At Red Bull Battle Grounds, TeamLiquid had a chance to talk to DongRaeGu and JinAir_Trap, two players who have decided to take their careers in wildly different directions.
DongRaeGu: "If you only chase money, you could lose your passion, your mentality, everything."
This interview was conducted in a mix of English and Korean. The following transcript has been edited and condensed.
TeamLiquid: How do you feel about your results here at Red Bull Washington? Disappointed?
DongRaeGu: Not a lot – I didn't practice so much for Red Bull Battle Grounds, because I was focusing on GSL. So I didn't have high expectations in terms of my results.
How's the team search going? You've been teamless for a bit.
Some offers came, but... I just want to see how the WCS system changes – the region lock and anything else. I'm just waiting to see the situation – I could go anywhere.
Foreign teams? Or KeSPA teams?
I prefer foreign teams, but also I just don't want to go to KeSPA teams.
It's so hard when someone else is forcing you to play the game. So I don't want to join a KeSPA team.
When you were with team MVP, was it a really free environment?
No one forced me to play the game when I was with MVP – I was really free to play the game.
But you practiced a lot, still? [DRG understood this as "do you still practice a lot now?"]
Hmmm, I think so, better than when I was in MVP.
If the new WCS system works out in a way that you could get a visa to play in Europe or America, would you rather play in those regions than the GSL?
For me to get a visa and live abroad, it seems like it would be kind of iffy. Starting with the practice environment, it doesn't seem like practice would go well living in North America.
Playing in WCS Korea and playing foreign tournaments at the same time, I think that would be the best direction for me.
A lot of players are leaving KeSPA teams and looking for foreign teams. The foreign SC2 scene isn't in the best situation right now, so what do you think of their choices?
I agree 100% with their opinion to get out of KeSPA. Because, it's so fun to play in overseas tournaments and communicate with foreign fans and do streaming. It's more motivating to be a progamer.
Isn't the money difference pretty big?
While KeSPA teams would give you a lot of money, it's like PartinG said in other interviews: money isn't everything. If you only chase money, you could lose your passion, your mentality, everything.
I think it's best to just do what you like. Money, if you prefer the money then there's nothing wrong with going with KeSPA.
You've been a progamer for a while. Did you ever think that you wanted to join a KeSPA team?
There was a time when I considered it, and at one time I was even prepared to leave my team to join a KeSPA team. But honestly, I kind of – they call it the "chicken coop" system – I wasn't confident at all that I could handle being forced to play in such a strict way. So I gave it some thought but I don't think it went any further than that. In the end I thought my current situation was good.
What do you think of players like INnoVation who are conversely returning to KeSPA teams?
It turns out there are some players who prefer it when someone else is forcefully making them practice. Some players need that to focus more and practice and produce good results. That's just stuff you do according to your own style, so I can't say anything about it.
In the foreign community, a lot of people say certain players would do well if they returned to a KeSPA team. Do you agree?
I definitely think that there are some players who are optimized for a KeSPA environment.
Players like Solar have said before, that players like me or INnoVation would definitely get better results if we were forced to train under a KeSPA environment. So that is something people say.
Finally, anything you'd like to say to the fans?
I'm so sorry to my fans about my results in GSL and Red bull. But I will stream more often and practice a lot, and find a good team. I'll do my best in 2015, I hope so. I'll see you then!
Trap: "I think I have limitations if I practice alone."
TeamLiquid: How do you feel coming abroad again?
Trap: From the first time I stepped onto the stage, hearing the cheers of the fans, the audience, I felt once again that things are different here than in Korea.
You left IM and were teamless for a while before joining Jin Air. Did you look for a foreign team during that time?
I didn't look for one that intensively – I did ask around a bit. There wasn't anything that I really liked, and I ended up changing my mind midway. So I ended up coming to Jin Air while looking for a Korean team.
Right now, KeSPA players are leaving their teams and looking for foreign teams. What's the reason you were looking for a KeSPA team?
Me, I'm kind of... I think I have limitations if I practice alone. That, and I wanted to be the best in Korea, so I came to join a KeSPA team.
How much time did you spend at the Jin Air house before you came to Red Bull?
I entered the house about three days before leaving for Red Bull, so I practiced a bit before I came.
Any time to get to know your teammates?
sOs I sort of knew before – my new teammates are all nice, and they're people I've seen around before, so I'm getting to know them.
You said in another interview that you hoped to learn from sOs. You actually beat him twice at Red Bull Battle Grounds. What do you think about that?
[The briefest of smirks] In the case of PvP, it's common for things like your day to day condition, mind games, etc. directly decide who wins. So, I think I was just ahead in that regard in this tournament.
So who's better normally?
[Laughs] It hasn't been so long since I entered the team, so I don't really know... but if you look at sOs' broadcast games he's very good, and he's accomplished a lot in his career. He's someone I respect a lot.
You seemed to be hitting your stride when you won MLG Anaheim. What did you think of your play in the months following that big win?
There weren't many tournaments for me after MLG, so my skill did go down some. Still, preparing for this tournament, I was able to bring my level back up to some degree. There's WECG Korean prelims waiting for me back at home, so I'll have to prepare hard for that.
Overall, how do you rate your performance this tournament?
I think I played well in the quarters, but I have a lot of regrets about my play in the semis and 3rd place match.
Terran seemed very strong for a couple of months, but looking at recent results like the early rounds of WECG prelims, Protoss appear to be coming up again. What do you think about the state of balance now?
Terran got a lot better after the widow mine patch and the introduction of the new ladder maps, and I had a hard time practicing. Protoss players are currently adapting, so I think it's pretty even now.
Do you have any particular thoughts on the WCS 2015 changes? How about the idea to give WCS points for Proleague?
The Korean region is over-saturated, so there's some disadvantages to Korean players. I think giving points for Proleague is a good idea – it's tough to compete in foreign tournaments when you're playing in Proleague. I'm not sure how exactly the points will be given out, but I'm very positive about the idea. The WCS system needs to be overhauled, but it's definitely a very difficult thing to do.
Any predictions for the WCS Grand Finals?
[Laughs] Well, since I'm out of the running, I don't really know who's playing.
Any final comments or words?
I haven't been to many foreign tournaments, but each time I compete in one I feel like I gain new motivation. After I go back to Korea, I'll do my best to perform well in upcoming tournaments.