Drayich: 'Dota 2 is better than DotA in every way.'
Arguably the most prominent 'family man' gamer in the competitive DotA scene, Kim 'Drayich' Larsson has seen it all in his career. Revisit an old interview conducted with the man himself last Christmas, courtesy of Prodota.ru's Morf-designer.
I understand that you are almost thirty. Happy birthday from all of us at Prodota.ru! What was the coolest present you received this year?
-“I am 29 actually and the cruel 30-limit is still around the corner - but thank you anyway! Yeah, I received a one-piece (see picture below) from my wife with the text "PappaKim" in pink. I love it!”
How long are you planning to play DotA?
-“I'm planning to do it as long as I plan to do anything in my life - if it’s fun, then it’s worth the time.
But there is one more thing to take into consideration and that would be my family life. If it requires me to quit then I would quit instantly. However, I got a feeling that it won’t happen. The kids are much bigger now and my wife has the same understanding as she did before.”
Can you briefly characterize yourself? Name some of your best and worst qualities.
-“Hmm, I’m good at what I do for a living, my job and my family; my downsides are that I’m stubborn and pretty lazy.”
I understand that you have two children. Do they know what is Dota 2 and that you are playing it professionally? Have they pled DotA at least once?
-“My son is six years old and he understands it. In fact, he wanted a Dota 2 beta key for Christmas, so I made him a pudge-under-the-mistletoe-poster and gave him a beta key. It’s a big game though, so he won’t learn it in a second, but he understands some things.
When it comes to my daughter, she will be three years old soon. She hasn’t tried anything on the computer yet, but she plays on her mom’s iPhone. *smiles*”
Where are you working now? Do you have a degree? What was your major in university?
-“I have gone to the university for two years. I’ve done social studies and some psychology. This is what I work with fulltime. To be more concrete, I work with unaccompanied refugee children (it means kids/young people coming to Sweden without parents from warzones). I help them get into the society and feel well.
Apart from that, I also run parenting discussion groups at one of the hospitals in town where we discuss life after being parents. It’s open to everyone who are about to have their first child, both men and women and it’s quite popular.”
So it seems you think more about other people than money and your own life.
-“Money is nothing. I can honestly say that it’s nothing. I've never gotten anything for free in my life and I’ve had to work hard to get where I am today. But what really matters is that my wife is happy, and that my kids are happy. That’s what makes me go by.
I also think that’s one of the reasons why I've gotten so much understanding from my wife, since she’s the same type as me. We don’t care too much about money, when there is joy and love and so much other "cheesy" stuff around. But I should say that in terms of money right now we do get by, so it’s not like we are poor or something. We still have much better conditions than most of the people in the world...”
Does you earn enough money to support your entire family? Is your wife working? Do you plan to earn money from Dota 2 or is it just a hobby for you?
-“Since my family is the most important, I would not have time to play unless it did give me enough money. I’ve bought us a house and we have good living conditions at home. But this is Sweden, so my wife does work, not because she really needs to but because she really wants to.
With the team I’m playing with right now I don’t think anyone will be satisfied unless we do bring in some cash, so I hope we can earn some extra money via the game.”
Do you play sports, or maybe follow any sport?
-“I like Thai boxing and ultimate fighting. I follow Thai boxing locally since some of my best friends are doing it here. Ultimate fighting is the perfect sport to watch, it’s really exciting for me. I will start practicing sports again after Christmas and this time I’ll go for Thai boxing. I’ve always had some material arts with me, but never competed, just like the body control in those sports.
I also play some soccer with my job, but honestly I’m nothing to really count on in soccer, unless tackles are allowed. *grins*”
What would you say to people that one’s reaction grows slower with age and a gamer’s career typically ends after the age of thirty?
-“I can say that it’s true that reactions get worse but games like Dota/HoN has so many other aspects…
I do believe I still can compete, but I need to be careful with what I try out and I’m not as versatile as I was in the beginning.”
Can you share with us the history of your nickname and how you got the ‘papa’ prefix?
-“Drayich means nothing. I played table game Dungeons and Dragons like 10 years ago and had to name an Orc character. I named him Drayich so it’s all made up! *smiles* “Papa” was made by the community. I never picked this nick myself but kept getting called papa from both fans and friends, especially after people figured out that I had a son, this name grew even more common.
