The players that roam the Rift in the LCK are very young and the legends we remember have become coaches or streamers. Sometimes, you don’t even know what they’re doing nowadays. Maybe because of that, I feel really glad when I hear good news about the first-generation pro players.
Old LCK fans will be delighted to know that Kang “Cpt Jack” Hyung-woo has finally completed his military service. I’ve heard people in the scene say that it felt like a really long time since he joined the army.
I concurred, so I contacted him as soon as he got out. Cpt Jack was just as I remember him, delightfully smiling, as we got straight into our conversation.
You’ve finally completed your military service. How do you feel?
I thought I would feel extremely happy, but it wasn’t that simple. I had many thoughts. I can’t be a pro player anymore so I need to survive and find my own career. I have more responsibilities now.
I could say that I started my professional career in Inven, so I wanted to say “Hi” here first, now that I’m back. I’m happy that I can do this interview.
How was your military service?
I don’t think it was normal. There were many people that recognized me. A lot of them were about 5-6 years younger than me and they remembered me from when I was active as a player. When I was in the recruit training center, one of the trainees asked me, “By any chance, are you Cpt Jack?” and I answered shyly, “Yes, I am.” People asked for my autograph too. Some of them got my autograph just because others were. [laughs] Nowadays, we could visit the Post Exchange in the training center. Some people bought sodas for me. It was fun.
When I was assigned, it was before COVID-19, so we were able to go out from time to time. Obviously, some of my superiors asked me to play LoL together so we went to a PC cafe. By showing off the prowess of a former pro player while keeping the opponent superior happy, I made my team win all the games. [laughs] I think I mostly played ADCs that could carry.
Were there any old colleagues that came to visit you while you were in the army?
MadLife was the only one that visited me in the army. He had kind of a mini fan meet in our troop and signed many autographs. [laughs] So I bought him some skin-repair snail cream. Faker also sends messages on special occasions or big holidays. When I was in the army, he sent a message to wish me a happy birthday. I was surprised and very thankful. Since I had a lot of spare time there, I got book recommendations from him.
As for other pro players that I was close to, they are all in the army. Coco, Chaser, Pure… We all played together in the LCK. Boy, has time flown!
Did you watch the LCK while you were there?
Yes. There were other soldiers that liked games, so we watched together. LCK starts at 5 p.m., so I wasn’t able to watch all the games. I mostly tried to watch most of Faker’s and T1’s games and really enjoyed watching DRX play. DRX is kind of my former team, and they had completely rebuilt the team. Even so, they did well and reached the playoffs, so I had fun watching them.
When you were watching the LCK, did you think you wanted to go back to when you were a player?
Rather than going back to being a player, I think it would be interesting to have an event that features “LoL Classic”, to bring back old memories. Even if we think, “How did we play with those graphics?” There’s that emotion and fun of that time. There were only 50 champions, Ashe had extra gold on her E skill… [laughs] I used to be really good back then, you know?
You had your first stream last week. How was it?
I was thankful that there still were fans that remembered me even though I had been off for a long time. It’s kind of cliche to say thank you to the fans in an interview, but I really mean it. Especially now that I’ve been to the army. There are fans that like me, and there are fans that have liked me for a very long time. They are the only reason I’m able to be an active streamer. Without them, I wouldn’t have had the motivation to do it.
Thanks to the fans, I’m mostly on the receiving end, so I feel that I need to give more. I can’t always receive, I feel thankful for the support and I want to spread positive vibes to others. The clothes I’m wearing today are the ones that fans gave me. The watch I wore in the army was also given to me by a fan. I didn’t take it off once. I’m always so thankful.
One way you could repay the fans for their love is to give them joy through your streaming. What content besides LoL are you preparing?
One of the things people asked me the most when I was in the army was how I became a pro gamer. It’s easy to know once you do, but there are a lot of people who don’t know the process and are curious about it. So I’m planning to tell the stories of my life from when I was very young. What I did, my personality, what kind of chances I got to become a pro gamer, things like that. I thought it’ll be good if I could do that for viewers on YouTube. There are a lot of people I know in the pro gaming scene. I could also tell their stories too.
As I streamed, I felt I was obliged to play well since I’m a retired pro player. But nowadays, I think it’s better if I get rid of that obligation. It’s sometimes better to become a “clown” to entertain people more, and I think it helps me stream too. Obviously, it’ll be better to do both. I should keep trying to create fun content.
Have you considered being on the LCK analyst desk or becoming a commentator?
I gave that a lot of thought for a long time. If they give me an offer, I would be thankful, but I think I should invest my time in streaming and playing the game for a while. I don’t have that much knowledge about today’s game. I don’t think it’s right to stand in front of people with very light knowledge. I don’t know much about the new LoL. After I fill that blank with knowledge, maybe I could consider becoming an analyst or commentator.
Have you thought of joining a team?
I’m thinking about that a lot too. I think I enjoy being on camera or on broadcasts. I like people paying attention to me. Coaches usually focus on managing the players. If I could do that, it would be fortunate, but there’s a good chance that I wouldn’t be able to. I also prefer playing the game myself, so I think I’ll be concentrating on my own stream for a while.
If the first act of your life was the pro gaming days, it’s act 2 now. What’s your goal outside of streaming?
I’ll continue to be active as a gamer, so I want to become a person that spreads a positive influence in the gaming industry. I think the recent gaming culture has been getting worse and worse, from a player’s point of view. You can get angry while you play games, but I want to do my best to play well and enjoy it.
My second goal is taking a challenge. Although I was a LoL pro gamer, I like many games. When I play RPGs, I don’t want to start it if I can’t see the end of it. I keep talking about games. [laughs] Anyways, I want to take challenges in many different areas. I think of myself as a person without talent because I’m a slow learner. When I play a new champion, I need to play it from beginning to end at least 100 times. Anyways, I want to show that hard work can achieve anything.
Do you have any last comments?
I’ll continue to stream regularly. I hope you visit my stream from time to time, thinking, “Would a former pro maintain his skills after returning from the army?” Thank you to all those that remember me.