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Careers biting the dust and re-normalization – ESH Weekly

 

Before we jump into the weekly, we’d like to mention we will be plugging our weekly podcast into the mix.  The official topic of this week is Trial by Twitter.  Please enjoy.

DOTA 2

Unfortunately, we missed last week’s ESH Weekly, and for that we are extremely apologetic. Sometimes real life does get in the way of work. *sic* To summarize few of the key events in the last ten days or so, we’ve had a few voluntary retirements in esports as a whole.

Veteran host Paul “Redeye” Chaloner stepped down from his position as the Managing Director of Code Red Esports as well as left the esports scene entirely, owing to misconduct and abuse of power allegations as well as coming close to committing suicide

Toby “TobiWan” Dawson issued a so-called non-apology apology statement that made him look like he wasn’t apologetic at all for what he had done in the past and that allegedly his personal history was being stripped of all context and “fictionalized”. Oh, to add to it, he ceases to have any public image whatsoever in esports aka retirement. Another one bites the dust!

Editor’s note: There have been other false allegations levied against personalities all across esports which have been determined as cases taken out of context.

 Dota 2’s The International 10 is close to $28,000,000 in prize-money, with only Treasure 1, Collector’s Cache and the now expired Battle Pass bundle. Considering other treasures release pending, it won’t be surprising if the previous year’s record is broken, yet again.

After a long long time, a new patch update has been finally released and has once again made things exciting around the Dota 2 scene. Without going into details, you can check the updates here itself.

That’s pretty much it for Dota 2 this time around since there’s dearth in tournaments at the moment, however, viewers will have a lot to watch in the coming days as soon as OGA DOTAPIT S2 begins its EU/CIS and Americas contest July 16 onwards. Other ongoing tournaments can be found here.

 

Valorant:

1.03 Patch update went live with a lot of modifications on Valorant. The purpose of this update is to address plenty of problems and to improve the map and the features. Devs added the Twin Hunter as a new orb in spike rush.

Two wolves, that will then search and strike two rivals, are released by capturing this orb.   Devs patched the problem to keep Cypher ‘s door traps from functioning. In addition, other bugs were fixed to improve the game’s quality of life. Read the complete patch notes here

Unlike with several other skin lines of Valorant, the latest skins of Elderflame are modified with different forms and can be unlocked by players. Because these skins are the most detailed and intricate in the series, it is no wonder that there are also several very substantial updates, which involve new graphics, sound effects, and finishers.

The dragon can air fire and play a part while reloading. These skins are the first skin of the game “Ultra-Edition.” The skins appear to be eligible for arms and a knife from the truck. The new skins are not accessible at a reasonable price. The Skins of Elderflame are $100 for the entire package. The release of this weapon-skin roared a wave of Twitter comments, especially for its unreasonable high price.

 

League of Legends

The LCS had some strange happenings as Dignitas subbed in their Academy players Dardoch into the jungle and Fenix in mid lane. The team looked in great disarray and there seems to be little hope from the community that they will be able to reign things in as the race for playoffs approaches.

As many have repeated, Team Liquid look like the worst.

 

Editor’s Take

 

If nothing else, it’s safe to say the past two weeks have been disappointing—primarily learning of the incapability of professionals to keep their hands off people, especially minors. Love is nuanced and morality is complicated, but there’s certain behaviors that should be ingrained into each decent human being.

We must all do our best not just to do better for ourselves, but to call out poor behavior where we see it.  Gone are the days where I could boast of my industry’s unique, wholesome inclusivity and barrier of entry to family and other outsiders.  But I’d rather lift the veil and fix things than live a lie, so let’s do our best.

Not all is doom & gloom, though.  We were able to catch up with my good friend and (now) industry reporting veteran Jacob Wolf, which you can check out here


Visit other sections of our website to keep tabs on news!

G2 Ardiis: “This G2 team that is being built would easily win any matchups against the best NA teams.”


With breakout performances on the dominant European team, fish123, Ardis “ardiis” Svarenieks positioned himself near the top of the early European VALORANT space as a strong Operator. However, those talents wouldn’t go unnoticed as G2 Esports would sign him alongside a smattering of other talented prospects including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) veterans, Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas Colocho, Patryk “paTiTek” Fabrowski, Jacob “pyth” Mourujärvi. Esports Heaven spoke with Ardiis about his views on North American VALORANT, if the metagame is shifting away from Sage, and the upcoming Vitality European Open.


Obviously, the team is still being built, but could you describe some of the early dynamics in the team? What are some of the more social roles each member fills? 

Obviously it’s early so it may change in the future, but having strong characters on your team such as Oscar is very beneficial as the wealth of experience he brings is uncanny. [He] forces people to have the correct attitude when playing and practicing. Patryk is just a very positive guy who also has a crazy amount of raw skill, which he will be showing to the world soon. I know this guy will be among the top 10 in the world for a long time. Jacob is just our most passive player, I believe, and is incredible in the clutch rounds. The experience he brings will be vital to our success. As for me, I want to build a reputation and be known as a ‘bad man’. I’d lift up my balaclava and say “’It’s me, Ardis; what are you gonna do about it?”

Let’s talk about the Vitality European Open. How do you feel going into the event? Does the team feel confident? 

Yeah of course. As a team, we’re super confident we can go on to win anything we enter, including the Vitality European Open. I believe we have the strongest roster on the planet now. Although there are some other good teams in the tournament, I’m confident we are the best. Carlos handed the team selection over to Mixwell and he has truly built a 730, a workhorse, of a team.

You tapped FABRIKEN and ROYALS as teams to watch in the European scene. What do you think that sets them apart? Are you looking forward to facing them now on G2?

Yeah, I touted them to be up-and-comers. I can see them rattling the cage, proper rattling the cage of the bigger teams in Europe. I think the biggest advantage that both of these teams have is that they have CS:GO backgrounds which helps massively transitioning to VALORANT. The only player I’ve seen without a background make an impact is Zypan. In regards to facing them, I think its gonna be like a Jack Russell snapping at the heels of a rottweiler. I simply don’t believe they have the fire, the will, to crush their enemy.

