10,000 viewers saw this interview live ~ it is potentially the deepest interview I have made to date. It has to do with the subject of course, but also with the interviewee.
Nov 25th : Yumiko just earned the WCA Wild Card in Chengdu, the last access to WCA 2016. Right away I suggested to get an exclusive interview to ask about everything going on with him in the last few months. Appointment is taken for November 30th, 10 PM local time for an interview live on his stream.
It is 8 PM on that very day and my friend Chatwin says that Yumiko is ready and his fans cannot wait until 10 PM. Problem is that I cannot be available at that time (you know, kids and stuff ^^). Chatwin takes over and anyway, it is for the best, there is no need then to translate everything to me. I had a list of many questions with several sensitive ones. Did Yumiko answer them all? Yes!
10,000 viewers saw the interview and apparently, it was interesting enough for Yumiko to get several high donations during it.
Right after the interview was concluded, Chatwin was flooded with requests to publish it asap. Yumiko was honest in his answers, I do not think he showed any disrespect to anyone. Still this interview is eagerly waited for in China. It is not sure that Yumiko will allow it publication in Chinese language. But as an exclusivity for us on w3arena.net, he agreed for its publication in English!
Congratulations after your qualification! How did you feel right after beating Xiaokk? Relieved ? Excited? You do not look too happy on pictures...
A : Well, actually, I was blowing my nose while playing the game, so you see I was sick then and until now, I haven't recovered yet. Winning the game didn't change my mood much, because I simply took it as a task to complete.
You know what? I am happy
Did you hesitate before registering for the Wild Card event? Some other refused to do so (Colorful, Fly100% etc)
A: It's true that you have to invest money and convince yourself to register for this match, because you have to pay all the fees (Hotel and transportation) just to fight for one single slot at WCA. xiaoKK lives in Chongqing which is quite close to Chengdu, but is is more troublesome for Romantic, Anxi and me to go there. However, I went with a lot of determination. I was a little anxious because it would cripple my confidence if I failed to qualify. God bless me, I would spare no effort to achieve my goal.
Did you feel you were going as a favorite to Chengdu? Many thought your confidence might be shaken after S3 final.
A: Regardless of confidence, I would definitely go in any case because this is my job! I can't quit just because it is hard, this is not what a real competitor is. Therefore I would go no matter what would happen. It didn't shake my confidence losing WCA S3. On the contrary, I was in stable mood during NWL2. Playing matches is just my mission, this is what I do.
Then he compares this situation to ESWC 2010 in France
As for ESWC, I had to travel 30 to 34 hours to get there.
I was in Dalian for a tournament called CEG ~ my visa for France had just been refused. It was 7.30 AM when suddenly my manager called me : "Yumi, there is one last chance for you to apply for the visa, you want to try?".
Trying to go to ESWC, I would have to give up on 3-4 tournaments. I said : "Yes, I do" without hesitation.
Then finally, the visa was agreed and i went back to my dorm to pick up my luggage right away.I didn't speak English well at that time and i was a little helpless. Finally after 30-40 hours, i'd find an hotel and sleep.
At the end of the day, after 3 rounds of group stage matches,I was still eliminated and faced a lot of criticism. I did not regret my choice. If you ask me to make this choice again, i'd still go to ESWC even though i knew i had no chance of winning.
Yumiko in France - ESWC 2010
How much did it cost you to go to Chengdu?
A : Hmmm, I chose the cheapest round-trip ticket, stayed there only one night, went back home after the game ended the next day. Counting this all, it costed less than 2000RMB (290$). I think that WCA's choice to give a second chances to runner-ups of the 3 Seasons to take part of the final round of qualification was a good one ( ZDR in S1, Romantic in S2 and Yumiko in S3 - ZDR lost to Xiaokk) because you received a prize by getting second. This prize helped financing the trip to Chengdu. Anyway overall the key to decide whether to go or not for any player was time and motivation.
Few days before, just after beating Nigh Elves TH000 3-2, you lost 0-4 to Focus - another orc during NWL2. How did you turn the tide to beat Xiaokk 3-0?
A: It is a big personal investment to prepare for such matches. Before I went to Xiamen for WCA S3 finals (against TH000), I strictly focused my training on human mirror for one month, even though beside it , I had many other matches to play = like GCS preliminaries(solo and 2v2) and NWL2= I still put WCA as my top priority.
Sad thing that my training was not no rewarded as I went to face a NE player, not a Human one!
