For eSports fans, May 2020 saw many people shocked and concerned when Astralis team member Andreas’ Xyp9x’ Højsleth announced he was stepping away from their successful Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team. This news comes just weeks after fellow team member, Lukas ‘gla1ve‘ Rossander, also announced his temporary departure from the team. With so much pressure for eSports stars, what can be done to combat the burnout that they might face?
— Andreas Højsleth (@Xyp9x) May 28, 2020
Astralis Team Members Face Burnout
Højsleth’s message, posted on Twitter, revealed he had been feeling the creeping sensation of burnout and stress for many months. Indeed, playing anything professionally could take its toll, especially when the escapism and entertainment you enjoy in your free time becomes your job. Providing Astralis with a ‘sick note’, Højsleth has decided to take some time away in order to recalibrate and hopefully come back a stronger player and team member.
It’s no surprise that playing eSports professionally could take its toll, especially for someone involved in the Astralis CSGO team. Their record shows that in the past few months, the team has come first in the 2019 Blast Pro Series Global Final, eSports Championship Series Season 8, and 2019 IEM XIV Beijing. The success of the team comes down to the players’ skills and strategic thinking, as well as their teamwork.
What Can Be Done About Burnout?
So, how can burnout in eSports be combatted? Taking periods of rest, as Rossander and Højsleth are doing is the first step, allowing them to recharge their batteries and letting the frustrations of their jobs fade. Passionate players will also see that passion return, so it’s important for them never to get to a stage where the game stops being fun. This could impact their ability to play.
It’s difficult to ‘keep it fun’ when it comes to such important eSports tournaments, with millions of prize funds to be won. The best strategy to combat burnout before it manifests into a major problem is to balance the time spent training and practicing and the time spent in recovery. Studies have found that the more time spent in recovery for major sports, the better players are. The same could work for eSports, with players having similar amounts of competitive pressure applied to them.
Counter-Strike is a game that relies on both skills in first-person shooter games and strategy to use the right skills at the right time in a way that aids the team. So, the pressure is certainly there. Astralis is one of the most successful CS:GO teams, so they will no doubt feel pressure to continue to achieve as they have been doing. Adequate rest and perhaps a temporary break could ensure that, while some players may be absent in the short-term, they will be stronger in the long-term.
Burnout affects eSports as much as it affects traditional sports. Anything with a competitive edge will put pressure on people. The higher they rise in the field, the more pressure they are likely to feel to succeed. Recognizing burnout and being able to deal with it when it arises could help prevent long-term side effects impacting players in the future.