After dropping out of WCS America Challenger League, YeonSik ‘TheStC’ Choi has retired from the pro gaming scene.
TheSTC first debuted as a SC2 progamer in 2010 with moderate success. Although the recent years have not yielded any notable tournament finishes, he’s known in his earlier career for strong placement in overseas tournaments.
What reasons led you to retire?
First, I failed to find a new team. Second, I worried about my future. I think my age also has something to do with it. I have to be responsible and really determine what my lifestyle will be since I’m growing older. I dont want to hide from reality anymore.
So do you feel like pro gaming is not a sustainable, longtime job?
I don’t know because the Starcraft 2 scene is still alive. But I know I can’t continue without getting good results.
Admittedly your recent results have not been noteworthy. Do you think you can no longer achieve good results, or that it’s just a slump period and you can make a comeback?
I think I can still do really well. I’m still passionate about the game. However, my family has always wanted me to retire. I think my parents worry about me more than I worry about them. I felt so sorry. Once I realized that I realized I should stop pro gaming. I shouldn't be stubborn anymore since I’m growing older.
Family is the major factor in your retirement. So, is eSports still not a socially acceptable career even though Korea has one of the best infrastructures for eSports?
I dont think thats true. Every job, including eSports, focuses on the top. If you’re not first place you can’t get money. If a player is smart, they should follow MC’s example. I didn’t show my personality well, so I think I can’t market myself very well and gain any value.
What does Korean society think about pro players?
I think they feel the same way as us. When we were teenagers we thought ‘its so cool!’ but older people worry about us a lot. ‘How can they earn money from gaming? They are not acting like adults. They should do something else.’
After leaving Complexity, what was your mindset?
Actually I didn’t feel anything, because after I finished WCS Season 3 in 2013 I started thinking about my future a lot. I had already considered retiring in 2013 if I couldn’t get good results. I also think I didn’t practice very well. I’d only practice a little and then go hang out with my friends. After leaving Complexity I decided to retire without any regret.
Your answers don’t really match up. If you knew you were going to retire then why look for another team?
My friend encouraged me to not retire so easily. Honestly I was being stupid. I didn’t care if I could find a new team or not. During that time CranK asked about my honest feelings. After speaking with him I realized my attitude was really awful. If CranK didn’t talk to me about my future, I think I’d be still going down that path with a bad attitude.
How hard is it for current teamless players to find a new team?
Actually its so hard to find a new team right now. Even though the player has good results and good skills, if the player doesn’t have any special qualities, the player will struggle and struggle hard to find a new team. Even if the SC2 scene was bigger, a player who doesn’t have something marketable cannot find a new team easily. SC2 scene isn’t as big as it was, so thats why the player’s marketability is not enough for salary. Now team’s think player’s requested salary is too much because they’re not helpful as a marketing tool.
With all your experience as a pro gamer, do you have any tips or advice for current players or people who want to be pro players?
People who want to become a pro player: If you really want to be a pro player, you need to be dedicated to practice and hard work for at least 2 years. Then you’ll be able to figure out if you can be good or not.
To current pro players: I don’t have anything to say to you guys except work hard, but enjoy your life. I’m saying like this because I didn’t do both.
Reflecting on your career as a pro gamer, do you have any regrets?
First, I think I could have done more… been better. I wish I had been more confident in myself and my abilities. I also wish I could have done other things except playing on my computer when I had free time. I didn’t create a lot of experiences outside of gaming.
What will you do now that you’ve retired?
I’m going to study to get into a good university. I don’t have any big special plans just yet because I’ve never really thought about my future beyond gaming, so I’ll just study for now. In the future I won’t return to gaming. I really want to experience a new lifestyle.
You haven’t been retired for that long, but what's the biggest difference between your pro gamer lifestyle and your new lifestyle?
Ever since I became a professional player, I’ve been constantly staying with team members or team houses. So the biggest change is how quiet and lonely my new household is. I really enjoyed staying with lots of people. I’m worried I’ll become depressed with the sudden change. I can no longer play StarCraft 2 if I’m going to study hard for university. That will be weird for me. I hope in the future I can play StarCraft 2 sometime, and I hope I will be able to watch my pro player friends playing StarCraft 2 on streams or tournaments.
Is there any last words you want to say?
To CranK: I’m so thankful to you for helping me figure out what I wanted in my life. I’m so glad he’s my friend ‘cause he can see right through me.
Even though I stayed at many team houses, the Axiom Team House will always stay with me. Everyone there was my friend. I’m so happy I could live with them.
Thank you, everyone, for supporting me and cheering for me. I want you guys to live life without any regrets.
TheSTC was living in the Axiom Team House until his retirement. His friends and roommates provided some parting words.
Even though I haven’t lived with you longer, it was nice being your roommate and getting to know you. Whatever you will do, I’ll cheer for you. - Impact
He is really faithful and a hard worker. I'm sorry to hear that he retired. We've known for long time. I hope we'll still talk together and he'll be successful whatever he'll do. - Innovation
I hope the experiences you’ve learned in pro gaming will help you be successful. Good luck bro! - Heart
We’ve only lived together for a short time, but TheSTC has always been so cheerful. He really worked hard to be a valuable roommate and practice partner for the whole team house. I wish he could continue, but no matter what career path he chooses he’ll be a really valuable worker. - Olivia 'Olimoley'
If he retired before he won twice against me in WCS, I could have had a chance.... just kidding... The mood in our gaming house was happy since he moved in. I remember he wanted to show us how good of a roommate he is, but actually he’s a lazy guy… Anyways, I don’t have any bad memories of him. You did a good job, bro! Fighting!! - Ryung
We've known each other since 2008. I made him stay with us. I wanted to help him as much as I could. But I'm not gonna be sad, because no one can know if his decision is bad or good. I just want to cheer for him. You did a good job bro! - CranK
I feel sad because if TheSTC leaves who can wash dishes instead of me... It was short time to be with him, I was so happy though... I hope he'll succeed in whatever he does. - Alicia
Hey bro, you did good job in eSports. I'm sorry I didn’t take care of you well. I hope you'll be happy whatever with you'll do. I love you. Call me whenever - MMA