Cowsep: “I’m not enjoying the game as feels more balanced for pro play”

The long-time League streamer stopped by MSI to meet his Vietnamese fans and have an inter-moo with Upcomer.

League of Legends's Icon Parkes Ousley · 25 May 2019


Photo via Cowsep/Twitter

Among the thousands of fans who showed up to cheer on the home team, Phong Vũ Buffalo, at MSI this year was Cowsep. Hailing originally from NA and currently living in Korea, Cowsep actually came to support Phong Vũ, cheering them on in his black and white onesie and Vietnamese hat. The Buffalo fans reciprocated his support, as hundreds of fans would line up to take a selfie with the cowsplayer between each game.

Amidst the madness, Cowsep found some time to talk with Upcomer about his career, how he got his name, negativity in League, and a new game he is developing. 

It seems as though you’ve built quite a fanbase out here in the eastern hemisphere, but do all these people following you around know who you are, or do you think most are just like, “Oh look, a dude in a cow suit.”?

Cowsep: So I’m pretty well known in Vietnam, they’re actually my largest audience on YouTube. And I wouldn’t say that I’m awesomely magical at creating an audience here, it’s more just that I play Master Yi and so do they. That’s pretty much how it goes, like in southeast countries, they like to play the Master Yi, Riven, Yasuo. So I kind of fell into that niche there.

So I’m guessing you don’t know any Vietnamese to help you out?

Cowsep: Unfortunately, no. I do want to kind of learn some Vietnamese though. I feel like Vietnam is like Korea a few years back. Because right, Korea is kind of becoming more Western, and now more Western audiences know about K-Pop and stuff. I feel like over the next few years Vietnam is going to be a really important country in terms of what’s up-and-coming. So I do really want to learn Vietnamese, but… I’m busy! Can we just blame it on that? I’m busy. And it’s hard, really.

When you came out to Korea, did you have a set plan for what you wanted to do and accomplish? Or did you kind of just move out on a whim?

So actually, before I went to Korea, I was actually a pro gamer. It was another game, called Grand Chase, and a very long time ago. But I had experience with the gaming stuff like that. And I wanted to work at the gaming company that was developing that game. So I decided I was going to learn Korean, go to Korea, and become a game developer.

And at the time there were no influencers when I decided to do that, right? Influencers weren’t really a thing. So when I got here, that wasn’t really on my mind. My mind was set on learning Korean and getting into game development. However, it kind of transitioned when I had the audience… I was like, “Okay I guess I’ll do the influencer thing then.”

And it’s something I should’ve done years before, because I could’ve had my following way earlier, but nobody knew how to do it back then. So it just kind of happened, but I just wanted to be in the gaming industry. And actually in my free time, I’ve been doing gaming development as well. Because that way, with the audience I’ve built, you can kind of mix them together. So it’s all kind of worked out.

So then with the cow branding, was that not done as a conscious decision as something that would be great for an influencer? Or did that come about otherwise?

Well I’ve always gone by the name of “Cow” since I was in middle school. So in middle school, there was a girl who broke up with me, and then she had a crush on another guy who really liked cows. So I figured if I liked cows too, she’d like me. But she ended up not liking me. But that’s okay, I kept the name Cow anyway. But the thing is, Cow is really hard to get in games, right? It’s three letters long, it’s an animal… So, in some games I can get the name, but in the other ones, I had to figure out what to do.

And actually Korean culture kind of mixed that in because my name is Joseph, but they’d call me “Josep.” So I started going by Sep, my name became Sep. And then I mixed it together, Cowsep. So that way I could have Cow and also have my name. And it just worked out really well because cows are really easy to identify. And even if someone doesn’t know me, I’m dressed up as a cow anyway.

Let’s say in an alternate universe, the cow guy who that girl liked was fond of another animal, which one would you choose for it to be? What would be your animal of choice to be themed around?

I probably would’ve gone with penguins. Penguins were actually my favorite animal before the cow guy. I was big into Pokemon, you know, I wasn’t really into animals.

Is there anything you wish you had done, or hadn’t done, in your move out to Korea and start of your influencer life?