It’s difficult to say when a global LAN event could happen for VALORANT due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in the back of your mind, Is there an itch to play against North American teams? 

I wouldn’t call it an itch, I’d say it’s more of a desire to play against these NA teams. The competitive scene over there has had a lot more activity, in terms of tournaments, in the early stages of VALORANT and there are some top players that I’d like to compete against, such as Wardell, Brax, and TenZ.

With that in mind, how do you think Europe, as a region, stacks up against North America? 

I can see the European scene dominating VALORANT, similar to other esports scenes such as CS:GO. This G2 team that is being built would easily win any matchups against the best NA teams.  I hope there is a LAN event soon after this COVID-19 pandemic ends so we can truly see who the best team in the world is. I’m excited to win our first LAN tournament and let out a primeval roar of victory in front of the G2 Army.

Now that Ascent has been in the map rotation for a while, how do you feel about each map? Is there anything you’d change or an aspect you don’t particularly enjoy?

The new map is nice and has changed up the rotation a little. My only concern with Ascent has got to be the mid area. I mean the enemy team doesn’t come knocking with ludos and tiddlywinks, they have 2 operators and a few vandals at hand, you on it? So it’s proper heavy trying to take mid control but I don’t think it’s any cause for change.

We’re starting to see a handful of teams stay away from Sage as a pick. What are your thoughts on this? Is that something you’re also seeing in Europe? 

I appreciate having one on your team. Personally I don’t enjoy playing Sage because every fiber, every ounce of my warrior being is called out to attack and wreak havoc. I feel Sage is a solid pick for this current meta, but I’d love to see Riot introduce more supportive agents that can rival Sage. I feel teams in Europe are starting to experiment new lineups without Sage by using breach and other supportive agents which has given them some success but for how long this will last I’m not sure.


If you enjoyed this interview, follow the author on Twitter at @Volamel.

Check out our VALORANT section for more content.

Images courtesy of Riot Games and G2 Esports.

Jacob, Rise of the Wolf

 

feature written format done by kary, Interview by Drexxin

The journalism industry is a bubble of huge magnitude and standing out is relatively the most difficult accomplishment — a dream only a few have been able to achieve. Such is the story of Jacob Wolf — reporter extraordinaire. Today, we take a look at Jacob’s journey in esports.

Many are unfamiliar and are quite often confused while trying to decode Jacob’s age. A reporter of his caliber, publishing breaking news across different game titles such as Overwatch League and Call of Duty, breaking roster moves and franchise news in North American and European League of Legends, to breaking some of the most confounding scandals in the space — one can definitely assume that he must be a veteran — but don’t let it fool you. Jacob’s been in this industry for around six years and has established himself amongst the elite at a young age of 23.

He started writing at 17 while studying Computer Information Systems after graduating high school early. Initially aspiring to be a feature writer or analyst, akin to the likes of Kelsey Moser, Emily Rand, etc, Jacob was quickly drawn to reporting — a job that has its own unique set of pressures wherein trust and credibility are factored in heavily — and slowly expanded to appearing on four different talk shows on ESPN, per week, including his own, “The Eco”, a weekly Counter Strike: Global Offensive show.

Jacob mentions, Reporting is hard — it’s hard to build trust with people when you’re new to something, much less when you’re super young and there are people much older and much more successful doing this than you.” His aim was clear; never degrade a fellow reporter to get an advantage, and beat them by outworking them.

One must be thinking that being successful at such a young age is lucky? Perhaps, but being successful this young comes with its own set of challenges. Jacob is quick to add, “Part of being young is being really impatient, which has been both an advantage and a disadvantage for me.” An advantage because at a young age a person, in pursuit of something, is able to grind out his/her work in an increased capacity without risking as much burnout as someone older. The big disadvantage, however, is learning to adapt to a corporate system like ESPN where one has to go through many layers to start working on projects. As Jacob further states, “There’s a very glacial process to get big ideas done, although when they’re complete, they’re very good.”

Jacob Wolf joined ESPN in 2016

 

Jacob has encountered plenty of people over the course of his career discounting his work not just because he writes about esports, but also because of his age — a factor which further fuels his drive to show people that he’s capable of being as good as any 40+ year-old journalist in his 20s —at least that’s his belief.

A reporter has to go through a smorgasbord of emotions and factors such as fear over their career, lack of comfort, financial temptations – to name a few. Jacob attributes his success in esports journalism to fearlessness. He believes in putting himself out there, trusting his sources and breaking news, no matter the recourse. That said, it is also a reporter’s job to question themselves and the credibility of the news they’re about to publish, and failing to do so might lead to catastrophic and damaging consequences. “You know, I’ve had times where I’ve straight up had threats of blacklisting or career recourse at the hands of a story,” Jacob continues, “but I’ve felt empowered — particularly after my reporting around the disbanding of the ROX Tigers and the way the community has uplifted me since  — that reporting the truth will always be the right move, no matter what”.

Similarly, some stories of sexual misconduct by certain individuals or in the case of his story on the Jacksonville shooting a few years ago, and having to report on trauma shortly after its occurrence, has been really challenging and difficult for Jacob to handle. He is quick to add, “Yes, it would be easier to not discuss or work on that stuff, but it’s more important those stories are told to me than it is what adverse effects they could have on my career.”

Speaking of which, many are coming out as of late with their stories on sexual misconduct, and we couldn’t help but ask Jacob about his thoughts on this sensitive topic, ways to become better role models and keeping people safe at events, and whether he’d encounter a similar situation.

He recounts his previous experiences at events where he had to pipe up when someone else was making someone else feel uncomfortable — sometimes unknowingly by the person in question — and having a T.O. or someone else pull them aside and bring to their notice.

“If you see something, say something”, Jacob is quick to chime in, “If you notice someone being predatory towards someone else, you should both bring it up to the attention of the person running the event or someone else who is there to help.” 

