Ret on the prowl, as depicted by pachi. Original photo by lopper.
It's been some time coming, Team Liquid, but after months of speculation from your end, we're finally here to confirm that Jos "Ret" De Kroon is in fact taking up Starcraft 2, and doing so in the best way possible - shoulder to shoulder with our boys in blue!
If you remember, way back in March 2010, Ret won the first ever SC2 Liquibition. Then, he disappeared, and everyone had their own questions. Why did he leave? Where did he go? What is he doing?
Today, we have answers.
Men and women, boys and girls, we're proud to introduce, for the first time ever, The Flying Dutchman, son of the swarm and hero of little Zerglings everywhere,
Hello, Team Liquid!
Talking to us from Korea, Liquid` Manager Victor "Nazgul" Goossens said that the team was delighted to have him aboard. "Ret has been a top gamer for so long with so much talent for the game but somehow the environment at the time never really worked in his favor," said Nazgul. "I really like the fact that we picked him up even before he won any tournaments, because that's a clear indication of the confidence we have in his capabilities."
Goossens stressed that rather than going after big names, Liquid` was always a team that focused on seeing the underlying talent in players and recruiting those it though would do well with the team. "Jos is a long time friend of ours, and we're really happy to invite him into the fold!"
So what does this mean for Ret? Progaming? Korea? World domination? Ask him yourself.
Hi Ret, and welcome back! Where have you been hiding all these months?
Hey, thanks. I've had a great summer away from my computer! After returning from Korea, I had totally lost the will to play videogames, and focused on weights in the gym, tennis, the worldcup, and rebuilding friendships with old friends! So that's why I haven't been around.
But rumour says you are now back and ready to go?
Yes... after Gamescom and seeing all my old buddies do so well and watching some high level SC2 from up close, I started to itch again. I decided to take my focus off school and try my best to do well in SC2. I have some catching up to do since I missed the whole beta and the first month of release, but I am confident it won't take too long for me to get up to par.
Of course, the big news is that you're going to start this journey with some pretty cool people. But we'll let you break that news. Go ahead!
I'm very excited to say that I will be joining Team Liquid! I've known Nazgul for 10 years and when I just started playing SC:BW I was always begging him to let me join the team. This was before it became a huge community/website, and well, who would've thought it would happen in 2010? I look forward to representing Liquid in tournaments and hopefully helping them in their quest for world domination.
That is amazing news indeed, and your recruitment only strengthens an already solid lineup for Liquid. So in terms of you and Liquid, what does the future hold?
I will be practicing a lot from home at first and try to represent Liquid in European based tournaments and stuff like HDH etc. After I finish up my driving license (something I've already invested a lot of money into - it's expensive), I will join the Liquid guys in Korea and participate in the GSLs. I am looking forward to getting a second chance in Korea in a much better setting than last time and will definitely be practicing really hard to make the most out of it. I feel like my last Korea experience wasn't very successful and I have to set some things straight over there.
Don't let his easygoing demeanor fool you. Ret is a man on a mission.
What are you most looking forward to about Korea, and living and playing together with Jinro, TLO and Haypro, when he arrives as well?
I'm looking forward a lot to living with those guys. Hayder has been one of my best friends in SC:BW for years and I've known Jinro for a long time as well. I met TLO at gamescon and he seems chill also, as well as amazingly talented of course. I believe that when we combine the Swedish, German, and Dutch powers we will be unstoppable! It'll also be good to be close to my old friends like Artosis & IdrA, who I was very close with during my last stay but haven’t seen or talked to much since I’ve been back in Europe and not into the game scene at all.
Let's go into your last Korean experience. It's no secret that it was less than pleasant for you. What will be most different for you, this time?
The fact that I'm not alone in a house with people who don't speak English, I think. The other TL players are good friends and having them around at all times will solve almost all the problems I experienced last time in Korea. Also the fact Nazgul will be around occasionally, and Spunky speaking fluent English should make everything easy. I'll be practicing a lot, but not being forced to sit at your pc for 12 hours a day is obviously a big plus as well. I'd be able to compete in gaming, while still going to the gym and exercising and playing sports. I don't expect any problems with the progaming lifestyle this time around.
Yes, that's quite a difference indeed. Although your stay last time was not that great, was there anything you missed about Seoul or Korea on your return to Europe?
Artosis & IdrA, as well as watching SC1 on TV, and being fully immersed in the most competitive gaming scene that exists in the world. Korean food can either be really awesome, or really bad. I do miss Korean BBQ, and some of the other wonderful dishes I've had over there.
So Korean BBQ is clearly a foreigner favourite in Korea! Have you been watching the GSL so far? What do you make of it?
I watched the IdrA series, and I’m watching Junwi vs LegalMind as we speak. To be honest, so far I'm a little disappointed with the level of play. If you compare the GSL to the OSL or MSL for SC:BW, the level of play is just atrocious. Hopefully this will change over the months to come as SC2 grows in Korea and the E-Sports scene for it gets more serious and skill levels increase. I think in the future it’s going to be just as big and awesome as the OSL/MSL were. SC2 is already advancing in Korea - Tester and Check just formed a new team 'TSL'. Things like that show that the game is growing in Korea. Once we get a few rounds out of the way, the GSL should be amazing. I can’t wait to see how the foreigners do in it.
