In the month following the official launch of Dota2's official website in China, PerfectWorld has been introducing many Chinese Dota players to Dota2 and is on its way to conquer China in Valve's name. WCG 2012 provided a special opportunity to do a live demonstration of the game to fans, and PerfectWorld executed with a large onsite booth inside the Kunshan Covention Center. The setup had a small stage, computer setups for game demo and trials, a fully glassed VIP lounge, and of course, booth girls!
In addition to a full program of promotional activities like giving away beta keys, computer hardware, and Dota2 clothing items, the VIP lounge was a common hangout of the competing teams, even those that were competing in the older Warcraft 3 based Dota. iG, LGD, Tongfu, and DK all found their way to the lounge to relax or talk before, between, and after games. Retired star commentators such as 2009 and Crystal, soon to returning ZSMJ, media personalities associated with the major Dota/Dota2 productions, and other luminaries of the Chinese Dota scene were likewise PerfectWorld guests and they contributed to the draw, hype, excitement, and enthusiasm for Dota2.
The WCG competition also provided the rare opportunity to have international stars be part of the program. After their arrival at the convention center, Dendi and XBOCT spent some time at the Dota2 booth, and made an appearance on stage, in the VIP Lounge, and at the computers among fans. Dendi was the star the show. The other international Dota star that attended the WCG was Kuroky who the Chinese fondly know as K-God.
Dendi at the center of the world.
Day One VIP Interviews
The VIP Lounge was the site of many Dota related interviews at the WCG. The interviews provide some first hand insight into the progress of Dota2 within China as well as the insight into the future of the professional scene as the new teams enter into the arena and the media and professional teams shift away from Dota towards the Dota2.
(some conversational crutch bits eliminated - some questions paraphrased due to low mic)
Q: Hello, ZSMJ. I am a reporter from sgamer.com. A short time ago, there were rumors that you were creating a Dota2 team under your leadership and now you formally announced that you are coming out of retirement. We're all wondering when we will get a chance to see your competitive debut. Tell us about it.
ZSMJ: Our competitive debut, I am guessing, will have to be next year because right now our team roster isn't entirely complete. So for this year, right now, there are still two players missing. I want to complete the team roster and then practice together for a while. Basically, right now, we are only playing against pub teams, starting all over, so the initial competitive level is going to be fairly low. It's all starting from scratch, so I think seeing us in competition will have to wait until the first half of next year.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
Q: You played carry in the past. Now that you are creating your own team, what are you going to play now?
ZSMJ: I thought and I thought about this for a bit. I am sure that I am still going play the carry. The reason is I am the kind of person that sets high expectations for myself. If I am going to play some other position, then, first of all, I will have to spend a lot of time getting used to the game and secondly, this way we won't have to deal with any failed experiments and I can expect myself to perform better. Then... Yeah that's the way to describe it.
Q: Domestically, there are few formally established professional teams with dota2 as focus with most of these being newly formed teams. So how do you feel about the eventual placement of your team among the Dota2 e-sports ranks . Will be able to break into the upper tier of teams?
ZSMJ: I feel like we will definitely be able to break into the upper tier of teams. But it might take a bit of team and should require very good teammates. The game is completely a five man game, now. Not like before, where we could care a bit less about some supporting players. Now that's impossible, and we're feeling it playing in pubs. Missing one player or having one player play poorly will impact the entire flow of the game, like a [broken strategy] feeling. So every position on the roster has to be good. This will depend on our timing and our opportunity and of course it will mostly depend on ourselves. Becoming a top team is a goal, we will aim for small goals and eventually build up them into the bigger goals.
Q: Thanks for the interview.
Q: This is for Hao. This time you are representing - replacing DK and iG to participate in the WCG Dota tournament. Tell us about the amount of Dota practice you are getting.
Hao: Practice. So right now we're not playing Dota. We don't have teams playing Dota anymore. They've all gone to play Dota2. So right now, we're setting aside some time everyday to pub the ladder and reacquaint ourselves with Dota. We're constantly playing Dota2, so some of the tactics and other aspects of Dota are out of practice. So we're refamiliarizing ourselves with that. So that is practice, I guess, playing pubs on the ladder.
Q: So what are your expectations in this competition.
Q: The overall goal.
Hao: The goal? The goal is definitely top... [sic money - homophone]. First. First place. The goal is definitely first place.
Q: Do you have confidence in beating LGD?
