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Exclusive: DreamLeague answers critics

posted by Malystryx.GDS,
The "DreamLeague saga" has lasted almost a full 48 hours, with Team Tinker one of the teams to throw the most punches at the Swedish organisation. In an exclusive interview with the DreamLeague Project Manager, Christian "Hellspawn" Lord, we finally hear the other side of the story in the organisation's first official statement on the matter.
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It has been a rough two days for DreamLeague, with the organisation under attack for poor administrative decisions regarding Team Tinker as well as an overzealous and unfeasible qualifier schedule. The storm was triggered by a tweet from Team Tinker, which accused the DreamLeague admin of giving their team a forfeit loss despite having just told their manager they were okay to go to sleep.

The Tweet which started the storm (retweeted over 150 times)


The tweet reached the dizzy heights of fame on a thread on /r/dota2 as well as finding itself on the frontpage of LiquidDota in a piece which tried to fit together the facts known so far, including a copy of the chat log between Hellspawn and Tinker manager Chappy. Chappy also replied with a lengthy post in response to the initial Reddit thread, which you can catch up on here. Further fuel was added to the fire when Pajkatt tweeted that DreamLeague had told them they were required to use a stand-in if their opponent was using one. The community was alive to the sound of drama.

However, amidst all the drama DreamLeague have yet to make an official statement, that is until now. We sat down with Christian "Hellspawn" Lord, to go through the events of the week, and to find out the other side of the story.

*Disclaimer*: The following questions were submitted to Hellspawn via email last night, and he replied in his own time this afternoon.

Over the last couple of days all hell has broken loose on Reddit and other sites following a tweet by Team Tinker quoting one of the DreamLeague admins saying: "Nonetheless, you won't play today.You can tell your players to go to bed if they want to."dreamleague admin and then he gives a FF loss"" Bulba's Twitter) Can you tell us what happened and what DreamLeague has done to clear things up following the allegations.


DreamLeague.HellSpawn First off it should be said that we are of course very sorry for the situations that have occurred. The main reason for a lot of the confusion has been due to the very short lead time and a rushed qualifier for ASUS ROG DreamLeague Season 2. This has caused teams/players to adapt with a very short notice to be able to attend but also other leagues to help out the best they have could, DreamHack really appreciate this. It should be added that since going public with Season 2 and how to qualify into Season 2 we have been in close talks with teams, leagues etc to try to smooth it as much we have could to our ability. Therefore I have to say I get very offended and sad that parties is doing their best to stir up a shit storm, taking sentences out of context and bad mouthing our staff and organisation.

As the sentences that you are referring to has been taken out of context I will try to shed more light on the issue to the community as to what was really happening. It should be said that our admin talked with the Team Tinker management for 2,5 hours before I got involved and during that night (between Wednesday and Thursday) I talked with Team Tinkers manager for 3 hours to get all the facts straight so I could act the following day before the qualifiers were to continue (Thursday).

Getting the log of their conversation I came the following conclusion:

From what I can see Team Tinker:
a) Couldn't continue with the 5 players around 9:30 PM CEST
b) Refused to take in a stand-in

Admins gave the information:
a) This match has to be played today
b) You can use a standin
c) The qualifier day ends at 00:00 CEST
d) The match was suppose to be played 8:00 PM CEST
e) If the match is not played they will go to LB
f) Wants a confirmation that they agree on the def loss but doesn't receive one.


This conversation takes place between 9:30 PM and 9:44 PM (+50 messages back and forth) then when our Admin demands an answer and Team Tinker’s manager does not respond for 1 hour. Up to this point everything has been crystal clear and our Admin has given all the information and Team Tinker’s Manager knows the situation but refuses to respond. After this 1 hour Team Tinker’s manager came back questioning the structure of the whole qualifier. That’s when our admin writes the quoted sentence above which is taken out of the context that I have referred to above and which caused a lot of this drama.

Hellspawn at SC2 WCS Europe Finals - photo by Brita Jonsson


However, as an admin you are in charge to run the tournament, trying to assist the teams/players the best you can and do you best to find solutions to avoid conflicts and unnecessary forfeits.

Because of this the Admin, based on Team Tinkers a) and b), then tries to reschedule the match for the next day, but he also aware that it will take additional time to find a solution and that Team Tinker doesn’t have a full roster (since 1,5 hour back) and that they refuse to play with a standin there is no point for the players to stay awake.

