UUU9’s One Page Book series talks profit and interests in Dota: “Who took my Cheese?”

This piece from UUU9 looks at profit and conflict of interest in Dota, framed by a look into the history of esports in China.

One Page Book series: “Who took my Cheese?”

Professional players, then and now

The earliest professional players made their livings in very simple ways. The club pays for a simple place to live, some food, and then maybe 1000-2000 RMB in salary. If prize money was won then there’d be a small split of that as well. This period, relative to now, is fairly ancient, and usually refers to the ten year period between 1998 to around 2008.

With pro players just barely scraping by like this, casters and commentators were even worse off back then. People did not place as much importance in them either, and apart from a few larger events that might pay a bit for travel expenses, many other events would simply go by without much in terms of proper commentary. Overall, in these ten years, people involved in this industry were by large representatives of ‘the poor’.

The first wave of salary increases: This all continued on until a ‘new’ game appeared, that game being Dota. The earliest Dota teams followed the same paths, a club sponsoring living and food expenses, then a minimal salary, with prize money split between players and the club itself. Afterwards, because of severe inflation domestically in China, the salaries grew accordingly, allowing typical clubs to settle around 3000-4000 RMB in salaries. Smaller, second and third-tier clubs remained around 1000-2000 RMB.

The second wave of salary increases: 2011 saw a large occurrance which brought further change — the iG ‘poaching’ incident, in which iG bought an entire team. Their offer of 10,000 RMB per month, compared to the old salaries, was considered astronomical. This not only hit LGD hard, it also brought lasting impact to all of the other clubs. After all the dust settled, practically each and every club went about increasing their salary offerings.

The third wave of salary increases: Just as everyone felt that increases had been sufficient and all should be satisfied, The International appeared on the scene. When Dota 2 first was announced, most clubs had made no indication of wanting to switch over; the teams simply crammed a bit of pre-tournament practice in immediately before TI and went in. The result was EHOME taking home a cool 250,000 USD in prize money for their second place finish, and everyone witnessed NaVi scooping a full million-dollar prize. Beyond astronomical figures. Upon seeing this, Chinese clubs, almost all at the same time, began to seriously consider the switch. But the Chinese servers still weren’t up at that time, and everyone continued participating in Dota 1 events, while getting used to Dota 2 in training. In between TI1 and TI2, salaries generally saw another increase, and thus most first-tier teams provide salaries of around 10,000 RMB per month.

Salary increases have largely come to rest at this stage currently. Apart from a rare few big-money transfers, salaries have been fairly stable at this level, but of course, the trend continues upward.

Coming into 2012, upon seeing some retired players making decent money streaming and making VODs, some clubs also went into creating their own official channels, the idea being to have their players stream pub games within. For example, YYF was often seen streaming pubs, but with slipping results in his team’s professional play, the pressure meant he had to put that on hold. Still, we sometimes see pros streaming pub games on YY. As for the income, this remains unknown.

Apart from male professional players, there are actually a few female players. Even though the esports industry is generally a sausagefest, there are still the occasional girls that appear. In the past, there was SsKaoru, MISS, who actually competed at relatively high levels. Nowadays, there are teams such as the ‘LGD Girls Team’, though their main purpose seems to be for promotional purposes. So in this case, instead of a competitive team, they’re more like a marketing team. What their salaries are, I don’t know, though these ‘teams’ appeared around 2010 at first, so the level of pay can’t be too low.

Commentators, then and now

Previously we talked about how early tournaments and events in China did not place much importance on commentators and cassters. Especially for smaller events, at most it would be just to find someone who understands the game and can talk, and off they went. That is, if they even had someone. In that day and age, when even professional players are looking at just a couple hundred to maybe a thousand RMB in average money, commentators would of course not see much for themselves either. That was, until one person emerged: Haitao.

It was near the end of 2009, Haitao had just quit from PLU (a Chinese gaming site and media company), and was at the time unemployed. With nothing else to do, he began doing Dota commentary. Because he had experience as a host for both Gamefy and PLU, he had a good voice, interesting commentary, and happened to just get in when Dota was most popular, so he almost instantly gained lots of fans.

