I was going to make this my reporting debut. I planned to gather evidence, take statements, and publish my findings in full detail. But Kurtis 'Aui_2000' Ling and Jacky 'EternaLEnVy' Mao blew me out of the water.
Nobody can tell this story better than they can.
First, a statement from Charlie 'Monolith' Yang, Dota 2 manager of Team Dignitas, temporary manager of Speed Gaming, and trusted friend of many:
"Respect is earned, not given. At this point, I think the players and I are just glad that we're starting to move past this debacle. I'm incredibly thankful that the event was successful for them despite the sponsor issues and win or lose, I'm proud of them anyways. They're skilled players but what has been most impressive to me has been their conduct and solidarity through adversity. I want to thank MLG, Adam Apicella, and the fans for supporting and getting behind the players. It's been a humbling experience to see such a large community still be so tight knit and we really felt that support and closeness at MLG Columbus. Thanks to everyone that came out and tuned in."
onGamers would like to thank Ling and Mao, who have together written their experience with Marco 'Thyton' Fernandez, former Directing Manager of Speed Gaming.
I would like to preface this blog by saying that we still trust Weir (the Chinese sponsor) and that as far as we are concerned, any problems stemming from THS are due to inexperience in the scene or as a result of trusting Mark, rather than malicious intent or duplicity. I would also like to state that this blog is mainly to explain the events regarding Mark. There are a ton of people who helped us like Charlie 'Monolith' Yang, Adam Apicella, Mali, Michael 'ODEE' O'Dell, Kelly Milkies, David 'GoDz' Parker, David 'LD' Gorman, and Aaron 'Spit-wad' Stern, but I’d like to leave that for a more high spirited blog. Also, this blog is long.
I’d like to state what we intend to do with this blog upfront. First and foremost, I think we need to get this out for cathartic reasons. Secondly, we just want to be able to tell our side of the story. I think Envy and myself will do an AMA to clarify any confusion stemming from this blog. We do not want anyone to ever have to go through something similar with a manager/sponsor again.
I would also like to explain a bit about our mentality in signing with Speed Gaming. Going to China was a huge step for us. At TI3 Envy asked me if I would ever move away to play DotA and I said no because I thought I wouldn’t be able to live without my girlfriend and my friends. However, I decided that I wanted to fully commit; I wanted to become the best and win TI4 with full dedication. In addition, we make our decisions on signing as a team. If any one person did not want to go to China or do anything, then we wouldn’t do it.
I guess the best way to explain the rest of the events over the last couple of months is to just start from the beginning.
Signing with Rattlesnake.int and pre-Korea
Team Kaipi had been looking for a sponsor for a decent period of time, but we wanted to wait for the right one. Around the middle of September we were approached by Mark about becoming the international team of Rattlesnake. The offer was pretty high for a gaming team, and we managed to verify the offer by talking to some community figures about the Chinese investors, and most importantly, going to train in China was a pretty unique opportunity that we thought would greatly benefit us--at the end of the day the most important thing for us was to win TI and we thought that this gave us the best shot. We wanted to only focus on the game and the Chinese mentality of management taking care of everything while players were able to focus on play sounded perfect.
The contracts we were given were only temporary three month contracts until December 18th, so we weighed the risks and benefits. The benefits were that we had had several team talks and our consensus was that we wanted to be the best; we wanted to be completely dedicated to the game and just win everything. Furthermore, the LGD.int sponsorship was completely legit, and they went to China with what I consider even less information than us. The risks really were not that big to us (lose 3 months of sponsorship, while still practicing and playing tournaments), so we decided to sign the contract.
The sponsor’s plan was to sign a western team to participate in WPC-ACE but we specifically argued against it before signing. Had we flown to China right after TI3, we would be absorbed into the Chinese scene and become a Chinese team. We didn’t want to make the same mistake LGD.int made. What we wanted was to stay in the west and learn from the west post TI3, then fly to China and learn from them as well. We wanted to get the best of both sides.
Communication was a bit difficult because Mark’s English was not perfect, but we basically first agreed that they would send us to SLTV and if we won that we would get to go to both MLG and DH. If we didn’t win we would get to pick one. Nexon was a bit up in the air as Mark thought the tournament was two months long and we thought it was four one week tournaments--Mark actually did not really know anything about the scene. Our deal regarding the LANs was later amended to SLTV, then MLG, and only DH if DH was bigger than MLG. I think that at this point, the majority of the small conflicts were due to simple communication issues.
