As always I apologize for my shit writing.
Also if I hurt your feelings in this blog, I don’t give a fuck. Thanks to those who properly read this blog, and to those that discuss about the points in it. To those who would use this blog as simply an excuse to attack me directly, go fuck yourselves.
RedBull Battle Grounds:
I would like to mention that although I’ll be pointing out a lot of negatives, I hope people don’t see it as flame directed towards them. I believe that RedBull actually had the right mentality going into this tournament. The tournament from a spectators perspective was simply amazing. When it came to the players however, the event was a disaster.
Well the first thing that’s on everyone's mind is of course the format. The format was definitely interesting but I feel like a lot of “interesting” formats could be made if someone put their mind into it. That doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Well first off the tournament format for the playoffs was BO1 where each time had 3 lives, and when you lose one BO1 you lose a life. Each team would take turns challenging each other to remove each others lives till only two finalists remained. Each team also had one reflector that could redirect a challenge to another team when they are challenged.
I guess the good part about this format is that it's “interesting” or “refreshing” but lets be honest here this format is simply not meant for competitive play. The format is simply not fair at all. Although this didn’t happen because the tournament was played by cowards/idiots, the teams could potentially gang up on another team. Some people defended the format by saying that if they had 5 teams of equal skill level that it would be fine. But no matter what anyone says it’s very clear that there is a massive flaw in the format no matter which teams participate. Perhaps the 3 western teams could gang up on the other 2 asian teams. I mean DotA is a team game but there’s no way it should be a fucking team of teams game. There are potentially other fairness issues as well but I don’t find the need to explain it as the fairness flaw is clear.
The format is also very stressful for the players to play in. You are unable to truly prepare for matches as you can basically be challenged after every match. Because of how there’s no clear schedule, going out to eat, warming up in pubs, or whatever is basically a no go. This format simply forces players to sit there and watch every game because they could be challenged at any time by any of the teams.
Although there was a lot of problems, in my opinion it’s clear that RedBull tried to take good care of the players. They even booked nicer hotels for the players and sent all the casters/other staff to an INN (LMFAO, that’s kinda mean ><). They took the players Go Karting and nice places for dinner. They had a nice after party set up for the players as well. This might be the first after party where staff would look out for the drunk stupid players such as Arteezy. @Kaniwani928 throughout the entire event was very nice and helpful. She ran around the entire time doing whatever she could and stayed late enough at the after party to uber all the players back to the hotel.
The other major problem with the tournament was the lack of practice PCS. I believe there weren’t any for the playoffs (I only went to finals). The hard working players (Aka ARTEEZY WAO) played non stop at stupid pings with the hotel wifi. The day before the finals the players were asked to arrive at 11~12 for interviews/rehearsals and they were told that practice PCS would be available for down time. However the computers weren’t set up till 6 pm and no rehearsal was done on that day. Basically the players just sat there for 5-6 hours doing nothing. It was like waiting for a super delayed flight. Arteezy was baby raging nonstop and even IG who apparently never complains was raging.
Apparently RedBull was surprised by the need for practice PCS as their ESports comes from a starcraft II background and their players rarely need practice PCS. I would think that it’s because in Starcraft II they want to hide their strategies/build orders from rival players where as in DotA we don’t need to scrim we can just play pubs.
I feel like RedBull tried to have the right mentality by taking care of the players outside of the game, spending good money on them on the party, rides, food, hotel, and other expenses. Having ping pong and other games to play, being taken to Go-Karting, having a hotel near the beach, and other things. However, the one thing they didn’t understand was that the players don’t go to these events thinking about getting drunk, eating good food, going to the beach, or having fun at Go-Karting; they come to play DotA. It’s very nice to be given the opportunity to relax in these fun opportunities, but we also really need to have the option to focus as well.
Another problem was that for the finals 60 Hz monitors was used instead of the 144 Hz BenQ monitor they used for the playoffs. I feel like when it comes to monitors/computers/chairs/soundproof or whatever they should be somewhat standardized.
