Lee “wolf” jae

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League of Legends

Wolf Officially Announces His Retirement, Talks About His Battles Against Disorders Behind Closed Doors


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On the afternoon of the 25th (KST), I suddenly received a message from Lee "Wolf" Jae-wan. During our last interview, we promised lớn have grilled clams in the Winter. I predicted that it would be about those grilled clams, and my prediction was on point.

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Wolf"s journey was dramatic, but harsh. After debuting as a pro League of Legends player with Najin in 2012, he dipped his toes with CTU and joined SKT T1 S in 2013. It was the birth of the Bang-Wolf Bot duo that we all love sầu and rethành viên. Since then, with many LCK titles & two consecutive sầu World Championships, he joined Turkey"s Supermassive in 2018 for his next step in his pro career. Up to lớn this point, we can safely say that his journey as a pro to be "dramatic".

However, behind his notable career, his friendly smile và appearance, how much bởi vì we actually know about him? He has been fighting his personal battles behind closed doors, all because he didn"t want lớn make anyone worry. It was finally time for him khổng lồ shed light on the "harsh" aspects of his journey. There was a reason why he wanted to lớn sit down for a conversation not over coffees at a cà phê, but over shots of soju & good seafood.

We spotted Wolf with his T1 Winter jacket on. Was he wearing it because it was the team that he was on the longest? Perhaps... Perhaps he was rejoining the team? It turns out that he only had that one Winter jacket. And with it, the clanging of shot glasses & the interview with a friendly smile across the table has started.

It’s been a while. How’ve sầu you been?

I’ve been living the dream. I ate & slept whenever I wanted, & did only the things that I wanted lớn bởi vì in Korea.

Unfortunately, you’ve sầu failed lớn make it to lớn Worlds this year with Supermassive sầu. Can you cốt truyện how you felt this year?

It was so cđại bại. We were very cchiến bại to lớn winning. Although, I’m happy with my in-game performance and my lifestyle this year, I’m not happy with the results, so it’s definitely a year with regrets.

You wanted grilled clams tonight. How come?

Grilled clams… It’s kind of hard to enjoy it on a regular basis. If it’s sushi or meat, then I can have it on my own but… This dish kind of reminds me of how adults sit down khổng lồ talk over glasses of soju.

So did you want to lớn vị an adult-like interview? Maybe I should stop recording...

(Chuckle) Yes. Although I’m only 24 years old, I still want to lớn act like an adult sometimes. We could’ve just ordered coffee at a cafe, but I wanted this interview to be more serious & personal.

Okay. We’ve gathered here to lớn have more of a serious conversation, và everything is ready. It’s your turn to lớn tell your story.

I’ve sầu thought about this over & over again. I’ve sầu even once had a change of heart couple hundred times a day, & that’s on whether or not I should continue khổng lồ play as a pro. Long story short, I’ve sầu decided to lớn retire as a pro. I’m here to say that I think my time is over.

What made you decide to retire?

The next thing I’m about lớn say is unknown to practically everyone. Only Coach kkOma, the manager, and a couple cthất bại people know about this. I’ve come khổng lồ the conclusion that I cannot continue as a pro because of my mental illness.

Recently, there was a pro that retired because of OCD (Obsessive sầu Compulsive sầu Disorder). Is it the case for you as well?

It’s similar. I have 4 mental disorders. At first, I couldn’t even imagine that I had them. First, I have sầu depression, but these days, a lot of people khuyến mãi with it, so I’m not too worried about it. Other than that, I have adjustment disorder, anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. I found out about them in 2017, so it’s been a while.

So it’s during your SKT days. As far as I know, there was a psychologist with the team, so you must’ve sầu vaguely known about your conditions.

I think it started in năm nhâm thìn. Whenever I was playing, I felt lượt thích I wanted khổng lồ throw up, but I just thought that I was really nervous. However, things got worse in 2017. Whether or not we’d win or thất bại a match, I’d immediately go throw up right after. After that, if I felt better, I went to vày interviews & what not.

I’ve been regularly going lớn the hospital, and at the time, I was told that I have sầu light adjustment disorder & anxiety. Since then, I’ve told the team and I had consulting sessions every week with a psychologist. I was told that things will only get better if I step away from this environment.