Our first real conflict with Mark happened three days after we made the main Skype group that we first talked in. Mark told us that we would fly directly from SLTV to MLG to DH to China and that we agreed to this. There are a few things to note about this: Starladder is in early October while MLG and DH are in late November, and we really never agreed to this. When I stated that we never agreed to going straight to China after DH, Mark replied to me with this (for clarification, he quoted something that Envy said on Skype):
[2013-09-19 3:47:23 PM] Mark:
[September 17, 2013 12:22 AM] EternaLEnVy:
So this organization will fund us on our trip to Starladder and Dream Hack?then afterwards fly us to CHina
And then when we said that Envy asking isn’t an agreement (logically, even if it was, how can Envy speak for all five of us), Mark said this:
[2013-09-19 3:53:56 PM] Mark: come on guys
[2013-09-19 3:54:03 PM] Mark: lets start using some common sence here
I think that this is where my relationship with Mark started to completely deteriorate, three days after I met him. The rest of my teammates tried much harder than me to believe in Mark, but our dealings with Mark never really improved.
There were also a bunch of small things that, while alone are insignificant, definitely did not bode well when added together. For example, Mark asked each of us for our airports three or more times. He also repeatedly asked us what the dates for tournaments were. Yes, all we had to do was type something short to him, or google things for him, but Mark was supposed to be our manager. The time zones we talked in also made it difficult because we had two North Americans and three Europeans.
I would also like to note that SingSing actually asked if Mark needed a manager to take care of us and that Mark specifically said that he was our manager and babysitter:
[2013-09-18 3:02:32 AM] Mark: I am your manager
[2013-09-18 3:02:45 AM] Mark: actually im your babysister
[2013-09-18 3:02:53 AM] Mark: ill take care of you while you are in China etc
Three weeks later...
[2013-10-09 6:31:44 AM] Sing: yo mark, do you have any need for a manager?
[2013-10-09 6:31:55 AM] Sing: a manager from one of my old teams is offering to work for us
[2013-10-09 6:38:07 AM] Mark: No for now
It was just incredibly annoying to deal with such a disorganized person. As another example, Mark told us that he would make a calendar for us. I asked Mark to make the calendar on google docs and he agreed to do it. Then when he made it, none of us could see it. Then I gave him a template and he still couldn’t make the calendar, so he tried making it on some google plus calendar thing that was impossible to find and you had to click each day to see it or something. Eventually I ended up just making the calendar for him and I kept a google doc with all our player information so I could just pull things up when asked. In addition, Mark never really watched us scrim and did not join our TeamSpeak to talk with us/listen to us practice even after we asked him to. This isn’t really part of being a manager but I think that most managers would want to know how their team is practicing and to see how their team is doing.
It actually became more confusing and stressful after we signed with the organization. Matches would constantly be scheduled at 15-16 CET which is 5-6 AM for Aui, although we consistently told Mark we can’t play at those times.
Official games would pop out of nowhere for us to play. Thank god for the joinDOTA match ticker :D. Charlie had actually been helping us post-TI3, which was amazing, until we signed with Speed. If anything had Envy remained the manager like pre-TI3, things probably would have gotten by more smoothly. Hell we may have even gotten into D2L. Our prize money from ESP Cup still hasn’t been given to us yet even though it’s been in Mark’s PayPal since Korea.
The small things continued, but bigger problems also started to appear. One of the worst things that happened was when Mark would start to flame us for losing. For example, I think that we lost a game to Empire and Mark said something along the lines of “this is why you guys didn’t get invited to the D2L.” I also want to note that I still have no idea why we weren’t invited to play in the D2L. Mark would also put unnecessary pressure on us by saying things like “if you beat Alliance we’ll get a new sponsor” or “if you beat x team with y hero this sponsor will give you all laptops.” As a note on the last quote, it sounded so ridiculous and we already didn’t trust Mark so I thought he just made a bet that we could beat a team with a hero or something. We were also really hard pressed to get information regarding Korea from Mark, but we eventually made it over there, where the problems started to get more serious.
Before we went to Korea, everyone on the team (except me) attempted to have faith in humanity and hoped that Mark would be better in person. We would literally have TeamSpeak conversations where we said “there’s no way it can actually be this bad” and we would try to blame it on communication issues.
