Blizzard is investigating Overwatch team’s ‘social experiment’ hoax [Updated]

    
43
Plays well with others.

The first female member of an Overwatch Contenders team is now also the first female player to leave an Overwatch Contenders team. Ellie had joined the team Second Wind, but after a barrage of comments regarding the legitimacy of her skill and ad hoc speculation about her having someone else play the game for her, she has opted to step down from the team per owner Justin Hughes.

You may remember that this is almost exactly the same sort of harassment faced by professional player Se-yeon “Geguri” Kim. That’s sure a coincidence.

Meanwhile, over 18,000 Korean Overwatch accounts have been publicly announced as banned for toxic play, ranging from offensive language to intentionally throwing games. Which is definitely a lot of people who are no longer making the game worse for everyone, although it does spark some consideration about the game’s overall community given the number. (It might also lead to some consideration about whether or not naming the accounts is productive, although that’s an outstanding issue.)

Source: Official Site, Twitter via Blizzard Watch (1, 2)
Update 1/4 5:15 p.m. EST
Esports website Dexerto has catalogued Cloud9 streamer Becca “Aspen” Rukavina’s claims that Ellie isn’t a real person, that the player was actually a top 500 player named punisherow posing as a girl named Ellie as he pretended to be her boyfriend. “He did this for like a social experiment thing, and did not expect it to get out of hand,” Aspen said on-stream. The claim has not been confirmed by the outed player, but esports watchers have said Blizzard is now meeting with the team involved for what will presumably become an investigation. So yeah, that just got significantly worse, and this story will likely continue to develop. Hey maybe…

Update 1/4 11:45 p.m. EST
“Ellie’s” Contenders team, Second Wind, has now confirmed that Ellie was a hoax. “We reached out to Blizzard early on to help verify their identity and calm the suspicions about our newest player, doing the best we could for the time being,” the group wrote. “In a bid to respect Ellie’s request for privacy, we contacted Blizzard about not having their name published on the Contenders website. As a team, we admit we handled this poorly. More could have been done to support our players, but we had found ourselves unprepared for the attention Ellie got upon their onboarding; we had full faith in them. Due to our desperation to fill a roster, we unfortunately overlooked crucial information that should have been paid more attention to. We did not properly allocate enough time to communicate with the public as a means to support our players, and as a result caused more questioning that could have been avoided.”

Oh yeah, and the “social experiment” excuse looks a lot less likely now too.

Advertisement

No posts to display

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Utakata

“Esports website Dexerto has catalogued Cloud9 streamer Becca ‘Aspen’ Rukavina’s claims that Ellie isn’t a real person, that the player was actually a top 500 player named punisherow posing as a girl named Ellie as he pretended to be her boyfriend. “

Chiming in very late here…but I think we’ve already got a top contender for our year end list for 2019. And it’s just only turned Jan 8th my end! O.o

Reader
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Sean Barfoot

E-sports are a net negative for video games. The absolute worst.

Reader
Targeter

Reading all of this just made me very tired.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

Tbh this whole farce just seems like some teenage sit com..

Reader
Bruno Brito

What. The. Fuck?

Reader
3dom

> intentionally throwing games

I didn’t know I am *obliged to work as PvP content and/or carry whole groups at the expense of my time and nerves* and compensate bad matchmaking mechanics after I’ve paid for a game.

I intentionally leave games when I’m not happy with matchmaking – which is often questionable (to put it mildly) and place me (casual, mediocre at best) vs actually great players in pre-mades which simply slaughter me in seconds without any chance for me to reciprocate. Sometimes I even leave PvE games when team mates are too dumb and don’t have any clue what to do or farm dailies (“get 24 kills”) rather than do game objectives (“kill the NPC boss”) forcing me to carry whole group even though some modes require full group to cooperate and soloing objectives takes forever. To me these are completely justified reasons to leave and apparently I shouldn’t buy/play Blizzard games.

Reader
Loopy

Overwatch doesn’t allow for a backfill in competitive mode. So that means when you leave a game, you’ve just caused your team to automatically lose because they will be playing 5v6. In my opinion, this is a douche move.

I’m ok with leaving groups that i know will find a replacement within seconds or minutes. I’m not ok with leaving a group and ruining the fun of other 4/5/6/20 people just because it’s not ideal for me.

