DOTA NEWS HIGHLIGHTS APRIL 24 – MAY 30

Video Version:

Tournament Summaries

The Kiev Major

Format:

  • 16 Teams – 8 invited, 8 qualified (2 CN, 2 SEA, 1 EU, 1 CIS, 1 NA, 1 SA)
  • Two groups of 8, Swiss style format
  • Seeds everyone into a bo3 single elimination bracket
  • Bo5 Grand Finals

Games To Watch:

Results:

  • Top 4: IG, VP, OG, EG
  • Bo5 Grand Finals: OG(3) vs. VP(2)
    • OG’s 4th Valve event victory
    • Career Earnings: $5,287,979

Tournament Tidbits:

  • 99 heroes picked
  • Zero broadcasting gaps (Mischief at the Major Segments filled all down time)
  • Only the second 5 game finals in Valve event history (TI3)

Drama:

Starladder

Format:

  • 8 teams – 6 direct invites, 2 qualified teams 
  • GSL bo3 double elimination group stage (4 teams each, top 2 in single elim playoffs)
  • Find all games here

Games To Watch:

Results:

  • Top 4: Liquid, IG, TNC, Newbee
  • Grand Finals (bo5) Liquid(3) vs. TNC (2)

Tournament Tidbits:

  • 1437 flew directly to China to play with TNC, he had not previously played with the team
  • Alliance was a replacement for Mousesports (ex Ad Finem), who withdrew due to a busy schedule

Drama:

Manila Masters

Format:

  • 8 teams – 5 direct invites, 3 qualified teams
  • Double elimination bracket with random seeding, no group stage


Games To Watch:

  • Battle of the Rages (If there is an official video please let me know, I did not see one on MineskiTV’s youtube)

Results:

  • Top 4: Faceless, Newbee, NP, EG
  • Grand Finals (bo5): EG (3) vs Newbee (1)

Tournament Tidbits:

Drama:

Upcoming Tournaments

Zotac Cup Masters (May 30 – June 3)

  • LAN event in Taipai
  • $100K USD prizepool
  • Bo1 upper bracket games with bo3 lower backet games

Epicenter (June 4 – June 11)

  • LAN event in Moscow
  • $500K USD prizepool
  • Two groups of 5 into a single elimination (bo3) playoff bracket (bo5 finals)

The Summit 7 (June 14 – June 18)

  • “LAN” event in LA at The Summit House
  • $100K USD prize pool

Galaxy Battles (June 14 – June 18)

  • LAN event in Shenzen (China)
  • $150K USD prize pool
  • Bo2 group stage to determine seeding, double elimination playoff bracket (bo3s), bo5 finals

TI Open Qualifiers: June 22nd

Dreamleague Season 7 (LAN

EU Finalists:  Team Secret, Team Liquid, and Vega Squadron

NA: NP and Digital Chaos (ex Onyx) withdraw from the NA division. Team NP receive a one year Dreamleague ban due to withdrawing for the second time

Notable Roster Changes

Wings (Team Random) – Disbands, potentially banned from ACE events due to “breaking contract” to leave the Wings organization. EHOME pick up ex-wings players faith_bian and y’. EHOME are also reportedly banned from ACE events. A previous EHOME ACE ban prevented the team from even scrimming with other Chinese teams

Team NP : Kicks 1437 & SVG, picks up Pieliedie and FATA

Team Secret: Replaces Pieliedie with Yapzor

Cloud9: disbands, becomes Danish Bears (again) with 747 replacing 13abyknight

Crescendo: 13abyknight, Excalibur, SyndereN, EGM, Akke

TNC: 1437 joins the team as the new captain, ryOyr leaves

Mineski: Mag (ex-Vega) joins the team

 

Game Changes & Patches

  • Major client performance update, especially noticeable on low end systems
  • Shrines are only available starting at 5 minutes into the game
  • Creep numbers & xp changed
  • Denying a creep now grants you experience
  • Less shrines in the base
  • Decreased gold bounty for towers
  • Monkey King ultimate no longer bashes
  • Urn heals evenly (similar to a salve)
  • CM moves backwards because she is so slow (ok she actually has 275 ms now)

 

“State of Dota” Discussions

BEAT Organizer’s Letter to Valve

LD’s Statement on 3rd Party Tournament System

The Secret – Still Isn’t Out?

