After a nearly five-year career in OW, SoOn joins the VALORANT competitive community.
The VALORANT community is getting excited, as it seems their fledgeling competitive group is getting a lot bigger. Terrance "SoOn" Tarlier is the most recent player to join the VALORANT community, which has seen many new faces lately. SoOn recently departed the Overwatch League (OWL) after visa issues ended his contract with Boston Uprising, a North American Overwatch team.
The Boston Uprising situation was a devastating blow to SoOn's decorated Overwatch career. Due to visa issues, the player could not travel to the United States, which barred him from competing with Boston Uprising any longer. With the OWL starting on April 24, Boston Uprising prioritised having its players meet physically to practice and compete. Since SoOn could not physically meet with them, they had to sever ties with him.
This decision seemed to make waves in the Overwatch community, as many players and fans were upset for SoOn. It was no fault of his own that he could not obtain a visa. The coronavirus lockdown efforts in Europe made it harder for travellers to receive visas, as only a limited number were given out. As SoOn was not one of those lucky few, he could not continue his contract with Boston Uprising.
This situation seemed like the final blow to SoOn's lengthy Overwatch career. After years of perfecting his game and leading the way in in-game techniques, it seemed like SoOn was "unlucky," according to his TwitLonger post about the matter. It wasn't always this way for the professional player, as he has been a staple of the Overwatch community for years.
Known for his excellent use of Tracer and professional hitscan capabilities, SoOn took the Overwatch scene by storm during his many years of service. A veteran of the community, SoOn has been playing Overwatch since the game came out. Since his start in 2016, SoOn has won first-place ranks in numerous competitions, from DreamHack Winter 2016 to the Overwatch Open. He has been a pillar of the community, an older player that new competitors can learn from.
In his TwitLonger post detailing his departure, SoOn cites his age as one of the reasons he's retiring from the OWL. He writes, "Let's be honest, I'm 27 years old, and the chances to get back into OWL next year are pretty slim. Seniority and experience are not necessarily the most recognised characteristics in the OWL business model."
While no players have been directly let go from the OWL due to 'old age', SoOn's worry is a reality for many players in their late twenties or early thirties. Some esports seem to prefer younger faces in the competitive scene, as it can serve as an inspiration to new fans of the game. These younger esports stars can sometimes deter older players from competing, as they feel like they're too old to make the cut.
VALORANT's competitive community seems to be the opposite of this sentiment, however. With such a fledgeling group of players populating the game's competitive scene, the VALORANT community doesn't seem to favour any particular age group. They seem happy to take just about any player, as players young and old are both pivotal to their small community.
Older players, like SoOn, are also seen as mentor figures in the small community. As VALORANT's professional and competitive scene branches out, younger professionals are looking for coaching and mentorship from their older peers. Rather than strictly favouring one age group, the VALORANT community seems welcoming of all demographics, providing competitive players with a space to learn and compete without the stigma of being 'past their prime'.
With so many players from other titles coming to VALORANT, fans are getting excited about the potential of the competitive scene. Excitement is growing as more players seem to be announcing their transition to professional VALORANT. Because of the new community, players like SoOn can take their expertise to new frontiers, creating a new legacy for themselves.
This optimism is why most of SoOn's fans seemed happy that he was tackling new frontiers in VALORANT. Many of his Twitter audience seemed content that he found optimism in the terrible situation with Boston Uprising, using the negative feedback to drive a positive change in his life. Some fans were sad to see him go, but were happy he found opportunities elsewhere.
Despite the massive disappointment from Boston Uprising only a week ago, the future has never looked brighter for SoOn. He has the opportunity to tread new ground in a community, much like he did when Overwatch first entered the competitive scene. His fans are more supportive than ever, many following him to the new community to see what he will do. With his years of experience in competitive gameplay and a new frontier, it seems as if SoOn is ready to blaze new trails.
Fans of VALORANT are getting fired up as well, considering they are now at the forefront of a bustling community. With so many eyes on the VALORANT scene, this Spring is setting up for fierce competitive action in the professional side of the game. With players like SoOn leading the way, the VALORANT community will rise to new heights, bringing plenty of competitive action along the way.
Images via Boston Uprising