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Thread: On dK and the state of the league

  1. #1

    Default On dK and the state of the league

    This post was intended initially as a response to the dK situation in alto's weekly review thread. I was recommended to read it as I was told it was something new and interesting on the forums (which I'd previously vowed never to read), and wanted to offer my 2 cents. This turned into a rather lengthy beast, so I'm submitting it as a new post. If you don't want to read it all, go about your day. I'm not giving you a tl;dr. I'm too passionate about this game to watch this happen and say nothing. I didn't read through this so sorry if it comes off as a pointless, rambling rant, but I believe I've stated my opinion well enough for anyone interested to message me outside of this cesspool of a forum if they have a question.

    I believe the conduct of dK is not indicative of the skill in-game of the league currently, but more the attitudes of the majority of the players at the top level of highlander. Introducing and helping to administrate the alpha of the new pug site has given me a solid basis to issue this claim from. A common statement by players of all skills and backgrounds in Tf2 right now is that "the quality in skill of every team right now is SO much worse than previous seasons." I do not believe this to be the case at all. We currently have some of the best players in HL on many classes that define the meta. Back in the days before s20 it was unheard of for snipers to breaking 50% accuracy regularly in play. People would call such players cheaters readily. We have demoman now that would easily contest or beat demos from the history great HL teams, and are able to even more singularly carry their teams. We are even breaking the dearth of good top level scouts for teams that are at the top. I would even venture to say the meta and strategies cultivated recently are much more flushed out and strong than top teams over a year ago.

    The biggest difference I feel from then to now is how we, as top level players, conduct ourselves in our daily interactions in and out of the game. Today more of the people in platinum are much more immature, disrespectful, and without integrity or basic good intentions than players in yesteryear. When I was invited to weigh in on who I would trust with the responsibility to captain in hlpugs, I immediately wrote off 90% of all players in plat. I do not have to dig too deep as to justify why. The conduct of players on the forums has certainly taken a nose dive in recent years, with the advent of routine borderline anti-semitic or racist posts, and players routinely posting whatever shitty joke of the day they and their friends wish to espouse. Before Alto's resurrection of this new "Hot or Not" as originally created by Hildreth, it would not be a stretch to say the amount meaningful discussion about the game on this site was at 0. Were the forums always this way? In the past there were certainly a number of forum trolls, but they did not steer the discourse into absurdity at every thread and every post, as they do now.
    Leaving the forums, the respect of players to each other in game is none. It was extremely rare and actually extremely rude for teams to offclass and waste the other team's time in scrims or matches. One of the more regular instigators of this bm, the infamous NBK circlejerk, was routinely vilified and hated by the community for their conduct against teams in lower divisions on their alts and their peers. Nowadays, players regularly participate in similar behavior at all levels.

    One common response to this that has been told to my team (which has been a frequent recipient of such treatment in nearly all my seasons with them) is that if you can't beat a team running troll strats, it isn't worth playing them trying, and thus the trolling is justified. Another justification has been "league is dead, we just want to have fun." Both of these explanations point to the disrespect and lack of integrity displayed by most players in plat. Our team has routinely shown we are competitive with mid to high plat teams with multiple placements, and despite routine roster issues in the past seasons we have recovered enough to make playoff runs, or remain competitive on our better maps.

    In hlpugs recently, a player was invited to participate in the closed alpha on a cheating alt, during one of the times the site was up yet and no tests were to be occurring, and no admins were available. After the pug ended and the alt banned, the alt has been routinely glorified by many of top players on multiple teams. During pug testing, we've had players joining the mumble server using whispers to share racial slurs, and players attempting to use racial slurs in chat and using them in game. A player has had their captain removed multiple times for killing pugs in picking so their friend could add, and it has been reinstated multiple times despite the wishes of the greater admin team to have his captain revoked. Many of the captains that were added during alpha have had their captain revoked for killing during picking, when the entire point of the alpha has been for testing so the site can be guaranteed to work to serve them. These people's attitudes towards a dev process with a product being made to serve them has been indicative of the current behavior of players in the league currently. You would expect that at least some respect would be given to the devs who have been working tirelessly and non stop for months now with no reward, but no.

    Were there certainly toxic players like this in the past? Absolutely! As I mentioned previously, the infamous NBK circlejerk was one, and we had many players in teams that conducted themselves this way. The difference from my perspective is that once these people reached the top, they either started functioning as someone with moral standards, or they were ostracized. As toxic silver and even gold players reached the top, they either shaped up to respect the top players who did display common courtesies, or they became stuck in a rut with players similar to themselves at lower levels. Now that many of those former respectable top players have retired, these toxic players have improved their game to take their places at the top, but not their attitudes.

