By Libo “Xenocider” Chang of Evil Geniuses
Why aren’t there more heel personalities like Naniwa?
With the recent return of Naniwa, I’ve seen numerous posts about how a personality like his can bring spice to the game. We saw how exciting and vibrant a heel can be with IdrA’s games against HuK all those MLG’s ago. Someone that can trash talk and make enemies gets people invested into the match. Personally, I’d rather watch Naniwa tell his opponent that he has slept with his mother over two people that just say “Good luck hope you enjoy the games!” That’s all great from a spectator perspective, but we as spectators should consider it from the player’s perspective. If everyone wants a personality like IdrA, why aren’t there more successful IdrA-esque players?
For a long time I wanted to be like IdrA, I love to trash talk and I don’t have a lot of patience for stupid people. The highly competitive/stressful environment of SC2 makes it the perfect breeding grounds for trash talking. Unfortunately, once you get to a certain skill level you’re going to play the same people over and over again. All of the people you’re playing can offer advice, practice, and even comradery. It’s at this point that you realize it’s not worth burning bridges with potentially valuable assets just to stroke your ego. If you’re an up and coming player and act this way, no one will practice with you, and you lose connections and opportunities to advance your skill. Therefore, unless you’re very talented practicing solely on ladder, you’re losing out by becoming a heel personality.
Apart from the player base, there is also much to be lost from the community. A good example of this is on Reddit. When there is no Naniwa, people will say “even though I don’t like Naniwa’s personality, he brought spice to the game and he should come back.” But when he is around and loses, he receives an incredible amount of flak. If you’re an arrogant winner, people will tolerate you, maybe even praise you. But if you’re an arrogant loser you’re going to get an insane amount of sh*t, such as “This guy should shut his mouth if he’s bad,” “Why do people like terrible players that have to trash talk to stay relevant”, and “This guy should take lessons on class from Polt.” Reactions such as this will always make it more profitable to be a player that doesn’t say anything offensive/harmful aka “good luck I hope you enjoy our matches!!”
I don’t think just anybody is cut out for being a heel personality. You have to have extremely tough skin, but more importantly you have to be able to win. If you can’t win eventually, you become a streamer that just flames random players on ladder instead of being on the big stage challenging the greats.
Follow Libo on twitter @EGXeno