Once upon a time, I remember playing against NaVi in the group stage of starladder, with every kill I had goosebumps, and when we won my team was screaming, it made me happy. I don't remember exactly how many hours I spent watching replays, and preparing for that game. My confidence, excitement, and stress levels changing as I prepared. The hours I spent talking to S4 about the upcoming match. And this was all for a qualifier game.
Nowadays for the same type of match I spend 5-15 minutes looking at the draft, I don't watch any enemy replays, nor do i feel any energy coming from my teammates. If I win I feel content, and when I lose I tell myself whatever. Usually I'll have a rematch soon in a separate tournament anyway.
Sometimes I would look back and feel really disappointed with myself. Don't get me wrong, I rather be the player/person I am today than of the past, but there's one thing missing now that I had before. Although I was an even bigger moron, and tunnel visioned everything, I always had fire in my eyes, I was always chasing something. Whenever I won I would look forward to continuing my streak, and when I lost I felt so bitter, I wanted revenge but I knew I had to wait awhile before our next encounter. I would never forget my bitterness, using that as motivation till I met the same opponent again.
But this isn't something that's only related to myself. From talking to other pros, viewers, and personalities, it seems to be a problem that has become quite common. And we believe that the main culprit is that there are too many DotA 2 Tournaments.
Congratulations Arteezy you’re right, I've changed.
Like all my previous blogs, this ones gonna be long (really long) and I'm a shit writer sorry ><. I'm basically just gonna rant A LOT, I didn't write this blog to attack individuals or tournaments because I understand how its actually natural for these problems to occur with how DotA is. I just want solutions and we’ll start by identifying the problems first.
Interest in Tournaments
First off THERE ARE TOO MANY TOURNAMENTS SO NO ONE GIVES A FUCK. Honestly if even the pros don't give a fuck about their match, how can the viewers? Remember that time coL beat EG? Me and RTZ had a conversation regarding that match it went like this:
EternaLEnVy: How'd you lose to complexity?
Arteezy: LMFAO wHo cAREAS HAHA Xd
Honestly this is a really shitty situation. Winning a bo3 2-0 against a top team of the world should mean something. It should mean that coL is a new rising team, and viewers should be excited. And that they should be really happy with their team's progress. But instead we just get a situation where its hard to tell whether the match had any meaning.
We (the pros) definitely deserve blame for this but it really isn't easy. How could we try when we have a bo5 the day right after travelling for 50 hours in less than two weeks (Starladder Season 9 to DH Bucharest Invitational to BO5 versus Fnatic in ESL Frankfurt Qualfiier). TT finished Starladder Season 11 and for some reason had 2 games on the same day they travelled followed by 2 more games the next day and DH Bucharest to prepare for in a few days (they ended up losing every match and not qualifying for Summit 2 playoffs).
Playing officials is like having tests or exams. And when you have multiple every single day and you include travel fatigue as well its impossible to try your hardest.
You just end up yoloing everything and playing with regrets.
Why did it become like this? Who is to blame? I'm not really sure, probably everyone. Our game is really popular, we should be happy about that. But because of DotA's potential people are rushing in to be part of the $ pie.
When players feel like they thought of something new and awesome, they rush to try it out and it might turn into a disaster. Just look at my Slardar. Ya fuck you too.
I feel like many tournaments are taking this approach, they rush to get the tournament going, and things become chaotic. Look at ESL NY, their item chest wasn't ready when the tournament was about to start and the community/pros were both confused on what was to happen. They changed the schedule of the tournament last minute, and when teams arrived at the event we didn't know who we were suppose to contact or if there was anything scheduled for us to do. Many teams had to scramble themselves back to the venue in order to do photo shoots that we didn't know about.
Honestly I feel like some tournament organizers don't respect the players enough. I mean how could they though, look at me. Look at Bone too. lol. Though in all seriousness this is probably true and they usually are very cheap as well. The official reason to why Secret couldn't attend WEC was due to "visa issues," but that's bullshit. They decided not to attend because WEC booked EVERY secret player flights with 12-24 hour layovers. How do organizers even think this is even acceptable? In general when organizers book teams flights they book really shitty flights with multiple stops and multiple hour layovers. When they instead give a travel stipend to the teams, the stipend is usually based on the shitty flights.
When we got ddosed at DH (it was my fault xD skype), instead of pausing the game and switching IPs and solving the problem first before we started playing again. We were told to try again and get ddossed again and then one more time before they finally realized that things needed to be changed. Thankfully we couldn't lose that game so we were calm but if it was a close game we would have lost our shit for sure. They basically treated us like a bunch of dumb kids who didn’t know whether we were getting ddossed or not.
Well DH was a mess in general, they kept hidden the hotel/rooming situation till right before the tournament started, and then we were told that we would have 3-4 people per room. lol.
