Dota 2 Chinese scene end of 2013 best-of voting

UUU9 and the Association for Chinese Esports (ACE) are holding a year-end vote for best-of awards in Chinese Dota 2. The categories are: MVP, Best Team, Best 1 position, Best 2 position, Best 3 position, Best 4 position, Best 5 position, and Best Newcomer.

So far, the early results look like it will be a Team DK sweep, with fan-favorites DK leading every category except for Best Newcomer, in which VG’s fy holds a strong position.

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Top row: MVP, Best Team, Best 1 position, Best 2 position  Bottom row: Best 3 position, Best 4 position, Best 5 position, Best Newcomer

Top row: MVP, Best Team, Best 1 position, Best 2 position Bottom row: Best 3 position, Best 4 position, Best 5 position, Best Newcomer


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. 🙂


WPC-ACE’s halfway statistics mini-roundup

As of the end of October, the 2013 WPC-ACE League has reached its halfway point, and WPC has done a small roundup of  various performance indicators so far.

Top Single Game Kills: VG.fy

A Chinese fan’s take on VG.fy’s performance: “He’s clearly one of the top new players on the scene right now, and definitely a top 3 support player. He just needs a stronger platform from which to display his abilities.”

Top Single Game Deaths: RStars.357

SCNTV’s take on this ‘deathly’ performance on Visage: “Once the opposing side successfully dodges a Visage trilane, the Visage is at a significant disadvantage.”

Highest GPM in a Single Game: TongFu.Zhou

Highest XPM in a Single Game: TongFu.Zhou

SCNTV’s take on Zhou’s top carry play: “Zhou takes both GPM and XPM honors, leaving his carry abilities beyond doubt.”

WPC-ACE 2013 halfway carry stats comparison

iG.Hao, DK.BurNIng, and LGD.Rabbit stats detail


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UUU9’s Players Pantheon interview series: DK.BurNIng

Pretty cool interview of BurNIng from a few days ago, part of a “Players Pantheon” series from…

BurNIng at a glance:

Name: Xu Zhilei
ID: BurNIng
Birthdate: Feb 16, 1988
Horoscope: Aquarius
Hometown: Tongling, Anhui Province
Nicknames: B-god, Xu-lardar, Xu-Nessaj, Prof Xu
Past teams: 7L,, CH, EHOME
Fav heroes: Weaver, Anti-mage
Fav actor: Wentworth Earl Miller
Fav band: Linkin Park
Fav movie: Batman

UUU9: Hello, today we have the honor of interviewing DK’s BurNIng. Say hi to everyone first.
Hello everyone, I am DK’s captain BurNIng.

UUU9: For WPC this time, DK has come from Yunnan all the way to Shanghai. Anything that has needed getting used to for your team?
Only a little bit when we first arrived in Shanghai. We first just checked into a random convenience hotel. And then the training facilities provided here had limits on time, we could only train until 9pm whereas our normal routine would be until 2-3am. But now all these things have been resolved.

UUU9: Oh. Regarding the recently concluded Starladder season, NaVi won 3-2 over Alliance. Did you guys follow this tournament at all, what did you think of the two teams?
I watched the entire tournament live via streams. The two teams felt very close in terms of ability, NaVi gave me the feeling that they spent a lot of time in analyzing Alliance. Their playstyle and drafts were very focused on countering Alliance, so they were able to take the win.

UUU9: If you guys were to face them in a match, what chances do DK have to win?
At the moment I think maybe 30-40% chance. But with further improvements from practice, our chances will rise.

UUU9: Let’s talk about your new teammates. Iceiceice always gives people the feeling of a jokester, does he have a serious side in real life?
When he first came to DK, my impression from him was that he is a player that truly loves Dota. He’s very hard working, we started off when he first came by playing lots of pubs and watching lots of replays.

UUU9: How do you guys normally address him? Cousin (iceiceice once joked that it was his cousin playing for him in a particularly feed-worthy game)? iceiceice?
Usually either ‘cousin’ or ‘ice’.

UUU9: LaNm and iceiceice often show off their affection for each other publicly, what is their relationship?
They are just normal teammates O_O… It’s just iceiceice’s love for being flamboyant on camera, I think.

UUU9: In your eyes, what kind of player is Mushi?
The impression that Mushi gives me is dedicated and humble, and has a great thirst for winning. I think he’s a very good person.