During the playoffs the two teams were sitting right across from each other, usually this would be disastrous but the soundproof headsets RedBull provided which also included microphones were amazing enough to disregard most of this. The usual setup for sound in non TI events is to wear your headset for the microphone on your neck, put on earbuds, and put another sound proof headset on top of the earbuds. The redbull headset covers all of that in one go. The microphones are also specifically designed so only voice from directly in front of it will be picked up. I feel like every event should be using the same or similar headsets. They aren’t that expensive as they will be reused in future events. Anyway, I still feel like having the teams sitting across from each other bad, this should generally not happen in events. Being able to destroy the other team’s communication by screaming should not be a thing, this is what happened to us at WEC (when not playing on stage). We would actually try to play across from EG whenever we could so our communication wouldn't be hindered by NaVi or the Chinese teams screaming.
When it came to the actual finals event, I was very impressed. The attendees were treated very well I thought. It was easily identifiable where the VIPs are located, where the normal attendees are, in general it was very easy navigating around. I would know, I wasn’t playing this time so I walked around for 2 hours meeting fans. I walked around the secret shop, checked out the outside line, the everything, the structure of the place was just good. In general a lot of things were really good. There was a place where the players could just relax, the private washrooms were easily accessible, meeting fans was easy, food/drinks were easy to get.
The production was the best I’ve ever seen from any tournament except TI. Inside the venue was beautiful. I don’t really know how to explain these things, it’s just very well colored inside, there are like players faces beamed onto windows and shit. One of the staff members had like this machine that shoots this liquid nitrogen thing into the air to cool the place if it ever gets to hot. The place didn’t feel stuffy at all or too hot/cold. They had good things to show in between games or something. Whatever RedBull did for production, it was good.
Well to start it off I think the Summit 3 is one of the best events I’ve ever attended. I would say its Summit 3 = TI >>>>>> everything else. It might be true that not having the event at a big venue makes it a lot easier but regardless I think the event was amazing.
Practice PCs were available in both the hotel and the house enough for all the teams. The PCs all worked this time (Summit 2 LoL), and the schedule was on time.
The staff took care of the players extremely well. Starting from getting picked up from the airport to driving us back and forth from the hotel/house. There was always food available. BTS didn’t mind paying for hotels if players wanted to come a few days earlier to adjust their sleep schedules. Information about the venue, practice PCS, or whatever was available very early on. You would be surprised how many tournaments don’t tell you where you're even staying till like a week before the tournament. Practice PCS in the hotel was available a few days before the event started, a lan cafe was booked if players wanted to use that as well. The house practice PCS weren’t available till the day before the tournament though.
They used SSDs for their PCs so setting up was really fast, we even had them used for the practice PCs which has never been done in any other tournament. The practice PCs/Monitors were exactly the same as the tournament PCs/Monitors. The chairs for the practice area didn’t have arm rests though (the tournament PCs had DX Racers). That’s definitely a problem, but it’s actually one of the only problems I had for the event. One other issue is that the internet for one of the days was unstable for the hotel PCs.
For me the most important thing has always been mentality, and it's quite clear that the entire BTS staff wanted the tournament to be as good as possible. I’m not sure if there’s an easier way, but some tables were cut up and repainted so that each player would have their own table for matches. Each room had its own fan/air conditioning thing so that the room temperature could be properly adjusted and the PCs never had an issue. The reason to why I think their mentality is correct is because the above points were improvements from the previous tournament. Things were fixed without dilly dallying around. BTS went to a lot of players asking for what they need, I personally talked to Godz for awhile about the format of the tournament. It was never hard approaching any of their staff, they always looked happy to help. And people were always around and available. This western event had 3 Chinese teams, and all 3 safely made it here. There was actually a PAID translator (Josh and his GF) for once in a western event.
They accommodated for specific requests as well. Sumail has specific needs for food and BTS helped with that. We actually weren’t allowed to listen to music originally. But me and Conrad (my manager) fought really strongly about it and BTS listened to our request. They listened to my song (Puppet in the Dark, you welcome), the mp3 file and checked if I could cheat from it after that I could use it.