But even with this following, Haitao, still lacked any sort of direct benefit to himself. All the way until a website called “17gaming” approached him, asking to add a short clip at the beginning of his VODs, did he finally begin to make some money. Afterwards, he managed to put in additional advertising for a Taobao/Tmall online shop, and thus began a stream of advertising for various companies. Perhaps inspired by some of this, he himself opened his own Taobao shop, selling mainly computer peripherals, and custom designed clothing.

Afterwards, gaming commentators entered the age of online shops. There are two types of involvement with Taobao — the first being essentially a spokesperson for a shop, wherein a shop is named after a personality and is thus ‘their shop’, but its actual everyday operation is managed by others. In this, a percentage of sales goes to the personality, all he needs to do is advertise it in his VODs and whatnot. The second type is where the personality is the boss as well, and handles all operations in addition to publicizing the shop.

The first wave of shops mostly sold clothing and computer peripherals. Clothing was mainly t-shirts, because t-shirts are low-cost and easy, with screen printing quite simple, profits were potentially quite high. As for peripherals, because pro players would be seen using them, there would be many fans who see and only desire to purchase them for their expensive novelty, and thus sales on these were quite good as well. Eventually, though, peripherals no longer sold as well. Originally the main products were from Razer, Steelseries, famous foreign companies, and the profit margins on these were very little, while costs were high. Even though we all love having high end gear and thus seeming high end ourselves, the costs of these were still too high for the masses, and thus sales eventually died down. At the same time, Chinese-produced products began to appear, with much lower prices, and in some cases boasted flashier, better feature sets than things like Razer’s products.

Gradually, almost all commentators and casters had their own shops. Competition for customers was fierce, and the products on sale were getting harder to sell. Peripherals last at least a few years usually, and t-shirts can only be sold in the summer. This had everyone wondering how else to make money.

Then, 2009 arrived on the scene. 2009 was a retired player from LGD, and after retiring he also entered the world of commentary. Riding on his credentials as a former pro player, he very quickly made a name for himself in the crowded world of Dota commentary. In doing so, he also started his own online shop. But he went with the type two model described above: he decided to handle everything himself. Yet he also met the same problem, sales were slow. Fortunately for him, he was innovative at the time, and opened a ‘snack shop’, something that hadn’t been done much before, and more importantly, food sells faster than clothing and peripherals. Additionally, his model encouraged mass purchases from customers looking to save on shipping fees, and so profits grew accordingly. Afterwards, imitators cropped up, and today we have the three main types of shops in clothing, peripherals, and food. And it is exactly this system of shops that has allowed commentators and casters to become financially established in esports, in some cases even surpassing players in terms of income. This could be called an esports miracle (and it’s a good one).

The emergence of browser and online games

In addition to their shop incomes, lots of people wanted to make even more money. In a time when shops were a dime a dozen, the search was on for less competitive ways to make money, and from here was born the browser-based web game model.

These browser-based games gained popularity by having low requirements, no installation, and ease of access. Due to the simple, instant nature of launching these games, they were popular amongst office workers looking to sneak some time in between at work, and thus the main audience was one that had little time, but lots of money. During this time, internet speeds across China remained in the 2-4mbps range, quite slow, and thus the quality of these games all remained quite low to accommodate for that fact. Thus, the games were generally quite bad.

A lower end game might only cost in the 5 digits to start up and launch, and could make that money back within two to three months, with the rest being pure profit. Low cost, high return, high profit. This was (and is) why there are so many browser-based web games everywhere. Someone had the idea to recruit famous personalities to come play their game, to play the game with other users, and thus market the game and bring even more players about. With hundreds of thousands of followings, esports commentators were natural targets for this. The model was simple: simply create a new server for the game, name the server after the personality, tell the personality that they get X percentage of the revenue from all users on this server, and leave the rest up to the personality to handle. Of course, if it were only to advertise the game, the results would’ve been quite average. So in addition, the personalities would schedule times to play the game with their fans. Once there were more people, there would be more spenders, buying things to advance, or open more chests, etc. Money, and it would be transferred each month to personal accounts.

