This edition of The Syndicate Interview Series features a living legend of American Counter-Strike: Ronald “Rambo” Kim. After famous championship stints with Team 3D and compLexity Mr. Kim spent most of 2009 out of the spotlight. Thus, we thought it was time to catch up with Ron to see what he’s been up to.
First off, thanks very much for sitting down with us. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” part and get right into it. Just over a year ago CGS folded operations and North American eSports was once again turned on its head. What were your thoughts at the time? Were you surprised the league closed or did you see it coming?
I had assumed that the CGS was going to last at least 2 more years, so I was definitely surprised when I found out that the league had abruptly shutdown. The whole CGS experience was a surprise in itself with the private yacht tours, housing in the Marina del Ray, as well as the draft at the Playboy mansion. It was all incredible, so it was really a bummer when the league had to shutdown.
Counter-Strike teams (like the old compLexity roster) quickly broke up and everyone was scrambling for 1.6 again. What were your plans during that time? How did you expect everything to shake out? Heading into 2009 did you expect to return to 1.6, stay with Source or retire?
My plan after the CGS was to play 1.6 again, but this wasn’t easy, as I had fully dedicated myself to Source for 2 years. In order for me to return to 1.6, I knew it would take a lot of practice and grinding to get back to world class contention. I knew I would burn myself out however, so I continued to play CS:S.
Throughout the year you appeared on several shoutcasts and at some ESEA Finals. Do you see yourself moving into a more media or advisory role in the future or have you stepped away from gaming? Have you ever considered a management role in a gaming organization?
I would love to continue my involvement with the gaming scene as it has always been my favorite passion. I feel like I have tons of unique experience, due to being fully enveloped in the competetive gaming scene for such a long time.
After so many years of spending your time on Counter-Strike, what kept you busy in 2009? Was it strange having so much free time in the evening (ie- less scrims, etc)? You were seen playing on some teams here and there. Do you have any plans to return to full time action?
I’ve been having some competitive gaming “itches” lately, that’s for sure. Perhaps with the right players and organization, I would consider making a return. I still enjoy playing my favorite PC games as well as throwing in a scrim or two every week. As for my free time, I have been playing a lot of golf. I can safely say that I’m at least 94% addicted :-).
What did you think about eSports in 2009? What do you expect for 2010 and beyond? Will Counter-Strike ever see the popularity it saw 2004-2006?
I think eSports will always have a future whether its an FPS, RTS, MMORPG, etc. Companies will forever create new, balanced, and competitive games with their amazing staff and improving technologies. As for Counter-Strike, I’m not at all surprised that it is still the #1 competitive PC FPS team game for tournaments. It is so incredibly balanced. It’s one of those games that you can’t perfectly master as an individual, and never as a team. So, the pursuit of getting better everyday makes it that much more fun to play.
What advice would you give a young Counter-Strike player in today’s climate? If you were 17 and entering eSports again, what other games would you suggest pursuing?
My advice to any competitive player wanting to improve would be never ending, but some of the best ways are to: find a mentor, someone who is vastly better than you, preferably someone local. If you can’t do that, watch replays and demos of your favorite players with a similar play-style, or a play-style that you’d like to emulate. Study and dissect why that player made certain decisions so you can learn from their wise choices as well as their mistakes. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with your settings, but don’t overdo it. A huge key to becoming a successful gamer is being consistent.
Thanks again for your time. Any final thoughts, shoutouts or comments?
Thanks to compLexity for the interview!