In a recent turn of events, it looks like one of the most popular and prominent players of Team Liquid has parted ways with the team.
Announced recently, Song “HerO” Hyeon Deok is going to be leaving Team Liquid after being with the organization for almost five years. Deok was the centerpoint of the organization’s StarCraft team and was very popular among all of eSports’ western fans. While the departure is one big news, the organization’s owner, Victor Goossens has revealed that the departure was sort of forced because of the new rules that surround the StarCraft competitive gaming scene in 2016.
Goossens said in a statement that while StarCraft is one of the games that has brought the team to where it is right now. He added that the game has been the reason behind the legacy of the organization and that they have always loved and cared about their StarCraft team. However, he said that with the continuously changing environment of the StarCraft competitive scene and with the added complications in the rules of World Championship Series, it is really hard for them to be involved in the scene and that it has “altered their ability to work things out with HerO”.
For those who do not know, Goossens is talking about the fact that Blizzard has added a new region-locking restriction in tournaments this year. Before these restrictions, players from Korea like HerO could participate in competitions across North America and Europe without being resident in the country. Now, after the new residency rules in the 2016 season, a lot of well-known Korean talent has been disqualified from StarCraft’s international tournaments.
This move has hurt top-tier eSports players overall. Previously, the best players from North America would not stand a chance against stronger opponents from outside the country. Something similar happens at BlizzCon as well when non-Korean players take a beating from Korean players, especially in the finals. This shows the domination of a single region on the worldwide eSports scene and the imposition of these new rules do away with the massive discouragement of reality for players outside of these dominant region.
HerO is an amazing player in the world of StarCraft and has been featured in the top players of the world for a while. But, it looks like his international spread and career has to be limited for the sake of the overall competitive environment.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think these regional restrictions are unfair? Let us know in the comments below.