In the run up to the Overwatch League Grand Finals, DBLTAP asked pros from across the competing teams about the state of the game, their own journeys to professional Overwatch, and more.
What was the toughest part of your journey to becoming a pro, and how did you overcome it?
Grant "moth" Espe, San Francisco Shock: Toughest part of going pro was getting noticed by the right people.
Sean Taiyo "ta1yo" Henderson, San Francisco Shock: Might not sound as romantic, but I would have to say money problems are the biggest issue in general. You have to sacrifice lots of time with little to no rewards. However, if you let that discourage you, you cannot climb to the top. I gave myself one more year to try and join the league, and I was able to do so within the timeframe I gave myself. I think the time limit I gave myself pushed me more.
Minki "Viol2t" Park, San Francisco Shock: Adapting to the team schedule was the hardest part, and I just got better as I got used to.
Dong-eon "FITS" Kim, Seoul Dynasty: I started from a team looking up to be a professional one to become a professional player. I endured some hard times when I was defeated in important matches to get to the next steps and practiced harder to overcome.
Hyeon-woo "Toyou" Lim, Seoul Dynasty: It was hard for me when I worked so hard and the result was not good enough. To overcome that, I reminded myself that I have gained things I would not have had if I did not put my efforts in. I tried to see the brighter side.
Seung-tae "Bdosin" Choi, Seoul Dynasty: The endless time of practicing by myself was the most difficult time because my goal was to be a pro player but there was also the chance I couldn't have made it as a pro player.
Gael "Poko" Gouzerch, Philadelphia Fusion: The toughest part of my professional journey was moving to Los Angeles to live with 11 other players in the same house and having to speak English all day long. It’s not a very easy transition when you lived your whole life at your parents' house and when your English level is below average.
Daniel "FunnyAstro" Hathaway, Philadelphia Fusion: The toughest part of my professional journey was getting banned for boosting and being ineligible for competing professionally for six months. I had to work hard to stay motivated by practicing and streaming for hours every day in hopes of joining an OWL team once my ban was finished.
Jae-gon "LeeJaeGon" Lee, Shanghai Dragons: I think the toughest part of my journey to be a pro was checking the ult progress regularly, and re-checking the ult progress after each teamfight in Pacific OC Season 3. To overcome it, after each teamfight, I would silently talk to myself: “Remember to check ult progress.” I’ve even turned it into a habit. So I still will have an inner talk to tell myself check ult progress whenever a teamfight ends now.
Byung-sun "Fleta" Kim, Shanghai Dragons: The toughest period for me was when there was no OWL, because at that time, I didn’t have any outstanding performance, and I didn’t have much money as well, but I just insisted. I didn’t have any special skills apart from playing Overwatch, and since I really like Overwatch, I didn’t want to give up. Eventually, I became a pro, but as a pro, you almost have to repeat your everyday life, so sometimes it’s a little bit tiring. But as long as you choose to be a pro, you, of course, should accept this mode, and it’s important to adapt to it.
The Overwatch League Grand Finals Weekend runs Oct. 8-10, culminating with the Grand Finals championship match Oct. 10. Make sure to catch all the action at YouTube.com/OverwatchLeague.
This article is the result of a partnership between DBLTAP and Activision Blizzard.