Shanghai is currently hosting one of the four annual Dota 2 Major tournaments with a prize pool of $3,000,000 USD. Unfortunately a lot of the focus of the tournament hasn’t been on the games between these top-tier teams, instead it has been on the production and hosting of the event.
Valve had chosen James “2GD” Harding to be the host of the event and appeared to be doing a reasonable job in the face of big game delays and other production issues to keep the viewers of the tournament entertained. Things seemed fine initially, however after the first day he announced on twitter that he would no longer be the host of the tournament and had been dismissed by Valve. There seemed to be a fairly big outcry in the community especially on reddit with numerous threads being created in support of James. In the face of this support for James, Gabe Newell (CEO of Valve) took the very unusual step of making an announcement on reddit, saying it was a mistake hiring James and he was quote, “an ass” and they would not work with him again. In this announcement Gabe also said they would be firing KeyTV, the production company that had been working on the Shanghai Major, in the face of all the issues that had been occurring. From the viewpoint of Valve examples like this from James, might be the reason they have fired him … saying they were being police-monitored and outbursts including, dropping a C-bomb and some more unprofessional statements.
James released a 17 page statement a day after the comments from Gabe fittingly titled “James is an ass – By James Harding”. James makes some interesting claims in this statement such as:
- James was told to be himself by a Valve employee (which seems to be the reason he was fired)
- James was fired by his friend Bruno
- Initially at The International 2, no talent except James was getting paid until he managed to convince Valve to pay everyone
- A Valve employee “Ali” seems to hate James and has had many interactions with him.
Valve has not yet responded to James’ statement and may be focusing more on how to try to turn around the Shanghai event so the focus is on the game-play itself. It is unfortunate that this drama has surrounded this event so far, especially after the success of the Frankfurt Major.
One day remains for the group stages with teams Evil Geniuses, compLexity Gaming, Virtus.Pro and Team Liquid battling it out to see which two teams will advance to the upper bracket and which teams will be going to the lower bracket. You can watch the event from the Dota 2 client, via Steam Broadcasting, or on Twitch and the full schedule can be viewed here.
The only real surprise of the Major so far has been MVP Phoenix taking top spot of Group A without dropping a game to highly rated teams EHOME and Team Secret. Could this be the rise of Korea in the Dota 2 scene? If so it may help try and remove the bitter taste of the all the drama that has occurred so far.