In honesty if you wanted to see how many of these personalities actually liked or enjoyed these types of games, there would hardly be any. Being a commentator, you see lots of games, and naturally gain an understanding of what makes a game good. These were not good games, but they still got involved with them, for the money. If you look at it this way, it’s perhaps a little bit questionable.

LoL and its advertising

In 2011, Tencent took on a game called “League of Legends” and officially began running its operations in China. In the normal vein of things, a game’s launch naturally begins through traditional advertising.

Dota commentators advertising for other games in their videos was no new thing by this time. The one thing Tencent does not lack is money, and so many worked with Tencent at this time. EHOME at the time was invited to participate in an “All Star Match”, and the slogan was “By the original creators of Dota”.

Here, we can’t go without mentioning the fact that some people may have been short-sighted. Many Dota commnetators and casters went with it for the money, and didn’t think what might happen if this direct competitor to Dota got a spark and grew more popular. On this, Haitao has always been very clear-headed. The reason they are recruiting you is not because you’re good at LoL, or you’re a good LoL caster, but because you’re a good Dota caster, and your audience is seen as a potential audience for LoL. Once you’ve advertised for LoL, there will be a portion of your audience that goes to play this game. In the end, because of this, a portion of them move away from Dota and go to LoL, and thus your own audience decreases by that amount. Once that happens, you are only devaluing your own work as a Dota commentator.

Even though we can’t say that LoL only became popular because of this, but it should still be pointed out that the popularity of Tencent’s game has to give some credit to Dota commentators…

Nowadays, Dota 2 has been officially available and free to play for quite some time, yet some casters and streamers continue to stay with Dota 1, refusing to make the switch. Because Dota 1 currently still has a sizeable player base, if more Dota 1 streamers, casters leave to Dota 2, then that means that those who remain have a larger share of this shrinking pie. But it truly needs to be said, between Dota 2 and Dota 1, it is certain that Dota 2 will last longer. Therefore, only if Dota 2 grows and grows, can you make it in the long term. In the beginning you all advertised LoL, yet now Dota 2 is here and there’s nothing. Only if Dota 2 becomes the hot thing can you all continue on successfully.

The viewers

In the past, viewers served a simple purpose — to support and increase the confidence of players and commentators. After all, putting yourself out there on the internet, you would hope that your viewers support you and recognize you.

Early on, commentators and casters were doing the work out of interest, love for the game, and so if others liked or disliked their work, that was only a secondary consideration. After all, if you like it or dislike it, that doesn’t have much to do with me. But after profit interests entered the game, viewers suddenly became the gods. Streamers, casters, players, all put on a smiling face and never talk or respond back negatively so no one gets upset. Flame, berate… in the end, they are aware that the upset viewer might be a customer of theirs, or a fan of someone. So casters and players keep their popularity and their incomes and their sponsorships, while viewers feel within their rights to flame and flame to their hearts content, a win-win for everyone.

Concluding words

We’re approaching 2014, and the esports scene has grown to a very mature level. Interests and revenues are linked in very simple fashion, but create a strong barrier to entry for newcomers. The scene is crowded and the pie is already split. We see some god-tier personalities with massive success, but at the same time we shouldn’t forget those who failed, whose online shops were forced to close down.

Everyone in esports now feels like they’re a part of mainstream society, that they’re accepted. But if you pay attention to other forums and channels of communication you’ll see, many many people still view it as a low-level industry, one that is suited only for rejects from other parts of society. This not only is due to the long-standing bias against esports, but also due to the industry itself being too immature, too unstable, and too focused on money matters.

Source: http://dota2.uuu9.com/yysnl/

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ZSMJ Q&A session on Baidu Tieba: move to the 4 spot, life dreams, 2009

ZSMJ recently made an appearance on the ZSMJ Tieba on Baidu. He asked for people in Hangzhou to come play basketball with him, and also answered some questions in the thread — some of the answers are really excellent and insightful. And sometimes, even hilarious. Who knew, ZSMJ is a comedian too? Additionally, it was revealed that his salary at VG is 5000 RMB a month and his compensation also includes rent and food (not bad at all). Give this one a read!

