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[Live Interview] The Last Chat with the 10-year Veteran Progamer, Midas
2011년 12월 03일 14시 12분

Original article by Reporter Young Hoon Kang

Midas, already set on retiring, visited the Fomos office himself.

"I've probably done more than 100 interviews in my career, but I feel strange now that I know this will be my last one."

Soon after publicizing his decision to retire on his fancafe, the 10-year veteran progamer Midas visited the Fomos office. It was obvious that he wanted to explain his decision in more detail, and he probably had a lot of other things to say. We were somewhat worried that he may drop a huge secret, or he may feel more regret after revisiting his career throughout the interview. After an hour-long chat, we saw that he was happy and optimistic about his future, and that he was looking forward to his new life.

Needless to say, Midas made his decision after countless thoughts and reconsiderations. Due to his long career, the word 'retirement' was always in his head, and the first serious consideration came in the year 2008 when he was with SK Telecom. He made up his mind to continue his progaming career with WeMade Fox. Although he was not performing as well as he did in his prime years, he produced decent results for the team, and even made the MSL. Unfortunately, WeMade disbanded their StarCraft team in 2011 and Midas had to consider retirement again - and this time, he decided to call it a career.

Midas was honest and genuine with his responses

"Many people were disappointed with my decision, so I gave it a second thought. Excluding Reach, I would be the oldest and most senior member of any team, but as a new joiner, I would have to 'start from the bottom,' so to speak. That would be very difficult. Besides, I didn't want to delay my military service duties any longer, so now was a good time to retire. Even if I go now, most of the soldiers at the same rank will be 7 years younger than me. I just couldn't delay any longer."

"There were offers for coaching positions, and some suggested I should play StarCraft 2. Even if I take that route, I would have to quit in 1 year because of the military service age deadlines. One year would not be enough for me to become a proper coach or a StarCraft 2 player, so I've decided not to take those routes. I will be enlisting in the upcoming January as a driver/operator. My younger brother is in the army right now as an operator, so that's one of my reasons for enlisting for that specific position. Plus, it would be nice to come out of the army with an important life skill."

"Lots of people expressed gratitude for my career, and some are saying 'already?'. I've been playing for 10 years, so my retirement shouldn't be a surprise to anybody. Even those saying 'already' are saying it to be nice. I think most of them knew it was coming."

Revisiting Midas's 10-Year Career

A capture from the ancient(?) times. Midas began his career at an early age

As one of the few that experienced eSports from the early ages, Midas had a lot to talk about as he continued from one story to another. The most memorable part was the 'beginning' part. It's a well-known fact that Midas did not start his gaming career with StarCraft. For those guessing, it's not the  famous 'Kingdom Under Fire' either. For the young, middle-schooler Midas, the first taste of accomplishment through a video game came from 'Three Kingdoms II.'

"In those early years, we called ourselves progamers but in reality we were just bounty hunters. There was a WCG Challenge event in 2000, and 'Three Kingdoms II' was in the testing (as opposed to official) category. I placed second in the tournament, earning 2 million Won [T/N: roughly equivalent of 1,800 USD in today's exchange rates]. Think about it, 2 million Won as a second place prize of a gaming tournament 11 years ago! It was a huge event and it felt very organized as well. The finals was a single match and the winner took home 5 million Won, but I was overjoyed with my winnings to care about anything else. After applicable taxes I banked 1.6 million Won. As a 2nd-year middle school student, it was definitely a 'wow' moment. That's how it all started."

Two million Won, 11 years ago... how much would that be in today's currency? Anyhow, for a middle school student, that amount is more than enough to leave a profound impact in his mind, 'I can live well by just gaming.' Where did Midas spend that money?