However, Jacob also mentions that people with a natural tendency to behave that way shouldn’t be allowed to be around at all. He believes that acknowledging these issues and discussing them openly is really, really important and is glad so many people feel empowered right now to speak up as he believes that it’s a discussion that needs to be had for the betterment of the esports industry.

“Sexism, misogyny and sexual abuse isn’t new in esports, nor was it ever a secret, but it’s always been hard to get people to speak on-the-record against powerful abusers in fear of recourse, especially professional career impact”.

To the uninitiated, Jacob Wolf also wrote for our very own publication, Esports Heaven, prior to moving to other avenues. How can we not ask him about his fondest memory at a company that has nurtured legends, ones like himself, in esports?

 
A career-defining report from Jacob Wolf

Jacob is more than happy to share his fondest memory, and it is none other than the Kori / MeetYourMakers story. He states, “I’ll still never forget the process of breaking the Kori / MeetYourMakers story. That was really a turning point for my career.” Although he doesn’t think fondly of the reporting because what happened to Kori was horrendous but in terms of the process, that was the story that made him want to be a reporter more than a feature writer. “The rush of racing against Richard Lewis, someone I admire, for the same story was pretty invigorating. That adrenaline rush was something else.”

Breaking the Kori story also showed Jacob the reluctance or lack thereof of other outlets that didn’t have the backbone to break that story before Esports Heaven did, an unsurprising but disappointing fact. Jacob attributes this story towards his devotion to good journalism, one that has taught him so much over the years, without which it wouldn’t be the same.

Working for a scoop versus other journalists really satiates Jacob’s competitive drive and is something that he really loves doing. He also enjoys the dopamine rush in winning games and being better than someone else in player-vs-player competition. This is where we sense a hint of contrition — an unfulfilled wish to further explore the opportunity in Call of Duty — a game that he excelled at.

Hailing from a lower middle class family that couldn’t afford to send him off to events to compete in opens, and in part, his family not being comfortable for the same, Jacob had to forego this dream of his due to the high uncertainty of having a high financial upside of a playing career nearly a decade ago. In the end, CoD’s loss was the esports journalism industry’s gain.

Speaking of journalism, we got the chance to discuss how true work ethic has always been a gigantic weak point in esports for newcomers and veterans alike, and whether there was any visible shift for the same, in the last few years. The first thing Jacob does is acknowledge the fact that he has been fortunate enough to get a headstart in building working relationships with people who now work for the business moguls, prior to the influx of hungry and young journalists flocking the industry, seeking to do work similar to that of Jacob’s.

“When I first started there weren’t millionaires or billionaires writing player checks. There are now.”, he adds, “I think getting in touch and building relationships with the people atop the business of the industry now is really difficult because they’re not easily accessible to the average journalist.”


Related: ESH Podcast Episode #0 – Interning in Esports


Furthermore, he keeps encountering younger journalists either having a preconceived notion of the backlash that comes with this job, or unwilling to deal with conflict or controversy. For example, when Jacob breaks a story on a big team or organization, given the moment, it is natural for them to be frustrated.

However, most are aware that there is no mal-intent behind publishing the story as they will always get a phone call from Jacob asking for a comment, before publishing. This is the part where Jacob excels at — doing his job correctly and with respect — all the while maintaining a healthy relationship with his contacts. He continues, “You have to be willing to stand up for yourself in these types of situations and I think the need of that sort of backbone is scary to younger or less-experienced journalists, so they’d rather just not even try.”

Most of us know Jacob through his work in journalism, but many are unaware that our boy wonder has a broad, historical experience outside of esports. He grew up as a musician, learning to sing as well as play the piano and guitar, all thanks to his grandmother. His interest in music encouraged Jacob to set up a record label, with the help of his granddad, for EDM artists that he would run.

The record label came to fruition when Jacob, along with his closest childhood friend, had been DJ’ing smaller events in Atlanta and producing in their spare time and saw that a lot of smaller record labels or lack thereof in that space weren’t doing what Jacob and his friend thought they should.

He ended up learning a lot on the fly through that experience, understanding how to write copy for tracks and albums, animating and creating both static and motion graphics and learning how to deal with an array of personalities.

He adds, “I often remark that learning how to brand musicians helped me understand how to brand myself.”

From the first record label, he went on to acquire another, so he was in charge of two brands, and eventually had shut both down after having a really difficult time with some artists and growing frustrated with how things were going. At the time, Jacob started managing some of the artists he worked with on the side and wanted that to be his focal point. “I pivoted into artist management and although we found moderate success there, there was a moment I snapped and deleted an artist’s account on Soundcloud.”, continuing further, “I was 15, but that doesn’t excuse it. I can’t tell you how many times I regret that decision, even to this day.”

Jacob also sang in the Atlanta Boy Choir, a world-famous touring choir that’s very difficult to get into and held in high prestige. He ended up touring with them in Alaska for a couple of weeks, and I quote, “it was an awesome experience.” However, he ultimately left the choir as he was trying to find a balance between his record label aspirations, his athletic commitments at school (wrestling & football) and his actual academic work.

Little did Jacob know that his decision to continue to work in the music industry would eventually get him introduced to the world of esports. One of the people who worked for him on the first label and became a partner of his in the management agency introduced Jacob to League of Legends in 2012 and that eventually led to his interest in writing about esports, so in the end, it all worked out.

We also asked Jacob to give some words of wisdom, for the aspiring people getting into esports, but to give it a more unconventional spin. His immediate response is self reflection. “For me, the biggest thing is self reflection. I take a lot of time to just ‘think’ and do a mental review of what’s happened in my week and what I want to do, review my goals and set up intermediate goals along the way.”

It may sound silly but it’s effective and has been tremendously useful to Jacob as he has tried to expand his personal life more than solely being focused on his professional one. Having both planned out as best as possible is super important for him. His final words of wisdom before signing off, “Have lots and lots of coffee”.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed our newest feature. Kindly support us by following Esports Heaven on Twitter and keep tabs on our website for such interesting content.

ESH Podcast Episode #0 – Interning in Esports

 

Welcome to our new podcast! In our “trial run”, we explore our experiences in esports internship, volunteering, and paid work, and give advice to both those wishing to keep writers, as well as what content creators should do to get the most out of their experience.

