It's a peaceful Saturday afternoon, and you find yourself without any pressing matters to attend to for the whole day. Aside from playing video games, do you want to know what else you could be doing with your time? Thanks to the wonderful thing that is a growing esports community, you can sit back and watch other people play video games. And in this day and age, there is no shortage of games that are offering an esports scene for us to delve into.
With the understanding of how a game operates (it helps if you've played it yourself at some point), an esport event is a riveting experience. It might even make you consider becoming an esports player yourself. You don't have to lie about your feelings here. We've all been there. You can admit that you've let your imagination run wild sometimes, dreaming about the accolades, the prize pools, and the endless, paid hours of playing video games in your future career. The life of a professional esports player sounds like paradise to the avid gamer.
Before you get carried away with this idea, let's come back down to Earth for a second. I, too, have had these crazy notions run rampant in my brain. But of course, reality came knocking and made sure I knew about the restrictions I would be under if I became an actual esports player. Well, reality and a good search engine. So before you dive headfirst into your esports career, make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. Read on if you want to learn about a professional esports player's code of conduct.
25 Professionals Should Not Engage In Hate Speech
A professional esports player should be exactly how they are described as being: professional. In nearly any esports league's code of conduct guidelines for aspiring players, there is a behavioral stipulation that demands the highest levels of respect from the players.
A professional esports player should never speak in a disrespectful manner toward anybody, be it a player from an opposing team or a spectator. Esports players should be paragons of civilized behavior. So don't expect to curse at your buddies/foes the way you might normally do.
24 Never Abandon The Official Language Of The League
Esports leagues are regional affairs, or at least the majority of them are. That means they take place in a certain area of the world. Depending on where these leagues are centered, the official language of the league changes.
For example, the ESL's official language is English, and it is expected that their esports players have an understanding of it. Knowing the official language of their league is a must for any esports player. So make sure you double-check what exactly that is before signing yourself up.
23 Boosting Your Performance With Certain Substances Is A No-No
There are actually many similarities between a physical sport and an esport, despite what you might believe. One way in which they are the same is a rule against certain performance-enhancing substances.
For esports, medications that are used to treat ADHD could boost a player's focus unfairly. As a professional esports player, you are expected to reject a practice that gives you an undue advantage over another player. Instead, you should rely on your own, home-grown talents.
22 If You Worked On The Game Yourself, You Can't Play It Professionally
A shame though it might be, if you are a developer on a video game or a representative of the company that published it, you can't be an esports player for it.
For one thing, if you worked on the game, you would definitely have more of an insight on how to play it than the average gamer. For another, you'd potentially be making money playing a game you already got paid to work on. Neither your employer or the audience would be pleased with that.
21 You Can't Take Your Hoodie To Work
A lot of leagues, including League of Legends, do not want you to obscure your face when playing at an esports event. So you know that comfortable hoodie you keep by your computer chair while you game in case you get cold? You're going to have to leave it behind.
Professional esports players are not allowed to wear hoodies at events.
They are also not allowed to wear hats. It's a strange rule because I've always considered the hoodie, a cap, and a pair of sweatpants to be staples of a gamer's wardrobe.
20 Esports Players Can Only Bet On Themselves Metaphorically
An esports player cannot bet on matches within their own competition. That means they can't place money on the chance that a certain team will win or lose. They can't even bet on the chance that their own team will win.
Placing bets on your own match raises the risk that the outcome of the game may become fixed, which is another no-no we'll cover in a later entry. So just to reiterate, you can't gamble on your own games. It's a plain and simple rule esports players can't break.
19 Messing With A Game's Programming Is One Way To Get Banned
In no way, shape, or form can an esports player finagle their way to a win by changing the way a game is played. I'm talking about the straight-up modding or hacking of a game.
Even in casual gaming, I'm not fond of when player's mess with a game's system. If a league catches you messing around with their game, you can bet your sweatpants-wearing posterior that you are going to get kicked out. It's an obvious rule to have, and one that I fully support.
18 Actively Failing Is A Huge Mistake In Competitive Gaming
For those of you who don't know what fixing a match means, it's when someone arranges for a game to turn out a certain way. It can entail having a team lose a game on purpose.
A professional esports player is never allowed to throw a game.
Each person who plays a game must play it to the absolute best of their ability. Not only does fixing a game take the fun and suspense out of a match, but it can also lead to players getting banned from the league they're playing in.
17 How Old Must A Professional Esports Player Be?
No matter the fact that you began playing video games when you were six, you have to be seventeen in order to compete in a prize pool tournament. If you are any younger, you must have a chaperone that is twenty-one-years-old or older.
However, that's if the particular game you're playing is suitable for your age. If the game is rated M for Mature or something like that, you absolutely must be at least the minimum age stipulated for that rating. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
16 You Cannot Ignore Your Media Obligations
Certain esports leagues require their teams to be available for media-related activities. Overwatch League is one of those leagues. One of the rules for being a part of their league is availability for media obligations.
OWL players have to be ready for publicity.
This is an understandable rule on Blizzard Entertainment's part. Their league relies on sponsors and media attention. Having their players gain name recognition is a bonus for their company and for the players themselves.
15 Insults Toward Other Players Are Not Allowed
On no account are esports players to insult a player from an opposing team. Any insult will be considered "baiting." When a person baits another person, that means they act or speak in a fashion that deliberately enrages them.
In casual gaming, this may be considered a tactic to help someone win a match. It can be hard to focus when you're infuriated, which gives players an advantage over you. In the world of esports, this is considered cheating, and it will not be tolerated.
