Banner image credit: PBA
If you haven't been following the recent whirlwind of negative headlines that have followed Malaysian company Fallout Gaming's upcoming Galaxy Battles II Dota 2 major, here's as short of a summary as we can give you:
- Valve stripped Galaxy Battles of its Major status, removing it from the Dota 2 Pro Circuit. READ MORE
- The public speculated that this is because of participating teams' disagreement with the Games and Amusement Board's mandatory drug tests for accredited sporting events in the Philippines. Note that Valve never mentioned drug testing in their statement.
- In response to the widespread conversation online, the Games and Amusement Board clarified some facts about their drug testing regulations and procedures. READ MORE
- Participating teams started to withdraw from Galaxy Battles on the grounds that its removal from the Dota 2 Pro Circuit makes it a non-priority for TI-bound teams. READ MORE
- Galaxy Battles II management released a statement that the tournament will still occur. READ MORE
Now you're all caught up.
Currently, public opinion is on the side of Fallout Gaming after their Facebook press release. The Galaxy Battles management, after all, has gallantly accepted Valve's decision even going so far as to "encourage teams and its individual members to abide by the laws of every country they are competing at" and work hard to "promote a stronger and healthier gaming community". All well and good, for a press release.
If you are a more discerning observer of the local esports scene, however, you'll be aware of the larger context behind all the drama that surrounds Fallout Gaming and their divisive Galaxy Battles II tournament. You would, for example, remember that it was only months ago that Fallout Gaming was involved in a controversy surrounding ZenoCF, alongside TNC (and we published Fallout Gaming's response to that here).
RELATED: ZenoCF Accused of Fraud
Just a week before that, Fallout Gaming was also involved with a failed event in the Red Bull Coliseum Season 2 fiasco in the Sunway Pyramid mall in Malaysia. It, too, was an esports event that had to be shut down and moved to another venue which Fallout Gaming first claimed was because of "recurring technical issues", but then later admitted was also because local officials stopped the event because of a miscommunication regarding permits. Fallout Gaming's eventual change in excuse seems to have been, in some part, encouraged by several Malaysian esports journalists speaking out against the event. This isn't even counting yet the numerous complaints of teams and players about Fallout Gaming's management leading up to and during the event.
This isn't even the whole story yet with Fallout Gaming. Now-familiar allegations of mismanagement and fraud also surround Fallout Gaming's Major All Stars event in Kuala Lumpur from 2015, where they failed to pay Invictus Gaming, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Natus Vincere for more than a full year after the event, among other complaints about the event itself.
Suffice it to say that when the shit hit the fan recently with Galaxy Battles II, it was more a confirmation of many people's expectations for the event rather than a shock. If anything, the biggest surprise was that Valve took any action at all after the community at large had already wondered for months how an organization with such a poor track record for events managed to secure a much-coveted spot in the new Dota 2 Pro Circuit. There was never even a need for Valve to remove Galaxy Battle's Major status for teams to have several reasons to doubt the integrity of the tournament.
And yet, here we are, with history essentially repeating itself but the Filipino esports audience is more angry at Valve and the Games and Amusement Board than at Fallout Gaming.
On the one hand, you have Valve, the primary stakeholder in all things to do with Dota 2, finally taking action to protect its teams and players from a potentially disastrous tournament that could sully what it means to be a Dota 2 Major. On the other hand, there is the Games and Amusement Board who are only trying to uphold their government-mandated task of ensuring professionalism and fairness in all accredited competitions.
Somehow, escaping the blame, is the event organizer with the terrible history of mismanaging esports events and getting away with it. Historical revisionism at its finest.
Here are, for example, some details about Galaxy Battles that the public audience seems to have forgotten, or set aside in the wake of this recent drama:
- The fact that the original promises of Fallout Gaming regarding Galaxy Battles involved a Dota-themed "activities ground" and an open-air concert with top international artists. Those plans seem to have vanished into thin air and are no longer being promoted.
- The GAB has been transparent about their drug testing and other accreditation requirements for events ever since they pledged support for esports July of last year. Was Fallout Gaming negligent in not finding this out, or in failing to communicate this to the teams?
- The problems that ticket holders will encounter are not so easily fixed with just the promise that "the show will go on". VIP ticket holders, for example, bought their tickets with the expectation that they will get exclusive autograph and photography sessions with their favorite teams, which likely include the top contenders that have already backed out of the tournament. We are curious to see how this will be refunded by Fallout Gaming.
This whole issue cannot be GAB's fault because they are simply executing their mandate to set a standard for professionalism in official events. It is also not Valve's fault or the teams' faults because some things illegal here are legal in other countries. In fact, no team has even mentioned drug testing as their reason for backing out -- they simply have better things to do than to participate in a tournament that has no bearing on their long-term goals.
The issue is that the event organizers did not communicate the event's requirements to the teams with enough time for them to comply with the Philippines' laws, much as the teams might have been willing to.
It's not GAB's fault, Valve's fault, or the teams' faults. Fallout Gaming should not be allowed to get away with their mismanagement of Galaxy Battles, and the damage they've done to Philippine esports.
It is regrettable the current conversation has turned towards disparaging Philippine esports and professional teams when most of these issues were caused by the event organizers. If history repeats itself again, and Galaxy Battles turns out to be another embarrassing event for Fallout Gaming, the name of Philippine esports will be dragged down with it and our track record of imperfect but still incredible Dota 2 events forever tarnished with one that even the players themselves didn't want to attend. Should that ever happen, we sincerely hope that this time, incompetent organizers are made accountable.
We have reached out to Fallout Gaming and several teams, and will update the public accordingly should they respond.