ACE Alliance Events Director, Efeng (iG CEO) resigns from ACE

Efeng, CEO of iG, had previously held one of the top three ranking roles at the governing ACE Alliance for Chinese esports. As of yesterday, he has left his duties with ACE. Here is his resignation letter below:

I’ve officially resigned from my D.ACE role as Events Director, and I want to clarify a few things.

1. Reason for resignation

I’ve always said what needed to be said, and have never been afraid to take blame when necessary. But the recent treatment of King (ACE Alliance top official) has really left a bitter taste. He’s put everything into serving the esports scene, yet when his own club (Club WE, famed in LoL and with a long history, but no Dota team in the past few years, the club has seen declining fortunes in the last year and recently has seen instability hit hard) faces difficulties, all he gets in return are sarcasm, taunting, and people making light of the situation. I think that if the same thing happened to me, it would be even worse than King. So I might as well call an early end to it, so you all can celebrate once and be done with it.

Another is, iG in this past year hasn’t been in ideal shape, so I do not hope to see what happened to King’s WE happening to us [at iG] as well. If you want to label me as incompetent that’s fine, or say I’m running away that’s okay too, my only hope is to help iG operate steadily and stably onwards from now. ACE itself now has lots of capable individuals who can handle all aspects, and thus no longer even needs me around.

2. D.ACE

Don’t go throwing around any more talk about how D.ACE is working to help LoL. If the clubs involved simply wanted to kill off Dota, then merely having each club disband their respective Dota squads would be enough. Which club has a profitable Dota squad right now? Clubs are working to protect and grow Dota 2, with the hope that it can successfully take the torch from Dota 1 and become as hot as it once was in China. This was why ACE was formed, to protect and maintain order within the scene.

Secondly, ACE’s decisions to date have all come absent of outside influence. All criticism of ACE should come from reality first — This year’s losses at TI3 came with ACE, last year’s win at TI2 also came while ACE existed, no difference in that respect. Those who claim ACE denied events from happening, please stand up and provide proof of your claims. And at least since I’ve been appointed this role, I haven’t felt that Dota events are more sparse than in other games. If there is an event with a lack of ACE clubs, then it must have been because the clubs or players didn’t want to go, because where is the reasoning otherwise?

3. ACE Alliance Chairman

From the establishment of ACE, we needed a person who could lead, so King was selected unanimously. Regardless of personal support or not, everyone agreed on him as best for this role (professionally). This role would have no salary, no glory, we all knew that this role would be Scapegoat number 1.

Saying things like “if you don’t want to do it then don’t do it, no one is begging you here”, to those people I must tell you, it was indeed the respective clubs that begged him to do it. I was the one that most wanted to vote against his appointment, but even I couldn’t suggest which person would be able to perform the role in a way that would satisfy all of the players, sponsors, clubs, media, and fans. Since ACE solidified its presence this year, King has brought up multiple times that he wanted to resign, but looking inside, who is there that can keep all the clubs happy while also not presenting a large conflict of interest?

4. The players

At the end of May this year when I was appointed Events Director, I was firm in requesting that we take into account players’ thoughts. If there were players that were unhappy with something then I would absolutely not accept things, and thank you to Yao and Director 8 for their support at the time. For me, I cannot necessarily claim that I’ve contributed much, because honestly I don’t feel that I did that much, but at least in the past six months I have not done anything to let anyone down. And also in the past six months I’ve felt that Dota players have become more and more mature, have become better and better in coordinating with the clubs and ACE, and have grown to be more understanding of each other. This is all great for the growth of our scene, thank you all!

Just as it is for the players, it should be for those who truly love Dota, I think we must support ACE. I hope we can all calmy realize ACE’s role and extent of power. ACE represents the various clubs, yet the clubs are the most important element in this professional scene. Each ACE decision is come upon by the clubs collectively, so, if you support the clubs yet still say you are against ACE, this is a contradiction. For the players it is the same, ACE looks forward to the day when a players’ alliance emerges, because this also represents advancement in our industry.

As for Dota 2, strong opposition is ahead, hard competition is following behind. Only if players and clubs and fans can come together, is there hope to stand strong amongst these challenges. Which of us has not grown up playing Dota? So if we can each give our bit to help, things will be better. On the other hand, you could continue flaming players, ACE, the clubs… back then on the forums, the forum flamers alongside select editors did just that, they flamed, and did they save Warcraft 3? In reality they caused the events and clubs at the time to hasten their demise, because no one wants to be flamed. There’s not much money to be made in the first place, so why continue on just to have your name dragged through mud?

Of course I must also thank the clubs, players, media, and friends within the scene for their support in helping Dota have more and more events and competitions nowadays. And thank you to you all for your support of my work these past few months. If ACE requires assistance in the future I will of course offer everything I have. I hope the Dota scene can come together closer, such that Dota 2 can reach the heavens. 🙂


Zhou and ZSMJ switch roles for TongFu… (fan reactions)

In the D2L East playoffs between DK and TongFu, we saw that Zhou appeared on the 4 position, while ZSMJ took up carry duties. While the results started off amazingly, in the end they were mixed as TongFu took an early game 1 then proceeded to drop the next 2 games and lose the series 1-2. Nonetheless, is this the beginning of what can be said to be a big change for Chinese Dota 2 fans?

