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Is Loyalty or Growth More Important in Esports

By Chris Blain in Sports
| September 26, 2017 12:00 am PDT
esports-players

When we hear the word loyalty, it is always one of those words that have an impact on us; tugging on our heartstrings. We show loyalty to family, friends, and even jobs in many circumstances.

It is the foundation of our society and trust in our fellow man; that which we hold so near and dear.

All too often loyalty seems to be what people blame for their downfall. Their reason for lack of success found within the world was in some way hampered by those that they kept close.

Instead of taking that leap into success, they held back, and now blame those to whom they remained loyal as their reason for not going for it. All too often we have heard the phrase “would have, could have or should have,” yet those sound more like excuses than anything.

Where does our loyalty get us in this world?

Except when they are not excuses. Loyalty is often a real reason that people allow themselves to be held back, especially in esports.

The Team

One of the fundamental concepts that a coach attempts to instill in their teams is comradery and the sense that you are part of a team. Comradery is rather important in building confidence in and cohesion with one another.

Many businesses and corporate structures attempt to do this same thing to gain the benefits that a sports team would. This concept is well and good except that at a certain point, individual growth is sometimes forgotten for team growth.

The player or employee will forget about what will grow them as an individual and focus on the team and only the team. Overall this is the mindset to build because rather than building the success of one, it may ensure the success of many.

On a team, there is typically one player who holds everything together. They are the glue. When something breaks or becomes an issue in the squad, that individual seems to be the one to fix it. Opportunities may arise for that player that would be in their best interest to take, yet it would hurt the team, so they never take it.

Individuals who find themselves in this “glue” role will place the needs of others above their own needs. Their mental dedication has changed from “I” to “We” and that is all there is.

Teams thrive on success, and when things are going well, everything seems to glow in a positive light.

But success is not found in measuring a team’s strength; you measure it in their failures. How a team reacts to their failures will indicate the real cohesion behind the team.

No one can win everything. As hard as a team tries to maintain its place in the world as the top dog, that team more than likely will suffer defeat. The team succeeds or fails, and no one person is responsible.

The word “we” seems to be applied when there is a success, but when there is failure, the word “you” is thrown around, and others are blamed when the team loses.

The group is strong and united when things are going their way yet when they separate or break again, who seems to find the blame? The glue does.

Hitting the Wall

Reaching a wall with your companions is something that is difficult to admit. Teams have had those star players that have been able to push them further, to pull them even further over that precipice that blocked their path to victory.

Until finally, it becomes impossible to continue doing this. Everyone has limits, and after all, there is no I in a team. That single player, as much as they might have the desire to, cannot get the team over the hurdles that stand in their way.

When your squad has reached its limit, and there does not appear to be any way to expand their growth further, it is tricky to be in this position. One of the fundamental problems professionals find themselves dealing with in esports is this issue of loyalty.

This problem is rampant in the video game world, because typically, your teammates are your friends.

These are people you might personally know or have known for years. They might be content with the current skill level they are playing at because after all, they are video games. They may be unwilling or unable to step it up to get to the next level.

In many cases, the “glue” player, the bonding agent holding everything together, might feel responsible for the squad, and by venturing out on their own, they feel they are abandoning their comrades.

Abandonment is a complicated issue to deal with since teams are based on commitments and communal growth. What about that key player? Are they just to accept where they are at, knowing that they will not progress, and with no ability to change this outcome?

Or…

Will they consider their own success, and leap out on their own?

Betrayal

When a player abandons his or her teammates in hopes to better themselves, it seems like a dastardly move. They are putting their self-interest ahead of their team and rather than pull the team up with them; they walked away.

There is a certain stigma attached to a person or team when a star player is no longer a part of the roster. What caused that player to leave? Did they just care about themselves more than the team?

Caring about themselves more than the team is not always why a person left or is no longer a part of the group. They might have been forced out in some way or another, leaving themselves known as a betrayer. This scenario seems far worse for that player than just the act of leaving.

Knowing the sacrifice and heart you have given for your team, and after everything you have been through together, it is especially difficult to have the team turn their back on you and cast you out.

We truly do not always know the dynamics of what caused a rift in the first place, and sometimes people just go their separate ways. Obtaining facts before casting judgment is often preferable but seldom is the case.

Esports Rivalry

The reasons behind departure many times stay hidden. One thing is certain when a player is removed or leaves a team, there will be……rivalry. There will be an intense form of rivalry with a former team or player because the familiarity will always be in the back of their minds. Familiarity does not always have to be negative.

When a player is either removed or leaves his or her fellows, it opens a new chapter in the lives of these individuals. These new beginnings can be very beneficial to both that player and the team, as strange as it sounds. Allow me to explain.

We often see that teams are solely reliant on one or more key players that seem to dictate the functions of the whole unit. They may not necessarily be the most skilled, yet they appear to be what holds everything together, taking a leadership role.

