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WE.Misaya Retirement Interview: "I can’t really tell for sure if I will return right now"

We sit down with WE.Misaya to discuss his retirement, being a Chinese pro-gamer, his parents and more.

It was announced on December 16, through a Tencent Weibo post by World Elite Misaya himself, that he would be retiring from League of Legends as a professional player. His statement to the fans was short, simply noting that he had made the difficult decision to retire, and that he was not sad or upset, but happy, and that he wished his fans would remember him as a brilliant mid-lane player.

We caught up with Yu Jingxi (WE.Misaya) to talk about his retirement. It is no secret that the legendary Chinese organization, World Elite, has been having issues as of late. Below we talk about why he decided to retire, what it is like being a Chinese professional gamer, his relationship with his parents, moving forward, and more.

onGamers: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your recent retirement. How was your retirement party, what have you been doing since?

Misaya (Yu Jingxi): I have been communicating a lot with the club and trying to help the new team. In order to have a very stable beginning phase, I have talked with a lot of old and new players about gaming and aspects on team building.

Meanwhile I have been busy with my own life, trying to focus on something else after my retirement. I have been doing live streaming and also preparing to make videos.

World Elite has been having a lot of issues recently, sparking a number of debates and rumours within the community. Were these issues the final straw that lead you to make a decision about retiring?

I would say it’s only a partial reason rather than a crucial deciding factor. I personally want to live a happier life and the issues our team has been having made my life suffer to some degree. However, I have not given up on Esports entirely as I would spare my efforts helping WE grow and I will still stay connected with Esports in terms of watching games and events.

You had been playing for World Elite for quite some time, you have had an immensely successful career on the team, this decision must not have been an easy one. What all went into the decision to retire?

As I have mentioned before, the busy life of a professional gamer led to my lack of communication with the outside world and issues within Esports have made my life not as happy as before. Being a team captain for me personally is a huge responsibility and I still have to think about my personal life. All these can be quite stressful for me and I want to live a happier life. Therefore I made the decision to retire.

As mentioned, you have had quite the illustrious career. You are very well known, even among western fans who are not usually exposed to a lot of the League of Legends scene in China. When you first began your career, did you ever think you would make it to the level of success you have achieved today?

At the very start of my Esports journey, all I wanted was to let the whole world know that there is a guy called Misaya in China that plays really well. It was all just a dream and I never thought how I would perform in the future. But it was truly amazing when my dream finally came true.

Do you have any regrets now that you are retiring?

I think there must be some regrets. I regret that I didn’t take the top with my old teammates. The fact that we missed the big stage of S3 is very unfortunate. Also that we lost our battle in WCG, which has always been my dream.

Tabe also recently retired and is now streaming and running a few online Taobao shops. Are you planning on following a similar path?

I will do live streaming first and then make some videos. Opening Taobao shops will be dependent on how I do in what I have mentioned above. I would love to make money after I can prove myself capable.

What are your long-term plans? Are you interested in coaching, managing or commentating?

I am not considering coaching and managing at the moment. However, I will still help CaoMei and WeiXiao because I want the best for them and will be coaching them temporarily. I personally would lean to commentating because it might be a chance for me to prove myself.

You have said that a couple times now. Why do you think you still need to prove yourself?

I became a professional gamer at a very young age when my family didn’t treat it with respect and didn’t believe in me. I wanted to prove to myself that I do have the ability to achieve something in this circle because I believed so. I didn’t want to be treated with less respect for what I was doing and I insisted chasing my dream to prove myself.

Many players retire and make a comeback eventually. Should Misaya fans hold their breath and wait for your return?

I myself look forward to returning and getting the world championship title. However if I really made the decision to return, I really hope that’s not because I can’t do well in other fields but because I really want to compete again!

So we should look at this retirement more as a break, giving you time to rest, than you actually leaving your professional gaming career behind?

I can’t really tell for sure if I will return right now but I don’t think there will be a high possibility that I return in the future. I believe and hope that I can achieve something in other circles as well first.

What was your most memorable moment outside of winning a tournament?

