Let’s start with the most important part of this blog. I am taking a break from StarCraft starting whenever my run in WCS AM Season 1 ends. I am likely to return for LoTV. I don’t quite feel ready to give up on StarCraft just yet.
A few months ago, I posted about a blog about my plans for the rest of 2015. To summarize, I decided to stop commentating all together to focus on improving my play. I stated that if I had not improved significantly by the end of the year, I would be retiring. As is often the case, success is done in shades rather than absolutes. While I did not achieve the level of success I hoped for, I achieved a level of success that I had been unable to obtain for most of 2014. I managed to qualify for IEM San Jose, losing out in the winner’s bracket in a close 2-3 vs Scarlett and triumphing over Violet in the loser’s bracket 3-2, taking the 3rd and final qualified position for the American region. This alone, was a great accomplishment. Days later, at Homestory Cup, I went 1-2 with HyuN, nearly taking the series 2-0 and then defeated Lilbow 2-1 before ultimately being eliminated by Jaedong 0-2. While I did not manage to pass my group at Homestory, I showed a level of play that has eluded me for a long time and went head to head with some of the better players right now.
I continued to train hard for San Jose and for some reasons that I’m not entirely clear on, I played some of the worst games I’ve played in a long time. San Jose was pretty much a total failure in my mind because I failed to play up to my level and went out 0-4 vs Bomber and Super. Of course, my opponents were strong, but there’s no place in this scene for me if I can’t at least play my best, be competitive at LAN events and put on good games. Since then, I’ve been streaming consistently and figuring out where my place will be in the coming year. Overall, I made more progress than I had in a long time, but not enough to re-ignite the reasons I began so fervently down this progamer path in the first place.
After a bit of soul searching and re-negotiation of terms, I settled on a contract that worked well for me and compLexity. I found the answers that I needed in 2014 to justify continuing my career as a progamer. I have been on a path of consistent improvement (except for the blunder of San Jose and a few days preceding it). My practice partners noted on my sudden improvement and the game was quite a bit more fun than it had been in a long time. Despite this, I’m still worn out on StarCraft. I don’t recover from poor play or losses as I would like, and I don’t really want to play a lot of the time. StarCraft has become more of a job than an activity of passion.
In order to succeed, I need the inner drive to push myself and constantly try to innovate and topple my opponents. This drive just isn’t with me right now. I play a set amount of hours each day, and when I’m done (usually glad that I am), I pursue other activities. Part of this loss of motivation stems from the declining popularity of StarCraft. It has become harder to play as nearly every single non-pro gamer friend I have has stopped playing the game all together. StarCraft is no longer an activity that brings my friends together. Perhaps if I lived in a team house long term I wouldn’t feel this way. Even though I enjoyed my time in the ROOT house quite a bit, I think time off will help more than simply trying to push through. Especially because the coming months will be one of the best times to take a break.
LoTV, with its slew of changes both to balance and how the game is fundamentally played (starting workers, different resources per base), will be a nice reset that will reward those who are active early and adapting to what’s new.
As such, my current plan is to continue to play StarCraft on a consistent basis until I am eliminated from WCS Season 1 of this year. When I am eliminated, I will begin a break from competitive StarCraft play that will probably last until I have access to LoTV beta. While on break, I may do some commentary at my discretion, but will mostly be away from the competitive StarCraft scene. You may see me streaming or doing other related activities besides competing.
As always, thanks to compLexity and our great sponsors: Creative & Sound Blaster, CYBERPOWERPC, Newegg, Corsair Gaming, Twitch, DXRacer and Pwnit Wear.
Follow Kevin on twitter @coL_qxc