It seems the Chengdu Hunters could be set for a mass exodus at the end of Overwatch League Season 2, as head coach Wang ‘RUI’ Xingrui revealed that multiple players wanted to retire.
While discussing China’s line-up for the Overwatch World Cup, which RUI is also coaching, the Hunters head coach revealed that 4-5 of the Chengdu players “said they wanted to retire after this season”, according to a translation by Chinese Overwatch news Twitter account OWBeacon.
The reason for this decision is reportedly due to the stress of competing in the US, and the lack of home food and leisure activities during time off. According to a translation by u/shalott1988, RUI states that the team used to go running in the mornings, for instance, but had to stop due to safety concerns after a shooting occurred nearby.
RUI didn’t specify which players might be looking to leave the team, nor is it entirely clear whether the players in question still actively intend to retire or expressed a desire to at some point in the season that they may or may not follow through with.
Season 3 of the Overwatch League will no longer be held at the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles, with the matches instead taking place entirely at ‘homestand’ events hosted by teams in their respective cities.
This may mean more time playing from home, especially for the league’s Chinese players as there are four China-based teams. Whether spending more time in their home country is enough to keep the players competing remains to be seen.
On the basis of RUI’s statements, however, it does seem that the Hunters could be looking at something of a roster rebuild in the post-season whether they like it or not. Chengdu Hunters' line-up currently features 10 players, meaning as much as half of the roster could depart.
The Hunters have had a fairly unremarkable debut season in the Overwatch League, not quite managing to reach the playoffs in any of the first three stages. At 11th place in the overall rankings, the team does currently hold a spot in the play-in for the post-season playoffs, with four weeks of Stage 4 still to play.