And in the "Ultimate First World Problems" file, we have this new entry: Chinese Dota 2 teams supposedly playing sloppy at tournaments because they're not used to having to compete for millions of dollars months after The International, a tournament where teams compete for tens of millions of dollars. Boo-hoo.
In case you're not up to speed, Valve's Frankfurt Major for Dota 2 is kind of a big thing. It's the first in Valve's new structure for their sponsored Dota 2 tournaments, whereby The International is supplemented with a series of majors throughout the course of the year.
They're mini-Internationals, in effect, although they're certainly not mini when it comes to the prize pool. US$3 million is on offer at the Frankfurt Major, which is more than what other developers and tournaments give out over the course of the year. And there are supposed to be four of these leading up to The International.
So you'd think this would be a major event for the players. After all, it's the chance to rapidly supplement their income.
But apparently that's not the case for the Chinese teams, according to one Dota 2 veteran. Daryl Koh is one of the modern gaming legends of Singapore, having excelled in the original Dota, Starcraft 2, Heroes of Newerth and League of Legends — all at the same time, mind you — before turning to Dota 2 completely.
He's made a substantial amount of money as a result, having won the 1v1 solo championship event at The International a couple of years ago, finishing fourth with *Vici Gaming at the International this year and taking home just over US$800,000 at The International last year with Team DK. Koh's also one of the most straightforward interviewees in the Dota scene, and one of the few members of the Chinese Dota 2 teams with a fluent command of English.
So when a player of that standing comes out and says that he's not taking a US$3 million tournament that seriously — and that the other Chinese teams aren't either — it's a bit of a staggering admission.
"People are not taking it seriously at least from Chinese side. I’m not really taking it seriously myself," the Singaporean told Joindota. "Probably the reason for it is still lack of understanding of how the Majors work. Also the US$3 million prize pool in comparison to [The International], where it was US$18 million, does not seem so significant or impressive." He went on to stress that the Frankfurt Majors were "still quite big" and that teams weren't quite used to the scheduling or "tradition" of Valve's new structure.
Talk about first world problems though: there's so much money in Dota 2 that even the prospect of a few million isn't enough to be completely switched on. eSports has certainly come a long, long way.
*Update: Meant to say Vici Gaming instead of LGD. Apologies and thanks to those who pointed it out.