A year has passed, & when I went on a vacation at the over of 2017 & briefly stepped away from the life of a pro, things got a little better towards the beginning of 2018. However, not long after that, the panic attacks became really severe. Fans probably only knew that I was just unhealthy. At the time, not only did I go throw up, I started to have sầu panic attacks when I was unplugging my keyboard, so I went under the desk, và vomited, cried, and tremble lượt thích crazy for over 10 minutes. The coaching staff came to get me after I"d calmed down, và that continued for months.

The team was gracious enough & allowed me to recuperate after Rift Rivals. Fortunately, Effort played really well in my place as well. When 2019 started, I thought that going overseas would perhaps make all this better, so I looked inlớn teams overseas. However, I was dealing with the same symptoms in Turkey… và when I came baông xã khổng lồ Korea, when I thought about returning as pro next year, I came khổng lồ the conclusion that there’s just simply no way that I can continue.

If I was retiring due lớn decline in my in-game skills, I would feel much better, but I feel really bad that it’s not the case. I have sầu to lớn take care of my health first.

You’ve teased your retirement for many years & kept your fans on your toes. Although you’ve never explicitly said it, things must’ve been really bad, so you must"ve sầu had a lot on your mind. However, at the time, did you see possibilities of improvement in your condition?

Yes, I thought that things would get better if I was in a better mental state. I’ve actually researched a lot on the reason behind my panic disorder. For example, was it the bạn reaction, my in-game performance, or pressure from my organization? In the kết thúc, I did find the reason, và it turns out that my panic disorder gets really bad when I’m working hard, but becomes better when I’m relaxing. I was dumbfounded.

After I found out, as a pro game thủ that needs to be diligent và competitive sầu, I thought that I’d just be a nuisance lớn everyone else. I really hate lớn say it but… it’s time for me khổng lồ retire. It’s hard to lớn talk about things like this, & there would’ve been chaos if any of it got leaked lớn the public.

It’s unfortunate that the retirement isn’t for the reasons you want it khổng lồ be.

It sucks. It really sucks. What really sucks is that, even now, I don’t think I’m bad. If I wasn’t diagnosed with such disorders, I wanted to prove sầu myself for a couple more years, và be remembered for something greater.

As I’m hearing about it, I don’t think you’re the only one suffering from the same problems. Do you ever talk about this with other pros?

I don’t know. I’m the type of person that’s usually closed off, so I’ve only talked about all this with cthảm bại people around me. I don"t think a lot of pros know about this as well.

Nevertheless, it must’ve been a hard decision khổng lồ make. Did you get any advice from others around you?

Yes. Whether it was kkOma, my manager, or PoohManDu… they’ve sầu all said, “It’s right lớn stop if it’s too hard, but are you sure you won’t be left with regrets?” Those words struck me real deep, because I really want lớn keep playing.

However, my panic disorder started to lớn creep into my daily life. It would creep up whenever I"d have mood swings. It was time that I brought up my retirement plans to my parents as well. Things continued to lớn the point where I, Lee Jae-wan, as a person, would really over up dying. To be honest, I was looking for a new team a couple days ago, but when I’d have panic attacks, two to lớn three times a week… I knew I couldn"t continue.

After you had made your decision, what did you hear from cthua kém people around you?

I haven’t told anyone yet. I know that my heart will sway & have sầu a change of heart if I told others first & hear their reactions, so I wanted khổng lồ make my decision in retirement first, then explain to lớn people around me.

Let’s change the mood a little bit and take a trip down memory lane. You’ve sầu been a pro League of Legends player for 8 years, so is there a particular moment that you vividly remember?

This may seem very odd, but it was right before becoming a pro. Since I’ve sầu been thinking about retirement a lot, I’ve sầu been remembering the times when I first started. I was playing at a PC Cafe on my birthday, & three teams contacted me. They were from Najin, IM, và SKT, a team that Reapered was newly creating at the time.

At the time, IM was closest khổng lồ my place, & I ended up talking in a car full of other players at IM. Looking bachồng at it now, it was pretty funny in the way they wanted lớn scout me. After that, I followed Reapered và joined SKT. At the time, Bengi was the Jungler that was supposed lớn join the team, but ended up going to another team, so I suddenly ended up as the Jungler. Then, H0R0 joined the team, and I ended up having khổng lồ fight for the starting position as a Jungler or Support, when I was originally brought on the team as the starting Support. I ended up going to Najin because I didn’t want lớn compete for the starting spot. It was such a dynamic month in my life. It was a completely new world for me, & it was fun.

