Earlier this week we reported that Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng will be taking a hiatus from esports, and in a recent interview he talked about the decision in more detail.
Right at the beginning of the interview he reassured fans that this is more than likely not the end for his pro career. "I'm pretty certain, I'm like 99% certain that I want to continue to be a pro player, but I'll just be coming back in the summer," he said.
In regards to his reasoning for the break, though, he said: "Money is definitely a big part of it, just the way the market is set up for esports, streamers can make a ton more money than pros can [...] it's just, being a streamer you have so many more opportunities to make money than being a pro. You also have a lot more opportunities to have free time, to have a life, and since I was 18 I've never had a life. I think just having that perspective, like, on top of how lucrative it will be to take a break, it will also be good for me to focus on my health, avoid burnout and mostly gain a bit of perspective and like information on what it's like to have a life."
Streaming is the top priority for Doublelift, as he said: "I used to [do] streams all the time and like that's how I got a really big fan base to begin with and was able to show my personality and connect with the fans and spend time with them, so I'm looking forward to it."
"There's a lot of health issues I've run into when playing for so long," he continued. "There's a lot of people with wrist issues, you know, they've only been playing for a few years [...] Freeze is [a] big example. You know for me it's not so much my wrist as much as it is my overall health. I've always had like weird stuff come up, like knees feel funny and hurt all the time, right now my neck feels really bad and hurts all the time. It's like, I haven't been to the doctors since I was a teenager, I've never had a checkup or anything like that, physical examination, because there's no time. And lately I've been feeling very lethargic, I guess, and fatigued, from doing the same repetitive stuff every day."
Another concern is his "mental health though, yeah, like towards the end I did resent the lifestyle of being a pro, and I just did it because the sacrifices we were making and the goal that we all wanted to achieve, and it just seems so bad, it's such a bad life to scrim, 10-12 hours a day for 11 months in a row, and at the end of it... 99% of pro players don't win, so at the end of it feel empty and disappointed."
In terms of the chances of him not coming back, Doublelift had this to say: "If the team is doing really well, I don't want to mess with the mojo at all, and it would feel really bad to go into a team and end up downgrading the team and hurting them when all I wanted to do was help. So there's a chance that after this the team is doing super well, the AD Carry outperforms me in scrims, outperforms me or is just better than me and I'm not good enough, then it would suck to [...] fade back and not have a real retirement, just sort of be forced into retirement as a result."
"There's also that weird thing where, what if I really, really love the life and I don't want to come back, I don't want to be a pro. I think that's another small chance, both of these are really small chances. In both cases I don't think I'll have had great closure, which sits really poorly with me and I know sits poorly with the fans. I feel like I have a lot to say about my career and this is not a retirement announcement, this is an announcement of a small break. One split over six years is going to be nothing, it's just a blip in history. So I think there is a chance that I don't come back, but it's really small. I think for me the biggest goal is to come back stronger than before, it's not to stick with this thing or let my skills fade back."
Regarding whether he will be forced out of the team, however, he doesn't think that's very likely. "If the guy's better than me... I just can't imagine it, who's better than me? [...] Obviously at the Worlds I didn't play that well but domestically I've either been the best or tied for the best, top two, maybe top three at my worst, the entire time that I've played here."
"My story can't end with that awful performance at Worlds. I know that we won the summer split and I know we were really dominating regular season as like the best NA team in a long time, but that's not how I want my story to end and I'm going to work my ass off like usual to come back and be the best."
Will you miss Doublelift during the hiatus?