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Conan 'Suppy' Liu Discusses StarCraft II: Legacy Of The Void

One of the top American StarCraft II players explains what’s up with eSports in this exclusive interview.

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Conan "Suppy" Liu plays StarCraft II competitively for Evil Geniuses. The American Zerg player recently competed in the StarCraft II World Championship Series Finals at BlizzCon 2013. The former University of California Berkeley student, who’s also known as Superiorwolf, talks about the growing popularity of eSports in this exclusive interview.

What are your thoughts on the new StarCraft expansion Legacy of the Void?

I think Heart of the Swarm has been a really good expansion for StarCraft II.  I think the game has been a lot more dynamic and fun to watch with Heart of the Swarm and it’s always changing.  Wings of Liberty was starting to get stale towards the end of it, so it was a pretty good expansion for Blizzard.  With Legacy of the Void, we don’t know too many details about it, but I’m really hoping that when it’s released, it’s really going to reinvigorate the scene and get more people back into StarCraft.

What impact do you think it will have on eSports?  Do you think it will be as big as Heart of the Swarm?

I think Legacy of the Void has the potential to get a lot of people back into eSports and to StarCraft, if done correctly.  I think Blizzard will have to make a lot of big changes, work on the social aspect of the game and make it not so lonely and isolated. I think a lot of people -- if there are big changes -- will come back and start playing again.

What role do you feel League of Legends selling out the Staples Center has had in legitimizing eSports?

I think the Staples Center selling out in an hour for the League of Legends Worlds is yet another example of eSports growing every single year.  The International for Dota 2 was also huge, and I think esports events are just growing every single year.

What impact do you feel the US government giving League of Legends gamers visas just like real athletes has had on pro gaming?

The visa application that gamers can have now just really legitimizes eSports as an actual competition. It’s not athletic physically, but it’s still a competition that’s just the same as any other sports competition.

What advice would you give to someone interested in eSports?

What advice I’d give to other StarCraft gamers is just train as hard as you can. To become a pro gamer today I think it really just takes passion.  You’ve got to really love the game you’re playing and you’ve got to be willing to sacrifice things like going out with friends to train and practice and learn more about the game.

What’s the biggest misconception about pro gamers?

The biggest misconception about gamers is that we’re just basement dwelling nerds that are drinking Mountain Dew and eating chips all day, yeah Doritos.  I think that was the stereotype of old, but it’s really been changing ever since then…especially as it become more and more popular. We’re just normal, competitive people and we want to do well in whatever game we’re playing.

What similarities do you see between cyber athletes and real athletes?

The similarities between cyber athletes and regular athletes is that we both train a lot. We fight and compete in tournaments all around the world.  We have fans that we sign autographs for.  I think it is very similar. We’re sponsored and we have to do promotions for our sponsors.  It’s definitely very similar to the regular athlete.

What drives you to become better?

I think one thing that pro gamers have that drives them to be better and motivates them to be better is the ladder system and the ranking up system. I don’t think traditional athletes really have that. They just go to tournaments and competitions and see how well they do, but we consistently have some sort of feedback that’s telling us we’re not doing well in this area or we’re not doing well against this race. You ought to improve in these areas of your game. 

Originally Published Nov. 27th 2013

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John Gaudiosi has been covering the video game business for over 20 years for outlets like The Washington Post, Reuters, Fortune, AOL and CNN.... more »

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