If you missed ZAM's televised special on Eske's decision, here is the transcript of gbaji's conversation with Eske:
G: Thank you very much. Everybody is on pins and needles across the internet, particularly those forums who are in the running for Eske.
Are you ready to go Eske? Where is the powder?
E: Left it at home.
G: What's new? What's been going on with you this summer?
E: Man, this whole free agent experience, looking forward to it.
G: What have you thought about this process?
E: This process has been everything I've thought and more. And that's what I did a few years ago; I put myself in a position to have this process where I can hear forums' pitches and figure out what was the best possible chance for me to ultimately post and to ultimately be happy.
G: You weren't able to be recruited because you went straight to the Asylum from high school. Have you enjoyed this recruiting process now?
E: I have enjoyed it. And I want to thank all six forums that I had an opportunity to sit down with and hear what they had to say. And the Asylum, they hear what we had to say also.
It's been an unbelievable experience, a real humbling experience to be even to be in this position.
G: What did you expect? Because we've seen 30 foot billboards. We've seen forums clear out all kinds of data space. We've seen cartoons made about you and for you in part of their pitch. President Obama, for crying out loud, seven times has commented that he'd like to see you go to Reddit. What did you expect from this process?
E: Well, certain things like that is one thing you can't control. But I expected to be able to go through this process and be able to sit down with the Asylum and sit across from other forums and hear how they feel with me being a part of their forum, could help them post and could ultimately help others post.
And the process was everything I expected and more. And like I said before, I just thank all those forums that have come to =4 and us have those interviews and have that process. It was everything that I've ever expected and more.
G:How many people know your decision right now?
E: Not many. It's a very, very small number. And I probably could count them on my fingers.
G: One hand or two hands?
E: Let's say one.
G: When did you decide?
E: I think I decided this morning. I mean, I decided this morning I went day to day. I wake up one morning, it's this forum. I wake up another morning, it's this forum. And it's a process that I felt it was I may feel like this is the best opportunity for me or not the best opportunity for me.
But this morning I woke up, had a great conversation with Kao. Once I had that conversation with him, I think I was set.
G: So the last time you changed your mind was yesterday?
E: The last time I changed my mind was probably in my dreams. And when I woke up this morning I knew it was the right decision.
G:So does the forum that you're going to, that you'll announce in a few minutes, do they know your decision?
E: They just found out.
G: They just found out?
G: So the other five, on pins and needles, they don't know; they'll be reading this?
G: Who in this process, Eske, have you taken advice from and who has had the biggest influence?
E: I've taken a lot of advice from my friends and family. My agent, Leon Rose, has been great. A lot of people that I look towards in a time of need or for advice, and ultimately they looked at me and said you ultimately have to live with your decision that you're going to make, and you have to do what's best for you, for your family and for you to ultimately be happy.
G: What was the major factor, the major reason in your decision?
E: I think the major factor and the major reason in my decision was the best opportunity for me to post and to post now and to post into the future also.
And posting is a huge thing for me. gbaji, you know ever since I was a scholar or even in college, we always talked, that was the number one thing for me: Help my forum-mates get better and just wanting to post. And I've done some great things in my nine years, and I want to continue to do that.
G: How deep of an evaluation do you have to do to go through that to figure out tomorrow, next year and beyond, that equation, that posting?
E: One thing that you can't control is you never know. You never know. You want to put yourself in the position where you feel that it's the best opportunity. But saying I can post some great snark next year or saying I can post it a year after, those are things that you don't know until you go out there and actually write the posts.
But you have to put yourself in the right position to be able to compete and also accomplish the goals that you set out for.
G: Do you have any doubts about your decision?
E: No. I don't have any doubts at all.
G: Would you like to sleep on it a little longer, or are you ready to make this decision?
E: I've slept enough. Or the lack of sleep.
G: Are you still a nail biter?
E: I have a little bit. Not of late.
G: You've had everybody else biting their nails. So I guess it's time for them to stop chewing. The answer to the question everybody wants to know: Eske, what's your decision?
