It turns out that the same professional players who spend all day lining up headshots are a more sensitive bunch then we first thought. Recently, a number of CS:GO pro players have complained about the jokes and outright mockery coming from analysts and commentators at LAN events. This has sparked a heated debate within the community, with many of the accused casters and analysts giving their two cents on where the line should be drawn.
After G2 eSports lost the grand final of Northern Arena 2016 Montreal to OpTic Gaming, many accusing fingers were left scanning the room, trying to point out who is to blame for the French team’s loss. Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux, the team’s AWPer has had a lot of criticism thrown his way for his poor run of form, exemplified once again in the final of the event.
This criticism was widespread on social media and online forums, but it was not just limited to the the meme-creators amongst the community, even the desk talent at the event wanted a slice. Perhaps most notably, Dustin “dusT” Mouret sarcastically remarked that SmithZz was a “high impact player”, whilst simultaneously holding a large cutout of the infamous “kappa” face in front of the desk’s camera:
This isn’t the first time that a player or team has been criticised and mocked for poor play at a LAN event by the desk talent. But this mockery of SmithZz in particular has sparked a huge debate on where the line between criticism and mockery lies, with SK Gaming’s in-game leader FalleN, heading up the debate by tweeting about the mockery.
the amount of things this guy has accomplished in CS is insane. But yeah lets keep having fun shitting on other people. Assholes
— Gabriel Toledo (@FalleNCS) November 14, 2016
It’s just ridiculous what casters said about @G2SmithZz thought casters were there 2 cast n entertain the public, not to ridicule ppl’s work
— coldzera (@coldzera) 14 November 2016
To see anonymous, hypersensitive keyboard-warriors on Twitter complain about players being criticised or mocked is one thing. To see people who are payed to play the game at a certain level complaining about criticism and jokes made at their expense is quite another; it implies a sense of entitlement amongst some professional players. A particularly popular line of argument is to suggest that the desk talent who make jokes about players are merely trying to “appeal to Twitch chat”.
There’s a sense that any criticism levied towards pros (at least to some extent) has to be sugar coated or else it faces the label of of disrespect. Recently, the North American player Eric “adreN” Hoag faced criticism from long time analyst and self-professed eSports historian, Duncan “Thorin” Shields, after a series of poor performances at LAN tournaments.
When asked on his Twitch stream what he thought of a particular tweet by Shields, he replied that he did not follow him, saying that he was an idiot. Due to being known for often making jokes about various players if they perform poorly, Shields has become mired in this controversy despite not being on the desk at Northern Arena at all.
This aversion to criticism runs the risk of halting any potential improvement for the players in question. It stands to reason that if you can’t take criticism in any form, you aren’t going to get better at the game.
Overall, I feel that FalleN is wrong. It is not up to the casters nor the analysts to spare the feelings of certain players if they are performing poorly, especially when a team with the overall caliber of skill that G2 have, fail to win a final that they really should have won. At this level of Counter-Strike, a poor performance at LAN is inexcusable.