Valve's treatment of Evil Geniuses raises questions
Qualification for Dota 2 Majors is as important as anything in the professional scene, with those events being the pathway to a place at The International and potential esports immortality, but the disparity in regional strength is causing some issues with the integrity of the qualification system. From the outside at least, it looks as though some teams are being given preferential treatment, with North American orgs allowed to get away with things other cannot.
The example in this case is Evil Geniuses, three fifths of whom flew to North America for their Major qualifiers, having spent their last two boot camps in China and Europe respectively. The reason for their inhabiting EU or CN more regularly than their given region is simple, the quality of play is leagues higher, and for a team with Major, or even TI-winning aspirations that is key for good practice, as well as the fact that only 40% of the team is actually from NA. However, it does then beg the question as to why they are allowed to compete in NA, and why the same standards are not applied elsewhere.
A recent example of the disparity in treatment would be paiN X, who were disqualified from the South American qualifier for the Chongqing Major, with Valve claiming the logic behind it was aimed at protecting the standard of play. We’ve linked the entire post here, and the most obviously related part is copied below, to demonstrate how spurious it is to suggest you are allowing EG to travel, but care about protecting the standard of play in X or Y region.
The reasons for guaranteed spots for each region is because we want to help nurture competitive growth in different regions, as well as have regional representation for fans around the world.
If South American Dota 2 is worth protecting, it does make you wonder what the players in North America did to generate such contempt from Valve, and fan reaction has been muted due to EG’s popularity. A thread on reddit did attempt to draw attention to the problem, as has happened before, but in reality this is not the first time Valve have failed to apply the rules consistently, even this season, and they are famously unwilling to engage with esports fans earnestly and honestly.
The reasoning behind the move has not been made public, but it smacks of favouritism toward bigger teams, and inconsistent treatment also creates an amateurish, untrustworthy image for Dota on the wider level. CSGO fans have been enjoying the increased engagement Valve have made with their game, but perhaps should be careful what they wish for after this latest ruling, or lack of, from the esports overlords.