GosuGamers Weekly Business Review, 28/4 - 5/5
Welcome to the Gosu Money Review, where we take a look this week at a different topic. How should you play, and who should be allowed to play?
There has been a furious debate taking place this week in the world of Super Smash Bros Melee, for the Nintendo GameCube, one of the oldest surviving eSports in the western world. Originally played back in the very early 2000s, the game has survived assaults from the outside as well as some really inexplicable resistance from the developer themselves, but from the hang wringing online you’d think 2017 was the year the magic died.
Most of the ire revolves around the final of DreamHack Austin last weekend, where Team Liquid’s Juan ‘Hungrybox’ Debiedma took on Daniel ‘Chu Dat’ Rodriguez, who represents endemic Melee org VGBootCamp. The matchup between the two is fascinating for a number of reasons, not least the fact they are arguably two of the strongest players mentally in the game today, but the way game five of grand finals ended has certainly caused some conversation.
To boil it down to the true essence, the final few seconds of the game saw Hungrybox’s Jigglypuff, a character with superb aerial mobility, essentially running away from Chu Dat’s Ice Climbers, who happen to have a one-hit kill setup on the ground, but not so much in the way of vertical or aerial ability. In short, with the way the stage was at that point, the characters involved and the fact Hungrybox had a lead, Chu Dat was basically screwed at that point, and knew it.
Since then, there has been discussion about introducing various rules that would make camping much harder to do, if not impossible, like imposing a hard limit on the number of invincibility-giving ledge grabs you can perform in one game. All of these suggestions are premature, regardless of validity, not only because they are based on one data point, but also for the simple reason that the tactic only worked due to Hungrybox having the lead in the first place.
That is not to say that rule changes should be off the table entirely, although for this writer one competitor is not enough to justify that. Changing the rules for entertainment purposes is obviously nothing new, it happens in sport all the time, but you need a lot of data points and proof of a trend, rather than an outlier as your reasoning for doing so, as well as showing that it will improve popularity.
It is undeniable that a time-out meta would materially harm the game in terms of views, sponsors and events, and equally undeniable that we are almost certainly not going to see that happen. In fact, few players even want to attempt that sort of tactic, and in some ways Hungrybox’s place as a ‘heel’ on the basis of these tactics can provide an extra frisson to the fun as we root for others to overcome his nefarious plan.
However, it is not wise or possible to ignore the relationship between entertainment and the health of a game. Hungrybox is a spiky and often somewhat insecure character, and his long-term relationships with other players have been affected by what appears to be a need to feel loved, which he has never attained. The same is true of world number one Adam ‘Armada’ Lindgren, a Swede who often has to play with the crowd against him when in the states.
Instead, many fans cheer for Cloud9’s Joseph ‘Mang0’ Marquez, a complicated character who reigned supreme over the American scene for a long time. While Mang0 is not without his flaws both as a player and a person, people love and support him both in game and beyond for his utter commitment to never playing in a negative or campy style, far more so than they do Armada or Hungrybox’s more optimal ways.
This has meant that Mang0 can earn far more money streaming than anyone else in the game, to the point where he is still arguably the highest earner despite not winning a major event in some time. For most players though, their income is largely derived from winning competitions, and for Hungrybox that is definitely true right now, but playing to win can have consequences if it becomes the dominant theme in any game and requires low-risk patterns.
To sum up, playing to win is a legitimate tactic, but equally Smash is a game that trades on the speed, style and intensity of the action. While winning has to be the final goal for the individual, it is equally wrong of players to assume there is no connection between prize pools, sponsors and how the game looks on screen. Sports, eSports or whatever, the first rule of entertainment is that it must be entertaining.
Staying in the moral maze, we shift over to Counter-Strike, where Vexed Gaming signed former Titan Esports AWPer Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian, and promptly saw the organic manure hit the fan as a result. The VAC-banned KQLY was available after a ruling saw certain competitions relax their blanket prohibition on any former cheat, but his new team mates took exception to the move and Vexed ended up losing three members as a result of it.
Meanwhile, down under at IEM Sydney one Tyler ‘Tucks’ Reilly has made a few waves as part of the Chiefs team taking names and showing their skill. However, it turns out Tucks is also VAC-banned, just like KQLY, but none of his team mates threw their toys out of the pram, despite (or maybe because) the event they were in being much bigger than that which Vexed planned to attend.
The main reason for this disparity in reaction seems to be the difference in fame, more than anything else. KQLY’s most infamous transgression is an unproven cheat he might have used to kill VP’s pashaBiceps in a crucial game, and for this he is remembered and reviled, while down under Tucks can get on with his work as long as his team never make it to a major.
This is another example of why we need Valve to step in and start to regulate the banning of players more tightly, as well as explaining what they did in the context of the timing. The only real difference between KQLY and Tucks is what people remember, but one is being forced out of CS while the other is able to play and enjoy his life, having served a ban, which is how it should be.
The Hearthstone Ferrari is up for grabs again
OG become legends with fourth major title
It's Dota 2 player hunting season
Matches of the Weekend
Hearthstone World Champion takes on European Champion
G2 take on Mousesports after their awful Austin performance
Anyone fancy Na'Vi vs Team Secret in Dota?
Events to catch
DreamLeague Season 7 this weekend has some great matches
The last Overwatch Monthly Melee has been announced
DreamHack Tours has more top CS action
By the way communication need a social media manager
Ginx need a digital editor
SportRadar need an account manager
When you get Wobbled in your favourite game...
Should VAC banned players be allowed in Valve events?
Thank you for voting!
Thank you for voting!