Valve’s decision to pull out their support from the Philippines Dota 2 Major, organised by Fallout Gaming, have been met with mixed reaction. Many agree that it only makes sense for the developers of Dota 2 to do what they feel is in the best interest of their product. In this case, it’s protecting the safety and privacy of the professional players themselves. They are, after all, the main ambassadors of the game.
For Valve to make such a huge decision just less than two weeks before the start of the event, however, seems questionable at best. It also sets a precedent going forward: Valve can do whatever the fuck they want with Dota 2.
But, was their decision really that bad? Or was it justified?
Is Fallout Gaming a Sham Org?
If we’re playing the blaming game, it’s easy to point fingers at Valve. After all, they’re the ones who decided to pull the plug on one of the biggest tournaments of the year just weeks before it starts. But, while their decision does indeed set a negative precedent, it’s not like they did it without a valid reason, irregardless of whether they bothered to release a proper explanation.
Officially, Valve cited “unreasonable infringments on the privacy of the player” to enter the Philippines as their primary reason for cancelling the event. However, further digging suggests that there’s much more to Valve’s controversial decision than meets the eye.
@ZyoriTV 100K dollar prizepool tournaments, cockroaches and plastic chairs in player-rooms. goodshit.jpg
— Simon Haag (@Handsken1) March 20, 2015
Three years ago in 2015, Fallout Gaming organised a tournament in Kuala Lumpur called the Major All Stars tournament.
This was the tournament that initially gave the much-maligned organizers their notoriety as several issues plagued the event; poor organization and production issues, highlighted by a team booth catching fire, was just a start. Players also complained about the lack of hygiene and subpar playing conditions. Even worse, it took over a year for the organizers to pay teams what they owed them.
Having said that, you can only imagine the surprise when Valve gave Fallout Gaming a chance to organize a Dota 2 Major, of all things.
Fallout gaming strikes again
"technical issues" aka "we didn't apply for an event license"https://t.co/Ey88HWMNvl
— Andrew Campbell (@ZyoriTV) October 29, 2017
Moonduck’s Andrew ‘Zyori‘ Campbell, for one, couldn’t help but call the organizers of the Dota 2 Major a sham org. Not only because of what they did in their previous tournament, but for their poor handling of their recent Red Bull Coliseum tournament; the event faced myriads of issues, including the organizers failing to secure a permit, which forced them to change venues.
Was Drug Testing the Real Reason?
The CEO of Team Secret, John Yao, left a comment on popular online forum Reddit regarding allegations that drug testing was the main reason for Valve pulling their support from the Dota 2 Major.
“”For the record, the concern was not drug testing in itself… the issue is that any drug testing would not be done according to international standards, in a WADA-certified lab. There’s not enough transparency there, and therefore introduces a lot of risk to foreigners in a unfamiliar environment.
I can’t speak for Valve, but those were the first concerns that come to mind for me when it comes to mitigating risk and protecting my players.”
While the statement doesn’t necessarily come from Valve themselves, it’s clear that drug testing was not the main reason.
So if not drug testing, what was?
Это фиаско, Братан https://t.co/atgQYOYv7v
— Team Empire (@team_empire) January 11, 2018
Well, for starters, one good reason might be that the Galaxy Battles Major is not yet sanctioned by the Philippines’ Games and Amusement Board.
A translation available on Reddit suggests that the organizerse failed to apply for a license to run the Dota 2 Major. If this is true, then Valve’s decision to pull out their support from the event is much clearer now. Not only would’ve the event been more of a shit-show than the much-maligned Shanghai Major, but it probably wouldn’t have pushed through at all!
Without a license, the possibility exists that teams will arrive to the tournament’s venue (Philippine Arena) only to find out that the proper authorities have cancelled the event.
Even now, the threat of such a thing happening remains very real.
The Real Losers
If the tournament does indeed push through, then one can only hope that it does so without a hitch. Should it not, then the Dota 2 teams who chose to still participate will have dodged a bullet. Though they may lose out on a chance to pad their wallets with a chunk of the $500,000 prize pool, who knows just how long it will take for Fallout Gaming to pay up this time around?
The fact is, the real losers of this whole debacle are the Dota 2 fans in the Philippines. They’re the ones who bought most of the tickets and planned to see their favourite teams. Given that they’re some of the most passionate Dota 2 fans in the world, the Filipinos absolutely deserve better.
While Fallout Gaming have since promised to give out refunds, again, the question remains, how long will it take for them to pay up?
We’re only days away from the event and yet, we’re still left with more questions than answers.
At this point, it probably won’t come off as a surprise if the organizers just end up cancelling the former Dota 2 Major outright. But if they don’t, then best of luck to Fallout Gaming — they’re going to need all the fortune in the world to turn this around.