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Although you’ve been in many teams, you’ll always be remembered as SKT Wolf. How vì chưng you rethành viên 2018, your last year with the team?

As a pro, I’ve always wanted to lớn walk away when people clapped for me. If I became terrible at the game, I wanted lớn just walk away without regrets. In that sense, I feel bad that not only did I not play in many matches, but I’ve sầu played terribly as well, so I feel sorry towards the fans. On the other h&, I feel that I gave sầu it my all, given my conditions và that I couldn’t talk lớn anytoàn thân else about this.

Any other moments that you remember?

Before Bengi went lớn the army for his mandatory service, we’ve all ate and drank at Caster Jun’s restaurant. At the time, I didn’t know how lớn drink, & when Caster Jun gave sầu me a glass of soju bomb, I got pretty drunk after two glasses. Then, I caught Bengi và said, “You can’t go out lượt thích this”, and even ended up crying. I even have sầu photos. After that, I came back, và ended up vomiting and eventually at the ER… Back then, I was really bad with alcohol.

You have a lot of fans overseas. They love sầu how happy you are, và Sjokz even said that she thoroughly enjoyed interviewing you.

Yup. I even took a photo with her, & the one thing that always came lớn my mind was… she’s really bad with her makeup (laughter). This is a compliment by the way. What I mean is that I think she’d look good even without hóa trang.

I remember exchanging my keyboard and mouse with Aphromoo at MSI. Other players didn’t like the gear I used, so I’ve only used it in the LCK, and as always, I’ve brought it to MSI. I apologized khổng lồ Aphromoo for the gear, but he just said, “It’s okay. The best players use this gear”. He was cool about it.

Also, I rethành viên Mithy, who was with G2 Esports at the time. After our match, we’ve sầu messaged each other for months and talked about draft. However, after I’ve sầu started playing worse, I became hesitant in messaging him. If possible, I’d love to talk lớn hyên again.

Are there any achievements that you think is especially noteworthy? Whether it’s career or lifestyle… Isn’t buying a building a huge achievement?

Of course. Becoming a building owner is a huge achievement (laughter). I’m also an attention freak, và I’m proud of the fact that a lot of people got khổng lồ know me, the fact that my name is being talked about somewhere in the world, and that looking at something can remind people of me.

On the other hvà, what would you lượt thích to lớn have achieved, but couldn’t?

I’m still lượt thích a kid thinking about this, but I regret that I couldn’t hold the title, ‘The best in the world’. I wanted people lớn think và say, ‘Support = Wolf’, but it sucks that I have to lớn gọi it quits here.

You were once a world champion, so you were technically the best Support in the world, but I guess it all comes down to lớn personal satisfaction.

Right. How the fans rate me is important, but this comes down to my personal satisfaction. I think that while I did some things better than other players, there are things that I was worse than others.

As you"ve probably heard from all the FA news, all the SKT teammates that you were with are finding their own path. You must feel very odd about retiring.

There definitely are regrets, because I think I can play a lot better. Bang, Faker, và kkOma are all continuing khổng lồ ayên lớn be the best, but it feels bad that I’m the only one retiring. The SKT squad that seemed lượt thích it would continue forever, is scattering off one by one. As time passes, Faker will seem more out of reach, and at that point, I wonder whether or not SKT will be the same SKT that we all knew. Although I will tư vấn everyone no matter what, I’m still left with a miserable feeling.

Faker’s the only OG thành viên on SKT, I really vì chưng respect Faker as a pro player, & I have no doubt that he’ll continue to lớn bởi well.

Is there anything that you"ve sầu yet khổng lồ tell to your former teammates?

This may sound very formal, so bare with me. First, the person I’d lượt thích to lớn thank the most is kkOma. Since I’ve now retired, I won’t call him coach anymore, & he will be just a ‘hyung (Korean for older brother)’. He’s someone I’d lượt thích to lớn thank on a very personal màn chơi. Next would be all my teammates. Not just SKT, but also those at Najin & Supermassive sầu. Then, I’d lượt thích to lớn thank the organization. From the manager, the tư vấn staff, và everyone else involved… they’ve worked really hard. Lastly, I’d like lớn thank the fans, & every personnel that’s involved in the scene.