UUU9: DK’s recent form has been excellent, and we’ve heard that you guys have been hard at work training daily. Some fans have suggested that you guys reaching such heights right now might mean that you peak too early and drop in bigger engagements, what do you think?
I feel that form is something that you maintain, you don’t really suddently lose all your form in one day. Form is the result of training and practice, so as long as we can continue on with our effectiveness in training, form is not a problem.

UUU9: All of DK can be considered veteran players, what is your secret to keeping your performances going?
There isn’t really a secret, it’s just staying interested and dedicated.

UUU9: In recent matches, Elder Titan has been either picked or banned almost always. Can B-god share with us some thoughts on this hero’s strengths and weaknesses?
This hero can be said to be the hottest hero in this version (6.78). His main feature his powerful teamfights, as well as his ability to defend towers. He’s good offlane as well as solo mid, has strong laning, doesn’t lose 1v1, and can get a lot of farm for himself in a 1v3 as well. I feel he’s just a very strong hero.

UUU9: Foreign players like to alternate second and third skills, while Chinese players prefer alternating the first and second skills, which do you think is better?
Originally the Chinese style was first and second skills alternating, but recently under a European influence, Chinese players have been going for the second and third skills as well. I feel it’s not bad, but requires more crowd-control from teammates. The aura is really very imba.

UUU9: In the recent DK vs HGT WPC-ACE match, iceiceice’s level 5 ET never got a level of Stomp, and he ended up getting killed over and over, what did you think of this?
I think he was a bit careless. Leveling Stomp or not makes no difference, getting caught meant death regardless.

UUU9: Apart from WPC-ACE, we have G-League, D2L, MLG all starting or about to come, does DK have any big goals set for winning these?
Our goal is of course to win these titles, and we will continue working in training to keep our form going.

UUU9: What do you think of the two newcomer teams in WPC-ACE League — HGT and TongFu 2nd team? What advice would you share with them?
Their ability is quite decent, but there’s still some space between them and professional teams. I’ve watched a few of their replays, and HGT has even taken a win over a pro team. They do pretty well in early game, but towards mid and late game they have a lack of experience. Every professional player undergoes a similar process. Without experience in these situations, they don’t know what to do with an advantage and end up losing. So they need more practice and experience before they’ll be able to see some results.

UUU9: In DK’s games, you guys sometimes move your farm priority down a bit. Has this taken some adjusting to for you?
In forming this team, I’d already established this for myself, if I took this new team and tried to play the same way as before then the results might be even worse than before, so I decided that I should play a bit more aggressively and offensively. Share farm and resources a bit more evenly, not just focus everything on my own hero. This was the way to making the breakthrough, and from current results it would seem that it’s going decently.

UUU9: In the past it was always BurNIng plus 4 protectors. Ever since Mushi and iceiceice joined, your team’s style has changed, so how would you describe your current system?
Our system now is basically: Attack, overwhelm, multi-core.

UUU9: Watching you in the past there was always the feeling that your play was very steady and reliable. Nowadays, it would seem that you’ve gotten more ‘floaty’, what do you think?
I think this has a lot to do with the hero I’m on, and I’ve also been trying to make adjustments myself. I don’t think it’s ‘floaty’, more that it’s type of change.

UUU9: How do you think resources should be shared to supports?
Usually it would depend on the hero. If I don’t need farm or levels that much at a certain time, then I let supports get some to catch up on core items and levels, and then I return to lane afterwards.

UUU9: In WPC-ACE, DK has yet to taste defeat. Many people are guessing at which team will be the one to break your streak, so who do you think is the hardest team for you to face?
Many teams are very strong. VG fought us very hard and it was very close before we made a comeback, iG against us was also a comeback for us. There isn’t as large of a gap between Chinese team as some may think, a lot of things are down to form and execution.

UUU9: Outside of training, what things do you like to do?
Watch some movies, listen to music. I still prefer to stay at home more.

UUU9: When was the last time you visited back home?
After TI3 I went home for a half month break.

UUU9: Now with training and competitions all packed in your schedule, it must be pretty tiring, how many days each month do you have to spend with your girlfriend?
It’s hard to even get a few games of pubs with her every week, much less have time to meet up. Sometimes I feel sorry to her.

UUU9: We saw on weibo your profession of love towards her, so surely she can understand you. Alright, thank you to BurNIng for this interview with us, and we hope DK can continue achieving good results in the future. Anything to say to fans?
Hi UUU9 fans, I am DK’s BurNIng, I want to thank all our fans for their support of DK, and for following DK’s matches. We will strive to continue working hard, and play well in every game and bring exciting performances to repay you all.


