People were curious about Neo's interview on Replays.net (RN), here it is!
People were curious about Neo's interview on Replays.net (RN), here it is! But before, let me give you some context. Chatwin was my first partner in publication on RN (now I have like 6?) and he went with me to cover GCS Spring in May - and will be there for WCA in Yinchuan with us. He is a close friend of Yumiko and he likes to complete my articles on RN with his own comments. So now it is revenge time for me, eat my comments partner! :D
Chatwin and I in Shanghai
When he suggested to interview Neo, I do not know which one was the most excited of the two : Neo to be published on RN or Chatwin to have a long discussion with B2W ?
Were there any WC3 when you were a child? :)
So long story short, this interview took two sessions to be completed. Sometimes the questions were longer than the answers, there were so much passion to be shared. Feedbacks are very positive on RN.
The English version is a little broken but I will not correct it - too much : time is an issue and it's part of the interview's charm. It's still better than a google translation my friends!
1--HI, NEO , The chinese fans are curious about B2W and you / Remo, please give us a introduction.,
A: Hi, I am NEO ,27 YRS. And the founder of the English Twitch channel "Back2Warcraft".
Together with my partner Remo, we cover almost every significant Warcraft tournament in the world, from GERA Cups to NWL and TWI and of course WCA Qualifiers and GOLD Series. It started as a hobby project but is a big part of our everyday life now.
Q: When and how did you get started with casting?
A: My first broadcast was in 2008 for ESL, Remo joined in 2009. We covered WC3L almost everyday only via radio streams. Since videostreaming was very expensive back then, the users had to synchronize our voices with the picture they got from WTV. I just finished highschool and had some time, so we did every single clanwar, even if wNv's matches took more than 9 hours :D
We did that in German for a few hundred listeners and we never got any money. We even spend our own to be able to go to events like EPS Finals. I did that for 3-4 years next to my studies and all I got was one headset from ESL. We loved the game and our broadcasting team became kind of a family so we were happy to be able to do this as a group of friends for 4 years.
Neo and Remo : i guess in Yinchuan, I see Chinese bottled water!
2---When did you leave esl ? Why ?
A: At the beginning of the Starcraft 2 beta, ESL invested a lot into the new game and less in Warcraft. WC3L died, EPS died, we only had EMS for very small money. Additionally, ESL forced us to cast SC2 tournaments to remain broadcasting rights for the Warcraft tournament and I - HATED- Starcraft2 right from the start. My love for Warcraft never died, so I left ESL and started my own stream since videostreaming became a thing at that time. Back2Warcraft was born.
3--You must face a lof of diffculty when you left ESL ,right?
A: Yes, since we were still casting in German and very inconsistent as well, we had very few viewers. It was just a hobby for fun, so real life was more important and time for Warcraft was short. We didn't get any money from this, all we had was a PC, a microphone, a webcam and our passion for Warcraft. Also it was hard to cover Asian tournaments at that time and the European scene was almost dead, because a hacker ruined every single tournament that was played.
For the final Zotac Cup in 2014, I gathered my old ESL friends to give Warcraft the final goodbye that we felt it deserved. We had 9 famous casters from the old days on stream that day and for the first time, a lot of people were watching.
Q: So you decided to continue?
A: Yes, we were pretty lucky. We saw the list "100 best replays of all time" on Replays.Net and we thought it would be cool to have a weekly show to broadcast them. People loved to see the old games and relive the great moments of the past, so we became even more successful. We were lucky that WEC and WCA decided to invite European players, that helped our scene to bloom again. For these tournament, we decided to start casting in English and quickly became the number 1 Warcraft stream for international tournaments on all of Twitch. Also we invested more and more time into casting since it started to get us some small money.
4--Tell us about the daily life. Beside your lovely war3, what you do normally? Party ? Girl ? And i heard that in 1 party you met a girl who is your fan? XD!
A: I'm studying media IT here in Hamburg and I work in an office for a cinema. So if people don't pay their bills, I'll hunt them down :D. I like parties and concerts, music festivals and that kind of stuff. But since we were casting 750 hours of Warcraft this year already, my time is really short and I don't sleep too much because of it. I decline a lot of party invitations from my friends, because of Warcraft tournaments, but they understand how important it is to me, so it's ok. Warcraft is love.
Neo : our favorite showman!
5--We all know 1 thing ,back in 2014 Zotac cup ended, no match in euro, it was hardest time of war3, have you even consider to switching to LoL and Dota, which are more popular and more money can make than war3?
A: As mentioned, I hated SC2 so that was never a question. I just missed the heroes and the RNG factor. I thought about DotA for a while because I think it's the perfect eSport game, even back when everybody was playing DotA 1. But it's just too hard to learn and it's of course not the same as Warcraft3. So it's like walking through the city, you might see a beautiful girl and think about it for a bit, but at the end you go home to your wife that you love :D.
