Over the past few weeks, the gaming community has been consumed by a strange episode — one involving a game called Overwatch, a player named Ellie and a so-called social experiment gone wrong.
For the unfamiliar, Overwatch is a first-person shooter video game in which teams of six players must work together to accomplish an objective while avoiding being killed by opposing teams. As of May 2018, there were approximately 40 million Overwatch players regularly battling it out worldwide, making the game one of the most popular out there.
It is also a spectator sport, with serious money at stake; the Overwatch League is a professional e-sports organization akin to the N.B.A. and the N.F.L. that hands out millions of dollars in prize money and brings in millions of viewers. This league is, in turn, fed by the Overwatch Contenders, a series of tournaments designed to identify talented young players who could turn professional.
It will surprise no one to learn that a vast majority of these players, professionals and amateurs alike, are male and that women who venture into these spaces face an especially unpleasant environment. Women who compete professionally in e-sports face heckling from teammates and fans, and are sometimes accused of serving as fronts for male players. At the same time, team owners with an eye toward reaching a potentially gigantic untapped market of young female viewers remain eager to diversify their rosters to provide an entry point for girls who might never have thought of video games as being “for them.”
Into this toxic storm came Ellie.
Ellie — no last name given — appeared at first to be a previously undiscovered, highly ranked female player who’d seemingly come out of nowhere to dominate the Overwatch leader boards. As such, she was a tempting recruit for the Contenders team Second Wind, which, according to a statement released this month, had found itself “desperately” in need of a new player to fill a hole in its roster.
Ellie, however, proved reticent to reveal anything about her identity other than her online alias. Some fans argued that she did so with good reason: The e-sports world has an ugly history of haranguing female players to the breaking point. In 2015, for instance, Hyerim Lee, a professional competitor known as MagicAmy in another popular game, Hearthstone, was accused by a fellow player of being nothing more than a pretty face and a front for an anonymous man or team of players. These accusations led to an investigation; Ms. Lee was vindicated and her employer, the team Tempo Storm, offered to “support MagicAmy in an attempt to clear her name.” However, in the wake of the negative attention, Ms. Lee opted to retire from professional play instead.
In 2016, another professional player — this time an Overwatch specialist — named Kim Se-yeon and known as Geguri, also faced charges of cheating from her male competitors, though in her case she was accused of simply hacking the game itself, not of having a man play for her. At least two players were so confident that she must have been pulling the wool over the community’s eyes that they staked their careers on it, promising not only to apologize but also to retire from the league if they were proved wrong. To their credit, they did so following a live-streamed event where she demonstrated her preternatural mouse skills for all to see.
So there was reason enough for Ellie to want to keep her identity a secret, and Second Wind indicated it would respect Ellie’s desire for privacy. Others, however, remained suspicious and soon enough the cycle of harassment, abuse, threats and calls for doxxing began. (Doxxing is the online practice of publishing people’s personal, private information without their consent.) Not long after, Ellie announced that she would not be playing for Second Wind after all. It seemed as though yet another female e-sports athlete had been driven away from the scene.
But this time, the story had a twist. Soon after her early retirement was announced, another highly accomplished but as yet undrafted Overwatch player calling himself Punisher confessed to a fellow player that he was, in fact, the man behind the Ellie persona and that the entire fiasco was intended to function as a kind of “social experiment.” In other words, it turned out that Ellie really had been lying about her identity all along.
The strange story of Ellie underscores a few facets of e-sports that still make the industry unusual, even as it has expanded into a multimillion-dollar business. The first is the degree to which it allows for anonymity: Unlike players in traditional sports, e-sports athletes are not necessarily expected to be physically present at an event to compete, and the Overwatch Contenders rules do not require participants to use their legal names.
The second is that e-sports pose no physical barriers to mixed-gender competition. It is a realm in which quick thinking, creative problem-solving and hand-eye coordination, not size or strength, are needed to succeed.
Despite this — or perhaps because of it — fans and gamers have erected a series of informal psychological barriers against female participation. Some male players will go so far as to throw their games in protest against playing with women; indeed, one of the players on Ellie’s team, Second Wind’s team captain, Robert Blohm (HaKu), went as far as to say that “females should not be” in top-ranking games with him. (He later tweeted an apology.) These barriers and gatekeeping even extend to fandom: Female gamers with no professional aspirations are regularly accused by their male counterparts of being “fake geek girls” — which certainly isn’t helpful for an industry trying to expand its viewership.
