Kane’s post retirement interview and reflection on his time in eSports

It’s been over a month now since Kane left mYi and retired from professional gaming.  Since that time, Skye “Nightris” Bui had the chance to catch up with him to discuss his time spent in eSports and the StarCraft scene in general, as well as his plans for the future.

 

Let’s talk about Canada.  Why did you make the decision to come back home in the first place?  What were the factors that influenced your decision?

So my visa was for three months, but it wasn’t a visa really, it was a tourist thing and honestly, three months was a good amount of time for me to be somewhere. It’s not too long, its not too short and you really get a feel for the house, for the culture, of whatever country you’re living in.

I have family and friends back in Canada so I just wanted to come back here because it’s familiar. I have my own place, I have a car, it’s just a comfortable lifestyle for me whereas at the mYi house, it’s training all day, there’s no real entertainment, I cant go out very often because its very expensive, etc. So there were a lot of factors that went into my decision.

Speaking of the mYi house, how did you feel about being there? Were you happy with it?

I was happy being there for sure. Everyone is super super friendly, it’s like living with some really good friends. Of course there’s stuff like who cleans the kitchen, that can be a pain sometimes. Not cleaning properly, which got on my nerves at times. There were some messy people which bothered me as well, but that’s how it is living with roommates. It’s not very specific towards people in eSports.

I didn’t go out very often, but was surrounded by friends, so I did get my social needs met. I wish I did spend a little more money on exploring and experiencing the culture, but I can always come back sometime. I’m still good friends with everyone there, so maybe something might happen again.

Did you ever get homesick? Was it hard having to travel all the time?

I went to Switzerland on two separate occasions. The first time was for three months and I had a girlfriend at the time, it was hard being away from her. Family, I’m very close to my family. We “Facetime” a lot, so I didn’t get homesick in that sense. It was just hard being away from my girlfriend.

Let’s talk about school. You wanted to go back to school but did you think it was going to conflict with progaming? What was your mindset when you were making this huge decision?

I had done three years of my degree when the opportunity of progaming popped up.  Showcraft America came about and mYi had contacted me to come live in Switzerland. I decided to take two years off of my school, as I had only one year of my degree left. Now fast forward two years.

I was not playing StarCraft nearly as much as I did before, I lost a lot of motivation which comes with just about anything you do for twelve hours a day for roughly two years straight. There’s a pretty good chance I’d get bored of it. So I figured now would be a really good time to go back to school, and finish my degree. Who knows, a year from now I could come back to StarCraft if LotV is doing well, but to be honest, it is highly unlikely. As for now I will be focusing on school.

 


…there’s a pretty good chance I’d get bored of it…


 

Speaking of motivation, do you think that is what fuels players and is a factor in their performance?

I think there’s a difference between foreigners and Koreans in that aspect. I think foreigners are really motivated to be number one and get good, whereas Koreans treat it as a serious job. You talk to someone here in Canada, and they’re not going to tell you that they want to be the best banker in the world, its a job to them. I think that’s how Koreans treat StarCraft, the only reason they would be motivated is because its how they earn their living, that’s how they get good.

Tell me, what are your plans for the rest of the year aside from school?

I’ve qualified for WCS premier this season surprisingly, and I’ll continue to play WCS going forward. Lets face it, challenger league is an easy $2000 dollars and the NA competition is not that good right now. Its very low compared to the other countries.  If I make it into premier again in the future, it’s even more of a bonus, but never expected.

561px-Kane_WCS_2015_Season1

On stage at Poitiers for the 2015 WCS Season 1 before playing ShoWTimE in the quarterfinals

What did you struggle with the most when it came to competing as a progamer?

It was dealing with losses. When I won events it was a high for sure, but I didn’t get as happy when I won, as I was sad when I lost. I took the losses a lot harder than anything else, really. So it was hard for me. When I was living in Taiwan and didn’t qualify for WCS America, it was partially due to lag, and partially because of my own poor play. So that really sucked. There’s a lot of moments like that where you feel like you played pretty badly, you are disappointed in yourself, and realize this isn’t paying off.

I think that’s kinda what dampened my motivation a bit, but then this year, I stopped caring so much. I stopped practicing so much and my results improved. I’ve had the best results this year by far, so I mean it seems like a weird time for me to retire but it’s just that my motivation burnt out and not practicing will catch up to me eventually.

Let’s talk about what makes YOU happy and what kind of things do you remember the most about tournaments. Do you have any favorite ones?

