With the advent of internet cafes in the early 20’s here in the Philippines also came the prominence of computer gaming. A lot of games has been played in our gaming culture, but one game prominently sticks out; Defense of the Ancient (DotA).
Both gamers and non-gamers should be familiar on how influential this game has been to our country. It has garnered many local tournaments, and produced many local professional teams over the years. But despite the huge popularity of the game here, the international community seems to have turned a blind eye on us – at least not until this 2016.
Dota2 (a continuation of the popular mod Defense of the Ancient) was developed and released by Valve this 2013. With Valve’s involvement into the game also comes the introduction of huge international tournaments. One of their more recent tournaments are the Majors, which was first done in Frankfurt, Shanghai, and surprisingly, here in Manila.
The 4 seasonal events, with the Major events in fall, winter and spring, followed by The International Tournament this summer, which is the biggest Dota2 tournament hosted by Valve
The three events corresponds to the 3 seasons: Fall, Winter and Spring. Hence they can be called Fall Major, Winter Major, and Spring Major (though ironically we don’t have spring here). And with the introduction of the tournament here in Manila comes the opportunity for us Filipinos to participate in one of Valve’s finest events.
Isometric view of the tournament stages and analyst panel in the Manila Majors tournament at Mall of Asia arena in Manila, Philippines
For those unfamiliar with Valve’s tournaments, this events are HUGE. The whole tournament spanned from June 7 to 12, with a price pool of 3 million US dollars (yes, dollars – and that’s just for the price money). Production of the event was also world-class, as to be expected of an international tournament garnering such prestige. The event was presented by PGL, a veteran in organizing e-sport leagues. Needless to say, they did their job splendidly.
The event took place at the Mall of Asia arena, with the tournament beginning at 10 am for all tournament days. Most of the known e-sport celebrities of the game were present in the event, such as pro gamers and analysts/commentators.
Analysts table for both English and Chinese broadcasters. Russian broadcasters were also present at the event.
The tournament players – MVP.Phoenix and LGD Gaming along with the Manila Majors throphy
One of the major sponsor of the event was ASUS, which has its own booth stationed at the 2nd floor of the arena.
ASUS Banner near their booth outside the tournament stages in the Mall of Asia arena
The booth shows some of the brand’s finest gaming offerings, such as a curved gaming monitor, a gaming router, and the ROG GL522 gaming laptop (will cover more of these products in a separate blog to-follow).
As with the popularity of the event, the arena is expectably jam-packed. By afternoon, the arena was already filled with people participating in different activities outside the tournament games.
Hundreds of people line up for a chance to meet-and-greet Natus Vincere, a popular team participating in the Manila Majors. This is actually just one line – which spanned so long along the arena that it looked like there were two.
Meet-and-greet as well as photoshoot with team Natus Vincere, one of the most popular Dota2 teams in the whole world (think Real Madrid C.F. in gaming community standards)
Some of the activities outside of the tournament are showcases from the ASUS booth, cosplay tournament and picture taking, and meet-and-greet photoshoot with renowned e-sport teams/players or analysts/commentators.
Still, the main excitement of the event comes with the official tournament. To show the hype of the Filipino crowd, here’s a video of the near-end match between teams OG and Newbee for a spot in the tournament finals.
The international community are also quickly taking note of the high energy the Filipino crowd is giving. And that is a very good thing. For one, we will no longer be left in the dark as more international events may be hosted in our country (which also leads to more jobs, tourism and revenues).
On the other side, this also shows that big events like these are a profitable in our country, with thousands of people participating (and paying – which is what’s important for corporate executives).
The Manila Major event is an eye-opener to the international community, not JUST for e-sports, but also in general aspect, that our country, as hosts, delivers in terms of hype and participation.
We can only hope (with optimism) that more events like these will be hosted in our country in the foreseeable future..