Update: Blizzard’s Reign of Terror Continues with yet Another Hypocritical and Unjust xQc Suspension
I know, you know it, everybody knows it. Overwatch League, is not here for the players, it is not here for the audience, and most importantly it is not here for you. Overwatch League is simply here to tickle Activision Blizzard and its false sense of grandeur. And those who fail to comply are driven out of town at all cost. And all the signs were there, long time before the league in question even commenced. And you don’t have to look far for examples.
In June of last year, Blizzard has suspended Rank 1 player, and member of the Selfless organization, Dafran, for misconduct. His suspension for the most part, was largely false, as on paper, it was mainly about his inability to compete in season zero, of Overwatch Contenders. But as it was stated above, I know it, you know it, and everybody knows it, that the suspension was not just about Overwatch Contenders – it was about driving Dafran out of town, and for good.
Dafran’s suspension was the biggest and brightest sign, which could have ever appeared in the midnight sky. As it has proven to all of us that Overwatch League, is not about competition, but yet again, about Blizzard’s imaginary world of eSports. This was only further cast into stone, once the player rosters were announced, as many of the Overwatch League teams, opted for DPS players, so poor, that they couldn’t even be regarded to be in Dafran’s league. But yet, teams like Houston Outlaws, contracted players such as JAKE. And this tells you all you need to know about Activision Blizzard, and the company’s politics in regard to the circus, which Overwatch League is.
For the longest time, many, including ‘’professional’’ eSports journalists, referred to Dafran as the villain of Overwatch. But this could not possibly last forever, as players like Dafran, had to be left in the past, once the Overwatch League commenced. But this meant that the game, just like the league, needed its imaginary, false villain, which could be used as an example in the future. The same way Dafran was used to show the world what happens in the world of Overwatch Contenders, if you ‘’misbehave’’ – xQc is now being used as an example for all, within the boundaries of the Overwatch League itself.
If you’ve come across this article, then you probably already know the history of xQc within the League. During stage one, xQc has been banned for four games, and fined $2000, for an allegedly homophobic remark, which within the real world, would be regarded as joke – in poor taste, but still a joke. However, as it was underlined above, the League and the brass of Activision Blizzard needed a villain, so the ban-hammer had to strike.
When the suspension and the fine, were initially unveiled, many outsides of the League have seen it to be a little over the top, as xQc has been punished for nothing more than a single sentence. A large part of the league’s viewer base, felt like the ban was overly harsh on purpose, just to set an example. But it was obvious that if anybody were to do something like this again, he/she would definitely not be punished as severely. Low and behold, the second wave of Activision Blizzard pain has just been rolled out. Players such as Dallas Fuel’s Taimou, and Houston Outlaws’ coach TaiRong, have both been fined $1000, for offences, which in eyes of many were much more damaging than what xQc, Felix Lengyel, has ever done.
Fines aimed at Taimou, and TaiRong, were definitely fitting their respective ‘’crimes’’. While those might have shown us what an appropriate form of punishment within the league should look like, they’ve also showcased Activision Blizzard’s hypocrisy. As within the same statement, the company behind the game of Overwatch, and Overwatch League, has also publicised yet another punishment for Felix Lengyel, xQc. However, this time, he has been fined $4000, and suspended yet again, for four matches, for, and I quote, ‘’racially disparaging emotes’’.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages. Yes, Blizzard has suspended and fined Felix Lengyel, for a use of racially insensitive emote, within Overwatch League’s chat, and a global emote at that. And while I could just cut the explanation short here, and act like all the other dishonest gaming journalists. I will take a minute of my time to provide you with the context of this situation.
The emote itself, is called ‘TriHard’, and as per KnowYourMeme, it is a ‘Twitch Emote featuring the face of the Twitch streamer TriHex. The emote expresses excitement as per the open-mouthed smile on TriHex’s face’. You may ask, what is wrong with the use of an emote which supposed to be representing excitement? Well, xQc has quote-on-quote spammed this emote, during an appearance of Malik Forté on Overwatch League’s stream. Just like TriHex, Malik is of African American descent. So once that has taken place, the socially-sensitive brigade of the Woke Machines, has made the instant distinction, that the only reason for the use of the emote by xQc, is to racially insult Malik.
