Guillaume "Grrrr..." Patry is a blast from the past for any die-hard BW fan. In an interview to Acer eSport, "Grrrr..." talks about his entire career, from the move to Korea and winning the first ever OSL, to his decline and retirement.
Guillaume was there from the very beginning. Starting out in 1998-9 as a Zerg player, he decided to move to Korea and eventually switched to Protoss. With his time in Korea, he earned a name for himself as one of the most accomplished foreigners in the scene, taking the very first OSL and several other big tournaments at the time.
Speaking mostly of his time in Korea, "Grrrr..." mentions the biggest players of the early years, and how he kept up with them by partying most nights yet performing under pressure. He also talks of how he dealt with the move:
I can't say that I was the best foreigner, but back then some of the best players in practice did poorly in tournaments. It was the opposite for me, I played better under pressure. In 1999, the best players were not Korean. Around mid-2000, that's when Koreans started dominating Starcraft.
Fredrik "Slayer" Østervold, Miguel "Maynard" Bombach and Sven "sVEN" Myrdahl Opalic were some of the best players in 1999. Then when StarCraft became more popular in Korea, Kang "H.O.T.-Forever" Do kyung and Park "Reach" Jung Suk became the better players.
Moving here was very easy for me. I never got homesick, I loved Korean food from the start and I found sponsors only a couple of months after I arrived here. I had my own place, but all I did there was sleep. I had interviews everyday and there were lots of tournaments. At night, I would go out and drink with friends. There was little time to practice.
After incredible results and some golden years in the industry, eventually "Grrrr..."'s play saw a decline. He states how he regrets not having a proper manager or guidance and speaks of OSLs after his initial win, and how Koreans got to the top of the world:
I didn't have any period of trying to practice a lot. I was young and I was making a big mistake that I regret to this day. If I could go back, I would work three times harder. I knew then that I would regret it, but still every night I chose to go out instead of practicing. Nobody was there to tell me not to, and I could have used a positive influence in my life. All my managers were either inexperienced, or they were college drop-outs that were stealing money from me. Things could have gone very differently if I had found a mentor or a manager that I respected, who I enjoyed working with.
Boxer was becoming a living legend, people thought he would be "the last star" Brood War would produce. No one ever imagined a computer game would stay popular for much longer, therefore people, including me, thought that progaming (at least Brood War progaming) would soon die. I wasn't as good as the top Korean pros anymore, altough Yellow was famous for losing almost every televised game he played against foreigners. Non-Korean players couldn't compete anymore with Koreans, myself included.
Later in the interview, Guillaume is asked about his decline and how he was noted for saying the oldest pro gamers are 23, and should retire at that age. He explains what led to his retirement and how he sees the peak times of BW in Korea.
I retired because I didn't want to play Starcraft anymore, I had been playing because it was my job. In 2003 I started playing DotA and poker, so I retired from Starcraft. Looking back, 23 years old seems like a young age.
The peak of BW esports in Korea was right before Blizzard announced Starcraft 2. This is what I believe happened. After Blizzard's announcement of Sc2, OGN's viewership ratings dropped dramatically. To counter/slow that drop, OGN announced that they would not broadcast Sc2 tournaments. OGN doesn't have the legal rights to host and broadcast BW tournaments without Blizzard's approval, so Blizzard sued OGN. Then, there was this esports assiciation, KeSPa, that many in the industry, gamers sponsors and tournament organizers alike, believe is a parasite to esports. So Blizzard tried to keep them from interferring with Starcraft 2. Unfortunately, KeSPa didn't back down and the two year long legal battle has greatly hurt esports and professional gamers in Korea.
To close the interview off, "Grrrr..." gives his thoughts on the most recent eSports around, and his final words for any aspiring progamers:
LoL is extremely popular, but it isn't fun to watch for people who don't know how to play. I don't think it's a spectator friendly game. I believe FPS and RTS are better for esports.
Source: Acer eSports
I thnk it (SC2) is a good game. I lot of its critics are mostly people who had extremely high expectations... because it's the sequel of the greatest RTS game ever made. But I don't play it. I enjoy MOBAs as a casual gamer. I don't enjoy playing RTS games casually.
The few years I spent as a progamer in Korea are the most memorable of my entire life. I wish good luck to anyone who aspires to become a progamer.