Kyle interview @ WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020.
Source: https://www.cybersport.ru/dota-2/interviews/kyle-ya-ushel-iz-universiteta-radi-kibersporta - (09.01.20) (by Cybersport.ru)
Kyle Freedman, analyst of the English coverage team at WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020, talked to Cybersport.ru about the event, discussed the current state of North American Dota and shared how stepping away from professional play almost two years ago affected him.
— This isn’t your first interview today. Do you get tired of talking with journalists?
— Yes, of course. But if I have the strength, which is what usually happens during the first days of events, then I love to give interviews. I am a talkative asshole, during the best days people would rather ask me to shut up already. But I have a feeling that all these interviews happen not because I’m so interesting, but because other players and casters don’t like doing them.
— How’s Bukovel for you? Do you like these kinds of tournament locations or do you prefer working in the centre of a big city?
— I am certain that this kind of location, like Bukovel, is the best for everyone: for us and for the tournament guests. Big venues are great and all, but they lack this kind of coziness that we have here. In my opinion, this intimacy was always a defining character of esports.
When I was participating in different tournaments like DreamHack in early 2010, I was playing right in front of the audience. We sat in front of a table, near a small fence, past which the audience is sitting. They could hear what we were saying, see our actions. Even big LAN events were like that and it was great. It always differentiated us from the big sports.
— I heard that organizers forbid anyone from skiing and riding snowboards. Is that true? I saw some photos from the slopes on Sheever’s twitter.
— We made some content with the skis. Some english coverage casters did ride the slopes because they really wanted to. But yeah, organizers asked us to not do this, because it’s actually very dangerous. People break their wrist in this sport more often than in any other. We have things to do in this tournament, so there is no problem with it.
— You haven’t played in the professional scene for two years now. Do you miss the competitive spirit and tournaments?
—Some part of me wants to answer you with “No”. It’s hard to explain but I will try. I had to spend eight or nine years of my life living for other people. Right now things have changed, I live for myself, for my friends, for those who matter to me, I don’t have to constantly think about work, about how to achieve success.
When you’re playing in the professional scene, you always have to think about your teammates. You do want to win, right? Now I can spend my free time without thinking about what kind of meta will there be at this event or how can I beat my competition. It was its own kind of fun, of course, but I am too old for that life now. I want to enjoy life while I’m still young.
— So you’re saying you found your place in life?
— Yes and I like it a hell of a lot! If someone would’ve said that this will be my job for the rest of my life… I’d probably be glad.
— Shortly before leaving pro scene you changed your nickname from swindlemelonzz to Kyle. Why?
— It’s simple: I didn’t really like when people called me that. The nickname had no positivity. Truth be told, I never had an in-game nickname, everybody always simply called me Kyle and I liked it. I don’t want to disconnect my internet-person and my real self, because in both cases it’s the real Kyle. I just wanted to solidify it when I got rid of swindlemelonzz..
— Let’s talk a bit about the North American Dota. Roman "RAMZES666" Kushnarev said that NA has too few team-pretenders going to the DPC events, especially compared to CIS. Do you agree?
— Yes, our biggest problem is that the infrastructure of the scene itself is poorly developed. The most popular American leagues (Call of Duty and other games) are all played on consoles. Asia and CIS are full of players who are ready to work a full day for esports without salary or any outside support. In America it would seem preposterous, nobody here is ready to drop out of school to play professionally.
I dropped out of university for esports. MSS had to run away from his house to become a pro player! People had to practically fight with their families to dedicate their life to esports. It’s unsurprising that our industry is underdeveloped, the barrier is too high. You either achieve success and make enough money to sustain yourself or you’re forced to find a job just to buy food. That’s why I’m not surprised that Evil Geniuses dominate the professional scene.
— Let’s move on to Dota. Valve nerfed every hero with a high winrate. Which heroes do you think are going to be strong now?
— Slark is still very good. I think Disruptor is very strong as well. Mobility should be especially valuable right now. Teams have to spread themselves around the map due to the outposts, so it’s important to have a way to quickly move between lanes and kill creep waves. Nature’s Prophet, Io and to a degree Disruptor can do that thanks to their spells.
— Everybody would be interested to know about your relationship with your brother, especially in the context of Dota 2. Did Zakari William Lee "Zfreek" Freedman ask you for Dota advice?
— (Laughs) He never asked me about anything. I would’ve been very glad if he did though, honest! It would’ve made me believe that I understand the game a bit, but he doesn’t give a damn about me. I’m just a caster. We talk, visit during family holidays, but rarely talk about Dota.
We have quite an interesting relationship actually. Since I was 18 and he 16, we were living under one roof and playing together. For almost eight years we were practically inseparable. But then we talked in a completely different way, we had a relationship of two colleagues who work together for a common goal. We were supporting each other as brothers, of course, but… We really didn’t want to spend time together. Because we already were together all the time!
Now it’s all much better, We can just chill together. We don’t have to constantly talk about the game. We’re free! Well, I’m free, he is still trapped! (Laughs malevolently)
— Which one of your colleagues do you miss in your coverage team this Minor?
— I miss Grant "GranDGranT" Harris the most. I would’ve been glad to see Ioannis "Fogged" Loucas, David "GoDz" Parker… Hell, I miss everybody! Although, no, let’s redo. I miss everyone except… Hm, who should I flame? I don’t know, I’m too nice.
— You like saying provocative things live on stream and really never shy away from speaking your mind even if it goes against the majority. When this kind of thing happens on the Russian language streams, it always causes arguments among the community. How do English speaking Dota fans think of this kind of thing?
— I think it’s the same. I believe that esports has more… honor than in big sports. If you look at the work of professional casters from sports, you’ll notice they often say complete nonsense! They flame players, talk about some random stuff and still only grow in popularity, because it causes discussions, arguments, clicks, likes, views...
Fans don’t understand that this is exactly what people behind the coverage need. That’s how they grow more famous, earn more money. I don’t want everyone to turn into sell-out clowns. It’s important to entertain people, but to stay true to yourself. I don’t need to spew nonsense on camera to attract clicks. But at the end of the day esports will still eventually make a step in that direction. The bigger the audience, the more money it brings. So the kind of people who will be ready to sell out is exactly the kind that they need.
— Would you give as a prediction for the group stage and the tournament itself?
— I think Gambit Esports and Nigma will win their first matches. In the finals Royal Never Give Up and… Well, two out of three of these teams will be playing in the finals