The Times are a-Changin' (Giant Bomb DOTA Tournament and "thoughts")

Posted by Do_The_Manta_Ray (934 posts) -

NOTE:These are my own, personal opinions and they will be stated in a direct, unflinching fashion. If anything I say offends you, feel free to inform me of it but try and keep it constructive and on-topic. It is likely that this post will be somewhat personal, as that is after all, it's intent.

Was it quite this epic? You know what, yes, yes it was.

An Introduction

Some of you may know me as the person who yelled at you a lot during the Giant Bomb DOTA Tournament. Infact, I was the individual who initially set the tournament up, contacting folks, shouting at folks (as previously mentioned), translating time-zones and writing elongated pieces of propaganda on the official tournament page.

This here is to be a semi-accurate record of the work that went into creating the tournament sprinkled with my own thoughts and misgivings. Before anything else, I want to note that in the end, I had a great time and that I'm definitely looking forwards to hosting the next tournament, as long as it doesn't come too soon.

That Special Somebody

I'm the Juggernaut, lich.

I did a whole lot. That isn't to say that I did all of this on my own, "Cheap" aka @cheappoison was in charge of the low bracket, though he certainly isn't answerable for it. He set up many a fine google documents that allowed easier set-up of matches, as well as brackets proper that showed the fellas at home just what the current standings were. Above all, he was a good guy with a real big heart who kept us optimistic even through our most gruelling hours.

Another special mention has to go out to "Grant 'The Granary' Scott" @ajamafalous who served as the main caster of our tournament. Not only was the almost constantly available, he posed many a good questions that made me and Cheap rethink our approach to the rules and format of the sets of games. He's grown quite famous inside the community as I understand it thanks to this series of games, as well as the inhouses he hosted before where yours truly has made a name for himself.

How It All Began

This was the latest version of DOTA when we started the tournament.

Cheap and I started playing with the notion of a tournament back in late May if I recall correctly, setting up a time-frame for folks to find themselves a team and sign up. We had, at the time, heard a lot of stories that I can only properly describe as "horror stories" of how the last tournament had gone and decided, right off the bat, to enforce harsher rules and regulations, naming ourselves the sole admins for the tournament, the only ones with the authority to set up matches. This served for some really awkward dinner-dates with girlfriends, attending internet-cafes on vacation and generally, just a lot of shouting of people. Allow me to emphasise this point, A LOT of shouting at people.

But before we knew it; teams started signing up. In order to ensure that the individual bomber could participate, we almost immedietely created a sister-thread for players to find other bombers willing to create a team. Why, the winners of our low bracket resulted from said thread, so it must've been successful to a degree.

We received a lot of late-call submissions, with three teams signing up with minutes to spare after a week-long sign-up period. In the end, we unfortunately had to eliminate a few teams, though with the promise that they'd be featured in the next tournament. I regret making that promise now, I can tell you. Infact, this entire post might just be a call for help as through-out the tournament, we quickly realized that we were understaffed, 14 teams total, all vying for their "just" rewards, as well as notoriety and the heck of it. It all quickly began to grate on our nerves with one team claiming they couldn't play because 7 in the evening seemed to late for them to enjoy their baths whilst the other team was keen to start at 2 in the morning. There were wild differences in time-zone as well as attitudes, but in the end, we made it work somehow. (I shouted a lot.)

The Tournament

What every obligatory sixth team member went through.

Actually watching the games take place was something therapeutic, the suspense for whether the game would actually take place dissipating as Darkwhitehair's screechy voice filled our senses. What's worse, the sickness or the cure, I ask you? In the end, we had a couple of terrific sets of games, with incredibly original and unexpected plays featured. With TI3 coming up, there was always the nagging worry that our sets of games would come across as timid and genuinely half-hearted in comparison, but folks sure did try their hardest and boy, did they design some silly tactics as a means to succeed. Ironically, "GAF" aka "Just Gotta' Believe", the winners of this tournament was the best example of said tendancy, providing odd and incredibly entertaining games whenever they were featured. Unsuprisingly, they quickly became a fan-favourite and in the end of the tournament, took the crown undefeated throughout the entire series.

