On August 13th (KST), the match between Gen.G and SANDBOX Gaming of the 2020 League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) Summer Split. It was a close 2-1 victory for Gen.G. Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk had a busy day. Although he wasn’t able to dominate his counterpart in game 1, he played Jinx and Jhin in the following matches to contribute to the team win. After the match, Ruler joined Inven to talk about several things as a veteran pro gamer.
Let’s track back to your rookie year. It’s been quite a while since your debut. How is your mindset different from then and now?
Back then, I was completely a rookie, so I wasn’t too worried about the team’s results. I just thought that I should do whatever I need to do. Nowadays, I want to win more, and since I’m the captain of the team, I have to care for my teammates more. I started to tend for the team more than myself.
Back during your debut, your main focus must have been proving yourself.
Yes. There were many veteran players in the team back then, so I was more focused on concentrating on my own performance.
Winning could mean something different from back then and now. For example, if you were focused on your own accomplishments back when you were a rookie, now as a veteran, winning might mean survival.
Back during my debut, I was simply happy, but nowadays, it sometimes feels like a sigh of relief. There are more people that cheer for me now compared to then, repaying them for their support is also another goal for me.
Is it different to get over losses?
I have much experience now, and as much as I’m the captain, I try not to express to my teammates how I feel when we lose. More than that, I try to think about how my teammates would struggle less from the losses.
Maintaining a calm mind even in losses could be a part of having a long career. Do you have any tips on keeping a cool head?
Starting from my debut until a couple of years ago, I just played more games if we lose or when I don’t feel good. Nowadays, I try to get my mind off the game, by listening to music or by taking a walk.
Anyone can fall in a slump. When was your biggest slump and how did you overcome it?
I don’t think I had that long of a slump in my career. I usually fall in a slump for a week or two, and then get back. When I fall in a slump, I just take a walk and play harder. When a slump comes, sometimes it’s necessary to take a break, but it’s a competitive world. It’s not easy to just take my mind off the competition. So I just played until I win. After winning, my tension gets relieved a bit. I think victory is the best cure for slumps.
Is there any advice that you heard that helped you snap out of your slump?
Until now, in my pro gaming career, my parents or my friends contacted me often, saying positive things to me always. Our head coach, oDin, says a lot of good things too. All that helps much, and I was able to overcome my slump.
Do you have anything specific that you remember?
Actually, I don’t remember [Laughs]. We just talk about why I had a hard time.
If you were to ride a time machine to meet yourself in your rookie days, what advice would you like to give him?
I’d like to say, “never think of giving up” and that “if you just keep doing your best on whatever you’ve been doing, everything will go well”.
One of the biggest sources of energy would be the fans that watch you and support you. What did they mean to you back during your debut and what do they mean now?
Back then, I never even thought that I would get fans. I just did my best. As I got more and more experience, the fans became bigger in me. They’re the first reason I’m doing my best since I always want to show good performances. They make me live right; they make me try to be good, whether it’s in-game or to be simply a good human being.
Being a pro gamer is a lot of pressure and it’s a job that you have to give up a lot of things. What supports you as a pro gamer?
The biggest thing would be being successful in this life, earning a lot of money, and living a happy life in the future. That thought helps me endure every day.
What is the most important mindset to have for a long career?
To get to a high place, a lot of effort is needed and you have to have a strong mentality. Even if practicing right now isn’t paying off, it’s good to think that if you keep doing your best, there will be a day that you’ll shine.
Any positive comments to share for those who are reading this interview?
It could be obvious. When living life, sometimes there’s nothing going your way, it seems no one’s on your side, every day is a struggle, and you could be depressed every day. However, if something works out once, that could happen twice and more. I never knew that I’d be where I am today. I hope you all don’t give up if you want to do something. Don’t worry too much, just keep doing your best.
A managing editor who can do more things than you think.