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The Ideal Video Game Enemy




In Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, you play as lawless pirate Edward Kenway. Based on a real historical figure, Kenway leads a crew that earns a living by attacking ships, killing its defenders until they surrender and stealing their cargo.

Sailing out into the sea one day, I saw a small ship and decided to let loose my cannons. The weapons struck home, and I was suddenly informed that the real Edward Kenway did not harm civilians. It was clear that me wantonly attacking civilians would not be tolerated by the game. This was passing odd, as Kenway had been running around casually murdering people since the game’s beginning. Most were not established as being reprehensible people; they were merely the unfortunate souls that happened to be standing in between Kenway and his goals. The game did not censure me for murdering them.

Which is why I started thinking about who video games find it permissible to kill in large numbers. The focus is not on the big evil central antagonists which heroes must defeat to save the day. Instead I am examining the generic grunts of AAA Games and trying to figure out who is permitted to die at a hero’s hands without opening them up to moral judgement.


My main focus is to establish which humans that video games deem it permissible to murder, but I would be remiss from pointing out an obvious truth first. Non-humans almost always exist in games so that they can be fought and killed.

In almost all games involving violence (which is virtually every AAA Games) the hero is given carte blanche to slaughter animals. More often than not their deaths are a central component in a crafting system. It would appear that there are not many vegans at the helm of major gaming studious.

Monsters have it even worse, by virtue of them not being tied to creatures that exist in reality. No one mourns the death of an Orc in any given Lord of the Rings game, even when they are demonstrated to have personalities and be capable of intelligent thought.

Games set in fantasy or sci-fi universes have a much easier time in coming up with credible threats to the player-character that the player will not find guilty in dispatching. It is the games that dare to have some sense of realism which must pit the hero against humans, and it is these games that are more relevant for this discussion.

The One-Dimensional Enemy

It would be insane to expect developers to give every last grunt a distinct personality. There are simply not enough hours in the day (or enough dollars in the budget) to make Prison Guard #145 as in depth a character as Sephiroth or Saruman. It is inevitable that generic enemies would wind up having generic personalities.

There is, however, a dual function to making enemies one-dimensional. The less they seem like realistic people, the more they can be dehumanised, and the easier it is to have the player mow them down in their hundreds and thousands. How else do you explain a situation like the first Infamous game? Cole McGrath (when he is being a hero at least) ends up empathising with the three main villains after he has defeated them and does not end up killing any of them. In the end there was too much humanity in them which, despite their many sins, did not justify their murder in Cole’s eyes.

Which would be all well and good, if Cole does not spend most of the game killing their subordinates. Yes these enemies are exclusively characterised as being indiscriminately violent, but they were also directed to be violent by the three main villains. Why do the Big Bads get let off the hook, but not grunts?

Because Cole (i.e. the player) is not given any opportunity to empathise with their humanity, because they have not been designed to have any humanity. There being one-dimensional makes it so their slaughter is entirely guiltless.

Not exactly the most empathetic of responses from our hero when faced with the plight of the underclasses…

The Soldier

The best way to make someone feel justified in shooting at a human being is to have them shoot first. It is thus no surprise that quasi-military forces make up the bulk of enemies in any given video game.

Often times these military or quasi-military organisations are painted as being amoral or outright evil. Members of fighting forces such as Oblivion’s Mythic Dawn (who are an assassination-happy cult that worships essentially the God of Destruction) are probably not nice people, nor is anyone who still works for Umbrella Corp in Resident Evil after they have caused several zombie outbreaks likely to be a swell dude.

Yet there is an oddity that occurs when a soldier is not portrayed as a bad person. Returning to Black Flag, the game that expressly told me not to kill civilians, which does not care how many soldiers I kill. From historical context we all know that the British and Spanish soldiers who stood guard outside palaces and warehouses are more than likely working class guys just trying to make a living.

