Purge reflects on a massive year for Dota 2
We caught up with caster and analyst Kevin ‘Purge’ Godec to reflect on a whirlwind year for Dota 2. We talked stability, the DPC and his favourite plays from an epic year of Dota action.
There’s little doubt that the Dota 2 professional scene has undergone remarkable change this year. The introduction of the Dota Pro Circuit has changed the very mould of the professional scene. Instead of a few major events and The International stealing the limelight, there are many events – still with remarkable prize pools which feed directly into a transparent system providing invites for esports' biggest tournament come summer.
“Whenever we talk about the Dota pro scene on panels, at tournaments, I always think back to what [Alan ‘Nahaz’ Bester] said at the first panel that I was on, when I got asked that question, and what he said was, ‘The most important thing to remember is that it's better than it was last year.’” Kevin ‘Purge’ Godec tells us when we ask him to reflect on what's been a whirlwind year for the scene. “It’s very easy to jump on the negative, and in this case, the positive is definitely there,” he continues. Casting our mind back to years prior, where a few large tournaments saw the same few teams invited and The International was the be all and end all for every team, there’s little doubt that the scene has moved forward a long way.
“Valve was rightly structuring the scene around the set of five players that was on a team and not the organisation that was above them,” explains Purge. The current system indeed still has a focus on the players. Should an organisation have five players leave them, those five players can still move on to tournaments, and there’s little incentive for the orgs to stick around in the scene.
“It's also good to have organisers that can become profitable and stable because that allows them to build up their resources and be able to even give sponsorships. Even if tier-two teams aren't winning tournaments, or gaining a lot of prize money, at least it would be guaranteed a sponsor because their organisations would feel profitable. That’s definitely one of the biggest issues at the moment in the Dota scene,” explains Purge in further detail. Team stability has always and continues to be one of the biggest issues when it comes to the impressive Dota 2 scene.
This year, however, is certainly one that Godec looks back on with fondness when it comes to the big plays. With so many tournaments and competitions, it’s certainly difficult to pick one, but GESC: Indonesia is a tournament which he keeps fondly in the memory. “There were a lot of really good games that tournament,” he recalls. He also casts his mind back to one of the biggest Underlord plays of this year when Saahil ‘UNiVeRsE’ Arora provided the perfect taxi service to his team-mates when a game looked more than lost to claim victory in the most unlikely of circumstances.
“It feels like there’s been a lot more roster stability to me at least,” Godec adds. “It felt like previously a lot of teams and players would get cold feet in the lead up to TI.” He feels it hasn’t happened a lot just yet, with the buyouts and swaps thus far feeling like “natural things that were going to happen”. He does, however, think it could change when teams realise they’re going to have to go through the qualifiers regardless, so many more teams might just plummet into the Open Qualifiers as they look for the perfect roster heading towards The International.
Looking ahead though, Purge has a few ideas how Valve may change things up going in the future, just by looking at the present. “I think one issue is that there's just kind of too many games going on all the time,” explains Purge when discussing how Valve adjust the DPC heading into next year. With the transition away from two or three majors a year to upwards of eight, each tournament hasn’t quite felt like a ‘Major’ rather than just another tournament, a sentiment shared by Purge.
“So maybe they need to set some standards in terms of maybe adjusting prize pools, maybe making Majors more rare, and Minors,” he says. “Obviously next year the Minors and Majors will be more spread out.”
As we head full speed towards The International now, we face the possibility of a team defending their title. “I think this is the closest we’ve had to a repeat possibility,” explains Godec. When considering players in particular, he reserves special words for Leong ‘ddc’ Fat-meng, who he thinks has played superbly throughout the year. If The International lore dictates anything, as Purge reminds us, it’s that this year is a Chinese year and Purge has acknowledged that three or four of the teams from the region will turn up looking as strong as ever. “It's technically a China year,” he says. “But we'll see.”