Probably the 2018’s most controversial E-Sports event that happened was now done, and yes, we’re there to witness it from the world’s largest indoor arena. But before we continue, congratulations first to the Chinese team VGJ.Thunder, who bagged the title and the US $200,000 prize money from the US $500,000 total prize pool. Good game with Evil Geniuses, indeed.
Claiming revenge against Evil Geniuses from dropping them to the lower bracket, VGJ.Thunder managed to pull off a sweep 3-0 victory over EG, in front of the Filipino crowd yesterday in order to win the grand championship of Galaxy Battles II: Emerging Worlds.
However, this article isn’t about just the victory of the Chinese squad – this is about the event which got controversial after Valve rescinded its ‘Major’ status and effectively removing the DotA Pro Circuit (DPC) points which is essential for the players’ ranking in terms of upcoming The International 8, Valve’s premiere DotA 2 tournament that has prize pools ranging up to US $20,000,000.
After Valve’s announcement with regards to Galaxy Battles, some teams started to back-out, including favorites such as TI7 winner Team Liquid, Team Secret, LGD.Forever Young and Newbee, which are mostly direct invites. On a supposedly total of 16 teams to compete, only 8 ended showing up on the arena to compete, despite losing the tournament’s significance (which most teams that backed-out cited), and having the prize pool decreased.
The first 2 days of the tournament can be described as a concert of an amateur singer nor a performance of a not-so-well known figure. Everybody thought that doing it on the world’s largest indoor arena is a bit tedious and ambitious, since its seating capacity of 55,000 is hard-to-fill, even with their efforts of giving free tickets (YES, FREE TICKETS) to the venue itself. Accessibility of the venue, accommodations alongside, and budget of the Filipino people could contribute to the hurdles, since a general admission ticket alone, costs PhP2,000 or at least $40, with VIP tickets up to PhP8,000 or ~$157.
Thankfully, the organizers offered shuttle buses for FREE from several SM Malls around to help the crowd go there, since Philippine Arena is almost an hour to two from Manila, depending on the traffic situation as well.
As seen from the first 2 days of the event, seats aren’t neatly filled, crowd was scattered all over the arena’s seats – making it seem spacious that makes the impression of having no crowd at all. However, things have changed when the final day comes.
With the help and efforts of stage host Eri Neeman (the tournament MVP, for us), the third and final day has turned for the better. Eri’s passion towards to making a memorable event for all attendees was really shown and appreciated on the tournament.
From asking the crowd members to fill up the middle seats of the arena in order to build hype for the grand final, to sincerely engaging with every single audience member he got a chance to interact with, and even to making fun of the organizers’ themselves on a segment (which is totally hilarious, btw), the professionalism of this guy is truly worth mentioning. Even the fastest guy when it comes to DotA 2 tournament information, praised him, saying that he’s glad that Eri is a part of the DotA community.
Open twitter and see everyone praising @erineeman.
Not surprised. The guy is a class act. Great host. Even nicer person and friend.
Glad to have him as a part of the Dota community.
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) January 20, 2018
Tonight was special. To all the kind words, thank you. I read every one.
Fallout, hats off for not giving up. Do keep pushing forward.
Huge thanks to the talent/teams who still chose to come.
33,000 for an expected disaster.
This is how we do it in the Philippines.
— Eri Neeman (@erineeman) January 21, 2018
The final day of the tournament also brought up approximately 33,000 attendees, filling up the lowerbox and upperbox as well as the VIP sections of the arena, effectively. This crowd is large, and if that information is really true – it’s literally almost two times the seating capacity of Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena (at 20,000), where most e-sports tourneys here in the Philippines are staged.
Somebody even won a gaming PC from the event’s sponsor Predator Gaming by just being selected by the winning team!
The final games, between EG and VGJ.Thunder shows what the Philippine e-sports crowd really is. Despite the disappointment that fan-favorite Evil Geniuses was swept by a Chinese squad, the hype and the shouts all-over the arena gave us chills, every single time that EG and VGJ.T are clashing. It’s an experience that gave us lessons as well. There’s no other country that does e-sports like the Philippines.
Feedbacks from the people who are involved are indeed touching:
*screengrabs credit to the owner
Truly, never underestimate the Filipino e-sports crowd.