On September 18, 2019 over 100 people gathered in a Twitch chat to watch two teams play their first ever match of competitive siege. The viewers were spamming the chat with their team emotes and the trolls were at the ready to spam memes throughout the chat. I was one of those people spamming as I waited for the game to start while eating some pizza I had just ordered. Finally, the game had begun and I was watching the first ever all female competitive game for Siege.
A league in Rainbow Six Siege called CCS was announced this summer that will be the first ever all women’s league in Rainbow Six, CCSW. The league is already on its ninth week as of November 13, 2019 and it’s been breaking down all barriers, showing everyone the talent they have been missing out on and possibly housing some future pro league players.
The R6 community is already not known to be the friendliest, especially towards women. Female gamers who use the voice chat feature are almost certain to encounter sexual and sexist comments. Popular Twitch streamer called Annemunition posted a video showing the variety of harassing or simply annoying comments she is subjected to online while playing Siege. This is why most female players decide to stick to close their friends, and stay away from public game chat. This can discourage female gamers from taking the big leap to pro league because they don’t want the harassment that comes with it.
It’s not just the players not wanting the harassment and aren’t comfortable with the spotlight yet. The ESL teams themselves don’t recruit women because of the harassment that comes with it and most often ESL teams don’t take female gamers seriously.
CCSW is encouraging a healthier esports community by encouraging more women to get involved. One of the teams in the league is Victorious Secret, sitting in 2nd place as of November 13. I was able to contact ThatOneBritt, who is one of their players. She agrees that the league CCSW can help women get more comfortable with pro leagues and get big teams to notice them she responded with.
“Unfortunately, when a woman wants to “try out” or try and get into the scene—she is often not taken seriously or even given the opportunity,” she told me. “Having this league breaks down those barriers and just lets us women try without being judged by other teams and even your players.”
Britt also explains how getting experience in the league can lead to better opportunities later. She explains that as Victorious Secret’s stock rises they have better chances to join more prestigious gaming organizations, which are companies that sponsor teams in multiple games. “When the league was announced there was many Orgs trying to get involved,” she explained. “Although we are orgless we had many offers to join Orgs but felt that waiting till at least the first season ended to make any decisions. We wanted to show orgs that we are the best choice and currently we are sitting in second!”
There is already good news for female players because big teams are recognizing the talented gamers in CCSW. This may be a turning point. The CCSW League is already giving the practice and “recognition women have been waiting for in this community,” says ThatOneBritt.
The experience and practice the league has been giving female players will for sure come in handy for helping them get signed to ESL teams, since time spent playing is a key factor. I asked Britt how she thinks Victorious Secret would do against ESL teams and she said, “Even though most ESL teams have been playing for years, realistically I don’t think we could beat them just on pure time factor. However, I do think we could beat them up in rounds as we do things comp players typically don’t.”
The league holds alot of future talent that you could see in the next big pro league game and also marks a new beginning for a better esports league where everyone is valued the same. The league will certainly change the gamers who play in it, but it may also change how the community views women in the pro league scene.
Image Credit: Siegegg