Zhou: I have not heard of "patience from Zhou"
Following his retirement today, GosuGamers sat down with Yao 'Zhou' Chen to speak with him about his career, future and thoughts on the scene. And unfortunately, Zhou does not know the most famous line he is associated with in Dota 2.
Yao 'Zhou' Chen, formerly of TongFu and Invictus Gaming fame, was one of the top Dota players in China prior to his retirement today. Having made his name in Nirvana.CN, he went on to make the switch to Dota 2 and participated in the first International. Over the course of his illustrious career, he became known as Zhou-God in China, and won the biggest competition of all - The International 2012 during his stint in Invictus Gaming. As of today, he has officially retired from professional gaming, and Mervyn 'Itchy Scratchy Balls' Tan brings to you an exclusive interview with the one true Zhou-God.
Hi Zhou, thank you for accepting our GosuGamers interview. Could you give a short explanation on why you decided to retire from the competitive scene?
I mainly wanted to have a change of pace, since I cannot continue playing professionally forever.
You had been contemplating this decision since your team, TongFu, dropped out of WPC-ACE. What finally persuaded you to retire?
Actually, the first time I considered retirement was back when IG won TI2. I had spent four years of my youth and managed to make my dreams come true. After winning TI2, I had lost most of my enthusiasm and fighting spirit, and finally realised that it was indeed time for me to retire.
You mentioned continuing your eSports career as a commentator or a coach. Is this something you plan to do full time, or do you also want to make use of your degree?
I have too much of a history with eSports, having devoted my youth here. No matter what I do in the future, I do not wish to leave this field and want to continue working here.
“After winning TI2, I had lost most of my enthusiasm and fighting spirit, and finally realised that it was indeed time for me to retire.”
Will this be on the same organization that you last played with (TongFu), or are you undecided?
In the meantime, my first priority is to accompany my family and girlfriend to finish celebrating the Lunar New Year. After I announced my retirement, many friends within the community had sent me invitations to work with them - I am very grateful for their recognition, but as of now I have not made my final decision. What matters is that my passion towards eSports and Dota 2 has not abated. I wish to switch fields, and once again become the best at what I do!
This commentating and coaching, is this something that you have done or have been doing? Or do you plan on just learning and improving on the way?
I have had some experience as a play-by-play commentator, and as I am actually a pretty cheerful person by nature, commentating should not be a problem, but I will have to work on my language skills.
As for coaching, as a professional player who has just retired, I believe that my understanding and analysis is still valuable to other professionals.
Of course, I am still new to these things, and I will need to learn much from my predecessors.
820 is a very well known player who has successfully shifted to a career you now wish to take. What do you think it will take to achieve that?
I believe that first and foremost you need a deep understanding and knowledge of the game, followed by being able to express your thoughts to the audience clearly and with value. You also need to continuously maintain a sensitivity and attention to the game, to ensure that your analysis does not fall behind others or turn out of date.
While TongFu has established itself as one of China’s tier-1 teams since TI3, the team has failed to win any title despite a number of playoff finishes. What do you think was lacking/missing?
I think that there aren’t many problems with TongFu, be it from organisational management to the players and personnel, but competitive games are not only reliant on these factors. Other factors like the arena, psychology and health have huge roles to play as well.
I am also responsible for not being able to achieve results with TongFu, but unfortunately I am unable to make up for these regrets. I wish my former teammates a great future ahead.
Invictus Gaming at G-1 League 2013.
Looking back on your gaming career, you have won a lot of titles and received a lot of distinction. Which one is the most memorable for you?
The hardest title to forget would definitely be my victory at The International 2012, I do not believe I will ever be able to forget it.
If you had the chance to change the results of any match in your career, which match would that be?
I don’t really have a match that I would like to return to, and I feel that each match that I have played is a memory to me; a part of my professional career. I will not be able to wipe away the past nor run from it, so I try to ensure that I will not let myself regret anything from today onwards.
Would you care to tell us more about your relationship with the other members of IG?
I have pretty good relations with the IG players right now, they are all easy to get along with.
When you left IG, did you have any regrets?
I regret not having been able to continue and extend our dominance of the Dota 2 scene.
Especially about Chuan, when he tweeted ‘Bye bye Burden’ what was your reaction?
I think it was more of a joke, and any other meanings are irrelevant now. When we were playing together we won many championships, and I wish him good luck in the new year.
Invictus Gaming winning The International 2. Photo by Valve.
As a tested veteran looking at the Chinese scene at the moment, are there any young players that you deem to have a lot of potential?
Outside of Maybe and ZexBingo, I feel that many of the other newcomers will also get chances. However, I hope that all aspiring professional players should remember that outside of having excellent skills, you also need to have good relationship management and communication ability.
What about the teams, which ones are you excited to watch?
The Chinese teams today have a good shot at TI4 if they can work well together. For the western scene, Na`Vi and Alliance have shown no signs of abating, while several new teams have shown their ability as well. I believe that this year will be a starting point for Dota 2 to reach new heights, especially in terms of spectatorship.
Since you are no longer a professional competitor, could you give your opinion on which team in China has the greatest potential?
As of now, DK looks to be in the best position. Their team is extremely strong, and they have also proven themselves with their results. But the new teams coming out this new year are following close behind, so it is up to each team to do their best. I believe that there are 3 to 4 teams within China that can fight for championships!
Being someone who has experienced first hand the pinnacle of WC3 DotA on China, as well as the rise of Dota 2 - what would you think the biggest difference is? And if you were to choose, which one would you pick?
Without any question, I would pick Dota 2. Even now I do not play WC3 Dota any longer.
For trivia, do you recognise the line “patience from Zhou”?
I have not heard of this line before, but I am quite a patient person.
Thank you for your time, do you have any shoutouts for your fans and other Dota 2 players?
I wish to let all of you understand that Dota 2 has extreme charm, and I will do my best in my new area of work. Thanks for all of your support!