Sexual Harassment ending Careers – ESH Weekly

 

Sexual Harassment and other allegations are being made against industry players and talent alike, and those found guilty have effectively been outcast from the community for such despicable act.

Dota 2

A lot has been happening since the past two weeks. Women across the industry are coming out with sexual harassment charges leveled up against some of the big names aka the power yielding personalities in the scene; casters and professional players alike.

Few of such names in Dota 2 against whom sexual harassment charges were brought up are Toby “TobiWan” Dawson, Grant “GrandGrant” Harris, Jimmy “Demon” Ho, Andrew “Zyori” Campbell — to name a few.

Immediately after the accusations were made, Grant Harris recused himself from Dota 2 and esports scene in general after issuing an apology. However, Evil Geniuses and Beyond The Summit were quick to show him the door and release him from his employment with the latter also mentioning that they would never work with him again in the future.

Perhaps the most controversial outing has been of Toby Dawson, often touted as the voice of Dota. Many incidents have come to light regarding Toby’s past behaviour with women that describe him and the experience as a “creepy and an uncomfortable” situation to be in. Many have called out Toby on his sexual misconduct, dating back 10 years, and the community has been in a state of shock.

From Valve removing his voice lines from the Battle Pass to BTS and Code Red Esports releasing him from employment while simultaneously mentioning their decision on not working with him in the future, Toby has essentially been on the receiving end of the backlash in a huge way. This situation has not only resulted in the end of his close friendship with Synderen and Capitalist but also with other prominent personalities like Nahaz, ODPixel, Sheever — to name a few.

Similar is the case with Demon, ex professional Dota 2 player. Various organizations have announced their intentions of not working with him in the future.

It is safe to assume that Grant, Demon and Toby’s career in Dota 2 has come to an abrupt end.

The only person to leave relatively unscathed from this fiasco is Zyori, whose explanations and apology have made the most sense. He has the backing of the community as well the talent and we might just see more of him in the future.

That said, the shining beacon of light in the midst of this terrible situation is none other than SirActionSlacks. Take a look at this video, it says it all!

League of Legends

Unfortunately, the sexual misconduct has reached the League of Legends sphere, as Jeffrey Lin, otherwise known as Riot Lyte, had constructed a mentally abusive relationship with a streamer. In another sexual allegation, previous LoL EU shoutcaster Joe Miller has been under fire as well. Lastly, esports lawyer Ryan Morrison had verbal abuse allegations levied against him.

In lighter news, Immortals have fired their general manager Keaton Cryer and head coach Zaboutine, after Immortals have received heavy criticism from the community on their roster decisions and poor play on stage. Now they have fielded their veteran jungler Xmithie, along with Apollo and Hakuho in the bot lane, and picked up their first win of the season this weekend against Golden Guardians.

Valorant

Riot Games officially launched Ranked mode with the 1.02 update, live earlier this week. Although it was available in the beta, the ranked mode was not available at launch in order to allow Riot Games to enhance the system, and so new players could learn the game before going into competitive mode. There are, though, some changes from its initial version. The most remarkable one is its new name, Radiant instead of being referred to as Valorant, which seemed to create confusion among players.

The game’s most recent 1.02 patch might have improved the game’s performance overall, but several bugs have been identified. One of the most recent ones include headshots not being registered. Crouching is supposed to increase the accuracy of one’s aim. Registering headshots while crouching would be easier. The issue is that when you register a shot when crouching, the headshot can be felt, the head injury wound will be shown; however, due to this bug the shot is counted as a body shot instead.

Overwatch

The Vancouver Titans continue their upward trend this week with a strong showing over the Boston Uprising, who admittedly was on the mend. Even with their 0-3 loss to the Atlanta Reign, the Titans qualified as the 4th seed going into the Summer Showdown tournament, granting them a much needed first-round bye. After what looked to be a flash in the pan during his debut, Danish star Niclas “sHockWave” Jensen continues to impress and has been pivotal in this team’s rebound. 

The San Francisco Shock sent a letter of intent to the league, wax sealed with their win over the Philadelphia Fusion, 3-0. Their road to qualification lies unbeaten as they roll into the Summer Showdown 3-0 in matches and 9-0 in maps. This echoes the same kind of domination the 2019 Shocked showed us last season during Stage 2 when they completed the first “golden stage,” an unbeaten stage both in matches and in maps. Coming into this season as an unknown quantity, Seonchang “ANS” Lee has been lights out on the Widowmaker as of late and his performance against the Fusion was no different. The Shock are on another level and the only team to seemingly rival them is locked away in Asia. 

Speaking of, the Shanghai Dragons continue their reign as the kings of Asia with their dismantling of an Hangzhou Spark roster that looked rejuvenated if we view it through the lens of Week 20. It seems like it does not matter the meta or the hero pool, the Dragons are just a set above the pack. Again, very comparable to the Shock in the west. Now this begs the question; COVID-19 willing, which team is the best in the world? Is it the champions of the west, the San Francisco Shock or the kings of Asia, the Shanghai Dragons? While the details of the end of season playoffs are still unknown, the stage is set to have the most memorable Overwatch to date by the end of this year.

Editor’s Take

It’s rare for me to praise the existence of social media, but when it comes to exposing harm done so that we can all work in a safer ecosystem, I’m all for it.

The beauty of esports is how almost anyone can be a part of it if you have the heart and drive. It’s not like the NBA where you’re going to run into huge hurdles if you’re not tall enough.

Gentlemen and ladies, please, do keep your hands to yourselves. We have a beautiful gift that we’re responsible for keeping safe and approachable.


Visit other sections of our website to keep tabs on news!

ESH Weekly #5

DOTA 2

It has been a horrific week for myself personally and I was out of the loop for most of the past few days, however, this week around I’ll focus on only two things that have popped up in the scene.