6--A lot of china stream channel, Douyu, Huya, QuanMin,Zhanqi TV, have you ever consider also stream in these channels? Since Twitch is laggy for chinese?
A: Yes, I tried very hard to get our stream to Douyu or Zhanqi for more than a year, but it just doesn't work. Raphael from Switzerland is streaming though and I asked him and a few other people for help but from my flat in Hamburg, it seems to be impossible since I cant submit the data to douyu servers. It's not laggy or bad quality or something, the screen just stays black. If someone has a solution for the problem, feel free to help me out :D. I know that we have a lot of Chinese fans, I see that on our stream and social media. I would love to make it easier for you to watch us and try to interact with you, hopefully we will find a solution someday.
7--Sonik was banned for some European match, what happened? Can you tell me the how it goes?
A: Sonik….. I really used to like this guy, we had a good time at WCA 2015 and he can be very funny. We even tried to help him for a very long time to get some prizemoney he earned in 2015, which was very complicated. But this year, his behavior was very bad in many occasions. For example we organized the WCA EU and GCS International qualifier where he played as well. So whenever something went not right in his opinion, he started to insult the European admins, us and the poor Chinese admins who were just there to help. This is where I lost a lot of respect for him, sadly.
Then he wanted to stream the American qualifier for WCA, but as you know, for WCA you need broadcasting rights and you have to talk to the organizing company and WCA to get them. The Russian streamer Wolv asked for it in advance, as it should be, so we gave him the rights. During the tournament, Sonik appeared and wanted to stream so I said no. He tilted and insulted everybody, saying I'm corrupt and he will get me banned from GERA Cup casting. So I told the GERA admins what happened and they understood, saying that he behaved badly towards them as well. So he continued to rage on his stream and gave away private information of admins, which got him banned in the end. His behavior and respect for other people in the scene was lackluster.
Neo and Sonik used to have fun together
Q: You've been to WCA in 2014 and 2015, can you share your feelings about the trips?
A: WCA was the tournament that really- put us on the map, so I will always be grateful towards them. We switched to English in 2014 and WCA invited us to cover their event in Yinchuan, which was an honor. Everybody treated us with a lot of respect and was very nice and helpful. I will never forget the Chinese volunteer girl, working so incredibly hard to get us everything we needed. The audience was treating us like rockstars, so we had to take hundreds photos with them and write autographs for the first time.
WCA is very special for the western scene, because it's the only Asian tournament where we are at sight and have the chance to talk to the players and give a face and personality to the nickname that we see ingame. I interviewed Sky in 2014, which was the biggest honor. My hands were shaking, I was stuttering a lot but he dealt with it like the true legend he is, a very inspiring moment for me.
We didn't see too much of the city, but I can tell you: The people of Yinchuan know how to party! I will never forget those two trips, a memory that I will tell my children about.
8--I heard that you would go for GCS this time ? If they can only provide you a computer with internet , can you deal with that? Is the same as WCA before?
A: Our plan was to go to WCA and then to GCS, yes.
Throughout the year, we casted every single WCA event and we had a lot of very positive talks with them about being invited to Yinchuan this year again. These talks started in March, we were said to prepare our visa already. WCA always paid for our plane tickets and accommodation, so we could easily go from Yinchuan to Shanghai to cast GCS as well.
GCS can't cover our accommodation for three weeks, since our inquiry was on very short notice and they didn't prepare the budget for us, which is totally understandable. So what we did was a kickstarter, crowdfunding. Booking a hotel for three weeks in Shanghai is not cheap, but our fans and the incredible western Warcraft community gave us that money in less than 24 hours. I'm still shaking my head in disbelief, because I totally didn't expect that. So we're definitely going to GCS this year, yes.
Unfortunately, we have received bad news from WCA and it doesn't look very good that they will invite us this year. This means that we have to pay the plane tickets ourselves, which will cost around 2,000 euros I think?
We hope we can change WCA's opinion on this though. We want to show the world the improvement that WCA does every year, the great competition we'll have and of course present a new world champion in the end. Also it's one of the very few chances to do interviews in person, I think it's very important to give players a face. There's a big following for Warcraft 3 in the west and WCA is our International, our LCS, our WCS. An international tournament needs international casters so everybody can follow it right?
I'd be a shame to miss WCA, since we casted every single qualifier and the CN vs. KR clanwars. If we'e not invited, we can't cast from home because of the travel to Shanghai. Missing the world championship would break my heart a little, especially since the past two years were so memorable.
Disclaimer: The interview took place before Back2Warcraft got the final confirmation for WCA 2016. Neo and remo will go to Yinchuan for the third time in a row.
