We all saw the Twitter feud between Leffen and Chillindude that started with the discussion of who should be considered "Smash Gods". We also saw Westballz and Hax go at it too. All this salt and BM (bad manners) are a major part of eSports, but what does it do to the reputation of the community?
In my opinion, I love seeing BM in eSports because it brings in drama and drama brings in viewers, especially with Melee, the most hype Smash game. All of this trash talk on Twitter gets me so excited for their matches at Apex 2015. In the fighting game community, where skill is tested in a 1v1 setting, it's all dependent on yourself rather than a team. It's a true test of skill so anyone who is being BM should really feel the pressure to back it up.
Seeing salt from pros gets hilarious most of the time
Smash has recently started adapting to the "eSports" style of commentating and as a result, excludes negative langauge in commentary. Guest commentators have even recently been kicked off of stream for slipping in their language. This is nice to see in the professional viewpoint of eSports and also to avoid drama from using terms such as "rape" or the n-word. But sometimes, I wish that major tournaments could be uncensored such as what Smash at the Foundry does on Tuesdays in San Francisco.
Salt also plays a role in earning team sponsorships. Teams don't want to see their players always showing BM and salt. The occasional is fine, but when you're a consistent salty player, it's not good for the image of eSports, especially when players look up to popular figures.
I've attended both the Season 3 semifinals of the League of Legends World Championships and Nintendo's Smash Invitational at E3, and I can say that the Smash community is much louder and excited for their events than the League community. The 9 hour wait in line for Nintendo's tournament was way worth it. I can say that I love the Smash community in the few months I've been involved with it way much more than the League community. Being able to meet and play with Smash pros weekly, rather than the exclusivity and quasi-egotism the League pros have is amazing.
Lets get back to BM though. The worst type of BM is the personal type that happens in friendlies. Look at the word "friendly". Doesn't it mean a "friendly" match played between members of the same community? Well, sometimes this doesn't happen. Friendlies are meant for players to learn and develop in their game. Sometimes BM in friendlies is funny, but when it gets personal, it's bad.
I've recently learned how to Wobble in Melee and I used it in my loser's match at a recent local I attended. I meant for it to be a joke, but I actually got 3 stocks off of my opponent just from Wobbling. I ended up losing the match and set though, but it made me feel dirty for almost winning with Wobbling. I heard someone say behind me during my Ice Climbers match, "That's so gay" and I even apologized to my opponent for using that tactic, but surprisingly, he told me it's a legit tactic and it was his fault he was getting grabbed.
But of course, in the viewpoint of a professional gamer, it's your job to do well. Some emotion is appropriate to show, but listen to this advice from professional hockey player Illya Bryzgalov above and you'll realize how ridiculous BM is when you're just playing a friendly.
Players need to learn how to be humble and accepting of their wins and losses. What's the use of complaining that a certain character is overpowered? They're still gonna be played and they're still gonna be in the game.
I was able to ask Axe and ChuDat regarding their opinions on salt and BM in eSports
What do you think about BM in eSports? Is it good or bad for the community?
ChuDat: "Personally I like BM in eSports because it motivates others to play better. Nobody likes it when you get BM'ed, so you want to show them up and beat them. When you do, it feels really good."
Axe: "There is such a thing as trash talking your opponent while still being respectful. As long as you still do things like shake your opponents' hand and respect the boundary between trash talk and attacking them personally, then it's acceptable IMO. What's NOT acceptable is if you're being just a straight-up douchebag and keep being disrespectful even though you know your opponent is offended by your comments. Some people take it way too far and have no remorse. The reason why light trash talk is acceptable is because it produces healthy rivalries where 2 players are driven to defeat one another, which makes them train harder and builds more hype. However, there is definitely a boundary which you shouldn't cross."
What Salty Suite match are you most excited for?
ChuDat: "I'm very excited to see the outcome of Leffen vs Chillin. $100 on the line is a lot and I know each of them are going to practice a lot so they can win. Most importantly, their Fox colors are on the line. I can't imagine Chillin using an orange Fox or a blue Fox. It would be funny if he lost but, of course, I'm rooting for Chillin!"
Axe: "I'm extremely excited to see Chillin vs. Leffen. Chillin is a very prideful individual and doesn't take lightly to trash talk, and Leffen is the king of trash talk. Results point to Leffen easily taking it, but Chillin is a very passionate player that shouldn't be taken lightly. If he wants to win badly enough, I have a feeling we may see a big upset."
How do you deal with salty players?
ChuDat: "I love Salty Players. It's so funny watching them lose to a tactic I use over and over again. The best part is, they can't figure out how to beat me. That's so entertaining. Other things I find amusing are the insults I get after they lose to me. I'm not insulted because I'm laughing too much to care."
Axe: "I've been going to SSBM tournaments for 8 years now, and I've dealt with a lot of salty players after a loss. Some people won't shake my hand, and others throw their controllers, and some do neither but still aren't respectful towards me. The best thing I can do is stay respectful and try to shake their hand anyway (not being forceful of course). Usually if I give them enough time to cool off, they come back to me later and apologize and everything's good. It can be tough to deal with sometimes, but I always stay respectful. Plus a lot of times it drives them to keep practicing so they can try to beat me the next time we meet up, which is a good thing. I love the challenge, and it always makes me happy seeing people want to improve in Melee."
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