When we first arrived in Korea we actually thought things with Mark were going to be ok. The first day seemed fine, but on the second day things did not go as smoothly. Another small incident happened where we went to the LAN cafe to try to practice a bit of Dota. We didn’t know how to log onto the computers because they were in Korean so we asked Mark if he could ask how to use them. He ignored us so Envy had to go up to the desk. Furthermore, Mark had still not paid us salary by now (he said multiple times it would be done, and he actually showed us that Weir sent us money). He stated that we could get it in PayPal, bank transfer, or in cash. For cash, which myself and bOne7 originally wanted--with Sing wanting a bank transfer and pieliedie and Envy wanting PayPal--Mark said that he didn’t have enough but could withdraw $500 a day to give to us. By the end of the event both bone and myself changed to PayPal because Mark didn’t go to the ATM to get the money. In Mark’s defense, his PayPal actually did not work in Korea for some unknown reason.
Everything still wasn’t that bad, but after we lost to Dignitas shit hit the fan. If anyone has read Mark’s post, I think it’s fairly obvious that he hates Envy and myself, and this is why. After we lost to Dignitas, we all went back to the hotel room. Envy and I shared a room with Mark so only us two talked to him after the loss. The first things he said was that G-League was thinking about rescinding our invite because we lost to Dignitas. He then proceeded to tell us that we don’t practice hard enough, that our sponsor is ridiculously disappointed in us, and that we’re a disgrace to China. Mark said that we should have scheduled scrims against the Chinese teams (I would like to note that Envy suggested this idea and personally asked Mark to help out with scheduling which he agreed).
Envy and myself told him that it was just a best-of-one. We said that it was our first LAN as a team and the first LAN at all for two of our players. But this information did not really seem to mean anything to Mark. We then told him that it wasn’t his idea to play the Chinese teams while we were in Korea, it was Envy’s and he seemed to take offense to this. We said that we practiced a lot and he’s never regularly watched us so how would he know, and he probably took even more offense to that. We concluded that talk with him basically flaming us and saying he’d set up scrims the next day--Mark said we sucked and that if we could take a game off a team like DK or iG he’d give us all $100.
So surprise, surprise, the next day we wake up and Mark is gone, so we all go to the LAN cafe and we had to ask 1437 to help us ask for scrims. So we played the entire day and we lost every single game (of course, 200 ping to Perfect World + playing at LAN cafes with giant monitors sucks), but the games were close enough that we felt pretty decent. The games actually motivated us to want to go to China a lot because all the teams we played seemed at a very high level. When we went back to the hotel that day, we saw Mark and asked him if he had scheduled any games for the next days and he said he was too busy.
There is also the comparison between Charlie (Monolith, manager of Team Dignitas) taking care of Dignitas in Korea and how Mark took care of us. In Korea, Nexon paid for everything. They paid for travel, accommodation, and even gave a food stipend. How the food stipend worked is the first day, Hwanni, the Korean organizer, told the managers to get their players to save their receipts and they would reimburse up to a certain amount per day. Unfortunately we somehow never heard that we had to save our receipts until Charlie told us on the third day. How Dignitas would do their bills is Charlie would just pay for everything then save the receipt and get reimbursed at the end and it would work perfectly. Mark was never with us so I ended up paying for a bunch of stuff and collecting receipts but we missed a few days of receipts.
After talking a bit more with Charlie, Charlie told us that Mark had given Hwanni a stack of receipts despite never being with us, so I went to talk to Hwanni. I told Hwanni everything and he said how he thought we should do it is he’d take all six of us at the end and collect receipts together so Mark couldn’t lie. After I talked to Hwanni, Mark pulled me aside later and told me that I should never talk to the tournament organizers and that Hwanni was very mad at me. Mark told me to not approach Hwanni at this event again and to only do the receipts through him.
So I listened to Mark and didn’t talk to Hwanni. Haha jk of course I went to talk to Hwanni (after conferring with Charlie and the other players). Hwanni told me that he didn’t understand why Mark would say he was mad at me, and that I was welcome to come talk to him. He then said that Mark told him that they were giving us so much (Hwanni didn’t mention the specifics other than he asked how much salary we were getting and after my answer said that that wasn’t what Mark said) when the organization had actually not given us anything yet--salary was paid to Mark to give to us, but none of us had received it yet. Oh, actually they gave us our sick ass Speed Gaming shirts.
I would like to point out in the screenshot that Mark pasted to accuse Weir of delaying our salary, Weir was late by four days. The first person to receive salary was myself on November 8. Envy still has not received his salary from the first month from Mark ($1,000). I would also like to say that on November 18, Weir paid us our combined $5,000 right on time.
