The Overwatch League Should Lighten Up: The Shanghai Dragons Incident

Another Day, Another Drama

The drama continues.

Two Shanghai Dragons players were fined 3,000 RMB (or about $450) yesterday for sharing an account, something that breaks Blizzard’s code of conduct.

Fang “Undead” Chao and Liu “Xushu” Junji were sharing Xushu’s alternate account in order to play Competitive Play mode together, since their rankings were too far apart to do so.

“Regarding to the account sharing issue between Undead and Xushu, we sincerely apologize to the gaming community for the negative impact caused by this,” said a Shanghai Dragons representative on their official Twitter account. The apology included this note:

“It’s truly understood that this behavior has violated Blizzard’s account use codes, as well as the team’s internal regulations,” the letter states. “As professional game players, they should have acted as role models and abided by Blizzard’s account use codes […] We appreciate the gamers’ community for its supervision on play ethics. The support from the community has enabled us to grow better and keep on improving ourselves.”

This unfortunate situation comes after the Shanghai Dragons’ surprising double defeat (once to Seoul Dynasty and second to Boston Uprising) during the preseason last week.

Promises, Shame and “Dereliction of Duty”

By the sounds of this grave letter, you’d really think something major was going on.

And I won’t say if I believe it’s major or not yet. But here’s the exact situation at hand: While taking a day off from training on Dec. 10, Xushu and Undead decided to enter a game by duo queue for “leisure play.” Since their account rankings were “not even close,” Undead used Xushu’s personal side account in order to play with Xushu. They played three rounds this way until team leader Shaco noticed the behavior and allegedly asked them to stop and log out immediately.

Along with the fines, Shaco will also not receive his monthly bonus for “dereliction of duty.” Xushu and Undead were also made to promise that they’d never partake in such actions again. For better or worse, the Shanghai Dragons truly took the offense seriously.

They seemed truly and deeply ashamed.

So the question is: Should they be?

Twitter Responds

The apology sparked a lot of debate on Twitter, with the Overwatch community quick to come to both Blizzard and Shanghai Dragons’ aid.

“Nearly everyone does this,” voiced @lmaoHex. “Sucks that people are getting fined for it. But such is life.”

Another Shanghai Dragons supporter stated: “Come on guys, this is way too much. They just wanted to find a way to play together.” The user goes on to say: “[The punishment for the leader is also] too much. Just slap their wrists. What they did doesn’t affect anyone.”

But not everyone was against Blizzard’s policy on sharing accounts.

“Just because everyone does it doesn’t mean it’s right. It’s still against the rules,” said @skemiio.

“Maybe they shouldn’t be professionals if they don’t want to play professionally,” another user bluntly commented.

It seemed very VERY split. There were those who felt the rules were ridiculous, and others who felt the players were not above Blizzard’s rules, professionals or not.

It’s Not Even the First Season Yet

This incident has come shortly after Philadelphia Fusion’s SADO was suspended from the Overwatch League preseason for boosting accounts back in South Korea. And, let’s not forget, Dallas Fuel’s xQc issuing out an apology after a three-day suspension for improper use of Blizzard’s reporting policy.

It seems like there’s a new dilemma with player behavior every week.

And it begs the question: Are the Overwatch League players just careless and oblivious to Blizzard’s rules, or do they just not care at all what the rules are?

There really seems to be a lot of rule breaking. But part of me truly believes there’s just a high chance of rule breaking when there are this many rules. Blizzard has a lot of rules and regulations. And they’re very specific about what they expect professional players not to do.

“I do not like that word ‘role model’ in Shanghai Dragons’ statement,” said our very own editor Terrel, when I asked him how he felt about the incident. “I mean if they start fining people all the time for profile sharing I can almost guarantee that it’s going to be a fine fiesta.”

Right.

Sharing accounts is so common. It’s not like they were doing it for money, like SADO’s boosting. Or were swearing and harassing other players for their hero selections, like xQc. This seems quite innocent compared to those two incidents. It’s something that Undead and Xushu did during their off time, while playing for fun. It wasn’t during any official practice time. And it wasn’t affecting the outcome of the Overwatch League itself.

All they wanted to do was play together.

My Take

But I actually feel the Shanghai Dragons reacted accordingly.

While Terrel doesn’t like the use of “role models,” I actually can see the point Shanghai Dragons were trying to make in their apology: These are the supposed best of the best Overwatch players in the League. These guys are now idols to younger or more casual Overwatch players. People admire them, whether they should or not.

And while it’s not the players’ fault if someone decides to idolize or emulate them, they still should respect the position they are in. The position they were given by Blizzard.

It’s arrogant and ridiculous to believe that professional players are above Blizzard’s rules and regulations. In fact, I believe they should be held accountable even moreso than casual players. While I don’t believe what Undead and Xushu did was really all that terrible – and I truly feel they weren’t doing it maliciously – I also firmly believe that if you want to compete in the Overwatch League, you should respect BLizzard’s rules.

It’s that simple.

The League hasn’t even started yet. If we let the players get away with rule breaking and don’t hold them accountable for their actions, how will Blizzard suddenly turn around and start punishing other players for different incidents later on? Why would some players be above the rules and others aren’t? Why would some rule breaking be permitted, but some aren’t? It would create a sort of mayhem, and leave punishment up to debate as a matter of opinion.

This way, Blizzard has shown League teams that they are going to be very serious about rule breaking, no matter how minor. And the League is showing players they will comply with Blizzard’s regulations. No matter what. And this will hopefully create less room for rule breaking in the future.

It’s Blizzard’s house. And it’s their rules.

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iamoliviar

Olivia is a professional journalist, freelancer, and is still undefeated at Mario Kart Double Dash. When she's not writing, Olivia likes to play Overwatch and watch Futurama.