The current situation of the T2-T3 Dota scene
I have been thinking about giving my two cents about this for a while, and I would like to use the spotlight we currently have going in to the grand finals tomorrow for the European slot to The International 9. I have been playing esports professionally for my entire adult life, I never had a regular traditional job other than the occasional month here and there in my early 20s. The last few years I spent most of my time in North America, an arguably easier region than EU. In my opinion the quality of our current team in The Final Tribe is at the very least similar in skill to my previous ones in compLexity, if not even better. Despite this, if nothing changes with the way tournaments are being played for t2/t3 teams, I am going to have to seriously consider either switching regions like alot of other people have done this season, or give up on professional Dota altogether.
For those who are not aware, this season it was decided that no team would be getting direct invites to Valve tournaments (major/minors), and with Europe having arguably some of the strongest teams in the world, qualifying for these events means that you will have to go through some of the absolute top: Secret, Liquid, NIP, OG, Alliance, all who directly qualified for TI.
Ironically, this actually made it so that the current qualifier we are participating in for TI9 is the easiest qualifier we have been a part of all year. Absolutely still no walk in the park though,
the quality of Dota is higher than ever before. People are really, really good at this game.
Take a quick look at my lifetime earnings from tournaments at Liquipedia :
This entire year of Dota, we have made a total of 17,500$ in TFT. Compare with my previous years in NA. This is not a financially viable situation, we may not have been the best team this season, but I truly believe I would have made a whole lot more in another region.
If you do not agree with me, and think that I am just throwing blame and should work harder or get better, that is completely fine. From my point of view, we have worked our asses off this entire season, playing probably 6/7 days in the week on average, and often no days off at all. With the current tournament structure, we can not make any money unless we become a true T1 team and thus will not be able to justify playing professional Dota. We all know that there are
solutions to this, I will not debate which route is the best to go but to put all this money into one tournament (The International) and not nurture the T2-T3 scene at all is absurd.
I am today closer to 30 than I am 20. Life catches up to you, and if some proper opportunities cant be provided for a larger pool of players to participate in tournaments throughout the year then the decision to get going with whatever else people wants to do with their life is gonna come alot easier and faster. Either something will have to change, or you will soon find that alot of players in similar situation to me will stop trying to make it professionally. If you want to chalk it up to us not being good enough, that is fine, but that means that every team that performed below us for this season also is not good enough and will have to go through these decisions just like I will.
I truly hope something changes in the upcoming seasons so we can keep playing the game we all love so much for years to come. For now, the games we play tomorrow means everything and we will play our hearts out, the whole season has lead us to this moment.
Thanks a ton for reading!