"I put it all in a savings account, and used it bit by bit for personal uses. Thankfully, my parents didn't take it away. I participated in more tournaments and won more money, so my savings account was never dry (laughs). After a while, probably due to StarCraft, there was an RTS boom in Korea. Phantagram tried to compete in the RTS market with their title 'Kingdom Under Fire' and recruited progamers to play their game. I began as an online master and worked my way up in offline tournaments. Towards the last year of the KUF tournaments, I was devouring it all. In my young mind, I was simply 'the best.' It was too obvious to me back then that I was the rightful winner with my superior skills. I was basically toying around with everyone else in that game."

Between StarCraft and WarCraft 3, Midas Picked StarCraft

"I was pretty famous in the KUF scene, so one day I suddenly got a package from HanbitSoft, which had a WarCraft 3 CD in it. The hero-based system felt quite foreign to me. During those times, StarCraft was the number one popular game on TV, so instead I went for StarCraft. Different from KUF, I was not a pioneer any more. I was playing the catch-up role, so it felt impossible to do both gaming and school. I guess my parents were impressed by my winnings or my skills, or both, so they allowed me - without hesitation - to quit school and go into a full-time progaming career."

There are several episodes that unveil the gaming prowess of Midas. After starting StarCraft as his main game and career, he played in the Stout MSL preliminaries. To everyone's surprise, this new kid 'Midas' beat one of the best PvT players of the time, fOru. With this incredible upset, Head Coach Gyu Nam Cho of GO took notice of Midas.

"In my group, fOru was the favourite to move on in the tournament. I beat him 2:0. It was simple, really. He pretty much went for observer-dragoon play every PvT, so I went 1 barrack expand into bio-mechanic composition timing rush for the win. Second game I went for a cheese rush. Both builds were considered hard counters to observer-dragoon type of play. After fOru, I lost to LeaDeR 2:0 but I gained the key to my professional StarCraft career - the connection with Head Coach Cho."

Xellos and Midas still maintain their master-apprentice relationship?!

The heroic adventures(?) of a genius gamer are fun to listen to. Imagine yourself in the position of an amateur gamer who just quit school to embark on a new exotic career. Midas continued on with more interesting tales.

"Master Xellos called me one early morning, "We have a seat for you. Come over right now!" and I was like "Awww Yeah!" I immediately packed up and went to the practice house on my bike. I even took a city map from one of my textbooks so I don't get lost (laughs). I was in my late teens back then, and I'll never forget that morning ride."

"I arrived around 4 AM and my Master was waiting for me. He was alone in a dark room with his monitor on. I think Head Coach Cho chastised me for barging in so early in the morning. Haha."

Why does Midas call Xellos the 'Master'?

"To be honest, it was Head Coach Cho that ordered me to call him the 'Master.' For me, it was an honour to do so. Xellos was one of the best progamers that time, and now he was my master, I was his apprentice! I learned so much from him. I also think that Head Coach Cho's recruitment standards included good looks. He used to tell me "kid, you'd be a cute handsome boy with a couple less kilos" (laughs).

Midas, smiling brightly. He was the iconic figure of baby-face progamers.

Reminiscing about his past, Midas emphasized that those times were 'hard but happy.' As the team's youngster he made the rice and washed the dishes, but he like being in the practice house nonetheless. He was happy to be with the great players he used to admire on TV, and he was happier that he was now one of them.

"I think they made space for me when TheMarine moved from GO to KTF. Being a part of the team was all I could ask for. Those times were when 6 of us ordered 3 hot mixed stews and 3 extra rice bowls. Everything was amazing, from being together with other progamers, practising together, and participating in the same tournaments."

After becoming a member of GO, Midas improved faster than his peers. His road wasn't all smooth and easy, but he overcame them all because he endured the practice hours and found enjoyment in his job.

"In the Neowiz Pmang Cup Proleague in 2003, I was pretty good on the 'Another Day' map. My initial mindset was to bite the bullet and play play play, but Head Coach Cho set me straight. Here's how it went. So every time he caught me not playing a game, he made me do all these chores. Eventually I grew so sick of doing little chores for him that I figured it was better to play rather than to slack off. He told me later that he deliberately did that to make me want to game on my own will. I think I was 7W 2L on the map 'Another Day,' thanks to my coach (laughs)."