WPC-ACE 2013 interview with RStars.Sylar and LGD.xiao8

This post-match interview came after RisingStars and fought out to a 1-1 draw in the WPC-ACE League 2013. Former LGD carry, current RStars player Sylar, and LGD captain xiao8 were the ones chosen for the interview… An interesting choice, given the way Sylar departed from LGD.

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WPC-ACE 2013’s “Esports Life Series”: Half an hour with Team DK

In this, Team DK fields questions about their careers, life goals, and more. Interaction with fans in the live audience, funny and candid moments, all within this half hour production from WPC-ACE 2013. View in full on Youtube for best effect!

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Behind the scenes of 2013’s Chinese shuffle: ACE, processes, and transfer fees

According to this report from, this is how transfers have been standardized under the ACE Alliance in Chinese Dota 2. The latter half of the article reveals the transfer fees and related details of some of this year’s biggest moves.

If Team B wishes to buy Team A’s player C, then B must first approach A and confirm whether the player is available for transfer. If A agrees, only then is B allowed to approach the player C. If player C is open and willing, then Team B can lay out their transfer conditions and offer. If player C does not agree to these terms, then he will remain at his current club; if player C agrees, then all three parties, A, B, and C need to communicate with ACE via email and receive their confirmation. In the ensuing days, the involved parties need to come to the ACE offices in order to sort out paperwork and related processes, and then they are allowed to make official announcements regarding the news. If the new team and their new player decides to use existing contracts, then they perform a trade of contracts while at ACE. If they decide to sign a new contract, then the new contract will be signed and backup files stored with ACE. In the case later on that a party fails to uphold their end of a contract, then ACE will be abe to lay penalties according to existing policies.

Below are images from the transfer of KingJ from TongFu to RisingStars:

RisingStars manager CC signing

TongFu manager CuZn signing

KingJ signing

In addition, also received information regarding the details of this year’s transfers, as below:

TongFu <–> RisingStars

1. KingJ transfers from TongFu to RisingStars
2. XTT is part of the transfer terms, and joins TongFu from Rstars, his contract is exchanged for KingJ’s
3. RStars and TongFu respectively pay to XTT and KingJ their owed prize moneys and promotional fees

TongFu <–> iG #1

1. Banana transfers from TongFu to iG
2. TongFu pays to banana all owed prize moneys and promotional fees
3. iG pays TongFu a transfer fee totaling 100,000 RMB for the rights to banana

TongFu <–> iG #2

1. iG and TongFu agree to collaborate on themed promotional product(s)
2. iG pays TongFu a transfer fee totaling 110,000 RMB for the rights to Hao
3. Zhou is part of the transfer terms, and joins TongFu from iG, his contract is exchanged for Hao’s
4. iG and TongFu respectively pay to Zhou and Hao their owed prize moneys and promotional fees

VG <–> RisingStars

1. CTY transfers from VG to RStars
2. RStars pays VG a transfer fee totaling 45,000 RMB for the rights to CTY
3. VG pays CTY’s August salary and previous promotional fees

LGD <–> RisingStars

1. xiaotuji’s contract is exchanged for Sylar’s
2. xiaotuji is traded for Sylar, each player’s official transfer fee consists of the other player’s transfer rights (Dotaland note: they were essentially traded 1 for 1)
3. LGD is to pay Sylar his promotional fees for China Joy, as well as DSL prize money


It is easy to see from all this, that the ACE Alliance has a certain amount of influence watching over transfers and related activities, helping clubs and players maintain their rights in the process. The current scene seems to allow both player trades as well as straight cash purchases of transfer rights, akin to something of a mix between what is commonly seen in the sports of basketball and soccer (football). If a new club is willing to spend millions and buy out an entire team, what is to stop them? Additionally, it was not hard to see during this reshuffle from the weibo posts of various team managers that, despite this structure, things were still very chaotic. We hope that ACE can make further improvements to the details and processes.


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Interview with CuZn: TongFu manager talks new roster, potential new squads, and more

In this interview with CuZn, the TongFu manager reflects on recent changes, and talks about the future for the club.

SGamer: Thank you CuZn for this interview with Now that TongFu’s new roster has been confirmed, are you finally able to breathe a sigh of relief?
Yes indeed, I can finally breathe easily now, and it feels great to relax.

SG: Following TI3, did you expect to see such huge changes come to your team?
I did think of it, because there are always changes following big tournaments!

