Team Singapore OWWC23 - Reflection, Regrets, Responsibility
I initially did not want to say too much about what happened internally, but since things have been taken a bit too public for my liking with names thrown here and there including mine. I wanted to give my honest perspective about the whole situation.
To preface, I love this game, but more importantly I enjoyed the community behind it. If not for this region (SEA/PAC) or the local community, I probably would not have invested so much time and passion on Overwatch in it's waning years. When the World Cup was announced to be back this year, I was truly grateful to be appointed as part of the committee as it showed my efforts had brought me somewhere I was proud of, and compared to the sweatiness of the Contenders scene, the World Cup scene was a nice respite where all the countries came in to celebrate the game we are all passionate about. I enjoyed all the interactions I had with players and committees from other nations both publicly and privately. The community was why I applied for Social Lead, and not General Manager, even though I am a Manager in Contenders.
Moving on to Team Singapore, it seemed the picture being painted now is that there was two polar opposite sides, the assholes, and the victims with names being thrown out. Coming into the team, the final initial roster that we've built, there were certainly players who did not care as much as the game as others and there was an obvious knowledge gap between certain players which is common throughout the world cup teams. As the weeks went on, the team environment got tenser and tenser, and of no help by other sides. While I certainly was personally closer to the side painted as assholes, having known them for longer, I do acknowledge they did not treat their teammates as well as they could have, however frustrations were definitely understandable. I believe the World Cup is a stage where you represent your country to shine light on a scene which might not often be in the spotlight, and you would try your best to do well, cause upsets and prove yourselves. In a group as competitive as APAC B, Singapore was undeniably the underdogs, which means the pressure was greater to perform to qualify. To me, the clear goal was to qualify for playoffs. While I cannot understand everyone's true motivations and see every effort they put it, to me and the other players, there were definitely certain players which to us did not put in as much effort as they should. Players were playing other games during scrims, leaving immediately after scrims missing out team discussions, even though they were behind on game knowledge. While I do acknowledge many of them are coming back after not playing for a long time in which OW may not be a priority to them anymore, they signed up to play and it hurts to see certain players not putting in as much effort to catch up even while behind. In fact, saying the "better" players were not including them is false. Lumi added Bubblekitty and Azalea to his Contenders roster so they could unwash, he also added Overshake, a more inexperienced player to learn more about the game. In which I want to give a shoutout to Overshake, while he was one of the weaker players at the start, it was visible he tried his best to improve for the team. He did this by joining a Korean Open Division team to gain more knowledge and practice as well as receiving feedback well, showing visible improvements from day one to the last scrim we had. Sgy and Lumi constantly had VOD reviews with each other after scrims, which was in our team channel for anyone to join, however most of the time, people left immediately after scrims and were not there. They (the 3 "assholes") also constantly criticised each other's game play to improve, so to say they were a "circlejerk" is completely false to me too. At the end, after seeing no initiative from certain players, they sort of gave up and focused on helping those who wanted help, such as Overshake. There was once after a bad scrim where the so called shouting happened by another player where Lumi privately messaged them to make sure they were not too down and to not worry about it too much. Sgy clearly had the game knowledge out of everyone on the team, however I found his criticism to be objective to the game and not personal. Infact I found him the most tame and objective out of the trifecta who got kick mentioned. When Lumi was ego-dueling the other tank and not taking priority over the team, he and Kame were the ones also scolded Lumi the most for it. When JohnGalt was away due to understandable personal commitments, he stepped up and tried to hold objective, concise VOD reviews with clear step by step goals to help the team. This was not required for him, he could have easily ego'ed the other players and not bothered to help and focused on his contenders team and own gameplay, but he took the time after every scrim to go through the replays to find things the team could work on. Even in our last scrim, which was the first scrim with our new roster after Lumi got banned, when things weren't going well he gave clear goals each member could work on and that other gameplay mistakes were Okay as it was only the first scrim. While Akame was certainly not the nicest person and made people on the team frustrated, he definitely toned it down after the committee talked to him.
My opinion is that, if one side is trying harder, and the other is not. I would favour the side who is trying harder as to me the World Cup is an opportunity to represent your country's skill the best and not for fun and games. The joy comes from improving together and qualifying, not playing "for fun" with no intention of qualifying and not putting in your best.