The post Kiev Major shuffle has only begun, but it’s masking something else interesting behind the scenes.

Kemal Sadikoglu, a Turkish businessman, was previously the director of Team Secret. After Secret faced several “no payment” scandals as revealed in blogs by OG’s manager Evany and EternalEnvy, their public image suffered heavily. Team Secret announced a change in management in early March, shortly before they played in the Kiev qualifiers.

Kemal Sadikoglu will be transitioning his responsibilities as Director effective immediately, and leaving Team Secret to pursue other interests.”

While the announcement thanks him for his time, it also uses this change to excuse previous management issues regarding payment scandals.

At Team Secret we pride ourselves on being a model organization, championing the industry’s highest principles that require not only competitive fortitude, but management excellence as well. Our founding vision continues to guide everything we do – putting the integrity of the game and the well-being of our players above all else.”

This announcement came around the same time that Team Secret announced their boot camp in a new location, not their usual team house in Turkey.

secret bootcamp tweet

When asked about this change in an interview with Sheever at the Kiev Major, Pieliedie states

“We couldn’t boot camp in Turkey anymore, the house was getting too expensive or

something.”

This explanation falls flat in light of this tweet from ProDota’s manager earlier today, indicating that the team house would be in use for boot camping, just not by Team Secret.

prodota tweet

The expense of the boot camp seems like an unlikely reason for Kemal stepping back as Team Secret’s director, as he continues to maintain the house and use it for ProDota’s boot camp. The conditions surrounding Kemal’s departure remain unknown, but it is clear that the interests he will be pursuing are within the realm of Dota.

Kemal has not had any recent activity on his social media and Team Secret has not released more information regarding the reasons behinds Kemal’s departure. This could be a single event to support a smaller team, but it could also represent Kemal’s continued interest in the Dota scene as he moves to acquire a new team.

UPDATE –

ProDota is renting the location from Kemal, he is not partnered with the team.

Dota News Highlights March 25 – April 20

Video:

Roster Changes:

  • Team NP : Envy kicks SVG and 1437 (Source)
  • Sonneiko replaces rmn on Team Na’Vi (Source)
  • Sunsfan and Sajedene leave Digital Chaos for undisclosed reasons (Source)
  • Digital Chaos squad goes independent, they are now “Team Thunderbirds” (Source)
  • Digital Chaos Org picks up Team Onyx (Source)
  • Team B)ears disbands (Source)
  • Mousesports signs ex-Ad Finem squad (Source)
  • The Wings players leave the org and are now known as “Team Random”(Source)
  • InsaNia replaces Synderen on NiP (Source)
  • Moonduck adds Shaneomad & Brax to their broadcast/talent team (Source)

Kiev Major Information:

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  • Invited team performance (before invites)
    • Team Random (ex-Wings) – TI Champions, BEAT winners, ¾ at ESL
    • OG – Major Champions, ¾ as ESL, 1 Elimination mode, 2nd Dotapit
    • Mousesports (ex-Ad Finem) – 2nd at Boston,  failed to qualify for starladder or DAC
    • Liquid – Starladder win, DAC qualified
    • EG – Won Dotapit, Won China Top, ¾ Boston
    • Thunderbirds (ex-DC) – Won ESL, ¾ Boston
    • Newbee – 2nd ESL, 1st China only Tournament, 2nd at China Top
    • VG.J – 2nd Starladder, 1st DAC qualifiers,
  • Group Stages April 24-25
    • 16 team single group stage
    • Swiss style format
      • Bo3 matches
      • No team plays each other more than once
      • Any teams with a 3-0 or 0-3 record are done with groups
  • Main Event April 27-30
    • Talent list:
      • Redeye to host
      • Aui_2000, 1437, and Conrad are new faces
      • Synderen returns to analysis/casting
    • Only casters will be present in Kiev according to anonymous sources, the rest of the broadcast team will be in Bucharest (Source)
    • The in stadium broadcast language will be Russian

