I believe that the entire premise of any sport, or game, at the spectator level requires absolute faith in the competitors. Whether this be through ignorance, or raw trust, the spectator must believe in the accomplishments of the competitors. Prior to the game fixing/ betting scandal came to light we were all ignorant to the underhanded practices tainting pro Starcraft. We believed in our players, we held confidence that every accomplishment was their own, we were dismayed (well some of us were) by Saviours downfall- and truly hoped that he would come back. Now that our innocence has been shattered we are left reeling, how many Starleague titles should actually belong to their owners, how can we watch any match without wondering if the results are predetermined? Around the forums a bleak attitude seems to have set in, “Pro Starcraft won’t be the same” is a common sight around here.
How can the excitement be brought back to the game? The integrity of the whole system must be restored. Kespa has already take initial steps, through investigation and rule changes (line up rule change). I hope that the follow up to the investigations is strong enough to restore our confidence, as a simple “slap on the wrist” will not do. I believe that the consequences should be a life time ban from pro gaming. While some may see this as a bit harsh, I think that it will be a step to restoring confidence, and may provide a deterrent to those who may seek to do the same in the future. This is one of Kespa’s strong points (some would argue their only), and one of the reasons that such a body is needed to manage esports. What about the foreign scene though, which spans multiple continents and dozens of countries?
I believe that the growth of esports will occur outside of Korea, as Korea is mostly saturated at this point. Already we see groups, such as EG, making a concentrated effort at becoming a “pro gaming team”. They do this by living in the same house and by living to game. This is not the only group of its kind, as there are similar establishments in Europe as well. Perhaps esports greatest strength, the ability to join people from halfway across the world, may provide the greatest challenge in future growth. Imagine this, Esports are big, and TSL 3 in on- the prize is $40 000. The finalists are individuals who are forced to work demeaning part time jobs, all to scrap up enough so that they can play as much as possible. $40 000 would go along way to easing that pain, but it isn’t even guaranteed you will win. What if there was a way you could make $50 000 though? What if you could bet on your opponent, then throw the matches- later citing pressure, maps, or whatever. Seems like an appealing option, a guaranteed $50k.
The problem of regulating future expansion will be difficult, whether leagues will be broken down by country or continent, or some other means is up for question. The availability of sites on which bets can be made will again make it difficult to regulate what goes on in the “underground”. However, with all this aside I believe that through solving these problems a stronger and more faithful audience will be created. Additionally, it is most likely a good thing that this was brought to light now, rather than later before any further scandals arise.
On a final note, have faith in the players that are out there- one only has to look at a player such Sea (who not to mention has 8 points for my FPL), who is just plain ol' good. Or remember oov vs Boxer, or the lone Dragoon and shield battery fending off a horde of enemies. Remember the passion and talent that originally brought this game to the forefront of esports, and keep the faith that there are plenty of reasons that this is such a great game- and that Starcraft II will be even better.
My rookie effort at an article, unfortunately I am out of time.
My views, enjoy and discuss.