A safer space for competitive CS:GO players

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The ESEA League returns to South Africa with a special twist aimed at creating a space to grow new talent and a safe space to play.
Written by Sam WrightPublished on
Following on from their Gamedock Cup earlier this month, the South African tournament organiser has partnered with ESEA to introduce the ESEA league back to South Africa with a special twist aimed at creating a space to grow new talent and a safe space to play.
Gamedock recently ran their Gamedock Cup for the South African CSGO community and introduced “Tournament B”. For years the higher echelons of the esport have dominated the prize pools and as such, for many new competitive players it has been off putting to enter local events and compete. Tournament B allowed teams who did not qualify for the final to compete in a secondary tournament for prizes.
After the success of the event, with more than 35 teams signing up to compete, the tournament organiser announced that they had partnered with ESEA to allow South African teams to compete in Season 35 of the ESEA League. The ESEA League is a pay to play model which has historically been off putting to lesser experienced competitive players who felt they were simply contributing to a prize pool guaranteed to the higher level teams. However, Gamedock has given the latest ESEA iteration a twist: teams who compete will not only be able to compete for the ESEA prize pool on offer, but the tournament organiser will host a secondary finals cup for teams who do not make the playoffs. This Gamedock Open Cup will run at the end of the regular season and offer up a prize pool of R15 000.
Goliath Gaming coach and Gamedock co-founder Thulani “LighteRTZ” Sishi explains why ESEA is important for the region and also why new players will benefit from the improved structure:
“ESEA has been one of the important pillars to the growth of the CSGO scene since 2015 with leagues running every 3 months or so with prize pools ranging from $2000 to $2700.
This was the foundation for Bravado Gaming's Project Destiny which was realised after having competed at ESEA’s MDL Challenge in Los Angeles at the end of 2015. Ultimately it allows new teams to map out their road to achieving their goals as individuals through the Pug platform matchmaking with an anti cheat environment and teams through their regular leagues, practice servers and in depth statistics from match results.”
ESEA themselves have voiced support for the South African scene, Rank S/G Community Manager Jackson “el_jack0” Wolf was quick to say how impressed the organisation has been with Gamedock’s passion and commitment to grow the local region. The safer competitive space really is a highlight of the ESEA offering, while still allowing competitors a chance to match up against the best in the region. Sishi explains the benefit of a system like this for South African players:
“It’s important for teams to every once in a while match up against the best in the region, as a team and individual, to gauge what level you are competing at and how much you need to improve to get to the top of the ladder. It is crucial to be implementing these learnings against your more evenly matched opponents to get better and close the gap between yourself and the players/teams from the top tier. Getting ‘rekt’ also forces you to improve under pressure and teaches you how to manage it.
This Cup and other tournaments recently hosted by Gamedock allow teams to be more competitive against evenly matched opponents, improve, get rewarded for their efforts and subsequently begin their preparations to take on the big teams! It sucks putting in a lot of hours and not getting rewarded. That has been a recurring issue for our scene and is exactly what we are looking to change! If you are attracting lower level teams to grind their way through a consistent & regular circuit, while being exposed to all levels of difficulty, on a platform that is designed for you to improve and monitor your progress while doing so, the scene can only grow.”
Ruan “Elusive” van Wyk, a former Bravado Gaming player who was one of the members who relocated to the United States for Project Destiny, echoes LighteRTZ sentiments:
“The best way to improve as a player and as a team is to play against stronger opponents. However, the gap between teams is very relevant. In the past, teams were put off from the ESEA leagues because of the top tier teams. The best way to address this issue is by creating more opportunities for players which will aid the development of the players and the scene. Creating more leagues, divisions and tournaments that cater for teams outside the top tier will motivate newcomers to participate.”
Dimitri “Detrony” Hadjipaschali, the player who led Bravado Gaming to the USA and has since returned home to build the organisation and local esports has been a consistent voice in promoting esports to a new player and finding ways to introduce “young blood” to the scene. After taking a look at the Tournament B type structure he had praise for the Gamedock offering:
“This is an approach I have personally been encouraging for you, not just for titles like Counter-Strike - but for many other titles. Creating second opportunities outside the top “isolated” teams that are constantly only competing against each other so much more often is a good start. It’s a new approach in order to create a secondary “bubble” and an isolated system to assist teams to improve and supply them with a safe space to play. There’s nothing Gamedock could have introduced better here.”
Taking this idea a step further, Gamedock will also host a complimentary women’s cup for the women’s teams who sign up to compete in ESEA. This will mean the ladies not only have their own competition with prize money, but will be able to compete after taking part in the main ESEA league. It is arguably extremely important for women’s teams to compete on equal playing fields with the male teams while still afforded the opportunity to separately compete - thus increasing the level of competition and experience in the South African ladies teams. The midseason Female Cup will run after 8 league matches and have a prize pool of R10 000 for any ladies’ teams that are currently competing in the league.
Most importantly though, the introduction of ESEA will now provide a safe space for competitive CSGO players. There have been increasing complaints from the South African gaming community around racism, sexism and homophobia in gaming lobbies. ESEA offers up a safer space for players. LighteRTZ explains: “Cheating and Toxicity have been a thorn in the esports scene so it's only right to have a platform like ESEA that creates an environment that monitors and bans those who transgress basic rules and regulations. A place where players feel comfortable and expect the integrity of the game to be upheld so an anti-cheat and reporting system goes a long way in making that possible - but it is the total representation of our local competitive player base that is the main goal and without a diverse & inclusive competitive circuit designed for our scene, it becomes difficult to achieve.”