Jacob, VP at Infinite, and I both agreed from the very beginning that this would be a long process; rebuilding a top team takes time, but he assured me that I was an integral part of his plans for the future. He took a lot of input from me about which players we should get, and he made it very clear that everyone he was recommending was mature, and easy to work with. I was skeptical of having a majority of Danish players on the team because it could have the potential to create a division amongst the team, but he assured me again that they weren't difficult to work with. At the beginning things were going well, everyone was adjusting, learning about each other, and the hunger was there. We had a few problems occasionally with Konfig's punctuality and Gade’s attitude, but since we were face to face in the office everyday they were openly talked about and little improvements were made.
Unfortunately we started having internet issues at the office so we moved the PC’s back to our individual apartments. I knew this would be risky because people could get comfortable and start to slack, but at the beginning it was going well; we were still meeting up in my apartment and reviewing games and strategy. However, our gameplay, although we were doing well, still had some major issues, partly do to the Danes not being used to my style of in-game leading, but also our CT sides lacked major chemistry.
During this time of struggling in-game, the division amongst the team started to become apparent. Chet, Myself and Shahz started to feel uncomfortable because the Danes would always discuss issues in Danish. We felt left out because even though they might not be discussing in-game issues that were involving Shahz and I, we still felt that things should be discussed in English so that everyone can have input and give suggestions. We brought up numerous times over the course of the past few months that we should be speaking English, but every time, their response (mainly Cajun’s), was, “if we have something to tell you, we’ll tell you in English.” Even out of game, when we would grab food together, all of us felt super uncomfortable, because there were even times when we heard our names being mentioned and when asked they said it was nothing.
At this point, things started to get uncomfortable, so I had everyone come over and I held a team meeting. We discussed how Gade was still portraying a negative attitude and it was spreading throughout the team, discussed Konfig’s punctuality, and the lack of chemistry in-game. The Danes all told me that they preferred a more structured style, similar to what they had on their previous teams, so I reworked everything and presented it to them at this meeting, and we all got back on the same page. Practice for the next few days went well, but again, I started noticing bad habits coming back and things weren’t improving anymore.
We were still struggling, and started to lose some games we shouldn’t. Then one day after a bad loss, Cajun and Konfig told everyone that they received an offer from a team and if possible, they would take it. Even though nothing came of this offer, it clearly showed how checked out they already were. I don’t know how Gade took the news, because he was left out of this potential deal, but things just started to get worse and worse. There was division amongst the team, we were just told that if they had a chance to leave, they would, and things weren’t being fixed in-game. We even tried Cajun as IGL for about a week until we got battered by C9 in ECS where after he told me I should IGL again because it was affecting him too much. Also, after the C9 game, Konfig just said that he gives up and wants to go back home.
Overall, it was just impossible to find a middle ground. People refused to come to solutions. There was a week where we had matches everyday, and Chet, myself and Shahz constantly said that we should watch our demos so that can fix our mistakes, and Cajun just flat out refused, his reasons being we were too busy and we’d get into arguments.
After nothing seemed to be working, we discussed potentially replacing Gade in which everyone initially agreed. As stated before, when Cajun and Konfig received the offer from another org to leave, they made it clear that they didn’t rate Gade as highly as them and wouldn’t take him with them even if they could. So when Cajun asked Chet if Shahz and myself still wanted to play with him and Konfig, we said yes but we should discuss replacing Gade, and they agreed. We started naming potential replacements but felt it was better to meet in person to discuss it.
In one final meeting where we tried to find a solution for everything, it just became clear things would never work. We found out that Cajun (not sure if Konfig/Gade) tried to replace Shahz and I literally only one month after forming this team, recommending to Jacob that they get Allu and Friberg. Cajun and Konfig backed out of replacing Gade and called him up to the room to get everything out in the open. Gade revealed the reason he was always so frustrated and negative was because the “tone of my voice” and said that I wasn’t fit for competitive gaming. We also learned that almost after every loss, the Danes would just go to Chet’s apartment and constantly point the blame in the direction of Shahz and myself, instead of bringing any issues they had out into the open so they could be worked on. They just constantly said, we don’t have chemistry, and kept suggesting we should disband.
Throughout this entire nightmare, I tried to keep in contact with Jacob when things got out of hand. When Cajun and Konfig told us of their offer to leave, I brought it up to Jacob and he said we don’t need to worry; they wouldn’t be leaving. We had meetings where I explained everything that was going wrong and he again, assured me I wouldn’t need to worry. Chet also kept him informed constantly about our problems and Jacob explicitly told him that we would eventually have to start to replace some of the Danish players. He kept making it seem like he was going to make changes but keep Shahz and I. He said that Cajun was the only one who was willing to make it work, and that the other two would not be returning. Shahz and I told him that this was odd because Cajun was the one throughout this whole thing who was most difficult to work with, from refusing to watch the demos, to refusing to speak English in front of me, Chet and Shahz. As the deadline approached, we started to worry because nothing was being done to sign players for an NA roster. We couldn’t help but feel that Jacob was prioritizing negotiating with EU players to build a fully Danish roster. The worst part of it all is that Shahz and I learned from another source that our replacements were already signed, before even hearing a word about it from Jacob himself.
It is a shame that my return to Optic had to come to such a quick and bitter end, but I am happy to leave behind teammates who do not respect me enough to tell me the truth. To the fans, I’m sorry I couldn’t rebuild Optic to where it was before. Although things ended the way they did, I’d still like to thank Jacob for the opportunity, because I really feel that his intentions were good. I appreciate your help over the past few days as we sorted things out. I’ll definitely miss the fans and the incredible staff we got to work with throughout the past few months, but I just want to move on and play the game that I love.