Hurray for E-sports, Recently (or since 2013) players from foreign lands get a visa to play in the US. THis is a big step forward in having E-sport’s jump to rise to the same level as physical sports. How can we further this motion though?
So today, I want to talk about making the life of being a pro player more assured – that they can be encouraged to stay a pro player rather than be obliged by societal norms to switch to a formal career sometime during their midlife. Right now, it’s very hard to become a pro player and, even if you do become one, to stay as one is difficult. For example, in Dota, a player has to find four other guys who are willing to play with them, regularly. All five have to make enough money to play at least eight hours a day (Including practicing, watching replays, reading guides, trying new things out, participating in ranked, and unranked play, etc), which can be very taxing to the human body and frustrating when matching up schedules.
Basically a pro not only has to be really good, but also entertaining and be available for advancement.
I don’t want to completely throw out the current system, but merely to improve it. Firstly, there are the regions I thought of that need to be represented by pro players (for me, the world can be divided into US/Canada, South America, Russia, Europe and Asia regions). And then, I thought of the three main pathways (as of current) to becoming a pro-player: through college teams, local leagues, or through streaming on Twitch or YouTube, each pathway having its own unique method of becoming a pro player.
While this was going on I thought of the ongoing trend that more and more pro players are getting monetarily compensated, and so it struck me that we could integrate this compensation system with the aforesaid regions and pathways. And so I came up with this type of ‘tiered’ tournaments where compensations can be paid out according to how well a player can perform in each tournament tier. The tiers mentioned are as follows:
Novice Cup: Bears no compensation but the best player in this tier can become endorsed by advertising companies (or Valve). Winners of this tier move on to Aspiring League. It is essentially the same as the ICCup. Only players of the Aspiring League are chosen from this tier.
Aspiring League: Pros in this tier are endorsed but not paid a salary. It can happen over the 6 weeks after the International. Winners of the Novice Cup come to this 6-week game period. In addition, ten slots in this tier will be guaranteed for the worst-performing players from the National League.
College League: Pros in this tier are endorsed and their college fees will be paid (by said endorsers, government and Valve). Basically, teams from each college play against each other. Players gain points over their academic years and the players with the highest scores are guaranteed a place in the National League when they graduate. It is also to be noted that top viewed players on Twitch or YouTube who are also well equipped at the game will gain a slot as well in the National League.
National League: Pros here are endorsed and paid a salary. 30 to 45 teams are chosen in each region. These 30 – 45 teams compete over a 13- 25 week period out of the year. Part of the teams will be regulars who appear every year and who don’t move up or down. Another part will be pros from the College League or Twitch/YouTube. Some other players will be from the International (who are native to that region of that nation) and others will be upcoming players from the Aspiring League the weeks before this League
International League (essentially TI): Pros are endorsed and win prize money based on the prize pool and their positions in this tier. This will be the same as the status quo – three majors and one TI.
Region-wise, national players should receive an advanced (salary) for playing over 15 – 25 weeks. Teams can represent their state (US) / province (Canada)/ country (Europe and South America). Something low enough of which they can live off but still be encouraged to strive further and compete in the international level, though no player should be obliged to do so. It’s an option – you can head on to the international level or stay at the national one, and have a chance of dropping or raising their position if they choose to.
As for external support for these pros, there would be the fanbase and media coverage. For the fanbase, it would be nice if jerseys were made for National and International teams for fans to buy and other merchandise in/out of the game for these fans too. For the media coverage, it would likewise be nice if more local televisions channels like ABC, Hulu and Netflix cover the Leagues. I think media coverage of TI deserves its own article on conceptdota too to be honest. The only problem I see with moving Dota 2 to regular television is that it’s an hour long with very little breaks and when outsiders first view it you get confused at what’s going on. But the same can be said for americanized football.