If Punisher was conducting a “social experiment,” it isn’t clear what he was trying to prove. Was it intended to demonstrate the trials and tribulations that female e-sports athletes must endure on their way to the top? If so, for many fans, the fact that no woman ever actually existed proved only that games media outlets were a little too quick to call the community sexist. Was it to demonstrate that women actually have an easier time than men when it comes to achieving success — because Punisher himself went unsigned, while “Ellie” was snapped up immediately? If so, it’s worth asking why Second Wind was willing to take such a humongous risk on an unknown quantity. What did it see as the potential benefits? What public relations problems did they think she might be able to help solve?
Only one thing is certain: Punisher’s “social experiment” did not take place in a vacuum, and the memory of it will linger in the Overwatch community, for good or ill. In the aftermath of Ellie’s swift rise and fall, women trying to break into professional e-sports will probably face greater pressure than ever to prove their existence to male fans. That is not a good outcome, either for the women themselves or for an industry that needs them.
Megan Condis is an assistant professor of game studies at Texas Tech University and the author of “Gaming Masculinity: Trolls, Fake Geeks, and the Gendered Battle for Online Culture.”B:
九个生肖复式五肖几组【任】【小】【粟】【看】【着】【鼻】【青】【脸】【肿】【的】【秦】【笙】，【心】【中】【有】【些】【哭】【笑】【不】【得】，【甭】【管】【秦】【笙】【承】【不】【承】【认】，【他】【都】【明】【白】，【前】【两】【天】【翻】【进】【院】【子】【里】【的】【人】，【一】【定】【是】【眼】【前】【这】【个】【和】【自】【己】【同】【龄】【的】【少】【年】【骑】【士】。 【只】【是】【任】【小】【粟】【疑】【惑】【道】：“【你】【怎】【么】【跑】【来】61【号】【壁】【垒】【了】【啊】？” “【奥】，”【秦】【笙】【一】【本】【正】【经】【的】【解】【释】【道】：“【我】【们】【组】【织】【有】【个】【规】【矩】，【成】【为】【骑】【士】【之】【后】【必】【须】【在】【集】【镇】【上】【待】【一】【年】，【因】【为】【我】
【大】【概】【是】【有】【了】【他】【们】【的】【支】【持】，【霍】【司】【宸】【的】【求】【生】【意】【志】【变】【强】【了】，【手】【术】【进】【行】【得】【很】【成】【功】。 【他】【被】【医】【生】【从】【手】【术】【室】【里】【推】【出】【来】【的】【时】【候】，【江】【知】【暖】【他】【们】【一】【家】【子】【在】【手】【术】【室】【门】【口】【抱】【头】【痛】【哭】。 【霍】【司】【宸】【昏】【睡】【了】【好】【几】【天】，【醒】【来】【之】【后】，【第】【一】【眼】【看】【到】【的】【就】【是】【江】【知】【暖】。 “【小】【暖】，【等】【我】【出】【院】【抽】【空】【去】【帮】【你】【恢】【复】【身】【份】【吧】。” 【江】【知】【暖】【摇】【摇】【头】，“【不】【用】，【我】【现】【在】【的】
