The creation of a new Dota 2 team in China may signal a seismic shift in how players and teams operate in the region.
Chinese team Newbee announced today that they would be forming a new squad to work below the main roster. The new team will play under the name Newbee Y.
Players on the team include Zhang “8gk” Hao and Zhu “CaoMei” Chao, among others. Zhu will serve as the team’s captain, with Li Guo acting as coach.
Each of the players was selected from Newbee’s developmental system and will be given the resources by Newbee necessary to compete in larger Dota 2 tournaments with a more structured environment.
The opportunity for the players is clear. Having the backing of the esports organization that represents the reigning International champions is no small thing. And we’ve seen just this sort of arrangement be successful in China.
LGD Gaming recently backed the independence of their now former farm team, CDEC Gaming. CDEC took some time to come together, but their results eventually improved to the point that they were confident in striking out on their own.
But Newbee’s goal may not be to build up a team which they can then set free. Operating a minor team also opens the opportunity to develop the talent within that team and then draw from it as players on the main roster fade out or, potentially, demand a significantly richer contract than a lesser-known player.
There is precedent for this within esports. Part of what made the StarCraft infrastructure in Korea so strong was a deep minor league system, with each team employing a full squad of players below their starting roster and coaches whose primary job was to instruct and build up those younger, less experienced players.
Outside of Korea, there is a spotty history of this methodology being applied. Various esports organizations have made the attempt, though there has been little consistency. The professional system behind League of Legends, for instance, has opened some avenues in this space, but it still has yet to penetrate the pro scenes for most other games.