SG: Were there some ‘transactions’ being discussed already during your time in Seattle, then?
During the time I was only focused on the matches, didn’t pay much attention to things outside of that. But I do know that there have been some foreign players expressing desire to come to China to compete, but I feel that communication and cultural differences is a huge issue there.

SG: Recently, TongFu players have become hot commodities. What preparations did the club have in case of a worst-case scenario?
A complete restructuring along with a creation of a feeder/secondary team.

SG: What if this team that you’d personally helped build completely fell apart, did you consider giving up your career as an esports club manager as a whole?
Yes, there were definitely thoughts regarding that. But as long as there is a player willing to stay, then I will continue my work.

SG: Was Hao’s departure a surprise to you?
No, this was within my expectations. Hao’s performances this year have been excellent, and the scene has a relative lack of carry players, so having teams coming to ask about him is to be expected. Plus, it’s possible for any change to happen after an International.

SG: Hao, in a weibo post of his, stated that he would be playing with an added TongFu label on the end of his ID even though he’s joined iG now. Were the tears flowing for you after learning of this gesture?
Nah, but I did feel that he’s grown to be more and more professional. He knows what he wants to do nowadays. TongFu is our club’s name as well as our sponsor, and TongFu Porridge has released products specific to each of our players. 🙂

SG: What are you going to do with those bowls of porridge that have Hao and Banana on them?
We’ll just sell them through our T-mall store, or give them away in events. Our T-mall is at, we welcome everyone. 🙂

SG: In this big reshuffle, what kind of role has the ACE Alliance played?
CuZn: A supervisory role. Just as Efeng says, without the Alliance, there would have been quite a few teams that get poached to the point of dissolution.

SG: How do you rate Zhou and Hao as players?
Born in the same year, Zhou’s personality is more stable and steady, suitable for being captain. Hao is more aggressive and impulsive, suited for making big plays. In terms of results, Zhou has more than Hao I think, but Zhou’s form this year has been fairly low. Hao on the other hand, via his own hard work as well as his team’s growth, has been able to improve and even largely escape his old label of ‘feeder Hao’. The two players both have room to improve, so we’ll have to see what happens in this next year!

SG: A team’s captain seems to be very important, who was your team’s captain before? Has Zhou been confirmed as the new captain now?
The captain before was actually banana. After banana left, we held a team meeting, and confirmed Zhou as the new captain, and the main drafter for us.

SG: ZSMJ’s transition to the 4 role has been fairly recent, do you feel that he will be able to fulfill the needs of this role?
Yes he can, he is a very focused, very hard-working player, and we have a lot of confidence in him successfully playing the 4 role in our team.

SG: Whose idea was it to pick up ZSMJ?
We made a list of all players who currently are able to play the 4 position, and then this was the result of a collective discussion.

SG: How do you rate this new roster?
We’ll still have to see how they gel together. Their current level of play I think can only be given 70 out of 100, but there was some training today, and the results weren’t bad!

SG: Apart from winning TI4, what other goals are there for the next year? For example forming a youth squad to go play the NSL in Korea?
Of course there are other goals, such as winning the ACE League, or defending our DSL title. This next year we might have three different squads. As for which team gets sent to play in the NSL in Korea, this needs to be kept a secret for now. After the big reshuffle this year, we’ve realized the increasing importance of having sub/feeder-teams, so we will definitely be creating a youth squad.

SG: How will you guys go about selecting players for the other two squads, then?
We’ll have our coaching staff filter the choices. We’ve already got some new players in our sights.

SG: Apart from sydm, who else is part of the coaching team?
Kabu, Gx, and one of Zhou’s friends. Of course there’s me too!

SG: Do you feel that coaches are a necessity to Dota 2 teams nowadays?
I feel that it’s something you cannot lack, because coachs can arrange schedules, scrims, they can monitor the players and help them grow, thus allowing the players to focus on practice and competing.

SG: What do you think is the greatest challenge currently facing your club’s Dota 2 team?
Lack of talent. Whether in terms of management or players, there is an acute lack. Because Dota 2 in China still lacks accessibility, the playerbase is still relatively small, so it’s very hard to find people. Many sponsors aren’t that interested in Dota 2, and so from a club’s point of view it is difficult to find additional investment.

SG: Do you think that things will improve once Dota 2 truly opens up to the masses?
More or less, yes it will improve. Lots of loyal Dota fans will be able to play this excellent esports product, and as the playerbase grows, lower level tournaments increase in number, and thus more new competitors and sponsors will appear. I do believe that the future will be better!

