An uneventful end: Dafran’s career sabotage, and the future of Atlanta Reign
In a bizarre turn of events this week, Daniel “Dafran” Francesca committed career sabotage as he purposely started to lose games on his stream. The bad run of form only led to more problems for his stream and personal income as he announced he ‘no longer had passion’ for the game of Overwatch and uninstalled the game completely from his account during his stream.
To prove this wasn’t an elaborate hoax, afterwards Dafran unfollowed his new team Atlanta Reign from all social media and reenabled certain emotes on his Twitch that were previously banned from Blizzard and the Overwatch League, making it perfectly clear that the bridge towards returning to professional play was completely burned, and with that, the end to his Overwatch career.
So… what now?
Watching Dafran’s self sabotage to what would’ve been an amazing Overwatch League career was one of the more disturbing esports moments that have happened this year. After surfing on the sidelines for the first year of the Overwatch League, it seemed like the puzzle pieces were put in place for Dafran to finally get his shine as the centerpiece of a newly formed Overwatch League team, the Atlanta Reign.
But fortune quickly turned to folly for Atlanta and their star DPS player. Dafran had a streak of very poor games where he refused to play anything other than Mercy and basically held his team hostage as they were forced to lose each game on the back of his underperforming tactics.
What started as a bit of trolling quickly turned into a bizarre mental episode and the only person to laugh at was Dafran as he continued falling down this weird existential crisis. He started to remark about his unhappiness towards the game, the lack of passion he feels for actually trying to play and compete in the Overwatch League and it became very apparent that the pressures of a pro player were getting to him.
At one point, Dafran asked his audience to talk him off the cliff as he began to uninstall Overwatch from his client. He boiled down the question into two options “Do I uninstall Overwatch, and just go do something else? Or do I stay with Overwatch, and get rich. It’s a hard choice.” he remarked.
What it takes to become a pro
The answer to that bone headed question is simple — keep doing what got you to this point. Any simpleton with half a brain cell could understand that option. Dafran finds himself in a unique position where he can make money and sustain himself and his family by continuing to play the one game he is famous for, and throwing all that away due to lack of passion is a tough pill to swallow for even his most diehard fans.
In life, many people are forced to do things they don’t typically want to do on a day to day basis. Being a pro player in the Overwatch League falls in line with any other pursuit of passion he may want to delve into after calling it quits. The roller coaster of emotions that come with making your way to the top involve ups and downs, good and bad moments that can sometimes make the journey less ‘fun’ for you, even if it’s the right path.
But to ignore all those unfortunate facts of life and pressing the nuclear option on your career and your one source of income is the absolute worst decision one could make in Dafran’s position. So much so that its hard to feel sympathy for a man who had all the tools in his arsenal to succeed, in spite of his past record of inconsistency and insubordination in the past.
At the end of the day, this issue might be much greater than a simple lack of passion for Dafran and his career. It seems like there’s some underlying factors of depression and mental health issues that are affecting the way he lives his life.
While being a pro player in the most competitive league in the world is no small hurdle to overcome, the coping skills for a person his age and the mental stability needed to succeed are just not there for Dafran right now, and he may not ever have a chance to prove himself again after this latest round of outbursts.
What could’ve been a legendary player on a memorable team has now been reduced to nothing, and the real losers of this entire scenario are the Atlanta Reign as they are left scrambling to pick up another DPS player with so many of the elite Free Agents already off the market en route to next season.