What would you say to people who argue that the 'zing' of BW just isn't present in SC2, that the 'wow' micro moments are just not there?
I actually used to be one of those people, but when I saw the games at Gamescom I actually recognised lots of stuff from SC:BW present in SC2. I believe SC2 does have the potential to grow into a great game. It's already pretty good, with patching and the new expansions it can potentially be as good as SC:BW. There are lots of small details in Micro and Macro that separate good from great players.
It will just take time for people to be good enough for everyone to notice it. At the beginning of the game nobody had a clue about what they were doing, but as strategies become more complex and timings in the game get more advanced, the game will feature similar wow moments and dynamic gameplay like SC:BW had.
It's always hard for people to switch to a new game, especially after 12 years. It takes time for people to appreciate new things. You have to learn to like it. We will never see the same kind of amazing muta micro or cool tricks like Hold lurkers, or a last second dark swarm to save an expansion. But we will be seeing new, different things that the best players will come up with to win their games.
Like Morrow's great 5 rax reaper player at IEM (yes I know, 'imbalanced'), or Dimaga/IdrA covering the whole damn map in creep within 5 minutes and therefor just crushing the opponents army on creep with great flanks – stuff like that. I just watched LegalMind hallucinate a collosus to trick his opponent Junwi into focus firing that first. Plays like that are really enjoyable to see, too.
That's an interesting take on things, and it will certainly be fun to see the game develop. You spoke about all three races just now, but which one have you chosen to focus on in SC2, and why?
Zerg. I figure the Swarm needs another hero to stand up to the evil Terrans, and take some weight off Idra's shoulders . But nah, I've just always been Zerg and I see no reason to switch it up, I love the way Zerg plays in SC2, it doesn’t feel much different from SC1.
"I pity the fool who tries to 5rax reaper me."
Speaking of evil Terrans, anything to say about the Terran OP issue? Haha.
In my opinion, it’s slightly exaggerated. As long as the Zerg or Protoss plays well they do fine against Terran from what I've seen in tournaments. I don't have too much to say about it.
Fair enough. So, let's talk about the swarm. You said Zerg feels the same, but no doubt a lot has changed as well. What are some of the more noticable changes from your point of view and which things have remained more or less the same?
Well of course there is the Queen as the biggest change to Zerg gameplay. It really makes some of the things that were already so crucial to being a good Zerg even more important. Zerg always had to make extremely accurate predictions about whether they should be making drones or units with larvae, and the extra larvae available now makes those decisions even more influential on the later stages of the game.
I really like how fluent Zerg plays in SC2. Because of the extra larvae available you can play it very reactively to what your opponent is doing. It was pretty much like that in SC1, but unit composition became even more important in SC2.
There has been some discussion as to creep and how slow units like hydras are off of it. Do you see creep in general as a negative or positive addition to Zerg gameplay?
I like the creep dynamic, it adds another element to SC. If you keep your multitasking up and your queens' energy low you can really benefit from having creep everywhere, I'm happy with it, it’s another strategic element in zerg gameplay that adds to the diversity of the game
What would you say about the criticism that Zerg has less diversity in terms of units, when compared to Protoss and Terran? What about people who say that Ultras/Hydras/insert-unit-here are useless?
I can't do anything but agree that Zerg has less unit diversity. It's a pretty clear cut fact that Zerg armies usually consist of no more than 2-3 unit types, but I'm not bothered so much by it because every unit has a pretty specific role and no unit, in my opinion, is 'useless'. Of course I could complain and ask for more units, but this is what Blizzard has given us and this is what we'll have to work with.
Good man! So, in terms of Zergs, you've already mentioned Idra and Dimaga, but are there any other sons of the swarm who have impressed you with their play?
Myself, IdrA and the overmind frequently get together to discuss the current state of the Zerg taking over the world. Unfortunately, we have not been impressed with the talent currently out there. If my return to SC2 does not bring the expected Glory to the Swarm, we may be forced to call upon the one that goes by the name of the 'Tyrant.' In which case, I believe you are all doomed. In all seriousness though, Haypro has always been someone who's playstyle I appreciated a lot in SC:BW and it's the same in SC. He’s a very thinking player, and there's usually a reason behind every move of his.
Have you been in touch with Hayder at all these few weeks? Now that you're in Liquid we can imagine you'll be playing and interacting with him on a very regular basis.
I've kept in touch with him somewhat over these past few months, but not as much as I’d have liked to, especially since I wasn’t playing. Also, not playing at all made me a noob, and he looked down on me! He’s evil like that! But yeah, I hope to be playing with him a lot now that I’ve started playing SC2. In fact, I believe that would've happened regardless of which team I'm in! Me being in Liquid just makes it even better.
Indeed, and it makes our lives as Liquid fans that much better as well. Welcome to Liquid, Ret! We're glad you're here.
Thank you! I’m also happy to be making a new start with gaming here. Couldn't imagine a better home.
GLHF Liquid`Ret, and we look forward to seeing you represent us in Korea! Gogo!
Well, there you have it, folks. More great news for Liquid, and indeed, more great news for TL. Expect great things from this Dutchman in the weeks to come as he revs up his SC2 engine and we tag along with him to Korea and beyond. Liquid fighting!
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