 

Sexual harassment: There’s been some startling revelations on sexual harassments that women face, and many have come forward expressing their dreadful experiences on the said matter. Such unfortunate incidents are more normal in this world than what one may think and women are at the receiving end majority of the time. As a person of the so-called “masculine” gender, I strongly condemn such outrageous acts of vulgar and ungentlemanly behaviour. If a man cannot make a woman feel comfortable or secured, then the least he can do is not to make her feel uncomfortable. Simply put, you don’t have to be nice to someone, it is completely up to you, but that doesn’t give you the right to be a douche. Listen to the woes of our comrades, support and stand with them. CHANGE BEGINS WITHIN! To the uninitiated, this is what I am referring to https://www.reddit.com/r/DotA2/comments/hdamf6/can_we_talk_about_the_sexual_harassment_that/. I, on behalf of the male community, would like to personally extend my profound apology to those who had to go through such extreme ordeals. We are standing with you.

 

Exploitation/Cheating by few artists in DOTA 2 Workshop: A few artists have been exploiting their sets (cosmetic in-game items) by going over the prescribed limit of the poly count set by Valve. To the uninformed, Valve has a specific set of guidelines on creating cosmetics in-game that have to be adhered to at all times. Apparently, what was thought to be a “bug” actually turned out to be a “feature” that was being exploited. The said feature access was given by Valve to artists who were under contract for special events such as the Collector’s Cache, Arcana’s, TI related treasures, etc — which means that the poly count could be over the limit only in specific cases, and that too by Valve’s permission.

 

However, few chose to exploit the feature and submitted sets in the workshop, going over the prescribed limit thus giving their cosmetic items an edge over other workshop artists. For example, a higher poly count means that a cosmetic item is more visually appealing with sleek and attractive features as compared to others. In case of The International treasures or Collector’s Cache, artists whose sets have been selected can stand to make big bucks, equivalent to a year’s salary, in a short amount of time.

 

Valve was quick to respond and are currently looking into the matter. https://twitter.com/boom3D_/status/1272518507217879040?s=20

 

Overwatch

After a tumultuous season, the Vancouver Titans showed a glimmer of hope with their 3-0 sweep of the Dallas Fuel. This was also Stefan “Onigod” Fiskerstrand debut with the team. However, notable starter Jang “Decay” Gui-un was said absent from the match. Head coach for the Dallas Fuel, Aaron “Aero” Atkins gave a statement to the league explaining that “ […] Decay is taking some rest time and [Onigod] is getting worked into the rotation.”
https://twitter.com/seanzcollins/status/1274500057987837952

The San Francisco Shock became the first team to sweep every time in the Overwatch League with their 3-0 win over the Paris Eternal. Lee “Twilight” Jooseok also debuted with the team after being let go from the Vancouver Titans earlier this year. In Eternal news, Jung “Xzi” Ki-hyo also announced his return to the starting lineup after being out with severe neck pain. https://twitter.com/SFShock/status/1273693975438712832

In Asia, the Hangzhou Spark upset the New York Excelsior, 3-2. After coming off a strong showing against a Seoul Dynasty squad that is still finding their sea legs, New York was easily the favorite coming into this match as new recruit, Park “Architect” Minho, would still have to be integrated into the roster. However, Architect put on a clinic and took home MVP of the match along with a much-needed win for the team going into the Summer Showdown.

https://twitter.com/Hangzhou_Spark/status/1274367785884213251

 

League of Legends

 

Cloud9 have looked as dominant as ever, remaining undefeated for the beginning of Summer Split, going 4-0 in total. Team Liquid are looking really good as well, with a convincing win over 100 Thieves and a close win against Evil Geniuses. Both Immortals and Dignitas look downright awful as they continue their loss streak, both now 0-4. Eventually they have to face each other, so at least someone is going to get a win on the board. To top it all off, TSM’s game against FlyQuest became controversial due to the draft, with Doublelift piloting Syndra for his first time ever in a professional game. Historically Doublelift has been memed for his lack of ability on mage champions, so it’s no surprise that fans and analysts are in uproar over the draft.

 

Even more exciting than a last place match is the upcoming Friday match of C9 vs TL, this should be a banger and we’re going to see if TL’s new style of enabling Jensen can actually succeed against the best mid/jungle duo in the league.

 

Riot is in hot water again for their production woes, as several fans and community figures have been upset at the direction Riot is taking for the LCS presentation. Even Doublelift commented on the situation, calling it a “clown show”. With Riot’s insistence on having a fun-themed show for Friday, fans have voiced their sentiment, knowing that Riot might be trying to reach a different, younger audience, but it’s not passing over well with the hardcore Reddit fans.

https://twitter.com/TSMDoublelift/status/1274191873440051200?s=20

https://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/hcnjw0/dl_its_actually_impressive_how_it_was_possible/

 

Valorant:

The Ignition Series will be one of the first Valorant esports competition series. Eight teams from 8 regions will take part in the event, divided into different teams. Each team’s captains will be informed only one day before who their teammates have been. Winners get a $15,000 cash reward.

 

After two days of nail-biting competition, the first VALORANT Ignition series in Japan was won by the Absolute JUPITER at the RAGE Invitational. The team took home the 500,000 yen prize in a pretty amazing pro stage debut. Absolute JUPITER came from the Counter-Strike, where it had become the No. 1 team of Japan until they announced their switch to Valorant at the beginning of March.

 

The development team encourages players to submit questions about the game on Twitter one in a fortnight. Later, in the official ‘Ask Valorant’ blog article, developers discuss those chosen queries. Ian Fielding, the Senior Producer of Valorant, spoke in the same blog post about “Early Surrender.” Fielding has stated in his response that the Valorant Surrender feature will be debuting with the 1.02 update.

 

The query of adding new weapons was also addressed by stating that for the time being the game has 17 weapons and the arsenal of Valorant is balanced. Hence, no guns will be added at the moment. They also mentioned that for professional and unrated matches Valorant has an equivalent matchmaking system.  They added, however, that they continuously monitor matchmaking quality in many ways, including match balance and disparity of skills. They said they didn’t notice any massive balancing problems.

 

EIC’s take

 

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. We can hardly catch a break with everything going on in the esports and entertainment space, let alone the world issues at large affecting us.