Upcoming Tournaments:

  • StarLadder i-League Dota 2 Invitational Season 2, Shanghai, China, May 18-21
  • ZOTAC Cup Masters at Computex Taipei, May 30 to June 3
  • Epicenter, Moscow, Russia,  June 9-11
  • Summit 7 Los Angelos, USA, June 14-18
  • Dreamleague Season 7, LAN Finals Atlanta, USA, July 21-22

DAC Overview

  • 12 Teams – 4 invited and 8 qualified
    • Two groups of 6
    • Top 2 started in the upper bracket, bottom 4 in bo1 elimination games
  • Group Results:Final Standings.png
  • NP, LGD.FY, Wings, and Liquid were the first eliminated
  • IG.Vitality made it the farthest from the lower bracket (4th)
  • IG fell to OG in the upper bracket, then beat Newbee 2-0 in the lower bracket
  • IG beat OG 3 – 0 in the grand finals
    • IG won ~$246,000 of the $612,000 prize pool
    • Previous champions EG came in 5/6th place, winning $37,000

Game Changes

  • 7.05
  • Matchmaking Update (Source)
    • A unique linked phone number is now required by May 4th to play ranked
    • Solo Queue only can be selected in advanced options
    • Low Priority is now a timeout in combination
    • Party MMR takes your Solo MMR (if higher) into account when queuing
    • Behavioral algorithms (for detecting griefing) have been improved
    • Bot detection has been implemented
  • New laws in China require that drop rates from loot boxes/Dota chests will be required to be public

How do we address low priority and player retention in Dota?

In the break between the DAC group stage and playoff bracket, the vacuum of pro games has generated the usual Reddit stir over some aspect of the game. We had about a month of freedom from the “low prio is broken” cries, until now.

A recent post on r/Dota bemoaned the state of the game. The writer was upset that every game was centered around babysitting your teams’ emotions. The post described that wins and losses were determined by who tilted first, rather than having any understanding of how to play. Since this initial post, there have been several “copycat” submissions with other people showing solidarity in their dislike of the current state of the game. So how does Valve address this?

These are all just anecdotes, and plenty of people have chimed in that their experiences have been perfectly fine. Dota is a team game — of course you need to work with your team and keep everyone focused and positive. Unfortunately, telling your player base to “suck it up” isn’t the best strategy for player retention. This is where the low priority system could present a solution.

If we take a step back, we can look at how the system has changed over time. Once upon a time, you received six reports a week, so you had to use them all before they reset! Receiving low priority landed you with a playing timeout. Your account was unable to queue for 24–48 hours. This system was fairly ineffective one. Smurf accounts dodged the queue time outs and guaranteed report refreshing led to irresponsible use. There was no system that gave you reports proportional to how many you needed.

Eventually, the system changed. Weekly reports were reduced from six to three. Instead of waiting to play for 24 hours, you have to play a certain number of low priority games. Then you had to actually win those games and you had to do it while playing single draft mode. These changes were welcomed and appeared to be effective for some time.

As with any system, it gets adjusted. For some time, reports were too frequent. Professional players and popular streamers were reported just for being well known, and normal players landed in low priority for poor playing rather than bad attitudes. In the resulting changes to alleviate this, reports have become a scarce commodity. They’re earned back for successful reports and otherwise regenerate slowly. Conduct summaries congratulate or shame us for our behavior but there is little else to punish poor behavior.

As with smurfing in the initial low priority system, the current system has also become easily avoidable. Partying with friends makes the games enjoyable. Paying a small fee will set you up with a bot system that makes for an expedient escape back to your toxic daily ranked queues.

After reading several threads, I have a few thoughts on changes that could be made.

