Standards were set high for production studio PGL after their outstanding Manila Major run back in June. They tapped into the Filipino Dota 2 hype and used their previous experience in Counter-Strike: Global Offense to put on a show that personalities and fans hoped would be followed up on in future events.
The announcement that they would be hosting the Boston Major, though, met an impatient community with mixed elation—after all, the event’s details were dropped a mere two months before the group stages. Thus began a long chain of unfortunate events that have the community holding its breath before the main event this weekend.
The first conflict was the last-second nature of the announcement itself. DreamHack Winter’s annual DreamLeague was a mere week before the group stage, causing three teams invited to the Major or its qualifiers—EG, OG, and Secret—to drop their DreamLeague spots after the Major’s announcement. Others left after qualifying for the Boston Major.
This interference caused buzz in the community about Valve’s ongoing lack of communication regarding upcoming events, updates, and other important things (reminiscent of Diretide outrage), prompting Valve to announce their spring Major’s dates and vaguely mention The International 7’s potential dates. The Boston Major’s dates also cut extremely close to fan favorite event The Summit 6, which announced its dates December 2015 but was still a mere two weeks before Major group stages.
Food at the main event would only be provided to teams that were playing those specific days
Further, many were worried about what a single-elimination tournament would look like in practice. Recent Valve events were mostly double-elimination, allowing teams to fall to lower brackets and reappear to rematch more dominant teams for higher prizes. For instance, Digital Chaos fell to Wings Gaming on Day 1, but through the double-elimination format, they were able to stay in the Lower Bracket. DC fought through the event, eventually defeating TI5 champions EG in the semifinals, and took second place after falling to Wings Gaming once again. With experiences like this in mind, there’s the worry that serious contenders won’t receive a prize and placement they deserve.
Then there was the question of whether teams would be able to secure their visas before the event’s group stages. For any Valve event in the USA, notably The International, visas are often denied for a multitude of reasons that are sometimes unclear. For this event, the issue spanned across three teams: two Chinese players each from LGD.FY and IG.Vitality had to be replaced, and three of SEA squad Execration’s players were denied visas, initiating a full team disqualification. (LGD’s primary squad was sent to replace them.)
Trouble followed the teams into the event itself. Players shared Internet and power outage woes in the scrim days leading up to the group stages several times. Shockingly, it was reported that food at the main event would only be provided to teams that were playing those specific days. The size of Boston’s Wang Theater has also been raised as a concern, even while some believe it recalls the intimacy of TI2 and TI3’s Benaroya Hall events.
The Major’s series of issues has caused an air of unease and trepidation for fans awaiting the main event, whether they’re watching from home or planning to attend in-person. The community has watched this unfold with vivid, recent memories of Perfect World’s disastrous Shanghai Major, praying its ghosts don’t cross the globe to wreck havoc in Beantown.