Wednesday, January 16, 2013

On the Flash dota2 League...

The past day since I made the call to close registrations for the fd2l, I've received complaints and feedback across different platforms. Forums, phone calls, emails...
So I feel a need to address the situation.

Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone for their support and for wanting to participate in this competition. I know that there is a great hunger for offline dota2 tournaments in Singapore and I am working to satisfy it.
On my end, running competitions for the dota2 community in Singapore has always been something that I've wanted to get back into. I was greatly inspired by the 2005-2007 period when there were dota1 competitions happening almost on a weekly basis.
That, I felt, enabled the community to grow and improve. The lack of dota2 offline competitions, to me, was one big reason why there is such a great disparity in skill between the top team (which was active during the heyday of dota1) and the second tier teams.
I modeled the fd2l on the capl system because I remember how it affected gamers positively.
I spent a lot of time working things out, looking for sponsors, making decisions, improving and changing certain things before the micro site was released. Evidently there were some points that I didn't make clear enough and I will correct this in the next tournament.

Here is a list of what I've learnt so far, and what I will do to rectify the situation immediately, and in future.

1. I did not state on the website that teams will be granted confirmed slots on a first pay first confirmed basis.
What I will do in future : I will state clearly, on the website, that slots are not confirmed until all players have verified their emails, and paid their registration fee.
Why / how this happened :
Whilst I may not have stated that a slot in the competition is not confirmed until payment is made on the website, I did say in the email that your team will only be listed as confirmed once all players verify their emails, and payment has been made, and I announced on the Facebook page that the remaining 34 slots (at that point in time, 30 teams signed up and paid) would be on a first pay first confirmed basis (because over 60 teams registered by then). I did not immediately close registrations because there were some duplicate registrations and some overseas teams who would not be able to fly down to participate in the event, therefore there were some empty slots.
On Monday, upon reaching the office, I was shocked to discover that 95 teams had registered and I immediately asked my web coder to close registrations, then I set about tracking the payments.
By lunch time, the last slot was confirmed to a team who dropped by the office and made payment.
Immediate solution:
For various reasons, teams which sign up eventually decide not to play and they don't pay. Thus, it would be impossible to hold a slot indefinitely, so the next best thing I can do is refund the team which I cannot give a slot to.
I am unable to expand the tournament because the next number of teams which I must open it to is 128, and I'm already struggling with 64. The location and time constraints also prevent more than a 64 team tournament from taking place.
I also offered teams a reserve slot, allowing them to take the place of one of the confirmed 64 teams should they decide not to participate or if they get disqualified.

2. Quite a few teams and casters were under the impression that it would be held online, hence I had a few registrants from places like Australia, Sweden etc.
What I will do in future : I will stress repeatedly on the website and all press releases that it is a competition which requires gamers and casters to be physically present.
Why this happened: dota2 competitions are regularly held online, so I guess most people assume that it is online instead of reading further.
(side note I believe this was quite clearly stated on the website, we even included a location map, so if I may refer to my point no. 1, stating things on the website doesn't necessarily work)
Many international sites reported the news about the fd2l, so I guess people didn't realize that it was an offline competition.
Immediate solution: I sent out emails to most of the registrants who listed their countries as something other than Singapore and informed them.

3. Teams who paid after the early bird time slot had to pay full price even if they registered during the early bird time frame. (ie, $50 instead of $30)
Why this happened: this is in part due to a miscommunication on our end, and one of the points I overlooked.
What I will do in future: I will add in, clearly, that early bird pricing is only relevant to teams who register AND pay during the early bird period, and for as long as there are slots.
I might also do away with the cash payment option so that teams have to pay immediately online.
I have also applied for enets, so everyone who has a debit card can pay online.
Immediate solution: since it wasn't clearly stated, teams who registered during the early bird period but paid after the period was closed will be refunded IF THEY DROP AN EMAIL TO with their team and payment details by Friday 18 jan 2013 1800+8GMT

Whilst I readily admit to my faults and present solutions for them, I do think that it takes two hands to clap.
I believe the community can improve on some things on their end:

1. I know how it is to feel disappointed, but expressing your unhappiness is different from simply being rude.
I'd like to thank the teams and casters who were gracious and understanding about the situation and didn't give me a hard time about it.
On the reverse end were teams who simply hung up on me as I was explaining the situation.

2. You have to realize that I would love to expand the slots to accommodate you. It means more cash which I can pump back into the league on a whole, and it might even enable me to be more generous with the marshals, who by the way, will be doing it on practically a voluntary basis.
My whole aim of doing this is to grow the community to a level that was comparable to dota1 at its peak, and this one reason alone is good enough for me. I guess, in part, the reason why I'm getting complaints is because the current community of dota2 gamers haven't really experienced an offline competition. Many of the veteran teams inherently understood that slots would not be confirmed until payment is made and details mailed to the admin staff. And as a veteran gamer I took it for granted that it's common sense too.

3. I welcome feedback, I really do. I'm a little rusty at organizing events, and things have changed since I last did something like this. So if it's possible, I will make changes based on your feedback.
You don't need to try to shove it down my throat, just a logically phrased, polite email would suffice, or a post in the relevant forum on the flash esports forums. (yes, right from the start, I created a feedback section for everyone to leave constructive comments)

I hope that this has helped clear up some doubts about why certain decisions were made, and that it would assure every one that I am committed to doing my best to run a perfect event for the greater good of the community.
I also hope to have the continued support of the community for this event and other events which I will be running.

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