Worlds ended and you believe that this was a disappointing year in your career, even in your life. With the early defeat at worlds, fans would claim you aren’t worth the money and the hassle. You want to go back to the comfort of your home and the faces of your friends; an opportunity to talk with people that speak your language, to taste your favorite meal. You are longing for those moments where admirers claimed that you were the best and could defeat anybody.
This isn’t the right time to return to Korea.
Overseas, the fans cheered for you; they wanted you to win; they screamed your name and were happy with your victories. Watch now those videos where you were playing while they were holding your name in their banners and cell phones. Watch those montages and listen: They are not in Korean, they are casting your plays in foreign languages. This is you now because with your craft you transcended your nationality, you won titles and broke records in other leagues; now the standard for an esport athlete includes all your achievements.
Let’s go by examples. Impact and Rush elevated Impulse from uncertainty to contender. Ask Yellowstar where Fnatic would be now minus Huni and Reignover in his attempt to lead an unknown roster and reach as far as World Semi Finals after two, yes two LCS Championships. Where would H2K stand without the unbreakable stepping stone that have been Ryu both splits? Look how you reshaped LPL. Ask Aaron how he felt when Deft landed that faithful pentakill in the last set in the Spring Split. Ask PYL how long he had to wait to defeat EDG. How unbeatable EDG looked before Rookie appeared for iG. Remember not only Worlds, IEM Katowice happened and consider the performance and results of WE without Spirit in that tournament. Remember MSI too, it wasn’t a dream; a Korean powerhouse defeated in League of Legends, a great team, maybe one of the best teams in the history of this game, not in his best shape perhaps but for a moment beatable. You were part of that MSI where Huni presented himself as a Word Class threat, imperfect but ambitious, relentless but dedicated to his team. You helped a Chinese organization to achieve what would have been a miracle in a different time line, a defeat over SK Telecom a defeat over Faker.
All those stories you accumulated this last year deserve to be cherished, you helped to shape victories; to redefine leagues; you invigorated aspirations of fans around the World when you left Korea.
Why is it good for you to stay overseas?
This is good for everybody. The benefit that will come if you fight in foreign lands exceeds those immediate gains you’ll get from returning to Korea.
You are homesick and want to return; however remember how it was before you left, the difference in salary and how your future changes with that, you may go back to school or rent a house or have a girlfriend or wife, money will help you with those things. If you go retreat fans will say you are “defeated” or you go back because you couldn’t handle a challenge, but you know this idea isn’t true, you can do more. By going back to Korea accept your position as an interchangeable part in a bigger system, you deny your own value. To prove that you are worth more than Korean organizations pay: stay overseas and Conquer the World.
The organizations that believed in you the last year and invested in your talent, they got your work, your effort and you elevated them, help them reach higher levels so they can, in the future, compete for the title of the best in the World.
For the younger players that will be professional players, by opening doors in foreign organizations the competition to acquire the services of Koreans will grow and the conditions of Korean players inside and outside Korea will improve.
The Korean organizations because they will have to adapt. Imagine if they lose Worlds once, they will re-imagine themselves to recover their place. By defeating them, you will force them to find better methods, players and systems to win again.
Your struggles and achievements overseas will help to grow the esports business. As a market, Korea dwarfs compared to the fans that esports do not have yet in China and Western markets; by getting them to the top level you can bring more people to watch and admire you and your colleagues. With a bigger market, a superior environment could grow for the actors like you.
As a solitary pioneer traveling to unknown societies, discovering different cultural shocks, mapping the sentiments of a Korean in different soil, developing a different kind of courage; not the same determination of dozens of employees in a new plant overseas, or that courage from a family with hopes and fears that follows their destiny in a different land; yours is different: it is the courage of a lone human at the turmoil of a young industry trying to open minds, venues, paths and create legacies to be followed by conquerors like you if you don’t go back right now.