Q: About the move to the 4 position
ZSMJ: Because the team has lacked results for this whole time, I’ve been very frustrated. Our individual skills are all not bad, yet we just can’t seem to achieve any results. So I thought that maybe I could switch to the 4 spot, maybe this is the final step before we make that breakthrough in our team’s growth. In Fy’s daily training, I’ve noticed that he has a lot of potential in playing the carry role, so we decided to give it a try, and as such, the team is currently in a new build-up phase. The ultimate result of this experiment I do not know yet, but I can only do my best. One must change, adapt, and strive, in order to not have any regrets later on. I’ve always been very focused on following my dreams, so thank you to those who have supported me and helped me all along my journey.

Q: We heard that, before your comeback, you had preferred the quiet lifestyle of retirement from esports, that being on the computer all day was really bad for your health. So what was it that brought you back to all this again?
ZSMJ: I think it was my dreams, I wasn’t satisfied. I thirst for a championship title to prove myself. And I do really like Dota and Dota 2, there’s a very deep emotional attachment. As for computer-related activities and how they relate to my health, I say that because whenever I play professionally, my health and physical state tend to deteriorate. I’ve had surgery before, because of the drain that it has had on my body. That’s also why I’m so skinny. During my retirement, I had manage to gain a few kilograms, and my acne cleared up. But now I’m right back to around 50 kg, and have acne all over my face.

Q: There’s been widespread flaming of CTY for all sorts of problems, what do you think? What is your opinion of CTY?
ZSMJ: CTY is an extremely talented and skillful individual player. But because of a lack of experience, so currently his play isn’t reliable enough, and he lacks some understanding of how to play the mid and late game scenarios. I believe that with time, he will improve on all these things. Everyone has their weaknesses, so going on and on about one new player’s weaknesses really isn’t doing any favors for the Chinese scene in terms of finding new talent. We should all look for their strengths, and help them develop. I myself am a player with relatively stronger execution, relatively weak leadership, so the team isn’t directed by me. Thus, people end up flaming CTY since the focus in that falls on him. Perhaps if I had a stronger pesronality to take on that role instead, it could be better for everyone, so I will also work hard on that.

Q: Outside of training, what kinds of things do you do for fun?
ZSMJ: Lately due to the lack of achievements, I’ve been feeling the pressure of needing to achieve some results, so apart from training everyday, it’s just sleep. I feel like I’ve met a bottleneck myself, so I’ve really been frustrated~~ I don’t know how to solve it. In the past, while playing professionally, I would go work out, go to the movies, and also play basketball. Are there any groups playing basketball near the Xihu District in Hangzhou? Call me~

Q: As a fan of yours since I started playing Dota, I’ve always liked you. Now that you’re switching to the 4 role, I’m all sorts of emotional, but also hope that you can achieve success with this. Will there be a chance for you to return to the carry role in the future? What circumstances would have to be met for this to happen?
ZSMJ: My switch to the 4 is not because I personally want to play the 4 role, but because it’s something to try to help the team’s needs. If there isn’t any success from this attempt, then I will go back to playing carry. I’m just looking for a way to break through. Whatever ends up suiting our needs is what we’ll do!

Q: Do you have a girlfriend? If you’re looking, then would you prefer one that plays Dota? What other things would you look for in a girl?
ZSMJ: No girlfriend. I don’t like girls that play Dota. I don’t want a public bus (everyone gets a ride), and they must have great figure! Large chest! Can cook and clean, house worthy, loyal and doesn’t mind that I’m poor. Due to the fact that these girls do not exist on this planet, I’ve thus gone on the path of homosexuality. I have many boy friends. I like chubby ones, ones with lots of meat on their bones. If you meet these requirements, I only say this: Please contact me.