When there is a loss of this player (or players), it forces the remainder of the team to step it up to succeed without them. Sink or swim comes into play, making them better because of it.

The same concept goes for the player or players who either chose to leave or were removed. They could spread their wings and find their place, without the limitations of the team holding them back.

Rivalry with the team or player can give them a drive and a new sense of purpose, to meet their former comrades and defeat them in absolute glory, if they so choose to embrace that mentality. So, you see, teams or players in this situation can either blame one another and sulk or grow from the experience.

The Players Dilemma

There is a genuine reason to push for your success rather than team loyalty. Let’s face it; most people play video games for fun.

It is typically viewed as and used as a method to wind down after a hard day of work or school. The thought of turning the hobby into a profession is not typically on the radar.

If a person finds themselves in a situation that they can get to the pro level, should they take it? Should they accept an invitation from or the option to try out for a professional team if one were to come their way?

What are the other choices if they want to go pro? They can stay with their teams and attempt the professional path. Staying with their team will require that person to motivate his or her friends to step it up to the next level and get to the point that they can find sponsorship in that esport of choice.

If they are fortunate and extremely skilled, they can fight their way up the tournament ladders. Dreams do come true.

To be honest with ourselves, that is often just a pipe dream. Teams have been established for many years and keep a competitive edge on the scene.

Going from a casual, fun squad to a professional competitor does not typically ‘just happen.’ There is a huge amount of work and dedication, with a little luck, to go from point A to B, and most people are not up to the challenge.

If they are willing to step it up, then there are options for the whole squad to be recruited. Being recruited in its entirety is possible when a professional team admits them into their academy.

Professional teams draft from either within the scene or from the ladders themselves, opting to either make trades or poach other players from opposing teams. Many times, if they have a spot opening for a game, they will hold tryouts.

Much of the time these professional teams have their reservoir of players to choose from already within that team’s academies. These institutes typically allow for top players to try out to get into them and are basically video game training schools.

These training schools are the place for players to grow into the next level of their gaming, and players skill will genuinely be reflected here. Whether the squad came in together or players came by themselves; only the strong will survive.

The options presented make for a rather confusing set of choices for any player in this situation. It seems there is no right choice for them. They can make their go at it solo or with their team, two options with different paths to get there. Ultimately, the decision is up to the individual.

Wagering Impact

Knowing what to bet on has always been the key success to gambling. Deciding whether you want to place a wager on one person or another largely will have to do with your research or knowledge. This is work and does not just involve researching the team you support but also their competition.

Betting on People

We have witnessed that a player’s loyalty can hold them in one place for a time. They can be responsible for taking their teams to higher categories and can be the backbone of the team’s success.

Loyalty is not always prevalent, however, and as bettors, we must keep our observational eyes open. One must look for any possible issues that are arising within a team. The squad can crumble as quickly as it forms.

When you are researching any esports team, it does not hurt to keep some players in mind that stick out. The “stars” are often the players in the leadership role.

Figuring out which person is the glue that binds the rest together is essential. This person may not always be the team captain or the most skilled. It may not even be a player but a coach.

Whenever placing money down on any situation, you want to go in with knowledge. Do not always rely on just a team’s claims about what they bring to the table. Instead, keep an eye on the actions of the people involved.

Free Agents Mean Changes

When teams make changes, this can change on whom you intend to place your wagers. Dynamics will be different if the coaching staff or roster differ, as well, so be sure to keep an eye on these.

New players brought onto a team mean more research for the savvy bettor. These players have a history somewhere, and it is important when placing wagers that you find it out.

Discover where they came from and any news of what lead to their departure. Also, find out what type of player they have been in the past, and the kind of cohesion that they may or may not bring to a team.

Additions do not always indicate a positive change in a group, and while doing your player research, you must determine why they added them at all. Was it for their skill? Was it to replace another crucial team member?

Teams have leaders and followers. Identifying individual team history is essential to understand their dynamics and how they might now fit into their new role.

If they were a leader and now will become a follower for example, will this impact their play?

There is the concept of “too much glue,” where the cohesion of the team will not allow for quick changes. The introduction of a new player may not go over well with the current players, and their addition can be problematic rather than contribute to the success of the team.

Determine if they were recruited from within the scene itself and figure out if there is a history with other teams.  This process can indicate if there is a mental game for that player, whether they are going up against former teammates and how it can impact their gameplay.

Lower Brackets

Identify who the up-and-coming individuals are within the lower brackets not only by their team’s rankings but by their scores. Recall the whole conversation of loyalty and star players? The lower ranking teams may contain those star players that go unnoticed because the teams do not score highly. These are the buried treasures that may go unnoticed by the average gambler but don’t think this goes unnoticed by the professional teams. Their scouts are always watching and looking for that great talent. Keep an eye on the star players as well as the top teams if you wish to succeed with your bets.

Teams will come and go changing their rosters as they see fit. The only factor that you can control is the research you put in. Remember, knowledge is power.

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