After the storm has begun to brew, and keyboards of Polygon have begun to rattle, xQc has made an attempt at controlling the fallout. But even if he were to be nailed to a cross, it would not be enough to please the Woke Machines, and Activision Blizzard itself. So, we are where we are, and where we have been back in January. With xQc suspended yet again, for an offence which is rather debatable, and stuck with a fine, which is plain and simply too harsh. To put it shortly, the punishment with which xQc has been served, simply does not fit the crime.
Before you go off on one, and cry about the fact that xQc’s punishment did not just concern the misuse of a global emote, but also his comments towards the casters. Then it has to be underlined that every stick has two ends, and if you trash talk the players as a caster, you should be able to take everything that players have to say, on the chin. Especially when your casting revolves around degrading a single player, which coincidentally has been targeted by the League itself, now on numerous occasions.
Overwatch League is a crooked if well oiled machine. It is fuelled by backhanded politics, and devious nepotism. It is a cesspool where one hand washes the other, and if you fail to conform, you’ll get what is coming to you. Whether the people behind the league were afraid of what xQc can do with his rather sizeable following, or whether they had a problem with his loose cannon image, is up to a debate. But the fact of a matter is that the vast majority, if not all members of the Overwatch League, were, and are still biased against him. This was apparent the second the Overwatch League statement has hit the internet, as those from outside of the League, including the long-time journalist and E League host, Richard Lewis, found the xQc’s punishment to be mind-numbingly inadequate. Whereas Overwatch League’s analyst, Brennon Hook, was in full support of the League’s decision. So, make of that what you will.
Felix ‘xQc’ Lengyel, will now sit out the remainder of stage 2, which is currently in its third week. His suspension will not be active until the 13th of March, but it is highly unlikely that he will play against Florida Mayhem – which is a shame. And it is still uncertain whether he will come back into the ranks of Dallas Fuel, or any Overwatch League team for that matter. And that’s because Lengyel himself, was considering stepping down in recent weeks. However, it would be a tremendous shame to see the player of his calibre leaves the league, as he still has a lot to offer at the age of 22.
The mistreatment which xQc has suffered at the hands of the Overwatch League, casters, and likely other individuals, is nothing short of disappointing. Especially when one considers the fact that Blizzard the developer behind the title, is all for inclusion of individuals of different backgrounds, races, and religions. But it seems like, they are only for inclusion, as long as those who are included are willing to give the Overwatch League complete control over their lives. And xQc may be the Overwatch League’s first victim, but he surely won’t be the last. And if he decides to completely step away from streaming once he returns, or leaves the league completely, Blizzard and the ring of Overwatch League cronies, will find somebody else to torment.
As things stand, xQc has only been temporarily suspended, but Blizzard is steadily trying to overthrow Riot Games as the most invasive developer in the world, so do not be surprised if xQc is completely barred from playing, or at least streaming Overwatch by the time 2018 comes to an end. And some of you may think that this will never take place, but Blizzard is steadily following a pattern of absolutist control, which is likely to turn Overwatch League into a social wasteland, where players are nothing more than assets, which can be replaced, no matter the cost.
Blizzard’s approach to the Overwatch League, is not surprising in the slightest, as many, including myself have predicted that the second the League starts to make some serious money, Blizzard will spiral out of control. But even I, with all the signs that were there, didn’t suspect for it to happen so rapidly. While it is hard for me to sit here and watch Blizzard treat xQc, like he is nothing more than a pawn in a game of some deranged chess; I’m glad that Blizzard didn’t waste time to prove that Overwatch league, just like the game itself, is not worth your money, nor your time – at least for now. I only hope that xQc, and whoever Overwatch League will set its sights on next, will land on all fours, and survive the onslaught of sinister manipulation, brazen disrespect, and lastly, cruel, rat pack like nepotism.
At the stroke of midnight, GMT, Dallas Fuel has officially announced release of Felix ”xQc” Lengyel from its roster. This turn of events, while being rather expected, has only further showcased that Overwatch League teams, just like the players, are for the most part afraid. Just like Dallas Fuel, they would rather bend the knee, and release a vital player from their roster, than stand for the unjust treatment of the individual. The outcome of this rather absurd situation is rather disappointing to say the least. But worst of all, it has created a precedent which has taken away any sense of security from the players. As seemingly, Blizzard could now move the goalposts wherever they desire, and pressure teams to release whichever player they don’t perceive to be desirable. Let’s just hope that xQc’s Overwatch League career will not come to an end here, because just as it was underlined above, he still has a lot to give the League, and the game of Overwatch as a whole.