Q: Your item hotkeys

Q: What is your ideal lifestlye? Your fans are often categorized as hardcore fans, or braindead fans, etc. What do you think about this? What kind of porn do you like? I’ll PM you some of whatever it is.
ZSMJ: My ideal life is to have a home, have a car, have a woman, and have a kid. The home doesn’t need to be large, the child as long as it is mine, is fine, and as long as the car moves, we’re good. The woman doesn’t need to be beautiful, as long as she’s good to me, then that’s great.

As for fans, I feel it’s pretty nice. I love my fans, no matter what kind you are. I’ve always believed that true support comes in the form of its steadfastness. For me, I haven’t won much in the past year or two, yet regardless of my own poor performances or change of teams, my fans have always supported me. I grew up in the village with my grandma, never received much in the way of a formal education. My parents didn’t pay much attention to me. So the kinds of emotions and relationships that I have from my fans are things that I truly appreciate, it’s just like family, and I really love it. Each and every thanks I say to you all, I fully mean it. I just wanna say, even though I may not be the greatest Dota star, but I am someone worthy of all your support. I believe that I will one day stand up top with title in hand.

As for porn, I haven’t watched any in ages. I’m old… Plus, it’s a waste of tissue — I’m poor, can’t afford that stuff.

Q: What is your relation with 2009 like? Always been curious; is it a tale of two brothers fighting alongside each other, or a Shakespearean story of brotherly love?
ZSMJ: Without 2009, there wouldn’t have been FTD, and wouldn’t have been today’s LGD. I really respect 9-god, and appreciate him. He’s a business genius. At the time of our departures, it wasn’t anything about anyone abandoning the other, more that he just had made the decision to leave LGD. Now it looks like he made the right decision, because nowadays 2009 is doing quite well.

When I first started playing professionally, I didn’t understand anything, I was just a raw kid on the scene. 2009 was a 20-something college student, for him to bring us all along and up through the scene all in the name of chasing our dreams, it couldn’t have been easy for him.

So he will always be my captain, my most respected captain.

Sources: http://tieba.baidu.com/p/2474570985http://dota.shandian.biz/1006.html

SGamer’s Top 10 Factors Holding Players Back in Dota

Original: http://dota.sgamer.com/201302/news-detail-163763.html

Dotaland note: SGamer presents this opinion piece, from one of their writers, on the top 10 factors holding players back in Dota. Fairly tongue-in-cheek, Dotaland has translated it and taken some liberties in reproduction in English for the flow of the piece. A good read, with some true gems of wisdom for anyone looking for some introspective reading, along with some humor — keep in mind it is an opinion piece and all opinions are of the original SG writer.

SGamer’s Top 10 Factors Holding Players Back in Dota

10. Your friends’ questionable advice

Countless people first came into contact with Dota via some classmate, thus beginninng the cycle of building up key items, blinking in with a shout, and leaving the win or loss to fate; dreams all gravitate towards images of streaks in Dota, memorizing item builds, skill builds, ability usage, playstyles… Because of friendship, here we’ll be lenient, and only rank the shady advices of school-age Dota friends as our 10th in terms of things holding you back in Dota.

9. The so-called invincible, all-purpose strategy

From the early years where it took extensive Baidu searches, a translation, and some luck to find a usable guide to today’s fingertip availability of a myriad of styles for every single hero, Dota’s metagame and strategy has been like a calling card for those of this generation. All the advertised guides promising dominance over high skies and heavens as long as you built X item by a certain time, skilled X at certain levels, went into the jungle with X starting items, pushed with this, or that… After all is said and done, is it really that simple, that if your opponent happened to follow one of these guides to the dot, that your only remaining option would be to type out GG and then follow it up by tossing your keyboard out?

The chase for the mythical ‘unbreakable’ strategy, number 9 in things holding you back in Dota.

“I told you to not fucking rush Radiance naked… it’s been 50 minutes, dude”

8. Everyone wants a cup of the soup

The creators of first person vods documenting flashy plays and top level dominance are not necessarily showing anything spectacularly new or brilliant. Instead, what they are doing is creating a product — geared first and foremost at gaining views and clicks. So when you click on that vod link and see the multi-million number in hits, remember, at car shows it’s about the models, in movies it’s about the celebrities, and in gameplay vods it’s about style. Without that, where would the views come from? Those who create these vods are fine, but those who blindly seek to reproduce what they see in these vods are in trouble — the 8th greatest thing holding you back in Dota.

