A few months ago, Joebert Yu aka Gariath organized a New Bloods DotA All-Stars Tournament in Metro Manila. The goal was to give a chance to non-professional teams to battle out with each other in matches that excluded the professional teams. Among the teams and players banned were those of top teams Flow, Mineski, Papi, and Ninja. Vinzyre of Flow was in-charge of screening By all accounts, the tournament was perceived to be a success with STSM taking home the title of New Bloods Champions.
A few weeks ago, Jericho “Liz7″ Oñate organized a similar tournament entitled as Underdogs for teams here in Davao City. Teams and players that participated as Cafe Champions in DCE 07 were banned. Similarly, teams and players of the Kadayawan Tournament Champions (Ch¡LL), Runner-Up (CORPOration), and Semi-finalists (50ph and TC Clan) were also banned. A couple of players from these banned teams managed to join but lost anyway. Team Go of Jimbers’ Gaming Cafe took home the prize.
Last weekend, Gariath held his DotA LAN Seasonal Tournament (DLST) once again. To his dismay, only 16 teams out of the original 34 who signed up arrived to play. The reason? Apparently, the some teams decided to abandon the competitive DLST circuit to join less popular, more exclusive tournaments similar to the New Bloods Tournament.
Similarly, the BoyzTrek Gaming Cafe Tournament: this coming Sunday is suffering the same fate. Liz7, together with some Jimbers’ players have cooked up an Underdogs 2 Tournament slated sometime in October. Owing to the dominance of teams Ch¡LL and CORPOration (both based in Boyztrek) in recent tournaments and match games, some teams have opted to sit out this Sunday’s tournament, to join instead the Underdogs 2 Tournament.
For “new blood” and “underdog” teams, it is more profitable to join tournaments that exclude Champions and top seed teams and players. It gives them a bigger chance of grabbing the prize. On the bigger picture, however, it is not beneficial to both the teams and the gaming industry.
For one, new blood and underdog teams will not have the chance to be exposed to real competitive gaming. Only experience can teach certain things. Stagnating in the so-called new blood and underdog categories will definitely not help out the teams in terms of learning new strategies, and acquiring better skills.
Moreover, it marginalizes the champions and top seeds who, undeniably, have worked hard to achieve their status. It is, I think, not their fault that they are who they are. Their hard work should be recognized.
It is also detrimental to the growth of the gaming industry as a whole. Rather than professionalizing and streamlining the industry, it gives greater pay-off for those who organize and support the less competitive teams and tournaments.
However, the value of these new blood and underdog tournaments should not be undermined. Of course, every chance to discover new talents is a noteworthy. The questions is how to further develop and enhance these talents. As in other industries and situations, the only way for these teams to get better is to play with the best.
Yes, it might not be profitable for the new bloods and underdogs to “donate” their money by joining highly competitive tournaments. But the experience they gain, and the insights they get are much more than any other tournament can give.
I think, that tournaments similar to the new bloods and underdogs tournaments should be kept at minimum. At most, it should only be held once a year, at a time when no other tournaments are being held.
Another suggestion is to maybe categorize the teams and players during the tournaments, and pit the best of the new bloods with the best of the underdogs, and the best of the champions. The Kadayawan Tournament here in Davao City, used a seeding method for the top eight teams in competition and radomly assigned the other teams to be matched with the seeded teams. This kind of matching can also work for the advantage of all teams and players.
The bottom line is teams and players, organizers, sponsors, and other concerned parties should always look at the bigger picture, into the goals that the industry wants to achieve. Whether we like it or not, it is not just a game or mere playing anymore. The industry is growing and starting to take a life of its own. It is up to us, to all those in it, to make it successful.