The Upper Bracket: Professionalism and LoL
[box]The Upper Bracket (TUB) is MonteCristo’s ongoing editorial column on ggChronicle. TUB exists to inspire discussion among League of Legends fans about the state of the professional scene, so let’s get talking![/box]
Where is League of Legend’s professional sensibility? Why do the players, teams and fans perpetuate the ridiculous drama that swirls around the LoL scene? In what other sector do we see this kind of immature behavior when $5,000,000 is on the line in the coming year?
We as a community need to hold ourselves to a higher standard because this nonsense distracts us from what we all enjoy most: the game.
Over the past couple of days – on Thanksgiving no less – we’ve seen CLG create a PR nightmare with the bizarre and bungled benching of Elementz and, now, ridiculous sexual comments made by a sad, attention-seeking loudmouth who has been enabled by TSM. I’m going to ignore the Pooksie issue because we all know that SoloMid needs to sever ties, but the CLG conflict deserves some level-headed analysis. We as a community need to hold ourselves to a higher standard because this nonsense distracts us from what we all enjoy most: the game.
In case you somehow missed the Elementz-CLG fiasco, it began with Counter Logic Gaming announcing the return of Doublelift. Obviously this news post begged the question of who would be cut from the current roster, a fact that the official post strangely omitted. Elementz, however, filled us in with two posts about his feelings, followed by a public apology on his blog, Reign of Gaming. HotshotGG jumped in on the action by posting his perspective on Reddit, which glossed over the issue at hand and read more like a personal defense than an explanation of a solid, rational decision.
From a professional perspective, all of these actions appear unwise. CLG should have had the foresight to nip this fiasco in the bud by putting actual effort into their initial post. Why not be straight with their fans about roster changes? From our perspective, it’s obvious that some line-up adjustment must be made when a sixth man is added to a five-man team, so why not be forthright? The only thing CLG aroused through these actions was speculation in regards to who would be benched and not a sense of excitement for Doublelift’s return. Write something that tells your supporters what you’re doing and why, damn it.
Elementz mishandled the situation by posting too much detail about conflict within CLG, though he later made the correct decision to publicly apologize for his blog posts. I know you’re upset, but revealing the skeletons in CLG’s closet doesn’t help anyone. In spite of this misstep, I’ve viewed Elementz as the one of the most composed and professional gamers in the League of Legends scene, and it is too bad that CLG did not include him fairly in their team discussions.
The community opinion that CLG squabbles to the point of ineffective play and does not appear to practice together is wholly accurate.
Let’s get down to the root of this issue: what is going on with CLG? Frankly, the team contains fundamental flaws rooted in their immaturity and lack of a professional demeanor. The community opinion that CLG squabbles to the point of ineffective play and does not appear to practice together is wholly accurate. The only people out-of-the-loop on these facts is Counter Logic Gaming, as we can see from what both Elementz and HotshotGG wrote in regards to the roster changes.
HotshotGG dismissed CLG’s contentious atmosphere as fundamental to getting better at LoL in his response to the drama:
[box]People think that if we, as a team, stopped fighting and arguing all the time, that would correct all of our problems. However, every team argues and every team has disputes. We grow through talking out our mistakes and all of you should know by now how emotional of a game league of legends is. In the heat of the moment, we may blame each other and rage at each other but at the end of the day, we know we have to talk about our mistakes as a team. Why do you guys think we’ve been together as a team for this long if all we did was play the blame game and then not reflect upon it? I know I am not the greatest example of staying calm and I’ll admit I am not proud of how I behave during games; but, I am working on it. I think many of you would agree that in-game, League turns you into a more spiteful person than you actually are.[/box]
This conflicts with Elementz’s own feelings about his treatment on CLG, which he says brought down his level of play:
[box]A team that supports one another does better and improves. You want to know why I completely stopped playing Alistar? I fucking HATE that champion because the amount of pressure that comes with it from CLG. In solo queue I’ll go dominate with him, always have. Rarely miss a combo and generally f shit up with him. I play him for CLG and that single time I don’t do a perfect combo all I hear is (ugh, elementz) all these sighs, these doubts, people calling me out. That doesn’t boost my confidence to play that champion. That doesn’t make me want to improve. That pushes me away from a role I should be practicing. Alistar is super good, but I do NOT want to play him ever for CLG ever again because it puts me in a bad mood from the get go because I know if I make a single mistake they will chew me out for it. I guess I am an emotional guy when it comes to that stuff because I take it to heart. When the people I respect shit talk me, it brings me down fast. I can take all the solo queue bullshit, and the random tier list haters, but what I couldn’t take was being doubted and not respected by my own team mates. That’s truly one of the worst feelings.
I all knew they didn’t respect me and what I did for the team. They never built me up, they never gave praise when something was done right. I come from a background of competitive sports (Lacrosse and Soccer) and on those teams when you screw up, people don’t blame you. People don’t get down on you. They try and build you back up as fast as possible because guess what? The person who screwed up already knows that they messed up. They messed up in front of an audience and you want to put them down even more? God no. Even the players on the team I didn’t like as people I still gave them morale boosts because that’s how you succeed as a team. A true team supports one another to the end no matter what. As you guys see from our scrims, CLG likes to play the blame game as soon as shit turns south for a moment and we downward spiral into a loss because people would rather argue then play and finish the game. How do you keep a positive go getter attitude when this is the environment you play in?[/box]
Yes, HotshotGG, every team has disputes, but not every team takes the little things out on their teammates in a publicly-available stream. Not every team captain makes roster changes without being straight-up with his teammate from the beginning. HotshotGG, you might be correct that your play improves through conflict with your team, but we know from Elementz’s own mouth that his abilities suffer.
As the former coach of a professional Warcraft 3 team, I ask myself why CLG doesn’t employ someone to mediate their team disputes. I know that some of their players are raking in six-figure incomes from streaming, and it’s time to hire an individual to intelligently handle their team dynamic and public appearance. What kind of professional team lacks a coach? Coaches analyze a team from a more neutral perspective than the players, offer valuable insight through observation and settle disputes between players before they explode into melodrama.
I’d love for CLG to reach their sky-high potential and play some amazing games that we, as fans, get to enjoy. Wouldn’t you?
Counter Logic’s performance has been in free-fall these past few months and, especially with SoloMid’s domination at MLG Providence, they should be afraid. CLG possesses extreme talent housed in difficult personalities, and without better teamwork and a more encouraging atmosphere they will continue to lose. It’s hardly a team when your players are reluctant to play together and feel unfairly criticized when practicing.
I hope CLG succeeds. I hope that they realize that shuffling their roster is not the solution to their problems, but rather that it’s fundamentally their team dynamic. I hope they fix it and become more professional in their actions. I wrote this because I want both them and the LoL community to reflect on this event and come out stronger. I’d love for CLG to reach their sky-high potential and play some amazing games that we, as fans, get to enjoy. Wouldn’t you?