From time to time all of us dabble in some competitive play modes in our favorite games. Sadly, few of us will ever reach that dream job of playing video games for a living. However, as an industry, it is still pretty new and it is actually pretty hard to pay the bills playing games competitively. For famous teams who win big, there are just not enough tournaments around in order to keep food on the table all year long. But if a team you were apart of was to win one of the high stakes events, then your reward might just carry you to the next event. Unfortunately, you can not win them all. Or could you?
One thing that we do not really think of when we game is about the rules that govern the competition outside the games' rules themselves. Of course, the most important rules are ones that cheating, which is currently a struggle to contain. Even with equipment checks, and constant scans of the in-house servers, sometimes things slip past. So beyond preventing people from cheating, what other rules are there to follow? Well, some of them are pretty self-explanatory and others are pretty strange.
28 Crazy: Forbidden Weapons/ Characters
Depending on what type of game you prefer, we are sure that you can think of either a weapon or character in that game that is either overpowered or just plain broken. For competitive play, most of these are not allowed to be used at all. For the case of shooters, there is almost always a ban on most explosives, especially any long-range explosives like RPGs.
This keeps things on a more even playing field for everyone.
It is a shame that you can not see everything from a game in a competition, but sadly if there is something to be exploited it will be.
27 Crazy: Screen Peaking
This may be the oldest form of cheating in video gaming history — looking at your opponent's screen. In the 2012, League of Legends World Championships, team Azubu Frost was found guilty of this very thing. Above their booth was a large screen showing the live minimap of the match, which they used to call out enemy positions. Once this was discovered the team was fined 20% of its total earnings, which was $30,000. It is better than all the winnings, but this goes to show that Riot Games is not going to ignore cheaters in their games.
26 Guideline: Performance Enhancing Stuff Is Banned
When you think of esports you may not automatically think of testing for performance enhancers, but this is a worry in every competition. It may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of gamers use things designed for those with actual conditions as a way to zero-in on the game and focus on more of the mayhem on-screen. Remember, we're talking about a pro level of play that will take any advantage it can get.
25 Crazy: Sponsor Issues
One way that the competitors will supplement their work is by being sponsored. However, there are some restrictions with the team displaying their sponsor on their person in the events. Most events will not allow you to show off your sponsor unless that sponsor is also backing the event itself. This can create an issue since those sponsors want you to show them off, so if you can not be seen with their logo, it can cause issues.
24 Crazy: Why The Pros Don't Wear Hats
Have you ever noticed that when the pros play their games, they do not wear anything on their head beyond their headsets? This is because early on they noticed that some people were using their hats to create space between their headsets. They did this to listen in on their opponents and that is considered cheating.
Cheaters ruin everything, don't they?
So the decision was made that no competitor is allowed to wear a hat while playing. Which is a shame since most of them wear hats before matches.
23 Guideline: Be Punctual
This one might seem pretty obvious, but people are still disqualified each year for it! If you are not present for the match, then you do not play. At this point, not playing is the least of your worries since being tardy could result in your team throwing the match. Matches are set for a certain time and they will begin at that time. So make sure you get up early and go to the bathroom, or you could be headed home with nothing.
22 Crazy: Hacking With Your Phone
No, we are not making a Watch Dogs reference here, people were using their phones to inject hacks into their computers! For some of us, it is common to charge your phone with your computer while you are on it. This was a common sight in esports until it was noticed that some competitors were using their phones to install programs on their computer. Of course, these were to give them unfair advantages in matches, so now competitors cannot even use their phones during matches.
21 Crazy: Being A Good Sport
Pictured above is a game played at the EGLX in Toronto, Canada. The player closest to the camera was getting pretty obnoxious during his match of Battlefield. He is actually pretty lucky that he was not playing at a higher competitive level or he would have been asked to leave.
Though we do it at home, screaming obscenities at the screen is not allowed in Professional Gaming.
Even getting a little too loud can get you penalized. Even though this may not get you kicked from the match immediately, repeatedly doing it can get you sent to the sidelines.
