We caught up with Rickard “SortOf” Bergman to see what he has been up to latley and talk abit about the current state of the WCS system.
First of all, thanks for taking the time to talk to us, and congratulations for winning the qualifier for Esports SM! I saw the Swedish article that stated your goal is now to “poke NaNiwa off the throne”! This is your teammate you are talking about so, care to elaborate on that?
Haha, I think I was slightly misquoted in that article! My main goal is to win the championship, no matter who I play. However, I did mention that getting revenge on NaNiwa from last season where he beat me 2-0 in the semifinal would be nice, but there is nothing personal against NaNiwa about it.
Is there a difference for you when playing against a teammate or friend, than when playing anyone else?
It is a bit weird playing against friends or teammates in a tournament game. I’m usually a bit more comfortable playing someone I’m friends with but it can also create very weird games, as it is likely that you’ve practiced a lot with them. So there will probably be a lot of mind games going on.
The finals of Esports SM isn’t played until DreamHack Summer 2014 so that is quite some time away. For the fans that are looking forward to meeting you sooner than that, will you be attending DreamHack Winter 2013?
I might be attending, but I’m not sure yet. I haven’t missed a single DreamHack during the last couple of years so it would feel weird not to be there. But I don’t want to make any promises I can’t keep, so we’ll just have to see what happens.
Any other events coming up in the near future for you?
Nothing for now. I’m very disappointed in my performance lately so I’ll be looking to play anything I can, qualifiers, online tournaments, etc. Meanwhile I’ll be practicing hard and if nothing else, stream a lot.
You’ve been back in Sweden for some time now, do you have any plans for heading back to Korea? Or would you actually rather stay here?
I definitely want to go back to Korea at some point. I don’t have any plans right now though, I’ll most likely stay in Sweden for the rest of 2013. Its really hard to make any plans right now, especially when not knowing how WCS 2014 will work with region locks.
Yes, lately there has been a lot of talk about the WCS system and as you mention, the “Regional Lockdowns, what is your views on the lockdowns “to be or not to be”?
I think the regions should be locked, so that you would have to live in the region you want to play in. But I think it might be too late to do a full 100% region lock now, it should’ve been done from the start. I do think that the Korean pro gamers deserve more prize money though. They should give WCS KR a higher prize pool, or perhaps even make WCS KR its own tournament and leave GSL outside of the WCS system, like DreamHack, IEM etc. This way the Korean pro gamers don’t have to go overseas in order to make money. I’m not 100% for region locking though as it would make things harder for players like me who want to go to Korea for practice and be forced to play on EU with latency, but region locking is what’s best for the scene.
You were on Artosis’ Show META recently, and you talked a bit about the WCS system and the upcoming changes. Perhaps you could give your view on some of the current pros and cons of the WCS system?
I think overall WCS is good for the scene, but I think there are some things that needs to change. The good things about it is that there is daily content, and that it is creating opportunities for new players in EU/NA as well as giving money to the pro gamers in those regions. The things that needs to be improved is region lock, and the challenger league. It also makes it harder for foreigners that want to go to Korea for a longer period of time.
The whole idea with giving WCS points for ladder games, good or bad?
Well, I like the idea, but I don’t think it would work with SC2′s ladder system. I think what they want to do here is make it so that people will use their main accounts instead of their Barcodes or smurf accounts. But it is not that difficult to stay on top of the ladder as long as you spend your bonus pool, so it would make little difference. With how MMR and bonus pool work, there would be very little advantage for someone who would focus a lot of time laddering on their main account, against someone who just spends their bonus pool and then goes on to play on their barcode or play custom games.
What changes would you like to see made to the current system?
Region lock it, give Korea bigger prize pool then the other regions, remove Season Finals and use the Prize money from them to make bigger prize pools in the Challenger league and Premier league. I would also make it harder to stay in challenger, as it is right now, only eight people drop out of challenger each season which is make it really difficult to drop out once you’re in. It’s really hard for new players to get it in. Perhaps have sixteen people dropping out every season instead of eight?
Even though the viewer ratings for SC2 streams is said to be dropping, you stream quite regularly, how come? Have you yourself noticed this? How do you think the SC2 community can turn this negative trend around?
I’ve been having some free time without any tournaments going on so I’ve decided to spend a lot of time streaming. I can’t say personally that I’ve noticed a big drop in viewers, as I didn’t stream much before. Overall the viewer numbers seems to have gone down quite a bit. But numbers are still quite OK in my opinion. Its just that we were used to a lot more than SC2 was the only big game around, now there is Dota 2 and LoL which are getting a lot more support for streams through the in game clients if I recall correctly. So its no surprise that they are getting better numbers. I don’t think there is too much the community can do, numbers will rise and fall, just tune in to whomever you like to watch.
Anything else you like to tell us or perhaps some shoutouts?
Shoutout to The Alliance of course, and our sponsors: Razer, Monster Energy and XMG. Also shoutout to my fans! I’ve not been performing too well lately, but my fans still cheer for me, and I’m very thankful for that. I’m going to practice hard during this downtime I have now and do my best to show good results in the future!
Written by Marie Näsström