To start us off we will touch base on the most recent team situation I had the pleasure to be involved in. This was Team Replika (TR from here), a UK based team with many notable EU players and even the addition of two Korean players in the past month. The team is sponsored by Vizual Media, and Battery Energy drink and was looking for new players for their team. Around the end of April I approached the managers of many different teams trying to get an idea of who could help me the most as I simply want to grow into the best player that I can. I’m not someone who wants to play for a team for a month and then just up and quit. I questioned about how financially stable the team is, the sponsors, plans they have for the future, and if our goals matched up. After learning about a few players that were on salary pay from TR I ventured further into discussions asking if it would be possible when my summer break started to receive support from the team. This was, and still is true today, that if I receive a very small amount of salary (half of what some on the team were being paid) I’m able to play completely full time. After I was led to believe everything would be alright I joined the team and started looking forward to summer break for the big opportunity I had been waiting for. There were plans for a team house, player financial aid, new sponsor deals and many more things that I was told were in the works. However, as time slowly went by, less and less communication between me and TR happened. I was told that the deadline on the website would be May 1st, and as you can see here:
Well..this is when I started my suspicion..
Eventually when I found out about the Korean players that had been recruited. I questioned about my financial aid for the summer and I was met with a blunt: we have no money until June. This was a month after when I was supposed to be receiving support and playing full time for the team. Giving it some more time I thought would make things better. But to no avail, a month later I learned that a few players were complaining of their salary not being paid. This got me pretty pissed. Not only am I not receiving any aid, but the players who have been here longer than I have are having problems also? I went straight to the management and asked about the situation. Of course, I was assured that the players had been talked to and everything was alright. Except for the fact that when I spoke to the players myself I was informed that they had quit the team because they were still not paid. While none of this directly affected me it sure as hell messed up my time investment and summer plans, and is a huge deal for the other players that were supposed to be getting paid.
This team is currently still in operation, still supposed to be paying other players, and still has a chance at recruiting and repeating the process of what happened to me and other players again. How can E-Sports grow when we have “teams” that are basically scamming players for their time, trust, and ability to advertise a brand? I literally cannot understand why people cannot just be honest when they’re supposed to be managing a team.
Just to be clear, I do not think of myself as an “amazing” player, or even deserving of a salary at the moment. However, as I previously noted what I had requested was half the support other players were receiving and I’d be able to play full time. I may not be incredibly well known, but if anyone has looked at the amount of games I’ve invested into Starcraft 2 and compared to most other players it’s quite low due to school. Yet I still maintain a rather high level of gameplay, and that’s why I feel I have a bit of potential as a player to at least grow into someone who can make an impact in one way or another. However, when things like this happen it really just frustrates me.
And finally, to clarify what I mean by “things” this assurance of goods has not only happened with TR, but also convergence gaming which is now non-existent in SC2 as far as I’m aware. (Though to a much lesser extent) While no money was involved with the situation in Convergence the same type of manipulative power tree still existed. People were told things would be done and to anyone’s guess.. they didn’t get done. I will admit in convergence gaming there were not as many tools to be utilized by the managers; but the key problem still existed, players were being used as a branding icon for a team that in reality was nothing without the players. This is amplified by the fact that after the main players from Convergence gaming left.. ROOT picked up Fitzy and Puck(dayum straight, got my pompoms on for them). I will very specifically note that this is coming from me, and not Fitzy or Puck, as I do not want to speak for them in my own blog post, this is simply a refence to the caliber of player that was on the team. Nonetheless, the players that are being held by teams that are giving them absolutely nothing is absurd for how talented some of the players in North America really are.. But I digress...
I intentionally left out names of those involved on the side of management from the recent encounter as I feel it’s just too rude to put someone on the spot in the scene, though you may see some of the players come forward as I asked them before posting. I really hope the community pushes for North America to be a better scene than this. When rising players in Korea at least have the opportunity to practice somewhere, and in a community based environment; while in America it’s either you give up everything or get incredibly lucky.
Sadly I have no luck.
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If any team manager is interested in what I’m searching for it would be the most amazing thing if you could PM me.