Team EnVyUs Top laner Shin “Seraph” Woo-yeong is the latest in a long line of South Korean imports to openly criticise the quality of the North American practice environment. Hailing from a nation widely regarded as the paradise of gaming and eSports, high-speed internet in South Korea is essentially a human right – any connection that teeters above 8ms ping is considered almost criminal. It’s no wonder a growing number of imports find the NA server to be detrimental to their development.
After making a name for himself in South Korea with NaJin White Shield, Shin “Seraph” Woo-yeong has spent the majority of his professional eSports career in the United States, first joining Counter Logic Gaming in the summer of 2014. Now staring a relegation battle in the face with Team EnVyUs, the out-spoken Seraph has provided his insights on the differences between the professional scenes in NA and his home nation.
In an interview with Blitz eSports, NV’s Top laner was questioned on the social differences between practice environments in America and Korea:
“I think it depends on the country. I mean obviously Korea, the solo queue quality is really high, so I think that’s the correct decision – just keep playing solo queue and play a lot of scrims.
“But in NA it’s different. Like, honestly, NA solo queue is garbage and it helps like 0% for improving my skills.
“So probably just keep getting good, my mentality with my team mates, I think that’s more good. So, first time I didn’t understand everyone just chill and hang out, but I think I agree now.”
Shin “Seraph” Woo-yeong
Seraph certainly isn’t without his critics, often regarded as on overly emotional player, but in this instance the NV man certainly isn’t the first Korean import to raise concerns regarding the quality of the North American server. Former Cloud9 Jungler Lee “Rush” Yoonjae, who left the team due to import rulings, admitted he struggled to train in North America. In his words:
“That’s not fucking League of Legends… you get 60 ping and you play with monkeys!”
Lee “Rush” Yoonjae
Perhaps the contrast between NA and KR is more prevalent for pros who have been immersed for extended periods in both environments. Yet even for players such as Team SoloMid’s Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg – who typically experiences KR Solo Queue for one month annually – the TSM star regularly criticises Riot Games on his personal stream for not moving the NA LCS to Chicago, with pros currently forced to practice on high ping.
Bjergsen typically plays on 55-70 ping, housed within Team SoloMid’s LA gaming house. This is the difference of night and day when compared to the on-stage conditions of competitive play. There is little sense in forcing NA pros to play on a detrimental practice environment if they want to improve as a region.
I feel like I could be 10x the player if I got to play korean soloq for a year
— Søren Bjerg (@Bjergsen) 8 September 2016
Whilst Seraph’s plight is unlikely to provoke the most emotive of responses from the wider North American community, his criticism of the practice environment is certainly shared by a number of other pros within the scene. The NV Top laner joins the expanding club of Koreans who struggle to adapt to the conditions within the region, a potential validation for the rising number of imports who fail to fulfil their potential after making the move to the sub-standard NA region.