At both WEC and WCA there were a multitude of games where it was hosted as either AP or FP/Side was given the wrong team and every player left the game. The lobby was never hosted and I would have to get up and walk up to the referee who was either surfing the net or doing other random stuff and tell them that there is a problem. Funny thing is, they would repeat the same mistake for a second time on the same game.
It's usually extremely frustrating to solve these simple problems at Chinese events because of incompetence and language. I feel like half the people working at the event don't play the game, and we have basically no way of communicating. At WCA instead of hiring proper translators they get volunteers from local universities who took english courses.
The volunteers basically speak no english, and they don’t play the game so communication is impossible. They weren’t treated that well by the organizers and although they barely spoke english they tried really hard. It actually made me sad dealing with the situation. PieLieDie was just annoyed xD.
Usually in Chinese LANs Xiituzi’s the only legit translator. There are usually three foreign teams so she has to run around helping all three teams even though she's never been paid. At WEC/WCA all three teams would sometimes play at the same time and at WCA one particular day lasted more than 14 hours because of problems during the NaVi vs LGD games. Luckily Kellymilkies speaks Mandarin so things were a bit easier. iLeague isn’t going to have any translators so were currently in negotiations to hire Xiituzi for the event, China without being able to speak the language is hell.
As the captain of the team, and someone who's attended like 10 LANs, I've started to grow a sense of distrust with tournament staff. At the Summit 2 for each BO5 series you had to flip two coins. When I won the first coin toss, i asked Starladder Andrey (the admin) whether we would flip a coin again for the 5th game, then when he confirmed it, I asked him again to confirm again. I feel worried that the admins don't know their own rules. Andrey's actually the most legit admin I've dealt with so far so sorry!
I don't have any negative feelings towards The Summit 2 (except for our play/results) but looking back the tournament was actually a disaster. I know the EG boys are pretty mad. The computers used there were awful, although they kept switching them out and the disconnecting issues were fixed, the FPS issues were always present. There were only 17 computers in the house and 10 were always used for matches, leaving only 7 computers for the other 4 teams to practice on. The audio for EG were leaked in two separate occasions and things like this is extremely stressful for teams.
In general schedules for tournaments are not very well thought out and don't factor in delays. Using The Summit 2 as an example, Vici had to play the last game on the first day which got delayed 4-5 hours and had to play the first match next day. I don't remember exactly but I believe there were only around 9 hours of time between the tag-team finals and the EG match the following morning. The EG boys who were jet lagged from DH weren't happy about that.
I just had this random flash back of arguing for the right to use the washroom at ESL Frankfurt because apparently it wouldn't fit the schedule and we would only be allowed to use the washroom once per series.
Why does it surprise tournament organizers when I say I want a computer to practice on? Is it so much to ask?
Why are the casters laughing about random shit when a team is on the verge of tears as they get eliminated from a tournament?
Why are they insulting the players about things they don't know anything about with their arrogant looks?
Alright I need to stop raging but seriously though its ridiculous the things tournaments are able to get away with.
We are just a bunch of stressed out, sick, and jet lagged boys, trying to play DotA 2 to our full potential.
The Ticket System
Right now I feel like the current system does not support high level competitive play. There are too many tournaments so players can’t try their best for most of them. There are too many games for the casters to cast so they don’t try for most of them. And the viewers aren’t using their money to support high level dota but to buy item bundles.
Although the player’s association will try to fix some issues, this mess is actually quite worrisome to me and I don’t really know how to solve it. I’m just gonna go over what I feel like is happening in DotA 2 and maybe we can solve this together ><.
I truly believe that the amount of care for matches have decreased even though the viewer base has increased. Last year with less than half my twitter followers I would get much more tweets about the matches I play than I do now. My viewers which would be half of what I have now would be talking about my games on twitch chat much more so.
But why are there so many matches?
The primary problem is the $/Ticket system in DotA 2. Viewers want their purchases to be worthwhile so tournaments will jam in as much as they possibly can into a bundle. It’s not only items, compendiums, battle point boosters, fucking who knows what they are jamming in but also games.
The more games a tournament has the more worthwhile it is to buy the ticket. Thus, tournaments have all started having long group stages so that people would find more value in their ticket. Tournaments like DH/MLG who used to invite teams to their tournaments now all have qualifiers. Some tournaments like ESportal have taken it to the next level having multiple tournaments, and who knows what might come next?
All of these tournaments are gambling that the top teams will qualify anyway, and even though they want these teams to qualify they won’t directly invite them. It was in discussion that EG could maybe be invited to the LAN finals but this idea was dropped. Honestly I feel like Starladder should have just invited them, it would of meant having more twitch viewers for the event but they wouldn’t lose out much in prize pool contribution.
I’m confident that the prize pool contribution wouldn’t be affected much by EG’s lack of playing in the NA qualifiers because honestly the # of games in a bundle doesn’t really matter that much. The only thing that truly matters are the item sets associated with the tournament.
