QXC’s Career

By Kevin “qxc” Riley of Complexity Gaming

WCS AM Ro16 marked the end of my casting career for an undetermined amount of time. While I enjoyed the casting work I did and the opportunities it presented, I find that playing resonates much more with me. I can appreciate the skill of the players I commentate and the plays that I witness, but I am also pained to know that I didn’t make it as far as they did. Not only did I not make it so far, but I have given up – in some ways – on that life. It’s no secret that travel is fatiguing and disruptive. Regular schedules become impossible to maintain, and generally practice and health suffers ever so slightly as opportunities to eat and exercise are limited. Not only that, but there is often a lack of good internet/playing conditions. Between travel time and general recovery after travel, and catching up on ‘life’, I feel as though I lose a day of effective practice every day I’m actually working, plus at least 2 more. The more I cast, the more I feel like my dream of being a successful pro gamer is slipping away.

I’ve had a very difficult time in my pursuit to be a pro gamer. I’m generally so stubborn and obsessive about my goals that I work to exhaustion and incredible stress. I push myself so hard that my body stops responding correctly and improvement becomes impossible. Earlier this year, I was having some of the worst practice of my entire career. Sometimes I couldn’t even make it through a single game without the stress overwhelming me. I consistently failed incredibly to take care of myself. So I sought a break. That’s why I suddenly turned to casting this year. I wanted to put my skills and training to use, and make some good happen. I was able to consistently distance myself from my practice environment and discuss with other pro gamers about how they approached the game and how they felt.

After giving my practice life a good several look overs and revisions, I feel ready to return and put a great effort in to being a true pro gamer. My new daily schedule fits my generally zealous nature much better than any I’ve tried before. Not only that, but I’ve grown weary of being a commentator. As I mentioned earlier, I just would much rather be a player, and I would hate to not give it at least one more chance. Over the last few weeks I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different approaches and seem to have found something that ‘works’ for me. I have been able to consistently play well, and I see myself improving each day. I don’t win all the time, of course, but I’ve been able to be much more productive with my time and more rational about learning from my losses. The biggest issue that’s bothered me over the course of my career is feeling like I’m not improving.

I hope that I can finally make a return as a true force in the StarCraft scene, but I’ve set a deadline for myself. If my situation has not drastically improved by the middle of January, I will retire from StarCraft professional play. The lack of results hasn’t been the greatest issue for me. The real breaking point has been my personal lack of improvement. I’ve felt like for the last 1-2 years my skill hasn’t really increased in any spectacular ways. Certainly, I’ve improved, but I haven’t improved at a rate impressive enough to place highly in tournaments or consistently beat even low tier Koreans. I’m tired of feeling like I’m investing my time and seeing little to no progress. So, I look toward the coming months as a final test of sorts. I haven’t given much thought about what I’ll do if I don’t succeed… I guess that’s a good sign, though.

Follow Kevin on twitter @coL_qxc