7. An outdated, out of place nostalgia for past trends

As my late language teacher taught me, the ideas of “non-mainstream” and “counter-mainstream” are greatly different. “Counter-mainstream” is a derogatory term, commonly used to refer to those blind adherents to a certain bland, crude humor associated with a certain Korean culture (insert applause here). “Non-mainstream” is a neutral term, just as name brand Meters-Bonwe’s slogan declares: “Walk on the un-taken path, gain the feeling of flight”. “Mainstream” refers to those things that everyone knows, everyone understands, and everyone follows. This is why there are so many noobs and newbs on the servers perpetually, because they’re all following some outdated formerly mainstream style. With each patch version, Dota changes and shifts, yet people’s playstyles remain often unchanged. Only accepting the mainstream style, and thus becoming sealed in a cycle of non-innovation, ranks 7th in things holding you back in Dota.

6. Rebelling for the sake of it, impulsiveness

Since the mainstream isn’t working out for us, why not go opposite of it. In the minds of young people, things are black and white — if not A, then it must be B, thus mixing and ignoring the importance of certainty and uncertainty. The mainstream, despite any flaws that may arise with changes from each edition, is still the mainstream for a reason in that it must still have useful lessons within. There are still times when the mainstream style can be the strongest, and with some adjustments it can be a good starting point for any success. Yet, the complete rejection of the mainstream in favor of whatever isn’t mainstream is a sign of immaturity. Those that cover themselves in tattoos and piercings just to display how different they are from others are in actuality displaying only a lack of depth. “Oh, no one else goes Vanguard on Tidehunter? Then I will. Others don’t go HoD on Ursa? I will, then. Everyone else’s Tinker goes BoTs? Then I absolutely must go Phase Boots and Midas.”

What’s even scarier than this blindness it the loss of direction it rbings about. Such is in life, and the same is in Dota. Making strange item choices for the sake of being unique, number 6 in things holding you back in Dota.

5. In defeat, your opponent is your best teacher

Even though you’re beyond beastly, your teammates are of course simultaneously shit beyond belief. But a loss is a loss — your opponents showed that they knew how to avoid the tough bone that you presented, and instead go for the weak joint that was your teammates, and thus caused your teammates to drag you down with them. When things are going well, when everything’s going as planned, these are the types of games everyone knows how to play. Everyone can stomp noobs and feel good, flashy, and dominant. It’s the attitude that goes into playing those tough uphill games that is key — and it is right within these tough games that countless people miss out on their best learning opportunities. Dota’s greatest joys: mega comebacks is top, flashy play is second, long satisfying sessions being next, with going beyond godlike rounding out the top joys in Dota. And in order to pull off said mega comebacks, the sky must fall before it can be put back into place beyond all odds. Sadly, most people completely lack the guile, strength, and determination and thus the legend of the second Sacred Relic solidified its role in history.

Lacking the ability to properly accept and assess defeat, the 5th greatest thing holding you back in Dota.

4. Attitude, mentality

The fear is not godlike opponents, it is pig-like teammates. The fear is not pig-like teammates, it is the teammates that show off and play for attention (could be analogous to the Western concept of ‘tryhards’ who talk trash).

“Wang Mazi’s (ancient Chinese paper-cutting artist — hence the pun about cutting noobs) Divine Rapier, perfect for cutting noobs!” The next day on the forums, a thread crops up detailing some Radiant hero having a good game, building a Rapier, then losing to the Dire that held out for 70 minutes to come back.

Trying too hard to impress or express are signs of an incorrect attitude. Even if you’ve got high skill, with this attitude all you can achieve is to beat on some noobs; you’re bound to lose when facing strong opposition. Mentality, 4th in things holding you back in Dota.