"The news of my Proleague performance spread in the community, and during those times, I finally made it to the individual league brackets, but fell short in the dual tournament. I wanted to win so badly, and back in those days, winning and losing was like heaven and hell kind of difference. I suddenly lost interest in gaming, so I left the team around April 2004 and took a law school exam. Instead of the law school exam, I found myself playing games at home - and to my surprise, I was so used to the practice routine, that I played really well from home and made it to both OSL and MSL, and also won the WCG Korea Tournament. I beat my Master Xellos and fOru in that WCG tournament. The preliminaries were held in Daegu, and I remember beating top class progamers like ChoJJa, Junwi, and Silver. I only practiced online but I was getting results I never got before. Eventually I was stopped at the Round of 8 for OSL and MSL, and I also fell short at the WCG Finals and had to settle for second place."

"After that, Head Coach Cho transferred me and GoRush to SKT. I will be forever thankful to Head Coach Cho. From then on, I was finally under an official contract as a progamer, and I was paid yearly salaries."

Midas was a top star even in his SKT days

"My career progressed well after that. The highest I reached in the individual leagues were the semi-finals, but our team kept winning and I was the Proleague guy. We were a very popular team, and since I performed well, my salaries kept going up. If I consider the fact that I was probably act my personal prime in year 2006, I should have taken an individual title that year, but I missed it. Starting 2007, my passions seemed to have died, and I started feeling bored or even annoyed in my games. Accordingly, results started to slip. I briefly regained my drive in 2008 and made it to OSL Ro8 before getting beaten by Best. That's when I first considered retirement, but I went for another shot with WeMade Fox."

Midas's prime was during his SK Telecom years. He was a major part of the SK Telecom's unstoppable force. He played under his motto 'fast expand if far, bunker rush if near' and achieved high winning percentages. Midas was vastly popular with the community as well, and StarCraft Gallery churned out new comics featuring 'Midas Bear' and his catchphrases.

Some of Midas Comics, they're quite hilarious aren't they?

"I think my prime years coincided with the eSports prime years. I was lucky. You can look at TaekBangLeeSang [T/N: Bisu, Stork, Flash, Jaedong] today and see how popular they are. For me, I wasn't really fazed by the popularity or fame. I'm kind of the guy who just goes with the flow, whether it's up or down. There were several other players who were more popular than me, but anyway for my case, I had a lot of fan meetings and received countless fan letters. My fans would always remember my birthday and load me up with presents that I couldn't even bring back in one ride. My favourite part would be the fan letters though. I liked hearing stories from the people who didn't make such an extreme, exotic choice like me. It was sort of like getting in touch with the rest of the world. In this sense, I look forward to meeting new people in the army who came from different paths of life."

When someone thinks of Midas, there's a certain image formed in his/her head. Despite the baby-ish looks, Midas has strong personal opinions, and he enjoys reading and working out.

"Reading and working out were some of the things I did to ultimately improve my game. Pretty much everything I did can be tied back to gaming. Well, comic books were just for a few laughs (laughs)."

Speaking of cartoons and comics, Midas was considering becoming a web cartoon artist after completing his military service. He felt attracted to the cartoon profession. He doesn't have any specific plans yet, and he never received any formal art training. Regarding those specifics, Midas said he will think more about it during his military service time. One of his few hobbies outside his career was reading and drawing cartoons and comic strips.

A sample of Midas's artistic talents, from many years ago.

"I think the trend nowadays is to make things easy and accessible. In terms of cartoons, the popular trend is to draw things in very simple, basic styles. It makes it easy for the reader to engage. I'm going to confess that in the off-season, I tried out StarCraft 2 and League of Legends. I was so surprised when I first played StarCraft 2. I couldn't believe that such an easy game exists. Same with League of Legends. I guess the best way to attract people these days is to make things easy and simple."

