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Statement Regarding DreamHack Winter 2014

Singapore - November 21, 2014 - Statement regarding the DreamHack Winter 2014 disqualification


Today is a sad and disheartening day for Titan CS:GO. 

On November 20th one of our CS:GO players, Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian, was flagged by the Valve Anti-Cheat System (VAC). The player in question was immediately suspended by Titan, pending an internal investigation by the organization.

In parallel with this, Titan also attempted to confer with Valve directly, and when enquiring about proof of the infraction the organization received the below response:

 

« We do not discuss players’ personal account details with third parties. However we can confirm that he is VAC banned.  »

 

Following the organizations own investigation into the matter, KQLY confessed to having used a third party program. According to his side of the story, the use took place at the end of August, pertaining to a one week time period, outside of a competitive context and on another Steam account.


Considering the information we now have at our disposal, it is no longer possible for Titan to maintain trust in our player. We have therefore taken the decision to dismiss Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian from the team effective immediately.

 

« We haven’t yet fully grasped the magnitude of what is happening. It’s a huge blow to the players who have been preparing for this specific goal for weeks now… More than 3 months of work just vanished.

Obviously, we firmly condemn the act Hovik has been accused of comitting. As a professional player, it’s simply unthinkable to bahave in such a way.

Our huge disappointment is further reinforced by the decision not to allow any possibility for the team to attend this major. The players but also the partners, staff, and management of Titan have invested a great amount of work into this project; it is very hard to see everyone pay the price for an isolated case.

My thoughts go out to all the supporters too… The disappointment is huge but I know that we will come back stronger and even more determined following the hardship we are going through today. » - Jérôme "NiaK" Sudries, Team manager.


We want to stress this point: those who engage in illegitimate practices do not belong in Titan and we will be vigilant in our continuous efforts to prevent a situation like this from ever occuring again.

As for KQLY we realize there’s more to him as a person than these single actions portray and despite what has transpired, we wish him well in his future endeavors. In regard to the team as a whole we will evaluate the options available to us in order to come back stronger.

 

 


 

On a separate note: 

As an organization we represent our players in all matters related to their professional careers – we are their employers and when our employees falter, the responsibility to act still rests on our shoulders. Finding a way forward past this tragic situation was therefore our number one priority when the news broke, doing right by our fans and the CS:GO community, as well as our remaining team members.

Sadly in this, however, we found ourselves going up against the Valve brick wall.

Upon learning of our player’s VAC ban we immediately reached out to Valve, trying to start a dialogue regarding not only the ban but more crucially its impact on the rest of our team. After an initial email exchange, however, all communications from Valve’s side ceased. Even with these attempts being facilitated by DreamHack, the response to our enquiries regarding our DHW slot and a potential replacement fifth were still met with dead silence. Much to our surprise - instead of reaching out to us directly, once an initial decision had been made - Valve instead opted for a public press release, letting us know we had been disqualified by allowing us to read it ourselves at the same time as the rest of the community.

From our side of things, we were fully open to any and all discussions, be that in regards to a replacement fifth to keep the original invite, or the possibility of getting a new fifth and fighting our way back into the tournament through the announced November 22nd qualifier. At no point in time, however, did Valve call on us to take part in any dialogue surrounding their decision making.


The actions of an individual were instead needlessly allowed to affect an entire team. Valve opted for a unilateral decision, handing out collective punishment with complete disregard for team involvement in the problem solving process.

To compete in a Major is the end goal of each season and while the road to DreamHack has not been easy, both the organization and the players have invested time as well as money in getting there. As it now stands DreamHack and Valve have announced that a new qualifier will be held on Saturday November 22nd. As we understand it, going by the continued silence from Valve, coupled with their official press statement, Titan is not invited to take part in this alternate route back into the competition. There is no rule which can be cited that backs this decision up, and Valve has in no way attempted to justify their reasoning behind disqualifying the team as a whole.

It is to us an inexplicable ruling to exclude the team based off of the actions of one, and an egregious misuse of power not allowing us the chance to compete in the resulting qualifier. This in turn makes it seem as though the entirety of the team was guilty of an infraction, whereas the remaining team members were victims of circumstances.

25 Comment(s)
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Posted on 2014/11/21 - 22:50
Well crap, this is just terrible not only to KQLY, or Titan, but as CSGO pro scene as a whole. I don't feel if it was a separate account he should have gotten a VAC ban, but my opinion is small
Posted on 2014/11/21 - 22:58
You employed a cheater and are surprised at the outcome that your team as a whole suffered? Scratch a lie and find a thief... This is a permanent stain on your organization and one that should be taken seriously. To hit Valve with a low blow on how they responded and the severity of their response really makes your whole organization look terrible.