We can't ask our western fans for more money so we have to pay for it ourselves, from our pockets. But we do this because we love Warcraft 3 so much and being a caster for a month will be great. No studies, no office job for that time. The first two GCS tournament were the best produced tournaments this year so far, so I'm very much looking forward to be there, even though I'll miss Christmas with my family and New Years with my friends, it's not that important. There's nothing more important to cast Warcraft 3 and be in China to do so.
Neo will be Back2China
9--How much you can get from twitch and donation ? Can they pay your daily life ? Will you job stop you from casting war3 since china tournament time zone different than Euro.
A: Warcraft pays my rent and some expenses we have to cover. It's a lot of time we invest for little money. But if we're not casting, no one will and people miss the beauty of Warcraft competition so we have to :D.
Luckily, my boss is a Warcraft fan and likes my stream, so whenever there's a tournament, I can come late to work to cast in the morning. My colleagues at work are really great in that regard. Sometimes they see me very tired, because tournaments start early. So I wake up at 5am, take a shower, cast and go to work until 9-10pm. It's exhausting but worth it.
10--Now you think war3 is reviving from that bleak time of no war3 match in whole year but only WEL to nowadays more and more war3 competition? SC2 , it was a time everyone thinks war3 died?
A: At that time I felt that Yumiko was a true savior of the scene, playing, casting and organizing tournaments. Big shoutout to yumi, I love this guy. It was a really bad time for Warcraft, everybody was playing Startcraft…. We had a few small tournaments in Europe, but a hacker ruined our tournaments so nobody had fun watching and playing anymore. Thankfully, WCA reignited the fire of western Warcraft in 2014, so players had a goal to practice for. We got GERA Cups as a constant in the scene, which is so important. But I think the biggest contributor to the scene is Netease. Finally Europeans can compete with Asians, even if they have a ping disadvantage. Warcraft 3 seems to be very healthy at the moment.
11—What was your happiest moment in china?WCA?
A: It was an honor to interview Sky and a pleasure to meet Moon, but of course I have the best memories of Yaws's cinderella story last year. Yaws joined our casting team in 2015 and we became pretty good friends. He dropped out of the WCA Qualifier early so he came to gamescom with us to cast WCA European Qualifier finals. We received news, that Foggy wasn't able to get a visa, so yaws replaced him. And qualified for WCA. And escaped his group. And beat Yumiko and Fly!
As a German, we never had a successful time in Warcraft, so seeing a German so close to a championship and playing a perfect game vs. Fly, on TR, the best player in the world at that time was incredible. I was screaming from the top of my lungs and after he lost in the final, I shed a little tear because it was so emotional.
I heard some people said our casting was biased…. I apologize for that! Of course we should be neutral, but I got carried away by emotion. This was the first German success in Warcraft, the first for Europe since Grubby won WCG in Cologne, I hope you can understand :D
Neo, Warchief and Yaws
12--Is there sth you highly expected for GCS,WCA? Players of Euro, Travel, Girl ?
A: I hope we can attend both events somehow and provide the best show possible and do a lot of interviews. The games will be very close and I'd be happy to be raspy at the end, because the games were so awesome.
Personally, I will meet a lot of good friends, that I can only see on events like this. LawLiet and our Chinese assistant Cody have to be named here. Also I will meet a lot of people that I never met yet, the Europeans, Americans and Lyn and our editor Ugri.
So far we've only seen a bit of Yinchuan, I want to explore the cities more and especially go to DISNEYLAND! I'm excited already :D It's gonna be interesting how different Shanghai is from Yinchuan.
And if I meet a nice girl, I will of course not complain :D
13—W3A too hard, For europeans its too laggy to play on Netease?
A: We got a like 160ms lag, it's not perfect, but if you play during Chinese nights and mornings, it's totally fine, Unfortunately , if you play during evenings in China, the connection is pretty bad. So hopefully, we would have a worldwide server for all the players so they get the same ping.
For w3arena, less players are on it since Korean and good Chinese are on Netease. So they need to deal with it (The ping issues). And I need to give credit to euro players who qualify , handling the big ping issues. Foggy won't use mass huntress 2 times in a row to cover for those ping issues.
14--yaws left b2w?
A: Yaws was part of the team for a year, throughout that time we were like brothers and had a lot of fun. But during WCA Korean Qualifier, he behaved a little unprofessional on stream and I told him that I don't like this. Afterwards the disband was a creeping process, our opinions were not the same anymore and everybody was doing their own things again. There's no big drama, we're still friends, we cast together from time to time, but we're walking a different path of life now.
Bromance : Yaws and Neo
15—Funding, since wca might not invite you , how u deal with that?
