Remilia and The Terrible Nature of the Internet

Something big just happened recently. A woman qualified for the League Championship Series. This is like Ronda Rousey getting into a prize fight with Mayweather or maybe when Danica Patrick nailed a spot in NASCAR.  When you’re in the LCS, you break away from mere talent and competitive spirit. You enter into a universe where there are maybe a hundred people globally that play at your level. Literally millions of people have tried to get to where you qualify, five people actually make it through.

However, she might not stick around for a ton of good reasons. I’m not particularly heartbroken about this because you know that Remilia is wise to the culture of this game: If you’re not the absolute best, then everyone gets license to be hyper-critical. Who wants that? She states that she doesn’t want to be the best, which is what drives probably every other player in the LCS. I suspect, she, like most healthy human beings, wants more than just setting an arbitrarily difficult goal and achieving it. I don’t know what she specifically wants from League of Legends, but just remember that the crazy goals of her peers are the exception when it comes to the human race, not the norm. I would much rather have Remilia be happy than to have her come to hate the game because of reasons outside of the game.

Assume that Remilia playing just to play without steeping herself in drama. Being in the LCS guarantees that drama because people will always perceive her as a representative of a gender rather than just a player. League of Legends is incredibly volatile when it comes to single player performances and it is often deceptive when it comes to how good a single player is. Take a look at Cloud9 during Hai’s absence. The team literally went from second best to near the worst just because one player wasn’t there to tell people where to be and when to do things. A more practical example would be RNGs shotcaller telling Remilia to go somewhere and it turns out to be a bad place. The shot caller is at fault, but to the spectator Remilia is a garbage player. Suddenly, drama. Cue Star Wars Episode III Chosen One meme, except less funny.

From looking at Twitch streams, you probably see a large number of people watching the stream and then a small number of people commenting on the stream. You can see the disproportionate amount of space the vocal minority can occupy. Say you have 3000 viewers and 2950 of them of watching with chat off and just enjoying your content. That’s four characters worth of data. Now take the other 50 who are harassing you and how many characters they occupy. Probably well over four characters, stretched along a longer period of time, constantly needling you with stupidity that makes you question humanity’s purpose. Maybe 3 of those 50 take it to the next level and start bothering you on social media. Those 3 speak really, really loudly. They crawl into the spaces where they can’t be moderated and continue to communicate with impunity.

In the end, it seems like the reasons Remilia doesn’t want the attention is because there’s enough people out there who are willing to turn that into a curse. We can’t make a sweeping cultural change because it would require those who simply despise Remilia to read it and internalize it. We can’t force them to change their minds because we can’t grab them by their collar and intimidate the crap out of them. We, the silent, regular majority, only have compassion at our disposal, and while that is a great tool, I don’t think we really have the healing power to really keep Remilia. We shouldn’t expect her to shoulder the burden of being the sole representative of women players in eSports.

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One thought on “Remilia and The Terrible Nature of the Internet

  1. I agree that she should do what makes her happy. If she is unable to move past the hate, she should not put herself in said scenario. But I think Remilia has the first true shot to pave the way for females pursuing a path in professional League of Legends gaming. It’s not at all her responsibility but for anyone looking up to her, I could only imagine how discouraging it might be to see the first female to make it into the LCS back down because of “drama.” Staying would prove that females do have a place on the stage and that any females working to get better at the game should have a goal and a potential future in the sport. Great piece by the way, I enjoyed reading it.

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