Following the completion of ESL One Genting and Dota Pit, there have now been three “Major” Dota 2 events. Some fans may be excused for forgetting about WESG taking place in January. The World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) took place between January 12 – 15th, with a prize pool of 1.5 Million US Dollars, the largest event in terms of prize pool in 2017 so far. WESG was a major LAN, however there was limited coverage, and many die-hard competitive Dota fans were left uninterested.
The first problem with WESG was the format. WESG consisted of a group play stage, followed by a single elimination bracket play. The group stages consisted of 24 teams, split into four groups of six. Group play took place over days one and two. An astonishing 60 best of two series were completed by the teams. In total, that’s 120 games of Dota being played in the first two days. This format was surely unsustainable for both the teams and the talent attending the event.
– Jorien “Sheever” van der Heijden
– Owen “ODPixel” Davies
– Ben “Merlini” Wu
– Austin “Capitalist” Walsh
– Ioannis “Fogged” Loucas
In total, there were five English speaking talent members invited to the event. That is a ridiculously low number considering the amount of games being played. From a talent perspective, the days must have been some of the hardest they have had to endure. It seems as if very little consideration was given to the format of the tournament and also the amount of invited English speaking talent.
Teams in attendance
One of the biggest issues that may have affected viewership of the event was the lack of “Tier 1” teams. The event had a rule in place that allowed only national teams to attend. This limited the amount of top tier teams that could attend. In actuality, of the 24 teams in attendance, only around five were recognizable by the fans.
In addition to this, the America qualifiers were set to be hosted in Brazil due to the heavy amount of South American sides entering. With some North American players creating pickup teams, including fan favorites, Team NP, things may not have been that bad for the event. Unfortunately this would not be the case, as due to strikes and problems with Brazilian embassies in USA and Canada, none of the NA teams could attend the qualifier.
There was a massive contrast between teams such as SEA powerhouse TNC Pro Team and South African side Bravado Gaming. Most of the games in the group stage were very one sided and did not provide much in the way of entertainment.
In contrast, the games in the Semi-Finals onward were very entertaining, mainly because the larger teams began to face off against each other.
When WESG consider running another Dota 2 tournament, I hope they will take a look at the failures of this event and plan better. Maybe the national based rule is not the best idea for the tournament due to the multi-national nature of most top tier teams. In addition, more consideration may need to be given to talent in attendance and the amount of games being played.
Whilst the talent who did attend were on top of their game, and the games played from the semi finals onward were very good to watch, the rest of the event felt a bit flat to me as a fan. When TNC looks back at this event, they will be happy with the amount of money they managed to secure. Will they consider it a true test of their strength? Probably not…
The idea was good, the execution was not. The lessons are there, but will the organizers learn from them?