The Last Hierarch: Stork on Proleague's death and his return to BW

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The Swarm brought ruin to our world.


"Around July, August, around the third or fourth week of Proleague Round 3, I heard this year’s Proleague would be the last, and that Samsung would not retain its StarCraft 2 team.


When I first heard the news, I felt that it was merely another false alarm - I’ve heard apocalyptic rumors countless times since Brood War. But around September, I realized things would end for real this time. It was very difficult to accept at first, although my mind is at peace now.


My initial reaction was resentment. I began by hating everyone who engaged in match fixing, then those suspected but not proven guilty. I was frustrated at the entire industry. Rumors had been around for a long time, but no one took action until it was too late. Everything about the situation made me angry.


I still think all those parties are at fault, but the players who committed the crime are of course by far the worst. They did the most damage. And I gradually came to accept that I had to move on. There was no use crying over spilt milk. I had to figure out where to go next in my career."

 

Our proud people became refugees.


"The end came about in a meeting between all Proleague coaches and people from Blizzard. We all went into that room with desperation, determination, to keep Proleague alive. But everyone save us were ready to let go. They were also surprisingly uninformed on the match-fixing scandal.


We thought the meeting was to come up with solutions to prevent future match fixing. To come up with action plans to overcome and recover from this huge blow. Perhaps it was all in my head, but the feeling was not mutual. Both KeSPA and Blizzard were looking at alternatives to SC2, not ways it could be revived. In their grand scheme of things, SC2 wasn't the only game out there and didn't need to be. I was disheartened, heartbroken, but I could understand their position. In retrospect, I think KeSPA did their best.


I still think StarCraft 2 is a fun game, a really fun game, once you begin to understand how it all works. Once you pass a certain threshold. But with the times changing, and the genre itself fading away in popularity, not enough gave StarCraft 2 the chance it needed."

 

And yet, they could not shatter our unity.


"I worked as hard as I can from September onwards as to end my tenure as Samsung’s coach without regret. Even after Proleague was shut down, I still kept busy helping Solar and Dear do well in other tournaments, going to BlizzCon and all.


To be honest, I didn’t really want to become a coach. I was not satisfied with what I had accomplished in SC2. I just wanted to keep playing. But our team really needed a coach at the time, and I was the best fit. I think I still had a lot left in me then. It was regrettable.


Both FrOzen and I weren’t nearly as experienced as other coaches in the scene, and we took a long time to adjust to our new roles. On top of that, our coaching styles differed significantly and often clashed. I can only imagine how confused our players must have been while we worked things out.


Anyway, Solar and Hurricane are determined to continue playing SC2. Dear is less sure, and will make a decision after staying on for the first half of 2017. All other Samsung players will either enter the military or take some time off to weigh their options.


If you no longer love the game, or have lost the competitive fire, retiring now is the right decision. But if that drive is still there, then you should not be dissuaded from the scene’s loss of stability. As long as you can keep pushing yourself confidently, like ByuN, give it a shot. It will be worth it."

 

Today we retake our homeworld.


"I’ve been doing things here and there recently. Playing in the kt GIGA Legends Match, guest casting at WESG, showing up at the KeSPA Awards… and qualifying for ASL Season 2. I actually wanted to put more time into practicing Brood War, but I was so busy over the last few months.


It was not easy figuring out where to go after Samsung ended. Should I return to playing SC2? Should I join the BW streaming community? Should I try to get involved in Overwatch? I weighed my options long and hard. SC2 didn’t seem too viable because I’d have to head overseas a lot, which is difficult when you have yet to complete military service. Overwatch didn’t seem too viable because I’d probably enter the military by the time the scene started to flourish. BW made the most sense.


A while back, I had a slight misunderstanding with the Brood War community. I was trying to criticize two specific groups of BW streamers – those who had been convicted of matchfixing, and those who had become a “stream monkey” ready to humiliate themselves and others nonstop just for the cash grab – but my words were quoted out of context; people thought I was looking down on all BW streamers, something I have never done.


I tried to clear it up back then, but I know a lot of people, including some ex-BW pros, didn’t receive the memo. I hope I can clear it up for good this time during my first few weeks on Afreeca."

 

And with it, our legacy.


"It’s been about three weeks since I’ve gotten back into Brood War. Picking up the game again after a five-year hiatus felt really awkward, especially during the first few days. The process is gradual. I’m confident that I’ll be a good player again after a while, but right now, I don’t think I’m up to par.


Regarding the ASL, I’m set to face off against Rush in the Ro24. If I win, I’ll play against the winner of Free vs Where. Many may not know how good Rush and Where are, but both are very skilled and are widely feared on the ladder. I’m a bit worried at what criticism will come my way if I lose.


[Editor's Note: Stork took two straight wins to advance to the next round in first place.]


I’m not yet sure if I’ll be a good streamer – it’s something new for me. A fresh challenge. I’m both excited and worried. But please tune in and cheer me on. I promise to give it a lot of effort."

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