Reader
Jokerchyld

This is just a symptom, the actual problem is extremely horrible matchmaking and no mechanic to deal with legitimate leavers (such as a disconnect, real world problem, etc). For example, they could “lock” the SR at the end of a match for those who were on the team of 5 instead of FORCING them to lose SR for something they have no control over.

No one wants to waste their time with a team that goes all DPS or no heals. I know for certain I’m not going to sit through 10 minutes of a known loss, I’ll just leave early and save my sanity.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Armsbend

esports getting more stupid and less important every single day. Great as a passive look-see > dumb as a serious “sport”.

Random MMO fan
Reader
Random MMO fan

“Second Wind” has officially released a statement.

TL;DR: “Ellie” is not the person she/he claimed to be, as confirmed by Blizzard.

I hope the future teams will learn from this and will do better background check before rushing to sign up anyone (they don’t need to publish any personal info, all they need is enough info to issue statements like “this person is a unique player and not someone’s alt” if someone will question it somewhere), though unfortunately the damage is already done – many new female OW players who will reach a high enough Comp rank will be called an “Ellie” or be joked about in same context.

Reader
Randy Savage

I was just at UFC 223 where Amanda Nunes became the first female champion in two weight divisions at the same time. The crowd was mostly males and not a single one of us was sitting down for that fight. We were all cheering those female fighters as they made history. Seems like these stupid little video games masquerading as a sport have a long way to go before they’re on the maturity level of two grown adults punching each other in the face inside a cage.

Random MMO fan
Reader
Random MMO fan

What are you even talking about?

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Armsbend

Not sure but I giggled at the last sentence.

Reader
Randy Savage

I’m talking about how there’s less sexism and overall toxicity in a supposedly barbaric sport like cage fighting than there is in these so called “e-sports”. You would think that the opposite would be true just from outward appearances.

Random MMO fan
Reader
Random MMO fan

there’s less sexism and overall toxicity in a supposedly barbaric sport like cage fighting 

Is there? Google finds plenty of instances of sexism in UFC scene, including from athletes themselves. You can’t make a conclusion just from your personal experience.

Besides, your analogy about UFC does not apply in this case. Overwatch is a competitive online game with ranks and matchmaking, this creates HUGE issues with smurfing and account boosting (go read up on that first) due to anonymity the online games provide. Something that is basically impossible in non-online sports where you can observe players live.

This (frequent boosting/smurfing) naturally creates HUGE amount of suspicion when an unknown player with relatively fresh account joins the professional team. That’s the primary reason why this whole controversy occured. Not because “most e-sports fans in Overwatch scene are sexist”, which, of course, is not true because Geguri still plays and nobody harasses her during her streams (I know, because I watch her streams) and especially during live tournaments, and because there are dozens of (non-professional but still competitive) female streamers who stream OW regularly with very few instances of harassment (it still happens, I’ve witnessed it, but not as often as some might want you to think).

Generalizations are bad, dude. So is quickly jumping to conclusions without thorough research.

Reader
Randy Savage

Of course there’s going to be sexism everywhere, but as you pointed out, these games are online which is where sexism is the most rampant, especially with these vitriolic incel types who think gaming is for boys only. I spend a lot of time on MMA forums and there isn’t nearly the same amount of sexist shitposting. Don’t get me wrong; it’s definitely there, but not nearly to the degree that I’ve seen in the gaming community. I’ve encountered far more toxicity with e-sports than actual sports.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

A “social experiment”. It’s like all those assholes with youtube channels that provoke people on the streets and then run away screaming “IT’S JUST A PRANK/SOCIAL EXPERIMENT, BRO!” when the find out that a white guy calling groups of black people the N-bomb isn’t received very well.

So if this is true then I guess if folks were harassing a fictitious character created by someone that’s…uh…less awful? Ugh, I somehow feel even grosser now.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

yeah, its basicaslly internet lingo at this point for utter assholes to to declare any stupid, empathy-less asshole stunt as “social experiments” as though that made them any less of an asshole.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

It’s pretty transparent :( Anybody honestly running an actual experiment wouldn’t do it this way, especially knowing the likely outcome would be a shittier e-scene for the game.