Former professional Dota 2 player and current broadcaster Kyle Freedman has been on the front lines when it comes to keeping Valve accountable for the competitive scene as the Dota Pro Circuit continues to sit without a confirmed return date.
He continued to hold the developer’s feet to the fire when he recently appeared on the We Say Things esports podcast with Shannon “SUNSfan” Scotten and Troels “syndereN” Nielsen, saying that just helping some tournaments out with their prize pools isn’t enough.
Valve announced that it planned on supporting more tournaments in the coming months, providing Beyond the Summit with some additional funding for the upcoming Dota Summit 13 Online. But Kyle and many others in the community agree that this isn’t a solution that will help the competitive scene in the long term.
Right now, many feel that Valve holds all the cards and is only supplementing a few events to hold the scene together until the DPC can come back with its new regional league format and give a new date for The International 10. But it feels like just that, a bandaid holding the competitive scene together.
“I don’t want the scene fed fish,” Kyle said. “I want us to be able to fish. And right now, Valve owns all the boats and all the rods. They’ve got all the fish. I don’t want fish from their boat. I want to have my own boat, the Dota boat, that everybody in Dota can get on and we can go fish, sell those fish, and buy a bigger boat to get more fish.”
The analogy Kyle is referring to with his talk of fish is the old saying that if you give a man a fish, he’ll be fed for a day, but teaching him to fish will feed him for a lifetime. He’s acquainting Valve’s approach to third-party tournaments to that of supplying someone with food instead of teaching them how to get their own.
There isn’t an easy fix for this, though. Even with Valve potentially providing tournaments with monetary help, most tournaments in the Americas and Southeast Asia aren’t going to aid in sustaining teams that don’t have big sponsors.
Valve or another big name in Dota will need to try to find a solution that can help players, teams, and events continue to run without the reliance on the DPC and International. But right now, things are in a gray area.