20 Guideline: Age Restrictions
With the exception of tournaments specifically made for younger competitors, most professional leagues have a 16+ age requirement. They had to draw the line somewhere and this was what they decided. Most leagues have even gone so far as to state that having a guardian or a note is not good enough. Sorry guys, if you are to win big you must be at least sixteen, so keep practicing and try your hand at the younger gamers events. One day you will be out there winning the big bucks.
19 Crazy: Crowd Bias
This is a problem that is being dealt with as time goes on, but the crowd can cheat for a team in the heat of the moment. Whether they mean to or not, yelling calls out to the teams is a problem. One Danish team member even tweeted, "Crowd screaming 'Its A, Its A'... Kick them out of the arena."
The sad thing is if you can hear them saying it, it's not like you could ignore them.
They see the big picture and you don't. Some events are even holding the matches behind soundproof glass to stop this from happening.
18 Crazy: Cheating VS Exploiting
If you have played games for a while, you are sure to have run into a hacker. But hacking is not the only thing that esports leagues have to worry about. Sometimes there are glitches that can be exploited in the game in order to give you an advantage. The crowd and match reviewers have shown people exploiting glitches like this. Being caught doing this cost the respective player the match — or get them banned. Sometimes they can even become banned from playing the game outside of a competitive setting.
17 Guideline: Equipment Checks
When you arrive at an event, you bring the things you will need to compete with you. Your mouse or controller, and your rig are checked over to make sure there is nothing altered beyond event standards. But it doesn't stop there, USB install drivers are checked as well. If you use event computers, you may need to install the drivers for your mouse, but if they are altered in any way, you may not get to compete at all.
16 Crazy: Making Up Your Own Rules
At the 2012 MLG Summer Championships, there was something strange that occurred. Teams Curse NA and Team Dignitas decided that for their first round of the finals they would play their League of Legends game ARAM style.
It was all in good fun, but totally against the rules.
ARAM standing for All Random, All Mid, which is a random character selected game mode with only one lane to fight over. Within the tournament rules, this is not how the matches are meant to be played and Riot Games decided to strip both teams of their winning and disqualify them.
15 Crazy: An April Fools Prank Gone Wrong
After several events, the ESEA found that one of their employees had uploaded a something in addition to the competitor's anti-cheat programs. This little addition used the computers at the events to mine for Bitcoin. Sadly on some level, they did know of the software since it was a beta they had been involved with making. They did not mean to have this happen, but they sure will not let it happen again after they were fined $300,000. They made a lot of apologies over this but the damage was done.
14 Guideline: Cheating Outside The Big Event
Some Professional Gamers share the sentiment that after the event is over, the rules stop applying. However, hacking is always against the rules, and since they have to maintain their competitive rank, they aren't allowed to use hacks — ever. If your account gets banned you have to start all over again, that is, if they ever let you play again. This has happened to players in Overwatch and in CS: GO as they ban accounts, not just tags. In Overwatch, once you get banned, they know who you are and will not let you play at their tournaments.
13 Crazy: Getting Your Whole Team Disqualified
Often times events will tell teams that if they call out their teammates for cheating then the team can be spared. Since by the rules, if your teammate is caught using hacks or cheating then that whole team suffers. This "honor rule" is another in a long line of deterrents from cheating.
Sadly, few teams know that someone has been cheating beforehand.
Unless the whole team is doing it, it can be hard to tell that the guy next to you is hacking.
12 Crazy: So Just How Harsh Are The Punishments?
Each incident is judged on a case by case basis and it is hard to pin down just what things will cause what punishments. However, in the history of esports, we have seen many different kinds of punishments used to different degrees. As we mentioned, teams have been fined $30,000 dollars for cheating, accounts have been permanently banned, and players have been banned from events for months (even years). In any case, it is better to just follow the rules and play fair, or else you might regret your choices for the next year. Assuming they let you back at all.
11 Guideline: Employees Can Not Compete
Commonly, if you worked on developing a game, you are not allowed to compete in it at a professional level. Some may feel this is a little unjust, but who would know their game better than those working for Blizzard or Riot Games? Everything from exploits to look out for, or those that are hard to catch. Plus this is common practice for any company that holds a competition, if you work for the company then you can not also win the prizes. This takes away any accusations of bias or cheating by the company itself.