The error that is made is that naturally the Admin is considering the match already a forfeit but if a reschedule can be made then the forfeit would be nullified. However Team Tinker’s Manager for some reason, or more likely as a result of his error, is trying to play dumb and say he didn’t understand that a forfeit has been decided, based on his team refusing the play the match. So then when the reschedule couldn’t be solved the final call of the forfeit is set which then causes this drama and reaction from Team Tinker.

Based on this during the next day we decide to change the decision of the forfeit. But there is a problem, as Team Tinker had refused to play with a standin when the match was suppose to happen and that Aftershock Gaming couldn’t reschedule as one or more of their players are traveling and they don’t know if their players will be able to play the game they of course can’t agree on playing with a standin when Team Tinker refused that from the beginning. That’s why we come up with this situational based rule that if Aftershock Gaming have their 5 original members then Team Tinker can play with their original lineup, but if Aftershock Gaming can only play with a limited team the both teams have to play on equal terms as long as the rules are in place (3 original players and maximum 2 standins).

Have you seen the chat log between Team Tinker and the admin in question. Do you think the admin acted appropriately and will he remain on the staff for upcoming matches?


DreamLeague.HellSpawnI have taken part of the chat logs to make an overall judgement of the situation. From my point of view my Admins have acted professionally but as said the situation regarding rescheduling the match could have been more strict. It should be added that players from Team Tinker has used offensive language against my staff and used ugly nicknames to me regarding my staff. Also that other team managers close to Team Tinker is first of all interfering but also is treating that if we don’t reverse our decision a “shitstorm” will arise by them on social medias is something I don’t take lightly and think is very unprofessional. However this happenings has not been affecting our ruling and decision as we don’t act upon emotions.


"Dreamleague would expect teams to spend potentially 9hrs a day, for 3-4 days, playing a qualifier for a qualifier. This was not a good sign." Chappy from Reddit. Following the issues that have arisen already, do you think the format was a bad decision?


DreamLeague.HellSpawn These qualifiers were pushed out with very short notice with has caused a lot of problems for all teams who wants to participate but have already a busy schedule and our admins have done their best to try to assist and solve the problems. However when having 64-128 teams per qualifier (4 qualifiers, one per division) it’s of course totally impossible to know how each team real life schedule and DOTA 2 schedule looks like. Each team has to make the call if they have the possibility to participate and not, of course we want the best teams to be able to participate. The qualifier for EU West is being held between 6 PM and midnight so no team has ever been asked to play for 9 hours a day. However some match ups have been agreed to play before or after the qualifier time if both teams have agreed to do so.

The DreamLeague format (click for full screen)



Will you be making any changes to the format looking ahead of Phase 2, a "2 week lan qualifier"?


DreamLeague.HellSpawn I believe that a lot of misunderstandings have been made around the Phase 2 part of ASUS ROG DreamLeague Season 2. We have closely talked with the managers of the potential Phase 2 teams (should be said the qualifiers of 2 of the regions haven’t finished). Our core ambition with ASUS ROG DreamLeague is create something for the DOTA 2 Community that can lead into growing eSports into the next step. We don’t see that we are competing with other DOTA 2 instead the ambition is to compete with LCS, WCS and the best eSports league/tournaments in Asia.

Our ambition is to reach a more professionalised scene and our belief is to do that together with teams to create something that is of high value where teams/players/organisations can take a proper leap in financial possibilities. The way to reach that is to create an entertainment of the highest level and easy access to the fans/community/viewers where the players/teams are being put in the spotlight as the rockstars they are. One way of doing that is of course to have a very professional broadcast and I think what we are creating from the Monster Energy DreamHack Studios with the best talent in the industry is the way to go.

Without a doubt we are investing the largest amount into each single broadcast in DOTA 2. Having a caster in the living room shoutcasting a match is not what will take eSports to the big arenas. Instead putting the players in a live environment where their faces, their abilities, competitiveness and greatness can be shown on camera for all the fans so that they are not just only a nickname, an ingame character and a twitter account.

