A fan’s heartfelt account of meeting a hero: “I randomly met ZSMJ today on the plane”

Dotaland note: According to random rumors on both Chinese forums and Western social media, ZSMJ is set to make a return to the competitive scene in the near future. In light of these rumors, thought I’d translate a fun first-person story from a fan on the day they met ZSMJ …

Original: http://tieba.baidu.com/p/1894131962

My flight from Tianjin back to Changsha was a flight at 5 o’clock on the afternoon of the 30th. As I was seated on the plane awaiting takeoff, I looked up.

“Zhu si ma ji?” (ZSMJ is short for zhu si ma ji*)


I became a bit excited.

His seat was towards the back of the plane, I was towards the middle.

When the plane landed, I specifically waited a bit in the tunnel for him. He was wearing a gray t-shirt; he’s not very tall, but he stood very straight.

“Jian god (his given name plus ‘god’ as an affectionate term by fans for top players), are you by yourself?”

“Yeah,” he looked me up and down, and realized that I was the person who had recognized him earlier.

He laughed, like a big kid.

We chatted, and he asked about me, I told him I was a university student in Tianjin. He asked me if I was comfortable with life in Tianjin , and I said when I first got to Tianjin I couldn’t really understand the local dialect, and he laughed and said that, in truth there isn’t much to learn, you just need to hear more of it. I said to him, you are the first legend I’ve met, in person. He said, I appear in many places. Appear, haha :P.

We took the airport shuttle together, headed to the train station. On the shuttle, they were playing Yi Zhoulibo Show (a variety show) on the screens, he looked as if he enjoyed it greatly. He asked me if I wanted to sit inside or outside towards the aisle, I said it’s up to you, so he said he wanted to watch the show, so he’ll sit in the outside seat.

The airport shuttle was headed towards the Minhang Hotel next to the train station, how long it took I have forgotten. As we chatted, I asked him if he’d ever make a comeback, he laughed a bit, and said we’ll go with the flow and see. He has a very noticeable Hunan accent, and the feeling inside of me as I chatted with this idol of mine, as his words displayed an accent very close to my own, was an intriguing yet spirited feeling.

I asked him about his current situation with work and career, he answered that currently he’s in Jiangsu, I asked him what he’s doing so far away, his answer was that young people should go out and explore.

Watching the Yi Zhoulibo Show, I asked, “Jian god, do you like watching this?”

“Yeah, I liked it in the past, but after that I didn’t have much time anymore, so didn’t get to watch it much,” he said, “The stuff they talk about in this show, it’s all real talk, a lot of satire. I appreciate those who are willing to speak the truth and say things that others won’t say. Even though [show host] Zhou Libo has bad press such as beating his wife, but every person has negatives, and no one is all good, and it’s impossible to get everyone to like you.”

Later on, he said, “Truthfully, I don’t want to be a celebrity or a public figure, because it’s very tiring, there are always people watching you, saying bad things about you. I just want to be a normal person, go out and explore, play, see things.”

During the trip, he got a phone call, and I, I just sat to his side and watched him. He is such a normal person, normal to the point of an 8 minute Relic, normal to the point of a Divine Rapier comeback, normal to the point of having so many fans and supporters. And yet, right now he was sat right next to me, a strong countryside accent, talking on the phone.

His face, like many others, has a few traces of acne, the right side of his neck has a long scar on it. Short hair, southerners would call it a ‘ball head’, northerners call it ‘inch hair’. He’s not tall, in the south he’d be medium height, in the north he’d be considered short.

Such a normal person, on the streets no one knows of the legends he has written. Talking with him, it simply feels like I’m talking to an older brother; we can talk about anything, swear, and he’d open his mouth wide and laugh his simple and honest laugh. The feeling is sincere, like he’s really easy to get close to. No distance at all.