Yet because they have guns, and could thus theoretically be a threat, our hero is in no way reprimanded for murdering as many soldiers as he pleases. This is despite most them only reaching for their guns after Kenway has already murdered someone. It appears putting a man in a uniform is all it takes to make his death permissible to game designers.

Gender Divisions

Here is a list of games that all have one very odd thing in common (at least in their early installments); Uncharted, Infamous, Just Cause, Sly Cooper, Jak and Daxter, Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Half Life, The Last of Us, and Grand Theft Auto. Can you guess what is the commonality that these games share?

In all of these games the generic enemies are exclusively male.

Is that not slightly weird? Surely I cannot be the first person to notice this. More than likely this comes from designers being lazy (which is no excuse, but still the likeliest explanation). Either that or there was a memo that went around at some point which said the general public will complain if the hero winds up killing a few female enemies mixed in with the hundreds of males.

There is no real justification for why in these games there are apparently no female soldiers, police officers, guards, mercenaries or militia. Perhaps Assassin’s Creed can argue historical accuracy in some circumstances, but even then these are the games that constantly throw sci-fi elements into everything, so I am not sure they have much of a leg to stand on. Regardless, some of these games listed are cartoons, so they can hardly fall back on the realism defence.

It gets particularly egregious in a game like Uncharted 3, where the main villain is female and yet seemingly only employs men in her shadowy organisation. She ends up dying completely independent of the protagonist’s actions, incidentally, and the final fight winds up being against her right hand man.

True diversity would mean equal amounts of all types of characters. While the industry could certainly do with more female led games, so too could it do with more woman in antagonistic roles.

Conspicuously Absent; 50% of the population.


Alright, so we have narrowed down the field considerably. It seems that the ultimate generic enemy is a one-dimensional male soldier, at least going by the industry standard grunts. Yet there are of course exceptions to this template. There are a bunch of female soldiers in The Elder Scrolls series, some well-motivated grunts in The Last of Us and (as was mentioned earlier) many games rely on literal monsters to give the hero something to fight.

Yet there is one true unifier when it comes to video game grunts. There is one type of enemy that features in virtually all games, regardless of genre, which the player always feels justified in killing. The one enemy that it is always permissible to kill is one that is standing in the way of your goals.

Think about it. In most games enemies do not get aggressive until you do first, so self-defense is hardly the optimum excuse here. Almost every murder in a video game comes as a result of some unfortunate soul happening to be blocking your progress. It does not matter if they are a guard protecting some jewels you are attempting to steal, a combatant protecting their city, or a monster just trying to live quietly in a cave you have been exploring. Provided they in some way hinder your progress, their death is immediately justified.

This is pretty disturbing from a Watsonian standpoint, and unflattering from a Doylist one. Video game characters need only be hindered by their fellow man to resort to murder, while video game players have been trained since the 80’s to shoot first whenever a problem arises. Thus the perfect video game grunt is not necessarily a one-dimensional male soldier, but rather just any given living organism that has become an obstacle.

A Better Enemy

Undertale gets a lot of mileage out of the fact that it really is not justifiable to kill things just because they are in your way. In makes the point that the self-defense argument really falls apart once you are given the ability to save and load your progress. It is perhaps not the best situation in the world that most video game grunts die merely because they are in the way. How then could we make the situation better?

A good first step would be to remember to actually characterise enemies as being, you know, bad in some way. If your story revolves around a supposedly heroic protagonist, then the people they fight should be worse than them. Establishing the grunts as being ruthless, reckless, sadistic or seeking supremacy will go a long way to making the player character’s actions feel more heroic.

Another step would be to limit the body count. Uncharted always ends up being a target for this, but it is a problem that happy-go-lucky Nathan Drake kills thousands of people over the course of the series. Having the hero only kill a few people, and only when they pose a serious threat, would also be a good idea.

Lastly, and this might sound crazy, but maybe make it so every game does not revolve around violence. Again we can point to Undertale as an example of how a video game character being a pacifist can create really interesting problem solving mechanics. How about more stealth games were you really cannot kill anyone? How about more games like Journey where exploration is held above all else?

