to be dying too soon for my liking. Here is a little "trick" that I have developed for LANs: Normally I will practice beforehand quite a bit, consuming coffee, not caring too much what I'm eating, and such things like that. Right before an important LAN, I take the day before off, not allowing myself to play any StarCraft. I make sure I get a huge amount of sleep as well. The next morning, I will not have any unhealthy foods, or coffee, or anything like that. Instead, I will eat something very light and healthy, such as bananas. This really makes me have a clear mind and a light body, giving me my best chances to do well. I highly recommend it to anyone!
PCPlay: Could you please tell us your opinion what happend to American progamer that went to Korea, Tyler "NonY" Wasieleski and could you demistify to our reader who is Idra and say your opinion how is he currently doing as he is only forigner that is playing for professional Korea team?
Artosis: NonY was doing amazingly with the eSTRO team. He fit in very well, and preformed greatly during practice. Unfortunately he had to go home for personal reasons. He will be sorely missed here, we all know he had great potential to succeed. IdrA has been learning StarCraft the correct, very difficult way. He works extremely hard on playing the most straight up, macro oriented way that you can. It takes a long time to get results with this, but IdrA is a super high level player because of it. As he learns to adapt better, I expect him to dominate any non-Korean events he enters.
PCPlay: Time for quickies, favorite : Food / Drink / Sports / Music / Starcraft unit / Starcraft strategy / Starcraft map/ TV show / Progamer / Progaming team?
Artosis: Food: Soyrizo. Drink: Green Tea. Sports: Tennis/Baseball/Basketball. Music: Sigur Ros. StarCraft Unit: Vulture. StarCraft Strategy: SK Terran (marine medic vessel, no tanks TvZ). StarCraft Map: Sin Peaks of Baekdu. TV Show: The Sopranos. Progamer: NaDa + IdrA!. Progaming team: eSTRO of course :D.
PCPlay: You were working closely with eSports "father" - Daniel Lee, also known as "SuperDaniel". Could you tell us something about him and why is he so important for eSports in general?
Artosis: Daniel Lee really has a vision. He has been on the cutting edge since the beginning, and is truely passionate about StarCraft and it's players. He knows everyone in Korea, and is completely bilingual. It wouldn't be a stretch to say he is the most important person in the world for bridging Korean and non-Korean eSports.
PCPlay: What's most exciteing thing for you in job you are doing? Any tips for people who would like to go your way?
Artosis: I love to learn all about the way things really are. I had all sorts of perceptions before I got to Korea, almost all of which were turned on their heads. As I've met all these different people, heard whats really going on, and gotten to observe it first hand, my knowledge has grown exponentially. Its really been quite exciting thus far. For anyone wanting to follow the eSports path, I suggest you only do so if you truly love eSports as I do. I've been loving eSports for so long, and would do this whether I was paid or not. After 10 years of not being paid, finally I got a position. While it probably wouldn't take people that long now that eSports has grown so much, it is still hard to get into a paying position in the industry.
PCPlay: Non-Korean scene heavily depends on events like PGL,WCG and etc. What should be changed about them? Did you meet some of Chinesse players? How are they doing about introduceing eSports to the community?
Artosis: WCG and PGL need to put the player first. I strongly believe this for any event. If you don't put the player first, the event will be less prestigious, people won't like it as much. I met some Chinese players, but only really spent time with Lx aka Legend. He's a really manner nice guy. The Chinese scene is attempting to recreate the Korean scene in China. Its slow goings, but there is just tons of potential in China with its gigantic population. I really believe they can do it, and they are doing quite well so far.
PCPlay:You did meet with top forigner players from Europe and USA. What do you think Korean players have and forigners dosen't? Is it about mentality? Why are Koreans so sucssesful at eSports games?
Artosis: Korean players have fame and fortune for becoming amazing at StarCraft. European and American players lose friends, make tiny amounts of money, and are looked down upon. That is the main difference. If top players were TV stars in Europe and America, I am certain we would be as good as top level Korean players. This is really why Koreans are so successful. The rewards are there. Its a real career path.
PCPlay: Do you have something to add? Maybe something for fans? And maybe writing something in Korean and shareing with us what it means?
Artosis: I don't have Korean on this computer so I'll write it in English. Soondooboo chigay Juseyo! That's me ordering my favorite Korean dish, a really spicy tofu stew :D. I'd like to thank everyone for supporting me this far in Korea. Without the fans watching all the work I do, it wouldn't be worth it to me.