Saturday, 3 October 2015

Rant No. 7: ESL's Hosting - a Big CS:NO!

So CS:GO eSports are now becoming very big things. Tournaments are getting funded by Valve. Millions of views watch on Twitch and in game. But what is actually set by Valve? And what is set by other companies such as ESL, MLG, Cevo, Faceit and Dreamhack to name a few?

Well, ESL is the one of the biggest eSports companies, with Cologne and Katowice being linked with CS:GO to give people who watch, a chance to receive souvenir packages to-do with the teams and the map they are playing on. Anyway, ESL say a lot of things about their tournaments: ESL Dubai had ESL’s top 6 teams all invited to Dubai to face off. This sounded great until ESL showed which teams had been invited: Natus Vincere, Team EnVyUs, Fnatic,, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Cloud 9.

Now, if you keep up to date with CS pro scene you’ll know that a key contender is missing: yup, Team SoloMid weren’t on the list. This sparked outbursts from the community and pretty quickly ESL made a change, but they couldn't just uninvite a team so they added TSM but also Titan, this made the participant teams up to 8. However there was another problem at hand.

The rounds were all bo1 (best of 1) except the final which was bo3. The teams and fans managed to get that changed as well but the fact that this format was chosen to begin with was very poor from a company that Valve helps fund the prize pool for, but more on that later. So bo3 matches and bo5 final - sounds great until you find out that some games will be off main stage so as to manage all the games going on and that these games would be played OUTSIDE. The players even commented that the air-cons were on their backs while their fronts felt the full force of the Dubai heat. Taz (member of mentioned that he decided that the air-con was sooo bad that he’d go for full Dubai heat, instead.

The explanation for the games off screen? They were only planning to have 6 teams and so they couldn't get the venue for more days and it was all our fault for wanting TSM (we didn't really want or need Titan) and bo3 matches and bo5 final. This doesn’t sound sooo bad when you think that they must be good and this was a one off until you come and look at the way they treat the majors.

Whilst ESL was hosting a lot of majors (or even in prep and during the majors) a lot of people asked (and still do) why the map set up was with bo1 that allowed underdogs to suddenly knock out a great team (Luminosity are a great example of a weak-ish team that is great at upsetting other great teams) the response went like this (and I'm paraphrasing): “Oh well, we don’t make the rules that is all Valve, we don’t have any control over this. Blame Valve.” Or to that extent. This is why looking at Dubai it was odd to see the bo1 and bo3 rather than bo3 and bo5 setup. Who could you blame this time ESL? No-one, so you chose us, the community.

This meant that at a time where Valve had no control over the tournament and, instead, ESL got to full control to choose the rules and teams, they got it wrong (I mean who’s top 6 teams doesn't include TSM but does someone like NiP in their current state). It's not like they didn't receive plenty of criticism before about the style yet the chose to keep it the same. If I was them I would've used the excuse once, then tried to talk to Valve next major and, when hosting my own tournament and I get it wrong, not show that I can change it then but, instead, change it for the next one so that other problems don't crop up in the current tournament. Let's not even look into the groups: Group 1 contained Fnatic (current number 1 in the world, no arguing about that) and Team SoloMid. These are top teams while Team EnVyUs and are in another group. This could have been made fairer with VP and Fnatic in one and EnVy and TSM in another.

Hopefully ESL can change their ways to become more like Dreamhack and MLG who respond nicely and take on board criticism, and actually make a change to their tournaments (and their ranking system), rather than play the blame game. Well, one can hope...

See Ya,


  1. Please tell me Martin didn't write that pun, and it was you guys. I have huge respect for ESL though, they work so hard, some people forget. Bo1 is common practice, admittedly less so in CS tournaments but in dota it is a widely accepted format. The changes they made to try to appease the community were so last minute who can blame them for not dealing with it very well, really? Where were they supposed to play the games if there's no room in the venue? This all seems a bit first world problems to me...

  2. Well, yeah ESL does work hard, I never said they didn't. Bo1 is common is CS, yeah, but it shouldn't be. And how does DOTA relate to this? CS:GO has many different maps that are not at all like each other and unlike Dota it is usually shorter than Dota matches, also it matters which map is picked, a team may have a strong map that is randomly picked while the other team's strong map is not picked due to them only playing a single map. The changes were last minute which is why they should've thought of the consequences and not bothered to make the change until the next one. There should have never have been a reason to why there was no venue, again, it was a stupid overlooked consequence. As to this seeming 'first world problem-y', that could sum up this whole website's rant section, let alone a lot of video games