Want to get better at Dota 2? “Move” says Merlini

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During a panel discussion on the Kiev Dota 2 Major main stream, Paul “ReDeYe” Chaloner was asked which countries he’d like to see included in major events. ReDeYe, who was down in South Africa last year during the Telkom Digital Gaming League Masters, lobbied for South Africa as one of those countries which could use a little bit of support noting that just two weeks ago South Africa’s local competitive ranked matchmaking servers were taken away due to low population and becoming a target for MMR abuse.

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Paul Chaloner at launch of the Digital Gaming League Masters

The context for the conversation was the performance for Brazilian team SG Esports who had done considerably well in the competition. South America has a bit more exposure to North America, but then again so does South Africa to Europe. This issue is South Africa’s isolation, which was discussed in the length during the panel discussion. ReDeYe, who felt strongly about South Africa’s talent and passion, was somewhat shut down by the other hosts who brought up countries like Australia who are also extremely isolated but are able to compete internationally.  You can watch the segment here – the discussion starts at around 5:16:00.

Dota 2 analyst Ben Wu (Merlini) responded on a Reddit thread after being called out, but he wasn’t entirely wrong.

“I talked to an aspiring South African player when he attended WESG in China and from what he told me, the infrastructure in South Africa is not conducive to top tier players getting better. You’ll peak out because of ping issues, lack of resources, lack of competition to learn from, or any other number of reasons. Dota’s amateur –> pro progression is very different in undeveloped regions, and sometimes the odds are too great and prevent players from reaching the next level.

“This isn’t a diss to the players, it’s a statement about how something as simple as geography can limit a region. I myself have faced a similar conundrum, albeit a long time ago. NA was crap at Dota 1, I had no one to learn from, and nobody invested in the scene. I wish I had moved to Europe or China at the time to take full advantage of their resources because it was going to take a long time for the infrastructure to get better in the States. I could be wrong about South Africa because I’ve never been there myself, but after speaking with the Bravado player in January, I drew a lot of parallels and sometimes it takes something as drastic as moving to catch up the other scenes. I apologize if I was, and/or came across as ignorant.” 

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The context of his initial remark saying “move” was in a joking environment, but when asked to explain what he meant, Merlini does offer a rational and insightful response. Moving would mean exposing yourself to a more competitive environment, like Europe, and that could do wonders for our local scene. The same could happen with more attendance at international events, which is slowly on the rise of South African Dota.  Losing our competitive servers isn’t the end of the world – and personally I think it’s great. This is the kind of exposure we need, and now we have people talking about us, even if it’s for a short time.

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Last Updated: May 2, 2017

Kyle Wolmarans

Critical Hit's esports guy. I talk about esports and drink whiskey. I also write and cast for elsewhere - but my work here is independent of that.

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