I am not saying that all video games should give up on being violent, or that there is nothing ever worth fighting for, but maybe the industry would thrive if AAA Games stopped almost exclusively being experiences with massive body counts.

Nice, relaxing and not at all morally compromising.


To return to the beginning, Edward Kenway is a pirate who kills people every day with the sole purpose of getting rich. This is literally his motivation (in the first dozen or so hours), his desire to become wealthy through whatever means necessary. Why on Earth would he care about the lives of civilians?

Immersion is everything in gaming. The strength of the narrative so often rests on how much you feel as though you are the player character. Questioning Kenway’s bizarre moral double standards breaks immersion. I mean, here I am writing two thousand words stemming from this question rather than finishing the game.

This little exercise in finding the perfect gaming enemy was really just an excuse to explore the tropes designers so often fall back on. It is most likely laziness that leads so many enemies to be one-dimensional male soldiers rather than any kind of agenda. I just argue that we gamers are entitled to ask for a little more effort from the people producing art.

Thinking things through a little more can help avoid raising some odd moral implications. Working a little harder to characterise generic enemies could make for a richer gaming experience. Finally, if there is little within the story to justify a violent protagonist, then perhaps forgoing violence might not be the worst option to choose.

Images courtesy of Ubisoft, Sucker Punch and Sony



The Arcana is a Nice Visual Novel Experience





The Arcana is a visual novel available on mobile since 2017 developed by Nix Hydra. It takes place into a fantasy world inspired by the tarot game. It’s free-to-playish (more about this later). And you know what? It’s quite good. No really, I like to play it, I care about the characters, and I want to know what is going to happen. So I thought I will write something about it today.

The Story

In The Arcana you are the amnesic apprentice of the magician Arsa. Your master (and maybe more) is forced to leave the city and leaves you in charge of his (your) shop with his familiar, the snake Faust. Not long after his departure, two characters come to visit. If I don’t remember the precise order of their visit they are respectively the Countess of Vesuvia, Nadia, and an ‘old friend’ of Arsa, the plague doctor, Julian Devorak. Both wanted to talk to Arsa but accept a tarot reading from you. After you have given them an ominous reading, Julian leaves. Nadia asks you to come to the palace to offer you a job.

This job turns out to be helping her solve the murder of her husband, Lucio, who was murdered three years ago. The main suspect, who confessed to setting Lucio on fire before escaping his prison, is Julian Devorak. He has recently been spotted in town. You must resolve the affair and catch the perpetrator before the masquerade, the first one since Lucio’s death.

From here you will go trough Vesuvia, crossing path with other characters, and uncovering a real rabbit hole of mystery. And trust me the mystery is really catching.

Oh and you will pick a romance… that’s kind of important too.

The Characters

Of main interest in The Arcana are its story and its characters. This is perfectly normal, after all this is the point of visual novel. But even for the genre The Arcana really has a colorful, endearing cast.  You will always be happy to come back to these characters. The main trio is particularly good.

From left to right: Arsa, Nadia, and Julian.

Arsa is certainly the most stable of the three. He knows who he is, he knows that he loves and cares about the protagonist. Unsurprisingly, he is the only one who remembers what happened three years ago. One of the great things about him is that he is confident, both about his ability and about who he is. He might have some hesitation about his relationship with the narrator (but for good reasons).

However, I will say that he is a bit uncertain about the way to go forward. What “happened” to Lucio certainly concerns him, but the way you follow with him is confused. There is a lot of going back, going away, trying to face the problem, deciding not to for now… It doesn’t make Arsa’s route unpleasant, quite the contrary. I think it makes it more interesting. The way to go isn’t always straight (pun intended), and that is a good thing, as it reminds us that even confidant people can hesitate.

