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Interview with pro League of Legends player Derek "Raydere" Trang

By Damian Seeto, Sat 21 Mar 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

PlayOn NZ had the opportunity to interview Derek "Raydere" Trang who is a professional League of Legends player.   Trang is one of the top Oceanic pro players and has made a name of himself in League of Legends. His team is the best in Australia. PlayOn NZ had a chance to talk to him on Skype to know more about what it's like to be a pro-gamer.  When did you start playing League of Legends and when did you know you were really good at it? I started playing League of Legends back in 2011. I went from DOTA to League of Legends when I played with my friends in High School. My friends were the ones that introduced me to League of Legends in the first place. I really thought the game was really cool. Since I had a MOBA background, I actually picked up the game quickly and rose through the ranks. When I climbed up the ranks, that’s when I knew I became good at it.

How did you become a professional gamer in the first place? Back in 2011, I’d been playing League for about almost a year. There were actually a couple of professional teams at the time, and one of them asked me to join their team when one person left. They scouted me out at some local internet cafe tournament. The team asked me to join and I accepted it. I’ve been playing on the same team since that day.

What it’s like to be an OPL pro player? It’s pretty cool being an OPL pro player. You always see how North Americans and Europeans have their own system going. Before you were only being in the spotlight for like a few times a year. As an OPL player, you get the opportunity to always be in the spotlight with this professional league going. It gives yourself, your team and everyone else a lot of exposure. The more experience and exposure you get from being an OPL pro player is really good.

How many hours do you train in order to stay competitive? To stay competitive in Oceania, we do have to train a reasonable amount. Personally, we train from between 20 to 25 hours per week. If you wanted to compete in an International level, you have to jack it up really high to around 60 hours a week. 

What's it like being a part of Team Chiefs?  Do you guys all get along very well? Being a part of Team Chiefs is cool because we have had the most stable roster out of all the other teams. We’ve been together for almost two years now. I’ve been with some of the other members for around three to four years now. Being on the same team with players for so long, allows for a more friendship culture to develop. Rather than just being teammates in general. You really do make good friends with them. Whenever we hang out, it’s always a lot of fun. Having these friends also helps you become better as a player too. Friends will always support you, even when you are having a bad game.

What's the money like as a pro gamer?

It’s like working a part-time job. If you are asking what the money is like, it’s similar to working a part-time job. I think most pro players have something else other than just being a pro gamer. I personally go to University and do pro gaming as a part-time job as it helps support me as I study.

Was League of Legends the only game you are good at from a competitive standpoint? If not, are there any video games you could possibly compete it? For me personally, League of Legends is the only competitive game I have ever played. I know that there are other pro players that have played different games other than League. I know a player that has played Starcraft 2 before League of Legends. There are probably a lot of other examples too. Competitively speaking, I have only played League of Legends. 

How do you manage to juggle your gaming responsibilities with your current studies?

It is actually really difficult to juggle Uni with pro-gaming. Basically, you just have to be really efficient at time management. Some people really find this to be difficult, because you have to spend so much time on both things. If you do juggle your time efficiently, then it is kind of manageable. As long as you spend your time doing one activity and the other, and not spending you time on something else. A lot of time management, discipline and will power are needed.

Do you ever feel that competitive gaming will be as popular other sports?

I think the most recent League of Legends tournament had a lot of viewers. I think it was around 10 million unique viewers in total. I think China has a lot of viewers, and a lot of League of Legends players. Personally I think in time, eSports will actually have more viewers than competitive sports. The main reason I say that is because of the internet age. The larger the internet grows, the more accessible it is for the world to watch esports. It’s so easy now to watch esports tournaments online now. For younger people that want to become a pro gamer, what do you suggest they should do? In order to be a successful pro-gamer, you do have to have some kind of inner talent to play the game. Usually you do discover it in time. If you really want to become a pro-gamer, you have to play the game quite a bit. A lot of downfalls I see from pro-gamers are that they kind of lose passion for the game. This is because when they play the game, it becomes work now. When they don’t enjoy the game anymore, it becomes difficult to practice and play it. Compared to someone that loves the game, they will play it all day and every day and always get better. My advice is to play the game a lot and if you still love it, then you can give a shot at becoming a pro-gamer. 

Do you have any tips for other League of Legends to become as good as you? Similar to what I said before, you just have to keep playing League of Legends for as much as possible. Most of the time people think there is some secret formula by watching other pro players. It is like any other sport, as you need to for play hours and hours. The more you play, the more likely you’ll be good. If you do have some inner talent, it will carry you to a decent amount. Eventually when you reach the peak of your abilities, the only way to improve is to keep on playing. You just have to keep practicing.   

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