After this talk, Envy and my relationship with Mark was pretty much completely ruined. Right before we left our hotel to play our second day matches, Mark called us all one by one to talk to him. In these personal talks the first thing that Mark said to me was that he was not our manager, he was the CEO and he was too busy/important to manage us. He then asked about 5 questions that were along the lines of “who do you think is the weakest on the team” or “if the team replaced a member would you stay” etc. Of course the entire team answered no/no answer -- except sing who thought the question meant if we ourselves chose to change rosters, would we stay with the organization. Sing mimimimi irl etc. As I write this, I’m really realizing how much Mark likes doing things right before players have to play games.
Mark looked surprisingly sad after we won versus Dignitas on day 2, there wasn’t any congratulations or anything.
I would also like to say that at least three of the days in Korea I went to sleep and woke up and Mark wasn’t there during either of those times. I have no real proof of where he went during this time so I don’t want to publicly speculate.
Korea was overall probably one of the best experiences of my life (and presumably for my team as bOne7’s name was “<3 Korea” for a pretty long duration after the trip). I cannot overstate how amazing Nexon and Hwanni made the event (I had heard Hwanni was super boss from Starcraft 2, but I didn’t understand how true that was until I met him). Unfortunately, this good experience was in spite of Mark. Thank god for Charlie and Hwanni pretty much sums up a lot of why Korea was so enjoyable for me.
Our already deteriorated relationship only worsened after we got back from Korea. We lost our first game back against empire without bOne7 who had to take a train to apply for his visa.
[2013-11-09 5:40:55 PM] Mark: lost vs empire?
[2013-11-09 5:54:05 PM] kurtis.ling: yup
[2013-11-09 6:14:51 PM] Mark: well please practice hard tomorrow and have a good rest to qualify for G League coz that is really important
[1:25:06 AM] Mark: just finished a long meeting with weir and paul and there are few points that i must put clear. You guys must win the qualifiers for the G League and place top 3 at the MLG there shouldn't be any excuse to make it happen since we got the time and everything needed to make it happen this are the 2 things you should be focusing in this month
[1:25:54 AM] Mark: then regarding your visas I will be emailing you by Monday/Tuesday both versions English and Chinese which you will take with you to the Chinse embassy of your own country and apply for L visa 1 year multientry
Mark also stated to us that we were to buy our own plane tickets for MLG and that we would only be given the rest of our salary when we landed in China. Mark also told us to lie on our visa applications for China and apply for a tourist visa instead of the original F visa that he promised. I believe it was around this time that we had a TeamSpeak conversation (of course we had to give Mark the TS info again). In this conversation Mark essentially said that we were contracted to finish top three in something like MLG and if we didn’t we would be in breach of point 3.3 which stipulated that players had to play to the best of their ability.
Mark insinuated that we weren’t trying hard enough at DotA; he implied that we were purposefully not trying to win DotA games. I would like to say that I took a step back here and just laughed at the fact that Envy got called out for not trying hard enough (our team is actually made of five of the most tryhard people in DotA) but at the time I was actually stunned.
It felt absolutely absurd that someone could ever say something like that. During this call I actually tried to argue with Mark--something that we had talked about as a team to try to avoid--and Envy had to repeatedly poke me on TeamSpeak to stop and just ignore him. I actually asked about the fact that we had no information for our visa applications in this call and he responded by saying that he gave us enough information--he told us that we were going to stay in Hangzhou! I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to give a sarcastic reply like “grats” that much in my life but ee-sama poked me on TS to hold it in. I think Envy took a much more mature approach than me here--Envy had already decided that Mark was impossible to deal with, and he just wanted to maintain minimal relations with Mark so Weir could at least try to get his computers back.
We decided after this conversation that there was no way we would ever go to China with Mark. So we told him that we didn’t want to go to China on TeamSpeak. We then talked after Mark left TS a bit more and decided that since we still thought that the chance that the sponsor was legit and that everything bad was just Mark was pretty high, we decided to message Mark and tell him our real reason: that we just didn’t want to go to China with him or deal with him. This was his reply:
Immediately after our TeamSpeak conversation, Mark messaged every single tournament that we were in and tried to get us removed from the tournament and went into negotiations with another DotA2 team. We were messaged by BTS, ZeroGravity, MLGAdam, etc. about how he is a nut case all on the same day. Apparently he would get us banned from all Chinese tournaments as well.