After I came back from Xiamen, I did a lot of different trainings that made me able to beat TH000 3-2. As for the 0-4 loss against Focus afterwards, I expected it because I haven't played against ORC for almost one month. Of course Focus played very well which I don't deny (recently some people think that it is not a big deal to win a game, but if you lose one you are a big loser*). My loss 0-2 to 120 can be explained the same way.
But after those defeats, I went back into training and it paid back for the Wild Card matches against other Undead and Orc, Anxi (2-0) and Xiaokk (3-0). I am not saying that I was sure to qualify, just that I went back to Chendu in shape.
My losses to 120 and Focus are some kind of side-effect of my WCA preparation, because I practiced human mirror for one month and few training against other races. You know the WCA S3 final was so important, no one would like to fight for the Wild Card matches if they can qualify beforehand. I was wishing I could defend my NWL title (he won in Season 1), but unfortunately I took WFZ's place!**
*hard to translate but you see the point, you can get criticized after any sort of loss, while the successes are considered normal ~ not worth mentioning
**this is a joke as WFZ is nicknamed "the brother of fourth places" in China, as he ends up more often then not one step below the prize pool!
Yumiko (literally) facing Xiaokk in Final. Romantic standing behind. Picture from Anxi.
Did you notice Xiaokk scouting blunder in Game 2? (he sent a peon not far enough to see Yumiko's main and sent his BM crossmap)
A: In the second game, I saw his peon. I didn't know that he didn't notice my main at first, maybe because the peon's vision is smaller than my building's. This situation is quite rare in professional matches. This plus me getting a tome of experience, the game went under my domination. BM mistaking my location was not lethal though.
During another tournament (ESCC 2015), I did the same mistake while scouting Infi's expansion. Keeping this expansion was Infi's only chance to win and I sent a footman to scout it... but did not see it. Such a pity, just like for xiaoKK in Chengdu.
Xiaokk, Yumiko, Anxi and Romantic before the Wild Card Finals
Let's go back to WCA S3 Final. What did you feel when you saw TH000 picking NE instead of HU?
A:I WAS ANGRY. Each time when the game started, TH000 asked for a pause to adjust the screen. The referee asked me if i was ok with it, and I agreed.
But when it comes to the race changing, I think even i opposed it, the referee would not have followed me since there is no rule mentioning this case (changing race between playoffs and final).
The only question was whether or not to agree to play ~ or to just give up. I chose to play, to not disappoint my fans. In theory, I had no real chance of winning .He practiced NE VS HUM during a month. I practiced human mirror.
And as a result I lost easily 1-3. I did my best and tried to be flexible, I did not give up but it was not enough.
Yumiko and TH000 were friends ~ can they be friends again?
Some say it was unfair, some say it was smart : what do you say?
A: From the rulebook, nothing mention that this trick is disallowed.This idea is quite extreme and only TH000 could do it (as he is the rare one to play all races at a competitive level?). However, this issue should be discussed seriously from a neutral point of view. I do not think that a large debate is necessary. There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people eyes*
Blademasters used to enter UD bases with an item bug. Before someone did it, there were no rule to forbid it. But obviously this is not correct to do so.
Some people said "he used NE ~ you can just use UD if you are good enough". I just want to say that the races we play define us towards our fans. This is why they follow us and support us, and how we are remembered.
Before such an important event, your opponent should have the right to know which race you will play, unless you decide to use Random.
He compares this situation to TH000 behavior during IET Finals 2014 and WvW 2014
This has an effect on the map pool as well. There are maps you prepare for and maps you ban depending on your opponent race.
During Yiwu IET Finals 2014, TH000 used different races on each map (NE on TM, UD on TR) against my HUM. At that time there were no rule against this.
Then in WVW 2014, he did the same. On last refuge and ancient isles, I had to face his Orc. No matter what map i would veto, he could always pick up his favorite race for the remaining ones. What is the meaning of vetoing any map then?
After this, I fought very hard for the rule to be changed, and it was decided that you could not change race during a BO3. I fought for the fairness of the game.
In my opinion, if professional players could change race all the time, none would try to improve the most difficult match-ups of their main races. They would just find the easy way out and change race depending of the situation! There was a time when Ted played against Sweet, they would play NE vs ORC! Funny right?!
There were a lot of similar cases, Sky would play only NE against them. If the rule did not change, then we would not have any pure HUM,NE,UD,ORC players. SKY, MOON, GRUBBY, FLY, LYN... they are the leaders of their race and are remembered by their fans for their contribution to their race; not for changing their races at any occasion to escape difficulties.
