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DPS Superstars Pine and Jake Announce Retirement


Superstar Overwatch League DPS player Do-hyeon “Pine” Kim announced this past weekend that he would be retiring from professional play. The news was revealed in a Youtube video posted on New York Excelsior’s channel, sending the OWL community into shock.

Goodbye Pine

Big Boss Pine was a specialist amongst the DPS pool, but when GOATS became the meta, his playtime became little to none. His teammate Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park faced a similar situation earlier this year, yet he stuck with it and popped off on Sombra in Stage 3 and 4. Pine had less favorable luck and earlier this year it was reported that stress and anxiety had a part to play in his absence. Pine mentioned that he would be open to coming back to the League, but nothing is definitive right now.

A few days after Pine announced his retirement, another DPS specialist joined him in saying goodbye. Jacob “JAKE” Lyon revealed that he would be stepping away from professional Overwatch competition. In a TwitLonger he stated: “In giving everything to grind the game, I have forcibly stagnated my process of learning, growth, and exploration that I feel allowed me to reach this competitive level in the first place. As a pro player, I felt that I was just treading water trying to keep pace with the rapid pace of improvement/adaptation that is a constant in the OWL. With the added burden of global travel looming over the next year of professional competition, I knew that the time was now to make a big change in my life.”

Jake has decided to continue streaming and playing Overwatch, but it sounds as though the two season he experienced in the Overwatch League left him burnt out. In a similar situation to Pine and SBB, Jake first claimed the limelight with his charisma and insane Junkrat play. As the need for damage heroes slowly fell, so did his playtime, forcing him to wait until Stage 3 to make an impact in 2019.

New Beginnings

2019 was a weird year for the League featuring new expansion teams and higher levels of play than ever before. It also saw a large population of players leaving the league to retire and stream, or seek other endeavors. There has always been a worry about burnout with esports players, and it seems like the Overwatch League has not done much to manage those stresses.

Damage players got the short end of the stick at the beginning of this season, forced to fight for playtime with the off-tank players as GOATS took over. The idea of having players signed to roles wasn’t viable before the 2-2-2 role lock, and the time players spent on the bench may have tainted their experience. The league is growing to new heights in 2020, and the added stress of travel could lead to more players prioritising streaming and engaging with their fanbase.

Not all players have stayed in retirement, and as we’ve all seen, a few come back every now and then to claim a new deal like Fissure or join another team as apart of the coaching staff. The longevity of the Overwatch League will be determined on the level of support players and teams receive while also ensuring that the game is balanced for the majority of play. Esports is a growing field where many organizations are still learning, so given time, these issues may subside.

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