Konstantinos-Napoleon “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou, one of the most celebrated players to have played in the European League of Legends elite, is returning to the game after nine months of military service and one year without competition.
The Greek League star was absent from the highest level since 2016 when he played in the semifinal of Worlds with H2K Gaming. After a short stint with Origen to win the EU Masters a year ago, he spent the last nine months in his country (from July to April) to perform his compulsory military service.
Now FORG1VEN announced his intention to return to the game and compete at the highest level. The 26-year-old player talked about his plans and goals in an interview with L’ÉQUIPE.
Your military service has just ended. You knew you were going to have to deal with it during your career. Why now?
In 2017, things that I put aside in Greece when I became a professional player resurfaced. Personal things. I had to stay in my country for about a year and I thought: I’m here, why wouldn’t I do my military service to get it out of the way? So I went there. Today I am free to do what I want with my life again.
So that you could focus on League of Legends?
I did not do that for League. In the end… The game is one of the reasons, but not the main one. It’s more for my life. Playing at a professional level is something that I do with joy. But that’s not what defines me as a person. I did not join the army to get rid of it and become pro again.
If it happens, so much the better. But it stops there. League of Legends is an extra. It has always been for me. My life has never rested solely on the game. But it was my job and no matter what I do, I do it thoroughly.
What did you do during your military service?
I was near the Bulgarian border, involved in the administration of the army, as a soldier of course. I also had the opportunity to discover military weapons, to practice with guns, that sort of thing. In the Greek army, you are not trained to go to war. But I had never touched a weapon before, I had seen it only in movies.
Today I can assure you that I would be able to defend my country if it becomes necessary one day. I learned a lot. Something you understand when you’re in the military is the value of civilian life. It’s very important. In terms of life experience, it was strong, useful.
But we could use these nine months differently. Can you imagine South Korean professional players doing their military service? Two compulsory years. For two years of your life you become inactive… In your life, essentially.
Have you found the time to play, to follow the competition over the last few months?
In general, I only watch the semi-finals and up. Matches with important stakes. When there is pressure when the mental force comes into play. Otherwise … I was at home one day a week in general. I did not waste it playing League of Legends. I did some ARAM, but that’s it. This is how to summarize my relationship with the game in the last nine months.
I started again a few days ago to get used to it again. I think that before that I had not done a ranked game since June. Now that I’m free, I think I play more. If I become pro again, that’s all I’ll do. If not, I will reduce my playing time again.
You are not ready to try to come back at any cost?
It depends on a lot of things. I can not make promises. I like the competition in League of Legends. I do not particularly like the game, especially the solo q, how it works. It has become terrible, worse and worse over the years and I do not think it’s my opinion alone.
But I have always wanted to discover regions like Korea, China, the United States … It never happened. If I have a good offer, I see myself returning, yes. But today it’s more of a hobby than anything else. I saw this as my job in the past and if it must be the case again, perfect. I will do it with joy. If it does not happen, I’ll watch a few games, I’ll play from time to time and that’s it. It’s not a problem.
Were you surprised by the passionate reaction of people? It’s been two and a half years after leaving H2K after all…
There are very few veterans in the game today. Almost everyone has gone. For my part I have never paid attention to smooth my communication, to be friendly … If I see something that I do not like, I say it. If it’s something I like, the same. No doubletalk. No detours. People remember my level too. I was an aggressive player on and off the game. All of this helps, I think, to grab the interest of the people and leave a strong impression.
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