The first (and potentially already exists) would be to scale the reports you have available to how many games you play. Someone who plays once a month shouldn’t have the ability to report three of their teammates for not carrying them to victory. Someone who plays ten games a day is much more likely to run into people that deserve reporting.

Another option is to limit reporting to above a certain behavior score. Reporting can easily be abused for personal dislike rather than actual griefing. The lower your behavior score, the more “likely” you are to abuse your reports. If you have a low enough score to get regular low priority, why should you be trusted to recognize bad behavior in others? Similar to this — if you have played in low priority within the past 10 games, remove the ability to report.

We also need to address the punishment aspect of low priority matchmaking. Why are players who have been deemed toxic allowed to communicate? Why can they queue up in a five man party and essentially play a normal game? Communication bans for the duration of low prio along with removing parties would be steps to incentivize better behavior from the frequent visitors.

The last suggestion is to combine the initial low priority system with our current one. Adding a wait time before you can queue for low prio games guarantees that you can’t use bots and be back to normal games within the hour. I would also recommend a wait time for after completion of low prio games to prevent instant queuing into the normal pool after the frustration of low priority games.

Every system has flaws, but hopefully with some adjustments the low priority system can help “rehabilitate” unpleasant players without punishing the larger pool of people who just want to play some Dota.

Man, it’s so easy for you as a woman

I  frequently have people envious of my female status in esports. Whether they directly tell me they’re jealous, or that I have it easy, or they are silently thinking something along those lines, I deal with that sentiment with most people I interact with. Esports is predominantly male, or at least the vocal part is. There are few women, and it often seems like we have a shorter road to the top.

So what are my perks? Well, I have a massive amount of information at my disposal because I am dating a professional player. Since we don’t have female pros, women do have a better shot at dating a pro and accessing that level of information and connections. Sorry guys, I guess my love life is really getting me ahead, must be a massively unfair advantage. The girlfriend gets much more respect than the friend, right? The girlfriend is never viewed as a distraction, or a sign a player isn’t focussed, correct? Think about the cultural ideals you have about girlfriends. If I was a guy getting VIP access at TI because I was a player’s friend, would any of those stigmas apply to me? Even better, imagine if I was me, but single, and I was just a friend. What would be said about me and that player? Would people think, wow, she must be super cool and smart to be friends with someone who has such a unique and busy life? Or would they perhaps be more focussed on the “friend” status and take bets about how long until my pants get invaded?

Let’s talk about the clearest perceived perk. You have boobs, your life is easy.

qop 1

Ok so yes, women can use their attractiveness to their advantage. Most people know me for my cosplays, something that gives me easy attention! Just put on a bra and some black eyeliner and I can be Queen of Pain and become internet famous! Well, first of all, cosplaying takes an immense amount of time and money, so easy is definitely the wrong word. The biggest issue with this thought lies in the belief that female cosplays are equal to positive attention. When I make a cosplay, I stare at the in game model with crazy exaggerated features and adjust my neck and hemlines as much as possible to stay true to the character, but avoid the negative stigmas. Every decision I make is carefully calculated to avoid  being called an “attention whore” while still bringing a character I love to life.

BM 3

I just went and re-scanned the reddit comments from my Mirana and Beastmaster cosplays. A large amount of comments are directed towards congratulating me on NOT baring everything. People don’t see the craft, all they see is me deviating from the female stereotype. When people come to check out cosplay streams, they are surprised I have a personality and actually want to play the game. I face so many stereotypes and preconceived notions when I put on a cosplay, and I have to fight constantly to demonstrate that I do it out of passion, and that I do indeed have a brain.

Imagine if a guy did as many cosplays as I did. Quality male cosplays face much less cynicism , and are almost universally applauded for doing something unique. People do not focus on body type or request “more battlefury” for the cleavage boost. There is no discussion of the amount of skin shown or how desperate he must be for attention. Remember this the next time you see a cosplay on the front page of reddit and you think of how easy that girl must have it.

