Edit: Fuck I had this in my original write up but I forgot where I put it now its lost in the flow. Honestly Starladder is the most well runned western tournament I've ever played in, even if it has its problems. The tournament quality didn't increase but also didn't decrease even with its move to Bucharest so that's pretty good.
Today I made a video on this matter because it would be less time consuming for me. But I'm extremely bad at conveying things from the past, I can only properly rant when something suddenly appears on my mind, not when its forced. I also don't know why I decided to make a video with barely any sleep and when im camera shy. Well, everything I covered in the video will be talked about.
For those who didn't watch the video, this blog will cover my thoughts on TI/DAC (Majors?) versus what may now be called Minors (starladder/summit etc?). Also some other thoughts that came up as I was talking.
Right now there are major issues in practically every tournament we play offline. Before starladder there was the disaster of a tournament in Major Allstars. People may treat Major Allstars as a special case, but I really don't think it should be looked about that way. If we look at all the lans previous to that, they all had major problems. DAC had admins that didn't play DotA sleeping during matches, bad setup (no armrest chairs, curved super big monitors, tables that had 0 leg room, etc), Summit 2 had extremely faulty computers (etc), and Dreamleague was LMFAO. WCA/WEC also had massive issues with ESL/Starladder being the only decent tournaments.
DotA is now at a point where when players talk about tournaments the statement of "it wasn't that bad the computers were working" is a common defense for the tournament. That should be a basic REQUIREMENT for lans. I remember going to my first LAN, I would get so excited to finally play one on the plane. Nowadays when I attend a LAN i just hope that nothing goes terribly wrong.
Most of these issues are reoccurring in tournaments with some being much harder to fix than others. Some issues might require much more financial assistance, and some may be up to Valve.
One major problem I've experienced in some lans are patches/server issues. During the previous Dreamleague, mid tournament there was a patch introduced that included phoenix/brood mother. DotA 2 doesn't allow for patch changes unlike DotA 1 so players actually just sit there praying that there won't be a patch or that there won't be any major bugs. Teams start having agreements where they won't pick new heroes or some shit. I actually had that agreement with VP but I forgot about it and picked phoenix to try it out. VP wasn't mad about it though since we lost D;
Servers start going down when there's a patch and the tournament gets delayed. It's very stressful playing a tournament when you know a patch is nearby. This isn't really something the tournament can fix though, its up to Valve and they have to patch at some point.
For me the main issue with minor tournaments is sound cancellation. So many things can actually go wrong when there isn't a proper sound cancelling booth. The problem with sound cancelling headsets which is a tournament go to is that players are forced to use a program like skype/teamspeak to communicate which has a 1-2 second delay (The chinese teams usually don't use these programs). Some headsets allow you to just turn off the sound cancelling with a button and admins don't really check for that. The sound cancelling usually isn't good enough so you can hear the casters anyway. And even with all this being fixed the sound gets broadcasted through your mic anyway so you can potentially end up hearing everything twice.
In some teamfights at starladder, I could hear Toby/LD and the Crowd twice. It actually becomes so difficult to play during those moments. Of course the best solution to this problem is to pay half a million or more for proper booths, but many tournaments can't afford that. What DAC did was have a shitty booth that didn't block out that much sound but it ended up blocking all the sounds in combination of a sound cancelling headset. Of course this method still forces you to use a communication program but I think that's good enough. I personally think the cheapest option is to just have the sound broadcasted in front of the stage so its much quieter on the stage for the players. I'm not sure how this would affect sound quality for the audience though but this was done at WCA and it lessened the problem a lot. What players usually do is make their mic threshold really high so it rarely picks up casters/crowd unless they are screaming. The problem with this is that you can't naturally communicate, you have to talk very loudly and some players aren't able to do that. Bone has a big problem with that as he tends to speak quietly so we often don't hear what hes saying in games.
Ok if I continue with this tone any longer I definitely wouldn't be true to myself.
Competitive DotA isn't a joke. Hundreds of Thousands of people watch this. There are Fans and Familys who care a lot. Some people say pros are lazy and holy fuck we are. But were always struggling, thinking about the game, our team, ourselves, and what we can do to reach our dreams. I actually get embarrassed when people tell me I'm trying hard or that I'm good at this game. I look at myself and I feel like I'm shit and that there's no way I'm trying hard enough. When I lose a tournament, the bitterness doesn't allow me to tell my team, oh hey I tried my best, there's nothing more I could have done. I don't fucking understand how organizers feel fine with the things that happens in these tournaments.
During Starladder there were two games happening at once, one game is played on the main stage and the other one is played on the secondary stage. Bulba told me there was a little girl screaming near him as they are playing their elimination matches (https://twitter.com/Phillip_Aram/status/591704499510730752). This is actually insane, I don't even know what to say. Either the organizers are lazy as fuck or they are incredibly stupid.
