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For What It's Worth Part 1

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Something's been bothering me...

For What It's Worth

In my own words:

One is not entitled to respect. I believe that you cannot earn respect unless you've given respect. Respect is your responsibility to upkeep.


As per usual, the red highlights are there for people who are interested in TLDR versions of the content. Main points are there to make it less boring to read.

This blog isn't intended to offend, preach, or disrespect any parties or individuals concerned. Simply I want to express my own wishes, hopes, doubts, and beliefs. I am no saint myself and I don't claim to be. However, I honestly try my best to live up to my words.

I'd like to make it clear that I do not follow any format or outline when I write blogs (The content may seem sporadic). I'm writing this in one sitting and it can end abruptly. I also only take cursory glances over the content, so excuse any grammatical or spelling errors. I do this because I will end up deleting a lot of content because I'm not pleased with it.

I will try to format it as best I can. However, more than likely this will be a wall of text.

*Note* Part of the reason why I label my blogs as parts is because they are, in fact, a part of what I want to express. I never want to feel like something is completely set-in-stone. I find solace in knowing that I can always expand and I hope that it doesn't annoy my readers.

The Issue at Hand:

Respect, in my opinion, is something that is at the very core of this community's
problem. The community at large, competitive and casual, is affected by a massive amount of disrespect for each other.

Trolling and flaming are all too common in a game that requires players to be cohesive. The unwillingness to act above one's own ego results in more hate mongering. I'm sure that I don't need to explain the kind of crimes against humanity the internet has evoked in every person's mind.

I believe the reason why trolling is so prevalent is because of over-representation via community figures and competitive teams. There are a small portion of outlets that advocate respect and community growth... and why would there be? It's much easier to appeal to the absurdity of humor and shenanigans.

Many players are unwilling to rise above their egos, so they troll and flame when they are criticized. That is to say, it is much more convenient to attack than be attacked.
It is not productive for us to feel "attacked" at all times.

There are community figures that play a role and then there are the public trolls. It's a shame that many intelligent people disregard posting their opinions in forums and discussions (live stream chats even). It always seems like the inconsiderate, hateful and insipid people feel a need to collectively spam discussions. The nonsensical drown out the insightful comments 50 to 1.

We have to constantly shield ourselves from bullying and "free speech". "Free speech" isn't an excuse to be a complete moron, devoid of responsibility and moral fiber.

Moreover on advocates, I want to explain what the individuals can do. If I made it sound like community figures hold the most influence, that isn't always true. Although it may be easier for them to do so, I think the individuals have a bigger voice than they think.

Well-constructed posts that contest absurd claims can completely dismantle rants. Services like Reddit allow for people to promote positivity with relative ease. Acting as a catalyst for positive and respected voices to be heard. Many people are unable to put into words what they believe. However when intelligent people make attempts, others can build on ideas.

I, very much so, want people to consider the power of good-will. So I would encourage everyone to spread positivity and flip the tables that plague our community.

I often commend players who are communicative and respectful in matchmaking games. Sometimes I add them and invite them to party up, simply by virtue of being a good person. I'm willing to help these people in many ways, as far as improvement and questions go. These are some keys players can take to open doors that aren't currently seen.

It seems as if this discourse is getting extremely preachy, so I'll end here.

The Lesser-known Impact:

What I want to talk about is the underground perspective of a competitive player in an evolving e-sport (In this case, mine). I wont go too much into detail or bother citing any materials. This section is entirely based on personal memory and opinion.

Coming into the limelight has been an eye-opening experience. Competitive players are often subject to cruel comments and instantaneous judgments in boundless volumes. Critics jump on bandwagons without forming their own opinions and soak in false information daily. The players have little voice, where the public wields it almost entirely.

Why is that? It is too exhausting to take each criticism to heart, there are simply too many. So, as a competitive player, we often have to ignore hundreds of mean-spirited and often hyper-critical claims. It never is in our best interest to address flamers. Thus, people form assumptions that cannot ever be completely verified.

This is not meant to sound like I'm terribly distraught by the notion.
I understand the negative aspects that go hand-in-hand with being more well-known. It is nothing new in our society and everyday lives.

One difference between competitive DotA players and other figures is that public relations are totally assumed by the individuals themselves.

It is a possibility that because DotA 2 is a new and evolving e-sport, organizations and teams do not regard public relations as a high priority. However, I hope that players will have better representation in the future.

Before I realized that I couldn't rectify every situation, I would read the hateful comments and feel saddened or irritated. It was very disheartening to believe that all of the hard work that my team has put in would never surface. Tournaments and matches are the only factor in many people's minds.

I've seen team after team face the same tendency within community posts. It is the tendency to bandwagon. Every single team has lost a couple of matches in a row or won a couple of matches in a row. Suddenly multiple posts will spring up negatively judging teams or praising their performances.

