MidOne: I want to build a championship winning team

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For many gamers, gaming is just a hobby to be played for fun. But for the pros, it’s more than just a game – it’s a career, a job, and a passion. Just ask Team SMG’s captain Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng.

The Dota 2 offlaner, who started playing Dota at the age of nine, has played for some of the biggest teams in the world, including giants like OG and Team Secret, racking up nearly US$1.8 in earnings to date, according to Liquipedia. 

And now he wants nothing more than to create a lasting legacy – to build a championship-winning team and to inspire the next generation of gamers.

Speaking in an interview with Dota 2 caster Alvaro “AvoPlus” Sanchez Velasco, he spoke openly about a range of issues, from how he started his Dota 2 career to what matters most to him now.

When asked about what he enjoys most about being a professional, he said: “I think (in the past), I just wanted to have fun. Now, things have changed… I just want to create the best team in Dota right now.”

He shared how as much as he still loves playing the game now, being a professional for so long inevitably means experiencing times of struggle when playing.

“It all comes down to what you want to achieve… and what’s more important to me is guiding other people,” he said.

Sharing lessons learnt

During his career, the captain definitely has learnt many lessons and has advice for his lesser-experienced teammates, even outside of just how to better play Dota.

He said that his parents were not supportive of his plans to become a professional esports player. “Asian families, they’re always hard on you and always traditional. (They want you) to go to school, go to college, go to university and then graduate. Be an engineer or something.”

Now looking back, he realised that following the traditional route would have left him as an office worker who “(didn’t) do anything”. Having that experience with unsupportive parents enables him to be able to help others facing the same struggle.

He also admitted that he once aspired to be the first esports player to professionally play Dota and Call of Duty at the same time. Now he has realised that “it’s actually impossible” and thinking back “it was a stupid idea”.

He has faced struggles and crossroads that junior players will one day face as well. As a leader, those experiences are what will help him better mentor his team.

Watch the full interview, excerpted here:

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