You would think that of any organizer, that Starladder, with their history of having an extremely difficult time dealing with Chinese teams would understand their need for a proper translator. From my experience, playing in China is always very stressful and they usually have Xiituzi there and a group of volunteers that speak a little bit of English. How do they expect Chinese teams to be ok with having no one that speaks English look after them. They are probably being cheap and thinking that KellyMilkies is all they need for IG and that icex3 is enough for VG. There was a thread made about translations in Starladder on reddit and Kelly was flamed for doing a bad job. But lets take a look at why her translations might not be to par. Her team just lost, shes translating for the team that beat her team, shes translating infront of a crowd, shes a manager NOT a translator, and she had no idea she was even going to translate in the first place. It's no wonder that Loda got mad because his girlfriends being used by cheap fucks who wouldn't even think of compensating people in anyway. There are translators out there that wake up at 3-5 am to help not just translate discussions but entire documents for FREE, I'm sure you would be able to find them since you use them for the ridiculous Chinese Visa troubles.
Player's have asked many times for private washrooms but it doesn't seem like anything can be done about it. Chinese tournaments, TI and ESL NY are the only ones with private washrooms. It's not that I think i'm hot shit and I don't want to meet the fans, I always go out there on my own terms to interact with fans. But it really sucks for the fans and myself when I'm trying to focus on the next game and I ignore/reject fans that talk to me while I'm heading to the washroom and back. Every day I would reject like 50 people and I don't want to do that.
At one point I had a lot of respect for Andrey but after seeing how he was talking to players during DDOSS situations my respect dropped. I flamed him to cyborgmatt about it when we were chilling and cyborgmatt responded "it really isn't Andrey's fault hes in an extremely stressful position and hes underpaid." Andrey I'm Sorry T_T. Honestly staff being under paid seems like the case in many events. I just feel like there's enough money in DotA and some fuckers are hogging it all. I might be wrong about that but that's my belief from these few years in DotA.
When it comes to prize money I feel like I can trust Major tournaments to pay (though DAC hasn't paid yet). For minor tournaments it can become very stressful thinking about pay. Honestly I would be extremely worried about payment if I played at Major Allstars. The last event that didn't pay prize money was WPC 11 months ago. Overall payment certainty has been pretty good the last few years but the length of payment has been very random. This might not be the organizer's fault but Valve's but that's the point, I feel like Valve would be more eager to help Majors that they are partnered with.
Honestly if you ask me why I write these blogs, maybe in the past I would be able to answer but now I'm not really sure anymore. My original blogs were more about me, I just felt like the fans deserved to know how I feel after getting kicked from my own team. My second blog was about Marco, for that blog it was once again because I felt like my fans deserved to know what was happening with my career, because I wanted to spread awareness of shady people in DotA, and 3rd because I just wanted to fuck Marco. My last few on tournaments have been different from the rest of the blogs. I don't think anyone ever flamed me for the first two, except for my poor english. I actually feel stressed writing these blogs now not just because I'm so fucking shit at english but I feel like these blogs don't just concern me anymore and I'm not sure if I have the right to write about this since my opinion might change things up for other players. I feel like each blog gives me a new set of haters as well. Honestly everything feels very jumbled up, its no longer so simple why I write these blogs. But I know that I don't want to be one of those players that sit there and take it up the ass without saying anything. And I want to increase the notion of players speaking up for what they think is right more openly. I don't want to be a person where my organization steals most of my DH winnings (MTW) and doesn't do anything about it, nor do I want to have my stream revenue stolen without fighting for it (old Mouse Sports), and there's plenty of other shady shit that happens in the scene that aren't mentioned. Honestly I feel like the Russian scene is still getting fucked but I don't know for sure >_>.
Now that its my second time talking about the Toby incident I realized I'm a fucking idiot for hating because that happened years ago. But what happened was Toby was laughing, and joking about how bad MTW was as they were getting eliminated from the tournament. For me this has nothing to do with comparisons with sports or even the game itself. All I see is a person is making a mockery of 5 people infront of hundreds of thousands of people about something they dedicated a year too but failed. I see someone who would ridicule their friend infront of everyone. And that's what I didn't like about it.
I know this blog wasn't written in a professional tone. Hell, its definitely the blog I've raged the most in. I know that I'm a perfectionist and I sometimes don't see things from other people's perspectives. But I still don't think I'm wrong. For me a LAN is an event where players are able to fight for their dreams to their fullest with hundreds of thousands of people watching. If people are truly passionate about this game, I just don't want them to forget that, because its really easy to lose sight of that once you dive into this scene.
"I know that though I've lost my own way, I still can be saved."