D0cc, FACEIT and running the FPL gauntlet

"I think it is super important to support the players because there is a status quo. Players don't like change and there is a lot of scepticism about new players coming into the scene."

Above is a quote given by Michele Attisani, one of the co-founders of FACEIT, to PCGamesN on June 8th 2018. It seems like a logical, sensible position from someone who has seen a number of new stars emerge on their platform, but when you look again, you realise a problem. The quote speaks of a culture that is closed, negative and hostile toward new talent, and has still not found a way to get around that.

Shuaib ‘DoCc’ Ahmad is 17 years old, and lives in the Netherlands. You might think that sounds like a great combination, of youth and freedom, but for Shuaib it is not the case. Instead, he has a challenging home life, with a large family in a small living space, and a father that works from home, requiring quiet. For his escape from this life, the boy they call DoCc chose for his playgrounds the sheds of Train, the sandy, blood-stained streets of Mirage, and the clinical white halls of Nuke, where he turns from a teenage Dutchman into a killing machine, capable of hanging with the best to ever tread those stones.

For those who weren’t aware, Nuke, Train and Mirage are all maps in CSGO, the internationally acclaimed esport that recently celebrated twenty years of continued play, in various forms, and DoCc is something of a talent in that game. Sadly for him, the circumstances of his home life mean it is not as simple as just converting that talent into money, fame and success, and this has made him the topic of much conversation in recent weeks across social media.

D0Cc, FACEIT and the FPL Circuit

When his face was published by FPL on Twitter, it was a very positive reason, as DoCc had taken their servers by storm, topping many ratings charts and qualifying for FPL proper, but it was a mixed blessing. Social media talk around young players like DoCc and French sensation ZywOo has intensified in recent years as CS becomes more global and everyone wants to know about the next big thing, and many would say that's great, as there is 'no such thing as bad publicity'.

The problem is, that not all of the social media talk has been positive, with a wide range of feedback stretching from ‘he’s the truth, and next god of CS’ to people who would cast aspersions based on his race, face, or their own internal hates. What is worse, perhaps, is that top players are keen to add to the pile-on, not with racism, but accusations of cheating, and the worst part of all is that this is far from the first time we’ve seen it happen. CS pros do not support new CS pros, for the most part.

"We have seen [it] over and over again with FPL. When [ropz] first got into it, a lot of players were accusing him of hacking and saying he didn't deserve to be there, but we managed to get him the love and respect he deserved.”
Shuaib ‘DoCc’ Ahmad

Today, mousesports are one of the best teams in the world, top five in the rankings most of the time, and making the international line-up work where many cannot. At the heart of their genius is a young Estonian, still in school and born cool, or should we say kool? Robin ‘ropz’ Kool came up a similar way that DoCc has, first making waves in online gaming before initially saying his pro-CSGO career could not start until he turned eighteen, and was old enough to make his own decisions about education, career and the like.

As he was making his name, ropz faced abuse from the wider community, but also scathing accusations of cheating from many of the professionals he was meeting, and beating in online pick-up games. Then, to prove his legitimacy, he was forced to play at the FACEIT offices themselves, with (as the story goes) two guys watching him that have never played high level CS, as his judge and jury.

Today that all is history, and ropz is going to be as good as he wants at the game, but the tragedy of the story is the fact nothing has changed, judging by the DoCc story. For whatever reason, the internet has always and continues to be a magnet for the mentally unstable, those people who would judge a person based on their skin colour, but it is a shame that abuse cannot be balanced against some professional support from the men he plays, some of whom are most likely his boyhood heroes, rather than this gauntlet of accusatory stares and harsh words.

What might be really sad is that this is part of human nature, with the bullied becoming the bullies, rather than learning and trying to improve the world, but it’s not something we have to accept as universal fact. Many sports people and even esports folk have taken on the mantle of mentor, coaching and nurturing other talents that may eventually go on to supersede them, for the love of the game.

If CSGO, a game which lacks a real development structure for young players despite being a massive international industry, cannot meet these standards it has the potential to damage the scene long-term. The problem is that currently, that lack of development structure means that not all players have the humility and awareness even a Premier League football has, let alone a normal human adult, and the toxic atmospheres fostered in minor ways by the players are amplified many times by the fanatics supporting them.

As for DoCc, he will have to face the firing squad and prove he can out-draw them if he wants his slice of the pie, which is a shame. CSGO is made greater by every new talent, be they a young Dutchman, an Estonian, a Jordanian or maybe even one day a female pro at the top level, and it does nothing for the scene, the game, or the fan to make their journeys toward the big time more arduous and rocky than they need be.

Main picture: James Cao

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