IEM Toronto is probably by far one of my favorites. I was able to meet new people, specifically, new Canadians. The ups in my progaming career were mostly the different experiences living in different countries like the mYi house in Switzerland, the ROOT house in California, in Taiwan with YOE Flash Wolves. Those are the memories I’ll never forget.

In the past few years I spent months away from home, so half of my time was being spent in other countries, and that’s an incredible thing to say. I’ve had so many memorable living experiences with so many different people, meeting so many cool new friends that I still keep in contact with even from Taiwan, it’s just incredible for me

Can you share some crazy fan stories or experiences?

There have been weird experiences. I won’t go into too much, but the fans are always supportive, they’re not too crazy.

When was the moment you realized, “I am actually being recognized, people actually know who I am as a Starcraft 2 professional gamer”?

I remember it was at MLG Anaheim after I won Shoutcraft America and I asked a worker there for a piece of paper and a pen so I could write a sign. So he’s like “yeah come with me” and we’re walking down this hallway. There’s a bunch of people and at least three people stopped me in the hallway while I was walking with this worker, asking me for autographs.

That was the first time I felt recognized because, this worker had no idea who I was, and by the end he had seen all these people who asked me for autographs. He thought I was some famous dude, and you start to believe it yourself, especially at these events. That was really cool for me, especially when you see yourself in photos where you’re dressed nicely in front of a big crowd.

 


…you got to go in the direction your heart tells you to…


 

During the decision making time prior to you publicly stating whether you will continue with school or not, did you think, “this is what I want for sure” and then wonder if you would question your decision later on?

Yeah of course, there is always going to be some sort of doubt. Like what would happen if I kept playing, but that’s with everything in life, you got to go in the direction your heart tells you to. Now my heart is telling me to go back to school for a year and live at home. That will enable me to keep up with my social relationships, get a girlfriend, foster the relationships that I haven’t been able to pay attention to for the past two years, etc. I’m looking forward to it in that perspective. I love school, I love learning, I love the classroom environment. Everything just tells me that its the right time to go back to school.

What are you going to school for?

My major is in mathematics and I minor in philosophy. After that I plan to do something in the sciences field.

Tell me some of your memorable moments and memories that you will take to heart.  

I think one of the emotional times for me was when I met a guy in Yoe Flash Wolves. He was a young kid, 16 or 17. His name was Vanilla, he’s a Terran for Yoe, or at least he was. He recently retired I believe. I’m not sure what he is doing right now. I remember we became really close friends for the three months I was there and saying goodbye to him at the airport was one of the hardest experience that I have had.

That sounds like a negative memory but just knowing that you could bring a connection between two people through a game like StarCraft, all the people that I have met, they are just incredible. People like PengWin, the mYi managers, etc. there are just so many people that I would have never met without StarCraft and it’s amazing to me that through just a game, I could meet so many people and so many friends, people I will never forget.

kanehuk

Kane and HuK doing battle in what would be the final engagement of their BO5 in WCS Challenger League S3 2015! Kane would go on to win the series 3-2 and advance to Premier!

You were really emotional about that last question. Do you think it’s going to be hard to walk away from the eSports life? What are you mainly afraid of after quitting?

That’s part of what I’m afraid of. That I will never be able to see them again. In today’s world, you can take a flight anywhere though. 15 hours and you’re in Taiwan, so it is really nice that there is that option, and I hope that I will be able to see them again and keep in contact. I think it is a part of progaming, it’s not going to be forever. At least for me it wasn’t so. I hope that I continue contact with people like vanilla but its just natural that you lose contact

What do you want to tell the people who made this possible for you? What do you want to tell your fans?

I could have never done this without the support of my family. The support of fans at live events, online as well. Never could have done it without the support of mYi and the managers there. PengWin, I want to mention him specifically because he was always a really close friend. All of the Yoe Flash Wolves, all of ROOT. Catz was a guy who picked me up when nobody else believed in me so he is always going to have a special place in my heart. Everybody that I have met.

I’m forgetting a lot of people for sure but I think about all the people that I have met, and about the eleven months out of the past two years I’ve been with people that support me. It’s just incredible to me that I could meet these people. My fans, I could never have done it without their support for sure, it’s just amazing to me that people actually support what I did. If you ever see me, don’t be afraid to come up and say hello because a simple hi or a handshake means a lot to me. Sure I might not remember everyone, by face or by name, just the collective support from all of you. I would have never done it.

 

Be sure to look for Kane playing in 2015 WCS Premier Season 3 on August 26th in Group F with Zanster, iAsonu, and ForGG!

 

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