Bad form.. REALLY bad.
Posted on 2014/11/21 - 23:03
@DyGrOO339 He wouldn't be vac banned if it was on another account, he is lying.
Posted on 2014/11/21 - 23:06
The fact that steam banned the whole team is horrible! You should get a second chance to play in DHW. Even if you have to go through qualifiers again.
#5 jebby
Posted on 2014/11/21 - 23:40
@jediAK47

There's no evidence that any of the teams were aware of their banned players' behavior. These cheats aren't exactly making enemies glow across the map, or snapping the crosshairs. It would be unreasonable to put the onus of cheat detection on the teams. Rather, we have a convenient system in VAC to do the heavy lifting there. I can think of no professional sporting organization that bans a whole organization without evidence that that organization willfully participated in rule-breaking. Obviously Valve can take any action they want with DreamHack and banning Titan and Epsilon is at their discretion, but to then not communicate their reasoning or have any discussion whatsoever with the teams demonstrates that they aren't serious about growing the CSGO esports scene. Team esports is the key to making CSGO as big as LoL, they should be working with them, not treating them like the general public. Not only do Titan not understand the reasoning behind their removal, but now all teams must assume that any cheating player means punishment of the entire team.
Posted on 2014/11/21 - 23:43
@xAphexx

You can absolutely get banned on your main if a VAC violation is detected on an alt so long as the accounts are linked through something like email.
Posted on 2014/11/22 - 00:08
Don't cry that valve didn't invite you to qualifier, your team cheated end of discussion. I'm shocked that one of the biggest eSport organizations cant simply apologize and rebuild the team and try next year. Instead you try to blame Valve for being harsh just because they want to be fair to other players that work hard for spot at DHW and didn't reinforce their way with 3rd party programs.
#8 Hobzy
Posted on 2014/11/22 - 00:29
Someone on your team was cheating, ergo your team was cheating. Why is that so difficult for you to comprehend?
#9 wilson
Posted on 2014/11/22 - 00:36
You are responsible for your players.

Whether or not KQLY claimed that he only cheated in his free time, and whether or not that is to be believed, is completely irrelevant.

What matters is that Hovik Tovmassian was on the Titan roster. Anything he does during his time on Titan is representative of your organisation.

Valve has both the right and the reason to remain quiet on the VAC system. Dreamhack has the right to drop a team when a player who represents that team commits such an atrocious act.

The only people to blame are KQLY and the organisation that he represents.
Posted on 2014/11/22 - 00:48
This keeps happening, and people don't seem to learn. The only statement Valve needs to make is that this won't be tolerated. If a player decides to cheat he needs to know that his actions won't just directly affect him they will affects his team mates and their organisation. I support Titan as a brand and in competition, but the outcome is justified.

A sad day for Counter Strike, our community and eSports as a whole.
Posted on 2014/11/22 - 01:53
You qualified for DH with a cheater, so you shouldn't be allowed to compete at DH. It's that simple. It sucks but it's a lesson for all teams to be much, much more careful about who you decide to put on your roster. Don't get upset at Valve, get upset at yourselves and your cheater teammate.
#12 flame;
Posted on 2014/11/22 - 02:28
KQLY is trying to minimize what he did... he bought a god damn expensive CHEAT, he did not only tried it on a MM... it's just unthinkable to waste 800 dollars/ Euros on a cheat and only use it once... he cheated at lans and tournaments there's no doubt about it, i don't feel sorry for him neither for those who got and will get banned eventualy, KennyS ... and a few moar... It will be fun to watch
Posted on 2014/11/22 - 03:10
Your player is part of a fiasco that looks to derail the entire CS:GO professional scene and even pro esports generally and your response is to complain about your tourney entry? Paraphrasing: "Sure it's KINDA our fault too, but really this is an individual..."