10 Crazy: The Dress Code
So beyond not being able to have the sponsors advertised on their person, what else is required for your team's dress code? Well firstly, you must all be wearing a jersey of some kind that has your team name on it. Next, anything else that you are wearing must not have any advertisement or logo on it.
This even extends to shirts that worn under the jerseys and shoes.
We are not sure if they care about wearing some crazy socks or not, but it might be better to not chance it. As for hats, they either have the team logo or are blank.
9 Crazy: Keeping Calm
This goes hand in hand with being able to not just scream the whole match, but if you have any physical confrontations, you can expect to be sent to the sidelines. Thankfully there have been very few incidents of this nature in esports. But, there are rules set up just in case someone ever does decide to put their fist through their monitor. Any outburst that would cause damage would surely see the player ejected from the event.
8 Guideline: Just Helping Out A Friend
In June of last year, there was a Free For All competition held by Team Beyond where there were some shady things going on. Ryan 'Ryno' Robbins decided to help out fellow amateur "DRUK84" by allowing him to defeat him several times in the game. It was pretty obvious that he threw the match, but to give the points to DRUK84 he was disqualified and the event was replayed, just this time without Robbins. This was not a tournament held by any large esports league and he had no other punishment beyond the disqualification.
7 Crazy: Pinch Hitting The Wrong Way
Not all competitions are held in a stadium among a crowd of fans. Some are still played at home and matches set up by the players themselves. This opens up a lot of other ways that people try to get away with cheating. If someone is having an off day or even cannot keep a good connection, some teams have given the account information of that player to another who then finishes the match.
Just substitute players out according to the rules and avoid penalties.
There are always rules about how to substitute a player in if something like this happens and being this underhanded is against the rules. This can result in team bans or player bans.
6 Crazy: Audio Settings
We have mentioned that events require headsets to be securely fashioned to your head in order to cancel out an outside noise. This is so you can not hear the enemy team, coaches, or the crowd if they try to tell you anything you are not supposed to know. There are also rules to avoid players from turning their audio low enough to hear outside noise through the headset. The volume levels differ from game to game and different events, but for each, there is a "minimum" setting that you must stay above. This is normally determined by the venue's ability to cancel noise.
5 Guideline: Coaches Can Not Be Substitute Players
Though coaches can give valuable insight between matches, they are not allowed to be emergency player substitutes. The role of the coach is just that, to give advice on things to avoid or to do better. Thinking about it, even though the coaches surely know what they are looking for in a game they may not play the game nearly as often as the players do. So with that logic, would you really want the coach to play?
4 Crazy: Don't Spill Soda On Your Keyboard
Remember when your parents yelled at you for having food and drink at the computer? Well, even though most of us ignore their advice today, at an esports event food and drink are not allowed during the match.
This is to avoid you spilling anything on your computer or the plethora of wires that are under the table.
There are some leagues that will allow you to request a closable container to drink from during the match. To which a staff member will hand you a bottle of water to take a drink from then take it when you are done. This has been used as a tactic to delay play, so to avoid this you can not bring your can of coke to the match.
3 Crazy: The Past Can Catch Up With You
So what happens if someone cheated and was not caught until much later? Well, there still can be some hefty fines or penalties given to the player or team that was caught. Events normally hold the prize money and go over all the footage and audio for any signs of cheating before they even give the money out. This is a rare occurrence but would be very inconvenient if you had already divided up the money, or if the team was no longer together.
2 Guideline: No Masks
We have found that more than one league has rules against covering your face with anything that can hinder identification. Any competitor must not wear any kind of mask or scarf that covers their face. This is to avoid someone who is pretending to be someone else or to identify those getting into mischief. This might seem like something pretty obvious, but since it is written down they must have had someone try to pretend to be someone else. It would seem very overt to be wearing a bandana or medical mask around when you might be trying to be sneaky.
1 Crazy: No Standing On The Tables
This one was a little puzzling until we heard it explained. There is no standing on tables to avoid competitors trying to mess with any equipment like lights or camera before (or during) matches.
And you thought it was because people could fall...
This also extends to being forbidden to stand on chairs as well. This is another one where you must wonder who was standing on a table trying to tweak with one of the stage lights?