SA League Of Legends Team Gets Slap On The Wrist After Player Fakes Indentity
Gaming is serious business. While rAge this year might have come and gone with an incredibly different feel to it opposed to previous years, it came and went without a hitch. That is unless you were playing League of Legends in the 2015 Telkom Digital Gaming Championships (DGC).
The gist of the story is, following a dispute after the League of Legends DGC Finals, Ventus Gaming’s League of Legends team Breeze has lost its second place finish in the DGC and its players have all received 12 week bans. This seems a little harsh doesn’t it? I mean what could a group of competitive gamers possible do to warrant such an outcome…
Well I guess serious misrepresentation could possibly warrant that.
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Just before the final prize giving it came to light that the midlaner for Ventus Breeze wasn’t exactly the person they were claiming to be. In fact, their midlaner had claimed to be someone else entirely. I’m no legal expert but I’m pretty sure that sort of activity lends itself to identity theft, but hey, it’s only video games man.
Except this whole ordeal goes far beyond just casual gaming. While it might be a bit more interesting to talk about the legal intricacies of this whole case, I have instead been following what members of the community have been saying. It’s been interesting as a total outsider looking in so I’d like to talk a bit about what I’ve seen play out here and how I feel it affects everyone involved.
First of all, as a blanket statement, no one here is a saint. It’s pretty easy to find fault with the way a lot of this whole thing has been handled, but instead of pointing fingers let’s try and grow from this. Even though there has already been a ruling I feel that it needs to be reassessed as how this incident is (properly) handled will set a precedent and tone for eSports in SA.
The quick and easy subject to dismiss is that this whole thing is somehow about getting better placings for the other teams. I don’t think anyone can argue that the Ventus team that participated and came second didn’t deserve that place, it’s just that they earned it under false pretenses.
They played their way there and obviously earned their final placing. The thing is that the team was unfortunately not comprised of the people it was supposed to be. If you participate in a tournament, you have to actually abide by their rules. It’s just the nature of the beast.
While the necessity of having this player play under another name was born out of an issue with the DGC rules. This is something that, after reading through some of the relevant materials, can sympathise with. Ventus were unable sort out their predicament with players in the most desirable way so they took the law into their own hands. It’s unfortunate that things had to play out in this manner, but it hopefully forces the DGC to take a look at their archaic policies and adapt to the ever-changing esports climate.
A lot of people are going to want to pick fights with me about this but I feel like the punishment was way too lenient. To summarise again, Ventus Breeze lost their placement and prizes, have been relegated to the open division of the DGL and face a 12-week ban from the league. This seems harsh, but if you look at the competitive environment locally it looks like they came off rather lightly. I mean it sucks to have what you’ve earned taken away from you but the players going in had to have known that it was a possibility in the event of getting caught out. Since the local League of Legends community isn’t all that big and, let’s face it, the skill level isn’t all that high it’s quite likely that they will be able to play their way into the DGC even with the ban on them. They’ll be playing in the open division that is, as the name states, open to new teams. If they managed to come second against all the top teams in SA, they’re going to cream the open division. That’s the unfortunate state of the local scene from what I’ve gathered.
So I’ve said that I think this is quite light, I obviously have to have a better idea right? Well no, I have a limited knowledge of the events so anything I suggest is going to be met with flaming pitchforks. I do however, think that this calls into question the integrity of both the players and the organisation so this slap on the wrist isn’t nearly enough. This incident not only broke the rules of the DGC but isn’t exactly a trivial legal matter either. Misrepresentation or posing as someone else is not something that should be taken lightly. While I know any sort of criminal charges would ruin the lives of the players involved, lightly dealing with the matter isn’t going to make a meaningful impact on the community. From what I understand, having spoken to both players and DGC admins, there were players outside of Ventus who knew about what was happening before it was brought to light.
There’s a little thing called integrity and it means a lot. If you’re playing in a competitive environment you probably want to keep it as fair as possible. If you know that there are players that are going against the rules that you all agreed to, call it out. I know “snitches get stitches” but it’s a little different when things like these can mold a fledgling community.
Since there were players that knew about what was going on and just sat on the information, I can’t help but feel that they just kept it as a trump card in case things went south for their own team. This is an appalling view to have of players but it’s unfortunately an incredibly real factor. I know people will always have their reasons for doing the things they do but matters such as these should be brought to light as soon as possible, so we can try avoid things like this occurring. It would have been easier to catch this early than create a whole debacle that is going to divide the community, one which it could even struggle to recover from. I’m probably being over dramatic here but people do unfortunately hold grudges, so I hope we can all grow from this.
There is a lot to digest here, but it is probably one of the first times an incident of this nature has occurred in the local scene so it’s important that we discuss it, look at where we are and where we’re heading. It’s not the case that this is just about playing games, there’s a sizeable amount of real money involved so a lot more professionalism is required. Ventus is even sponsored by some pretty big names locally and internationally, surely they should know how to better handle this sort of situation.
I guess in closing all I want to say is that while everything that happened is unfortunate, let’s use it as a learning experience rather than a salt mine. I do say learning experience when I know there are some major consequences and ramifications but a little tough love never hurt anyone. If we can’t get a professional competitive scene going for one of the biggest games in the world running locally, what chance could we have of seeing smaller games even begin to pick up a following?