So there’s been some talk around DWG lately on the involvement of coaches in e-Sports. If you don’t already know, coaches have been around for some time now. With the growth of e-Sports it’s become common practice to be coached during competitive games genres like shooters and sports; and now even in fighters. It seems more and more that some of the fighting community is starting to have a problem with this. Now we can’t say this has become a major issue but we’ve found that recently it has come up more frequently in our discussions with gamers. So we figured it’d make for an interesting topic, here we go!
I can’t say for sure when it started but I can remember coaches being around as far back as the start of Halo 2 tournaments, I’ll assume there were coaches or something of the like before then since competitive gaming has been around for some time now. In any case the point here being that it’s hardly new to the competitive gaming scene. In shooters we’ve had people shouting over the players’ shoulders when certain weapons will be spawning or how many enemies are down on the opposing team. This is just like in baseball where the coach is signaling “he’s going to steal”
or “walk this batter”. In any case, whether it’s the coach shouting at you or teammates making callouts, players still have to siphon through the intel and react. This may not sound like much but in the middle of an intense game or individual firefight where literally every passing second counts, it becomes a lot more difficult to prioritize the information and decide how to react.
Even though coaching has become common place with shooters, it’s still relatively new and controversial with fighters. Since having a coach is not standard
practice, some feel like there is an unfair advantage because it’s like playing 2 against 1. They feel that it’s the each players’ responsibility to be aware of the variables of a match from their opponent’s tells to their Supers or Ultras being powered up. While others may argue that it’s akin to boxing
where the coach shouts “keep your hands up”, “get off the ropes” or “lead with your jab”. Ultimately, the success of the match still depends on the player’s ability to process any intel and react to their opponent.
At this point we have coaches who are praised for their integral part in games like League of Legends which has become a juggernaut in the e-Sports scene. League of Legends is doing everything they can to recognize the part coaches play and that’s because it’s a job unto itself within the competitive arena. Having a good coach isn’t enough, having the right coach that can recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each member and communicate intel accordingly is key. This is what makes certain coaches stand out and why having a coach is appealing to some and controversial to others. In a competitive environment any advantage that can increase or decrease the skills gap is always a plus in e-Sports.
Personal skill is definitely a key factor in tournaments since a certain level is required if you want to advance. The informed gamer knows that a coach is just one more cog in the machine and if it doesn’t run well, it can do more harm than good. Should two teams or players, each with equally fit coaches face off, you can only expect a more intense game as more information is passed around and each member reacts to it in their own way. More considerations are made as more callouts come in. How do you use this information? What will benefit you more? Who do you listen to? Again, it may seem trivial but when you’re in the moment, these small decisions are anything but.
I doubt coaches will be leaving the arena anytime soon and while I can understand the opposition’s argument, I feel that the benefits in both intensifying matches and increasing or decreasing the skill gap is worth it.
I’m not sure if this will grow into some major issue but on a smaller level, we’ve been encountering this topic with more frequency. So now you have our opinion and the logic behind it. We feel more communication should be emphasized since it increases the amount of decisions each player has to make exponentially increasing the possibilities of outcomes. Ultimately, it’s up to the players to choose which course to follow! At the end of the day, the coach can give you all the information in the world but it’s up to the gamer to react. Coach or not, it will always come down to the players and I think that’s the point!