SG: As a club, do you guys prefer league-format or cup-format tournaments, and why?
It’s definitely the league format. Stable and reliable scheduling as well as publicity, this is good for both the players and the fans, and the regularity of the league format allows the club to plan things more easily.

SG: Okay, go ahead and say something to cap off this interview then!
TongFu 3.0 awaits your support!


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ACE Alliance’s King makes statement

Ever since Chinese teams’ losses at TI3, and even before that, fans and insiders alike have blamed the Association for Chinese Esports for vaious failures and draconic restrictions in Chinese Dota. Finally, earlier today, ACE’s top person, King, made a personal statement and response.

An interesting bit near the end is that ACE League will be inviting the top 3 at TI3 for a 3-month stay in China. The rest of the piece is very thorough and interesting. Give it a read and see what you think…


“Regarding ACE, I want to share some of my sentiments”

Recently, due to Chinese teams’ losses at TI3, the ACE Alliance has as a result been put on a spotlight. I hadn’t responded or explained anything until now, the reason being that these losses haven’t been easy to accept for anyone. Chinese teams failed to achieve good results, the Dota-ACE Alliance (the ACE Alliance has a D-ACE and an L-ACE, for Dota and LoL respectively) must also bear responsibility. With the spotlight now on myself and ACE, this could actually be a good thing for players and Dota 2 clubs, because in this process, we can make gradual steps towards more stability, and continue our work in the future. Here, I want to talk some of my own thoughts as well as share some realities.

Everyone has been questioning my devotion to esports. I can tell you all right now, since I helped form the Lion team in 1999, and then with YolinY, then to WE, it’s been 14 years. Perhaps the current me does not have that same kind of fervent love for esports as many other people, yet esports has already seeped into my blood itself, and so my relation with esports is a more personal, intimate one. So, compared to many esports fanatics, I might see things more objectively and logically. Even though when I’m chatting with friends, I might joke that if I’d gone to work in online games (like MMOs) or some other industry, I’d be better off right now. But I am clear on this fact: without esports I am nothing, or it could be said that I had always, from the start, planned on making this my life’s work, because I like to relate with fellow games, I enjoy collaborating with fellow gaming people. Because we’re all the same, straightforward, without ulterior motives, so please, I ask everyone to not doubt my passion for esports. It is merely a difference in opinion in many things, and thus people have a different starting point in discussions, so let me explain things point by point below.

First of all, I want to talk about the format and structure of D-ACE (Dota ACE Alliance).

1. D-ACE exists without any governmental backing. Its leadership consists of representatives selected via vote by all member clubs, and all major decisions are also determined by way of votes. For example, my role as leader of ACE comes by way of being selected by voting.

I was selected unanimously, and I appreciate the trust everyone has placed in me. Even though, before taking the position, I knew there would be many difficulties, I was determined to not let everyone down.

After coming into the position, my first challenge was addressing the poaching of players between clubs — if this issue was addressed inappropriately, I ran the risk of insulting the clubs. The second question here was, when it is players themselves organizing and forming their own ideal rosters, and ACE comes in and places barriers, then the players can become annoyed with us. Thirdly, events and tournaments at the time were relatively random and non-standardized, with many events not paying for travel and accommodations, delaying prize payments, etc — in handling this issue, I needed to be wary of offending event organizers. Fourth, for the fans’ point of view, the alliance equals an organization that holds power, and the word ‘power’ often in the current climate is equated with negative meanings, because a common sentiment has formed in which any organization with power is bullying others, and thus, any mistake from ACE causes widespread dissent.

Overall, at the time I had these and many more concerns. Everyone knew that the position was one with lots of challenges and little reward, and people around me all advised me to not take the role, they all said to me that I shouldn’t risk my years of esports reputation on such a position. After all, such a role has influences over the interests of many, many, people, and they could all come out and critique you at any time. I understood these things at the time.

Then why did I still take the role up, knowing all this?

In 2003-2004, I went with the team overseas for competition, and we achieved pretty good results. Foreign media wanted to interview me, and they asked me, “You guys actually have computers and internet in China? How much effort did it take to get that set up for you guys?” Back then, it would seem that foreign ideas of China were still stuck in the past, so my thought was that, by competing in esports events, we could not only achieve results and win titles, but also prove to the world that China is growing and developing, and that at least in terms of computers and internet, we aren’t lacking.

