Top 10 Stories in 2012 Chinese Dota

Original: http://dota.sgamer.com/201301/news-detail-160432.html

Dotaland note: Written by Felix菜刀刃, friend of Dotaland, and translated at his personal request — this is a look back on the last year of Dota in China, where so many things have changed, grown, and in some cases, disappeared… Looks back on teams, controversies, achievements, and a hint at Perfect World having their own ‘International’? This and more, read on below!

10 — Disbandment

Nirvana, sponsored by Loveen, winners of prestigious titles such as G-League in 2010, WDC, WCG China, once upon a time stood amongst the three giants of Chinese Dota, alongside EHOME and LGD. WDC, the World Dota Championships, catalyzed in part by Loveen, was a top three competition in Dota. Going into 2011, Nirvana and the WDC both entered a turning point, where Loveen, citing a new marriage faded out of the scene. In the beginning of 2012, Nirvana officially announced their end, with WDC being their swansong.

PanDa, sponsored by a Hang Yu (this was PanDa’s second iteration), with Efeng as manager, established in 2012. Players under their tag included Hao, Mu, Yaobai, PanPan, 830God, and Sansheng. Their results were not bad, but then the boss disappeared, Efeng quit, three core players transferred to TongFu, and that was that — the team disbanded.

WE’s Dota team was established in 2011. At one point or another, they had new at the time, but now-familiar names such as Sylar and Veronica. After TI2 ended, their Dota players left one after another.

CLC’s Dota team, after a short existence including players like 357, ultimately disbanded after 357 returned to EHOME. Afterwards, the remnants of CLC merged with LOH to form Noah’s Ark. Following investors pulling out from NA in 2012, the team ceased to exist.

DT Club, once 3rd/4th placed finishers at ACE League, suffered an unexplained resignation from their manager, a loss of financial backing from their boss, their players floated off to other teams.

9 — Rebirth

“A thousand sails drift past the sunken ship, a thousand trees flourish upon the dying stump” — in 2012, though quite a few teams left us, new teams appeared to fill their spots and bring with them a new wind of hope. The most inspired of these is none other than LGD.int, where we must give credit to LGD.RuRu’s eagle-eyed wisdom for her skill in building another super-team in the hyper competitive Dota scene. And LGD.int’s performances so far have shown us all that Western players do not necessarily lack talent, they only need an environment to focus and train better.

Post-TI2, the biggest dark horse newcomer should be ViCi Gaming. Mostly comprised of new players, they first took the GosuCup by storm, only losing to Zenith and ending up third place. And then it was in the G-League group B, where they escaped death by eliminating MUFC, pushed LGD.cn to the limit, ending the year in a satisfactory manner.

Apart from that, there’s still the new as-yet-unnamed team led by ZSMJ and Ch, as well as a potential new team with LaNm. And then, there are rumors saying that former DT Club players have re-convened to fight anew in this new year.

8 — Perfection

After a seemingly neverending wait, Perfect World finally was confirmed as Dota2’s official Chinese partner. Despite many fans and industry people alike eagerly and impatiently awaiting this news, Perfect World played this to their own leisurely pace, perhaps with confidence in a long-term approach. While they prepared a new Dota2 official splash page and beta signups, Perfect World has also been ramping up recruitment in preparation. There are reports suggesting that Perfect World also has plans to hold independent large-scale events a-la Valve’s International, and perhaps this act could serve to disrupt the current balance between third-party events. Either way, no matter what comes from Perfect World, it will greatly influence the Dota2 scene as we know it.

7 — Reputation

For WCG, its name recognition is matched only by its controversy. As one of the key forces in early Chinese esports development, WCG holds an almost mythical reputation amongst Chinese fans. Yet, recent developments in gaming have almost left WCG behind, with WCG attempting a shift towards mobile games. And plus, as a modern-day esports giant, the new generation of Chinese gamers have the ability to look beyond what the Koreans can provide. Increasingly refined experiences and production from domestic competitions, plus huge moves from American gaming companies have left the Samsung-led WCG by the wayside.

This year’s World Cyber Games was held in Kunshan, China, and its production fully catered to the host nation’s tastes. Dota2 became a main competition, with its predecessor Dota included as an exhibition event. In Warcraft3, Ted’s Undead had a classic come from behind victory, and the Sky-Moon rivalry played out another emotional chapter; the whole of it meaning that viewers got more than enough. But still, the worries were apparent underneath the surface at WCG, and its future remains unknown.

