My interview with Zoun was planned beforehand, a week after he returned from Katowice. Fans couldn’t see him in signing sessions because he chose to return to Korea early, and he had a fair reason. Only one month until military service, I somehow felt obliged to talk to him.
But in the midst of all the big news on the next EPT season and the shocking announcement on GSL, I was concerned if this was the right time to do it. Personally I was also shaken after the news, but in the end it was not about me, it was about him and his message to the fans so I have conducted it.
I had tons of questions lying around, but I couldn’t arrange them in the right manner.
I hope this interview conveys his sincere feelings to the fans.
Q : Please, Introduce yourself
A : Hey guys, This is Soon-to-be-private Zoun (Laugh)
Q : I actually never expected this big of a drama would happen earlier today. Have you heard the news yet?
A : Actually I have. I would say things are getting “interesting”, so to say.
Q : How do you feel right now?
A : Honestly, I already let it all go. For me I somewhat expected this news would come.
Q : How, and what things did you anticipate?
A : I thought they would cut some budget on both prizes and spots on the bracket, and maybe in 3 years they either renew the contract or shut it down. I never expected it to dwindle down this much though. I already knew my time was up so I was going to decide whether I should come back or seek other options like Stormgate.
Q : So you’re saying it’s not your problem?
A : For now, exactly (Laugh). Jokes aside, I also felt disappointed, and mostly I feel void at one point, like after all this time I played it was for nothing.
Q : We’ll have to talk about your run in Katowice. Honestly you’ve talked a lot about this many times before in private, It was pretty unclear whether you could even compete or not. What was your feeling before you got there?
A : I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty anxious. I couldn’t delay my military service because of personal reasons, so I was very worried if I would get drafted before Katowice. Mostly the draft card is delivered with one month notice, so I’ve waited until the very day my trip to Poland was secured, and then finally I could rest easy.
Q : Why couldn’t you delay it further?
A : It’s complicated. I’d rather keep it privately on this matter.
Q : Being your very last tournament playing (besides Team League), weren’t you nervous about your performance?
A : Like I said before I wasn’t even sure if I could be there, so I was just relieved I could play, period. However, it was Round of 36 open bracket, and I was a little worried about my first opponent, Coffee.
Q : Wasn’t Coffee considered as an underdog there?
A : Personally, I think of myself as a player who is winnable to all, losable to all. Besides, after the recent balance patch I felt Terran is stronger in PvT so I’d rather be on the other side of the bracket than facing Coffee on the first match. I personally think I had better chances there, unless I face the PvP power player Classic in the upper rounds. I regret I earned extra EPT points in HomeStory Cup and it ended up being seeded in the lower side. (Laugh)
Q : Did you underperform because of those elements?
A : I mean I can say it’s one of the many reasons I lost, but I don’t want to excuse myself for it. There were many issues, but my play was awful. That’s all.
Q : Still in the midst of that you still survived in the loser’s bracket. Like you did in the last HomeStory Cup I thought you were breaking through all the hardships you faced. How was your mood right before the qualifying match?
A : I mean, I almost lost to Has and I thought I was out earlier. I felt content that I overcame all the moments of crisis. But playing series after series, I was so exhausted when I finally made it to the qualifying match. I couldn’t even remember what I did there. So it’s a shame I couldn’t show my best performance.
Q : There were lots of long games, especially in the qualifying matches. Considering your games were the very last series of the day, didn’t you have plenty of time to rest?
A : Many people think that I could just rest during the series I don’t play, but it’s actually not. You need to keep thinking about your next game and analyze their plays during other series. All of that drains your energy and eventually being the last in the order made me feel even more exhausted. Honestly I thought Cure would speedrun Spirit was clean 3-0 victory but I was disappointed he dragged it way too long (Laugh)
Q : I was trying to keep you by my side and take care of you a lot. But seems like that wasn’t enough.
A : That being said I think I lost because of you, Maddox. (Laugh)
Q : I’m sorry. I should’ve gone as a KR player manager, not the translator (Laugh)
A : Honestly speaking, That was the very thing I needed in the tournament. I mean the foreign players always had someone in company, like someone from his or her team, even close friends. I felt lacking of those for Koreans. Maybe next time I hope there’s more native managers to take care of the players.
Q : So now it’s all finished, are there any plans before you serve?
A : Not at the moment, I think getting through my military days safe and sound, getting in shape would be the goal I have for now. After I get out it’s more likely I would play Stormgate, but even in that I will have to compete as a latecomer. I came out pretty late on this scene as well so I must work harder to survive there.
Q : Do you think there will be many new players during the time?
A : I somehow feel that’s not likely, at least in Korea. I think people who dominated in StarCraft will be there reigning in Stormgate as well. I doubt there would be a drastic change in the ecosystem. Honestly I feel the same on the RTS scene in general. I don’t think there will be many new players, just the giants who reigned before will be keeping their throne. And I’ll have to readjust myself in the new (gaming) environment. I’m just worried I’ll be too old to play when I come back.
Q : I mean there were a lot of old players who performed well in the past, you know?
A : I don’t feel very confident there (Laugh)
Q : Any words to the fans?
A : See you guys at Stormgate (Laugh). I mean there’s a lot of games and players around so if you keep watching them one and a half years would be already gone. When you guys are tuning into Stormgate I’ll be there playing, so don’t worry.
Q : It sounds like it’s not you going to the military soon (Laugh)
A : I mean it’s just a year and a half. (Laugh) Out of sight, out of mind. But I’ll return when they start forgetting me.
Q : So it’s like what, a constant reminder?
A : Exactly (Laugh).
Q : Thank you for conducting the interview with me, and I wish you nothing but the best.
A : Thank you so much!