 

I don’t want to be a negative nancy, though.  There’s a lot of things to be excited about as well. Tournament organizers are becoming a little better each day at providing an authentic high-production tournament experience online until LAN comes back – cheating concerns aside.

 

Thank you for reading and we’ll see you all next week.

Esports Heaven Weekly #4

 

DOTA 2

The prize pool for The International 2020 has surpassed $14.5 million, and we are still far away from TI10. Although the growth has slowed down for the past couple of days, it’ll pick up once again as Valve comes up with treasure releases, etc. https://www.dota2.com/international/battlepass

The Queen of Pain Arcana has finally been released and it is a sweet painful treat to our eyes. The captivating Arcana — Eminence of Ristul — completely changes the outlook of the Goddess of Hell. Have you bought yours yet? https://www.dota2.com/eminenceofristul

The Blast Bounty Hunt Dota 2 is a refreshing treat to the eyes of the community. An online tournament featuring six teams across Europe and the world with a prize pool of $145,000 USD, also featuring exciting mini-bounties such as “Drop the Dead Donkey”, “Something Something Feeder”, etc has received good response. What else? Well, Team Secret has once again won yet another tournament thereby continuing their hot streak. Another cat in the bag! https://liquipedia.net/dota2/BLAST/Bounty_Hunt

Just a clip that’ll bring smile to your faces from our back-to-back TI Champions https://twitter.com/BLASTDota/status/1271548144308891653?s=20

 

League of Legends

The week starts out a bit rough, as a Riot Games executive was fired for making insensitive comments about the death of George Floyd, first reported by Vice. The ridiculous social media posts from the executive sparked heated conversations and even almost resulted in Riot Games losing a deal with Verizon Wireless. The fallout would have been massive if this had occurred, but Riot Games reacted quickly to deal with the problem.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7kp89e/riot-games-investigating-exec-who-blamed-george-floyds-murder-on-his-lifestyle

https://www.protocol.com/league-of-legends-verizon-5g-deal

In other news, famous former pro player Hai “Hai” Du Lam was chat restricted for saying very mild mannered words in a single solo queue game. Riot then removed his League Partner Program rights, walked it back with a probation, and then overall went with just a warning. It kind of makes you wonder if this were the average joe, or if Reddit made a stink about it along with other personalities, Riot might not have done anything.

https://clips.twitch.tv/ManlyCuriousGoshawkOptimizePrime

https://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/h7vlqt/hais_probation_now_just_a_warning/

TSM have decided to make General Manager Parth their head coach. As the statement reads, “both Doublelift and Bjergsen have requested Parth’s return and his coaching system”. Of course this heavily alludes to the idea that Doublelift and Bjergsen are influencers on who can mantle the position of coach in the team. Additionally, GM Parth essentially hired himself for the job, which goes to show that there are some very deep seeded problems within the TSM organization.

https://tsm.gg/news/tsm-2020-summer-split-coaching-structure

 

Overwatch

Former New York Excelsior player, Yeon-oh “Fl0w3R” Hwang, announced that he has left his current team, RunAway. With a vague tweet citing a “new game challenge,” many in the community have jumped to speculation about whether or not he will be making the move to Riot Game’s newest title, VALORANT. (https://twitter.com/Runaway_OW/status/1271734836986695680)

While the Seoul Dynasty shocked the Overwatch world with their second-place finish at the May Melee, their return during this past weekend was anything but inspiring. Facing down the barrel of a New York Excelsior roster that has made some roster moves, the Dynasty failed to continue the momentum and was swept in their most recent match 0-3. What stung even more, was the fact that Seoul failed to score any points on the three maps that were played. On the flip side, the Shanghai Dragons continue to look consistent as the leaders in Asia with their Summer Showdown debut against the London Spitfire. 

Meanwhile, in the west, the Boston Uprising continue their upward trajectory with a 5-game-series with the Paris Eternal, a team that also saw a new debut this week as long-awaited DPS rookie Yeong-han “SP9RK1E” Kim finally is eligible to play. This mimics their match record from their most recent match together during the first round of the May Melee which saw the Uprising loss in a similar fashion; improving, but not quite there. Paris has a rough schedule ahead of them as their next opponent is May Melee champion and defending 2019 world champion, the San Francisco Shock whom they’ll battle on June 20th. 

A team that occupies the opposite side of that same coin are the Atlanta Reign. With their recent loss to the Los Angeles Gladiators. With a rare sighting of DPS ace Joon “Erster” Jeong, the Reign still have yet flip the script on their season wide narrative. Whether it is Hero Pools or just the normal peaks and valleys of a team, the 2019 playoff dark horse doesn’t look all that menacing when putting next to either of the Los Angeles teams or a team that has massively improved, the Florida Mayhem. Atlanta’s next match lands on June 20th where they’ll face off against the Toronto Defiant. 

 

Valorant:

There haven’t been a lot of activities in the Valorant community over the past week. Nonetheless, the first Valorant Twitch Rivals took place over the weekend. A huge $200,000 prize pool was spread through six regions: Europe, North America, Latin America, Brazil, Korea, and Japan. The champions of the 3rd tournament were as follows:

  • Europe #1: Team Mixwell
  • Europe #2: Team Duno
  • North America: Team Brax
  • LATAM #1: Team blue_mx
  • LATAM #2: Team frankkaster
  • Korea: Team juankorea
  • Japan: BAKEMON
  • Brazil: Team pannshi

Closing Thoughts from the editor:

There’s a whole lot I’d love to say but a whole lot I cannot say.  This month marks my 7 year tenure as Editor-in-Chief at Esports Heaven, and I’m proud of us for maintaining one of the longest standing independent esports organizations around, especially during a tumultuous period.

Let’s just say some exciting times are in store, and you all will be missing out if you’re not there to witness it alongside us.

The Renaissance of Smeb

 

Smeb has officially returned to KT Rolster after taking a break during Spring Split. A lot of rumors surrounded his return, but he ended up going back to his post-Tigers home. After the most disappointing Split in recent history— being only able to dodge relegation by a single game— and insecurities about his professional career, does the legend of the top lane have what it takes to keep going?