6 — Surprises

G-1 League’s 4th Season quietly snuck up on us, and it brought with it China’s first Dota2 competition, a first for Chinese and English simultaneous broadcasting, the first Chinese competition with an in-game Steam ticket. Out of many firsts, what it served to do most was to set an example and kick off the future of Chinese — and even Asian — competitive Dota2. Even so, of course, there were many places for improvement; wonder what surprises the next iteration of G-1 League will have for fans?

5 — Breakout

As China’s longest standing and most well-known esports media organization, Gamefy’s 2012 wasn’t a typical one. In fact, it could be said that their summary for the year is a long list of achievements. The first season of G-League in 2012 managed to put on an exuberant celebration of a Grand Finals, despite being trapped between a spectacular ACE League debut, and a certain million-dollar tournament in Seattle. And speaking of TI2, Gamefy also successfully acquired broadcasting rights to the competition. Yet, not long after these successes, Gamefy commentator SnowKiss resigned controversially, leaving in her place a long series of accusations leveled at Gamefy and former coworkers there. Although Gamefy successfully cooled the situation down, the storm clouds from this incident remain difficult to disperse. Afterwards, Gamefy’s Daily Report show negatively reviewed WCG, and Chinese WCG media partner NeoTV responded, causing another wave of arguments and controversy in the public eye.

So it was in this atmosphere that the new season of G-League began at the end of 2012. Unprecedented production quality along with unpredictable and exciting matches seemed to sweep away the haze of past disputes, finally helping Gamefy to break out from a series of negative events. In 2013, a reformed SiTV (parent company of Gamefy) thus must continue their role as one of Chinese esports forces.

4 — Professionalism

The ACE League, as a collaboration between the ACE Esports League and GTV Channel, provided Dota competition in its debut event. In the roadmap of Chinese esports development, the ACE League holds a milestone-like status. In terms of production and packaging, it’s erected a new standard for other competitions. But an awkward reality cannot be ignored, that is that half of the original participating teams have by now disbanded, and a second season of the league never materialized in 2012. In what way will ACE re-appear in 2013, all is still unknown to us now.

3 — EHOME

EHOME is (or was?) China’s oldest esports name. In many different events and games, especially Dota, they at one time or another represented the top China — or even the world — had to offer. In 2011, BurNing and KingJ left the team, and DK and iG arose, and EHOME’s kingly aura faded as it never had before. In 2012, EHOME made high-profile roster changes: DC as a coach, ZSMJ et al recruited to compete, yet no goals were achieved. Afterwards, old EHOME veterans 357, Dai, and LanM were recruited back into the fold, and because of rule-breaking in these transfers EHOME ultimately were excluded from the new ACE Esports Alliance — EHOME became the ‘Horde’ to ACE’s ‘Alliance’. After TI2, 357 and Dai joined DK, team lead 71 left, and EHOME once again fell apart. Rumors say that EHOME’s been bought by iG owner Principal Wang, but no one knows if we’ll see EHOME make another return.

2 — Royalty

As we review the Dota scene of 2012, we come to find that unfortunately, ‘mess’ is still a word closely associated with everything, to the extent that the China Esports Magazine of 2011 below can be used again for 2012 with little changes. Paid smurfing to boost Dota 11 platform account ladder rankings, Dota2 keys and profiteering, the “100% focused” statements, Taobao’s antics… from one side to another, insults, maneuvering, and politics covered everything from fairness to profits and everything in between. The end result of all this being, for better or worse, we saw many more sides of players, commentators, organizers, tournaments, and clubs than we would have otherwise ever known about. Interestingly, all of this seemed to die down quite a bit after TI2. Perhaps it was because everyone saw first hand that there’s a quality in professionalism, and there’s a power behind a million dollars.

1 — Crusade

Because of Valve’s million-dollar injection into The International 2, the competition was seen as a ‘crusade’ of sorts by players. The first International in Cologne was not particularly important to Chinese teams, with seemingly only EHOME taking even a week of time to prepare for it. But then, EHOME’s $250000 prize for second place had everyone waking up. CCM, who finished outside the top four last time had turned into this year’s iG. Equipped with the best training environment Beijing could provide, and having just taken a G-League championship, with a lead in the on-going ACE League, it could be said that they had all the forces of nature alongside them. In the end, they didn’t disappoint, and successfully planted the Chinese flag on the greatest stage of Dota2.

