A code of conduct is way overdue
One of the big complaints about some competitive games is how pro players aren’t held to a higher standard, or in some cases, any standard at all.
As a frequent tournament watcher/goer I get it, they drive the game and provide valuable feedback, helping the scene in ways that aren’t always quantifiable. But in some cases, they’re able to get away with activities that a developer would otherwise ban a member of the general public for. And with the highly visible Overwatch League in full swing (pre-season just ended, kickoff is on January 10), Blizzard seems to want to actually clamp down on unsportsmanlike conduct.
Just this past week, Felix “xQc” Lengyel of the Dallas Fuel Overwatch League team threw online games (read: lost on purpose) on stream in anger, and was given a seven day suspension from Blizzard. So far the League has been pretty tame when it comes to issues like this (at least compared to other pro sports), with various suspensions being doled out for sharing accounts and boosting other accounts for cash — but with no proper code of conduct, Blizzard will have to deal with each incident on a case-by-case basis.
It all leads into another common talking point now that eSports are truly going mainstream — handles. Is it time to give up the idea of calling someone “Murder Face” and just refer to them as their given name first, then have those nicknames as an after-the-fact sort of thing (like Terrell Owens and “TO” or Chad Johnson and Ochocinco before he made it official)?
It would certainly add more accountability to all of the fame and fortune that goes with being a public figure (especially in the Overwatch League, which provides its players with salaries). I’m not sure if I’d push for it quite yet, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it — either way, leagues like this have a long way to go and you can bet there will be many more run-ins like the one Lengyel just had.