Up until this time, our entire team was under the impression that the sponsors did not speak English, and that Mark was our only way to contact them. I don’t really remember whether he explicitly said that or whether he simply omitted that information, but after the events with Mark we were ready to try to directly contact the sponsor. We managed to elicit help from Mali, who surprised us by stating that Weir spoke English and who was also able to give us Weir’s QQ. As a side note, I tried installing the Chinese version of QQ and started watching YouTube videos to try to learn how before Mali told me that there was an international version :(.
When Envy and myself approached Weir, we were scared. We thought that the investor was still legit and that Mark was the only shady one, but there is of course the possibility that both were just bad people. Envy and myself were on TeamSpeak together while we talked to Weir and that fear pretty quickly turned into astonishment and laughter. Weir, who we thought hated us and was ashamed of us, said he really liked us and that we were his favourite western team. He would say hi to us with lines like “hey bro” (his slightly broken English just made these greetings amazing to us) and just overall made our situation seem so much better to us. For example Weir said “I’m very like you guys, and I love dota2, u guys are my favorite” to us on QQ. The disparity between what Weir said and what we expected from what Mark said was just too amazing for us--I don’t think I had heard Envy laugh that hard in relief in a long time.
We discussed a lot of things with Weir and I think we came to the conclusion that we would not ever have to deal with Mark again. Weir wanted to still keep Mark around because apparently he had invested $15,000 in a USA team house and computers. Mark was pretty much Weir’s only Western contact and because of language barriers--Weir speaks ok English but communication is definitely still strained--it was pretty hard to explain exactly what Mark had done. Not to mention verifying our claims validity would also be difficult and it was still sort of our word against Mark’s word.
We thought we were done dealing with Mark when he said this in our Skype group:
I don’t really want to name who puked and passed out but it was after all the tournament games were done on the last night in Korea. Please note that Mark has claimed multiple times to have been too busy to manage us in Korea.
Anyways, Mark still scheduled his own Netolic pro league game against VP for us. At 15 CET. When I asked about this Mark states that it should be fine for me because I’m an East coast player and it’s only 9 AM for me. I live on the west coast.
He then states that we should have checked the google docs calendar. So I check the calendar and it says 15 CET there :(. And then I check the google revision history and it states the edit time as the same time that he told me to check the calendar.
At this point, I was already pretty much done with Mark, so I called him out on it. After I provided evidence that he lied, Mark switched his story and played the blame game. Mark stated that it was the captain’s responsibility and therefore Envy’s fault because he was in the Netolic group chat when the schedule change was announced. Well first of all, Envy isn’t even the captain and furthermore, that doesn't even make sense? Mark had just brought in his friend Kyle to manage us and he didn’t even manage to confirm the times of his own tournament. I’m pretty sure that is his job on the Netolic side even if he’s our ultra important CEO and not our manager. Ultimately, the conversation ended with this:
Envy is ixmike etc.
Our next conversation with Mark was this email, which he kindly already posted (I’m really not sure why tbh):
Please take note in this email that Mark states that he will not be going to MLG Columbus. Also he says that publicizing anything will be a breach of contract. A breach of our now public contracts.
About a week or so before MLG, Adam Apicella contacted me saying that our flights and hotel had not been properly booked (I was under the impression that Weir was still getting Mark to do this. Yes, it was stupid to assume it would be done correctly.
MLG managed to pull us out of the fire and increased the normal stipend they give teams by a huge amount to book three flights for us and a hotel. Weir was to take care of the flights for our European players. In retrospect, this was incredibly dumb because Weir’s only English DotA contact as far as I know was Mark. So despite MLG pulling out all the stops to save us, our Europeans managed to get the worst plane tickets possible bought for them--they had tickets under standby status or something. I’m also pretty sure that Mark talked to Adam with an incredible amount of disrespect because Adam was definitely not happy with Mark when he talked with me to try to arrange flights.
Adam real life super hero’d for us to get to the event. I’d like to just state again that MLGAdam is a hero. And again--MLGAdam is a hero.
Somewhere around this time, we had also told Weir that we needed a manager for MLG. We did not trust whoever Mark picked to send. We managed get Charlie, my ex-manager from Dignitas (he’s 2/2 for Dota2 MLGs with a 100% competitive playing win rate guys). You know who else is a hero other than MLGAdam? It’s definitely Charlie. We actually needed to have two real life super heroes to make our MLG win possible (if Envy was writing this I’m pretty sure he’d have an anime story ready here).
Well anyways, things seemed to be going a lot better for a bit after procuring Charlie as a temp manager for MLG. And then our contracts were put online. Holy crap.
