The DOTA 2 Shanghai Major was on day 2. And it seems as if everything that could go wrong was going wrong. Perfect World, the organizers for the Major in Shanghai, China are getting a lot of flame their way for the problems that were surfacing in the tournament. This ranges from technical difficulties to unfavorable staff decisions.
Management & Production Issues:
First of all, viewers aren’t getting what they expected. The Fall Major held in Frankfurt by ESL One set the bar quite high; their production was flawless and the tournament was smooth. The same can’t be said for the Shanghai Major. The event is riddled with technical difficulties including broken mics and stream problems. Not only that but the huge delays in starting matches is quite justifiably irritable for the people sitting at their homes and trying to watch the games through live-streams, and because of difference in time zones they are having to make amends in their daily schedules to stay on track.
2GD Out Of The Shanghai Major:
Obviously, this has been causing an uproar in the community. But the nail in the coffin for the downfall of this tournament was that James ‘2GD’ Harding was let go from the hosting panel. This major was supposed to be hosted by him primarily unlike the last one which was controlled by Paul ‘ReDeYe’ Chaloner. Harding has a likeable and direct personality. He does not think twice before stating his opinion. These are the traits that keep him well liked by the community; because he’s ridiculously open about his thoughts. Regardless of the fact that he’s been in the eSports scene forever, his attitude creates a certain amount of ‘unprofessionalism’ in his shows.
Valve invited Harding to host the Shanghai Major’s english panel. During all the difficulties in production he was one of the few people keeping viewers entertained and attached to their screens. Regardless of time delays, there was this guy and his puns and witty jokes that maintained the viewer count. Unfortunately, he was let go already on the 2nd day and was replaced by Sheever. Safe to say there was an uproar after people found out about it on Twitter.
Sorry to say I won’t be returning to the Shanghai major, I was let go after that last segment. We’ll always have day 1 together. 🙁
— James Harding (@follow2GD) February 26, 2016
Regarding the Reddit thread comments, it was valves decision. before the event, I was told to be myself. 🙁
— James Harding (@follow2GD) February 26, 2016
Paul ‘ReDeYe’ Chaloner’s take on the situation,
Said it before, but it really is time for a talent union in esports.
— ReDeYe (@PaulChaloner) February 26, 2016
There are many theories as to why 2GD was let go mid-broadcast. First of all, he’s made it clear repeatedly that it was Valve’s decision and not Perfect World’s. He claims that Valve asked him to be himself before the tournament, which means he was allowed to be a humorous entertainer and host. But apparently that’s not the case. Some say Perfect World production told him to cut the segment short so they could proceed to a break, but he continued talking and ignored their instruction. Some others say it was clearly because of his unprofessional attitude while hosting the Major. In conclusion, it’s hard to say anything for sure until the man himself releases an explanation. And is likely to do that soon.
But James Harding isn’t the only one that needs to hand out an explanation. Valve and Perfect World aren’t in the brightest spot right now because of what the production has amassed to. The community is clearly in disfavour of letting Perfect World host a Major again because of all the problems that have come up in this session. We can only wait to see how Valve will proceed from this point on, as day 3 for the Shanghai Major begins in a few hours.
Gabe ‘GabeN’ Newell, the CEO of Valve himself released a ‘statement’ on the DOTA 2 sub-reddit. His post can be found here. GabeN not only states that he will not work with James again, but calls him an ass. Being a billionaire CEO of one of, if not the biggest gaming company this isn’t a reply that you’d typically expect in a situation like this. GabeN also fired the production team of KeyTV from the Major.
James is an ass, and we won’t be working with him again.
In a matter of a few hours, James posted a google doc on the sub-reddit, cleverly titled “James is an ass – By James Harding”. In his response, he points out the mess-ups by Valve, and also claims he was told to “be himself” by Icefrog, the lead developer of DOTA 2. He explains his use of dirty jokes and all the miscommunication that took place during the event. It seems like no one had direct contact with each other and Bruno, a developer and friend of 2GD was the middle-man in the whole situation. He also wrote down about his contributions to eSports and DOTA 2 specifically. He claims the talent team was not getting paid at The International 4, and were quite unhappy due to only making money by selling “signatures”, meaning that a lot of the work that they put in for the community didn’t bear any fruit for them profit wise.
A lot of his text included other little problems he had faced and his attitude at all the International championships. He also claims that he has no personal problems with Gabe Newell, and in fact has only talked to him once (at The International 2014).
James has released another, and possibly his last statement regarding this matter. He says he is very touched by the response of the community about the situation, whether they were supporting him or not. He specifically links this video that hit him right in the feels. He also responds to people claiming that he “doesn’t work on DOTA 2 enough”, saying that he does in fact a lot of work off camera which is why he isn’t seen on the main stage that often. Same can be said about The GD Studio, which James says does not need to do a lot of camera work since other studios have it covered. His works include the ‘PGL Pro-Am’ tournament which was a way to bring new teams into the competitive scene and had a prize pool of $50,000. Twitch has offered him plane tickets to America where he is likely to create some type of “casters union” and get a kickstarter running as well for GD Studio and his indie game company. Lastly, he signs off with a light-hearted note and says he will continue to work on DOTA 2.