I found that esports was very popular amongst young people overseas, and at the same time those who misunderstood China the most were also young people, so I wanted to show them through our hard work that China can compete, and is excellent in esports. So, my dream at the time was to help the team take a world championship title, and prove to the world that we Chinese can do it. In the heyday of Warcraft 3, we achieved quite a few world titles, and many foreign competitors visited China in order to participate in events here. We had many large events broadcasted to the world, and we showed to the West that esports is strong in China, and it is popular. I was very proud then, because to be able to find so much glory, and help those around me gain recognition across the globe, this meant that I had also achieved my own dream. I should be satisfied.

After we had gotten so many world championship titles, I made a plan. From Beijing, to Shenzhen, to Guangzhou, to Chengdu, and many more places, I went and visited businesses and companies, hoping that they would sponsor us, recognize us. Even though I had lots of numbers and statistics to back myself up, that esports as an industry outstripped many other realms that they traditionally sponsored, that it provided greater returns, I was still rejected. Their response was that esports was not highly recognized throughout mainstream society, and that they were not willing to take this risk. I was young and headstrong at the time, and this was a big hit to me.

From these two examples, I began to realize, even though we’d taken some world titles, our industry was still not mature, and thus we had been losing out on many things of value. At the club level in Chinese esports, there lacked a standardized set of regulations for the market, and so all outsiders could see was that it was a mess, and thus frighten away potential investors, regardless of how much potential the market may have.

So, what could be done to standardize things? How to achieve mainstream acceptance for esports? This became my new goal.

Thus, even though I knew that taking my role at ACE would mean lots of sacrifice for little personal gain, that I would potentially make many enemies, and that there was the possibility of even ruining my reputation within, I still went straight in to do it.

It’s been nearly two years now, and I swear that every single action I’ve taken while with the alliance, I can answer for to my own conscience, and I can answer for to esports as a whole.

Next, allow me to address some issues one by one.

I have always felt that, in this industry, people who can talk far outnumber people who can actually do things. In fact, esports truly lacks people who can really do things. So in 2007, I closed down my personal blog, and it’s been some six years since then where I haven’t written anything — my writing might be awkward in places, I hope everyone can be understanding.

Regarding the most-debated ACE club tier system, and prize pool regulations

Around April and May of this year, ACE held a very important meeting. This meeting had not only club managers present, every club also sent a player representative to participate. At the meeting, I explained the current situation with Dota 2 to all of the managers and players. In this we talked about the lack of events, future events and their timing, and I went around and collected all of their opinions. At the time, some players said that China currently lacks tournaments — top tier teams can achieve top three at these events, they still have TI3 where top 8 is in the money, so top tier teams, relative to lower teams, still have prize money to earn. The lower tier teams, thus, have a lot less room to work with, since there’s a lack of events and those few events that exist will largely be dominated by the top tier teams, meaning that basically for many lower tier teams, all they had was their salaries. They were very concerned over the possibility of players at smaller clubs simply retiring and leaving the scene, especially because the Chinese Dota 2 scene currently lacks new talent. The threat of a growing gap in Chinese Dota was present, even the threat of a few clubs disbanding, things which would negatively impact the overall scene. At the time, we confirmed four different large events: 2 DSLs, and 2 ACE Leagues, so based on this, we determined that we should try to allow the smaller clubs to participate in more of the smaller events. This was how we came upon the club tier system, as well as the prize pool regulations, but we did not announce this publicly at the time.

A month later, we held a second meeting with managers and player representatives. The players felt that, prior to TI3, it would be best if they had more events in which to practice and prepare. We considered the reality at the time, and recognized that there indeed should not have been restrictions on events for teams, so we canceled that rule. This is why we saw these teams at Alienware, ECL, and NEST. I feel that the previous rule was a mistake by the alliance, one which D-ACE should take main responsibility for. We failed to consider what the teams and players needed most, and then we failed to communicate the change with the public afterwards, and thus caused a lot of commotion.

Why the tier system?

Locked in events for this year are: DSL (500k RMB for champions), ACE League (1m RMB for champions), and TI3 (1m USD for champions). Due to time restrictions, there will only be one iteration of the ACE League this year. Next year, there will be two each of DSL and ACE League, and what this means is that there will be a total of at least four events with half-million RMB prizes throughout the year, with another International in between.

As these events are improved upon and polished, we will also continuously re-evaluate the tier system involved.