    Now this has been a long journey, but you probably want to know how this has to do with dK not taking anything seriously and having a toxic team environment and having players being ready to get cut for playoffs. The point is that dK is merely a product of this toxic environment that has been cultivated in platinum. When no players have any expectations of professionalism or moral conduct, everyone begins to conduct themselves so. "Why should I care, when no one else does?" "I'm just here to have fun, the game is dead anyway, look at x team in plat lol." How does anyone who is currently wondering about how dK is getting away this conduct do so without seeing they are nearly as guilty of it themselves? This attitude of "don't hate the player, hate the game" is absolutely, 100% the reason this game is dying. When none of our top level players have any respect, integrity, or professional conduct, and people from the outside, or at the casual level see that, what do you think they tell their friends about us? The sponsors see a net negative business venture, with extremely high risk that these players will end up costing their company their image. New players see a community that is not open to them, and other toxic players see a home that welcomes them. The cycle continues, and eventually the only people left are people who don't care, and they all realize this league sucks and everyone is toxic, leave, and then NA HL dies. Is it really that much of a mystery why there are no casting orgs for hl anymore, and that player numbers have been dropping steadily? Fucking look at yourselves and your conduct in this league, and ask yourself, "do I really want to be known for this?" Imagine if your grandparents, your family, your real life friends, your employer were reading your forum posts, listening to what you said in mumble. What would they say?

    I feel like I know what the responses for this will be already. If you read this whole thing, I expect you too will know what they may entail and who will be the ones posting them. But since I don't want to wade through them, I'm going to attempt to address what I feel will be the most common ones here.

    • It's just a game dude, calm down and have fun
      No. Currently in the world we are subject to some of the worst behavior and the rise of some of the scariest sentiments by the general public towards one another since the second world war. I will not stand by and watch my corner of the internet, the place I have made so many friends and found so much enjoyment, become similar. Yes, I do find it that atrocious. In addition, we currently are in what can only be described as the golden age of esports. If there is even the smallest chance I can become a professional player in the game I have committed so much of my formative years on, I will take it. You are all delusional if you would not do the same. If after some self reflection you find that you don't want this game to take off, and just do want to have fun, go do so. It is totally possible to have fun in this game, putting in the minimum amount of work at the top level and not be a toxic piece of shit. Look at mTs. Look at Bv.
    • Online games have always been toxic, look at the history of cs and the fgc. Harbleu yelled a racial slur at lan
      These points are true. The history of every competitive game has been wrought with instances of behavior similar to ours. What's the difference? Once esports took off, instances of this at the top level have become rarer and rarer. Maybe it's my irrational hope that this game is saveable as an esport in some capacity, but I believe that if I do want it to reach the mainstream, I must emulate characteristics the mainstream desires. The greater gaming public, despite what some of you might believe, is no longer exclusively the edgy 20 somethings and teenagers of the past. Sure, they latch on to the slightest bit of drama, but that is common of humans as a whole. Why do think trump ran on a divisive, outlandish platform. He knows what gets people watching. Even in esports, drama is not nearly at the same level as ours. Mainstream esports drama is more "white collar" at the core, with issues like player salaries and living conditions being at the forefront, and a team that has players that will get cut halfway through the season is not even an option there. You get fined for misbehavior is CS nowadays for fucks sake. It is possible to rise above what we currently have as standard. Look around to your favorite esports personalities.
    • The game is dead, no one actually cares
      Please just leave then honestly. If you genuinely believe this, why are you wasting so much of your time here? If you answer "I just wanna have fun," see the first bullet point.
    • You said xyz to me on stream or in the past. How can you say these things when you yourself do it?
      I was made aware yesterday of somethings I've been saying on stream, and I fully believe I am becoming ONE OF YOU ALL *gasp*. Seriously though, I never claimed to be above any of you. Many of you are better than me, and I have no grounds to slander anyone I perceive as being below myself. If I did say such things, I'm sorry. In the past I attempted to conduct myself in a more professional manner, but honestly the years and personalities in this league have jaded me to become more like them. I certainly don't act like that in person with my family friends, and I will endeavor to change my behavior from here on out. You have my word.
    • This league isn't worth saving. The admins blow and are trying to kill it themselves
      A common sentiment since the beginning. The truth is you hate having an authority over you that monitors what you do and say and as soon as you cross the line and are subsequently punished, you play the victim card and garner sympathy from your circlejerk cuz nazi admins am i rite? The admins have a different view for the league than you do. I don't wish to speak for them, but I think they share my sentiments for how this league should be conducted. They want it to be an open system for anyone with a passing interest in TF2. They want to help people have fun in their league. The results of every end of season poll shows this in my mind. Routinely they make decisions that counter seem to lower the level competition, yet reflect the interests of the lower level. Imo they have two reasons for this: 1) They are volunteers and don't have time to administer in a more hands on way and 2) They want to ensure people of every level have fun. A counterpoint to their admin style would be esea, which literally caters to the top level in every way, and receives pay. As someone making my first foray into that league, I must say that there is no benefit to it. Even with a paid league, I've experienced terrible scheduling, and the added hassle of client issues (which is clearly a useless program at this point). Nothing is perfect, and I'm thankful for our admins even if they do sometimes choose extremely dumb policies for this league.
    • I have been perfect in my conduct in every way. I'm super nice to everyone and its just these few bad apples ruining it for everyone else
      The "few bad apples" mentality is a huge red herring in every community and discussion, whether it be police brutality or black lives matter, the antifa or alt-right, muslims or christians, runescape players or the tf2 hl community. The fact of the matter is this, as members of the community, we are complicit in the conduct of our community, whether we like it or not. When we don't speak out against this behavior, we normalize it, and it defines us as it is doing so now. This is why I'm writing this post, to help stop this normalization. If you truly are acting in a professional manner and believe this post does not apply to you in any way, please help us reform this league for the better. Don't ring toxic players. Don't roster toxic players. Don't play against teams or on teams that only troll in scrims and have toxic mumble environments. If, like me, you have no choice but to continue interaction with toxic people due to their majority in plat, help these people become better human beings. Call them out on their actions, like what was being done in the review thread. I'll voice one now: wax, what you did to bv after you cried to myself and meo to be picked up for weeks was absolutely abhorrent. I personally voted against allowing your return, and would have rather stuck with larryt or gotten a measurably worse engi than allow your "meme" and reroster you. Fortunately for you meo's desperation to succeed this season outweighed her integrity and dignity, so you are back.