Nadia is a more straight forward character. Despite a facade of confidence and authority, Nadia is insecure and wants to do the right thingTM. There are multiple reasons explaining this insecurity, including an amnesia that probably allows several members of her court to take advantage of her. Her desire to be a source of authority and to be right, because she loves this facade, could lead her down a path that ends up making her cold and hard. But Nadia is a good person who cares for her people. Having a strong person that needs reassurance about her capacities and future was a really good idea for The Arcana.

Julian is a bit of a mess, and this is an understatement. He is a bit of a masochist, definitively a poseur, and genuinely lost. To the point where he ends up hurting people around him, people that care about him. He is deeply convinced that unhappiness is the only thing waiting for him at the end of the story, despite his obvious medical talent and general niceness. This leads to one of the most violent roasts that I have seen in a long time, but not underserved.

In addition, the cast of secondary characters is amazing. I can’t wait for Portia and Muriel’s route. Especially since I am convinced that Muriel knew the protagonist. But there is also Lucio… Oh Lucio… What a colossal dick… I find myself wondering why no one set him on fire sooner. (Actually, maybe Lucio got the most violent, literal ‘roast’ I have seen in a long time, but once again not undeserved.)

What a piece of shit… Even your wife threw away a ring you gave her.


One of the other great thing about The Arcana is the diversity presented in the game. As you have probably noticed, two out of the three love interests are POC. Everyone is bisexual, too. But that’s not the only thing. The protagonist lacks a canon physical appearance, so they can be who you want them to be. And I say they because the game lets you choose their gender… Or rather favorite pronoun. You have the choice between, she/her, he/him, and they/them. This is such a nice and clever thing to do. Everyone can play as they want, and it makes the experience more inclusive.

I have to give another point to Nix Hydra for design. The world of The Arcana is particularly well designed to work with this inclusivity. Vesuvia makes me things about the Silk Road—it has a Middle-Eastern vibe (and the ambiance music helps).

Unfortunately, this is the only picture of one of the backgrounds I was about to find easily.

The fact that there are characters coming from everywhere and from a lot of different ethnicities continues to enhance the Silk Road impression.

Another good thing is that the universe is tolerant. Like I have already said, all three romance option are bisexuals. But everyone in the city is okay with same-gender romantic relationship. And there aren’t any comments about anyone’s ethnicity, either. You know what? This is truly refreshing.

The Main Problem of the Game

The Arcana is normally playable in three days. What I mean by that is that any update can be played rather easily with daily bonuses. However, that only works if you are okay with being robbed of every cute moment and of the majority of the illustrations. Yeah a good part of the illustration are guarded behind a wall of “pay a certain amount of coins.” You can win coins on a daily basis, but not that much in real time. So how do you get enough coins to unlock everything?

Well you pay for them with real money. Micro-transactions are unfortunately way too common today.  And that’s why I might have made some mistakes in my presentation of the game. Thus far, I have only played everything once… Because my background refused to let me spend money on something I could do another way. It’s not that I am cheap… It is that the paying system isn’t:

Please keep in mind that this is in euros.

I don’t mind that creators make money out of their creation, that is perfectly normal. However, this is a bit much. With 2 000 coins you can buy four books, and four books is the equivalent of an entire romance route. For now. The routes aren’t over yet. And there are three of them! 43.99€ is more expensive than brand new 3DS games in my country!

Yes, Nix Hydra has considerably increased the daily bonuses recently and they have doubled the amount of coins you can buy for 43.99€. But still. I will probably only have played the integrality of The Arcana in four years. That’s okay, the game is still lovely, and it does not tempt me into spending so much money. But still, it casts a gloom over the general game experience.


My free-to-play experience with The Arcana is pleasant enough for me to recommend it to you. It is a nice visual novel and if you like the genre you will have a good time. However, if you have trouble not spending money on micro-transactions, don’t start the game because the experience will be really frustrating for you. Except if you are very rich… In that case, throw some of that sweet, sweet money toward Nix Hydra. Be the renaissance art patron you always wanted to be.

