Esports.gg’s Jennifer “LemonKiwi” Pichette spoke to Pine about his Overwatch League return, changes to the game as well as his time away from the League.
Last month, Dallas Fuel had some exciting news for Overwatch fans as they announced the signing of Do-hyeon “Pine” Kim as their newest DPS player. Old-time Overwatch League fans will remember the stylish, highly-skilled player who was instrumental in the NYXL dominance in Season 1.
Notorious for his Widowmaker and Mccree, Big Boss Pine will now #burnblue as he (soonTM) steps on to the stage for Dallas Fuel.
Jennifer “LemonKiwi” Pichette spoke to Pine about his exciting return to the Overwatch League, changes to the game and 5v5 game mode. Pine also spoke about the new pick and ban system that is now a part of the Overwatch League. He feels there should be a better way to implement the hero bans to create new metas.
Intro text written by Rohan Samal
LemonKiwi: I’m joined here with Pine from the Dallas Fuel. All of Overwatch is so excited to have you back. What have you been up to since your retirement?
Pine: So, for about a year, I was a streamer under Andbox. For my comeback, I wanted to try out for a lot of different teams by the end of the year. Unfortunately, I did not make it through. This year, I wanted to look for a different career for a fresh start. And while I was looking, I was also planning on going into the military.
LemonKiwi: That’s really interesting! So when you speak about a different career, is this still within esports as a player? Or are you thinking about a different esport you wanted to specialize in?
Pine: No, it wasn’t necessarily Esports I wanted to be an employee of a company, potentially a games company.
LemonKiwi: Wow, that’s so cool. Have you thought about like college or anything? Or was the military kind of becoming a primary plan?
Pine: It’s a required military service that you have to do as a duty. So I was looking to just go ahead and knock that out first so that it’s easier for me to get hired by a company.
LemonKiwi: That makes a lot of sense. So touching back on sort of the try-out process, so you’re making your return to Overwatch. I maybe want to get to know why did you decide to return to Overwatch? What made now the best time for you or kind of what sparked that inspiration?
Pine: So, what made me return to Overwatch was that never-ending thought of I could have done better. So I didn’t have the beautiful retirement that I’ve always dreamed of. What was always on my mind was my laziness and some things I did in the past that I regret. I kept telling myself, I could have done so much better. I’ve regretted it this entire time. So that’s why I ultimately decided to come back.
I am not sure if now is really the right time to come back, because I was in retirement for about a year. And the announcement (of my return to the Dallas Fuel) came right after the first tournament was over. If I had been able to come back sooner, I would have been able to do more scrims, grow more and make sure we are building our synergy. It is just so difficult because I ended up joining at the end of the (May Melee) tournament and we did not have the time to practice together.
Also, we’re running into a Visa process (issue), so it’s really difficult to work together because of the time difference. So I don’t think the timing was exactly right.
LemonKiwi: I hope all of that gets sorted out, for sure. That sounds really difficult. What ended up convincing you to join the Dallas Fuel? I know you said like your tryout process had some not so great times. But was Dallas Fuel one of the only options? Or why were you convinced to join the Dallas Fuel?
Pine: So yeah, before the season started, I did try out for a bunch of teams. The results where I did not hear back from anyone. After the season started, the only team that reached out to me was the Dallas Fuel. At that moment, I told myself “This is really my last opportunity, my last chance”. I ingrained that into my head, and I feel like that ended up creating even bigger motivation for myself.
LemonKiwi: Yeah, for sure. Especially like “This is the team, right?” But hey, they just won a tournament so great team to join right now. So you brought up your visa situation being rather difficult. Do you have any updates you can share on when you will be able to go to Dallas?
Pine: No, there’s really nothing to share, because we’re just waiting for immigration, I guess like the visa lawyers.
LemonKiwi: I’m going through that too. It’s just like a huge waiting process. So I guess now talking about what you’ve been missing out on since your retirement and now that you’re back there’s been a lot of changes including the 2-2-2 role lock, players retiring and heroes getting changed. Which news was the biggest shock to you?
