What/Why I don't like the next DPC season
Obviously some of my views will be biased out of self-interest but let's not pretend that isn't the case for anyone who has an opinion on this matter (even casual spectators). When I initially described the next season to be 'garbage,' I didn't mean to say I disagree with every bit of it. There are some issues that have been floating around for a while that should be addressed but based on my reading of valve's post, I felt they did a poor job of it.
If you are reading this, then I trust you've already read through the same post. If you haven't, then:
I'm generally going to spill my thoughts in chronological order of what was written in the link above.
I do not have a problem with the idea of regional leagues.
But let's look at the scheduling. Instead of 4 days qualifiers, we have what is essentially a 6 week qualifier. A bo3 round robin between 8 teams is a lot of games but is it really that much more than previous qualifiers if you spread it out over 6 weeks? Anyway it takes 10 times longer to qualify to a Major that happens less often, has less prize money, and has a weird distribution of DPC points.
On top of that there will be less non-DPC tournaments. A league is not a tournament. I believe strongly that non-DPC tournaments do both the community and teams participating in them a great service. They are free to run whatever format (despite my time-to-time bitching about dumb formats, that doesn't mean they're all bad) and we get to experience the different vibes, production, and memes of each tournament.
Distribution for Regional Leagues.
Prize money: Might as well call this kindergarten and give everyone the same prize pool for participation. This doesn't even bother me that much but it looks stupid and is a forced way to support the tier 2-3 scene which I'm not against in principle. From a team's perspective, you're investing 2 months and making 2-3k USD per player per month assuming it's split purely between the 5 players. Whatever.
DPC points: Nurturing less developed regions is nice. I came from the clownfest that was Korean DotA so I should know. But there's a difference in equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. Are all regions equal in DotA right now? No. So why does getting 1st-5th in your region's league award the same points as any other region? How can you award such significant amounts of DPC points until you prove your progress in a cross-region examination? It is called The International and all regions should be represented but this is a poor example of affirmative action. It's literally called the 'competitive' scene. Am I the one that's crazy here?
7-8th of Upper and 1st-2nd of Lower Division swap places. Okay... so there's not even games to decide who's actually better? It's just time for John to share his toy with Michael and play nice? I do see what they're trying to do but with only 3 League cycles, it seems like bullshit. What if the top 6 teams of a division are really good compared to the rest of the region? (Europe might currently be the best example) 7-8th teams genuinely are the 7-8th best teams but their spots get stolen just like that?
Right. I forgot to mention top 1 of a Division just gets put in Upper bracket of the playoffs. Surely a team that gets 1st in their region must be a top 12 team in the world...
Prize money: 1st place for Majors used to be $1 million in 2015. It will be 200k in 2021. As I'm writing this I'm aware a lot of people will think I'm just a greedy asshole. Yes, I like money. But to tell you the truth, I don't give a shit about the Majors. Even now. I've said this in person to some people already but the whole 11 months of September to July is just a year long group stage for the one and only TI. I would rather get last place in every tournament and get 1st place in TI if that was somehow possible rather than get 1st in every tournament and 2nd in TI. I think most players would agree.
My point here being that instead of addressing the fact that TI is literally like 75-80% of the whole year's DotA prize pool, they cut the budget of the non-TI segment of the year thereby making the Majors less appealing, but ultimately more time consuming and random since you get so many points without even having to play a team from another region. Even if you're truly the 12th best team in the world, there's a much higher chance you don't go to TI with this new system. That's my problem.
DPC points for Majors:
Yes, being 1st in your region gives you as many points as being the world's best team at the moment. I don't even know where to start about the distribution of DPC points itself. If we're taking the communist approach, we might as well do it for the prize pool.
By the way, getting bottom 4 in the playoffs (9th-12th) out of 18 teams pays you $0 and 0 DPC points. Suddenly not everyone gets participation points? Hmmm...
I suspect Valve does not enjoy teams (especially top teams) taking breaks and skipping Majors during the year. That is why the DPC reward system is flat and difficult to predict. I can see why they wouldn't like it but can't help feel they could've given teams incentive to not skip Majors instead of artificially forcing teams to take part in what is objectively a less attractive Major.
Overall I feel like this DPC season announcement was like a huge patch in DotA with crazy new things that needs a thorough balance patch. Someone somewhere said something along the lines of top teams not wanting to share the pie with everyone else about my initial tweet. No. What's happening is that the pie is getting smaller and the knife that cuts it is broken.