It seems like the “Ellie” and Second Wind saga has taken another sharp turn in its story. According to popular Cloud9 Overwatch streamer Becca “Aspen” Rukavina, Ellie was an elaborate ‘social experiment’ that had gone out of hand.
This controversy has been a few weeks in the making. The identity of Ellie has been in question ever since she joined Second Wind, an Overwatch Contenders team. Apparently, she was a Top 500 North American DPS player who not many other players had seen or played with before. Her Twitter and Twitch accounts were also brand-new. No one had really heard of her before in the competitive scene. When Second Wind announced the acquisition of the player, there were plenty of doubters. However, there were also a lot of people who were rallying behind Ellie, due to the overtly sexist remarks being said about the persona as well.
Before the whole reveal, prominent streamer and Atlanta Reign DPS player Daniel “dafran” Francesca also questioned Ellie’s legitimacy. He encountered her on his stream and would surmise that Ellie was not actually playing on the account, but was only listening and talking. He would say to his viewers, “What I think is happening right now is someone is playing on this account and Ellie is talking right beside him”.
It seems like those conspiracies have some merit to them as more information comes out about Ellie. Aspen was streaming when she would talk about the whole situation, saying, “Ellie is not Ellie. The whole situation was meant to be, in a way, a social experiment. Ellie is actually Punisher, and he told me yesterday. So there you go”. Punisher is a high-elo Overwatch player who is also very active on social media and Reddit. When confronted by other Redditors, he adamantly denied the allegations that he was actually Ellie in disguise.
Also, esports insider Rod “Slasher” Breslau would tweet out that Ellie confirmed to Second Wind teammates that she wasn’t the one playing on the account. Ellie is actually just a 17-year-old girl, and that none of the Second Wind management or players knew about her. According to Slasher, Blizzard is also conducting an investigation on the incident. If these reports are true, this only brings up more questions that may be left unanswered.
One of the biggest questions on people’s minds is, “How in the world did this fake identity get signed to a professional Overwatch Contenders team?” There must have been a long process to sign Ellie, with tryouts and the like. How could the management go so far as to sign someone who never actually existed? How were they fooled so convincingly?
Many high-elo players state that Ellie did not communicate much during her competitive matches. In fact, whenever she would communicate, it would be delayed. At the time, some people put that up to someone not willing to speak during a competitive match in order to avoid flame. However, we now know that this isn’t the case. If Second Wind did try out Ellie, did they not notice that her communication skills with the rest of the team were lacking? Communication is a key part of a successful team, so how could that not raise flags?
Lastly, we need to bring up the whole message from Second Wind about Ellie’s departure. They would tweet out, “Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen reactions, Ellie has opted to step down from the team. We hope you continue to support her in her ventures in Overwatch as we will”. However, John Galt, an assistant coach of the Los Angeles Gladiators, is calling out Second Wind to release a statement about the situation. Their statement may either prove Aspen and Slasher wrong or explain how they were fooled by a non-existent player, but for now, the silence on the matter since their last address on January 2 is unfortunate.
If this was an elaborate ‘social experiment gone wrong’, then it was an incredibly stupid move to take. The female esports community already has to deal with so much. This whole “Ellie” bit will make it that much more difficult for hard-working women to be taken seriously in the industry. What will happen when a legitimate female Top 500 player comes up into the scene? She will probably face a ton of adversity because of this whole situation.
Ultimately, there is a ton of learning to be done for many people, especially Second Wind and Blizzard. This shouldn’t have been able to happen, but it did. The wool was pulled on everyone for what amounted to a prank more than anything. They need to take the necessary steps to make sure that a debacle like this never happens again.
What are your thoughts on the whole Second Wind/Ellie situation? Let us know what you think in the comments below! If you want more Overwatch coverage, check us out here!
Born and raised in Toronto. Sometimes a writer. Sometimes a creative director. Sometimes bored. Catch me with hundreds of unplayed games in my Steam library.