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eSports, you’re doing it wrong

7 min read

homer facepalm

The MSSA and MWEB are hosting their first official online Inter-Regional tournament. Teams representing Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively will take each other on to promote a competitive attitude “down to Regional levels”. There are so many flaws in this plan I don’t even know where to begin, here’s to being hated for being honest.

As you all know I’m the eSports Correspondent at Lazygamer, I’ve written several articles being positive about the MSSA because I truly wish the community well. Today I can’t say that I can see how this “test match” will benefit or grow our community.

I sincerely give credit to people who put in the effort to come up with new ideas, not all of them will work though. I feel like this Inter-Regional test match is pointless for the greater local community.

The “press release”

I’d like to tell you when this event is going to take place, but like the absence of many other details, the email I received from my boss (forwarded MSSA email) didn’t contain this information. In fact, the general lack of effort put into typing it up is quite shocking, starting with the subject: “City of Cape Town vs City of Johannesburg opnline Inter-Regional Match“. Errr, I’m sorry what? I assume it’s mean to say “online Inter-Regional Match”, let’s carry on reading.

“Mind Sports South Africa ((MSSA) in partnership with MWEB are holding the first ever official Inter-Regional Test Match.

The Inter-Regional Test Match will take place between the teams that represent the City of Johannesburg and the City of Ape Town.”

Ape Town? Really? Okay then. I suppose a few spelling mistakes aren’t that bad. I have been asked to write about the event, but after reading the email I realized that this wouldn’t be possible unless I wanted to write a piece of garbage. The email does not say who the teams are representing each city, it does not say whether the teams are still to be decided or how they will be decided. It doesn’t say when this is happening or who may apply to take part in it. To clarify, the email is sent as an “invitation”, to what I’m not sure. It might be to play in the event or to spectate it, who knows.

Why this event is pointless

Over 4000 gamers in South Africa compete in online competitive gaming tournaments. Only a hand full of them consists of line-ups who actually live in the same city or province, because, well, it’s online. From what I can tell based on previous events, this Inter-Regional test match will require teams to all be from the same city (region). No doubt to promote the idea of teams competing with such line-ups. If you’re expecting the community to start playing in teams with these types of line-ups, it’s not going to happen. There might be that select few that did so for a previous MSSA event in order to become a national team, but I don’t think that number of teams even cover 1% of the community as a whole. This means that the MSSA isn’t hosting an event aimed at the local community as a whole, or aimed at helping the community grow (Something which every one claims to be doing.). They’re hosting an event for a select few teams. Teams who are affiliated of course. Regional line-ups completely defeat the purpose of competing online.

Competing online has always given gamers the freedom to play in teams with the people they feel are the best match, or that make the team the best it can be no matter where they live. In any online team chemistry is really important, you can’t just pop five gamers in a team and expect them to do well. It just doesn’t work. The team has to “gel”, if that makes sense at all.

The email also says the following:

“The MWEB sponsored Inter-regional event will begin with a short Awards Ceremony where top local gamers will be receiving their Colours.“

No, top local gamers won’t be receiving their Colours, top affiliated gamers will receive their Colours. If we want to be able to make such statements as “top local players” we have to be talking about top players in the whole community, but that isn’t the case here. As with all other MSSA events, only gamers who are affiliated with the MSSA may receive those Colours. I presume that it will be Provincial Colours. This too was not defined in the email. 

The event will take place at Monte Casino’s The Hive for Johannesburg and the MWEB Cape Town Auditorium for Cape Town. Which makes me wonder why Johannesburg gets an awesome venue and Cape Town doesn’t… I’m sorry, “Ape Town”.  The teams will be competing in Black Ops 2 for Xbox and FIFA 13 for both Xbox as well as PS3. Black Ops 2 teams require four players for the competitive Search and Destroy mode. Judging by the size of The Hive and the size of the teams, I think it’s safe to say that the amount of teams competing from Johannesburg will be at best two, with a couple of solo players for FIFA. The venue isn’t very big at all. This means that around four teams will be competing in the entire test match. If that, it’s very possible that it will only be one team from Johannesburg, and one team from Cape Town. So I guess my last question is, why so much fuss for a hand full of gamers to compete in a tournament structure no body cares about, that really does nothing for the community?

Some might wonder why I’m putting all of this in an article. To be frank, I’m just tired of things being done half arsed. If we don’t show the public how badly things are being done and point out the flaws in eSports nothing will ever get better. I’m appalled by the email I got as it was poorly written and didn’t give nearly enough information about the event. Only because we (the local media) are expected to write about it, and if we don’t people say we don’t care, but if we do there’s no way in which we can produce a decent article from the material we’ve been given. It has happened before where most of the local media received a press release about a national Battlefield 3 team from the MSSA, where the players’ names, aliases and surnames were incorrect. After which the team captain had to contact us personally to correct it. It’s up to us to do more research to double check for information, but let me just show you the only link available for more information about this particular event: http://tournaments.mweb.co.za/index.php.

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Last Updated: July 19, 2013

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