Since I’m called ‘DaddyKim’ in my profession, I just thought it was funny to also use it ingame, but with Drayich instead of Kim.”
You switched from DotA to HoN and now you are back at Dota 2. Are you still playing DotA or HoN? Have you thought about playing LoL?
-“I’ve tried all the games. Games are not like girls - you can play more then one. *smiles* I only play DotA 2 now. This is because I simply can’t handle swapping between games – I’m too old I guess... *smiles*”
It’s a difficult comparison, but which game do you prefer, Dota 2 or HoN? I don’t mean in terms of money, sponsors and other stuff, but rather in terms of gameplay and the community.
-“This is a question forcing me to take sides. I am playing DotA 2 right now, but I still enjoy the community of HoN. Just the other month I did the casting at Dreamhack for HoN, so I won’t pick sides!
But I can say that I’m grateful for both games and they have done a lot overall for the community.”
Give us your opinion on the top CIS teams.
-“It’s clear that DotA is here to stay in this region. I mean the teams have high class and they seem to also have good sponsors. But I can’t say this will help CIS teams to be considered the best anytime soon. I believe the professional scene of Dota 2 will look different six months from now. A lot of teams are just starting and many are on their way to the top.”
What have you heard about PGG? Do you think that a team with him has a future?
-“PGG and I are like oil and water. I don’t know him in real life but I had some interaction with him from inhouse games, and as I said we don’t really match.”
What do you know about ArtStyle leaving DTS 2010 and Na`Vi 2011?
-“It seems like the problems that some of these teams had back when we played DotA are still there.
I hope I’m wrong, but leaving/joining teams and remaking teams shouldn’t really be something for Dota 2. Leaving one of the top ranked teams seems stupid, but understanding all the reasons behind this would be impossible.”
Are you familiar with Empire HoN team from Russia?
-“Yes, they did okay in the HoN scene, but in my opinion they lacked a real sponsor back then, since they weren’t sent to any events. And it’s hard to be a good team and play without being able to really compete with everyone else. So I guess they never made it to the top but they were close.”
What can you say about Blowyourbrain? Do you know that he is playing Dota 2 with PGG in TR now?
-“I can’t say much about him personally. But I saw an interview with him in Russian and he seems to be a nice guy. And yes, I know he plays with TR and he did well at Dota 2 Star Championship.
I’ve read about your old disputes with Loda and Ducky about removing Magic Stick and some other changes in DotA. What can you say now about that situation? Are you in good relations with those players?
-“I have never had a dispute with Loda – we are okay, and even if we had different opinions about things it never affected our relationship. Ducky and I on the other hand never really had a relationship so it’s hard to have disputes with him.
Many of the changes I've been looking for with pick mode and Magic Stick being less effective (since tons of other sheep items) are already solved. By the way, Loda was at my wedding 2 years ago and about Ducky - I don’t even know if he plays anymore.”
What do you know about ex-SK players (KwoM, Tompa, Akke)? Will they return to Dota 2?
-“Akke will definitely and return I think he has already signed with xP and Loda’s team. Tompa seems to be busy with police school. As for Kwom, I haven’t heard much about him in the last few years. I think he’s living a different type of life right now, but I don’t know for sure.”
Have you been practicing with top European teams recently? What do you think about their level?
-“Not really; we played some games and got pretty stomped. We are still not at our top level. Also the picking system seems new to me and I have made a lot of mistakes. As for the others, I believe many teams are good, but I also believe that no team is at their top level now and that great changes are to come in the top scene.”
I’m sure that you remember DTS 2010 dominating the European scene. Who in your opinion will dominate Dota 2 scene in 2012? And what do think about Chinese teams in Dota 2?
-“This is a really hard question since all the teams are kinda new. But I believe there will be representatives from Ukraine/Russia in the top scene without any doubt. Other than that, I suppose only time can tell.
I‘ve seen not much of Chinese teams to judge, but I can say overall that the gap between Europe and Asia is smaller then it was in DotA.”
Can you name the best team that you ever played for and why?
-“The best team in terms of skill was Mousesports and we pretty much won everything. At that time, I was also really into how to pick and felt super confident. But my best moments come from SK and TsoG (HoN) where I was playing with close friends and really enjoying every moment on LANs and tournaments.”
What do you like in Dota 2 compared to DotA and vice versa?
-“Dota 2 is better than DotA in every way.”
