I’m pretty sure there are others like me who look at professional gaming and shake their heads. Not in a “lol golf is not a sport!” way, but in a “you kids have no idea how sports work, do you?” way. Looking at some of the drama behind the World Cyber Games and their woes with Command and Conquer 3, I still haven’t changed my opinion on the matter.
The article is long, but here’s the synopsis: The Cyber Games (or rather EA) are picking the best CnC players through invites to the highest ranked players. Some feel this is a problem because some of the players are ranked artificially high due to disconnecting from a bad match, and many of the most effective strategies won’t be usable in the Cyber Games when the new patch hits. There is great potential for the competition to be held between what are in fact the newbiest of newbs.
The patching issue has no easy answer, but it is a problem nonetheless. Real sports are all built around rules, rules that cannot be broken and rarely are exploited. Even the onside kick has its risks. But games are software, and software means variables that can and will be manipulated by players. Competitive games require constant effort and focus on making the gameplay as leakproof as possible, and that isn’t going to happen when the competitions are held separate from the folks making the games.
Now as for the issue of cheap strategies being eliminated, I’m willing to bet that most players are bitching because they think they are more deserving to be in the Games. I’m going to agree with them for another reason. Rules do change in professional sports. The NFL has done everything they can to shrink wrap wide receivers. But these changes have not made defenses obsolete, because the players are true professionals and athletes and have changed their game around to adjust to the rules. If the Cyber Games want to be considered legitimate, I expect nothing less from their own competitors. If these kids can’t cope with an evolving game, they are not professionals, and certainly not athletes. As for the Cyber Games themselves, don’t change the rules a week before the fucking competition.
Finally, as for disconnects, I’m pretty sure there are ways for penalizing this, but even still, there are times when folks genuinely get booted for whatever reason. I think the professional leagues are going to have to find a better way to choose players other than invitations. That, or make it like a real sport, where a loss is a loss no matter how much you don’t like it. If these folks can’t handle that, they don’t deserve the opportunities they’ve received.