Hao: We definitely do. I think they're missing one player. They're missing DDC, so we feel very very confident in being able to beat them.
Q: Thank you, Hao.
Q: Now for Haitao. Thank you Haotao for participating in the interview. Recently, Haitao has returned to Gamefy and now is providing game commentary for both Dota and Dota2. PerfectWorld invited you to participate in game expo here at WCG. What are your feelings about the game expo?
Haitao: So today is the just the first day, and it's still a working day, so I'm thinking that there aren't a lot of people here to watch just yet. I believe that the numbers of people at the arena will only increase especially for the two weekend days, because I received a lot of Weibo messages from fans in neighboring cities saying that they will definitely rush over here to watch for the weekend. As for the first day, the reception of PerfectWorld booth is quite enthusiastic because not many of these activities happen here in Kunshan. And now that one is being done, it's the WCG, so the fans here in and around Kunshan are extremely passionate and spirited.
This time, PerfectWorld is offering onsite game demos and trial play of Dota2. So viewers and fan level of anticipation for WCG has been very very high and PerfectWorld has prepared a full program of activities for fans. I feel that it's being done very well.
Q: Haitao, do you know if you will be taking on commentary duties for Dota or Dota2?
Haitao: There haven't been any arrangement for that.
Q: So, there is a schedule of PerfectWorld's plan for domestic servers for Dota2. They're saying that - they might - that it could be possible to bring some online in the immediate future. What are your thought on the trajectory of growth, development, and popularity of Dota2 in China.
Haitao: The timing of bringing servers online, as the immediate future; I have doubts about that. I mean I don't know if it will happen before the end of the year. Personally, I would like to see it as soon as possible, because the anticipation for domestic servers is enthusiastic. Everyone would like to see it as soon as possible. As for the growth of Dota2 in China, from what we're seeing and the feedback that we're receiving, those that have ever played the game at all, their reviews for the game are exceptionally good. On the broadcasting front, we're seeing problems that many viewers are unfamiliar with the abilities and animations of the heroes and the models and the graphics have received a mixed reception. But I feel that as the servers come online and more and more viewers get a chance to play the game, the unfamiliarity problem will improve.
Q: Thank you, Haitao.
Q: Let's get Crystal.
[crystal takes off Neotv jacket]
Q: WCG has arrived at your hometown, Crystal. What are your thought on this competition that you would like to share with everyone?
Crystal: Today, so far, I provided commentary for a Korean-Mongol game. I felt that the Korean team really had a clear idea. Their battle strategy and tactics feel very similar to Chinese teams, so I think it means that Korean teams are paying attention to Chinese teams. I'm really looking forward to seeing the Korean team play a Chinese team.
Q: As a hometown guy, you have some level of influence over Kunshan fans. Today, the number of onsite audience is a bit lacking, so how about saying some words of encouragement to your hometown friends and family and getting more of them in here today?
Crystal: Kunshan hasn't ever hosted a gaming event, not large or small. Then suddenly something like the the WCG shows up. I think that the level of excitement and enthusiasm is really welling up among Kunshan fans. Up to this point, I've had and I've received many calls from friends hoping that I could bring them into the arena. I could only say that I can't bring that many guests in. Bring one or two guests would be no problem.
Q: Now for Mumu
Q: You're the only female guest here for an interview.
Q: Just now, we saw the warmth of enthusiasm during the last booth activity. What is your gauge for the level of anticipation for Dota2 among gamers?
Mumu: My sense of the level of everybody's anticipation for Dota2 is really high. They're all hanging onto every bit of PerfectWorld's offering and activities and announcements and news about Dota2 going online. Everyone is looking forward to that. The excitement is also because they're able to interact with stars like ZSMJ and Hao in such close proximity. There were many prizes giveaways as well, so I think the general feeling is that today's program was very well executed.
Q: Recently, GTV have been doing some Dota2 programming. Are you planning on producing some similar but GTV-exclusive shows or events for dota2?
Mumu: Right now, we're drawing plans for Dota2 related programming. I guess, we're waiting for some information from PerfectWorld. I don't know how to say it. I guess it's a bit of a preview to build up on hype for the game. I personally really really love Dota.
Q: Then, what is your opinion of Dota2?
Mumu: I feel that the quality of the game is extremely high. Among all the games that I have tried in the Dota genre, it is the best, and also the... The user interface is the best. I'm looking forward to having servers for everyone and meeting everyone in-game.