This TI2 also served to completely rewrite the order of the worldwide Dota scene. China’s iG began their dynasty, Chinese competitions transitioned to Dota2, and the former big three Dota competitions faded away, all while Dota2’s gravity shifted ever so much towards the East. All indications point towards the fact that with TI2 and iG’s title, a new age has begun.

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Netease interview with iG — “playing pro is quite tiring, ChuaN loves air conditioning…” and new iG team in the making?

Dotaland note: A site that doesn’t do much coverage of Dota, Netease, did this interview with 4 members of iG. It’s got some blatant product placement, which is itself an interesting look into the degree of commercialization and sponsorship that Chinese teams have access to. Additionally, Zhou’s responses are stiff and authoritative as usual, there’s talk of them participating in creation of a new iG team (!), and near the end they each talk a bit about each other, which is sorta fun.

Original: http://game.163.com/12/1211/16/8IF4685700314K8H.html

Netease (NE): We’re very happy to be able to interview the members of iG’s renowned Dota team, go ahead and say hello.

Zhou: Hello to all fans of the Netease gaming section, I am iG’s Zhou.

Faith: Hi everyone, I am iG’s Faith.

430: Hi everyone, I am iG’s 430.

YYF: Hi everyone, I am iG’s YYF.

NE: First off, congratulations for your win in the Dota2 competition at WCG2012. Can you talk about how it felt at the time?

Zhou: At the time we were very happy, and very excited. WCG can be described as a dream for all professional gamers, and so for us to take the title in Dota2 can be seen as fulfilling a career dream.

NE: We watched all the matches in the competition, and iG’s advantage was quite noticeable. Was there any specific game that left you the biggest impression?

Faith: The second game in the finals, if we had dealt with laning properly then the opponent would have had no chance against us in the following teamfights. But because we had some mistakes in earlier fights, there was a risk of it spiralling out of control for us, but we gradually rediscovered our feel for it and eventually took the game.

NE: We heard that you guys really took this competition seriously. In order to fully prepare, what were some things you did beforehand?

Faith: In the days leading up to the competition, we intensified our training, and focused on practicing some of the more popular heroes.

NE: In matches, apart from strong player mentality and high-level performances, computer hardware also greatly affects outcomes. What do you feel are the most important hardware indicators for competitive gaming?

430: Usually, there are very high requirements for video cards, processor, and RAM.

NE: We heard that you guys used Lenovo’s Y-series laptop for training at one point before the competition. Normally in training desktops are used more, so what led you to considering the Y-series laptop?

430: Because its hardware specs fit our requirements decently. Its processor is an Intel i7, graphics are driven by a GForce650, plus it has 4GB of RAM, so it runs Dota2 quite comfortably.

NE: We’ve also heard that the Y400 has some special features, were these a factor in choosing this product?

430: Originally the reason we bought this was for its Ultrabay feature, it allows modifications to fit changing needs. For example when we play big games (on full screen) we have greater requirements for graphics, so we can utilize dual graphics card mode and thus achieve very smooth effects. Similarly, if we feel that heat dissipation is becoming an issue, we just switch in a fan, and this problem naturally goes away. The ability to make adjustments to key parts when needed, this is definitely a very convenient feature, and it suits our needs as professional gamers. After using this for a while, we all feel that the experience has been quite good, so we really like it.

NE: Supposedly you guys are planning on a nationwide talent search, where worthy candidates are selected to join iG for professional training sessions, with a chance to represent iG itself in competition. Can you give us some details?

YYF: Soon we will take part in a series of school campus events, the goal is to select five exceptional players, and then we will train them as a team, and they will represent iG at competitions.

NE: As a professional team, in what direction will iG develop for the future?

Zhou: Our team’s development direction is to become an international top tier Dota2 professional team.

NE: Any short-term plans, or long-term goals?

Zhou: Short-term plans are to win every single major competition, long-term goal is simply to become an international top-tier Dota2 professional team.

NE: Any special arrangements to help along the way?

Zhou: Better training, more communication, improve teamwork, practice player understandings, etc.

NE: So you’ve been training very hard lately, you have competitions coming up soon?

Zhou: Indeed, our hard work in training is so we can win more competitions.

NE: You’ve all been on this team for a relatively longer amount of time, in your professional careers, what kind of feel have iG and esports given you?

