My first GCS experience at GCS Spring 2016 was not as easy as it has become afterwards. I was not really invited, nobody knew me and I was just introduced to the tournament a few days prior. I attended the tournament after talking to Neo from Back2Warcraft and agreeing to do the coverage of the event on their behalf - even though I had never written anything like that before.
Anyway, that is when I met Huahua (Yeonhwa). I had no privilege so I needed to reach the studio on my own, hailing taxis in the street, finding my own food in a place without a single place to eat and so on... that was quite hectic. Huahua spontaneously offered me her help, securing me a seat in the official tournament car or ordering food online : a life saver!
As she was helping out Lyn and was the official translator of Moon, I was convinced, until very recently, that she was Korean.
Can you give us a little presentation?
My name is Yeonhwa and my friends call me Huahua [flower]. This nickname was given to me by a university classmate, it is like a pet's name haha... [writer's note: Yumiko's dog is named Huahua, hence the pet joke]
I was a fan of Starcraft 2 player Mma. In my sophomore year when the World Esports Master 2012 was hosted in our school gymnasium in Hangzhou. Starcraft 2 and League of Legends were the major games.
I was a volunteer and served as a translator for Starcraft 2 Korean players for a week. These players included Mma, MVP, NesTea, MarineKing, Alive and Leenock.
That was my first encounter with e-sport. Now I am a freelancer, and I do Warcraft-related translation and networking. Mainly to help Korean players to participate in competitions and help organizers so they can invite foreign contestants.
Why are you so linked to Korea?
I remember when I told you [Ugrilainen] that I was Chinese, you were so surprised and said "You are not Korean?".
During the Korean war, my grandfather had to leave Korea and settled in the Northeast of China. He stayed there after the war had ended, and gained Chinese citizenship.
Picture from Ugrilainen's visit to Korea, where Huahua now live
[From left to right: Ugrilainen, So.in, Huahua, FoCuS, LawLiet and Chaemiko]
What is your role in the Warcraft scene?
I think I am a link. A contact between China and Korea that facilitates communications, although I am not that good.
How did you become Moon's assistant on his stream?
This is a bit of a long story. Before I attended university, I was asked to do a Chinese translation for a Starcraft 2 video regarding a Korean player's interview.
When Moon won a lifetime achievement award before joining the army, I met a friend. This friend had the video I translated and as she knew Moon and he needed subtitles on his interview as well, I was asked to do the translation. This video was actually a talk-show organized by Afreeca TV. That was my first encounter with Warcraft.
Later on, I did some more subtitle translation on his interviews and helped translate his forum and emails as well as replying to them on his behalf.
After Moon finished his military service and participated in WCA 2015, I was honored to become his translator during live events and streams. I have continued doing this ever since.
So when did you meet Moon for the first time?
It was during WCA 2015. We were supposed to take a flight together to Yinchuan with Moon, ReprisaL, LawLiet and FoCuS. The flight was cancelled and we had to spend a night at the hotel - that was on Moon's birthday!
How did go your first live interview translation?
They interviewed Moon during the first GCS season and he said "Mountain King" and I translated "BeastMaster"! It was so horrible for me. Many fans said the translator was terrible.
When did you really get into Warcraft 3?
Only in November 2015. I started to learn about Warcraft 3 in details to prepare for WCA: The name of units, heroes etc...
Before that I was mostly a fan of Mma, and hence I focused on his results and other news in Starcraft 2
Why did Moon stop streaming?
I do not really know about that.
How do you explain Korea's catastrophic performance during GCS summer?
For the Summer Games, I was sorry that Korea did not show better results.
In Esport there is no guaranteed result and we say that luck is a part of strength. We hope that Winter Games will show good fortune to our players.
How many live events have you participated in? Can you list them?
8 major events:
What is the most memorable performance from any player you witnessed in those events?
The most memorable moment would be during last year's PGL 2016, where Moon won the first major tournament in a while for Night Elf.
Moon won 3-1 aginst TH000 in the last match. The finals were not as hyped as WCG 2013 but seeing Moon returning as a champion, was a very exciting moment for the fans.
[Writer's note: During WCG 2013, Moon lost 1-2 to TH000]
Can you name a funny anecdote from one of those events?
There are many, but the most unusual would be during Nostalgia Batlefield in Harbin in February 2017. We went out to visit the ice sculptures, but the temperatures was so low that our cell phones froze and even our power banks could not make our phones work!
I was born in the Northeast of China, but it never got as cold as Harbin can be.
Women dominate Warcraft management in Asia; how do you explain that?
Women, just like men, are fond of Warcraft and we are willing to take the time to get some things done. I think that even without me someone else could do a better job than I do.
Anything you wish we asked or you want to say?
Thanks to Warcraft 3, I've met a lot of friends. Even best friends.
This game has entered it's 15th year of existence and it is still loved and supported by fans. I hope that this support of Warcraft 3 will continue in the future!
GCS Winter 2017 is about to start, I hope to see all players showing a good performance, it gives us volunteers much energy.
Huahua is very humble and friendly. She also is one of the few that can communicate in both Korean, Chinese and English making her so important for the success of Warcraft 3.
This time 6 Korean players have reached the final stage of GCS - that should keep her busy! Good luck Korea and thank you Huahua!