So, this is sort of an afterthought of LAN ETS. As well as some other shit. It gets a bit angry, oh well.
Ever since attending LAN ETS, I've been thinking about what I want in dota. The answer to this question was an easy one: A meaningful experience of the game. But what exactly is a meaningful experience of the game? For me, it was something that always changed, with its criteria becoming more and more difficult to meet with each game. A bar that kept on rising restlessly. It dawned on me then, what if I can no longer have games that are enjoyable? And more importantly, why couldn't I have a meaningful experience of the game anymore?
There was a time when I was content playing -em games. But one day it wasn't, and I started playing non-em games. And when pubs stopped doing it for me, I moved up to inhouse leagues, where more serious players come to play. It was great. I learned a lot and progressed a lot as a player through the inhouse leagues. But slowly came a point where it wasn't doing it for me no more. It was time to move up again. And that only meant one thing; teams. This is where it became difficult.
First off, what is your goal in a team, if not to win? I think if you consider yourself a competitive player, it's about the competition. Generally, the stage for this is The International. As dota is not particularly a financially rewarding activity, I don't know why you would be pursuing a career in pro dota if not for the love of the game.
But the simple reality is this: In the Western world, dota is a European game. This means that all the good, nutritional games are in EU times. Even good NA teams play during EU times. And while there are numerous ways for your team to improve without scrimming, it doesn't change the fact that you still have to play good teams to test your strength, and participate in tournaments which all the important ones are centralized in Europe.
Let's put that into perspective. You need five players who are all on the same page, get gel together, that are inherently good at the game, that can contribute countless hours in dota per week, that also has a free time during EU peak times. And only then, maybe do you have a shot at The International. Maybe.
Well, right off the bat, I cannot play during the EU peak times. This instantly removes me from ever having the potential to be involved in a serious competitive scene. This subsequently also mean no meaningful games. And suddenly, I realized that all my efforts of pursuing a competitive career is in vain. I'll never make it. I just don't have the time.
I came back from LAN ETS, and instantly disbanded my team, and cut back my dota a lot. In fact, I don't even think I've played ten games in the last ten days. The thing is that the more I play, the more serious I get. And the more serious I get, the higher the bar becomes for satisfaction, and that disrupts my enjoyment of the game.
Who's to fault?
This sort of ties in with the second theme I want explore in this entry. Let's call it the reality of NA dota scene. Here's the sad truth. A ragtag group of players from ixdl can likely crush any of the non-sponsored, or small time sponsored teams in NA.
In fact, that is exactly what happened at LAN ETS. I mean, I have some of them on my friend list now, and I'm sorry if you guys somehow come across this shitty blog to read all of this, but we've never even practiced, we just came and took it down. And do you know how fucking easy this shit was? It was a fucking joke, alright? None of these teams had any chance of winning. I fucking wish we had some competition, the games were depressing as fuck. It was an accurate representation of amateur scene in NA. Players would rather look cute, tag up, wear matching T-shirts and enjoy the idea of being competitive. Am I an asshole because you don't give respect the game deserves, stay ignorant, and contribute to NA scene being miserable? Then fuck you.
The thing is that makes me feel bad is that the "shirt people" are generally really nice people and I admire that. Believe me, I too am sick of all the edgy, cynical attitude that the NADota harbours. It's as if everyone's too cool for dota, when they're the ones that have stuck with the game thick and thin. So you have one side of extreme where people are nice but suck. And the other side of extreme where people are generally edgy and aspie, but are good at the game. Where the fuck is the balance in all of this, I don't fucking know.
On the subject of inhouse leagues. There was a Reddit thread about ixdl. You can see what the general attitude about inhouse leagues are like from the public. It's pretty bad, in many ways. I suppose I was like that too at one point. During the early days of Dota 2, when NADL was ran by Solace. I too thought I was hot shit, and got wrecked all game every day. I'm sure Solace still remembers me as the most awful dota player he had ever come in contact with. I eventually stopped playing because I felt like the community was far too mean and vindictive. But I was wrong. Well, people are mean, yes. But players don't flame you for no reason. That's crazy. A conflict is always a two-way interaction. And if multiple people are yelling at you all the time, why would that be? They're all crazy? That's a little absurd, isn't it?
I realized that I had to stop feeling victimized, face the consequences of my mistakes and really learn. And some may not have the best way of describing what you have done wrong, but how many good teachers do you know in life? If you really respect the game, and care about your progress as a player, you suck it up and learn. Ask them sincerely what you've done wrong, and what the right course of action is in their opinion. Watch the games of players with high winrates and see what they're doing right. There's a reason why good players are consistent. So learn why they are consistent.
And by no means am I saying I'm great. I'm not. My mechanical skills are awful, my hero pools are limited, I have shitty reaction, I die stupidly... there's ton of things I just don't know. When I think about all the stuff I can improve as a player, it's very overwhelming to me. Despite this, I am part of those that "gets it". And the difference between those who "gets it" and who do not, are fucking massive. My wakeup call was against the old Water team in SECS. It was my first game against the players that "gets it", and it was the most heartcrushing defeat of my life. I was CM with NS top Dire, and we got dove for days by an Enchantress aggro trilane. I was level 1 for like forever. I think that shit was so damaging that it just broke our team right then and there, hahaha. Just about everyone that complain about IHL are of those that do not get it. And despite how much they dislike IHL, again, I bet you a ragtag group of ixdl players would beat any of them.
Anyway, long story short, the weakness of NA scene is on you. You, who is protected by the TL, Reddit bubble, where sore sights get banned and downvoted into obscurity. You, who believe your winrate is not good because you mainly solo queue. You, who writhe in your own ignorance and choose to remain stagnant. You who blame others for your losses. Whatever though, I'm done.
Good luck to everyone that stay strong and continue.