*Hamlet quote is Chatwin's translation of Yumiko's thought on this : interpretation could be that a large public debate would not help defining the correct rule on this case ~ and that it should be discussed calmly between admins and major players. This is just my interpretation because as for Shakespeare, there is a thousand Yumikos in a thousand people's eyes!
Yumiko and TH000 during WVW 2014
During NWL2, you used the ID "injustice" against TH000 (3-2 victory) :
This was my way to protest. Whatever I would have said would have made no difference anyway.
Are you aware of how popular you are in Europe? Neo called you the "savior of the scene".
A: There were only a few tournaments left when I started the Warcraft Esport League (WEL). It was very bad time for Warcraft and i wanted to do something about it.
It was very hard to organize, we did not have a good way to host games then ~ only hosts in the far east which could not connect worldwide players (China/Korea/Europe) easily.
Thanks to the help of all the Warcraft fans, I had a nice prize money to offer in donations. WEL helped to some extend support the game.
Now Warcraft is way healthier because streaming can provide some income. 4-5 years ago, I was mocked when I said that Warcraft still had a decent audience and was not dead. I was called crazy then, a looser that would not let go ~ stubborn and stupid.
I think i was right and that we should stick to something we think is right. If you believe in something, then keep moving. A few years later when I am looking back, history proved that I was not mistaken. Can you imagine now that everybody was saying that Warcraft was dead two years ago?
He mentions Starcraft II
What I do not understand is people that used to say that SC2 was a perfect game and that it would be successful. Those people never played any SC1 tournament or participate in any SC1 event. So, SC2 came and destroyed the player base of SC1, but could not duplicate its success. Fans were not really allowed to chose what they want to play and what they liked. They were sort of forced to go and play Starcraft 2.
When i was joining Warcraft tournaments, a lot of people asked me when i would give up Warcraft and try SC2. Even in a War3 interview, they asked this very question!!! I was so angry that I said "Delete it! I don't want to talk to you anymore! Just delete the interview!".
I always believed that War3 still had a big audience and was being treated unfairly. War3 did not get what it deserved then. I am always true to my word and kept playing Warcraft.
You did not qualify for GCS Fall in 1v1 nor 2v2...
This is because of my preparation for WCA, as I mentioned before. As for the failure in 2V2, I do feel depressed. You know the GCS map pool choices were difficult for me and WFZ : when Turtle Rock is vetoed by our opponents, our UD/HUM team had no good maps left.
WCA group : you have 3 NE in your groups, how do you see your chances?
Even though I think that I am in good shape, I still can't be 100% confident to win. Games are BO1 and we have no idea about the map pool yet*.
During NWL2, many top players were eliminated early (Lyn, Moon, Infi etc...). Games can go in different ways than expected. Now my mood is stable, I will just try my best to qualify and to complete the mission.
* the day after the interview, WCA made the group stage games BO3
Yumiko eating in Chengdu after his victory. Ready for Yinchuan! Picture from Anxi
We talked in Shanghai about sponsoring and gamers revenues : would yo agree to explain how much you earn from streaming and donation per month? Or at least if it is enough to make a living?
Well, this is kind of hard. Matches or streaming is just a part-time job. You cannot live on just that.
Anything you wished I asked or something you want to tell to your fans?
Nothing special to add, unless you guys have something else to ask. by the way, you can always go to my weibo page or on my stream room for more information.
And actually yes, we had one more question... the one question I wanted to ask for so long! We did it per writing afterwards
B2W repeatedly stated that they heard rumors that you declared stopping your career if you did not qualify for WCA : is that true? (please do not do that, we all love you too much!)
I did not stated that. I just said that if I would fail to qualify for both GCS and WCA, I would invest less time in preparing and in the game overall. Whether I would win or lose then would have mattered less to me.*
* I received this answer per audio from Chatwin, his words were "let it be, let it be... c'est la vie!".
This is during moment like this that i like to do what I do. This interview was full of honesty and determination.
Now Yumiko's attention is fully turned towards WCA. Mr White predicted Lawliet to qualify with 120 in Group A. I think Yumiko will. Then why not playing the playoffs against TH000? The rivalry would reach another level then, and that is something I would not miss for anything!
Side note, WCA has just confirmed booking my tickets. I just received the message, I cannot wait, such hype... I am ready!
Yumi and I in Wuhan ~ PGL July 2016
If you would like to follow me on twitter, i would very much appreciate that : www.twitter.com/playffa
Yes I insist do it!
What? Then just make a twitter account!
I will be commenting and taking pictures live from WCA Yinchuan.