Another esports incident surfaced only a couple of days ago, when an Overwatch team, which goes by the name Minions on the Flank got disqualified from Breakable Barriers after the tournament administrators found out one of their members used third-party software to cheat and gain an unfair advantage over his competitors.
It seems like every week, esports world sees another incident unfold. From unethical and outright manipulative contracts between esports players and organizations to match-fixing, unpaid salaries and tournament winnings and even politically-driven suspensions of esports players, the competitive esports scene have it all. However, if there is one incident that catches the attention of everyone involved in esports it's the use of prohibited third-party software or simply known as "cheating".
It's common knowledge that players who cheat in video games are frowned upon by the gaming community and while meeting a "cheater" in your every-day Call of Duty game might ruin your day, it's the players who cheat in a professional esports tournaments that are regarded by the community as one of the worst kind of esports players.
While one of the biggest offenses an individual can make in professional esports game, cheating is unfortunately deeply embedded in all video games, leading to countless incidents where a player or even a whole team gets caught cheating in a professional match.
Only at the start of this month, there was a huge scandal during DreamHack Winter CS:GO event, where numerous players got caught cheating in a bid to claim a share of the prize pool. While the players in question got caught and suspended from the tournament, it only goes to show cheating in esports is a huge problem, especially considering how many incidents have we been introduced to in the last couple of months.
The most recent incident with a player using cheats in an official esports event happened during Breakable Barriers, which was a Blizzard-ran Overwatch tournament, that took place throughout last weekend.
One of the teams that stood out at the said event was a team that went by the name Minions on the Flank. The said team was built by three Overwatch Contenders players, including a Montreal Rebellion support Benjamin "UltraViolet" David, Clockwork Vendetta’s off-tank Max "Moose" Kießling and his teammates Ricky "Ricky" Foxell and Philip "Munkmutta" Tegman. Joining them were Juan "SaltShaker" Costa, Joseph "Lep" Cambriani and an unknown DPS player WoW, who has reportedly earned his spot with the Overwatch professionals due to his rapid climb on the ranked leaderboard in weeks prior to the event and personal ties with the team captain SaltShaker.
The team had a very successful run through the start of the tournament before they came up against Retired Washing Machine in the final match of the night.
Retired Washing Machine was a team built by the retired Overwatch League player Jacob "JAKE" Lyon, streamer Jeff "emongg" Anderson, James "Cloneman16" D'Arcangelo, former pro and an Overwatch caster Jonathan "Reinforce" Larsson, retired LA Valiant member Scott "Custa" Kennedy, former Boston Uprising support Connor "Avast" Prince and a high-rated DPS player who goes by the name Valentine.
It was reported that before the match between the two teams took off, Valentine was the one to point out WoW has been accused of cheating in the prior weekend's tournament, however, no one took the warnings too seriously. Retired Washing Machine ended up losing their bout with Minions on the Flank (1-3) and while the team took the loss, Valentina was sceptical about WoW's ability to predict the movements of Retired Washing Machine before they happened, which made him decide to investigate.
Valentine decided to look over the VODs of the match, where he spotted some very sketchy movement and shooting of WoW, who was seemingly always one step ahead of his opponents and decided to post the clip on his official Twitter account for everyone to see.
The Valentine's clip showed strong evidence that WoW could be using wallhacks or other third-party software which allows a player to see outlines of the enemies even if they are standing behind a wall. Another clip clearly showed WoW's hero was aiming at the head of a hidden enemy, suggesting he could also be using a prohibited aim assist software also known as "aimbot".
After seeing the clips, Minions on the Flank opted to play their next match, which was set to take place on Sunday, December 22, without WoW as to avoid any further incidents, however, the damage has already been done. During the halftime of their clash with Melody, broadcasters on the Overwatch Contenders Twitch channel announced that team Minions on the Flank had been officially disqualified from the tournament.
While no further explanations as of why the tournament organizers opted to disqualify the team at the time were given, SaltShaker, the team captain, gave an official statement on his Twitter account later that day, unveiling WoW was banned due to his use of third-party software. SaltShaker explained nobody on the team was aware WoW was using prohibited tools and went on to apologize for including him on his team.
His full statement can be found here: http://tl.gd/n_1sr3kr5
Since the announcement, WoW can no longer be found on the official Overwatch competitive leaderboards, suggesting Blizzard has permanently banned the player from the game. While the player deservingly got handed a ban from Overwatch, it's sad to see the whole team being forced out of the tournament, which only goes to show, cheating in esports does not only harm the offender but first and foremost other players and teams involved.