We chatted about Changsha, where he lived, where I lived. He said that he actually isn’t very familiar with Changsha in general, just with his own neighborhood, and he doesn’t typically come out much while in Changsha. I said the food in Tianjin is too salty, and it’s still southern food that’s best, fragrant and spicy. He said, you will only know salty food when you’ve been to Jiangsu, you look at a bowl of braised meat and think it must be very good, but once you remember how salty it is, you instantly lose your appetite… but nonetheless he had gotten used to it, anyway.

When the bus arrived at the hotel next to the train station, he got off first, and waited a bit for me. I said let’s get a photo together, and he said alright, let me get a passerby to help us take it.

Earlier on the trip I demanded he give me an autograph on my plane ticket: “Gong Jian, ZSMJ” … this is what I had wanted him to sign for me.

“Gong Jian, ZSMJ, Happy Mid Autumn Festival, 2012.9.30” … this is what he actually signed for me.

After we had gotten our photo together, I said, well, I guess you should go into the station to wait for your next bus home. The meaning being that this is goodbye. He said, yeah, and I shook his hand, and said: “Goodbye, add oil**.”

And then,

And then I watched as he slowly disappeared into the sea of people before me, and for a moment I felt that he truly was as ordinary and unremarkable as he described himself: a gray t-shirt, a pair of sneakers, jeans, a backpack, a crew cut, big round eyes, a mouthful of the countryside in his speech.


Right now it’s 2am on October 1, and this has taken me over an hour, and more than 1000 characters. I’ve been endlessly reminiscing and organizing my thoughts and words, wanting to highlight Jian god’s understated, ordinary, yet sincere and easy personality and share it with everyone. I wish everyone a happy Mid Autumn Festival, and a fun National Holiday.

At the last, I wish for Jian god, no matter where you are, whatever field you choose, there will always be many people quietly observing and supporting you.

Gong Jian, add oil**.

*Dotaland note on Zhu si ma ji: 蛛丝马迹, which is a saying in Chinese that roughly means ‘clues’ or ‘hints’ — ZSMJ’s is a play on that and uses 诸司马技,  a reference to his days playing Zhensan, the Chinese Dota-like based on Three Kingdoms lore – thanks to a friendly user in comments

**Dotaland note on “add oil”: In a lot of contexts, when someone says “____ add oil”, it translates more to “GO ___”, such as in sporting events, they will say “Zhongguo jia you” AKA “China add oil”, which is the equivalent of “Go China”… But in an article like this, it isn’t “Go ZSMJ” as much as it is “I hope you continue to excel at whatever you choose to do in the future, ZSMJ, good luck”. So essentially, given a full understanding of the culture and contexts it is used in, “add oil” is a bit of many different well wishes, combining sentiments of “good luck”, “go for it”, “success”, “strength”, etc… which is why I translate it literally. Thanks to reddit user ydnawel for noting that I should clarify this a bit.



Perfect World + Valve = official (official press release from PW), IceFrog to visit

Reported here: http://dota2.replays.net/news/page/20121019/1738014.html


Confirmed… Statements from Perfect World CEO, Gabe Newell, below… doesn’t seem to be on the Dota2 website/blog yet as of Thursday night

Perfect World CEO Hong Xiao: “Valve is one of the best developers of online games in the world. We are very excited to partner with Valve in bringing Dota 2 to Chinese gamers. Dota 2, a refined work by the developers at Valve, has received great attention from players worldwide. With our years of expertise in delivering quality games in China, we are confident that adding this action strategy game to our diverse portfolio of games will bring additional world-class entertainment and premier gaming experiences to our players in China.”

Official Perfect World press release here: http://www.pwrd.com/html/en/news_c_121019.html

Valve managing director Gabe Newell: “We knew when we started building Dota 2 that Dota was already loved by millions of gamers in China. Valve gave very careful consideration to which potential partner, among multiple candidates, would best serve the Chinese Dota community. In the end, Perfect World was the clear choice to best bring the full Dota 2 experience to customers in China. IceFrog, and the entire team at Valve, are looking forward to moving Dota 2 forward in China with the rest of the world.”


