Tuesday, September 25, 2012

From Romania and Back

It is no secret that drama and scandal are the cornerstones of attention. Shakespeare knew this, so did Joseph Pulitzer, and those pesky and resourceful editors on TMZ definitely know about this. It only makes sense that the Starcraft scene would abide to this fact as well.

Just in the last 24 hours, the scene experienced a big shocker. Vera Lynn, who broke grounds as a female gamer by earning a spot in the “Grandmaster” league, the top 200 players on a server, or where all the Professionals are ranked, and even beating accomplished players like Sjow and Ziktomi in showmatches. An inspiration for her fellow women gamers, she gained much notoriety as that “Irish Girl GM Zerg.” She even streamed replay analysis and ladder games, proving her skills and contributing back to the community. This allowed to her to be part of popular instructional sites, like sixpoolgaming.com and Z33k.com, and offer others her wisdom that allowed a simple computer nerdling to achieve Grandmaster on arguably the 2nd hardest Bnet server in the world.

While gaming in general is certainly not as male dominated as it once was, women are now a huge part of the MMO market,  professional and competitive gaming no doubt still is a man’s world. It is very rare for women to break into the top S-class of these titles, let it be Halo, Quake, Brood War, or even League of Legends. There are a few women who were able to give the upper echelon of competition a run for their money, like Colagirl in Warcraft III or Tossgirl in Brood War (How appropriate for them to be named “girl).

The Face of Female Brood War in South Korea, and so much prettier than Vera Lynn, See Below

They dominated their counterparts in female only leagues and tournaments. While they never won any major tournaments involving the men, they still could smash 99% of the playing populations of their respected games. Vera Lynn was going to carry that banner in this new age. Sure, she was a bit smug, feisty, and disingenuous towards beating “the boys”, but c’mon, she had the skills to back it up. Right?  (Okay it is a bit extreme to say that she is the only female gamer doing work in SC2 as it is simply not the truth, but the sake of argumentation, please go along with it).

Well that’s where the Disney movie plot takes a nosedive.

In an investigatory piece by KawaiiRice of Light E-sports, he compiles a list of reasons that show this Vera Lynn character, who now is pretty well known for her skills and her gender, that shows she is a fraud.
The bottom line here is that she never played in those tournament games, showmatches, and even the ladder game. It was the skills of a Romanian zerg player named DeathAngel, who is quite solid but not one of the top dawgs in Europe. This op-ed piece byMr. Rice is beautifully articulated and definitely proves beyond the shadow of doubt her guiltiness. The most damning pieces of evidence include-

1)      Different stream set up when she is replay casting compared to when she was supposedly “laddering”
2)      Same exact hot keys and APM spam as older replays of DeathAngel
3)      Pop ups from Windows that were in Romanian

E-Sport Detectives KawaiiRice and Desrow. Picture from Reddit.

Unless this Irish lady has roots in Eastern Europe, the 3rd fact is just one people in the criminal world call “Bad Luck.”

So all of this promise and potential are just a series of lies, just straight up. Both parties have come to admit that this little agreement was happening so there is nothing to dispute here, but there are few interesting points that were brought up in the fallout of this reveal.

1)      DeathAngel says that Girl’s get so much attention, just due to the fact they are a Girl.

      While, yes this may be true, but this is kind of pointing out the obvious. I mean, probably since the dawn of time. Guys want girls who share their hobbies, especially gaming.
2)      How far is someone willing to go along with a lie?

After being outed, her 1st line of her public statement is:
“First of all, I'm glad I got caught and I can finally end this…”

So how long were you going to do this stunt than??? After reading this news, I went along and found some interviews with this Vera character, and watched a bit of her time on the Yegwen show, a Polish personality. She goes onto this show and brags about beating Dragon on stream and “embarrassing” him in front of his viewers. Citing her middle school logic of “you got beat by a girl,” and laughing as the Korean terran is squirming on his camera. She was so proud of this moment as she even showed her mum (mom) her victory. Sigh, it is quite a mindblowing procedure to look back before she was outed, and just see how much fun she was having being that “bad ass bitch.”

The look of, "Hey, I fooled a lot of people on the internet."

Vera insists her goals were pure and just wanted to “Promote in E-sports,”  but in no reality I see this having any positive effects in the scene. This just sets back female gamers so much and creates that much of more skeptical viewing audience, as people are making up storylines and characters just to have their share of E-fame.

I heard once a great quote about police officers, and in went along the lines of:“ The Police will always catch the bad guys because while the Police can make many mistakes, a criminal needs to make only one mistake to be caught.”

Now I only wish I could remember where it was from…

3)      The scene is hard to break in, even for solid players, unless you have some sort of gimmick (gimmick not in a bad way, just meaning something that is not associated with actual gameplay)

DeathAngel is a pretty good player, I remember reading about his Code A qualifier adventures when he was in Korea about a year ago. He has won online tournaments here and there, but is not a “popular” player by any means. He will not get any invites to a Dreamhack or a showmatch. After the accusations, he said himself that he went along with this con because he wanted to play against good people, and through this other vehicle, or person, he wanted to break the hypocrisy and expose how hard it is to be respected.

I honestly agree with his statements, but this whole scam is just something that affected too many things and people, and got quite out of hand. But, hey, I am sure everyone knows DeathAngel ‘s name now, just like how they know Spades. At least infamy is some sort of fame.

People should support Scarlett, she is the real deal, and why people got excited over some Irish lady being a ladder warrior, is beyond me.

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