A professional player is an identity that many video gamers want to have because, in a lot of peoples’ eyes, pro players can make a lot of money by playing video games and receive other accolades. Despite the blooming state of the current esports industry, professional players and video game streamers have greatly enhanced individual brand recognition and income, but for the majority of pro players who have been pursuing this career for a long time, perhaps it’s not as easy as we expected.
Last week, the 2018 HCT Hearthstone Summer Championship was held in Blizzard Arena, Los Angeles, CA. All the top Hearthstone players from all over the world came to perform in an incredible showdown. During the intermission of the duels, XiaoT, one of the best Hearthstone pro this year, shared his experience and opinions on what it takes to be a professional.
mxdwn: Is it hard to keep up the everyday training? How long do you play per day and do you play other games besides Hearthstone?
XiaoT: At present, as a professional player of Hearthstone, I do spend a lot of time on Hearthstone, about 7~8 hours per day. I have embarked on the road of a professional career, and it is not easy to train in Hearthstone every day. Now, apart from Hearthstone, I really don’t have time to play other games, and every day, the pace of life is basically the same. It is either Hearthstone or eating and sleeping. If I have time, I usually watch anime and news.
mxdwn: What is difficult about being in the esports industry?
XiaoT: From the perspective of the whole industry, after players enter the career, playing games every day will not only gradually enhance the aesthetic fatigue, but also the physical and mental exhaustion will be significantly upgraded, but there are many professional players who will play the game as their jobs, and it’s always fun to PvP with others.
mxdwn: What does fame or recognition of being a pro play mean to you? Do you have fun just playing the game or does the money and fame you gain keep you playing?
XiaoT: As a player, many people will have the idea of wanting to play Hearthstone as a career. For me, becoming a professional player means having more opportunities to compete with good players. Through the competition, I can learn new skills from other players worldwide and compete with them. Hearthstone is always a fun card game, and it focuses on your strategy and luck. The core is that the game only has about 75 seconds per turn to think and play, and the idea is to switch and handle the situation differently, which is very challenging.
mxdwn: Do you like being famous?
XiaoT: Not only for me, but from the experience of many professional players, being famous is to seek for opponents and excitement of domestic or international competition. Being famous is a commonality of professional players who really love games and want to be good at it, and I am proud that I am good enough to compete with other pro players worldwide here.
mxdwn: The income of pro players is indeed derived from live broadcasts, tournament award, club salaries, etc. Pro players also have the opportunity to face fans, develop e-commerce, training, etc. So do you want to stream? Why and why not?
XiaoT: I don’t think so. I just want to focus on the competition.
mxdwn: The road to becoming a pro player is not easy to understand, especially for parents. What have you heard from your family and friends about their ideas on you making money by playing Hearthstone?
XiaoT: My family gave me the greatest support. They have a good understanding of my career, and my grandmother likes staying up late in the night to watch me in tournaments.
mxdwn: That is awesome! Do you think that there is an age limit to be a pro player?
XiaoT: I don’t think Hearthstone has an age limit for players to be good at it. So no, I don’t think there is an age limit to be a pro player of Hearthstone.
mxdwn: Thanks for your time and here is my last question. In general, we see esport is dominated by male. Why can’t we see many female pro players in the Hearthstone?
XiaoT: I guess they are just not interested in Hearthstone maybe. There is a good female pro player I know though.
mxdwn: Thanks for your time and good luck with your matches.
XiaoT: Thank you!
Photo Credit: Blizzard Entertainment.