‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
One of the more misunderstood aspects of what being a pro esports player is the mentality that is required behind it. Outside of the prerequisite amount of talent that is required to be at the top level, there is a divide between those who can go pro and those who can be a top player. It’s a subtle difference whose lines can shift depending on what kind of scene they are in, but one worth mentioning.
This was expounded upon in a recent Listen Loco! Episode with Chauster, former CLG League of Legends player. One of the interesting topics they discuss is Chauster’s decision to leave the game. While Chauster is completely confident in his abilities to be a top pro, he understood that there was a divide between him and a pro. Namely the amount of grind that was required.
For Chauster, he was never a pro in the true sense, but rather someone who was incredible at video games. He played League of Legends for as long as he was interested in the game. Once he lost interest in it though, he moved on to the next game. A pro on the other hand is a player who continues to play even when they start to get bored of the game or strat to despise the game as they recognize that it is their job to play. Even then, most pros can’t handle that amount of mental stress and that is why we see League of Legends pros often burnout far faster than their esports counterparts.
Interestingly enough, this distinction between a high level player and a pro also can change depending on the scene. For instance, in FGC/Melee there is essentially no difference between a pro and a top level player. Players can practice as little or as much as they want depending on their own motivations as only the absolute best players seem to make enough money to make it their full-time career as there isn’t enough support or interest in the scene to make a professional scene on a scale similar to that of games like League of Legends, Dota2, or CS:GO. In the case of games like Dota2 and CS:GO, it’s between the two extremes of League of Legends and FGC. In League of Legends, the scene demands that the player continue to practice for almost the entire year, whereas the open circuit of CS:GO and Dota2 allows for more breaks and at least periods of downtime where you don’t go have to necessarily practice as hard.
Overall what separates a player and a pro isn’t necessarily skill, but rather demeanor. The pros of any esports can consistently grind out practice day after day, month after month, and year after year long after an amateur has run out of interest in any particular set game.