Gaming

'Overwatch' Ellie Fake? Second Wind Pro May Be Secret 'Social Experiment' From Top-Tier Players

Ellie is a pro Overwatch player who seemingly appeared out of nowhere, climbing to the top 500 players in the world in just a month and even joining the Overwatch Contenders team Second Wind. Now, in a bizarre turn of events, it seems like Ellie may not actually be a real person, but instead a “social experiment” created by the top-tier Overwatch player Punisher. All of the claims in this story are unsubstantiated by Ellie, Second Wind and Blizzard, who have all remained silent on the matter.

(Newsweek has reached out to Blizzard for comment and will update this story with more information.)

UPDATE: Second Wind has confirmed in a Twitlonger post that Ellie was in fact an imposter.

Ellie first appeared on the Overwatch scene in early December, quickly shooting up the ranked ladder to Grandmaster and eventually Top 500. Her skill was incredible, and she managed to play high DPS and tanks extremely well. Her following on social media quickly grew, before she signed to Overwatch Contenders team Second Wind on December 21. Immediately after, some members of the fan community online started to question her legitimacy, combing through her stats and even attempting to doxx her, or share her personal information publicly via the internet. Dafran, one of the more prominent Overwatch streamers said that “it looks like someone is playing on this account and Ellie is talking right beside him.”  Dafran may have been completely right, because while Ellie is a real person, she may not have been the one actually playing on the account.

On Wednesday, Second Wind announced Ellie would step down from the team due to “unforeseen circumstances.” The team manager, Justin Hughes tweeted that “on one side, we had people questioning her legitimacy, issuing threats, etc. while on the other hand, we had people acting like they had found their Messiah.” Dozens of articles from outlets like the Daily Dot and Variety covered the story as a  harassment campaign that caused a poor girl to quit her dream job.

Still, there’s room to doubt the latest rumors about Ellie. The main source for the information is a clip from Overwatch player Aspen, who claims Punisher told her that it was all a “social experiment” and that “Ellie isn’t really Ellie.”

Esports journalist Rod “Slasher” Breslau claims he spoke to Ellie and the members of Second Wind over Twitter, and they confirmed Ellie’s pro play has been fake all along. Ellie is a 17-year-old girl, though the actual nature of her relationship with the team remains unclear. The members of Second Wind claim they did not know Ellie was not a real person and Ellie confirmed this fact to Slasher, telling him that she was “not good” at Overwatch . However ,there is a chance she may have just been speaking in the game’s voice comms without actually playing. The members of the team could also be lying.

“This entire situation is sad for everyone involved,” Slasher told Newsweek in a Twitter DM Friday afternoon. The serious issue of women being harassed in games and on the internet is now marred in a larger controversy. Blizzard and the Overwatch community were hit by two awful news cycles of women being harassed out of esports, and now someone faking being a woman as 'social experiment'.” He pointed to outlets like “Kotaku and Vox’s Polygon” as “jumping to assertions without the full set of facts.”

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