    Bv has been told recently that everyone thinks that we hate every player in this league. I would say that while this is entirely true (and it is definitely true for some obvious examples) let me try and phrase it in a way that is more in line with a more likely point of view. I may not speak for all of us, but I certainly hate what this league has become: If and when Bv dies, don't expect me to look to any of you for a new home. I would rather give up everything I have accomplished in this game than associate with you.
    Mix+ Heavy

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paals View Post
    If you truly are acting in a professional manner and believe this post does not apply to you in any way, please help us reform this league for the better. Don't ring toxic players. Don't roster toxic players. Don't play against teams or on teams that only troll in scrims and have toxic mumble environments. If, like me, you have no choice but to continue interaction with toxic people due to their majority in plat, help these people become better human beings. Call them out on their actions, like what was being done in the review thread.
    o7

    Good post. I agree 100%.

  3. #3

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    As a wise man once said- "give respect to earn respect"

    Seriously though I agree with most of what you have to say and I commend you for writing it. The blurb about the state of hlpugs was spot on.

    However I disagree with the "If and when Bv dies, don't expect me to look to any of you for a new home. I would rather give up everything I have accomplished in this game than associate with you." little blurb at the end. Regardless or not if you truly feel this way about everyone not on Bv, it makes you sound stuck up and kind of an asshole that nobody really wants to associate with... kind of like the so called toxic players you are lampooning in this article.

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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sovereign View Post
    o7

    Good post. I agree 100%.
    When paals is saying dont ring toxic players hes not talking about not allowing any ringers at all Sovereign

    Also wanted to mention that teams like 2w are what happens when you take this game like its a professional esport, and I cannot stand it.

  6. #6

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    There are most definitely teams to model after in plat, such as Bv and 2w with the way the conduct themselves, but the issue is that these teams are not at the top, and instead the teams at the top are those that people model after/keep their eyes on the most (dK), in my opinion Karl (and other top plat leaders) should set a standard for picking up players who are not only championship-caliber, and also who are good people, but obviously that didn't/won't happen. So in a way this "I'm the best fuck you" mentality is glorified and is picked up by many players trying to reach the top. I'm willing to admit that I have picked up these tendencies, but after reading this post and seeing how much better this league can be without that type of mentality, I hope others can realize the only people holding this league back are the players.

  7. #7

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    So wax leaving your roster because he thought he was being picked up on dK - a much better team than Bv - is a prime example of toxicity? lol

  8. #8

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    Can anyone post the Gabe Vod of the "Gold Council" as exhibit A for me? Thank you.

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  10. #10

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    is it really that hard to admit that the top teams are filled with trolls because 85% of the actual good players left lol

    ive played hl since season 3 and this is probably the 2nd worst ive ever seen the talent pool, just accept it my man

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by brick View Post
    Can anyone post the Gabe Vod of the "Gold Council" as exhibit A for me? Thank you.
    oh my god that thing

  12. #12

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    Very brave of you Paals, I think I hear someone shouting "Ban Paals!" in the distance...


    We'll see what comes of this, though. I know I avoided joining the pug sessions because captains kept killing the thing instead of picking, but if the issue is being worked on I may start playing again.


    Quote Originally Posted by brick View Post
    Can anyone post the Gabe Vod of the "Gold Council" as exhibit A for me? Thank you.
    I remember that night, it was impressive that so many gold players were gathered into one mumble, but it was fucking hilarious when they got you in there lol.

  13. #13

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    This is why Paals is admin of hlpugs.tf

    Quote Originally Posted by Grandislayer View Post
    We'll see what comes of this, though. I know I avoided joining the pug sessions because captains kept killing the thing instead of picking, but if the issue is being worked on I may start playing again.
    We took captain away from literally everyone who killed a PUG for an illegitimate reason because it wasted time for everyone involved. Hopefully it's better now.

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  15. #15

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    i think alot of the toxicity comes from the age of player base. alot of people playing now are in high school

    also i always found it kinda retarded how everyone shittalks bv despite a ton of teams being worse than them. idk wat ground these random silver players have to shittalk bv but it needs to stop

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