There is a good reason Midas is a proponent of 'Easy Life.' Until recently, Midas was suffering from chest/heart pains. After many tests in the hospital, they concluded it was a case of stress-induced angina pectoris.

"The chest pains played a role in my retirement decision. After they said it was stress-induced, I wanted to be free of stress and worries in my life. As you could imagine, nowadays, those pains are gone. I'll continue with the regular check-ups in the hospital, but I should be fine as long as I pursue a light-hearted life path."

After sharing his career and personal stories, Midas reminded us that he wished to make sure he said two things in his last interview. The first was to thank his friends from WeMade, and the other was an advice for all the young and current progamers

Midas did not forget to thank his friends and to leave a word of wisdom for the progamers.

"Special thanks go to Head Coach Ang Joong Kim, Coach Hyo Min Lee, and Manager Young Woo Choi. They are the reasons why I can retire now with a light heart and no regrets. I want to extend my gratitude to everyone in eSports. I grew up and matured from the love from eSports. I only have fond memories to carry with me."

"When I get vacation from the military, I want to come watch eSports games as an audience member. I sincerely wish the best for eSports. As an audience member, not a player, don't you think StarCraft is such an exciting game to watch? Now I will become an enthusiastic, passionate supporter of eSports, so I hope the players can keep growing with the scene. Amongst the players, we never make someone feel bad for losing. I hope the players don't get caught up too much on winning or losing. I think a lot of the current generation of progamers can benefit by just taking a step back and looking at the larger picture. Instead of trying night and day to refine a build by a couple seconds, why not analyze playing styles or develop your own unique style? Another thing, I advise everyone to become dedicated to a hobby outside gaming. There are always some young friends that fall into shady paths once they taste the money. I hope people won't make mistakes by keeping up their self-respect and enjoying the game."

"Did I say too much? I'll try to summarize it here. Dear junior progamers, remember that all you need to do is 'enjoy the game' to become a good progamer. Remember these three things: good books, regular exercise, and fun games!"

번역 황영철 OpticalShot@fomos.co.kr

"e스포츠는 잘! 생긴 SK텔레콤 LTE-A로 즐기세요"

'상욱곰’ 전상욱, 군복무 마치고 전역
전상욱 입대, 채규승 은퇴 등 1월 프로게이머 자격 변경
[Live Interview] The Last Chat with the 10-year Veteran Progamer, Mida
Midas on His Retirement: "The Pains in My Heart are Gone"
은퇴 발표한 전상욱, “이젠 심장이 아프지 않아요”

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1 등   jax 12-03 14:24 ( 
hope you all the best for your life!
2 등   황색하마0 12-03 14:35 ( 
The first starleague seed MIdas fighting !!!
3 등   he 12-03 16:02 ( 
he is best pro gamer!, i hope so he better than now
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5 등   Hyde 12-03 16:28 ( 
Wishing you all the best and a successful future, Midas.  Thanks for the translations Opshot
ㄷㄹㄷㄹ 12-03 16:29 ( 
zz 12-03 17:28 ( 
Nae wi e han kok eo ro hae ra ssi bal nom a
wbx 12-03 20:11 ( 
Gonna miss my favorite progamer,
Midas fighting!
corum 12-03 21:30 ( 
Much love from France to one of the smartest progamer ever . Good luck for the rest of your life. Fighting !
<3Midas 12-04 03:53 ( 
We'll miss you Midas :(
Bears 12-04 10:38 ( 
Goodbye Midas.
One of my favorite e-sports personalities.
Godd luck witgh your future tt
TLJragon 12-06 10:05 ( 
Good luck Baby Bear!
Janar 01-06 05:11 ( 
Miss ya <3
Finland 01-07 00:04 ( 
bye midas!
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