There was a thread made on reddit about the Summit viewing experience not being as good as previous iterations. I won’t argue whether that’s true or not but I feel like even if that was true it wasn't really on BTS.
The main reason to why players weren’t casting as much is because this tournament had 4 asian teams and a peruvian team. Only 3 teams and Jeyo/iceiceice could commentate. Other Summits all had 4 teams plus 1-2 players from the remaining two teams that could cast. Players also had practice PCs this time so we weren’t bored out of our minds. I basically only casted last time because I had nothing else to do. I casted this time because I wanted to and because I’m a loser. Another reason is the format of this season made it so that teams were only eliminated on the 3rd day. I believe the first summit had it so that teams could be eliminated earlier. Teams that are eliminated earlier could cast (LMFAO C9 CASTING TEAM).
Another major complaint was the amount of commercials and breaks. There definitely were more commercials this time but the main reason for this is the length of the games being played. If there is less game time, there will be more commercial time. That’s just how things work. Almost every series was 2-0 and the length of many games were below 20 minutes. Compared to the patches in the previous summits, even though there are 2 more teams, the total time of all the games is significantly less than before. To make up for the lost time, more commercials have to be shown.
As for show matches, well the players don’t want to do them. The tag team thing last summit was the stupidest thing ever, when it comes to an all star match, I’m not sure I prefer not doing them. Anyway BTS decided not to do it because the players didn’t want to.
Concerns on Majors:
Well so far I haven’t written anything that could get me in trouble yet, but this wouldn’t be an envy blog if it didn't get more heavy. WOooooooo
Well first off what exactly is a major? Hopefully its something that valve personally runs but assuming that DAC is a major that definitely is not the case. If DAC a tournament that was ran by MarsTV/PerfectWorld is a major then potentially the other 2 Majors are tournaments also run by different organizations.
One organization that instantly pops up would be Nexon. PerfectWorld is the Chinese DotA 2 distributor, and Nexon is the Korean DotA 2 distributor. This means that potentially 2 of the 3 majors are in asia. I wrote this in my previous blog but I’m very worried that these majors would be bias based on the region they are located. For example DAC had 11 asian teams out of 16 teams. I feel like for such a massive event, a “Major,” it should basically be a mini TI, not just money wise but the sacredy of how the event is runned. TI tries its best to invite the best teams in the world, with a little fairness to all the regions. DAC on the other hand is heavily asia favored.
I talked to AUI about this and he thinks that well it's quite possible that these Majors are used to promote DotA 2 in its region. For example if Nexon ran a major it would potentially want more Korean teams in the tournament to promote Korean DotA 2. I feel like a little bias may perhaps be acceptable but it can lead to an extremely flawed system for majors. Placements in majors will most likely determine the likelihood of an invite to the next major and TI. Potentially if we start with DAC after TI, and 11/16 teams are from Asia, then perhaps this will snowball and TI will be filled with asia teams.
Anyway my point is, I really hope the Majors are runned like TI. Honestly DAC was nothing like TI in terms of organization. What made them similar was the hype, the hotels, and the money.
EDIT: I inserted the two follow paragraphs after I finished writing!
The next year will be very interesting because of these majors. I feel like a lot of top teams will focus primarily on the majors while playing only a few other tournaments for “practice.” I believe that how well organizers treat the players will become much more important next DotA year. In previous years as long as a tournament had good prize money, the teams will play it. However, if all the majors are DAC level, most of the money will be in these tournaments, so top teams would play other tournaments just to “practice.” Prize money in these smaller tournaments wouldn't matter as much anymore. Perhaps teams would look at how well these tournaments treat them instead as the primary reason to play.
Another interesting thing that would most likely occur is that a lot of T2 teams will start winning tournaments because T1 teams will no longer participate in as many tournaments. This may potentially mean that not only will T1 teams make more money because of majors, but a lot of T2 teams will make more money and get more exposure, and even T3 teams will be able to win a few Eizo Cups here and there. Potentially the Majors system will help grow DotA 2.
