Recently TotalBiscuit referenced in one of his TeamLiquid posts that he was extremely disappointed and turned off of America based on Shoutcraft America winter and the behaviour of the American players participating. There were lots of arguments, and of course a lot of people vehemently disagreed.
Over the past year, I've run SC2CTL an American-based team league for the community. And while many of these teams may not necessarily be "pro", many of them would call themselves "semi-pro" and definitely aspire to be at the pro level someday. The league had a prize pool of $700 for the masters/grandmasters division, so the teams definitely had incentive to play above and beyond simply loving the game.
The results astounded me. If you talk to anyone who participated in the league, the walkovers were so pervasive it was almost suffocating. Looking at the results each week made me sick - this thing that I loved and had put so much effort into was being ignored by those who claim to have loved it so much. Today, while I was writing a post-mortem for SC2CTL, I was running some hard stats on how many walkovers we actually had, and decided that it really warranted its own post.
Some background information for those that are unfamiliar with the format and what a walkover would actually constitute: there were two main ways a team would be walked over
- They didn't submit their roster by 11:55PM on Tuesday
- They didn't show up to a scheduled match at all.
SC2CTL was run in a proleague format, where groups and matches were generated on Sunday, and then teams had until Tuesday night, or a full 48 hours to simply say "this player is playing on this map". After that point, they had the whole week to simply play those games. The games need not be played all at once, or even in order, each player on the roster simply had to alott 20 minutes of their week to playing that one game on that one map. Though rosters were due on Tuesday, disqualifications rarely happened until Friday after many attempts to communicate with the team (and of course, being ignored by said team). Another way is simply if the team scheduled a match and didn't show, leaving their opponents high and dry. This was much less common, as teams rarely had the organizational capacity to even communicate a match time in the first place.
If I seem bitter, it's because I am, and when you see the numbers below I think you'll agree it's well deserved. This is what TotalBiscuit was talking about when he was complaining about the NA scene reaping what it sows. If there was any single factor I would attribute to ceasing the operations of SC2CTL, it would be the incredible numbers of North American teams choosing to throw away a fantastic opportunity - the opportunity to compete in a fun, semi-professional environment for real money and exposure - in favour of shitting all over my hard work to improve the community. The incredible amounts of player apathy towards the game, devoid of any real dedication to speak of was an eye-opener for me.
I would however like to give a specific shoutout to IvD Gaming who was registered at the start of the season, but backed out before the first match was ready because they had the organizational capacity to realize that they would not be able to commit to something like this and opted to do the decent thing and withdraw.
Number of matches that were a 4-0 walkover: 32/109, or 30%
Number of distinct teams that gave up at least one 4-0 walkover: 19/43, or 44% This means that nearly half of the teams present completely forfeitted at least one match. Four teams gave up 2 walkovers and three teams gave up a whopping 3 walkovers.
Number of matches with at least one game being a forfeit: 68/109, or 62%
Some interesting notes on this: if a game had at least one forfeit and was not a walkover the average number of games forfeitted was 1.7. With only 4 games needed to win a best of seven, that means in one third of the games 100% of the match was forfeit and, on average, in another third of the games nearly 50% of the games required to win were forfeits. The high score is Fallacy vs Armata Gaming with five total walkovers and zero real games played. It's like looking at a comedy.
Number of matches that were a 4-0 walkover: 13/77, or 17%
Number of distinct teams that gave up at least one 4-0 walkover: 10/28, or 36%
There was only a single team that gave up two walkovers, all other teams only had a single walkover.
Number of matches with at least one game being a forfeit: 29/77, or 38%
The average number of games forfeitted here was still 1.6, so astoundingly high.
I think the most interesting part to me is how much more dedicated the platinum/diamond players were compared to the Masters/Grandmasters. While it is apparent in the walkover rate - 17 to 30 percent - it was even more noticable when following the league. The rosters for the Platinum/Diamond division were consistently submitted before the masters/grandmasters, and games were played early and often in the week, compared to masters/grandmasters waiting until sunday at 10PM, just hours before results were due.
I can't make any prescriptions as to why this is, I'm only a diamond level player myself, but I will say this: from what I've seen the high-level players in America, in general, really don't appreciate the opportunites afforded to them, in my league or Shoutcraft Winter or the various other events that have existed. If I was to support the Starcraft community at any time in the future, it wouldn't be the players in Grandmasters league. The "casual" players seem much more willing to put in the effort.
As a final note, because this post was overwhelmingly negative, I do want to mention that while I was extremely disappointed with the performance of the team in the regular league season, the finals were a fantastic show that were a great effort from the four teams involved. You can catch the vods if you want on wingnutsc's youtube channel.