Additionally, it is reported that IceFrog is working with Chinese Dota2 localization lead HippoVic on a trip to visit China…

Dota2 Chinese localization lead HippoVic revealed, he is currently working on paperwork and arrangements for IceFrog to visit China. IceFrog had previously said he wished to visit China, and this time if he does visit, he would likely be there to settle the partnership arrangements with Perfect World, visit the company, and tour China while getting a feel for the Chinese Dota atmosphere. As the current Dota’s lead designer, he has millions of loyal fans, yet he maintains a very low key profile, and has yet to reveal his true identity. Even during TI2, he declined to reveal his public face, with only star commentators and players having met him. There haven’t even been photos leaked out, nor even clips of audio, nothing.

So, will we finally get to see who IceFrog really is in his visit to China this time? What will Dota2’s Chinese servers be like? Let us look forward to IceFrog’s visit to China.

WCG2012 China region online prelims matchups revealed

Original: http://dota2.sgamer.com/news/201210/147462.html

partial translation

The qualifiers for WCG 2012 China region will be played online.

Competition format: Best of 1 for all matches before top 8, Best of 3 for top 8

Competition time: Round of 16: Oct 21, Remaining rounds: November 5-11

Top two teams will qualify for WCG2012 World Finals. WCG China will pay all expenses for top team, and second place team will qualify but must choose to pay their own expenses.

Match time will be 18:30-21:00 (Chinese time), Round of 8 and beyond will all be livestreamed, and all Round of 8 participants will receive a set of WCG2012 China competitors’ apparel.

brackets below. Note that iG and NA (Noah’s Ark) have received byes into the next round. LGD, DK, and TongFu are also represented.

Perfect World insiders reveal more about Chinese partnership for Dota2

Original: http://dota2.sgamer.com/news/201210/147408.html

Dotaland note: First reported on and translated in early September here: https://dotaland.net/2012/09/04/dota-2s-chinese-partner-confirmed/

After The International 2 in Seattle, Dota2 let itself become known by many more fans, with everyone wishing to join in on the beta. But to do so requires access to a beta key, and in addition to issues with lag between regional servers, this meant that many Chinese players have been denied access to playing Dota2, so more and more players have been hoping for Dota2 to officially go into public open beta in China.

According to information gained today, Perfect World has confirmed their role as Valve’s official Chinese partner in promoting and running Dota2 in China. However, there are no specific details as of now, and all we can confirm is that Perfect World will be responsible for at least the entirety of Mainland China, and that they have established an operational headquarter in Shanghai. As a result, we believe that open beta for Dota2 in China is only a matter of time now.

In order to find the most suitable partner for Dota2 in China, Valve has sent many high level executives over the past few months to China, and ultimately decided upon Perfect World as the exclusive partner.

This is not the first time Perfect World has worked with Valve; not long ago Perfect World’s North American section published their FPS Blacklight: Retribution under Valve’s Steam platform (dotaland note: Torchlight series is also by a Perfect World owned developer and is also on Steam). The arrival of heavyweight title Dota2 in this context means that this is the start of an even bigger cooperation between Valve and Perfect World.

LGD.international officially confirmed

Original: http://dota2.sgamer.com/news/201210/147425.html

partial translation, paraphrased

Long story short, LGD.int has been officially confirmed via LGD’s Weibo account. The members will be Pajkatt, Misery, GoD, 1437, and Brax.

Speaking with LGD’s manager Ruru immediately after the fact, she revealed that the international squad will arrive in China by month’s end, and they will stay in China long-term for training and everyday life.

In comparison to Chinese players, European and American players tend to play with more excitement in their game, and are more likely to have more flexible and versatile strategies. However, they also tend to lack professionalism, and team discipline is often lacking, which result in Euro/NA teams being on a lower overall skill level compared to Chinese teams. So, when we put European and North American players in China to train offline, thus combining the steady Chinese style with their enthusiasm, what will the result be? With both Chinese and international squads, will LGD stand at the top of next year’s International? Let us wait and see~