 

Dark times

 

I had quite a long pro gaming career and I had always been winning except for the first two years. The year 2019 was the biggest crisis in my career. I tried to overcome it in various ways, but I wasn’t able to. It was a very regretful year personally and for the team as well. Because of that, I was really shaken up.”

In a recent interview with InvenGlobal, Smeb described Summer 2019 as the biggest crisis in his career and questioned the possibility of retirement. The Split was so disastrous for KT Rolster that the organization let go of the 10 men roster and head-coach, opting to rebuild the team from scratch. But this isn’t the first time Smeb faces some bumps in the road. 

He is now known as a godlike player that showed up in the biggest stages, widely considered the second best player on the planet heading into Worlds 2016— behind none other than Faker— but he began his career with nearly two years of losses and disappointments. His development from one of the worst top laners in the region to the best in less than 12 months is nothing short of incredible and was documented at the time with features going over his history. 

Smeb started his astronomical rise after leaving Incredible Miracle and joining the Huya (later GE, KOO and then ROX) Tigers and achieved immediate success. Alongside talents like Pray, Gorilla, Peanut and Kuro he reached heights only surpassed by the untouchable SKT at their peak. Six years later, the legendary top laner is ready to rise again, in a familiar environment that couldn’t be more different from the one he was in back in 2014.

 

Returning home

KT Rolster had an unexpectedly positive Spring Split this year. After a complete rebuild, the team managed to finish top 4, a result heavily influenced by ADC Aiming having one of the best splits in his entire career. A lot has changed since Smeb left the organization, but he’s returning to meet some familiar faces that he hasn’t seen in a long time. 


Related: LCK 2020 Summer Split – What has changed?


Supporting Aiming in the bot lane is TuSin, who was part of the Incredible Miracle organization at the same time as Smeb. Hirai, IM’s head-coach when the top laner played for the organization, is now coaching KT. The mid-lane is being shared by two former teammates of Smeb. Kuro was part of the legendary Tigers line-up and has been KT’s captain for the last split. Sharing his position is Ucal who, after spending a few months with Griffin, has returned to the team in which he has previously played with the veteran top laner. 

Sohwan is the current KT top laner and will probably be sharing the position but spend more time as a sub. Despite the disappointing performance displayed during 2019, Smeb is undoubtedly an upgrade. Outside of some Flashes of skill shown on Jayce, in 2020 Spring Sohwan has been the constant low point in KT’s games, relying a lot on Aatrox or Kennen and being ineffective when playing more aggressive picks like Lucian and Camille. Although he often is the weak-side laner, the leads the enemy develops against him make Sohwan’s impact in some games negligible, even when KT wins. 

Smeb, on the other hand, is one of the most experienced and talented top laners to ever play the game.  Yes, he just came out of a slump, but that performance happened in a team which wasn’t working as a whole. BDD was part of the same line-up, and his individual form since he’s joined Gen.g has been nothing short of impressive. Watching Smeb perform in the Rox Tigers during Worlds 2016 or, more recently, in KT’s Worlds 2018 run reminded me of how good he really is. The way he handled TheShy at his peak in the Quarterfinals against IG with the poise of a veteran, the decisiveness with Urgot and the sheer mechanical outplays he managed to pull off on Irelia were a sight to behold. Alongside great Teleport usage and the awareness he shows around teamfights it’s easy to understand why he has been considered one of the best in the World.

 

Unbreakable drive

 

Deep into his professional career, Smeb hasn’t lost his will. During his Split “off”, he’s currently played nearly 800 Solo Queue games and is currently Challenger in the Korean Ladder. He’s played some of his classic choices like Rumble, Aatrox and Jayce, but he’s also been adapting to the meta and boasting positive winratios in champions like Sett, Lucian and Wukong. This time away seems to have been the new perspective he needed to get back into his A game and return to peak-form. Heading into his 7th year of professional play, this might be Smeb’s last chance to reclaim his spot as one of Korea’s greatest (current) top laners and, as the LCK changes into the franchising model, this seems like a golden opportunity to become the face of KT Rolster, as he’s mentioned in a recent interview.

This new roster that KT is fielding has the potential to shake the entire League. If Aiming maintains his impressive form and Ucal shows what he’s capable of, Smeb will be the final piece in the puzzle. 

Not only does he have what it takes to keep going, he has what’s needed to rise to the top again. This will be Smeb’s renaissance. 

 


 

If you enjoyed this piece, follow the author on Twitter at @Kaaaosh.

Images courtesy of Lol Esports’ Flickrs.

For more League of Legends content, visit our League of Legends hub.

Secret secREKT’ing the way – Tweets of the Week

 

Secret has been winning since the last five tournaments so this week, is just like another week. Simple, enlightening and crisp.

Most of today’s tweet will inadvertently be related, directly or otherwise, to Team Secret.

SecREKT’ing their way through the opponents. Self explanatory!

Kudos to Team Secret Twitter guy on an exceptional job done:


Also read: Esports Heaven Weekly #3 — our brand new weekly series take on the most beloved games!


 

Let’s get serious now, stuff that isn’t related to Secret.

 

Eri Neeman sharing his deep thoughts:

Nomad clearly not not enjoying the lock down:

Please don’t get thrown into the lake Kips. We need you!

Lastly, enjoy the ravishing Arcana of the Queen of Pain:

That’s it for this week folks. See ya next week!


If you enjoyed this interview and would like you keep tabs on other features, follow the author on Twitter at @Karyb4u.

In the meantime, you can visit our Dota 2 hub for more content.

VALORANT Twitch Rivals: A detailed look

 

Valorant has taken off, millions are playing around the globe, and with its full release – even more so. A game like Valorant with its roots deeply ingested in CSGO, it’s inclusion as an esports was inevitable. So, in collaboration with game developer Riot Games, Twitch crowned the first world champions of Valorant. The community witnessed more than 300 players fighting this weekend in respective regions for a prize pool of $200,000 and to become the first Valorant Twitch Rivals victors. Tournaments took place from Asia to Latin America.