I mean… There are so many things you could think about. And you got to remember the person you are today is based on the decisions you made in the past. So I don’t regret too much, but I wish from the start, like I mentioned in the pro gaming thing, I really wish I started developing my personality back then. But it just wasn’t a thing back then. The influencers were in TV, not in games. But I already had my own website and facebook page for that website. But I never really did me.

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So that’s something I’d change there. But when it comes to Korea, I probably would’ve spent more time studying Korean and less time playing League of Legends, hahaha. Yeah, I mean I only played League because Dota lagged and nobody really played Dota. So I started playing League again because I had played back in the states in 2009 and 2010. But nah, I do think my life’s pretty good.

Though something I want to change nowadays, I really want to get the negativity out of my life. You know League has a really good way of bringing the negativity out of people. And I’ve been feeling really negative lately because I just haven’t been feeling that fond of it lately. So I really hope the balancing changes help bring my mood back up, but I’ll have to try and fix that myself as well.

So by negativity, you’re talking about you personally, not necessarily just the community.

Yeah, like personally… I feel really bad when I yell at people, but like, you can’t help it. Hahaha. When you get really angry at League, you get angry at people! I know it sounds ridiculous, but I just get angry. And I’m not a bad person, so of course, when I finish a stream or whatever and I yell at people, I feel bad. And this happens like once a week. And that’s something I wish I could change, but I really think I need League to change for me to change.

So what’s your plan for going forward and future growth?

In terms of plans, it’s really hard to predict as a content creator. You could just go on and on about influencer stuff, ‘cause you just never know what you’re going to get. A lot of this industry comes down to luck—who you know, who you bump into. But in terms of what I can control, I’m trying to keep my YouTube going.

But like I mentioned, I’m not enjoying the game as much as I used to, I think most people are that way. It doesn’t feel as balanced for fun, it feels more balanced for pro play. So I’m just trying to keep myself as entertained as possible on my YouTube channel. And then my plan is in my free time to work on some game development. Kind of do my own thing. You know, if you aren’t happy with what they’re doing, you do your own thing. Different genre though, of course, we aren’t competing!

And then release that on my YouTube and maybe integrate it with my stream a little bit, then try and get myself a little more engaged with my community again instead of logging on, playing some games, and logging off everyday, right? So I really want to bring more of me into things instead of focusing only on League. Because when you change from League, you definitely notice, you get viewer drops and stuff like that.

You mind talking a bit about the genre of game you’re developing?

Sure, sure. The genre is a tower defense RPG. It’s similar to how they do the mobile games with loot boxes or whatever. I love loot boxes by the way, not pay to win, but in terms of getting all the towers, you have to loot box the towers. And eventually you’ll get all the towers, but you have to build that strategy.

So you kind of role play it because you don’t have everything open up to you art the same time. So I think that’ll be really engaging with the community. And you can have that show up on your stream, so when you get a rare tower, it’ll show up on the stream. Kind of be creative with it. You know.

Speaking of creativity, if you could design a skin for Yi, what would you design?

Well actually, we had a fan skin that I helped design a while back. It was Yi in a cow suit with a sword with a bronze hilt. It’s showing off the “Bronze.” But if I had to make an official skin, obviously that wouldn’t fly. But yeah, I’d probably make a Farmer Master Yi. You know, it gets in with the cow theme, and I’d probably give him a pitchfork or something so when he crits people, it’s like he is cleaving hay or whatever.

Because the thing is, Yi actually fits into a farmer theme. You know, he farms the jungle, he farms until he can carry. So I think a Farmer Master Yi would fit the farming theme and include a cow, so it’d be pretty decent for the game.

Well do you think Riot would ever honor you and it’s other biggest influencers with a skin?

You know I often think about that whenever I think of Trick2G. Trick2G often comes in mind for things like that, like can you imagine him having an Udyr skin? I think that it’s a really slippery slope. There are a few things I think Riot won’t do for content creators, for example, give Riot accounts. It creates a slippery slope where you don’t know who gets what. Where’s the cutoff?

You know you have people that are up-and-coming, you have others that came, but they aren’t quite up there anymore. So how do you decide who gets what? Then it just becomes a giant favoritism thing, and it just creates more issues. That’s why for a Master Yi skin, I think a Farmer Yi would fit without showing direct favoritism. And I’d use it all the time.

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