On November 18th, 2020 Robin “Juggleguy” Harn received a letter that every tournament and event organizer in the Smash world dreads: The cease and desist.
Nintendo issued a cease and desist letter that demanded his upcoming tournament, The Big House Online, shut down. This would be the first time in nine straight years that the Smash Major would not run.
They issued the cease and desist because the tournament used mods and ISO copies of the game vital to playing online competitively. While it’s theoretically possible to fight the cease and desist in court, it’s a death sentence in practicality. The legal fees, the injunctions, the pure time — it all makes a legal battle so costly that it’s basically a loss from the start for the many underfunded organizers in Smash.
This could happen in any esport. Copyright laws make it so that, if developers don’t entirely own the ball, they can at least take it away for a long time. This could happen, but it doesn’t because almost every company wouldn’t reject the free marketing, press, and community that comes from esport.
Almost every company.
For Nintendo, this is one moment in a wider history. In the 2000’s, Nintendo would prevent Major League Gaming from putting Smash on TV. In 2013, Nintendo attempted to pull Melee from the biggest fighting game tournament in the world after the game’s community raised $223,000 for charity in order to earn a spot.
The history carries on to now.
Recently, an anonymous expose corroborated by several community leaders points to Nintendo shutting down popular community mods and sinking potential opportunities for leagues and high-paying tournament series as well.
Not long after the expose, Nintendo cancelled the livestream of the Finals of a competitive Splatoon event in response to several teams changing their names in effort to voice their disagreement with Nintendo.
We believe that Nintendo’s recent actions are misguided and unfortunate. We would like to see Nintendo grow as a company and come to understand the importance of competitive community interaction in gaming because that sense of competitive community drives everything we do at Team Liquid.
Team Liquid has long tried to help competitive Smash grow with the esport scene on the belief that competitive Smash is more than a game. Competitive Smash can create community, can change lives, can inspire critically acclaimed art, and could become so much more than it already is.
As an esport, Smash already means the world to our players.
We’ve put their voices here, imploring Nintendo to listen. Please, let Smash become so much more than what it was designed to be.
#FreeMelee #WhatSmashMeansToMe #SaveSmash
Luis “Crunch” Rosias
Talking about what melee means to me is almost the same as talking about what my childhood means to me. They’re inextricably linked and will always be something I look back on fondly.
The Melee community was a place where I found a home, where I made lifelong friends, what helped me start my software engineering career, where I overcame personal struggles with self confidence, where I continually grew as a person. It has been such a beautiful way to test my limits and to connect with other people…
And that’s the part that I wish Nintendo understood about this. That esports can bring so much joy and growth and community, and that the more people we can bring that into, the better it’ll be not only for Nintendo, but for all the people who get to experience the joy of being a part of a competitive gaming community.
Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby
Competitive Smash has given me an outlet to do what I love doing: playing video games and kicking butt. It’s also given me a way to connect with people over a common interest; something I struggled with.
There’s something to be said for how massive Smash is despite how Nintendo fails to understand and support the competitive scene. It sounds like a form of justice if our community members — who have dedicated huge parts of their life, made big sacrifices, and taken huge risks — could one day see the same level of success as people in other esports that are supported by their developers.
It’s all a passion project because so many people love the game series and are willing to do almost to keep it alive, and such a shame that lately it’s all felt like a waste.
Kashan “ChillinDude829” Kahn
I’ve been playing Smash competitively for almost 20 years. At this point, it’s basically part of my identity. Many of my closest friendships have been forged through Smash, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to pursue my biggest passion because of the love for the game that the community has.
It’s always impressed me that the Melee community loves the game so much that it’s been able to survive this long, even with many factors working against it. Melee was why I started playing Smash, but the community is definitely what’s kept me playing for so long.
Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguez
Smash has given me the fortuitous opportunity to compete, travel and even acquire a full time career. Observing Smash grow as an esport would be an invigorating experience as not only would it allow others to enjoy the benefits that I currently enjoy, we would also see an increase of spectators and fans of the game.
I’m saddened to hear that Nintendo is trying to shut us down, but I know the fans will find a way around! I’m optimistic.
Ken “Ken” Hoang
As a kid all I would look forward to after school was Smash. Smash wasn’t just a game to me, it was a way of life. I was addicted and all I could ever think about was different ways I could win. Smash was also a special hobby I could share with other people, who became friends down the line with friendly competition. I’m sure everyone had a Smash group that they regularly played Smash with.
Competitive Smash was a whole new story for me. I was always a very competitive person in anything I would do, always aiming to be the best. Luckily, I had some talent in Smash, probably coming from all the years of gaming as a child.
Competitive Smash has allowed me to travel the world, eat amazing food, meet amazing people along the way, and even had a chance to meet Masashiro Sakurai — the creator of Smash.
Competitive Smash became a lifestyle for me. It became my job and my passion and I’m grateful to become a huge inspiration for others to look up too. None of this could have happened without not just Smash but also the Smash Community.
As an organization, Team Liquid has had the privilege to sponsor and be some small part of so many beautiful moments in Smash history. We’ve seen firsthand the creativity, passion, and pure skill that goes into this game. We endorsed it then and we still endorse it now.
We believed in Smash then and we still believe in it now.
This effort is not for survival, because Smash will survive. This effort is for the right to thrive. This is for Smash’s right to live, grow, and create unimpeded. This is a wider campaign to let an esport thrive on its own merit – and it will be historic.
Opinions and views expressed here are that of the writer and Super Smash Bros. pros.
