A story about "What EGO is" and how it affects CS:GO
Topic: Does CS: GO have an EGO problem? What is EGO?
“How tricky is this ego that it would tempt us with a promise of something we already possess.” - Jim Carrey, The Toxic Ego That Will Ruin Your Life.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a complex game with a multitude of varying aspects that affect each and every round. Ego is what makes or breaks a player, and subsequently every match.
The word "ego" comes from Latin roots, directly translating to “I” in English. Ego is present in all thoughts and actions when one’s self is involved; it is impossible to remove the “I” from one’s life.
This is the present form of ego in every person and is undeniably a harmful facet of life if not kept in check. Ego, by definition, is a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance; this is only a problem when, as previously stated, ego gets out of hand and inflates. This inflation and growth of one's ego will lead to the immediate problem for many in the competitive sphere: arrogance.
Arrogance is what develops an overwhelming sense of superiority and importance over others. This then leads to what is known as a superiority complex: an attitude of superiority that conceals one’s feelings of inferiority. In any competitive field, whether it’s esports, physical sports, or a job, knowing when you make mistakes is key to improving your skill.
How ego affects competition
When in any form of competition, being acutely aware of your actions is essential. This is the ego at play, and it’s not bad; however, when overwhelmed by ego, a competitor will typically focus only on themselves. This trait becomes more toxic over time, and will unknowingly warp one's focus from winning to making sure they themselves are the objective best player at all times.
Being the best should be any competitor's aspiration. The problem arises when people with inflated egos focus on looking like they are the best, rather than actually being the best. A common example of this is in basketball when a player will concentrate on padding their stats for a triple-double, rather than playing with their team in order to win the game.
This mentality is all too common, breeding the aforementioned arrogance that stunts the growth of competitors. This style of play instills the false mindset that the stat padding player is in fact ahead of those on the same skill level as them. While they are neglecting important aspects of play that are increasingly valuable at higher levels of competition. This problem is overly abundant in the lower tiers of competition where people are desperate to climb the ranks, and rather than growing together, they prefer to believe that they already deserve a spot at the top.
Where it is present in csgo
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is no different from any other team sport/esport in terms of working with your team to achieve a goal. This team-play aspect also allows specific players to stand out from the pack, whether for better or worse.
A common belief in the CS:GO community is that the most impactful player on the team will not be the ones throwing utility, making space, or giving callouts, but, it will be the person with the most kills and highest ADR (Average Damage per Round). These players certainly have an impact, but all aspects previously stated, among others, are equally as important to a round. This is not to say that all high-fragging players are egomaniacs who think they’re the best, but the previous statement stands, and most commonly the KILL/ADR stat is the most sought after.
This negative mindset of statistical dominance has continued to hinder the North American scene for some time now. This stat-padding arrogant culture has developed into something that is disgusting, that being the Counter-Strike tinted lenses through which a majority of players seem to look through. This lens gives people a view of seeing their peers as not people, but the statistic that they put forth, and the league in which they are placed. This sad reality leads to a lack of understanding for players who do not elicit these sought-after statistics. Having this mindset across such a large group of people will hinder the scene greatly, as it will scare off newcomers as well as demotivate players already within the community.
Although all evidence is anecdotal, the abundance of people with stories of toxicity and hatred is a telling sign of a significant issue. This issue has people looking down on one another based on the trivial factors of a video game. I have heard horrible things said about other players prefaced with things like “They are in X league”, “They have X ADR”, or even “They have X ADR in X league.” Having a discussion about other players is fine, but the common topic of X players is bad because X, is a disgusting trend that only further damages the community.
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Why ego is important
Ego is not a bad thing. It is what makes someone confident, which is identifiable as a great trait in and out of competition. Confidence is knowing you will make the right play, hit the important shot, or win the big clutch. Ego also affects the other end of the spectrum, which is knowing your limits, where you won’t succeed, not where you doubt yourself, but knowing when to stop yourself from making mistakes.
This strong sense of self is imperative, as you need to know what you are capable of when playing great and when playing poorly. Having this sense of self will let you adjust your play accordingly, and will make a player's improvement more consistent.
What examples of egoism have top players shown in the past?
In the past, we’ve seen great players be held back by the vices of their ego--players like s1mple and stewie2k. These players were notorious for their toxicity in and out of the server due to their arrogance, which led to many not wanting to play with them. Thus hindering the way their teams performed.
S1mple got his first big chance in CS: GO during his tenure with Team Liquid in 2016, where the team saw varying levels of success, along with some of s1mple's most iconic early career moments. Before this, s1mple was on FlipSid3 Tactics, and after his departure, his egotistical and toxic personality was exposed.
During an Interview in 2015, s1mple's ex-teammate, Markeloff, had some choice words for the Ukrainian (most of which lead to him being toxic), eventually, Markeloff stated: “I feel really awesome that he left”.
After this, s1mple had a brief stint with HellRaisers before joining Liquid, where the 17-year-old s1mple averaged a 1.19 rating, along with helping the team reach the finals of ESL One Cologne 2016, and the Semi-Finals of MLG Columbus 2016. Although the teenage s1mple showed out to be the best statistical player on the team, problems were openly cited by adreN. S1mple left the roster soon after his arrival, stating the reason was him being homesick.
In a 2016 Interview, adreN stated that “s1mple has a lot of growing up to do… He can be a great player, he just has to work on being a teammate.”
S1mples story shows that toxicity and arrogance add no value to a player, and can greatly hold back even the brightest talents. S1mple suffered greatly from his own shortcomings, becoming a scorned member of the community, and being well known for the wrong reasons.
S1mple was once toxic and egotistical, but we’ve seen him grow past this and become better at his craft. Once he was able to reign in the self-perceived mastery, s1mple went on to achieve objective greatness in the scene.
How to combat ego
Ego is in everyone at all times. It is not something you can avoid. For one to overcome themselves, they must embrace themselves. The best way to stop arrogance and toxicity from spewing out of every person is to help each other. Hold yourselves, your friends, and your teammates accountable for their words, and actions, and look to be the best players you can be without looking down on others.
The negativity that seemingly has a constant flow through North America does nothing but stunt the growth of the tier two scene and below. If players were able to put aside their egos and try to learn and help one another, the NA CS: GO scene might be able to flourish. Be better every day, improve together, and make the tier two scene less about being better than everyone else, and more about lifting the region as a whole to a new standard. “It’s in your best interest to think highly of yourself without thinking less of others.” - Unknown