The flagship event launched on June 6th, when North America took the floor. In the NA region, complete teams were signed to esports organizations joining the Valorant competitive scene, setting the stage for a tournament that might be a peek into the potential of Global Valorant esports.

For those unaware, the Twitch Rivals format is that the name of the team is based on its captain’s name. Each captain names four players, and that’s the team.

 

Winners:

The victors of the 3rd tournament were the following:

  • Europe #1: Team Mixwell
  • Europe #2: Team Duno
  • North America: Team Brax
  • LATAM #1: Team blue_mx
  • LATAM #2: Team frankkaster
  • Korea: Team juankorea
  • Japan: BAKEMON
  • Brazil: Team pannshi

Prize Pool:

The total prize pool for this tournament was $200,000 distributed across 6 different regions. The breakdown was as follows:

The NA tournaments share $42,000 from the total $200,000. Other tournaments featured two 16-team European sections, each with a $49,000 prize pool, going through Sunday, and groups for Japan (four teams, $10,000, Sunday); Korea (four teams, $10,000, Saturday); Latin America No. 1 (four teams, $10,000, Saturday); and Latin America No. 2 (four teams, $10,000, Sunday); Brazil (eight teams, $20,000, Saturday and Sunday).

 

Europe:

Both the European events consisted of teams split into 4 teams for round-robin play on Friday, each of which consisted of a single map.  Two reigning teams in each group won a single-elimination playoff spot. The quarter-finals consisted of single-map matches, whereas the semi-finals and the finals were best-of-three.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the specific of what went down in the European tournaments. There were two tournaments so this section will be categorized corroborating each tournament held.


Related: Reyna: One Week Later Post Release


EU #1:

Here are the main statistics to keep in mind:

These were the only teams to get a share out of the $49,000.

 

Team W/L Earnings
Team Mixwell 6-0 $12,250
Team ONSCREEN 5-1 $7,250
Team bonkar 4-1 $4,750
Team Lutti 3-2 $4,250

Team Mixwell completely outplayed the bracket, winning all of their games, acing their way through playoffs. It is no surprise that the triumphant squad was made up of professionals from the EU Counter-Strike scene who transitioned into Valorant. Other teams including Team ONSCREEN (Group A), Team Mickalow (Group B), and Team Bonkar (Group D) also finished 3-0 in the quarter-finals; however, they failed to maintain this consistency unlike Mixwell and thus fell short of the title.

 

EU #2

In the 2nd half of the European competition, the scenario was similar. Team Duno finished first without being defeated. This part of the European region consisted of countries like Russia, Ukraine, etc where CSGO had amassed a ton of fame, and people being aware of its playstyle didn’t feel like a stranger while trying out Valorant. Here’s how it went down:

 

Team W/L Earnings  
Team Duno 6-0 $12,250
Team wtcN 5-1 $7,250
Team Izak 3-2 $4,750
Team gdolphnn 3-2 $4,250

The WtcN team progressed to meet Team Duno. Team Duno split 13-12 decisions on Haven and Bind before they scored a 13-7 victory on Haven.

 

North American:

T1’s newly signed star-studded line-up brought home the trophy and this came as no surprise – given they were favorites. However, the tournament wasn’t one-sided and featured nail-biting matches which left the audience at the edge of their seats. T1 stomped on the way to the No. 1 position in the group stage without breaking a sweat.

 

T1 Logo
T1 secured the first-ever Valorant Twitch Rivals title

On Sunday’s championship, things got a little more difficult for T1. Although Team sh0ts were dispatched in a fairly straightforward fashion, their finals were against Team Myth. When the series was at its tipping point, Keven “AZK” took over Larivière. His Breach action on the final map represented his peak point, flipping a one-on-two leading T1 to the championship.

 

Team W/L Earnings
Team Brax 5-0 $10,250
Team Myth 4-1 $7,250
Team sh0ts 3-1 $4,750
Team Mendo 3-1 $4,750

For the time being, T1 will celebrate their first success as a starting five with the latest inclusion of former Counter-Strike World Champion Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham. And this victory will be first among the many, given that their roster was specially designed to compete on the World Stage.

 

Meta:

The buffs to certain agents heading into the launch and the addition of Reyna along with the introduction of Ascent shook the meta, with only Sage still standing as a required pick. Teams like T1 dropped Brimstone at times to pick up Omen capitalizing on his ability to provide a viable distraction. The introduction of Reyna to the meta was an intriguing one too. While in terms of pick rate she came in third behind Brimstone and Sage, all duelists achieved success during the event.

 

Agent Viper
The low pick rates for Viper are concerning for her future in Competitive Valorant. Source: Riot Games

There was one concern, though. In the NA region, Viper was not picked once, not even the lesser-ranked teams who skipped Sage wanted to pick up Viper. If teams that don’t play Sage don’t want to opt Viper, it might represent a problem. Although it seems as if she’s going to get some buffs in the upcoming patch, it might take more than a few tweaks to make her a prominent competitive agent.

On the European side, every pick was seen at least five times. Some had map-specific uses, but quite a few are in there because a certain player was one of the only players to use that agent, and they will play that agent on almost every map — hence accounting for those agents being picked repeatedly.

In a nutshell, Sage proved to be the highly opted Agent, as she was picked in 40 out of 42 matches on the EU side, and bore the highest pick rate in the NA region as well.

 

Key Takeaway:

When the games were close and things between the top players were getting heated, people were tuning in. During the tournament, streamers peaked at over 35,000 viewers while playing alongside the core of the French-Canadian Gen. G. Like previous Valorant finals, the finals between T1 and TSM were thrilling and had a ton of convincing plays which amassed a huge collective audience on live-streaming platforms.

 

The esports-potential of a game is largely determined by its audience since broadcasting it accounts for nearly half the revenue generated from the event. And a larger audience also attracts sponsors, making it a win-win situation. Moral of the story? We’re off to a strong start.


If you enjoyed this article, follow the author on Twitter at @AashirAhmed155.