An open letter to MWEB

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Ben Steenhuisen is a prominent shout caster in the local eSports industry and has also been a vocal opponent of the MSSA in recent months. He’s now penned an open letter to MWEB regarding their on-going sponsorship of the MSSA where he raises some valid questions.

Now I need to be clear, neither I nor anyone at Lazygamer is endorsing this letter. I just felt that the questions needed to be seen by a larger audience.

Hey there MWEB,

You know who I am, let’s cut that bit out of this open letter. Last week we (and by ‘we’, I mean various gamers around the country) received an email from our personal favourite General Secretary, (no, not Martin Bormann but rather) Colin Webster from Mind Sports South Africa. Yay!

| The press release, stored on PasteBin |

This email was regarding the upcoming Dota 2 trials. It starts off thanking MWEB for your continued support (which previous emails from the MSSA as well as this one indicate that the MSSA would be unable to operate without). It goes on to mention MWEB a few more times for good measure. There are then discussions about the previous test matches against Romania and Mexico (which, funnily enough turned out to be random horrible Costa Ricans, and their Mexican friend – hey but who could have guessed that given the official Mind Sports Club in El Mexico?).

The key rallying call in the opening paragraphs is “If that happens, we’re going to need the best players to answer the challenge!”. Now, this would be an honourable and reasonable call to arms, were it not very obvious that this were impossible. The best team in the country right now, and for at least the foreseeable future, is Bravado Black (Flarez, Doni, seeM, scant and MrAssMan). They are unbeaten within the South African scene, not having dropped a single game (map) in DGL, JoinDota Open, Orena, or any other local tournaments since their formation. They’re also doing the best out of the South African teams within the international circuit, moving their way up the Starladder Semi-Pro groups towards the ‘Pro’ division. Now, the reason that they’re getting a special mention here is that they will never play in a MSSA tournament, given the way in which the MSSA completely screwed some of their players over last year. This is also true for some of the current Energy eSports players.

So, even assuming that there’s some hidden team that is in fact the best team in the country, there’s still a multitude of issues that they would have ahead of them.

  1. The format for the competition is bo1 Swiss. This reduces to bo1 Single Elimination, a very very very bad format in doing that. This is like playing best of one set tennis matches, or 3 holes of golf in a gold championship, or making football matches 10 minutes a side, or 4 rounds a side in Counter Strike. It just introduces too much variance into a format to do what the tournament aims to achieve (determine the best team in the country).

  2. “The tournament will run via the MWEB server” – well given that IS has two of the three of the Dota 2 clusters in the country, and there’s no way to force a cluster on a region, this is an impossibility to ensure.

  3. After seeing all the complaints of last year, the ‘50km rule’ is still in effect. The claim that this is a SASCOC requirement is still unsubstantiated by an announcement by SASCOC, nor any proof from SASCOC’s terms and conditions that would indicate that this is the case. The fact that the MSSA is still promoting this idea is just ridiculous.

  4. The entire section surrounding ‘applying to shout-cast’ is just a joke. Last year people that did apply to shoutcast did not even get emails back saying that they they couldn’t; people who had never ever shoutcast before were allowed to shoutcast alongside people who did not even apply in writing. MWEB were well aware of this (spoiler alert: I informed them).

So, MWEB. It’s been nearly two years since you’ve started partnering with the MSSA. In that time, they’ve done a lot of harm to South African eSports, and you’re continuing to stand by their side. You’ve seen the many many news articles showing their ineptitude, and after watching their recent ‘press conference’, and the questions asked of them afterwards (another spoiler alert: the MSSA couldn’t answer any satisfactorily), you can see they are muppets (well, one puppet and many muppets), and they should be avoided just out of fear of associating to something so ridiculously amateur and stupid. Gamers have said in MANY places how they’re unhappy with the MSSA, and unhappy with MWEB for affiliating and sponsoring them, and you’ve done nothing to act. Han Cilliers (Mind Sports “Writer of the Year” 2012 and 2013) has tried her best to defend even their most obvious acts of retardation, but even she got sick and tired of the bullshit she had to try spin. LazyGamer released a huge amount of pieces about the idiocracy of the MSSA, and you were silent to comment. It’s quite obvious that the MSSA would gladly run themselves into the ground, handing out colours to people who often don’t deserve them, having all their friends around them, and sending 16 year olds who have never played Starcraft against other people to Korea (yet get regarded as heroes when they come home after losing their only match) until they had run out of money, friends and sponsors, but that will take time that we don’t have, or at least shouldn’t spend waiting for them to burn out.

No matter what bullshit the MSSA spins, South Africa is not a ‘top 10 eSports country’. We’re not even top twenty, or thirty. We’re just another developing nation trying to produce more players that are recognized internationally. Surely there is a better way for you to promote eSports than through them? Surely you can see past the advertising potential you make from sponsoring them? Rather be honest with yourselves and the community by owning up to your mistake in affiliating with them, and moving on from there, rather than ignoring the community you try so hard to please.

I’m hoping that none of the good teams enter this tournament (I’ll personally try my best to convince as many of them as possible to not sign up), and it’s reaching a point where I don’t think that gamers in this country should support an ISP like yourself, who claim to be ‘there for the gamers’, but meanwhile support the most vile and useless ‘organization’ – one that’s actively harming eSports in South Africa.


Posted by Ben Steenhuisen Mar 22nd, 2014

All I’m going to add to this is that it’s quite obvious there is a disconnect with the MSSA and some of the top gamers and that is something that should really be resolved.

We do want our very best gamers to showcase our country’s abilities and if the MSSA can’t do that because the best gamers are refusing to play for them then something needs to be done. For the good of all of us.

Last Updated: March 24, 2014

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