MLG. For those who know me they will know I hate MLG. Or More correctly I hate the fallout impacting and twisting gaming thatís coming as a result of the MLG.
The reason Iím writing this now is honestly because I feel itís possible that MLG are beginning to question themselves with a recent video of an MLG team playing Halo 4 having their members question if MLG is right to change the game and if they should be playing the game as is out of box.
Iíve been part of the competitive community for a while and while I was in the competitive community it was enjoyable enough, this was pre MLG days when the game was played as essentially a Gentlemanís agreement over fair play with people monitoring it but it never being a serious issue. In the game battles MLG age itís becoming more of an issue with reports from previous gears of war tournaments suggesting the use of glitches being allowed due to the perception that ďthe developers left it in to be usedĒ. With the recent MLG controversy due to two teams apparently agreeing to ďrig the matchĒ by splitting the prize money and to be able to hide their strategies for play in a larger prize tournament its becoming evident that MLG wants to go one way while gamers seemingly wish to go another. The Incident resulted in a final match that while fan pleasing apparently upset many casters and MLG staff. The main thing to take from that is fan pleasing.
I have never slipped into the MLG scene and most of my interactions have been more the MLG scene attempting to drag me in via MLG rules matches (sometimes unavoidable due to queue options) and MLG members proclaiming like some religious leader that ďMLG has come to finally let you play a balanced gameĒ. I do know a bit about the scene and I can to an extend understand the ideas behind the actions such as specific rules to try and work out the perceived imbalance in games. My main issue and the reason Iíve never found MLG to be particularly enjoyable is it seems to be the two extremes either a weapon everyone has or whatís considered a power weapon is in the game. To take Red Faction Guerrilla as an example MLG rules removed a large selection of packs and removed trip mines, remote mines and rocket launchers stating the weapons were unbalanced yet they left in a sniper rifle that can see through and shoot through walls claiming it was a power weapon. Why ? What makes remote mines unbalanced because you can set traps yet a super powered sniper rifle capable of shooting through 90% of the level a legitimate power weapon ?
The big issue is removing the character of the game with again using Red faction as the example MLG removed most of the destruction weapons, looking at MLG the problem with the MLG balance seems to be turning games into Major League Grey games which all play roughly the same rather than their unique character. As a person who does watch some gameplay and will watch streams I like the random chaos in games. While everyone associated with MLG will now cry in unison ďBut Random elements arenít balancedĒ to which I honestly say they arenít that fun to watch. Take a very recent world cup with its scientifically designed perfect ball that produces the same results in all situations, the football that came from that world cup wasnít great because the consistency in the ball prevented players using ďSweet SpotsĒ on the ball to Bend it like Beckham. While MLG offers a clinical environment with many more people being able to stream these days and people outside of the MLG community wanting to see the random chaos it really is hitting MLG and some team members questioning if MLG is going the right way or if itís only a matter of time before another group comes up who are more than happy to create fan pleasing matches rather than clinical games.
A great example being the spectacle that is Smash Bros Melee pro scene where only 1 level I believe 1 item and one character are allowed to be used as every other is considered too unbalanced. For anyone who has watched non MLG matches of Smash bros before youíll know how spectacular they are to see while MLG matches are mostly the same.
How MLG rules could be described
The next reason MLG is not some bright future to bring gaming into a mainstream sport is the pressure on developers as many seem to think they need to bring in the MLG crowd often at the expense of the ďcasualĒ (I hate that term) crowd. The thing is this is one of the few times youíll find me defending the ďcasualĒ crowd as for all the dumbing down and butchering of games its caused in gaming the casual crowd have it right in terms of multiplayer and playing for the joy of it, win or lose. Something I believe the ďhardcoreĒ crowd have forgotten. The MLG crowd (the followers not the pros themselves) are stat obsessed and often very similar to the MOBA community in terms of the levels of abuse you can garner and often with the level of stat obsession. Iíve been kicked out of public matches due to my stats not being up to par, let me say that again Iíve been on teams with MLG players (no pros but fans) who have worked to kick me out of the game because they looked up my stats and felt I would affect their stats by playing with me, not even allowing me to play the match and see how I did. Worse still this was me avoiding the MLG playlist and running into these people in a normal playlist.
imagine if this were the attitude in any other activity say in a park, being told you can't keep playing because you're not good enough for them. Or worse you they have a series of stats on you and refuse to let you have fun based on those stats
MLG essentially need to be looking to the future as at present while they have plenty of viewers most are part of the community and want to try to reach the pro level they donít have what they want and what gaming needs. To be more of a public thing and something of more of spectator sport. The idea behind MLG was an attempt to create a gaming scene like the Korean Starcraft scene but it hasnít reached that and as the only game in town at present with higher end tech and production compared essentially to people streaming regular matches without the rules.
While I can get MLG its their organisation their rules the problem very simply most of the time the game isnít theirs itís the developers who make it and its debatable if the MLG rules are evolving the games. With games like Football (Soccer for you in the US) itís a game thatís evolved and stuck round for a long time while MLG sees a game turn around very quick and without them evolving it as the changes are in the hands of the devs. So while any-one can go down to a park and play football and know the rules, MLG rules arenít the standard public rules and can only be played with friends who get the rules or with a group who get the rules. The Big issue with having two rule sets and a very defensive intense community is the fighting it causes, the worst side of this can be MLG players in public matches yelling at them for not playing by MLG rules. This kind of thing drives even gamers off from the community.
So the future of gaming being seen on the same level as the Korean Starcraft scene is years off yet and MLG needs to evolve to be more viewer friendly and less ingrained and aimed at only its own members. At present with sponsors like Mountain Dew and Doritos etc gaming isnít getting the change in public perception that MLG is held high for by its fans, what it is showing is junk food eating angry people who will do anything to win and have to play by rules the public arenít used to and by public I donít just mean the regular Joe on the street many gamers also wonít know what on earth the MLG rules are for many games they actually play. Also the fact MLG seems to want to get away from sportsmanship, as while people want a good match why shouldnít two teams agree to play knowing neither will lose out, surely thatís the point in most sports especially team ones. Here in the UK if football clubs were forced to win and nothing else or there was no money it would be questionable how many would still be going as many of the top players and teams get paid win or lose. Sure winning helps but itís not all that keeps them running as many get money simply from being in streamed / broadcast matches. With a big MLG limiting factor now being that for many events you have to be an MLG member to watch and while this may work for sports channels if Evo 2012 has shown much itís that if people get a chance to watch high end play they will.