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The Biggest Fails in Esports History

From its humble beginnings in the basements and arcades, esports has transformed into a billion-dollar industry with a massive global audience. However, this meteoric rise to prominence has not been without its share of spectacular mishaps and failures. In this article, we will take a journey through the annals of esports history to relive some of the most unforgettable fails the industry has ever witnessed.

1. The False Start: Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) World Tour 2005

The Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) World Tour in 2005 was poised to be a seminal moment for esports, with a million-dollar prize pool. However, it quickly became a logistical nightmare. Several qualifying events were cancelled, and many players were left stranded with travel costs. While CPL tried to make amends, the damage was done, casting a long shadow over the league’s reputation.

2. Counter Logic Gaming’s ‘Protect the Doublelift’ Strategy

When it comes to strategic blunders, Counter Logic Gaming’s (CLG) decision to rely on a single player, Doublelift, during the 2014 and 2015 seasons of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), takes the cake. Despite Doublelift’s undeniable talent, the ‘Protect the Doublelift’ strategy made the team predictable and easy to counter, leading to their downfall in many critical games.

3. The Infamous Pause: Dota 2 Shanghai Major 2016

The Shanghai Major 2016 is remembered more for its production disasters than its actual matches. The most infamous incident was an abrupt pause during a live game due to technical issues, leaving the audience and players in limbo for over 40 minutes. The event’s poor management and frequent technical issues earned it a place in esports’ hall of shame.

Esports player atop a mountain, symbolizing industry's resilience

4. The Unforeseen Disqualification: OpTic India at eXTREMESLAND 2018

OpTic India, a promising esports team, faced a catastrophic blow when one of their players, Forsaken, was caught cheating live at the eXTREMESLAND 2018 event. The shocking discovery led to OpTic India’s immediate disqualification and subsequent dissolution. This incident served as a stern reminder of the importance of sportsmanship in esports.

5. The Failure of the Overwatch League’s Geo-Located Franchise Model

With lofty ambitions of bringing traditional sports structure to esports, the Overwatch League (OWL) introduced geo-located franchises, but it didn’t pan out as expected. The immense logistical challenges, high operating costs, and the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a system that has largely failed to deliver on its promises, leaving many franchises struggling.

6. Blizzard’s ‘Warcraft III: Reforged’ Debacle

Anticipation was high for Blizzard’s ‘Warcraft III: Reforged’, touted as the revitalization of a classic game. However, upon release, the game was plagued by technical issues, missing features, and a host of other problems. This not only disappointed the players but also crushed hopes for a potential revival of the ‘Warcraft III’ esports scene.

7. The Fall of Echo Fox

Despite boasting high-profile investors and top-tier talent, the esports organization Echo Fox crumbled under internal conflict. A series of missteps, including public shareholder disputes and a failure to submit a franchise application on time for the LCS, led to the dissolution of what was once considered an esports powerhouse.

Reflecting on the Missteps

As we look back at these epic fails, it’s clear that the journey of esports has been a winding road filled with unexpected potholes. These incidents serve as cautionary tales and learning experiences for teams, players, organizers, and the community as a whole. It is through acknowledging and understanding these failures that the esports industry can continue to grow, evolve, and become more resilient.

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