I think back on these events with a mix of feelings; what I remember foremost is the many, many discussions I had with Cheap on the games, the ways we oughta' set things up, our desperate attempts at solving a sudden cancellation. In retrospect, it seems like we bonded. Right there and then, I mainly remember being angry.

All in all, it was a good experience, one I mean to do again, on a wider scale in a more systematic fashion. That said, there certainly were trouble-makers among the bunch. Captains who suddently felt like not responding caused us grave distress, casters who'd shit-talk the people involved ranging from players to other casters, as well as just Darkwhitehair being Darkwhitehair. Heck, I recall this once instance of a homo-erotic fan-fiction featuring myself and Darkwhite appearing in the twitch-chat of one of the high bracket streams. That was probably the high-light of the entire tournament, been a long time since I laughed that hard. (They even captured our personalities.)

So, do I have a point with all of this? Not likely; there ain't much of a point to it. It's been a wild rollercoaster ride that escapes said classification only to barely evade the next. In the end, it was just my recollection on the subject.


Some time to heal seems about right.

Reality seemed to snap back into place once the tournament was over. "No extracurricular activities for you", the forum page seemed to say each time I took a look upon it in retrospect. It's weird how something that was meant to be so light-hearted impacted me in such a semi-meaningful way. All of us involved took it seriously, of that there's no doubt, but there was a purpose to our actions that had little to do with ourselves and more with our sense of the greater whole. I've had plenty of goals in my life, but almost all of them have been selfish of a form; doing well on exams and landing a good job, making the people I care for happy, becoming a person I'd be proud of. To have had a commitment to a community of folks is something very alien to me, something new. Especially as the people in this community are such a name-less mass, to have attempted to do something "for" them and suceeded felt like a very different kind of accomplishment, a humbling one at that, for in the end it's impossible to look at the tournament and think that it became a success through anything else than the good folks from Giant Bomb who watched and participated.

Sentimental as that is, it sounds right to me. Cheap and I will be back with more DOTA 2 community events in the coming months of which we'll be sure to let you guys know. Our hope is to make whatever activities we engage in bigger and grander than seen before, rope in even more folk to enjoy this great community of ours.

As a final note, I'd like to dedicate this entire tournament to Ryan Davis. He probably wouldn't have given a shit, but he meant a lot to me and the other people involved, so there you have it.

This has been a scattered collection of my recollections on the tournament, probably sprinkled with a LOT of typos. I hope you fellas enjoyed the read and won't hold the lack of screenshots against me.

- This is the Do_The_Manta_Ray, being wearily obnoxious at your school, signing out. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment, discuss and debate. Any opinions are welcome here, so feel free to express them.

#1 Posted by Ares42 (3090 posts) -

Man, this brought me back to when I tried to run a WC3 tournament all by myself several years ago. It seems so inocuous and easy to do, but you quickly realize it takes a team. In the end I too got myself through it, which seems like a miracle, but it was a few weeks of hell. Would never try it again, but it's an experience I'm glad I had. One thing you should try to remember is that you're probably your own worst critic. I know for sure I was. I watched a few games of the GB Dota tournament and it seemed all good to me, but as (one of) the only guy(s) behind the scenes you get to experience every little issue each player/match has etc. But hey, everyone's gotta start somewhere, and the more that goes wrong the more you learn.

#2 Edited by L1GHTN1N (935 posts) -

This was really cool to read, thanks for posting this!

I can't even imagine trying to set something like this up, even with the smaller number of teams in the tournament trying to set up matches with 10 different people + casters for the same time when they're across different time zones, work different schedules, have different priorities and so on sounds like a nightmare (and from reading this apparently was a bit of one).

However it seems you learned a lot about how to handle something like this and what the work load is like, which you can apply to the next one to make it even more kick-ass. I didn't watch a lot of the matches (a few in the beginning and the lower bracket finals) but out of the community tournaments I've seen this was easily the best one. Between having a tight schedule, commentary on a lot of the matches, the summaries of the matches, people getting in contact with the staff to arrange having the streams embed in the Giant Bomb chat page and setting up the match with Brad it was pretty damn amazing.

Enjoy the time away from it and looking forward to seeing what you guys do for the next one!

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