Concern about his mental health and the lack of enjoyment from competing in the Overwatch League have forced Hyeon "EFFECT" Hwang to retire, he announced Saturday on his Facebook page.
He was a DPS player for the Dallas Fuel.
The post, written in Korean, was translated by Twitter user @swingchip930 and posted on the social media site.
In a lengthy and emotional message that mentioned thoughts of suicide, EFFECT explained how he turned to gaming to find his sense of self-worth in a life he felt was unfulfilled even as a child.
"The best escape was video games, of course. If I played games I couldn't think of anything else because I had to focus on what was at hand, and whenever I carried a match, or advanced in rankings, I felt like I had become the main character of the game. That's why I played video games," he said. "I would feel satisfied once I reached high rankings."
"Overwatch got released, and I played Overwatch. Because I wanted to become a star in the game, I made strategy posts. I made a YouTube channel. I started streaming. And I tried my best. There was no space to think of negative thoughts because I had my hands full. I kept working hard and I kept pushing forward.
"Because of that, I ended up getting here, but too much time has passed. Overwatch hasn't changed at all. The game itself couldn't tug at my interest anymore and I couldn't become the star. The same comps, the same maps, the same strategies. And when I took my break, my physical form got to the worst possible state, so I should have practiced like my life depended on it but it wasn't fun. I couldn't even feel the allure of becoming a star anymore."
EFFECT previously has spoken out about the pressures of the league. In the first season of the Overwatch League, he left during Stage 3 for mental health reasons and returned to South Korea.
"I returned to the league with such energy, but I regret that I couldn't really show people anything before leaving," EFFECT said. "But Overwatch is seriously no fun anymore, and I don't want to keep stressfully practicing. I also felt rough receiving a salary that was more than what I was worth, and felt so sorry and ashamed of it. So I am going to retire as a pro gamer."
Mike "hastr0" Rufail, the owner of the Dallas Fuel, issued a statement regarding EFFECT's retirement on Twitter.
"He has given our organization and fans thrilling memories, insane plays, multiple championships and has been a true pleasure to watch. We wish you the best and brightest future @EFFECT."
-- Field Level Media