Valve faces community backlash following 2022 Dota Pro Circuit Winter Tour Major cancellation

The entire community is tired of the lack of communication.

Photo via Valve

Valve has taken a lot of heat from its games’ competitive scenes in the past, but things seem to be very contentious within the Dota community after Valve canceled the 2022 Dota Pro Circuit Winter Tour Major due to health concerns and travel restrictions in relation to COVID-19.

Over the last 24 hours since Valve quietly announced the Major’s cancelation via a blog post, pro players, broadcast talent, content creators, and fans have all spoken out against the decision. 

The Winter Tour Major, which would have had a prize pool of $500,000 and brought together the top teams from the six regions featured in the DPC, was canceled with very little fanfare, no announcement on any of the official Dota social media pages, and very little communication communication with the organizations, teams, and players competing in the ongoing regional leagues. 

According to several sources, including current Evil Geniuses Dota manager Peter Anders, Valve had a direct meeting with all of the teams present at The International 10, asking them to no longer go public with complaints and instead contact Valve directly.

Anders mentioned the manager for PuckChamp, a team holding the second-place ranking in Eastern Europe’s regional league, has been trying to contact Valve about information for weeks. The team needed information about the Major quickly due to the roster having players located in the currently politically volatile Kazakhstan, which could have led to travel complications. Anders notes that he did not receive a response before the Major was canceled. 

Valve has also reportedly informed teams the company made very little profit off of TI events and that speaking out against the way the DPC is being handled could make “Valve less motivated to keep running TI.” 

“Valve openly think that pro players/pro teams/orgs don’t add any value to their product. That the reason people watch pro Dota is only because of their game and nothing else,” Quincy Crew player Maurice “KheZu” Gutmann said. “Their actions reflects this way of thinking entirely. They don’t give a fuck about their alleged ‘partners.’”

KheZu’s sentiment was echoed by dozens of other players and talent, with several openly questioning if there was going to be a feasible way for them to continue working in the Dota scene should something like this continue. Some players, like KheZu’s teammate and one of the game’s best midlaners Quinn Callahan, were even contemplating retirement because of how powerless and disrespected they felt.  

Valve responded to the community backlash, admitting it is the company’s fault for not providing a clear line of communication to the fans, players, and organizations. 

“We should have done a better job of keeping you all in the loop about the risks of the event, and we also should have been more willing to take a different approach earlier to find a way to conclude the first season,” Valve said. “We apologize for this.” 

Along with this apology, Valve also confirmed it is working on plans for a secondary LAN event to replace the Major and bring the season to a proper end. 

No official details about that event were shared, but Valve confirmed there would be constraints on how such an event could be run due to the travel restrictions and health concerns. Preliminary conversations surrounding community-run events have also been brought up, but we likely won’t hear more until Valve finalizes its new plans for the DPC.