Outside of cosplay, in general female streamers are assumed to only be successful because they are women. When you are a new streamer it is easier to get viewers if you are a woman. Once you have a solid cohort of viewers? It is immensely challenging to grow. People see a female stream and make assumptions about the stream. They expect cleavage, white knights and neckbeards in chat, and a streamer who has no idea how to play the game. No matter how hard I work to improve, interact, and have a fun and focussed channel, new people to the stream will generally assume I have gotten my partnership and viewer numbers by flaunting my femininity. I personally feel like I had a faster trip to mediocrity, but growth beyond that is much more challenging as a woman, and I struggle with stereotypes and negative expectations every day.

What this all comes down to is respect. I can easily get attention, but only as a superficial blow up doll. Any intellectual contribution I have is viewed through the lense of me as a cosplayer or streamer, not as a person. My article seeking a better feedback mechanism for casters was deemed an attention whoring mechanism to seize drama and promote myself, rather than me recognizing a lack of a service in the community and attempting to help. People may envy my partnership, my “insider knowledge”, and my front page reddit accessibility with cosplays, but they don’t realize that it means nothing, because I am regarded as nothing. Everyone has to work hard. I am not saying men have it easy or that other people work less. Men have a harder time being noticed and I am sure they put in just as much time as me. However, they don’t have to face the stigmas and negative stereotypes. I would like people to really think about what it is they are envious of the next time they accuse me of having it easy. I didn’t struggle as much with being noticed, but every day is a battle to prove again and again that I am a person with passion, goals, and a desire to contribute in a way that extends beyond emptying your tissue box.

Positive reinforcement never hurt anyone

I am competitive, I am critical, and I judge. I can always find room for improvement or an area someone can work on. I have previously advocated for constructive criticism for casters – I said that we need to move past the flame and on to something that can help people improve. I heard an amazing cast from Durka and Motpax the other day, and I realized there is another side to this; we do not always need to be critical to help others improve.

Positive reinforcement never hurt anyone.

Think about that. Do you lose anything by complimenting someone? Will this have a negative impact on your life? There is nothing to lose by telling someone they are doing a good job. I am not talking just about casters here. Streamers, hosts, writers, anyone who is essentially providing you a service for your enjoyment. In general, compliments are just a way to be nice, and there isn’t anything wrong with being nice. Compliments give people confidence, and helps them continue to do well. To be completely honest though, I am not advocating positive reinforcement for the nice aspect, I believe in more selfish goals.

These people are your entertainment. We spend a lot of time getting our fill of esports, we are reliant on other people to keep us busy. I personally want these people to entertain me how I prefer to be entertained. Constructive criticism is one way to steer people towards what you want, but what about that positive reinforcement?

Here is an example. I may have a few songs on my playlist that you absolutely hate, and let’s be honest, the more you whine about it, the more I will probably play them because I resent you trying to control my stream. However, if there are songs of a style you prefer and you compliment those, I see something I can do to make my stream a more pleasing place. Instead of pissing me off by questioning my music choice, you are offering me a gentle incentive to shift the music to something you would enjoy more.

People are defensive. People in the public eye need to demonstrate they cannot be pushed around or influenced by “random 12 year olds on the internet.” The most well intentioned criticisms can be easily ignored using that justification. But who gets defensive when you compliment them?
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A compliment will probably always be received better than a criticism, and will likely be more effective in communicating your point. It can be hard to compliment someone when they are doing something that annoys you, this is where selfishness comes in. If a caster constantly tells boring personal stories (or the current fad of our hate on excessive meming), find a moment where they shout casted an amazing team fight, or analyzed an item choice really well. Point out that with a very sly “You stayed focussed on the game so well here, it was one of my favorite moments in your casting.” This gives a caster incentive to cover the game and leave their own life out of it.

What else? Everyone is frustrated with “click-bait” or sensationalist titles, but telling the writer that the article let you down as compared to the title will just lead them to the “What do random people know, I’m the writer, I’m right.” Think if you tell that writer that the topic was really interesting, you wish you could read even more about it. This gives the writer the information that people would appreciate more depth and information without putting them on the defensive.

