It’s only January, people. It’s a little early for this shit.
On 21 December 2018, a player by the name of Ellie joined the Second Wind team in Overwatch’s minor league, Overwatch Contenders. Shock, horror, they only used one name, leaving off their surname. Fun fact: it isn’t a rule for Overwatch Contenders, or Second Wind, that you use your full legal name, other people just always have up until now. And never mind that esports contestants generally go by their screen name alone. The “problem” was that Ellie is a traditionally female name and, thus, a cause for suspicion. Because girls cannot play teh gamez, she must be fake, she must be a male player on a smurf account, anything but a woman that plays games well enough to join a team and get a high rank. And how dare she not provide her full name!
A few days after the Twitter announcement of Ellie joining the team, she released screenshots from her account showing evidence of efforts to doxx her. Doxxing: the abusive act of seeking out and releasing someone’s personal information to the public in an act of intimidation. A high-ranked, but banned, player, named Haunt, had written: “It’s doxxing time,” going on to qualify his suggestion by writing “Not for malicious intent, just to figure shit out.” The reasoning being that no woman they’d never heard of could possibly have reached such a high rank so quickly.
In an effort to prove her existence, ugh, Ellie streamed Overwatch with other professional players, even ones she had been accused of being. However, because this is the internet, she was just accused of talking on screen while someone else played using her account. Is anyone else exhausted?
And so, last night, Ellie stepped down from the team, citing “unforeseen reactions”. On the one side, she was being praised as the next Messiah and on the other, she was having her very existence questioned. Would this have happened if she had chosen to use the name Steve? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say no.