I talked to Luminous before DH and he believed that as long as the production value and the tournament is run well, that people will support the tournament. But that doesn’t make any sense, as production value is shown on stream not on DotA TV, and no matter how good your production is, the only cost is bandwidth to watch the stream. Although the tournament was DreamHack and every top western team except Secret participated, only 15k was raised. And thats with a special ticket only for DH that doubled the prizepool than normal tickets.
Another example would be i-League and Starladder Season 11 because of particles not working and a battle point booster that was not delivered the prize pool increase rate is incredibly low in comparison to the previous seasons.
In the past D2CL and MLG the first ever crowd funded tournaments succeeded because of the hype/teams that played. These tournaments contained every top team in the west and MLG even had one of the top Chinese teams. This was amazing back then and people would purchase the ticket just to support these teams and the tournament.
Nowadays something like this isn’t special anymore. D2L/Starladder/DH/The Summit 2/iLeague, 5 tournaments within 1.5 months all had the same thing as in the past. They all had the same concept of having all the teams of one region and some slots for the top teams of another region.
Ok so one might ask, wouldn’t things be better if the teams rally up and only play certain tournaments? Ya probably, but its not that easy.
The first major problem is that every tournament has a qualifier. And these qualifiers aren’t easy. Teams are worried that they might not qualify to tournaments, so they end up playing a bunch of qualifiers for more chances. Team Secret I think would be one of the only teams that could select a tournament and expect to qualify. EG doesn’t count because they are in NA and C9 has ping issues so we could easily lose.
The second problem is because of the International. By playing more tournaments and trying to place high in any of them teams are paving their way for a TI invite. So if some of the top teams don't play a tournament, the other teams will really want to play in order to secure a TI slot.
With these issues, even if there are 32943294 tournaments with 43439249 qualifier matches, teams aren’t really in a position to not play.
Quality of Casts
Disclaimer xD: What I’ll talk about here is my own personal opinion. From talking to other pros, some viewers, and other dota personalities they seem to agree with me but I might just be talking out of my ass.
It’s not only DotA Pros and Viewers that don’t give a fuck even the casters have stopped caring. I mean how could they? Matches are being rescheduled non-stop (because theres TOO MANY n things start clashing), no one knows what the fuck is happening. A team wakes up one morning and is like oh, I guess I don’t have a game today or tomorrow. A caster goes oh i guess I’m casting a different game?
It’s hard to look for co-casters when things are so chaotic. There was a time where I would be like oh hey cool Fogged and LD are gonna cast a game together! Where JD, BTS, Ayasee or whoever would actively look for pro co-casters. Sometimes I tune in just to hear a new pro player cast. Nowadays I don’t even know if pros are co-casting anymore.
It’s also really hard for casters to care when they have so many games to cast. As much as casters bullshit in their casts (and trust me they do a lot!), they can’t bullshit hype too much when its non-existent even from the players.
Alright real talk, I think the cast quality in DotA on average is quite low in comparison to other competitive games. Casters in DotA have a low understanding of the game and not only that but of the gaming situation as well.
It makes me so angry when I know the casters have a hang-over or are drinking, and they are laughing/talking about random shit while I watch a team on the verge of tears getting eliminated from a tournament.
The level of professionalism is low as well. I understand a fun cast here and there but casts nowadays are in general way too casual. Although I talked about how its really difficult to try our best, players can still be trying really hard. The stress from dealing with your own state of mind/play and your team can be insane. When teams win matches they get really pumped up and motivated, and dream of bigger things. When players play bad or teams don’t go well, they disappear from the scene, are kicked from their team, flamed by the community, flamed by themselves, their teammates, and in general its such a shitty situation.
Competitive DotA is like a kill or be killed situation. It’s not just a bunch of kids playing a game. Friends are broken apart, players become broken, and there’s hope and despair every week. We joke about when teams have roster changes (me too ><) but its honestly such a sad situation. But we deal with all this shit because 1) we don’t want a real job and 2) because we want to fucking win.
And I know the casters can’t give a damn as much as we do but at least try.
DotA this year has been a real mess, and from the looks of things its setting up to be another messy year. I hope that one day the viewers will remember what its like to support a tournament not only because of an item set but because of the players in the tournament. For some reason I actually have faith, players are starting to gather up and brain storm ideas to saving DotA 2. I hope the casting quality will start improving again, as it’s been halted for the last year. Also it seems like tournament organizers all want to kill each other, so the players will help you with that ^_^.
Shoutout to the Players Association, @Xiituzi and @PPDdota for inspiring me to write this.
Also shoutout to @Luminousinverse
Also shoutout to Cyborgmatt, Puppey, and Charlie for helping me with my information.
Big Shoutouts to @Kellymilkies for looking out for me and Conrad @QuantumPope for being an awesome Manager!
Also random shoutout to Andrey from starladder your actually so legit GOD DAMN
I took way too long to write this blog I’m so bad at life