Esports teams are a key player in any Esports scene. Whether it may be a fighting game, a third person shooter, or a MOBA game, more often there’s a team that backs up some of the best players in their respective scenes. In a team-based game like Dota 2, Esports teams are an absolute must for players to be an official pro player.

That being said, spectators tend to have their favorites among the different teams that are present in a game’s competitive scene. A group of spectators that enjoy similar favorites become fans of the team, and they establish a fanbase to support their beloved players and teams, rooting for them in their highest and lowest points.

Like any fanbase, it is sad to see their teams and players bid farewell to the competitive scene when it’s time to pack up. Reality Rift, a Singaporean Dota 2 Esports team made last June 2019, unfortunately had their time cut too short due to the ongoing global situation. Their disbandment came with a message from Ilya, the CEO of Reality Rift, discussing the reasons for disbanding—including the most pressing matter in the Dota 2 competitive scene.

Reason for Disbandment

In a Twitlonger posted on the 1st of September, Ilya Vlasov discussed the primary reasons for why the team had to disband. The biggest factors in making the decision included the travel restrictions that caused massive difficulty in team management, the budget pressure on the business of Reality Rift due to Singapore’s restrictions in retail, and Valve’s low effort management of the Esports scene.

Firstly, travel restrictions are particularly crippling most teams when it comes to trying to play competitively in the usual in-house bubbles of teams, but in Reality Rift’s case it was more than that. Reality Rift’s headquarters and team house located in Singapore and Malaysia respectively, and the management, players, and coaches are having difficulties moving around due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

Second, the budget is always a concern with any professional team. Professional gamers need to be compensated properly, and there’s always things like daily sustenance and hiring of staff like psychologists and food nutritionists to take care of the players’ mental and physical well-being. At the end of the day, Reality Rift is a business, and they have to cut costs or else risk bankruptcy.

Lastly, the potentially biggest factor that goes beyond Reality Rift and affects other teams as well is the low effort that Valve projects in the Dota 2 competitive scene. Most tournaments that are hosted this year are done by third parties (One Esports, ESL, and the like) while Valve has shown little in the way of creating an official competitive season to make the game’s competitive scene flare up.

Speaking of which…

The Dota Pro Circuit 2020-21

Valve released a blog post days after Reality Rift’s Twitlonger disband post talking about the updates on the competitive scene. With the lack of The International 10 and the apparent cancellation of two seasons of the Dota Pro Circuit 2020-21 (shortened as DPC) the rest of 2020 is looking pretty empty for the pro players and spectators that are looking forward to something in the fall and winter season.

The blog post raises the concern of many on the supposed Regional Leagues that are meant to support the Tier 2 and Tier 3 teams, leading into a Major tournament to wrap up the season. However, due to the travel restrictions imposed to combat the global pandemic, Valve states that cross-regional play is impossible to achieve, and therefore Major tournaments cannot occur to close out seasons.

The main purpose of the Regional Leagues is to develop a competitive scene in the different regions of the competitive playerbase, especially with Southeast Asia, North America, and South America. Without a local tournament for these regions to play at, teams and organizations are unable to obtain prize money and sustain themselves as a team and as an organization.

At this rate, more teams are likely to suffer the same fate as Reality Rift if Valve cannot make a way to keep its new and aspiring teams to keep on pushing for the gold, when there isn’t even any gold in the first place.

Community Backlash

The community has constantly complained on the state of the Dota 2 Esports scene. Despite having the biggest prize pools that can match the American Super Bowl tournaments, everything else that involves the pro players and teams lack the support at the base level. Most big shots like Team Secret, Evil Geniuses, and Fnatic have been in the scene for so long,

Some members of the community have aired their suggestions and grievances on the current state of the DPC and have asked why online play can’t be an option. Mobile Legends has been hosting online tournaments left and right with large viewerships, League of Legends has still kept their regional leagues like the LPL and the LCK alive and kicking, and even big sports leagues like the NBA and UFC have been organized and regulated so well that they are currently going at it with great success lately.

Add the possibility that about $36 million dollars from The International 10’s prize pool will likely go nowhere but into Valve’s pockets, it created more questions for the playerbase to ask. Would the prize pool go to The International 11 in 2021, or will TI 11 garner a different prize pool with another Battle Pass? If it’s the latter, what will happen with TI10’s prize pool?

These are some of the big questions that the community is asking Valve, due to the lack of transparency and clarity that the most recent blog post had given. Surely, this would not be the end as fans do not wish for their beloved game to wither and for their favorite teams to disband due to the impact of the global pandemic on the competitive scene of Dota 2.

What about you? What are your concerns with the current state of Dota 2’s competitive scene?