Oh, I want khổng lồ say something to lớn all the online haters that leave hateful comments (laughter). I sometimes thought, “Did we really vị something so terrible to lớn receive all this hate?” Although there were some justified criticism, there were more times that were not.

What would you like to lớn vày, not as Wolf, but as Lee Jae-wan?

Nowadays, because I’m thinking so much about what I want and need khổng lồ bởi, I only get about 3 khổng lồ 4 hours of sleep. First, I want to lớn live alone. I want lớn experience many new things in a new environment, & live life khổng lồ the fullest. I’ve been living with my family while doing for these past two months, so I felt really useless. Since there were only expenses & no profit during this time, I became even more worried about the future.

I want khổng lồ get baông chồng to lớn doing the things that I’ve sầu put off as well. I’ve recently started working out again, và I was really frustrated that I couldn’t vì chưng some of the things that I could vì chưng before. Overall, I want khổng lồ live more independently.

From Wolf, the pro người chơi, to Lee Jae-wan, a man with a healthy mind và toàn thân.

That’s right. I’m going to stream a lot as well. Also, this may sound like a plan far inkhổng lồ the future, but I’ve always wanted lớn open my own PC Cafe. A PC Cafe with my name on the logo. I want to host events lượt thích ‘Beat the Boss’ & give sầu out 100 hours of không lấy phí PC Cafe time.

I’m curious. Are you going to cut your nails?

Not only my parents, but also everyone that saw my nails told me to cut it. I initially grew it khổng lồ be more comfortable when I’m playing, but now, without my nails, there are certain difficulties I face in my daily life. For example, can you take off a sticker stuck to a box without nails? When you’re scratching an itch, it feels much better with nails. However, I’m used khổng lồ short nails now. Now that I think about it, I had a good excuse lớn grow my nails when I was a pro, but I’ve sầu lost that excuse. Let’s just say that it’s one of the things I regret from retirement.

Will you still be part of the LoL esports scene?

Of course. Retirement may sound grandiose on paper, but it’s really not. I can take a bit more time khổng lồ recover và become a coach, or even become a caster after practicing the art. I know there will be many roads for my future. Even becoming a reporter isn’t out of the question. It actually sounds really great. I’ve sầu actually thought a lot about becoming a reporter. When it’s time for interviews, popular players get called up by the reporters, but the others don’t get those opportunities, even if they have sầu some things that they want lớn say. Although I can be the voice for those players, there wouldn’t be many hits on those articles right? (laughter)

Where bởi you see yourself in 10 years?

I really don’t know. I’d be 33 in 10 years…

Viion: Wow, you’re only 33 in 10 years…? *sigh*>

I’m so sorry… Who knows. I could be the best PC Cafe owner in a certain area.

For your fans that will be sad to see you retire, did you prepare anything for them? Perhaps a bạn meet?

I don’t have anything planned yet. Although I can cry… I only want khổng lồ show the bright sides of myself. Although the fans will be very sad, I want khổng lồ tell them exclusively through interviews or through my stream.

This conversation will hold more meaning than purely just retirement, because you’ve sầu shared some of the problems that pros face, which were unbeknownst to lớn the public. Through this interview, I hope it sheds light on some of the problems và helps the pros fight through them.

Right. I hope things become much better. I think the fans will have sầu a lot to lớn think about as well. That’s why I was contemplating whether or not I should talk about such topics, because I knew fans would get upphối. However, the reason why I talked about such things in this interview is because… I hope it will get everyone thinking about the problems that pros face, and that we’re also human beings.

A lot of people will liên hệ you about your retirement. Are you prepared for the aftermath?

Definitely. I’ve thought a lot about this for two months, và I’ve sầu drawn many scenarios in how to deal with it in my head. I know I’ll be okay.

Then, as a pro player, this will be the last question you"ll receive sầu. Please skết thúc your final messages towards your fans.

Finally, I"d like khổng lồ thank the fans that have continued to support me over the years. Although this may not sound genuine, I wholeheartedly believe sầu that I was able to come all this way because of each và every one of you.

After I won Worlds in 2016, I"ve stated in an interview that I"m lượt thích a single gear in a clockwork. All the other gears that supported me are every one of my fans, so I"ll continue khổng lồ treasure all your tư vấn in the many days to come.

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Although my time as Wolf, a pro gamer, has come to lớn an kết thúc, my time as Lee Jae-wan is just beginning.


Chuyên mục: Tin Tức