3. The search for the ultimate solo

The search for the ultimate solo brings with it a plethora of conditions under which any given hero may be the best: at a distance of 900 units, no autoattacks, and see who wins — Necrolyte. With 6 Hearts of Tarrasque, an ult, and no movement allowed, who wins — Skeleton King. The point being that every hero in Dota can be number one in certain contexts. Dota, ultimately, is a tower-pushing game, the first to push their opponent’s base into ruins wins. In that process, a Crystal Maiden can carry, while your big late-game carry does nothing. You could get destroyed by Furion, or Techies, or insta-gibbed by a Vengeful Spirit. Dota is not all about finding that perfect hero, and when you’ve lost again with a seemingly ideal team composition, you should reflect on that.

The search for the ultimate hero is a production line for creating noobs, yet it only ranks 3rd in things holding you back in Dota.

“With this Quelling Blade, my dream of stomping ZSMJ is no longer unachievable”

2. Gods

What are gods? Gods are the main characters, the higher quality players in this game universe that IceFrog has created. The rest of us, we’re just the leftovers, the low quality toys. Countless people dream of one day becoming one of the gods in this game, yet something as miniscule as a small change in mechanics made by the creator, IceFrog, can strip away a god’s right to their power. In this game, there is only strong and weak, and anyone can be defeated at some point. Yet strength is a quality that cannot be defeated or brought down in itself. So those that can only copy, emulate, can thus never become the directors in their own act.

Even still, as long as there are enough people willing to be the subjects, there will be gods and kings. Mindlessly following the gods of this game, not finding one’s own style and skill — the aforementioned search for the ultimate hero creates noobs, while this adherence to god-culture creates puppets; the 2nd greatest thing holding you back in Dota is an over-reliance on the gods and trendsetters to direct your own play.

1. More overlooked than introspection is hard work, more overlooked than hard work is passion

Perhaps you’ve grasped countless mechanics, read up on thousands of tactics, techniques, and other posts. Perhaps you’ve even formulated your own comprehensive framework of understanding for the world of Dota, and coolly learned from and analyzed thousands of replays. Yet one thing remains true always: without practice, you can only go backwards.

The drop in quality of play from 2009’s first vods to currently is something that all can see. It’s not only limited to retired players — from when 820 switched between carry to support back to carry, he gradually found it hard to replicate his abilities of yesteryear. For many people who have gradually faded from Dota, what they’ve lacked is not technique or skill, more so it is time. For someone who lacks time to train, the stage of Dota is one that perhaps no longer suits them, or, at least for them it cannot any longer be a competitive game. Why do they play on, then?

Their reason is one that is different from many that still spend all their time and focus on Dota — or rather, grinding in Dota, on various platforms, for ranking and matchmaking points. The point score becomes the goal, and whatever playstyle guarantees the most points is the one that is pursued. Those that play Dota just for Dota are few and far between, and those that display true skill absent the judgment of an arbitrary matchmaking score are even rarer. How many can say they play Dota purely for the passion for the game itself?

Once you’ve achieved a high ranking score somewhere, does this mean you’re a pro, or high skill player? Since you aren’t, then what is the point? Number 1 in things holding you back in Dota, a lack of true passion for the game itself.



The life and times of iG.YYF — Gamefy G-League Documentary [video]

Original: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNTEyODU2MjQ0.html

iG’s YYF takes us home, talks about his past, and gives us all an intimate look into where he’s come from and the people that helped him on that path… really, really cool.

MAKE SURE YOUTUBE ANNOTATIONS ARE ON! Be sure to give the original at Youku a click too, for views!




Reddit user denunciator chronicles stars of the past: 820, 2009

Written and researched by reddit user denunciator, this deserves more views! Very informative, and great writing style too. Click the links below to see the main reddit posts, definitely worth it!

The Raven’s Vengeance: EH.820

GL was one of the earlier teams in the history of Chinese DotA; then, everyone was unknown, everyone played on the same ground. Even then, though, 820 was already known as somewhat of a talent. With team GL, they took the qualifiers of the first LAN even there, CPL, by storm. Proud, arrogant, GL expected their road to be easy.

