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Meet the Aspire: Jake "Virulent" Smith




Written by Ott Madis "Oakwarrior" Ozolit

Hi guys and gals, I'm back with another interview with the vVv's StarCraft 2 Aspire team, this week it's going to be Jake "vVv_Virulent" Smith, a 23-year-old Zerg player. Currently he's focusing on Wings of Liberty as much as he can, but since he got his Heart of the Swarm invite, he can be seen actively playing the beta as well.

Interview with Jake "Virulent" Smith


Hey Virulent, how is it going?

"It's going pretty good. I got into the HotS beta recently, so having some fun with that."

Could you give a short introduction of who you are and what you do?

"I'm vVv_Virulent. I’m a junior at Western Carolina University, studying Psychology major and a Japanese minor.

I play Zerg right now and I'm loving the fact I actually get to micro in HotS!"

Looking forward to HotS myself! Fun times to be had. Could you talk a bit about your early days in StarCraft 2, and how did you end up playing it?

"Well, I played Brood War a bit as a kid, but it was just messing around and using the cheat codes on campaign mainly.

When SC2 was coming out I was really excited for it. I ended up getting myself into the beta pretty early.

I was really really bad at first, I remember when I watched a stream and it dawned on me you didnt have to go one base every game.

SC2 is the first RTS I ever played with attempts of getting better."

So besides your Brood War expeirence, how did SC2 work out for you and what led you to vVv?

"I actually took a break from SC2 when Star Wars: The Old Republic came out. I was playing that for a while and got an invite, into vVv on SW: TOR. Didn't take long to become an Officer, Main Tank, and Raid leader. After I got tired of SWTOR, I decided to start SC2 again and stayed with vVv."

How are you doing in vVv right now, being a trainee in the Aspire team? Everything working out?

"I'm doing really well. I like the people, there are always good practice partners looking for games. Everyone has a good sense of humor and they are all just solid people. Aspire is set up really well and it just feels like a really refreshing community."

How has Aspire affected you as a player, in general? Also, do you think your education (psychology) is helping your play?

"Well, under Aspire I have worked my way from mid-diamond to mid-masters, so it’s been going great. As far as psychology goes – not really. You can’t get much about your opponent out like on ladder, but I think it helps after getting to know someone, you can get a deeper insight into how they play I guess :P"

I guess it's pretty hard to read people when they're miles away behind another computer. But, what's the story behind your choice of race and your nickname?

"Well I was always named, Idgaf... Then when I started up SW: TOR someone had already taken my name. I was really disappointed but, I was going to be a Sith Warrior. So, I wanted something that sounded Evil and all that good stuff so I went with Virulent. It's stuck with me ever since."

How about your playstyle though - do you like to keep it on the offensive or macro up and play defensively?

"I would say I'm a reactive player. I don't often start a game with an aggressive strategy in mind. But, I will look at what my opponent is doing and if something triggers a response out of me I will go all-in on a dime."

Who do you follow and/or admire in the StarCraft 2 scene, so far?

"Well, Jaedong is probably my favorite Brood War player and I'm really excited to see how he will make a name for himself in SC2. I also really enjoy watching Stephano play and I have taken in a lot of his play and incorporated it into my own play. But the player who has probably influenced me the most is vVv_Glon. He’s been coaching me and is an all around great guy and a great player. I really hope he keeps gaining fame and a solid following in the future."


Can you tell me what are your short/long term plans concerning StarCraft 2?

"Well, my short term goal is to get high masters in WoL! But more of a long term goal is getting into GM in Heart of the Swarm."

Pretty sweet plans if you ask me! How would you say StarCraft is affecting your other interests?

"I find whenever I'm looking at something or learning something new, I consider it in terms of StarCraft.

I actually, at my last univeristy, had a really good group of friends who all played StarCraft so most of my life was dedicated to it.

Sadly, however, at my new school, I there’s hardly anyone who plays. I'm teaching one of my friends who picked the game up to play Zerg so hopefully he’ll start kicking some ass soon. :D"

Maybe have him join vVv too! :)

What would you say is your most memorable moment in your StarCraft 2 career?

"Well, my favorite moment that's purely SC2 related was the last MLG Raleigh. I was riding with some friends from my last university, and one of them was trying to get rid of half a handle of fireball whiskey. So – he decided it was a good idea to give it to me on the 6 hour ride from Tennessee to Raleigh. I lost my wallet and keys 4 times. Got out of the car in gridlock traffic to smoke a cigarette while walking down the highway talking to other cars, and took a leak in the parking lot of our hotel. By the time I actualy got to MLG I had lost my wallet again and had no money on me to buy my ticket... Thank god I didn't lose my phone, because I texted vVv_Doomhammer and he ended up getting me in and I wandered around drunkenly making fun of League of Legends players and watching awesome SC2 games. My other favorite moment was when some friends from StarCraft and I played Diablo 3 together and one of our group, vVv_Einherjar, played a Barbarian. We got everyone we knew and played with to carry around a stack of pink armor dye. Every time a good item dropped for him, we would dye it hot pink before giving it to him. He thought Blizz was trolling barbarians *laugh*."


Just to wrap this baby up – special thanks to anyone?

"I'd like to thank Jesus, and my momma, and my baby momma. Wid out y’all, I ain't never be here yo. GAME HARD!"


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