I have had my emotional moments in Esports and awesome teammates that loved to sacrifice everything for our team, which I consider more than enough. I love the feeling of victory and the feeling of competing with my teammates. They are all unforgettable.

You talk about sacrifice of yourself and your teammates. I don't think many people outside of China understand the eSports scene within China, and what it takes to become a professional gamer in China. Could you explain to your western fans about what it takes to become a top tier professional gamer in China, and the sacrifices you have to make, and what the life of a Chinese professional gamer is actually like when you have made it?

There are a lot of talents in the Chinese Esports scene I believe. The competition can be very high as new teams and players join in on this circle quite frequently. This situation requires players to start at a very low level to get to the top and it consequently takes a long time. You have to have strong competitive ability and some sort of luck to make yourself stand out amongst other people. Hard work is very important.

I have gained a lot of fame and praise after I successfully became a top professional gamer in China. However there hasn’t been much difference for my professional life as practice and playing in events are the sole of it. There are just some more promotional events.

What was the most challenging time in your career?

I believe that was when we got back from our defeat in the U.S. IPL. We had to play the newly introduced Jungle and Support, which basically meant that we had to start over. I’m really glad we made it through.

Now that you are retired, would you care to give any Twisted Fate tips to your fans abroad?

Twisted Fate is not the most favourable for certain reasons. A lot of champions can beat TF in lane. In order to play well on Twisted Fate - precise support, successful/stable laning, and a stable performance of team play are crucial. Support is especially important as the cool down time of Twisted Fate’s 'R' is very long, if you couldn't successfully gank other people, it would be very difficult for you to win the game, as Twisted Fate is not as competitive as other champions in lane. You also have to make precise judgement calls of your position in the team play later and get the yellow card to stop the enemy. Your team’s position and the target you choose are also very crucial. I will make some videos talking about my experience in playing Twisted Fate soon.

Do you have any advice for younger gamers looking to become professional gamers? Either in China or abroad?

I have answered a similar question in another interview previously and I would like to repeat it here because I think that’s what I have to say to those people that are interested.

Some people have dreams and just keep it that way. Some people have dreams and they take action to make their dreams come true. I think most people are scared to take the step to actually do it. Esports to me is full of passion and magic. It means the world to me to have experiences when you won a game, stepped on the stage and made yourself proud. It is when you know your effort and sacrifice has paid off.

However, I would also like to point out that Esports is a career that requires you to pay a greater deal of time and effort on it than simply being a gamer or treating it like a hobby. You should be responsible to your team, your teammates and every support you have. More importantly you have to be responsible to yourself.

In conclusion, firstly it can be a lot of work and sometimes it can take away a lot of fun in playing games. Secondly, you have to have a very good understanding of Esports to be a professional gamer. An academic background can also be beneficial to your building of professional abilities. Lastly, you need to be responsible to your teammates, your team and yourself as this is a team game.

It says on your western wiki page that you had issues with your family and moved out when you were younger. Is this true? If so, throughout your career, were you able to patch things up with your parents?

Actually I didn’t move out when I was younger but I did have problems with my parents when I was in high school. I didn’t study or make money at that time; all I did was play games, which hurt their feelings. Luckily I performed well and won some tournaments and got my parents to know about Esports and my career. They then accepted what I do wholeheartedly and they actually pay a lot of attention to my games and me. They even know a lot of stuff about LoL!

How long did it take for you to actually show them what you were doing wasn't a waste of time?

Counting from me starting to play games to putting up a championship in games as my goal to the moment I actually won an event, I would say 3 to 4 years. I didn’t really achieve that much when I was little.

Did they come and watch any of your tournaments live throughout your career?

They usually just watch my games online and they would pay a lot of attention when I have some important games.

Do you have any closing comments for your western fans?

I didn’t expect there would be so many players or fans abroad to ask me to stay or that they would compliment me. I personally feel very grateful for what you said to me and how you have acknowledged my ability. I will not leave League of Legends and Esports and I hope you can tune in to my videos where I put all of my understanding of this game.

Translation by: Wang Xinrong

Photo Credit: CN Frag