It should also be added that for ASUS ROG DreamLeague Season 1, the teams in the league invoiced DreamHack for over $300,000 which is more than any other league or tournament at that time are close to (outside of TI) and even if players are players and just want to compete I think that ASUS ROG DreamLeague is one those leagues that actually changes things to the better in the DOTA 2 Community.

Team Secret like several other top flight teams are qualifying for the event through a round of 128, that seems rather peculiar. Are you just trying to give all new teams the same treatment? How were the brackets seeded?


DreamLeague.HellSpawn As ASUS ROG DreamLeague is a very exclusive league meaning few teams are actually in the league we believe that it has to have Open Qualifiers. From the Kick-off Season 6 teams were invited, these were based on the organization's strength and their involvement in the DOTA 2 scene.

At the time Team EG was extremely questioned by the community and similar drama was taken place. However I don’t think anyone doubt Team EG today. As it’s very hard to get into the league but at the same time very hard to get knocked out it’s only fair that it’s an open competition. It’s also a core philosophy of DreamHack that everybody should have the possibility to compete and take home to grand prize if they are good enough.

Regarding the seeding our admins are doing seeding to their best ability to avoid that the best teams face off early in the bracket, which is standard procedure, of course this is very subjective. I believe that Team Secret and Team Tinker were seeded 1 and 2 in the EU West qualifier.

For Season 1 we used a larger qualifying system where several open qualifiers took place per division and the best teams from the division got invited into the Final Qualifier (8 teams). That structure worked out great and had been planned to be used for Season 2 too. However do it consuming a lot of time (several weeks and not days) and that our lead time was short between the qualifiers got announced and that they had to be finished we had to change them into this 128 team DE BO3 format.

Simbaaa's tweet regarding DreamLeague qualifiers


Simbaaa (Fly) tweeted that Team Secret were still playing qualifiers at 4am. How could this situation come about? Is this down to their manager's scheduling?


DreamLeague.HellSpawnThe game between Team Secret vs hehe united was planned to be played that evening. I don’t know exactly why it was so heavily delayed. However our admins said that it was preferable but it was all up to the teams who then agreed on playing the game that night. Nothing was forced from the tournament organiser in the matter.

What would you like to say to the fans and players who believe DreamLeague has lost its credibility following these revelations?


DreamLeague.HellSpawn DreamHack are of course very sad that all these mishappens have occurred, our ambition is always to create the best tournaments/leagues in the World and we do this for the community/fans/viewers. To be able to do that we always do our best to work with the teams/players and involved community managers. I can say that my personal relationship with more or less all team owners/managers in the Western World is very good and healthy. We have over the years got to respect each other and we know that we need to work together to grow the industry so even more people can be entertained and share our passion for eSports. I don’t see that this part has changed anything.

As for players they are 100% focused on competing, they want to show their abilities to become the best which is something that I highly respect and appreciate, that’s the core of the sport. Sometimes however I can feel that even though there is an agreement and understanding with the management, the players tend to get frustrated and act irrational. If you are a competitor and you feel that you are getting mistreated and that it affects your possibility to do your job it’s very understandable that you try to act.

However the community/fans/viewers will always take the side of the players/teams they like and therefore it really hurts me on a personal level the way that players/teams use the community to put pressure on tournament/leagues and specially admins/staff that are doing their best to avoid problems/conflicts and get a proper competition running.

The way the community has attacked my staff this time is something I don’t take lightly. The way of Hate on the Internet and the way it’s getting out lashed towards certain individuals is just pure evil and disheartening. Specially when someone hasn’t done anything wrong and only done their job but is being attacked based on lies, sentences pulled out of context and when teams/players are just in for it to cause a shitstorm and drama to crack peoples mental state.

It’s disgusting to me. However that’s nothing that will be solved easily and it’s not only a problem in eSports, hopefully people can at least reflect at some point how they are treating each other on the Internet and that it’s actually real people behind the nicks.

*Disclaimer*: The interview questions were submitted to Hellspawn via email last night, and he replied in his own time this afternoon.

This article was written by uk Lawrence Phillips, joinDOTA's Editor-in-Chief.Malystryx has been in eSports since 2004 working as eSports Editor for Razer and Editor-in-Chief of SK Gaming in the past. He misses the days of Warcraft3 but makes do with the world of DOTA 2.Location: Bristol, UKFollow him on @MalystryxGDS.

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