OWL player Happy’s earnings bound for charity to atone for boosting past

Meta Gaming signed Lee “Happy” Jung-woo, upsetting some South Korean fans who swiftly lashed out on Twitter. Happy has a bad reputation for being whats called a “booster”. Happy was recently kicked out from his two previous teams (Element Mystic and Blossom) back in season one. In a statement by Metal Gaming, it says he was let go as punishment for boosting over three days, spending about $80.00 approximately a year ago.  Meta Gaming is now bringing him back for season two under one condition: He is to donate all of his Contender earnings to the charity to atone for his sins. The selected charity helps underprivileged children living in Korea. Meta Gaming’s President John Kim told Dot Esports that Happy will also be donating his time with charity, in addition to his financial contribution.

If you’re unfamiliar or unclear about what boosting is, here’s one definition: Boosting is a frowned-up technique that involves ranking-up players’ SR (skill rank) through various unethical means by putting up cash. There’s an infinite amount of boosting websites, independent contractors, and so on that are driving this gray industry. Despite skirting the Blizzard terms of use, some professional boosters are quite open about their business practices. If you’d like to dig deeper there’s a really fascinating mini-documentary about it.  There’s a bit more to it, but in summary, the various boosting methods are frowned upon by Overwatch community at large. Other alleged boosters in the competitive community include Kim “Sado” Su-Min and Son “OGE” Min-seok.

Mr. Kim adds: “To the west, [Happy’s decision] might seem a bit harsh considering the small amount of boosting he did, but the Korean community is very sensitive to these matters. To some, even this is not enough.” He may be right as it does set other players at a huge disadvantage.  There is huge money at stake here so you can understand why many frown upon what can be seen as cheating the system. “The point is that he desperately wanted to become a pro.” Perhaps to draw some of the pressure off his own team, Mr. Kim made references to how, “(other) teams are taking advantage of “naïve young kids” with dreams of playing Overwatch professionally. “No wonder some of them decide to boost.” He has also made references outing other Korean teams for using former boosters such as Sado, Philadelphia Fusion, OGE and Dallas Fuel.

So, how much money might go towards charity? To put some real figures into the mix, Blizzard does pay its’ teams for each and every game. For every win, they earn $587 and if they lose, they make $330 just in regular season.  The total prize money is as follows: $30,000 for first place, $12,450 for second, $7,575 for third and fourth while teams playing fifth through eighth place take home $4,350 (all split among the team players). Not a bad payday, so here’s hoping it goes to a good cause.

It’s only a matter of time of whether this act of charity by Happy and Meta Gaming will be enough to earn him back his rep as a respected player in the Overwatch community. Some may say that Western Overwatch players seem less vocal when boosting is discovered, at least when compared to the Korean community’s outcry. Whether or not we are factually more tolerant to boosting on this side of the world is up for debate.


Tarah Bleier  is a freelance writer , editor and content creator from Toronto. As a graduate from Centennial College’s Journalism program she has written for Tribute.ca, and Factinate.com and recently for Geek Enthusiast Magazine. In her free time she loves gaming, cosplaying, prop making and attending as many conventions and geeky events as she can. Writing has always been a passion of hers and she has been a contributing writer of The Planet Observer for many years before becoming its Assistant Editor last year. Her work can also be seen on The Geekcast Radio Network where she has been a podcast host and writer.