Twitch Rivals ran a short Dota 2 event this week featuring six teams across two regions and a total prize pool of $100,000, which seems a little odd right off the bat compared to bigger tournaments with similar-sized monetary incentives.
This is not the first Twitch Dota tournament, but it became clear early on that there were a lot of aspects that were overlooked or might have been rushed due to the noted last-minute development of the event.
For Twitch Rivals events, the roster of each tournament is made up of Twitch Partners or Affiliates. In this specific instance, almost all of the competitors were top 300 Dota players who formed teams in each region.
Peter “ppd” Dager was asked to be one of the NA captains and took it upon himself to make sure as many players as possible got a chance to try and participate, but he says in the end, the tournament ended up feeling like an in-house league.
“This is kind of your group of North and South American players who are right on the fence of being professional Dota 2 players and still not making money,” ppd said. “These guys don’t get a lot of opportunities to compete for $50,000 unless there are a bunch of pro teams in the way.”
Ppd said he thinks the prize money for the event is far too high for what Twitch is trying to do at this scale. He cites his previous experience running the North American Dota Challengers League, a competition for unsponsored players with a $10,000 to $15,000 prize pool, and had hundreds of players competing.
Each captain drafted their teams, but because there were only four rosters, no one wanted to take a chance on an unknown quantity or lower-ranked player. The draft was stacked with semi-pro players, and that led to a high level of play, but it didn’t “encourage inclusivity,” according to ppd.
And while the NA side had a relatively even competition, the EU bracket was a mess. Unlike the NA event, the European tournament was split into one EU and one CIS roster, with some big streamers like AdmiralBulldog and Gorgc playing against active pros, like Iceberg and ALOHADANCE. Because there were only two teams, the entire series took just over two hours to complete and every player on the losing team walked away with $2,000 for limited work.
“I love people in Dota making money, I think it’s important and obviously it’s nice, but to me, this honestly just looks like somebody at Twitch just doesn’t know what they are doing,” ppd said. “This is wrong, straight up.”
Ppd explained that he doesn’t think this version of Twitch Rivals did much for the community, and it wasn’t doing justice to the event’s sponsors, Mountain Dew AWP Game Duel, Capital One, and Doritos.
“I would hate for [Twitch Rivals and the sponsors] to say, “Oh, Dota 2 is too complicated” or “Dota 2 is a miss,” because it doesn’t have to be that way,” ppd said. “I think if you just put a little more effort in, and a little more thought, maybe connect with someone in the community [gestures to himself] wink, wink, they can help you put on a quality show that will not only leave the viewers entertained but also keep the community engaged and grateful for the opportunities you’ve brought them.”
Hopefully, Twitch can take some of the criticism leveled against this tournament and find a good way to expand the concept and better balance the level of competition relative to the available player pool for the next Dota 2 Twitch Rivals event.