Ok so this is all speculation, potentially DAC isn’t even considered a Major. But anyway since I’m concerned I’m going to keep speculating.
Personally I think the likelihood of Valve running 4 tournaments a year to be impossible. Valve is very understaffed when it comes to DotA, it takes all that can they run TI, there’s a low chance they will run 3 other tournaments throughout the year.
Say Nexon/DAC are both majors, who will run the last major? When it comes to hosting huge events in the west, I think of ESL frankfurt. Honestly when it comes to running events, the events in the west are usually superior to the ones ran in asia (except Korea). And honestly, even if the event was destined to be a total disaster players would still play it.
Anyway, I don’t think anyone really knows anything yet, but some people have been speculating that ESL would be the obvious choice for the western major. Personally I am against that idea.
For me ESL is an experienced and big organization that looks fit to run a major; that I don’t deny. But for me it is not my first choice. Perhaps if ESL was given the honor of hosting a major that everything they do will be done better but there’s no way I should look at it that way.
ESL may be experienced but their experience doesn’t seem to offer much. Their growth is very stagnate. The 3 tournaments they have/will hosted for DotA are all 2 day tournaments. All with the same shitty format of bo3 single elimination with even the finals being bo3. Both the previous ESL FrankFurt and ESL NY had major delays because of PC/internet or other issues. It’s not like I expect any PC problems this time around but looking at how they run DotA 2 it may very well not be changed.
For example, when it comes to all JD events (partnered with ESL), HolyMaster (head admin) insists, even though so many players think its stupid, to have random side/pick order. What usually happens in ESL is that for first game FP/SP is randomed. Then G2 it's flipped. G3 there is a coin toss and side/pick can be chosen. It’s not that this is unfair or anything, it’s just a stupid concept. You go into a tournament, you can’t plan out a part of your picks because it's random. Every non JD tournament uses the preferred way of giving one team choice of side/pick then the other team the other based on coin toss but for some reason HolyMaster remains a hipster.
I don’t actually know what it means to be an admin when it comes to HolyMaster. Perhaps it just means using the same rules for every tournament and never adapting (AKA nothing). ESL format is actually the same as fucking Eizo Cup.
Playing qualifiers for this ESL, we had some games where the lobby wouldn’t be hosted till the game was about to start, and it was hard to contact anyone. I actually tweeted because no one responded to my manager after our game against Empire because we wanted to reschedule against NaVi incase of new patch. We got a response after that though xD.
Well I’m sure ESL is working on some things for this ESL Frankfurt I can’t really say too much before I go. Maybe it would change my mind. It’s not like ESL has been a bad event, they have good soundproof headsets, practice computers, and other good things about them. I am not writing this to hate on ESL (though I don’t mind hating on Holymaster), I just don’t believe that should be hosting a major (no idea if it's actually happening though).
Anyway, if anyone from the west should be hosting a major. I truly believe that it should be BTS, I’m honestly not even being bias. BTS don’t have the $$$$ to run an event of that size though, they would have to partner up with someone. Perhaps RedBull/BTS could run an event of insanely good production. I think if RedBull were to run another event, it would be much better than the first one. Their first event was good too.
I talked about a bunch of different things in this blog, I’m not even sure if they linked well together. Right now before it gets too close to TI I just wanted to share my thoughts before I forget about everything. The next DotA years has so much potential, I hope it won’t be wasted. I would hate it if the majors weren’t anything like TI and I hear excuses like “it was our first major.” I don’t think I’ve ever thought “it was my first TI” when I lost the last one. For me personally, I don’t look too much at the money when it comes to DotA. I know that the only thing that matters is how well I play, and how well I mesh with a team. The money will come without me thinking about it. I know it’s not the same (because of sponsors), but I wish for the organizers of Majors to only think about running the best possible event for everyone, I’m sure the money is sure to follow.