Negative comments often go to the "slump" card. They claim that a team has suddenly lost the ability to win and blame various random factors. This practice completely overlooks the mentality of a team and the circumstances that cause it. The spectrum of factors varies greatly from things like real life issues to indecision and team unrest.

One reason why teams feel "inconsistent" is because the competition levels are unparalleled. Any team can beat another team on any given day given the right momentum or strategic mentality. That is a truth that many people refuse to see. In many of the golden ages of DotA, there were kings. There were titans of the metagame who everyone loved to side with. There were also the underdogs. People love to pick a favorite, as well as praise the underdogs over upsets.

It just isn't the case anymore, DotA 2 is providing a massive shift in the competitive paradigm. There is actually incentive to compete, other than pure love and passion for the game itself. Sponsors, prize pools, tournaments and unprecedented coverage are giving teams the tools necessary to compete in the best possible ways. These systems are not completely perfect, but that is a subject for another discussion.

Negative comments obviously carry more weight, but I do want to talk a little bit about positive comments. Positive comments were the things that motivated me to continue. It is so uplifting to read supportive words. These words stick with me and are worth more than words can explain.

All in all, mental toughness and a thick skin are definitely a necessity. I am hopeful for a time when more stories can get exposure. Thank you to all of the supporters.

An aside for NaDota and competitors alike:

For however
long I've been a part of this community, I have witnessed hundreds of teams crumble. I believe that many times this is all a matter of respect. Aside from the fact that the forum posters themselves bicker amongst each other, I'd rather focus on the competitive scene.

They say:

"You're not as good him"
"He can't do this or that"
"I'm better than you and here is why"
"You are trash"

Teams are sold on the principle that replacing X player will make Y team better. It's probably been said a million times over, so I won't talk about why this has destroyed many teams. I think this is just something that needs to be self-actualized between each player seeking competitive success.

I only want to advocate patience. I believe that finding players who are ready and willing to cross over into competitive only need time and nurturing to succeed.

Why do I use the word nurturing:

By now it's no secret that time doesn't make a player. Claiming to have played DotA for 6+ years shouldn't be a means to size someone up. It is, in actuality, the effort put forth in the time that matters. Therefore, time is no means to base skill on because it varies from person to person.

So, give time and nurturing to the players you believe in. I believe that the feeling of a honeymoon phase and instantaneous success blinds many people. Success is something that is attained over time, not instantly. Consistency in results and progress will come with certain hardships.

I think that newer teams shy away from the critical conflicts that make or break successful teams. Running away from problems can only lead to an unhealthy perspective.

Final thoughts:

I meant to say much more, but by now it's been 3 and a half hours since I started. I've decided to end here, unfortunately I wasn't able to convey all of my thoughts.

Yours humbly,


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  1. chappY's Avatar
    legendary blog once again
  2. coL.Franzzii's Avatar
    good read, couldn't agree more with a lot of the points you made. Respect seems almost nonexistent in games like Dota/HoN/LoL.
  3. Spit-wad's Avatar
    A worthwhile read, even for those who disagree.

    Keep in mind that there will always be people in the community who simply enjoy flaming/trolling, whether or not they have any Esports ambitions. You may choose not to respect them, but that doesn't mean they don't respect you.
  4. StriderZA's Avatar
    Hi there Fluff,

    You may not remember me, and this comment might not mean that much to you, but I used to play in the NADL, from about Dec-Feb. It's funny, because I created this account, simply to make a comment on this blog. I wanted you to know that because I was an outsider (South African who moved to the US) and because I wasn't "known" among the group of elites - although I could hold my own as far as relative skill level is concerned - I would constantly be flamed, or trolled, or simply just raged at. This actually led me to reverting to solo MM'ing, and surely that isn't what our communities want to encourage. Surely we want a community that breeds good manners, good team work , and good players. Anyway, I do recall playing with/against you a few times, and you generally were a cool, well mannered guy.

    I highly doubt you remember me, but I remembered you, and after being linked to this article via reddit, I just felt inclined to let you know that I fully support you man. I support this blog, I support your way of thinking, and from now on I'll be supporting coL in the competitive scene.

    Keep on with the positive attitude. Hopefully - slowly but surely - people will begin to change the way they see things and begin to gravitate to the same thought process that you have - adopting an optimistic outlook, just like you have demonstrated in this blog.

  5. FLUFFNSTUFF's Avatar
    I remember you. Thanks for your support.
  6. RmZD's Avatar
    This is rather brilliantly written. I'm American, and have been trying to get into the DotA scene for a while now, but people tend to be incredibly caustic and xenopohic. As you said, the issue truly is respect. Whether it be purely junvinile immaturity or fear of another players skill, there is little respect shown.
    I've followed coL since the initial FIRE days, and as a team, you have handled yourselves very professionally and respectfully. It's nice to see other people in this country who handle themselves in such a fashion. I'll be cheering for you guys at TI2. Hope to meet in a pub someday :P