Images Courtesy of Nix Hydra

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From Alistair to Cullen—Fairytale Romances and Dragon Age

Angela D. Mitchell



Spoiler Warning for all of Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age II, and Dragon Age: Inquisition

Cullen: The way that I saw mages… I’m not sure I would have cared about you. And the thought of that sickens me.

Let’s talk Dragon Age romance. Emotions! Chocolates! Kisses! Flowers! Not to mention those itty bitty little pieces of stomped hearts and emotional shrapnel!

Sorry… I’m still recovering from Valentine’s Day. (I would have published this analysis then, a few weeks back, but I was still weeping and locked in a fetal position…)

I heard someone say recently that RPG romances actually elicit the same reactions in the brain that real romances do. I have no idea if that’s scientifically true, but when it comes to Dragon Age, it certainly feels true.

For me, as for many, RPGs tap into emotions that can be intriguingly close to real. We play a character for what can be dozens or even hundreds of hours. We flirt with other characters. They flirt back. And eventually declare their love. We love them back. And often, not just via avatar; it’s not just my Inquisitor, for instance, who loves Solas, or Bull, or Zevran, or Anders, and all my other romanced characters. I absolutely love them, too. And in a way, that’s more personal and less remote than, say, my crush on Aragorn when rereading The Lord of the Rings. Because let’s face it, Aragorn doesn’t look right over at me and proclaim his adoration back. In an RPG romance, however? Yeah, he totally would.

And that’s where they get you.

It’s both embarrassing yet visceral how emotional that can be. And each choice in an RPG like Dragon Age further ensures that our choices will make us unique, make US worth the love and accolades from our chosen objects. No matter that thousands of other people have lived it—you can know this intellectually, yet emotionally, the game relationships still feel all too real, immediate, and personal. It’s one of the greatest lures of the gaming world, that sense that YOUR playthrough is the only one that truly matters, and it’s intoxicating when accomplished by a team as talented as Bioware, for instance, on the Dragon Age series.

Predictable Patterns

However, when you’ve played your share of RPGs, as I have, you can also kind of get jaded; lulled into certain patterns. You especially become used to the romances going a certain way: you flirt with your potential love interests, they’re charmed, bold, or bashful, and they flirt back. If you’re playing a good (or “paragon”) character, you won’t break their hearts and they won’t break yours. There’s not a ton of suspense—they will love you. It’s assured.

You then progress through the game story, and eventually there are heart-eyes and kissage, followed eventually by a scene where you finally spend the night together in pixellated soulmate bliss. Well, hey, for a moment or two.

Aaaand… Fade to black.

And, well, basically, that’s it. You got your happy ending, or, alternatively, basically, what I call, the phase that is “Welcome to the End of Your RPG Romance.”

Alistair’s romance in Dragon Age: Origins can vary from the sweetest fairytale imaginable, to a grim and cynical outcome, depending on your choices.

“Someday My Prince/ss Will Come…”

First off, there can be something really reassuring about the less complicated romances. They can be terrific fun, and a welcome change from real life.

The base template for me on this in Dragon Age, for instance, will probably always be Alistair’s romance in Dragon Age: Origins (DAO), at least, as I had played it. I’d ended up with a triumphant female elf Warden wandering off hand in hand with a Grey Warden Alistair after defeating the Archdemon and waving goodbye to a pregnant Morrigan. (Note: You can get an even happier ending if you played a female human noble, because then you can marry Alistair, he becomes King, and you ascend the throne alongside him to become his queen.)

I’d liked the Alistair romance, although it hadn’t quite been my cup of tea. It had seemed a little adolescent and predictable to me, even though it was (being Bioware) also indisputably charming. Alistair is a funny, sweet guy, he’s an exiled prince who gives a female Warden his inexperienced and vulnerable heart, and it’s all seriously adorable. The moment when he gave my poor sweet Warden a rose remains a milestone for me in my memory of my first DAO playthrough.

Or… Not…

However, Alistair’s romance isn’t actually predictable, though. That’s where I was wrong. It can end in half a dozen different brutal and tragic ways. So I was truly amused later to realize how many different choices I’d actually happened to luck into that had resulted in that bright and sunny fairytale ending!