If you want a part in that history, here are a few things you can do:
Words by Austin Ryan
Sources: LEC teams won’t be required to have an academy team in 2022
LEC teams recently voted against the rule that obligated them to have an academy team in the European Regional League (ERL) system, according to sources close to Dot Esports. This vote was made during an owners meeting and had nine votes in favor of removing the rule and only one against it.
This is something that the LEC teams have been asking about for a while now, but 2022 will be the year in which this mandatory rule will be applied. This change doesn’t mean that the academy leagues will disappear, though, since most professional European League of Legends teams are expected to continue to have an affiliate squad in the ERLs.
This isn’t the only change that the academy system will undergo, however. A limit of two LEC academy teams for each regional league has also been approved, sources say. This is something that would especially influence LEC teams looking to move their academy squad from one league to another since Spain, Nordics, Germany, and France already have the quota of two teams covered.
We still don’t know which franchises will keep their academy squads for next year since this decision was made less than a week ago. Each organization is in the process of evaluating its strategy for next January, which is when these changes will go into effect.
Make sure to follow us on YouTube for more esports news and analysis.
LCS and Mobalytics partner to launch updated amateur ecosystem
Personal gaming companion and analytics performance platform Mobalytics is launching an update as part of a collaboration with the League of Legends Championship Series for a new amateur ecosystem.
The new LCS format is a commitment from the league to develop more NA talent in the amateur scene by creating new ways for LCS teams, tournament organizers, sponsors, and more to support the growth of the scene.
Mobalytics, in partnership with LCS, have created an esports ecosystem with the goal of closing the gap between solo queue players and the professionals, mirroring a similar structure to that of the NBA G League, the MLB’s farm system, or advanced college and even high school scouting.
“I’m excited about the LCS’ commitment to the amateur scene, and working with so many passionate players, staff, teams, and organizations has been invigorating,” Matt Nausha, head of amateur and scholastic for LCS America, said. “As we move forward we’ll continue to assess how we can better our processes and further the league’s development.”
Along with the newly revamped tournament system that will be rolled out, Mobalytics is also launching an esports’ centric section for its platform.
This esports expansion for Mobalytics will help team scouts, players, and fans follow amateur competitions more closely. It will actively provide statistics for players, updated rankings, match VODs, and other resources that will make keeping up with rising talent much easier.
Profiles for amateur players will be available to view, giving detailed insights into their strengths, weaknesses, Champion pools, career stats, and more.
“We’re happy to partner with the LCS and bring esports to the next level,” CEO and co-founder of Mobalytics Bogdan Sychyk said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if in another few years, the path to pro may begin at high school or perhaps earlier, with teams beginning to scout at a much younger age as they do in traditional sports such as NBA.”
Mobalytics was previously the official data partner for Scouting Grounds 2019 and 2020. This new format is “reaching its pinnacle” at LCS Proving Grounds Spring 2021, which is currently underway. Games will run until April 25, with the top 16 teams from Academy League and amateur league are battling for their share of $100,000.
How to fix CS:GO’s ‘VAC unable to verify’ error
You load up CS:GO for the first time in weeks and boom, you see a big glaring message that that reads: “VAC unable to verify.” But what does it mean and how do you fix it?
Don’t panic. Unless you’ve been naughty and have been playing around with wallhacks and aimbots in your spare time, there’s nothing to worry about.
When Valve patches CS:GO, this error message has been known to make an appearance. The reasons for it are currently unknown, but it’s thankfully easy to fix.
All you have to do is close CS:GO, head into your Steam library, right-click on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and select properties at the bottom of the drop-down menu.
Next, choose Local Files (the third tab to the right) and select Verify Integrity of Game Files. After a minute or two of loading, this should validate your files and kickstart your game. If all goes according to plan, “VAC unable to verify” should now be gone for good.
But before you load up CS:GO again, make sure to restart Steam. If this doesn’t work and you’re still scratching your head and looking for answers, reinstalling CS:GO is your next best option. It’s tedious and it might take a while, but if validating your files didn’t work, reinstalling should.
To uninstall CS:GO, head to the library, and right-click on the CS:GO icon again. This time though, choose Manage, uninstall, and finally install again.
AGO open to offers for mhL
AGO announced on Thursday that they are looking for a new home for Miłosz “mhL” Knasiak. The 19-year-old sniper, who was featured in our ‘One for the future’ article series, has been on the bench since September, stepping down from the lineup to focus on his academic commitments.
“Miłosz has recently contacted us and declared his will to return to the game,” AGO said in a statement, explaining that they can’t fit the player in their own lineup at the moment, and don’t wish to hold him back. “We cannot allow mhL to spend this time on the bench, being ready, so we are looking for a team for our 19-year-old sniper, in which he could spread his wings after his maturity break.”
mhL is looking for a new team
The Polish organization explained that their CS:GO lineup follows a “six-month rule”, which entails a half-year period of stability within the roster. “Thanks to this, players are sure of their position in the team and can focus entirely on training and competition. After this period, it’s time to take stock.”
With the end of their current period two months away, AGO has decided against experimenting with mhL, putting him up for transfer. Additionally, the AWP position on AGO is currently occupied by Michał “snatchie” Rudzki who boasts a team-high 1.15 rating in the last three months, proving pivotal in their climb to No. 28 in the world ranking.
Since his benching in AGO seven months ago, mhL recorded 39 maps played with Polish mix teams Poland and StylDunow and continued to put up numbers, averaging a 1.20 rating. During his tenure in AGO from July 2019 to September 2020, the youngster averaged a 1.18 rating and went below-average at just one event – his final tournament with the squad, ESL Pro League Season 12 Europe.
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