A: We will have to use our commercial reserves to pay for the flights. That hurts since usually you're supposed to earn money as a caster :D The plane tickets consume a lot of the money we made this year. As I mentioned, our fans funded our hotel costs in Shanghai, which is heartwarming and shows how much love and respect there is for our work and Warcraft in general. If there's anyone in China who wants to support us, feel free :D You can donate via Paypal, take part in the crowdfunding or buy our merchandise if you want. If there's a big Chinese sponsor, we'd be happy to talk to you to see what we can do for you. But money is always secondary. Warcraft, the memories that will be created and satisfying our fans is most important.
Funny story by the way, the old WCG winner Creolophus watched our stream and saw the kickstarter. So he said : I'm playing Warcraft a bit nowadays, so why don't you sell a 2on2 with me so I can help you a bit to reach your goal?? I was a big fan back when he was playing for 4K, so that was an honor to read that.
Maybe he'll stream soon too, I hope he can come back to former glory.
Neo, thinking about how to go to China
16---who you think will win WCA?
A: 120 will win! The most impressive player I've seen many years, his micro and macro are so good. He needs some special strategy to eliminate infi and th000. We all saw what lyn can do against China So you thing lyn got big opportunity, 120 vs. Lyn is my dream final.
(in the Chinese version, Chatwin calls the 5 WCA China representative - Infi, TH000, 120, Life and Fly100% "Bei Yang Shui shi". Its the name of the Qing Dynasty Navy that was supposedly very strong but got crushed by the Japanese fleet in the late XIXth century. This is our equivalent for the "Spanish Invicible Armada" that got crushed by the British.
After the WCA China / Korea defeat, Chinese fans compared the 5 Chinese players to the Qing Dynasty Navy.)
17—U THINK LONG WALK CAN BEAT SOME PLAYERS?
A: it is hard, maybe he can take maps , but I think it is too hard since his micro is not good enough. feRfe's chances might be a little better since nobody in the world plays his tactics. For orcworker, I do not know his status lately. For foggy, We saw GCS and TING tournament. He was able to beat Lyn, had very close games against Infi with a bad ping. He's practicing his little heart out and I really want him to be successful, he's a very nice person.
18—Chinese , what do u think of them ?
A: I can only say the best things about the Chinese people that I've met so far. Everybody is so nice, so respectful, so gentle. I think I could get used to that, but my tongue isn't able to speak your language, I tried :D I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of you, talk to you and maybe party in Shanghai? :D
19—Opinion on TH000 vs Yumiko S2 Final?
A: I think race switching is ok, as long as it is for the entire series. Switching in between maps is not fair.
Yumiko beat TH 2:0 in the WCA groupstage, so maybe TH felt he couldn't beat Yumi with Human? We all know, that TH has great Nightelf skills as well, so you have to be prepared for that as well, especially if players have 3-4 weeks to prepare and the stakes are so high. In this situation, everybody is trying to do something special and for TH it worked perfectly.
It not unfair, since TH put in a lot of time and effort to bring his Nightelf game to a world class level. It's not a gift from the gods, but hard work over the past few years.
Compare it to football players: Some can only shoot with the right foot, so his options are limited. But if you practice hard and learn how to shoot with the left foot, you have an advantage over others and can surprise them more often.
Also playing the dark ranger and hipporiders was so smart. I have a lot of respect for TH because of these decisions.
Fame : Neo and Remo with Moon
This interview was made before the big news : WCA was convinced to invite Neo and Remo to China, and actually myself with them. Neo's Warcraft journey is made of ups and downs, but it always works out in the end... right Neo? That is a sort of running joke between us each time something overwhelmingly impossible to solve shows up.
They are going!
At first, Chatwin saw this interview as an opportunity to promote B2W in China and help our favorite casters to be invited to Yinchuan. Finally the matter was solved before the article was published, but it is still cool to see what was Neo's state of mind when facing this problem.
B2W being invited this year is no little achievement. I know many managers / casters that were surprisingly not invited this year. There has been a cost reducing policy towards WC3 from WCA and the fact that we were not cut from the show is something to be proud of. We will try to cover as much as possible in those crazily stacked two days of competition - which are another way to reduce the costs.
Chatwin is no short of ideas on how to help B2W in China : some fans asked on how to get the famous Tshirt, and he thinks about a way to use me as a payment transfer from China to Germany so they can get them delivered. I am not sure if that is a real option to be considered, but the will to help B2W is really nice
I will conclude with some quotes of comments from RN :
I love WAR3 as B2W!
Must give them credit!
I feel fucking moved by their spirit!
They go nowhere else than WAR3, this is true love, I'm touched!
If you would like to follow me on twitter, i would very much appreciate that : www.twitter.com/playffa Even though my goal of 100 followers before the end of the year is reached, I would like to get way more before GCS and WCA! ^^