Opinion

Chiu on This
A short and regular opinion blast from Stephen Chiu

‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast

What is loyalty? It is a virtue that has been around since time memorial. A strange sort of virtue that extols trust and support regardless of circumstance. It can easily be distorted; we see it all the time with companies demanding loyalty from their employees after treating them like shit. It can be a beautiful trait because it shows a kind of love and devotion that is rarely seen in the world.

Why am I talking about loyalty? Last night Kaiser wrote a post saying goodbye to Runaway as he was leaving for a foreign team. He felt incredible shame and contrition to his former teammates, especially Runner as Runner was his mentor. But he had to do it to secure his financial success and help his family with living expenses. In an instant, we see that loyalty can easily conflict. What is good for yourself may not be good for the group. What is good for your family may not be good for your team. So what, then, is loyalty?

I think loyalty must go two ways. Loyalty isn’t a one way sort of exchange. You must be worthy of that loyalty and in turn, give it back. If Kaiser was unsure of where to go, I think the loyal thing to do for Runaway is to convince him to leave. Kaiser needs that money, it isn’t as if Runaway have secured its own financial success yet. The future is uncertain and Kaiser has expenses to pay.

When I saw the announcement, I was reminded of two different breakups that ended in very different results. Puma was a TSL Terran player in the early days of SC2. He was unsalaried and had no contract, but had just won NASL Season 1 and proved to be a top Terran at the time. EG offered him a full-time job. He waffled a bit but eventually took it as he, too, needed to live. The TSL manager then went on media and called him disloyal, dishonorable and a traitor. The community piled onto EG and Puma as the details of what had gone down didn’t see the light of day until years later. Where was loyalty on that day?

One of the most dramatic breakups was between Moonmeander and Team OG at the end of The International 6. OG had been the best team all year but had a terrible result at The International. Despite that, Moonmeander felt that none of them was being kicked. The reason was because the entire team talked about how they were friends and a family and different from other Dota 2 teams. They wouldn’t break up because of one poor result. They were extolled as paragons of virtue by the community for this attitude, but I never brought into it as they had never reached a point where they needed to roster shuffle until that point. After hanging around TI6 with his teammates, Moonmeander received a message that he had been kicked from the team. He was devastated as he had thought they were friends, but none of them could even tell him to his face while they were at TI. None of them even let him defend himself.

For Kaiser, his story didn’t end so bitterly. It actually ended fairly amicably. So long as Kaiser and Runaway continue to play Overwatch and continue to hold that dream of being the best players in the world, they will meet up again. Whether it be in Korea or abroad. And perhaps one day they will play with each other once again. But today is not that day and for now their paths must diverge.

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