14 Cheating Anywhere Causes Nothing But Trouble
We have already talked about several forms of cheating that esports leagues have rules against. Baiting, hacking, or using illegal substances are all considered forms of cheating.
However, when you become a professional esports player, cheating anywhere, including during non-league games, is not allowed. Even if you decide to play a casual competitive game on your own time, if you are caught cheating there, your standing within the league will be at risk.
13 Pick Your Nickname With Due Caution
Many esports players have a nickname or a gamertag that they use when playing video games. Even casual gamers have aliases that they prefer to be known by rather than their real name.
When imagining your life as a professional esports player, you've probably swooned at the thought of your nickname being known throughout the gaming world. Careful with the nickname you choose, though. Vulgar or inappropriate nicknames are not allowed in esports leagues.
12 Get Rid Of Your Favorite Gaming Sandals
Okay, so I don't know if any gamers reading this even own "gaming sandals," but if you do, don't get too attached to them. Professional esports players are not allowed to wear open-toed shoes to on-site esports events where they have to compete.
I guess no one wants to see little piggies sticking out from a person's flip-flops while they play League of Legends. (By the by, if anyone does own a pair of gaming sandals, I think they should be nominated for coolest gamer on the planet.)
11 Esports Players Need To Be Kind To Their Pets
Certain esports leagues, including Overwatch League, want their players to emulate the image of a law-abiding person. That means there are extra reminders in their codes of conduct for players to not engage in certain behaviors.
One of these rules the OWL expects their players to follow regards animal harm. Anybody looking to play in the OWL should not harm an animal needlessly. I actually think that's an extremely nifty rule for life as well as for esports.
10 Professional Players Can't Be Pro Bad Behavior
Not only are esports players forbidden from acting disrespectfully toward others, but they are also discouraged from encouraging others to behave in a disrespectful way as well. A professional esports player can get in trouble for egging someone on while they're insulting somebody.
I wasn't kidding when I said esports players have to be paragons of civilized behavior. Toxic gaming atmospheres should end at the professional level. Otherwise, a player could get banned.
9 Never Deceive A Game's Admin
In an esports game, admins are the people responsible for dealing with game issues during a match. It is thanks to them that tournaments run as smoothly as they do. A word to the wise: Never mess with the admin if you're looking to be a professional esports player.
Don't lie to them about game bugs, don't complain if there is nothing to complain about, and don't cause problems for them. They are the referees of the esports world. It is a ban-worthy offense to deceive a game's admin.
8 Do Not Recommend Cheats To Other Gamers
Cheat codes and advantageous glitches have become a regular part of a gamer's life. Some games, like Grand Theft Auto V, have embraced cheat codes as part of their identity.
However, in the world of esports, cheats are definitively looked down upon. A professional esports player can get in trouble for referring someone else to a website, comment, or forum that highlights cheats to a game they play. They can get in trouble just for recommending cheats.
7 Do Not Conceal Where You Come From
Since many esports leagues revolve around a specific region, their players are expected to be residents of that region. Lying about your current residency status is a punishable offense.
This rule ensures that the talent a league can obtain resides specifically in a certain area. Of course, signing up a player from another country is a practice that is done fairly often in teams that aren't region-based. Still, lying about where you come from is a giant mistake.
6 Why Would An Esports Player Cover Their Jersey?
Some esports leagues (cough, cough, Overwatch League, cough, cough) rely heavily on marketing. Their league is their brand, and they have to sell it to a wide audience in order to support it.
As such, esports players are not permitted to obscure their team's jersey while playing a league game. They are required to show their colors loudly and proudly. They cannot wear any bit of clothing that covers their logos, be it a scarf, sweater, or jacket.
5 ESL's Anticheat Should Not be Touched
Some gaming leagues use specific software to prevent in-game cheating. The ESL uses a bit of software called Anticheat.
If you are planning to be an esports player for a competition run by the ESL, you can't even think about messing with the Anticheat program. You leave that thing alone. Even if you are not cheating at the actual game and you're just fiddling around with the Anticheat software, you will still find yourself in a world of metaphorical hurt.
4 Always Gain Approval For Roster Changes Before Announcing
This is more of a team issue than a single player's issue. However, it is something that any aspiring esports player should be aware of before signing up with a team.
You can't announce to the general public a change in roster before you get approval from the organizers of whichever league your playing in. That means you can't excitedly Tweet about your new position in League of Legends before approval has been given no matter how thrilled you are.
3 Spamming A Person's Social Media Spells Doom
Your celebrity status as a professional esports player should not be taken lightly. Leagues have set up several rules to ensure that their esports players don't use their influence willy-nilly.
Pros are not allowed to use their following to spam or raid another player's social media. To do so is against the rules. Competitions run by the ESL have this particular rule set in place so that the power of fanatical fans is not misused. 'Cause everyone knows the power of fanatical fans.
2 Bribery Should Not Cross An Esports Player's Mind
It should come as no surprise to you that bribing an event organizer is against the rules for an esports player. It's against the rules for any competition, not just the ones with video games in them.
If it is revealed an esports player tried bribing an organizer to help them win a match, they will lose so much more than a match. They could potentially lose their spot on their team and the opportunity to play in the league again. Bribery is not good for the health of your esports career.
1 Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds You
Every gamer occasionally has a gripe with a game they love to play. I mean, play a game long enough, and you will find flaws up the wazoo. However, if you're an esports player, you should not bring those flaws to light.
Leagues like the Overwatch League have regulations their players have to follow that discourage the disparagement of Blizzard's franchises. That means if an OWL esports player has a problem with a Blizzard game, they can't bash on it publicly. (Though they can list legitimate grievances in a respectful manner at the appropriate time and place.)