If you really want to continue on as an esports company, you best do some more soul sourcing before speaking out or acting again. Don't speak up before you figure out how and why players are hacking -- what can and will be done to prevent it from ever happening again. Fans have no interest in spending time or money watching hacked or fixed matches.
Posted on 2014/11/22 - 03:16
First of all I'm sorry what happened to the whole Titan team in story of DreamHack, but people from the comments are right. This is your team, he was your player and your responsibility. Valve cannot make exceptions when it comes to something like banning team from an event, especially DreamHack. Good luck in the future though. And KQLY, you should've know that your actions could affect your teammates too, so next time thnk twice before you do something dumb. In this case, you just costed your team, pardon, ex-team, a place on DreamHack.
Posted on 2014/11/22 - 03:27
Enjoy your VACation KQLY
Posted on 2014/11/22 - 03:42
@jebby your actually wrong there. NCAA in the US does this. Certain infractions can and will result in team penalties. This normally results in have 'wins' struck from the record. Some teams have even had championships struck down.
#17 Osxris
Posted on 2014/11/22 - 05:28
He shouldn't have gotten banned or dismissed from the team if he didn't use the hacks on his account or in any tournaments. That's just what I think.
Posted on 2014/11/22 - 08:15
Stay strong Titan, I wish all the best to Ex6, Apex, Kenny, Happy and Niak. What a shame Valve has apparently no interest in allowing you to qualify for DH, which seems completely unreasonable. Vous meriter mieux les mecs.
Posted on 2014/11/22 - 11:37
As an employer its your JOB to supervise your players. Maybe KQLY was doing this only by himself, but as organization YOU have failed as much than KQLY does. This kind of cheating is like doping, so you should check all of your players in case they are cheating too.
#20 Robbles
Posted on 2014/11/22 - 16:57
While I'm inclined to agree that it is unfortunate for the legitimate players on your team, your attack on valves policy is farcical.

The titan organization, which just claimed responsibility in this very post for it's own employees, employed someone who cheated. No matter what statements may be made by KQLY, or Titan itself, it must be viewed as untrusted for the time being.

Lots of money was at stake, and teams like Titan and Epsilon can't be tolerated. While I hope that you can work your way back into the tournaments your team lost its right to any complaints due to the actions of that individual. Find a way to enforce the policy more. That's your responsibility.

Valves responsibility is to keep the integrity in it's tournaments.

With KQLY's dismissal, Titan no longer had 3 original team members who qualified from ESL one. Couple that with the cheating mistrust, and I believe their decision to disqualify Titan from the tournament as well as epsilon is the correct choice.

However, I do agree that valve should be more open and willing to talk with organizations. It is not a very professional tactic to keep silent on such important issues.
#21 Buubl
Posted on 2014/11/24 - 21:56
I don't agree with Valve's actions regarding the release of information regarding pro players, it may be private but when it is important to the community, the teams and the game in general, it is vital the VAC bans are explained (to confirm what the player said to check if they are lying). They should have also released this information to the teams first so they can decide what direction to take. However, I do agree that Valve disqualified the whole team, even though the other players may be victims, and this is why: I believe it is Titan's responsibility to maintain a cheat free roster, and if they don't screen players for such actions I do think it now becomes the fault of the team, and not the individual on their own. Titan cheated because KQLY cheated, it wasn't something that only gave an advantage to KQLY, the cheats gave an advantage to Titan. This is my opinion and it is based on the fact I do believe that KQLY cheated in tournaments, and of course he said he didn't, but obviously that would be the way to go when making a statement to a community of this scale.
Posted on 2014/12/04 - 16:28
This is not titans fault they did not know about KQLY doing this valve have no justifiable grounds to stop titan from re qualifying for DHW this is titans business we are talking about its not just fun and games and on another note KQLY did not buy this cheat he was Givin a trial and is their any evidence he used it in a lan or comp match? The only clip to say he has is the jump shot on parcha at a site witch was recreated by 3kliksphillip and he is making another more accurate video soon going further into the intricacies but in a nutshell that shot was very plausible and just plain lucky, shure he makes good shots with an awp so does kennys and makelelie(spelling?) Are we going to accuse them of the same? This is an isolated incident and should be punished as such not taking it out on the teams that's fucking with people's lives full support to you titan and even KQLY
Posted on 2014/12/11 - 10:05
I seriously can not believe what happened with KQLY... Now the faith i had on high tier csgo teams has completely dissapeared. I have always been a VeryGames / Titan fan. This does not represent the organization at all...

Titan is responsible of this kind of behavior on one of its players. However, i think disqualifying the team was perfectly normal and obvious.

Titan was confident with his players, and no matter how hard i try, I can't be sure if somebody of you cheats... This is a chance for them to take more care about the players who join it, and also the rest of the pro teams.

I really hope a future with legal and fair played e-sports.
#24 Elite
Posted on 2014/12/26 - 20:53
I have hui
#25 .Brad
Posted on 2015/01/13 - 02:05
Why does everyone fail to realize, they qualified with a cheater, the team deserves no respect at all.