Photo: Robert Paul (Blizzard Esports)

The New York Excelsior’s Kim “Pine” Do-hyeon was the star of the Overwatch League season’s first quarter, but conspicuously absent since. After the Excelsior won the second-stage title, Pine said that his absence from the team was because depression, stress, and a panic disorder stopped him from practicing.

Screenshot: Pine’s Discord

The English text reads:

I feel very bad to be out of this stage. All the fans will do. There was a reason for that. The stage is over and I try to say something about it. Recently, I was depressed due to a sudden increase in stress and panic disorder due to a worse situation. I did not participate in this stage without participating in the scriming because of the intimacy of the team members. Rather, we are preparing for the next stage. So my stream was not my small entertainment, but it was a hideout that could shake off this bitterness. My team won the final stage of the stage and I didn’t do anything, but I will try to show a little bit better at the next stage. That was me little piggy.

The translation is literal but accurate; a Korean translator in the Overwatch scene has their own interpretation as well, which is similar.

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Commentator Soe Gschwind-Penski alluded to this on a recent OWL broadcast, saying that Pine missed his home in Korea.


“He’s missing home. He’s missing family. He’s missing friends,” said Penski. “He’s missing Korean food. And he just doesn’t seem to have the energy to play. That’s why he’s currently taking a break. But you know what, big boss Pine? Your team’s got your back.”

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It’s clear from Pine’s statement that his problems went way beyond homesickness; admitting as much is maybe as rare in esports as it is in the NBA. It’s a good sign for the league that the team and its fans have seemed mostly supportive while Pine isn’t playing.

Compete is Deadspin and Kotaku’s joint site dedicated to competitive gaming.