Pine: So the pick and ban changes. I guess that Hero bans in the Overwatch League is probably the most shocking news.
LemonKiwi: Cool, do you like that change of the Hero bans and stuff? I noticed that at some points Overwatch League didn’t have hero bans but now they have it again. Do you like the diversity of the meta because of that or what are your thoughts on it?
Pine: Just implementing the Hero ban system is not bad. By itself, I feel like it could be really hit or miss depending on who you are. I am personally all for different patches for different heroes, and just trying to balance out by buffing and nerfing certain heroes, creating different metas from that. But just implementing bans means that it’s really just forcing teams to use different compositions instead of having to be more creative with it. So I think there are better ways to balance out the game. Personally, I’m not a huge fan, but obviously there are other people who really like this system.
Another thing that is very inconvenient about the bans are while we have them in Overwatch League, most players get their practice in playing ranked online. So when queueing up for ranked, these bans are not applied. It is an inconsistent experience that is a huge burden on us.
LemonKiwi: That makes a lot of sense. I especially agree with the limitations on the creativity so that people could discover these new metas based on patches. Hopefully the right system can be found where they will get good practice in rank matchmaking. I would be curious to know what heroes you have been practicing in ranked for your return soon, because McCree has gotten a lot of buffs especially recently. Are you excited to play McCree in official matches? Or which heroes do you like the most right now?
Pine: Yes, so McCree did get a huge buff, but I feel like compared to the buffs for other heroes, it is just so minimal. So I don’t think he’s necessarily a good hero to play. My favorite hero right now is Echo, because the character itself is just overpowered! She can turn into different heroes, she can charge up her ultimate really, really, fast and her base damage is just crazy.
LemonKiwi: Oh, I’m so excited to see the “Pine Echo” or whatever you end up playing. My next question is your retirement kind of being due to pressure, or I remember hearing that you felt a lot of pressure in general before your retirement. Maybe it’s especially because of that “Big Boss” title that people were giving you. Are you ready to take on this “Big Boss” title again? Or what nickname would you prefer?
Pine: So in the past, I got such massive attention in a short period of time. I ended up developing some sort of condition of being constantly pessimistic and negative. It was a really difficult time for me. But as time passed, I started realizing that this title was such an honorable title. Something that I must be worthy of eventually.
As of now, I do feel the pressure with carrying this nickname. Because it was given to me by a caster during moments where I carried games. And if I can recreate those moments, then yes, I will like being called the “Big Boss”. But until then, you’ll have to look forward to me carrying again.
LemonKiwi: I think we’re all looking forward to the “Big Boss” Pine performance for sure. As long as you give it your best, the fans will support you no matter what. And now looking into the future, Overwatch 2 had a livestream revealing a lot of changes. Especially announcing 5v5 where they subtract a tank from competition. I know that the players have not had a chance to playtest this but just judging by what you’ve seen, do you think this will be better for the game overall?
Pine: First of all, I’m really glad about the 5v5 chance because I’m not a Tank player! Otherwise, I’m not sure whether this is a good change or not. Because 5v5 is something that is either a hit or miss. Some players will like it, some will hate it. In the end, it depends how the game is developed in later patches. That is when we’ll be able to decide, this was a good change or not. Right now I’m just hopeful it will be for the better.
LemonKiwi: Yeah, I think we’re all hoping that as well. So that makes a lot of sense. Do you have any closing thoughts for the fans that you want to leave us with until we see you in an official match?
Pine: So it’s been two years. Two years is not a long time for anyone to be gone for. And during that time I could have been forgotten. Despite that, I have so many fans! So much overwhelming positive attention from the fans that remembered me! I feel the only way to reward them is to show the fans a good performance on stage. So I will do my best!
Pine is waiting for the approval of his U.S. visa following which he will make his debut for the Dallas Fuel. Dallas Fuel won the Overwatch League May Melee tournament after a 4-2 victory over Shanghai Dragons. The Overwatch League is now heading into the June Joust tournament which starts on June 11.