YYF: I think, when first coming into esports it was holding onto dreams and hopes, playing for the love of esports and gaming. So in the beginning there was a lot of passion, and when you win your first championship there is a lot of excitement. But after that, training day after day, honestly also gets quite tiring. Professional gaming isn’t actually just fun and games like a lot of people think, it is also a kind of work.

NE: Normally, an esports team’s players should have very close understandings, and I see that you guys have excellent teamwork. Are your personal bonds with each other similarly strong, are there any interesting stories to share from this?

Zhou: 430 and YYF often mess around with each other, this is what I think is most interesting.

Faith: ChuaN keeps the air conditioning on cold no matter what the weather is like, even in deep winter he’s gonna want it on.

430: Sleeping at night, Faith grinds his teeth, it’s like someone is eating in the middle of the night.

YYF: I often stand by 430 and watch him play pubs. When he’s solo mid, every time he dies 1v1 he’ll utter a phrase, “This person is so noob!” and then I’ll make fun of him, “He’s such a noob but he still killed you”.

NE: YYF brought it up just now — esports itself is a professional industry, and many people don’t really understand it much. Can you give an overview of it for everyone, is it what everyone thinks it is or is there a distance between reality and what people believe?

YYF: There’s still some difference from what most people think, everyone thinks it’s just fun and play, and while there is a lot of passion and joy at first, over a long period of time, no matter how much interest you have in it, needing to play and train for 10+ hours a day is enough to grind anyone down.

The greatest desire is still to win: DK, the forlorn kings [17173]

Dotaland note: Small feature/opinion piece reflecting on DK…

Original: http://dota2.17173.com/news/12042012/175256792.shtml

As champions of nine events in 2011, the kings DK have performed less than ideally in 2012; after winning G-1 2012 Season 1, they’ve spent a long period of time away from the top.

G-League, ACE Dota Pro League, the Dota2 International 2, the three big events of this summer all saw DK fall short of their goal. Worse, apart from the G-League, they failed to even make the finals. “A team cannot perpetually be in good form, it’s quite normal to see a drop, and participating in both Dota1 and Dota2 is a big factor as well,” DK’s manager Farseer said at the time.

At the same time as WCG China region finals were going on, DK announced that they were officially transitioning to Dota2, and this paved the path for DK to focus on preparation for the upcoming WCG World Finals.

On the 29th of November, WCG 2012 World Finals officially kicked off. In the Dota2 competition, DK was placed in a group with Orange and the Ukrainian team led by Dendi, this group was commonly seen as this competition’s group of death. In the first group stage match, DK comfortably defeated Orange, and following that they also achieved a win over Team Ukraine, thus defeating in succession both of the major threats to their advancement from the group and securing a certain spot in the next stage as leaders of their group. “Our preparations for this WCG have been excellent, we’re have a lot of confidence that we will win it all,” were the words BurNing declared after the group stage.

In the semi-finals, DK’s opponents would be team DevilMice from Belarus. This match was, like the matches before, without suspense as DK achieved a complete 2-0 victory to advance to the finals. And, with their match complete, DK enthusiastically went to spectate the other on-going semi-final match between iG and Orange.

In the finals matchup, DK once again met their rivals iG. In both G-League and The International 2, it was defeats to iG that stopped DK’s progress, and so here DK swore to overcome their adversaries… “This WCG is the first to include Dota2 competition, and at the same time is held in China, so it has special meaning. We absolutely must take the championship,” were the desires that DK.Farseer put into words beforehand.

On the day of the match, because of time constraints, the first game of DK vs iG was played in the off-stage competition area. In this game, iG used a Magnus and Brewmaster combo to successfully delay their opponents, leaving ample room for their Anti-mage to grow; and as Anti-mage got built up, iG gradually took the game to a win for themselves.

