Hao has retired. However, he will be back, making his Chinese retirement a Chinese retirement before it actually becomes a Chinese retirement. All of a sudden like many young retirees, Hao cannot help but wonder what he will do next. He has written for ImbaTV to tell the story he’s now creating: he has a girlfriend (spoiler alert: it is not Mu), Dota after retiring from Dota, and learning to drive. At the same time, he takes a look back at the most recent TI and the TI he won, explaining the happenings surrounding both. He even shares his two fen with us about RTZ.
For now I have rented an apartment in Hangzhou. I plan to get my driving license, then go travel. The most important thing for me on this break is is to let my body rest. I moved to Hangzhou because my girlfriend is from Hangzhou and because it’s close to Shanghai. This is nice because I would sometimes need to go to Shanghai two or three times a week so living in Hangzhou will make it more convenient. The landlord allows sub-letting, so I won’t be wasting money while I travel. We have a shopping mall nearby, so everything is very convenient. As for my driver’s license, I’ve just registered for driving school and met the coach once already. As it happens, the coach is a fan of mine. He’s also my girlfriend’s friend’s friend’s primary school-mate. He also plays DotA, so we had a very good talk. Even though there wasn’t much of a reaction on his face, I guess he is actually very appreciative inside. I bought my own car (a BMW 4 series) last year but since I did not have a driving license, the plate was actually in my dad’s name. I thought that by purchasing one, I would have some incentive to go to the driving school — it turns out that I thought too much. I have been busy playing tournaments and had no time to learn, so it has been parked in the garage since I bought it. I can definitely get it during this break because if things go smoothly it will only take two or three months; even if I am proven very dumb doing this, I will be back after Spring Festival. Half a year will surely be enough.
As for the travels, they will be mainly for leisure. I will be beginning around the National Day (Oct. 1st) holiday. I’m inclined to going to Japan and Korea because they’re closer. Additionally, I always go to Europe and US for tournaments, which make them not that fun. I actually have been to Korea as well, so it is not that attractive to me either. I have a lot of expectations for the hot springs in Japan. Also it is said that the sushi there is especially delicious. There is a friend of mine who never eats sushi in China but when he went to Japan, he couldn’t stop eating sushi there and commented on how good it was! I never eat Japanese food in China, either; I prefer Hunanese food, which is more flavourful. So, I am going to find out if sushi in Japan lives up the hype.
What Comes Next
Additionally, for the rest of my break, I will continue streaming. As players enter the pro level, they don’t have many other hobbies, anyway. They will still be playing even when they rest. I normally start streaming right after I get up and stop around midnight. However, I won’t be streaming if I go out for supper or to the driving school. My life now is not so different from before, which contained a lot of practicing, but now I have much more disciplined schedule and now my chatroom is full of fans who wish for my return, which is quite moving. After all, fans are most important for pro players. I used to hate solo queue, but now that I’m streaming, it is much more fun. It used always be the case where I, as a 7k, got all 5k games (which means all my teammates are 4k), so things fell apart right from laning and I couldn’t do anything about it. As a result, back then scrims were vastly more preferable.
Now solo queues have become trendy. I’ve discovered the fun of it as I played along when Miracle made to 9k. After TI, nobody has to prepare for a tournament so everyone is rushing up the ladder. The overall mmr is now higher and higher and every game is of quality; there will be more 9k players in the future as a result. As for when I make it to 9k, I have to be honest — I don’t even have 8k. Let’s set a small goal first: 7.5k. I am over 7.3k now, so 7.5k shouldn’t be too big of a problem. Ranked games require you to play a lot of them. The more you play the stronger you are. Luck sometimes factors in as well. In my opinion, there isn’t such a thing as ‘playing carry is better than support to get mmr.’ For example, Kaka made it to 9k by playing supports. He can play carries as well; playing carry is not particularly difficult. Pubs are different from tournaments; all carry needs to do is farm. As long as you are good at this game you can gain mmr with any type of hero — I will sometimes play offlane as well!