【罗】【昊】【眼】【神】【幽】【怨】【的】【看】【了】【眼】【司】【徒】【空】。 【真】【的】，【如】【果】【不】【是】【大】【家】【十】【几】【年】【的】【过】【命】【交】【情】，【如】【果】【不】【是】【因】【为】【司】【徒】【空】【是】【自】【己】【一】【手】【带】【进】【龙】【隐】【部】【队】【的】，【罗】【昊】【真】【的】【想】【要】【大】【喊】【一】【句】，“【有】【内】【鬼】，【终】【止】【交】【易】”！ 【司】【徒】【空】【也】【是】【满】【脸】【无】【辜】。 【刚】【才】【自】【己】【真】【的】【只】【是】【想】【要】【调】【侃】【一】【下】【叶】【萧】，【可】【是】【没】【想】【到】【叶】【萧】【会】【有】【这】【样】【的】【回】【答】，【完】【全】【不】【按】【套】【路】【出】【牌】，【自】【己】【这】【辈】九个生肖复式五肖几组【陶】【罐】【爆】【裂】【的】【震】【慑】，【首】【领】【死】【亡】【的】【打】【击】，【直】【接】【让】【黑】【衣】【刺】【客】【们】【乱】【了】【方】【寸】。 【护】【卫】【们】【倒】【是】【士】【气】【大】【增】！【听】【到】【赵】【清】【山】【的】【话】【以】【后】，【一】【个】【个】【嗷】【嗷】【叫】【着】【扑】【向】【刺】【客】！ 【局】【面】【顿】【时】【逆】【转】！ “【啊】！”【惨】【叫】【声】【突】【然】【传】【来】，【是】【一】【个】【刺】【客】【在】【慌】【乱】【的】【抵】【抗】【中】【被】【护】【卫】【卸】【下】【了】【手】【臂】！ “【我】【的】【手】！【我】【的】【手】！”【刺】【客】【痛】【苦】【的】【嚎】【叫】，【头】【不】【停】【地】【转】【动】，【寻】【找】【着】
【且】【先】【不】【说】【那】【镶】【嵌】【着】【宝】【石】【的】【行】【车】，【便】【是】【护】【卫】【在】【左】【右】【的】【士】【卒】，【便】【是】【个】【个】【高】【手】。 【堂】【堂】【金】【丹】【初】【期】【修】【为】【的】【强】【者】，【居】【然】【也】【只】【是】【个】【跑】【腿】【的】【护】【卫】，【此】【等】【阵】【势】，【便】【是】【皇】【帝】【也】【不】【过】【如】【此】【了】【吧】。 【整】【齐】【划】【一】【的】【队】【伍】【从】【人】【群】【中】【蛮】【横】【的】【走】【过】，【根】【据】【传】【讯】【玉】【符】【传】【递】【的】【信】【息】，【向】【着】【王】【府】【一】【路】【奔】【去】。 【而】【此】【时】【正】【身】【处】【在】【大】【牢】【的】【方】【家】【众】【人】，【却】【是】【满】【脸】【的】
【庐】【天】【书】【院】【的】【竹】【林】【深】【处】，【外】【面】【下】【着】【雪】，【不】【算】【大】，【但】【也】【不】【小】，【若】【是】【在】【外】【面】【站】【的】【久】【了】，【身】【上】【定】【会】【有】【积】【雪】。 【从】【屋】【里】【看】【着】【外】【面】，【雪】【花】【围】【绕】【着】【竹】【子】【纷】【纷】【扬】【扬】，【景】【色】【极】【为】【好】【看】。 【颜】【无】【虞】【已】【经】【将】【书】【院】【的】【事】【情】【处】【理】【完】【毕】，【好】【不】【容】【易】【坐】【下】【来】【安】【安】【静】【静】【的】【喝】【茶】【看】【书】，【便】【从】【窗】【外】【看】【见】【外】【面】【一】【个】【身】【影】【急】【匆】【匆】【的】【进】【来】。 【颜】【无】【涯】【在】【门】【口】【抖】【了】【抖】
【顾】【明】【卿】【看】【着】【那】【些】【黑】【衣】【人】，【冷】【然】【一】【笑】，“【驸】【马】【爷】，【你】【确】【定】【是】【我】【们】【看】【不】【到】【明】【天】【的】【太】【阳】？” 【话】【落】，【顾】【明】【卿】【身】【后】【支】【援】【的】【黑】【衣】【人】【也】【已】【经】【到】【了】，【如】【此】，【两】【边】【的】【人】【都】【差】【不】【多】。 【聂】【云】【看】【着】【那】【些】【人】，【脸】【色】【变】【得】【很】【难】【看】，【心】【里】【闪】【过】【慌】【乱】【和】【无】【措】。 【彻】【底】【暴】【露】【了】，【现】【在】【就】【是】【拼】【个】【你】【死】【我】【活】，【出】【路】【的】【时】【候】【了】。 “【顾】【明】【卿】，【那】【我】【们】【就】【看】