On the 2nd of December around 11AM, the second game between these two teams began to play out on othe main stage. Under the gaze of thousands of live audience viewers, iG once again drafted the Magnus Brewmaster combo, but this time it was clear that DK had made adjustments — they held an early advantage. Yet, as the game went on, iG’s overall roster superiority gradually began to show, and even though DK resolutely stood firm in defense for a time, they ultimately fell once again in front of iG……

The glories of 2011, the pities of 2012… the ‘Galacticos’ of Dota have fallen from such heights a year ago to such depths recently. Even though DK has placed decently in most competitions this year, it is certain that what they want the most is that long-lost championship title.

iG vs DK shouting match at WCG… ChuaN cameo

Original: http://17173.tv.sohu.com/v/1/11681/138/MTM4MzQwMw==

In this short video, a rare direct glimpse into the sight and sounds of top teams as they compete, we see iG and DK playing at WCG 2012… then they get into a shouting match of sorts. They’re shouting commands to their respective teammates at first, then their shouts become more targeted towards what the other team is shouting. And then in the last bit, ChuaN, who is not playing for iG at WCG, gives his voice in support of iG. All in a sort of joking manner from both sides, but very intense still, and it shows the rivalry. I think I lost 3 pounds just from watching that.

WCG 2012 World Finals in Kunshan makes Chinese mainstream TV news

Original: http://dota2.sgamer.com/video/201212/31756.html

Short clip, introduces the event and its purpose, notes that WCG promotes ‘healthy online gaming’, and then gives a little background on Chinese performance this year and last year. Main point here is that this was on CCTV-1, the main channel of CCTV, which is China’s official media entity. It was also broadcast during the nightly news, so pretty big influence.

178 interview with Dendi at WCG

Original: http://dota2.178.com/201211/148269962870.html

Q: Hello Dendi, thank you for accepting 178’s interview. This is your first time visiting Kunshan right? What first impressions do you have of this city?

Dendi: Hello. To be honest, I don’t yet have much of an impression, because I came here directly after getting off the plane.

Q: Then how do you feel about the atmosphere of the event here?

Dendi: Very nice, although it feels like there are relatively few people. But Chinese viewers are very passionate.

Q: Previously we heard that the Ukrainian team’s travel visas encountered some issues, can you explain what happened?

Dendi: Ok, because we were coming directly after playing at Dreamhack, schedules were very cramped, so at the airport when we spoke with the customs officer we were told that our visas had problems. After hearing that, we begged them and asked them in every way, and finally the second day they allowed us to go.

Q: Has this mishap affected you guys at all, are you tired at all? Does it affect your form?

Dendi: No, not at all. Conversely, we actually got quite a bit of rest time during the day that we spent waiting, we passed it quite luxuriously, so there aren’t any problems.

Q: The Ukrainian team this time is pieced together with players from different teams, how do you feel about the team’s ability level? How is your teamwork coming along, did you engage in any special training for WCG?

Dendi: These players and I go back quite far, and players like goblin are long-time veterans, lots of experience, so their ability is absolutely solid. The only thing we lack is team understanding, because time has been quite tight so we never had any previous practice. We’ll have to learn as we compete; let’s see if there will be good results.

Q: Actually, you have practiced! Just now at the Dota2 expo booth here, weren’t you guys grouped up in a match?

Dendi: Haha, that was just for fun.

Q: Then tell us about your Void just now… why did you build Arcane boots and two Blades of Attack?

Dendi: Playing pubs is just for fun, so I built whatever I felt like building, plus Void does really have mana problems!!

Q: In your latest match in WCG, your team easily defeated a Mongolian team, talk a bit about that match.

Dendi: It was alright, but the internet at the live event really is horrid. The screen was stuttering back and forth, this really affects our performance.

Q: In your group, there are two other powerhouses in Orange and DK, do you think you have a good chance at advancing from the group?

Dendi: I can’t really say, we can only try our best, and beat at least one of DK or Orange.

Q: At this WCG, which team do you think will take the title?

Dendi: DK or iG I think, Orange has a chance too. Of course we are good as well *laughs*

Q: Is this your first time participating in a WCG World Finals? What are your thoughts on Dota2’s first appearance as an official competition?

Dendi: I’m very excited, after all WCG is an old-school big name competition. As for Dota2 being added in, I can only say one thing: it’s cool!!!

Q: Next up we’re gonna head into gossip hour. Your style and personality has won quite a bit of fame and following, and a lot of Chinese girls like you a lot, did you know this?

Dendi: Haha, I didn’t know

Q: Well then, do you like China’s girls? Any considerations of finding yourself a Chinese girlfriend?

Dendi: It’s possible, Chinese girls are quite nice, for example there are many hotties right here at this venue, haha.

Q: Alright, I can only say I wish you good luck then. Thank you Dendi for the interview, we hope you will bring us more exciting play.

Dendi: Thank you. Nihao, wo ai ni (spoken in Chinese by Dendi here, means Hello, I love you)