Another young and successful eSports kid bites the dust. If anything's going to destroy eSports, it's the players themselves. This article was published in The Weekly All In #42.
Drama of the Week: How to Save a Life: The Definitive Guide to Not Getting Caught Matchfixing
By: Mike Harrell
A few months ago, I had the incredible opportunity to attend BlizzCon in person for the first time. I saw all of my StarCraft heroes, from Neuro to Day9 to David Kim. Perhaps the greatest highlight of them all was coming within arm’s reach from Life on his walk to the stage for the Final match and then getting a high five from, and my badge signed by, sOs after his championship victory.
The thrill from the casters, and spectacle of the stage, and the excitement of the crowd is one of the best memories of my life, period. It’s still almost too good to be true. I have moments where I see a picture I took from the event and think “Wow. I really did that. I was really there.”
Intrinsic v Extrinsic Enjoyment
As with all sport, there are the casual viewers that just want to see the action. The hits in football, the fights in hockey, the explosions in StarCraft. They eventually grow into more refined enthusiasts that notice the overall strategies and common tactics. One day, they may even develop an appreciation of minute details like altering a build order to get a unit out *just* in time, or turning a widow mine back on its owner.
However, the thrill of pure competition isn’t enough for some people. Sometimes, the desire to “make things interesting” goes well beyond a friendly bet, and can lead to not just a significant loss of money, but relationships, careers, and even freedom. This is the very reason that gambling is illegal in so many places, as the thrill of getting a quick return on investment can quickly carry a unwitting person to disaster.
In eSports, large-scale gambling operations have brought us nothing but missed opportunities, broken heroes, and a vague sense of inevitable ruin.
What’s Become of My Life?
In the StarCraft community, we are once again rocked by news that a popular and successful (and not even previously-successful, but currently successful!) player has been arrested in South Korea due to allegations of match fixing.
Just to clarify, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill bet. When we talk about match fixing, it means that the player has made an agreement with an organised crime ring to lose on purpose. Members of that ring then bet on the opposing player, the one sure to win, and make a huge amount of money. The player is then paid for “taking the fall” so that the rest of the ring could benefit.
Yes, organized crime. Like the Mob. Like how Al Capone used to fix boxing matches. It’s the exact same situation, except Savior didn’t have to get punched in the head for several rounds of boxing to make it convincing. Even worse, what may seem like a simple loss to a novice eye can be easily detected before the match even happens thanks to the computerization of betting and odds calculation. And who gets to go to jail when the player gets caught? The player. It’s illegal, it’s dangerous, and there’s no amount of money that will make up for the shame, personal destruction, and jail time that will make it worth getting caught.
It’s Time to Stop
In closing, I have prepared a set of guidelines to help players from getting caught match fixing. I hope that it will prove useful to players and team staff alike.
The Definitive Guide to not Getting Caught Matchfixing:
- Never agree to lose a game on purpose for money. If someone approaches you about doing so, say no and tell your team management about the incident.
- If a coach approaches you about losing a game on purpose for any reason, say no, and tell your team management about the incident.
- If a teammate approaches you about losing a game on purpose for any reason, say no, and tell your team management about the incident.
- If a close friend or family member approaches you about losing a game on purpose for any reason, say no, and tell your team management about the incident.
- If someone calls you calls you and claims to be a Blizzard employee and tells you to lose a game on purpose, say no, and tell your team management about the incident.
- If a shady dude stops you on the street and tells you he has a business proposition for you, say you’re not interested and tell your team management about the incident.
- If you have reason to suspect your opponent or team member agreed to lose a game on purpose, tell your team management about the incident.
- If your team management approaches you about losing a game on purpose for any reason, say no, and call the hotline to get yourself checked into KeSPA Jail.