Zhou, carry and captain of TI2 champions iG, moving to the 4 role is a big piece of news in itself, and the potential return of the famed Z-God, ZSMJ himself to the hard carry role is another.

Select fan reactions below:

“As a ZSMJ fan, you may be overjoyed at this news, but please don’t disregard the other carry’s hard work and persistence. Zhou has played carry and been captain for so many years, always thinking of the team first. Seeing Zhou no longer as the carry makes me sad, the feeling of which is probably similar to how ZSMJ fans felt when they first saw him playing support with VG. Zhou’s transition, as a fan, to me signals the end of an era, but I will always support you, no matter what team, what position, you will always be captain and carry in my heart.”

“I respect Zhou. Add oil ZSMJ, add oil Zhou, add oil TongFu”

“B-God’s recent fortunes haven’t been that much better than these two. If we talk about rising carries, it would be xiaotuji and Sylar.”

“Is this really the end of another era? Once led a Chinese team to TI champions, once commanded the respect of teams around the world, once stood amongst the ranks of the Big 3 Carries. I don’t know how it must feel to have so much pressure under all this. Drafting pressures, the pressures of carrying. As captain, even more responsibilities in terms of helping the team establish early game, picking the team up in times of difficulty, these are not things that every player can handle. I hope we can all give a bit more support, and a bit less negativity.”

“ZSMJ says, Zhou-god buy chicken”

Dota 2 passes all government approval in China: Perfect World needs to do more

This somewhat meandering opinion piece on Dota 2 in China touches on recent server issues and competition in the market. The server issues are a true problem, the others — more debateable. Small insight.

WCG 2013 just ended with no Dota 2 presence. Dota 2 itself has just passed the Chinese government’s cultural screenings (censors), the timing of which seems to be no more than a coincidence. Rumors from within say that, it was due to Tencent this year that there was no Dota 2 on the WCG stage. Looking back at WCG 2012, iG and DK met onstage in the finals, guaranteeing that this world title remained in China.

Interestingly, last year’s lack of League of Legends at WCG was, according to Riot, due to scheduling clash with their Season 2 schedule, and thus they declined WCG involvement. At last year’s WCG, the Dota 2 matches were extraordinarily intense, and Perfect World had set up demo stations on-site, drawing crowds of gamers to line up so they could try the game out. At that time, every Dota 1 player was looking forward to IceFrog’s next big project, Dota 2.

What are Perfect World’s next steps?

Perfect World in the second quarter of this year opened up the Dota 2 beta servers. At first, beta access was hard to come by, and so they were hot commodities. Afterwards, codes began going out more frequently, gradually lowering the barrier to entry. Objectively speaking, Perfect World hasn’t done much wrong in this entire process, and strategically haven’t missed much, but, as the exclusivity of the game decreased, hype didn’t quite continue building up around the game as some hoped.

We could say that Dota 2 is an excellent game, but currently it isn’t that hyped or hot in China. Tencent’s LoL, at the beginning, claimed to be from “the original creators of Dota”, yet the current Dota 2, led by none other than IceFrog himself, sits middlingly.

Typically speaking, for a game to pass through government approval means that it can go into open beta and full storefront activities. But for Dota 2 Chinese servers, there have long since been no need for activation keys, so the open beta means nothing, with only the long-awaited storefront to look forward to in the near future. So what can Perfect World do now?

Players aren’t exactly satisfied with the current Chinese servers, reasons are mainly two: Instability, and not enough localization for the game.

In the last two months, the server issues have been in a spotlight for players. In the Steam platform, data and stats for players must go across the ocean to official Steam servers, so this is a pre-existing disadvantage. Perfect World, it would seem, expends large amounts of resources in maintaining smooth communications with Valve, so it would further seem that the only thing they can actively do on their own is to constantly send out update messages to appease players.

Valve, on the other hand, would seem to be unwilling to do as Blizzard did in China and split China off on its own entirely. At the same time, the Dota 2 client maintains synchonized updates with the rest of the world. The cost of this real-time pace is that Perfect World lacks any room to make changes or adaptations to the local Chinese market.

Players that loved Dota 1 may feel that Dota 2 is unfamiliar, and in places where Perfect World should’ve done more localization for local tastes and habits, there has been nothing — apart from a Chinese transliteration of the ‘Dota’ name, this is far from enough. With lots of upcoming titles on the horizon, including various Tencent titles in the moba scene, time is running out.


RisingStars closure due to financial loss

The last paragraph in RisingStars’ story: the Dota 2 ACE weibo announced yesterday that RStars has officially left the ACE Alliance. The club’s closure was described as being due to running at a financial loss for the entire lifespan of the project. At the end, according to the Dota ACE Alliance, the club satisfactorily paid all fees, salaries, and bonuses due to its players, and paid an additional month’s salary as well. As of now, the club is no longer part of the Dota 2 ACE Alliance (and we would assume, no longer actively operating).

Since RisingStars has seen poor performances all around in the post-TI3 Dota 2 landscape, it’s no surprise that the investment in the team never paid off for the investor(s), and the club was running at a long-term loss.

Dotaland note: Even though RStars’ demise is unfortunate, its owner and founder was a young (and probably well-off) Dota fan that only meant the best. Kudos must be given regarding how the closure of the club was handled with respect to following regulations and settling contracts.