This is where today happened. In the last week, a new roster was proposed and seemingly agreed upon by me and Maya, the general manager. The roster was Sgy, Kame, Yunko, Overshake, Neebs and Vips, this was after Lumi got "banned". This also was after JohnGalt decided to step down as his direction of the team wasn't to win, but to have fun, as he felt like coaching the team was not fun to him anymore. I understand his decision as he is in a different stage of life compared to a lot of the players where OW and Esports might not be his priority anymore, this I don't blame him for as World Cup does not pay much and is more of a passion project. Maya told me she was working with Blizzard to approve the roster, but after a few days, she started to ignore my messages more and more about the frustrations I had about the team. Today, we had our first set of scrims with the new roster, where although the new replacements might not have been strong at the start, everyone had a attitude to learn from each other and things were going well. Lumi even agreed to help the team and the new Tank who was thrown into an unfortunate situation having to come in last minute due to Lumi being banned. However, he (Yunko) was excited at the opportunity and was eager to learn from the rest of the team and Lumi. Mind you, throughout this 4 hour scrim session with the new roster where the environment was getting better, Neither JohnGalt nor Maya was there. I, the Social Lead who was in-charge of Social Media was the one who planned the scrim schedule and booked scrims for the team the past week, and from day one was there at every single scrim and vod review even though I was just the Social Media guy, because I truly wanted the team to succeed.
2 hours after said scrim, Maya privately called Kame and Sgy where she said they were kicked from the roster. As someone who previously said all decisions had to be done with the team and that she "valued" transparency. She made this decision between herself and JohnGalt. I, a committee member was not aware of this decision AT ALL and was even asked by her to attend the scrims that day. This meant in the week leading up to this, she lied to me about allowing the new roster we formed to play, and completely left me in the dark in which she and johngalt made all the decisions, as to them my opinion wasn't needed as it was a 1v2 anyways where they had the majority vote. None of the players knew about this either. Imagine getting a chance to play on the World Cup team just for 2 of your most experienced teammates to get kicked. Thus, the outroar as seen on social media happened.
The most bizarre thing is that JohnGalt is going to step down regardless, which means he is kicking the 3 most experienced players on the team and then just leaving without taking responsibility. While he said he was going to choose the next roster, it's 1 month before the tournament and literally none of the remaining players want to stay in the team anymore and I know most players in the scene do not want to tryout because of how embarassing the situation is. Not to mention, this "new roster" which is set out to fail is going to be thrown as a new head coach, who is definitely going to be inexperienced as we do not have many competent coaches in SG.
So yes, 1 month before the tournament, we are in one of the most competitive groups in which we initially had a underdog chance in qualifying. We now have no roster, No Head Coach, and no players want to play for the team anymore. While I was definitely unprofessional in what I posted on our official twitter, I am understandably frustrated. I stayed with this scene for the pat 4 years and most people in the community knows how much I tried for this region to be back in the spotlight. JohnGalt left the scene in 2020 and has not worked with most of the newer players. It felt as though throughout these past few months, while I was able to give my opinion, my opinion was not truly respected. And as a Social Lead, I did not have the power or say in anything due to the nature of my role which I applied for, although I have been a Contenders Manager and in the Tier 2 scene since 2020.
Right now, JohnGalt wants to build a team "for fun", in an event where you are supposed to represent your country and showcase the best talents in your nation. Tell me one national athlete who goes to the Olympics for fun. Does it make sense?
It's obvious the remaining committee wants me out and whatever I say has no effect because Blizzard is on their side. However, they have enraged the entire Singaporean OW community, even players in the scene before who haven't played since years are learning about this and frustrated with the attitude given to our National roster. It's a shame to say that this year's world cup is basically done for. I have no idea who is even going to represent us but I wish them the best of luck nonetheless. For now, I will focus on Contenders with my team DAF and see where the wind takes me.
To Sgy, Kame, Lumi: Although I did not agree with many of the actions you guys did, I understood your objective and you guys clearly cared about the team and wanted the best for Singapore. Thank you for everything you've done and sorry I wasn't of help.
To Overshake: You were actually the person I was closest to in the team having known you since you were a diamond player in 2019 and was truly happy and excited that you made the team and I could work with you. While you were not the strongest player, you understood that and gave it your all to improve and you did show it in-game. It's unfortunate things turned out this year.
To Yunko, Vips, Neebs: Sorry for jebaiting you guys :(
To Azalea, Xexo and Bubble: While I wasn't the closest to you guys and maybe you guys think I disliked you guys because I seemed to side with the others, do know that I appreciate the effort small or big regardless you put in to the team.
To JG and Maya: I was truly excited to work with you guys, shame things ended this way.
I certainly could have been better, and had my downfalls, but I really did try my best for the team and everyone involved. Sad to see it go this way.