Valve's US$3 Million Dota 2 Event Is A Disaster

After you've fired your one of your hosts, Gabe Newell himself came out to give the production staff the flick and your flashy US$3 million tournament has been a shambles throughout, what more could go wrong?

If you're a fan, it's pretty simple. You've sat through the faulty cameras, lengthy delays, technical problems in-game and the awkward, stilted conversations on the panel. You just want closure. You just want to see teams win or lose.

Unfortunately, those who attended the Shanghai US$3 million major won't get to see that live — because the delays are so significant that the venue had to close.

If you're making a list of things that would mark an event as Pretty Bad, not being able to finish a day's play in time is right up there. It's horrendous for players, fans and organisers, costs money, takes more time and is thoroughly embarrassing.

Although that wasn't the only embarrassing part of the event: after a long 17-hour slog, it soon eventuated that there weren't enough shuttles to transfer the players, talent and staff back to the venue.

So people started walking.

People were getting lost even before the event finished, as Complexity Gaming's general manager discovered.

Things are looking up somewhat though, with players and talent praising the tireless efforts of the production team chosen to replace KeyTV after Gabe Newell publicly fired them earlier in the week. Here's a member of the camera crew who didn't have the energy to keep going without a nap.

And while the event has a lot of money behind it, you might not know that from walking around the venue. Check out the VIP Room. It even has chairs!

At least they had the ability to walk around freely backstage though. One of the members involved in directing the English broadcast was given far less.

Problems with the venue aren't just located to the lack of amenities, either. Complexity's offlaner and captain Kyle Freedman went on a rant late yesterday revealing how vast the drop in experience has been from the Frankfurt major last year to Shanghai:

If you're catching any of the matches from today, however, just keep this in mind:

What a nightmare.


    I think you missed the part where you can CLEARLY hear the Chinese casting from the booths so even the game's are going to be bad since the Chinese teams get a huge advantage.

      That's been happening at tournaments in China since at least the WEG events in 2005 though, so that's more par for the course.

      There was meant to be a 5-min delay between the game and the cast, wasn't there? Wouldn't be surprised if that didn't eventuate given what a shitshow everything else has been.

      I can't help but feel sorry for Valve. They are copping all the blowback for this, but it's clearly an issue with local partners... only so much an American company can do when organizing an event in China.

        Welcome to working in China. It's... an experience to say the least :P

          Maybe HK for the next Asian major? It'd be more accessible than Singapore, and you want to keep it at least close to China since that's where most of the good SEA teams are based.

            Taiwan would be the place to go. They've hosted lots of events, gaming or otherwise (Computex) and they have a good track record. IEM Taipei also ran without a hitch, if you don't include the Australians getting spanked by MongolZ.

              Oh yeah that'd work... provided Tsai Ing-wen doesn't tank relations with China

            Valve's relationship with Perfect World makes me think that pretty much any east Asian event is going to be in mainland China. This isn't the first time things have gone horribly wrong with a Chinese event and it won't be the last.

              That's a good point, but can they really risk the next major being an unmitigated disaster like this one has been? I guess they can put PW on notice, let them know that if they don't absolutely nail the next one then they lose the event, but I can't see this being repeated indefinitely if it's consistently awful.

          Well China and shanghai isn't the problem. A shuttle pick in the organizer is the fault. Perfect world should keep publishing games and not try as a event agency. I'm working in this field since a decade, and it's much more than knowing the games to make a event.

        Well for a start, they could organise the event themselves, instead of paying someone else to do it, where they simply cut corners.


          You think it would make more sense for an American company to organize an event in China, which is already known as a difficult place to get things organized at the best of times (especially for foreigners, from what I've heard), and do it more effectively than local companies?

          I mean yes, obviously Shanghai has been a clusterfuck of epic proportions, but let's face it; Valve isn't a logistics company, and expecting them to do become one just because their chosen partner fucked up is ludicrous.

            I would have at least expected them to have hired someone who doesn't have a history of bad tournaments

          Edit: Double posts are the best posts.

          Last edited 04/03/16 9:36 am

    good to see valve fail
    die valve die!

      I agree with this sentiment more than I probably should.

        hate EA hate ubi.... why not eh?
        not to mention the graphic card wars

    Yeah shanghai is a great place to host, if you want your game to be a laughing mess of a failure.
    stick to reliable places.
    china you are dead to me :|

      I like China in general, having lived and worked there for a couple of years in 2005-2006. Having said that, none of these stories surprise me in the least. In the least. Corners are always cut and stuff is always arranged at the last minute. Westerners (and even a lot of Chinese people) find it infuriating, but the Chinese people at least have lower expectations :-)

    My base need for schadenfreude has been satisfactorily fulfilled for the day. Thank you, Shanghai Major.

    Well, I guess this settles the question of whether LoL or Dota 2 is the best esports MOBA. Remind me, how many unmitigated disasters of this magnitude has Riot had?

    Sure, this has nothing to do with the games themselves, but the Dota 2 fanboys have always been "our game is the better esport because our championship prize pool has had more money thrown into it" so fair's fair.

      The counter to that would be the 17-ish million Internationals have run quite smoothly, and the Frankfurt major was a good event too.

      I feel like a huge part of League's success, mind you, has been nailing the production and quality in China. Their events there are bang on point. I guess that's the advantage of being owned by Tencent?

        Oddly enough, it's the Chinese League broadcasters that are taking care of English production duties over in Shanghai now. Although I'm willing to pin most of their current failures on Perfect World's inability to plan.

        Last edited 03/03/16 5:00 pm

          MarsTV, right?

            I think so but after posting that comment I tried to double check and couldn't find where I originally read it.

    Should have done a lot more research and testing.. if you're going to spend $3m, you want to be sure it's being spent correctly. This reaks of poor planning, something that should have been done months before now, not once you arrive.

    This is the kind of thing esports need to get right if they want to be successful. Likely it's just due to the media but I hear more about failed events than I do of the successful ones.

    When was the last time a football/soccer/tennis etc event failed so badly?

    Sure, blame the local organisers here but other sports manage it so why can't esports?

      Knowing Valve, they probably figured certain things were too much effort.

      Well... Rio is about to host the World Cup, so we'll see in a few months.

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