1. Due to the fact that the aforementioned events (ACE and DSL) are all top-heavy prizepools, with top 3 getting most of the money, we must consider the smaller clubs. Thus, we think we should leave a reasonable amount of smaller events to them, in order to make sure the industry as a whole grows.

2. To our sponsors, having a tier system is more fair.

For example, a sponsor puts out 1 million RMB to hold an event, and they see that in the daytime the teams and players are playing in their big money event, yet later in the evening they’re playing in small prize online matches, then the result can only be one of two things. The first is that this sponsor decides to lower future investments, they will feel that the players’ aren’t worth as much. If they can invest 100k and get the same players, then why pay more? The second possibility is that the sponsor feels deceived, and completely pulls out of future inviestments. Of course, there’s a third option in which the sponsor continues on as if nothing has happened, and in this case then it is due to either the event is very profitable for them, or that they are directly involved with the game, as the game’s developers or such.

So, when determining tiers for teams and events, we must consider the long term, we must consider the industry’s growth as a whole. Should be focus on quality or quantity? Where is the balance? These have been things that we’ve been considering lately. As for what events top teams should partake in, we will continue to hold monthly meetings with club managers and player representatives, and come to conclusions collectively.

The lessons from TI3 are deep and extremely important. Many people concluded that, in order to win big titles, there must be enough events and matches normally. Of course, I have no way of countering this point of view, because after all, results are what speak loudest, and we lost. Indeed, we lacked events, this is the truth. But here, I want to say, from March to June of this year, D-ACE did not reject or refuse any Dota 2 event. Instead, D-ACE has worked to facilitate scheduling and timings for various large events.

Dota 2 Chinese servers are not fully open to the public yet, and many sponsors are still observing the situation.

At the end of last year, I think I may have been the only one who had a plan in hand and was out and about searching for sponsors for large Dota 2 tournaments. Even still, I was met with plenty of closed doors. Luckily, I still managed to get a large sponsor in the form of a real estate company, and I thought that this would bring me some appreciation, yet in the end I’ve been accused of taking money from Tencent in exchange for putting Dota 2 down, I feel pretty sad about that.

Regarding clubs, players, and contracts

When the ACE Alliance was formed, contracts between players and clubs were not guaranteed.

It was very possible for a club to bring up a new talent, grow them, and then have the player poached away once the player showed some results. If this becomes the norm, then no club would risk training newcomers anymore, a club’s investors would lack any kind of protection, and players would lack any kind of security. After the alliance was formed, much was done regarding malicious poaching of players by way of contract regulations, and nowadays there is hardly any poaching going on. This year, before TI3, the alliance specifically went to each club and had them each pay a deposit – 50k RMB per team. As deposits, the money is only temporarily with ACE, and if the clubs need the money back, then it is still theirs. This was in order to prevent, post-TI3, clubs disbanding and not paying players, or to address the potential of clubs kicking players without following their contracts. In doing so, the purpose was to at least guarantee the short term interests of the players.

Regarding the recent drama over players leaving teams, and players being replaced, I feel that the base reason is that competition prizes still far outweigh the salaries of players, and thus the players’ desire to build stronger teams to compete internationally is very normal. At the same time, this can cause rifts to form between players and between players and their clubs. This shows that there still lacks a systematic approach to things, an approach in which events and clubs work closely together. It also reflects that the clubs themselves haven’t unlocked the full potential of the market, they haven’t fully released their business potential. Players cannot possibly compete on their own, they must rely on their teammates as well as support staff behind the scenes of the club. Esports consists of many parts, and we must take into account the even growth of all its parts, and not only focus on any single part, because doing so will only bring failure.

In an interview in the past, I said, even if esports gets on mainstream television, this may not be a good thing for esports presently. Because things are still too disorganized, we aren’t ready yet. At least from my point of view, things are still all over the place at the club level. If the product itself is lacking, then no matter how much promotion you do for it is useless, maybe even negative. I think that clubs currently are still too non-standardized, and in the eyes of those who work in traditional industries professionally, they would laugh. So in order to have clubs become more standardized, to fully develop their market potential, these are things that we esports people must work towards.