Can you share some secrets and tricks about Dota 2 that is not well known?
-“If you pick two heroes with stun, and then after the first hero stuns, hit the other stun, and then the enemy hero will be completely still for a long time, and can be killed, even if he has blink. *smiles*”
What can you say about how Dota 2’s balance?
-“It’s a bit lacking in heroes still, but generally the balance is fine. I mean some heroes are stronger but I think it’s solvable in the banning phase of the game.”
What can your say about your new sponsors - 4gl?
-“Dota 2 looks very attractive from a team’s point of view, and as captain I can't make all the calls – everyone must agree on sponsorship and feel good about the details of their contracts. We have postponed these discussions until after the holidays finish since people want to have a relaxed celebration.”
So you are actually playing for 4gl but don’t know the exact details of your contract?
-“Exactly, nothing is final and I don’t want to say more until it’s settled. We haven’t signed anything yet.”
Why did you gather a new team instead of going as +1 into some old school mix team?
-“The current team has two players from my old HoN team and two players from an old HoN-enemy team. So it’s actually in my eyes more of an old school mix team.”
Shall we see you in the same roster as Loda?
-“I can do pretty much anything with Loda: dance, drink beer or talk about life. But I don’t think we will play in the same team. We are a bit too different or maybe too alike… *smiles*”
Where can we see your team in action? Are you playing some online tournaments now?
-“We have signed for one tournament so far due to a slow start. It’s called the XMAS Skynet Tournament. We won our group there and that’s where you can find us right now. But we will sign up and play for more tournaments as soon as Christmas is over.”
What do you think about Russian players in Dota 2? Are they more offensive? Should Valve create a separate server for CIS players?
-“Russian players have been some kind of offensive to say the least in DotA, which is a bit stupid. I enjoy playing with most of the Russian players, so it doesn’t make any sense. About the general play style, I don’t know if it’s still offensive. I mean when I think about offensive Russian DotA, I got to go back many years to really agree. But generally the Russian DotA scene seems to be strong.
About making a special server - why not? I think some players experience big delay on the European servers if they are from eastern Russia.”
Do you know something about Prodota.ru? Have you visited this website?
-"Yes, I’ve visited that page. When I think about the Russian/Ukrainian DotA community, I think about Prodota and vl1at. But from now on I will also think about you morf-designer. *smiles*”
Have you ever been to Russia? What do think about Moscow?
-"No, I’ve never been to Russia. My wife landed in Moscow once and she said she got treated at the airport so badly that she refuses to go there anymore. But I'll change her mind; I want to go to Russia and check it out. For me, it’s an interesting country."
Do you like vodka and Russian girls?
-"Definitely. However I’m married! *smiles*”
Can you say few words in Russian to our community?
-“Of course. “ptichka, previet, medvjed” – that’s all the words you’ll need to know if you play Syllabear and need a flying courier.”
Our readers ask if you can write a tribute song for Artstyle? *grins*
-“Hehe, indeed it’s time to write a new song really, but I won’t make any promises!”
It’s Christmas today so I wish you Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Tell me how and where do you plan to celebrate it?
-“Thank you, I will celebrate it with my wife and our kids, my brother and his wife and their kids, as well as some elderly people from both sides of the family.
We eat way too much and then we eat a little bit more. Then, we spend all the money we possibly can on gifts for the kids. We also have a tradition that every adult must buy one gift to another person. So everybody in our family gets gifts. We don’t drink and we make sure to have it calm and fun!
Of course a secret man dresses up as Santa and we trick the kids that it’s a real Santa. That’s half the joy I guess; the rest of the joy is seeing these happy, healthy kids running around all exited over their gifts.”
I’m also interested about the New Year celebrations in Sweden because in the CIS it is a main holiday.
-“I will be working this New Year. My job never ends, so since I got a day off on Christmas, I will step up and work on New Year’s Eve. But normally we eat with friends, wait for the clock to strike twelve, send some rockets in the sky, blow some mini-bombs and promise each other something about the next year. *smiles*”
Thank you for this great interview, I really enjoyed talking with you. Any final words?
-“Thank you, sir! I would like to give a shoutout to my wife, my teammates and my future team. I really hope Dota 2 will grow into something huge. I’ve got a Facebook page with some mini competitions and also my blog is up and running here."
Prodota.ru - Original Interview (Part 1)