Mark stated a couple things about putting our contracts online. The first is that he was authorized and the second is on GosuGamers comments where he said he apologized to the players--he was too busy with his full time real life job and his girlfriend and he has to run SpeedGaming and Netolic and omfg much busy and play a significant amount of Dota games a day around that time (haha what????). He literally couldn’t take 5 seconds to ask us?
Furthermore, his permission from Weir as far as I know was “Hey Weir look at this long blog by a famous DotA player Loda in that language you aren’t the best at reading, do you think we can respond to it?” and Weir said sure because he didn’t read the Loda blog carefully enough. And when he said he apologized to the players I think he typo’d forgot the word “not” in “did not apologize.”
Honestly, I don’t think I was nearly as mad as I should have been, because if he had asked me beforehand, I think I would have agreed to release some parts (probably not all) of the contract to the public. I somehow just still felt violated that he would take such actions without even bothering to ask, state it was his right to do so when asked on Skype, and then lie about apologizing to us to the public.
Well anyways, contract stuff from Mark aside, things were still going relatively well, but then Mark sent us this email:
Mark already said he wasn’t going to the event and in the previously mentioned email he states that he was going to send Kyle. However, Mark makes Kyle his spokesperson for dealing with us on Skype (we aren’t allowed to message Mark other than emails) and Kyle basically states that Charlie will not be allowed to represent the company or us in any way at MLG. Kyle also tells us that if we want better communication we need to give the same in return which I thought was pretty funny. Kyle also states this:
[2013-11-20 11:09:46 AM] Kyle "Ever" Canary: I was informed too last minute. Mark is attending from the look.
[2013-11-20 11:10:08 AM] Kyle "Ever" Canary: Why no one would ask me sooner is yea.. Can't approve time off 1.5weeks in advance
Yeah, about that sending Kyle to MLG to manage us thing from Mark.
I would like to note that I have no clue what role Kyle (ever) actually played in this. He may just be completely innocent but employed by Mark.
Anyways despite our first instinct to listen to Mark due to our age-difference inspired respect for him, we had to struggle to straight up ignore him and go to MLG with Charlie :(
As a reminder, I mainly intend for this blog to be regarding the events surrounding Mark. However, I would like to say that MLG Columbus was the best tournament that I have attended outside of TI3 and it’s a pretty close call there, too. I’d also like to say that Charlie and Adam are heroes again.
The only ways that Mark really affected our MLG experience was through two things, albeit relatively significant.
The first was tournament losing, where he gave our Europeans the worst flights possible. I’d like to think this contributed to our 0-3 performance on day 1 (of course there were a bunch of things other than this but I love making excuses :D). The second was that he posted his stupid blog right before the finals. It’s actually impossible to not read that when you don’t know at all how it could affect you. I’m pretty sure we all looked at it before the finals started because curiosity probably would have affected our play more. I know I even looked at it between games 2 and 3 because I’m an eediot. While writing this blog Envy pointed out that it actually probably made us play better because we became so much more relaxed--none of us really took Mark seriously at all by this point; Envy even immediately thought that the post was going to be great for us.
Oh and you know that “Rest assured that the team was informed of what was happening earlier and this was not a surprise to them” from Mark’s response to Rattlesnake thing just tells everyone that apparently he was messaging us on Skype about the problems between him and Weir during the tournament. Thank god I chose to just completely ignore anything Mark posted into any Skype group.
Well anyways, the tournament magically went as close as you can get to perfect for us so I guess sticks and stones blah blah blah.
I know this is a really long blog, but I don’t think I’m nearly articulate enough to give a good tl;dr.
I know that some people might think that this blog is just childish drama, and they’re correct. But there are some things that, in our opinion, need to get out there. In an industry growing as quick as esports, there are always people that may try to take advantage of the growth and we need to be careful with something as big as DotA. There have been a lot of teams that have been taken advantage of heavily by organizations, but they have kept it inside in order to avoid drama.
I do think that I learned a lot from this experience. I think the most important thing I can take away is that I really learned about some of the amazing people in this industry. For example, I didn’t really get around to mentioning it, but Odee offered to send us to MLG if Speed Gaming did not live up to their promises on little to no notice. Odee also told me that if anything went badly I could approach him at any time and even checked up on us to confirm whether the sponsor was paying us properly. Examples of these good people around esports were completely understated in this blog but they’re really what got us through this experience.
A special thanks goes to Charlie, MLGAdam, Mali, Odee, Kelly, GoDz, LD, Spit-wad, and just the outpour of fans and friends who reached out to support us.