I mean, come on, this is Bioware. I was stupid. Sunny endings, I should have remembered, are… rare and precious. Never a given.

But I was careless, and had innocently assumed my Disney outcome was the norm. (Really? Was I ever that young? Evidently I was. Once.)

But my entire awareness of that moment (and happy ending) was actually a lie, and, as I’ve noted, it wasn’t the only possibility at all. Ironically, Alistair’s romance most definitely isn’t happy-happy. It isn’t “someday my prince will come.” It can, in fact, end in incredible bleakness—with the Warden dumped, left, abandoned, or dead, and with Alistair despairing and drunk, executed, or heroically dead from his own fatal blow against the Archdemon.

Flipping the Formula

I’d had no idea of this in my first playthrough. I only began to realize its possibilities in discussions with other Dragon Age players I know.

And I’d definitely had no idea that an Alistair playthrough could be so much more complex and dark. The first time I played Dragon Age: Origins, my Warden had encouraged Alistair not to become King because she wasn’t a fan of people being pushed into roles they didn’t want, so she inadvertently ensured that they got their happy ending out of simple selfishness. Which was even more ironic because, for me, I didn’t actually think my Warden protagonist’s romance with Alistair would even last. She’d had conflicting feelings for assassin Zevran (then broke it off because poor Alistair was really difficult to break up with, honestly), and had also had a wordless if doomed yearning for Qunari warrior Sten (at least in my own headcanon).

So I got my “Disney Prince” romance even if at the end I kind of went, “Oh, sweeties… it will never, ever last,” to the couple I ended up with.

It’s All About the Formula

Still, the standard formula’s pretty timeless and proven throughout the ages. Flirt, kiss, sex, happy ending, boom. Done.

Cassandra’s romance is a charming opportunity to see the lighter, sweeter side of one of Thedas’s toughest warriors.

This fairytale type of formula means that your typical romance often takes up a fraction of the game story, while also hitting those predictable necessary romance points… the courtship, the glances, the kiss, the sex, the aftermath (if there is one). Most formulas in fact eschew the aftermath and just end the relationship there in a haze of assumed present and future bliss. This always disappoints me, because of course, relationships don’t end with sex, and they actually get a lot more interesting after that point.

Romances adhering to this formula in Dragon Age might include, depending on story arc, the following characters:

  • Alistair
  • Leliana
  • Merrill
  • Cullen
  • Josephine
  • Cassandra

However, of course, this being Bioware, any one of the above romances can end sadly and even tragically as well. It just depends on the choices you make. Alistair, Leliana, and Merrill can all end up abandoned or dead at the hand of the very person who loves them, while Cullen’s romance can also end in one of the most heartbreaking revelations in the Trespasser DLC, depending on your choices for him. Josie and Cass survive no matter what, but they may do so with some serious broken hearts.

Thank goodness, though, it doesn’t have to go that way. So if you go for the fairytale, and you make the choices that support true love and sweetness, you’ll usually get it in the above scenarios. Alistair’s, Leliana’s, and Merrill’s romances are more innocent, and Josephine’s is positively Disney Princess (and utterly adorable). Cassandra’s is lovely, and provides a glimpse of her softer side. My only complaint about hers is that it’s a bit light on content, and it’s pretty much set forth according to that formula where the story’s basically over after the sex.

Cullen’s deceptively complex romance actually explores Cullen’s journey across the entire Dragon Age trilogy, while giving him a chance at love and atonement.

Romancing the Templar

Cullen’s, meanwhile, is probably my favorite of the fairytale romances in Dragon Age, not least because it doesn’t end with the hookup, but instead actually explores Cullen’s journey across the entire trilogy. It’s especially satisfying if you romance him with a mage, since Cullen’s story back in Dragon Age: Origins began with a traumatic experience that left him with a bias that he was still working through even in Dragon Age II and on into Dragon Age: Inquisition (DAI).

