The debate has long raged over whether Renegades inclusion in the FACEIT Asia Minor is a good or bad thing, and with the ‘Australian’ squad just having triumphed at the very same competition, and booked themselves a place at the Major in London, it seems like the moment to revisit the topic.
For us, at least, it is a situation Valve, Asian teams and Renegades should all be looking to get out of, as it hurts all three in different ways. And here’s how...
For a company that doesn’t really make a lot of titles, Valve seem very unconcerned about the lack of casual interest in CSGO, and how poorly it performs in certain key esports areas. The release of the game in China was a good move toward making it a serious option in that part of the world, but with the game still not free-to-play and so many competitors already established in that part of the world, their challenge is obvious, and their journey uphill.
If Valve were serious about reaching that new audience, the advent of F2P CSGO would be a massive boost, and also increase the odds of CSGO becoming a larger part of PC Bang culture in Korea, a traditional home of esports. By allowing Renegades to dominate the ‘Asian’ Minor though, they instead deny young Asian fans a chance to watch their heroes at a Major, in favour of another western team that adds no more value than five bodies to be cleared.
Tyloo, BOOT and many others are today’s heroes, and Valve need to realise that the only way they will have real successors is if the game is nurtured in Asia. It would be amazing for the likes of BnTeT and other top Asian players to move to Europe or NA, but terrible for the scene they leave behind. How could you blame them though, when the cards are currently so stacked against them, and only one Asian team going to the Major with two spots promised? Also, having the ‘Asian’ minor in London seems a very odd decision for a company that has ambitions of increasing their stake in Asian gaming, but that hurts everyone, not just some teams.
If you are an Asian team, knowing you have to fly all the way to London just for a chance to play in the Major, you might be a little bit peeved. You might even question when an event held in the capital of England is called the ‘Asian’ anything, and then on top of all of that you realise you have to beat a team of Australians, supplemented with a bit of American talent and venture capital.
With that in mind, and the popularity of League of Legends, Dota 2, Overwatch and many other games in Asia, you might think twice about playing CSGO at a high level at all. When you add on the fact that all the events we consider to ‘matter’ happen in the west, and any strong Asian performance in a competition in their neck of the woods is written off as being due to other teams having jetlag, it seems a thankless task if you’re an aspiring face-clicker from Asia.
As we said, players in Asia also have a lot of role models in other games, be they Overwatch, League, Dota or something more niche, and they are only seeing one, rather than two Asian team make it out of the Asian qualifier for the Major. On all levels, the players from there are made to go further for less, and that is bad in the short and long-term for the game in that region.
We must admit at this point that we care least about the fate of RNG in this article. While the players involved are all talented, and we’d love to see CSGO rise in Australia, as a region it’s not really being represented by RNG anyway. For those not aware, the team was originally a Miami franchise ‘owned’ by Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles, and acquired by another NBA player from Monte in 2016. Very Aussie, eh?
There is a decent argument to say nobody benefits from RNG being in the Asian Minor long-term
The problem with taking this seemingly easier path to the Major, rather than entering the more competitive North American qualifiers, is that it only benefits the money men, and only really in the short term. Sure, you get some sticker money, although not a lot as much as you’d like with the team not exactly having a massive fanbase, or doing that well, but long term you are throwing away a chance to compete with better teams, at a better level, and increase your own level, something so many RNG players are apparently keen on.
The problem is that for the players, that decision might mean giving up their chance to ever play at a Major, as they may not be good enough to make it to the event in a different system. On the other hand, right now North America is a mess, with Cloud 9 trying to buy their way to the bottom and Liquid looking about as solid as you’d expect from a team of that name, so the fear they might feel is probably not even justified.
So, there is a decent argument to say nobody benefits from RNG being in the Asian Minor long-term, and even the short term benefits are negligible, but the problem can only be solved by Valve. RNG cannot really be blamed for taking the free money, and Asian players have no ability to influence Gabe and his goons on their future moves. In the meantime, we are left with the Asian Minor, held in London, being won by an American org that happens to have three Aussie players on the books, which should make sense to nobody.
Picture: Renegades / Twitter