The Boston Major is a Valve event, so all streaming sites should have the copyright. There’s only DD and I on Zhanqi but we might come together with Old Boys, which will create laughter as well as commentary. It will be a good show and the viewers will love it. I have actually casted with OB before, but not much since I was still a pro player and had to concentrate on playing the game. I am not a professional caster, though — my casting is basically bragging. I have casted a couple of times with DD, which was quite fun. But the viewers always say we’re a “special” casting duo. I have no idea what they mean by “special.” A lot of Dota viewers are not particularly good at Dota, so more people prefer more humourous and funnier casting. Technical casting doesn’t always make sense to people. So what we do is flame each other and sometimes the viewers will even flame us, too. The most important thing is that everyone has fun. As for my humour, it depends on if I am ‘on’ for a particular day. Sometimes I am really inspired, so words just flow out of my mouth. But other times I just turn entirely to ‘speechless mode,’ so I will definitely not be a caster. I can talk for short periods of time, but if you ask me talk all the time for a long period, I simply can’t do it. Like if someone picks a Naga and turns it into a one-hour game, I will certainly have nothing to say at a certain point. In comparison SanSheng is extremely good at bragging, which can be said to be totally gifted and natural. He can talk a white paper into a beautiful picture. If I am invited to cast a tournament after retirement, I will definitely use as him as my partner. He can do the talking and I can just repeat what he says.
This time it did not take Mu or I much time to decide to take a break. Our boss is really good to us and he’s been really understanding. Dealing with him is more like with friends — you just tell him you want to take a break. Mu is actually staying in the Newbee HQ after deciding to rest. Below him is the training room where the team normally works. He just moved his computer to his balcony, seeing the scenery and playing Tianyu*, which really suits his style. I’ve been a pro player for six or seven years from TongFu to now; it is very lucky to meet such a nice boss who can understand you and support you. All this makes you feel more comfortable and it is also helpful for the team’s results.
*A web RPG game, which Mu was criticized for having played too much after TI4
It is normal for new players to cut a figure after TI. There are so many old people who take a break, which means there will be new shoes to be filled. Besides, old people taking break is good for them, too. Otherwise how can they have the opportunity to be discovered? That is, unless you follow Wings’ example and form a new team with five new boys and get the results. For instance, once I retire, someone else** will replace me. If he plays well it will be a good thing for the club, it will be a good thing for the whole of Chinese dota. If he can’t give results after being given opportunities, he can only stay where he is. But new boys have their advantages, like Wings this time, which lies largely in their mind-set. Of course skill and luck matter, but after that they have everything so it wasn’t surprising that that won. Like this time we had much difficult opponents other than Fnatic, who spent the whole time in the Lower Bracket, but got easy opponents, whereas our first opponents (Liquid) are very tricky. Another example is TI4, where we got very lucky and won. We were experiencing a period of time where we just couldn’t beat DK. Fortunately, we met VG in the Grand Final. We spent around ten minutes discussing our strategy because we knew too well that would use their push strategy. We knew they would pick Nature’s Prophet, then we would just pick offlane Alchemist. Your mind-set and luck matter, but Wings will have an even tougher time if they want to win TI again. Since they have already won with their strategy, it will be studied and targeted by everyone. Whether or not they can continue to win will pretty much depend on themselves.
**However, Hao’s replacement at Newbee, uuu9, is anything but a new boy. But we can also say that’s due to Hao’s retirement not being permanent
The schedules for those who haven’t retired will be very intensive. Every team is newly formed and unfortunately, I can’t postpone the tournaments after The International. After the post-TI rest, you will play in tournaments alongside your training and whoever has the best chemistry will win. Again, I will use DK as an example. When the team had Burning, we called them Los Galacticos***, which was terrifying to us upon hearing it. But they turned to be not as scary. The chemistry in the team is key, especially at this time when everyone is roughly the same in terms of skills. Your cooperation will decide how well you play. This stuff is very delicate and there is not a single right answer. I did not watch a lot of the new teams, so I don’t know a lot about them. I just feel VG, LFY, and Newbee are in good form and performing well. As for overseas teams, I have paid some attention to EG. I think they have an invincible line-up except for RTZ. I’m not saying he’s not good — but he’s toxic. Things unravel wherever he goes so we can never tell how good he is. Lastly, I am actually like Sylar. We both like playing in a big stadium. Though tournaments like Nanyang Cup are like a party that you can enjoy and get well-fed, I feel as though they just lack a kind of passion. Sometimes playing in a rowdy stadium makes you play better and better, which I hope Newbee can achieve next.