Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok took an aside during a stream to address his Twitch viewers and inform them that they’re not as good as they think they are sometimes.
Based on a clip of one of Faker’s streams on June 24, Faker had presumedly lost a game and didn’t build the item Runaan’s Hurricane, and many of his viewers said that he would have won if he built it. Others went as far as questioning Faker’s build path, and as the comments piled up, Faker was compelled to talk about it with his viewers.
“If you say something like ‘It would have been better if you built Runaan’s,’ it can be considered an opinion, but if you think you’re absolutely right and conclude it like that, other people can get angry,” he said, according to the video’s translation.
Faker spoke in a calm and neutral manner as is now his iconic conversation style, but viewers could tell that he was having a serious conversation with them. Not limited to only professional players, Faker pointed out even he makes mistakes in thinking which player made poor or bad plays, trying to tell his viewers that not everything is as cut and dry as it might seem.
Faker continued to talk about the kind of attitudes that he encounters as a professional, and noticed an increase in less-informed viewers passing their opinions almost as fact.
“In the past, people who were in low ELO didn’t really talk much (like that),” he said. “But these days I think those people have some kind of false pride. Whatever you say depends on how you say it. They pretend like they know a lot, and honestly I don’t care when others tell me what to do, but it really bothers me and the viewers when people act like they know a lot.”
To translate from Faker speak to plain English: Twitch chat users, you don’t know shit.
What Faker is talking about isn’t unique to him as the best player in the world, but also for many players across games and play levels. Harsh or conclusive opinions from misinformed fans are not difficult to find on any form of social media or online communities such as Reddit. Although most fans are unaware of the kind of impact that they have with what they say, the effects clearly aren’t lost on Faker.
The point isn’t to silence any sort of voice that might be different from the professional or streamer, but simply to take a moment on what’s being said and how. With how close esports athletes are with their fans, the volume of what’s being said if often magnified. Most of the harsh criticism often comes without full knowledge about the player, the game, and the decisions they choose to make. People spouting thoughtless opinions about such things is just a part of sports, but there needs to be a baseline of awareness of how little a viewer knows about what they’re willing to talk about. Faker’s comment speaks not only to himself or just his game, but to esports as a whole.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games