Regarding WE.Dota

Ever since WE formed a Dota team, we’ve been developing fresh talent for the scene. No matter what else is said, WE has not done anything to harm Dota. Even if you think WE has not contributed to Dota, there still hasn’t been anything WE has done to harm it. As for why WE does not have a Dota portion any more, there are two reasons. First, after taking on the ACE role, I have lacked the time and energy to manage another Dota team, and so the management was lacking, the team’s results thus suffered, and so on. Second, Dota 1 is transitioning to Dota 2, and at the time, Dota 2 still lacked an official Chinese partner, there was no sponsor that was willing to sponsor our Dota 2 team. Without a sponsor, for a club such as WE that does not have any rich people propping it up, we couldn’t do it, so we regretfully let the Dota 2 team go.

Regarding myself, LoL, and Dota 2

One of the main points that I’m being flamed on right now is actually the fact that WE has no Dota 2 team, yet has an LoL team that has achieved some results in the past. This is the point that I most want to address, yet I’m least happy to talk about, because I’ve always felt that those who play games are all part of one big family, and had never previously considered the relations between games.

At the beginning of this year, I was reminded that I should be cautious regarding my role and place, that I should be wary of doing something that would bring negativity to myself. I was too naive at the time regarding this, I thought that as long as I concentrated on doing my best, people would understand, and within the alliance itself, I thought that if I had no Dota 2 team of my own, I’d be more able to objectively handle things.

Yet, before TI3, there was an incident in which doubt was casted upon ACE due to my own background with LoL, and I realized that things weren’t so simple anymore. In order to clear the doubts, I decided that I would no longer be directly involved with Dota 2 event decisions, that I must find someone whose club managed a Dota 2 team. Thus, I shifted my focus towards standardizing club and player regulations.

Once I got an ACE office in Shanghai at the beginning of the year, basically whenever I haven’t been away on business, if I was in Shanghai then I’d be in the office dealing with alliance things. Regardless if a club had matters of great or small import, I’d handle them as soon as possible, I never once dodged an issue or put things off.

In actuality, I do feel a bit ashamed in the amount of time and effort I’ve been able to put into my own club. To this day, I do not know where the new WE and PE team house is, because it’s been around eight months since I last visited, and back then they hadn’t moved yet. So here I want to apologize to these kids who are playing for their dreams, you’re all excellent, and I haven’t been much help to you guys. Yet it is what I have agreed to do that has brought upon you all a lot of trouble and pressure. I also want to thank Sky and Zax at WE for their support, for understanding my dreams, and for helping share the load of a lot of the club’s duties.

I’ve said so much, and everyone can see, ACE’s development hasn’t been all that smooth. We are all a bunch of esports lovers and fans, and without any governmental support, without any investment money to work with, without even sponsors’ support at times. We’ve met a lot of strong opposition and challenges, and I know, the alliance’s many regulations have been less than perfect, and cannot even be compared with the level that traditional sports has achieved, cannot even be compared with KeSPA. For the clubs’ survival, though, ACE must go on.

Here I also want to tell everyone D-ACE’s plans for the upcoming future. First, we will standardize club management as well as player regulations, then establish a D-ACE website upon which we will publicize these things. We will establish a system from which amateur players will be discovered, and given chances to grow, and thus promote Dota 2 in amateur player realms. In this first iteration of this, over 200 teams participated, and we selected two of the best teams and invited them to Shanghai, where they had the chance to play and train with professionals, and we worked on helping them find sponsorship. We will collaborate with colleges and universities in holding LAN events on campuses, and have professional players interact at these events with collegiate players in order to promote esports on campuses. We will establish offline training and bootcamp facilities, and provide every member club these types of facilities, where each Chinese team can gather to train before large events. Our ACE League will also invite the top 3 foreign teams at this year’s TI3, and if accepted, these teams will come to China and train and compete against Chinese teams for a period of three months. During the competition, we will hold promotional events for players to interact with the public, and thus promote esports to society.

Perhaps as I’m writing this, clubs around China are still undergoing a big shakeup of which even I do not know. Perhaps many fellow professionals are still laughing at the alliance. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said all the things I have. Esports as an industry is still one that needs everyone’s help and support collectively. In the past few years, it is perhaps the club development aspect that has held the rest of it back, but those of us that work on the club level really do hope that we can quickly standardize and professionalize things. Of course in this we need the understanding and support of all kinds of esports personalities and people — it isn’t time to laugh and marvel at the mess. The once-a-year million dollar International, perhaps our losses there still weigh heavy, but we need to start on a clean slate. Whether we go and build a dream team or we focus on steady growth of the industry as a whole, and thus win based on a stable foundation, and thus prove ourselves through our wins to all of society… this is a question that is worthy of consideration for every esports person.

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