An interview with Team Liquid’s Slysssa about gender equality and representation.
Hearthstone Battlegrounds player Slysssa is more than the Battle of the Boars champion and a streamer for Team Liquid. In addition to duking it out against other players in the card game, she is passionate about charity work, gender equality and representation.
Slysssa and charity work
Earlier this year, Slysssa got involved in a 24-hour charity event. Powered by IMC, the Trading and Gaming for Charity event raised just shy of $8,500 for a non-profit organization.
This organization, known as Room to Read, supports children in low-income communities by focusing on literacy and gender equality.
“As a former teacher, I believe education to be extremely important to all kids, boys and girls alike,” Slysssa said.
Room to Read collaborates with communities, organizations and governments to champion reading among primary school kids. The organization also helps girls complete their secondary school education, equipping them with the life skills required to succeed in school and beyond it.
Slysssa’s esports journey
Slysssa recalled that when she first started playing Hearthstone, she didn’t think she could make it big.
“On the competitive side, I didn’t think I was a good enough player,” Slysssa said. “On the streamer side, I only saw two girls who had achieved mass success.”
“I worked my tail off trying to become as competitive as possible, while streaming as many hours as I could to try and grow,” she added. “I never thought I would be where I am today, and now I am able to help give a voice to women who are under-represented in invitationals.”
When describing her esports journey, Slysssa noted that she had to overcome the feeling of being disrespected as well.
“Definitely felt a lack of respect from a large portion of the old-school Hearthstone pro players,” Slysssa said. “I came into the scene when a lot of streamers [and] players were already established, so it felt like I had to prove myself over and over again to gain respect.”
Gender equality and representation
Earlier this year, Blizzard announced a Hearthstone Crossroads Inn-vitational event. The initial announcement caused a stir within the Hearthstone community, as individuals called attention to the need for more diversity among the invited players.
“I hate that I have to point this out but 2/20 women is awful,” Slysssa tweeted. “I get that events like these are supposed to market the game but the invitees get exponential growth and the ladies will continue to fall behind growing their communities. Look how much I grew from my BG invite.”
Blizzard’s response involved plans for diversity and inclusion alongside an update on the Hearthstone Crossroads Inn-vitational event. Players Avelline and lunaloveee received spots courtesy of Kripparrian and RegisKillbin.
In terms of what people within the gaming and esports industry can do to help with improved gender equality and representation, Slysssa noted that inviting women to invitationals would be a step in the right direction.
“The girls will then gain confidence to enter tournaments that aren’t invitational-based,” she explained. “It will also help promote the game to women and we will see a growth in the amount of women who play the game.”