It wasn’t. Kicked down in the semifinals by HUST, a relatively new team, GL went into the losers finals – a nobody position for such a stellar team. Shaken by the loss, 820 learned the value of respect and stability.


A genius in his time: FTD.2009

09’s story started somewhat differently than most competitive players; in fact, he was a perfectly ordinary teenager. At least, ordinary by his standards – in 2005, he graduated from a top highschool and entered Zhejiang’s Biomedical stream with flying colors. Just like pupils of his age, studies became a past-time; love and gaming came first. To impress his girlfriend, he took up O2Jam; it was only after his breakup that his DotA career took flight.




2009 in the papers, as Shenzhen Evening Post responds to criticism of esports in Chinese schools

Original: http://dota.sgamer.com/201301/news-detail-161003.html

Dotaland note: 2009 and esports are mentioned in the mainstream again, as debate flares up once more on the importance of esports and its influence on students.

The incident: The Chinese Ministry of Education recently held a discussion about strengthening physical and sporting environments at universities around the country, inviting leadership from 16 different large universities to participate.

Zhejiang University’s principal, Yang Wei said: “Nowadays there are fewer and fewer people who achieve one hour of daily exercise. Gaming, and online activities instead take up the vast majority of this time. Even though our school has not produced Olympics champions like Sun Yang, we still do have a hero in the form of an esports world champion that is arguably more influential to more of our students than anyone else (this hero being none other than 2009, who graduated from Zhejiang University).”

This kicked off a myriad of discussions, and the Shenzhen Evening Post published an editorial looking at the issue, entitled “Esports is not the enemy of physical sport”.

Esports is not the enemy of physical sport

Shenzhen Evening Post reporter Fang Zhou — Zhejiang University’s principal, with one declaration of “Sun Yang is less influential than esports champions”, once again revealed the weaknesses of our campus sports programs across the country. Many schools have cancelled track programs, and there have even been incidents involving casualties recently.

This time, “the vicious esports industry” has been singled out by many people as the primary source of the demise of sporting and physical excellence on campuses, and its logic goes as such: If we were to smash all the students’ computers, they would naturally then go outside onto sports fields instead.

2009, as the example at hand here, even seemingly sank into the role of ‘villain’ for many people here, as he represented everything that was ‘wrong’. However, consider this: the reason why 2009 is more beloved at Zhejiang University is not because of this, but more because he is like everyone else — he tested into the university like everyone else, we could have met him in the cafeterias, while people like Sun Yang we can only see on TV. Things like being able to claim a national sports star for one’s university are things that typically only administrators care about.

In college, playing computer games is indeed more popular than traditional sports. When I was in college, whenever anyone wanted to hook up and play some Counterstrike, there was always massive interest, while our football (soccer) tournaments meant going into individual dorms to drag people out of bed to play. But you cannot simply take this to mean, a love of Counterstrike is linked to no love for football. Another root cause to be considered here is the fact that tough and lengthy schooling and preparations before college have squeezed the sporting genes and interest out of many kids, so by the time they’ve made it to college, they’re all wearing glasses and physically weak, and so can only find fulfillment in online worlds, playing hero.

English film “The Black Mirror” displayed some of the drawbacks of virtual worlds, and speaking of the drawbacks, they certainly aren’t only limited to affecting campus sports. So students spending so much time gaming cannot possibly be said to have a cause-and-effect relationship with the lack of sports on campuses, it can only be said to be a manifestation of the lack of sports. If you don’t believe me, try this experiment: turn off the internet in the dorms, and see how many people actually go out onto the sports fields instead.

Strictly speaking, esports is also categorized in the realm of sporting in general, and it’s a relatively smaller item in this realm. Just as 2009 said before, don’t approach esports with biases and just assume. Esports can also exercise participants’ decision making, analytic thinking, mentality, and teamwork. 2009 and esports in general are not the monsters that some people think they are. Some school principals only know to blame the internet and gaming; conversely, they should think more seriously about how they can improve things on their own, and reflect on the actual reasons their schools lack sporting.