As some of Korea’s top StarCraft 2 players begin to search for greener pastures, one of the most well-known names in the game has decided to step away entirely.
Kim “Effort” Jung Woo announced today he was retiring from StarCraft.
The move follows the recent news that several top professional players in Korea had left their teams, including Kim and his former CJ Entus teammate Shin “Hydra” Dong Won. Shin said his goal was to explore the professional scene outside of Korea, but Kim had offered no such explanation. Today’s announcement explains why.
Kim told fans and followers that he was retiring in order to spend more time with his ill mother before serving two years of military service, which is compulsory in Korea.
Kim is far from the first player to bring his career to an end in order to fulfill his military obligation. But the timing struck some fans as odd.
After having struggled for a time to make the transition from StarCraft: Brood War to StarCraft 2, Kim had finally begun to make some real progress. He was among the top 16 players in the most recent GSL season, the highest level of play in Korea. But the result doesn’t seem to have been enough to keep him in the game.
Kim made his name as a fearsome Zerg player during the later years of StarCraft: Brood War’s peak period. A series of strong showings built up to his meeting likely the game’s all-time greatest player, Lee “Flash” Young Ho, in the final of the OSL, Korea’s most prestigious StarCraft league.
After dropping the first two games in their best-of-five final, Kim rallied back to win three straight from his seemingly indomitable opponent. The title and the impressive way in which he won it gave Kim a permanent name among StarCraft fans.
Kim also made a point of assuring fans that he truly was retiring this time around. He’d announced his retirement once before, saying that he would rather focus on his studies. But that retirement was short-lived; Kim rejoined CJ Entus within the year.