Everyone can improve; we are all constantly learning. Positive reinforcement can help to encourage that learning and keep people motivated. It can also serve as a nicer way to steer someone away from behaviors and styles you don’t like.

There’s nothing wrong with being selfish and there is nothing wrong with being nice. There is no reason you cannot be both.

Should There be Female Only Tournaments?

I was asked “Do you think there should be female only tournaments?”

I tend to avoid discussions like these, the stigmas associated with special treatment for women are pretty unfavorable, but I felt in the mood to have a discussion. It is very clear that there are not professional female teams competing at the top level – which is probably what prompted this question.

skating

Olympic dreams crushed

So why should women get special consideration for leagues and tournaments? This isn’t a physical sport where size and muscle would make a difference, this is gaming. I think there are several issues to consider here. The most obvious comes down to the numbers. There is an incredibly small percentage of people with the potential to have the skill to perform at the highest of levels in anything. Of those people, not all of them have the temperament to play in a team or handle the pressure. Then of those people, you have to have the time to play and train constantly and be willing to give up everything for the chance of making it. This is the general truth for anything – we are not all equally suited to all career and talent paths, and we don’t all have the same abilities to change our lives to pursue a certain path (I know my mom promised me I could do whatever I wanted to do, but I am confident that my Olympic figure skating career is not going to happen).

This brings me to the second aspect of the numbers. Not only do you have to have the potential for skill and an iron will, you also need time. Olympians are not born overnight, they often start at a very young age. Brilliant scientists don’t suddenly one day stumble upon an amazing discovery, they have spent their lives seeking knowledge and constantly asking questions. People do not download their first game and become a professional player. Just like with school, sports, and life, experience matters. The younger we are, the more capable we are to learn and adapt. While I cannot speak to every single person’s childhood out there, I think it is acceptable to generalize here – young boys in the 90’s and early 2000’s were much more likely to be playing video games than young girls. If I didn’t have older brothers, I wouldn’t have been gaming. My friends and I played with barbies, we dressed up like princesses, we raided our mom’s makeup supply and became beauty queens. The guys had gameboys and pretended to shoot each other in massive intergalactic battles. Boys and girls are usually raised differently, and boys were just more likely to be playing video games.

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Top results in a Google search for images with the query “playing videos games”

The last obstacle is actually forming a team and competing. If you are a high level female player you can either choose to form a team with other women, or joining a male team. Finding five high level women that all have the time to play competitively and have personalities that can work together would be pretty hard when you have so few to start with. The current scene has a hard enough time working with each other: imagine that with a significantly smaller pool. Joining a male team is possible, but is it likely to happen very often?This brings us back to the numbers. Not only is it likely that there are more male players, it is more likely that they are going to start off with an advantage. They trained gaming related reflexes and situational awareness in games from a younger age. So no, men don’t have an automatic advantage like they might in basketball, but they have a higher chance to have the capability to play at the highest level. It is likely that this decreases in the future as gaming becomes increasingly prevalent and everyone is playing.

Female only tournaments would alleviate several of these issues and eventually even up the odds. Competitive gaming requires dedication, opportunity, and experience. Players need reasonable goals to aspire to if they are even going to start trying. A high individual skill level is nothing if you don’t learn how to work with teammates in high pressure scenarios. Small tournaments that cater to female players would give women competitive experience and would be the first step for women to have a chance at player at the highest tier. Most importantly, this would actively recruit more female players as they see role models and opportunities.

This is in no way me advocating for female divisions of major tournaments. I do not think we should try to establish a separate female tier 1 scene. If you are capable of playing in a major, then you play in the major against everyone else. We don’t need to hit a quota of female players. But we should consider why there is not a single one.

Not everyone is equal. That is the koolaid your kindergarten teacher made you drink so you would play nice. People come from different backgrounds and they have different opportunities. If we want to see accurate representation of player demographics at the professional level, something needs to be done at the semi-professional level to foster the necessary growth.