In DAI, Cullen is wrestling with a search for redemption based on over a decade of backstory if we’ve played the entire trilogy. His emotional inner conflicts result in a romanced relationship with the Inquisitor that can be really rich and poignant, as his feelings for her are depicted in a lovely and often wordless progression of simple, believable little moments (both funny and sexy) that genuinely communicate intimacy. As his romance evolves, we’re shown Cullen’s more vulnerable side, as well as how deep his sense of religious faith really is. I remember being surprised and moved at a simple scene near the end in which Cullen simply embraced the Inquisitor and held her, expressing for the first time how deeply he feared losing her.

There are plenty of other happy romances in Dragon Age, but they’re not as straightforward. Bull’s, for instance, is sexy, funny, and surprisingly edgy, but it’s also somewhat cynical and cold, at least at first. Solas’s romance (while achingly emotional at levels that are practically operatic) is certainly not the guaranteed happy ending most players may be going for.

The romances described here, however, meet the basic needs of the formula and provide a general prospect of romantic happiness for those who make the right choices.

If you want hearts and flowers, in other words? These romances are a good place to start.

I’ll be taking a look at some of the romances that don’t really follow that fairytale formula in the near future… and, from Solas to Bull to Zevran and Anders, which ones in that assortment that I loved most. But what about you? Do you prefer the fairytale romance formula, yourself? Or something a little more complex and real?

Meanwhile, don’t mind me. I’m heading off on my War Nug, back to camp where I can drown my lonely sorrows in a few of my beautiful and decadent Valentine’s Day chocolates. (I got them on sale!)

Images courtesy of Bioware

This article is a reprint (with minor modification and expansion) of an article originally published by Angela D. Mitchell on

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The First Female OWL Player is a Struggling Team’s Best Chance





Stage one of the Overwatch league’s left many teams disappointed with their results, but none more so than the Shanghai Dragons who finished at the bottom of the league with a devastating 0 – 10 record.

While esport castors and fans alike praised Chao “Undead” Fang and Weida “Diya” Lu for their individual skill, and for the team as a whole improving since the start of the season, many still maintain that a 0 – 40 season record is still a very real and very scary possibility for Shanghai.

In the recent signing period, the Dragons acquired three new Korean players: Eui-Seok “Fearless” Lee (Tank), Gi-Hyeon “Ado” Chon (DPS), and (by far the most publicized) Yeon “Geguri” Kim (Tank).

Geguri will not only be the first female player in OWL, but one of a small handful of female players across all professional esports. Early on in her career she was accused of cheating because her Zarya play is just that good. She proved her mettle (and put the rumors to bed) by filming her hands while playing during a live stream.

General managers throughout the league had faced heavy criticism from fans at the start of the season, as not one of the twelve teams in the league recruited Geguri, a player who, statistically, was better than a large handful of male tank players that did get signed to teams. The accusations of sexism became even more damning after the Houston Outlaws’ staff cited a lack of female facilities at their training HQ as part of the reason for not taking her on.

So, Geguri got a team (and even one that wouldn’t make ludicrous excuses!) and the Shanghai Dragons got a badly needed injection of skill. Looks like everything worked out, right?

Well, yes and no.

Sadly Geguri, Fearless, and Ado are all still trying to get their american VISAs, a process that could take several more weeks, meaning they are currently unable to play.

Meanwhile, stage two has so far been equally unkind to the Dragons, losing both of their games in the first week. Many remain doubtful that the team, even with the roster change-ups, will be able to advance out of last place. Analyst Christopher “Montecristo” Mykles was notably skeptical that the addition of the Korean players will be able to have a significant impact for the Chinese team but added “I don’t think it’s going to be that bad” when asked about the prospect of a 0 – 40 season finish for them.

Until then, OWL fans will be praying to the gods of RNG (VISA paperwork is controlled by RNG, right?) that Geguri will soon be taking her long overdue steps onto the pro stage.

Image courtesy of Blizzard

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