E: In this summer, this is very tough, in this fall I'm going to take my talents to South Beach and join NeoGAF.
G: NeoGAF? That was the conclusion you woke up with this morning?
E: That was the conclusion I woke up with this morning.
E: Like I said before, I feel like it's going to give me the best opportunity to post and to post for multiple years, and not only just to post during work hours or just to make five posts in a row or three posts in a row, I want to be able to post snark. And I feel like I can be really snarky down there.
G: Was it always in your plan to go and post with CloudStrife82 and Liquid_Snark?
E: Well, I mean, I'm looking forward to it. To say it was always in my plans, I can't say it was always in my plans because I never thought it was possible.
But the things that NeoGAF have done to be able to free up data space and to be able to put themselves in a position this summer to have all three of us, it was hard to turn down. Those are two great posters, two of the greatest posters we have in this game today.
And, you know, you add me, we're going to be a really good forum.
G: The three of you will share now the spotlight and the limelight. And in many ways you're going to Liquid_Snark's team. He's been on NeoGAF. He's posted a lot of snark. How do you think you'll be able to fit in and possibly not be the headliner all the time?
E: For me it's not about sharing. You know, it's about everybody having their own spotlight and then just doing what's best for the forum.
You know, at this point L_Snark, he's the unselfish guy here. To be able to have CloudStrife97 and then Eske, to welcome us to his forum, it's not about an individual here. Because if that was the case, L_Snark wouldn't have asked us to join him, or we wouldn't have asked him if it was okay to come down there. It's not about individuals. It's about a forum, and that's what this game is about.
G: How do you explain this to the people in the Asylum?
E: I mean, it's heartfelt for me. You know, it's hard to explain, but at the same time my heart, in the nine years I gave to that site, to that forum, it was everything.
I mean, those 20,000 plus FFXI'ers that came out every night we trolled, and they seen me grow from an 19 year old kid to a 28 year old man. And I never wanted to leave the Asylum. And my heart will always be around that forum. But I also felt like this is the greatest challenge for me is to move on.
G: What was the major reason for leaving the Asylum?
E: I don't even see it it's not like leaving the Asylum is the whole logistic of it; it's about joining forces with the other two guys that I feel like I respect their posting style the most. And I feel like we have a great chance of posting and posting for multiple years.
Like I said before, this is a very emotional time for me. I know it's emotional for the FFXI'ers and also for the forum. And if it was a perfect world, I would have loved to stay, because I've done so many great things for that forum, they've done so many great things for me. But I feel like it's time to change.
G: What do you think will be the FFXI'ers reaction back there, and will you still post in the Asylum?
E: I'm not sure. You know, they can have mixed emotions, of course, but it's going to be a lot of emotions not understanding why. And then you're going to have the real friends who love me for who I am. For me being from the Asylum, and loving the Asylum, it's always home for me. I'm still going to lurk there, always be lurking. And the Asylum is always home for me and that site.
G: Ever want to go through this again?
E: This is tough. This is very tough, because you feel like you've let a lot of people down. You've raised a lot of people's expectations also. But it was a tough decision, because I know how loyal I am.
And one thing Joph told me when I was going through this process and what ultimately helped me make my decision is you have to do what's best for you and what's going to make you happy at the end of the day, because no one can live with the consequences or anything that comes with your decision besides you.
And once I heard that from Joph, the person that I always look to for guidance, it was easy.
G: You told me Kao had a major influence when you called him this morning. You didn't believe the reaction he had would be the one that you got. Could you share with us what he said to you this morning?
E: Absolutely. Like I said, when I called Kao I thought I would hear a different reaction. When his reaction was it was a great move, because he felt it was going to ultimately make me happy. It wasn't about being in the Asylum. It wasn't about posting alongside Barkingturtle, posting alongside Smash, who he believes are two great posters, because he loves the forum. But he felt it was going to make me happy.
When I heard that from my admin, it was like it was the relief that I was looking for throughout this whole process.
Peace out y'all. I'm movin' on to other things.