He started playing back in the late ‘90s when “StarCraft: Brood War” was just beginning to rise as an eSport. He stayed strong as a competitor through the years of “Brood War” and, when “StarCraft II” was released, he successfully made the jump to the newer game. While many of his “Brood War” peers struggled to adjust, White-Ra continued to win high profile matches.
Aside from his long and storied history of competition, White-Ra is also a fan favorite due to his affable personality. He’s known for his polite demeanor, good sportsmanship and sense of humor.
ADANAI sat down with the pro gamer to discuss his career.
How did you come to be a professional gamer?
In my youth, I was fond of playing computer games and took part in the tournaments for games such as “Half-Life” and “Red Alert.” But after it was released, “StarCraft” completely captivated me and I began to regularly take part in tournaments for this game.
What’s your favorite thing about being a pro gamer?
Always trying to be on the ball and work on strategies, as well as the opportunity to represent your country, to travel, to encounter different cultural traditions, to find your friends and forfeits.
How did you come up with the name “White-Ra”?
I like Egyptian mythology, and I love the sun, and Ra is the god of the sun. White was the name of my first team of friends in which I began to understand its potential. I’ve kept the nickname White-Ra ever since.
Tell us about your training routine. How much time do you spend playing “StarCraft II” per day? Do you do anything to prepare yourself for tournaments other than play “StarCraft”?
Before, I was training for about eight hours a day and learned how to play the other races. In order to take a prize in a tournament you need to prepare well for it, see what strategies your opponents are using, and prepare for surprises.
Do you still enjoy “StarCraft II” as a game, or has it just become a job to you?
Despite the fact that I have been playing a lot less, I continue to get pleasure from the game. There is a constant battle of intellects at each stage of the game, like chess.
You play the Protoss race. What attracts you to this race? Is it a matter of you finding it easier to win with, or is it just the race you most enjoy?
This race has the most diverse units, and has the most advanced technology. They are expensive, but of course have many features. Using different unit combinations can create significantly different strategies.
You’ve had one of the longest running careers in professional gaming. Why do you think you’ve been able to stay on top for so long?
Probably because I love what I do, as well as the fact I have a lot of support from fans who want to see me in eSports as long as possible.
What, if any, are the games you like to play when you’re not playing “StarCraft”?
I love to play different games when I have time, but most of all I like the RTS [real time strategy] genre. Maybe some kind of historical strategy, but the problem is that it is not easy to find a balance in any game.
What’s your favorite moment from your “StarCraft II” career?
This is a victory over the legendary Korean player BoxeR, which was broadcast on television in the championship in South-Korea. Then I was just happy!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a professional gamer?
To develop in different directions. No one knows what will happen tomorrow, and if you cannot show a good result, gaming for a living will be very difficult. Well, if you decide to become a pro, you need to completely surrender to training, to understand the dynamics of the game and learn how to make decisions at the right moments.
Thanks for taking the time for this interview, Aleksey.