In most esports, Korea is always seen as the big brother compared to other countries. However, why does a country with a strong esports scene like Korea have absolutely no Dota 2?
Korea dominates every game they choose to focus on, from StarCrat, League of Legends, to Overwatch. In 2013, T1 expanded into League of Legends, forming a squad that won 3 World Championships, asserting its position as the best League team of all time, with Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok as the great player. greatest of the game.
But what about Dota 2? Where are the mighty teams of this region? Why do we only hear a few names that appear and disappear from time to time? So where are the Korean tycoons?
This is quite curious because Dota 2 owns a lot of prize money, and countless tournaments are held. But there is something that keeps Dota 2 from expanding and booming in Korea. This article will try to understand the cause and history of Dota development in Korea.
Dota 2 Origins in Korea
When Dota 2 was first released, Valve gave Nexon the right to publish and promote the game in Korea.
But by the time Dota 2 was given the green light, the League of Legends revolution was underway. To compete with the competition, Nexon also offers a ‘compendium’ book for new players and accounts.
Marketing is a must in Korea, but Nexon’s approach hasn’t really helped Dota 2 gain traction. That hasn’t stopped organizations from getting involved, though.
September 2013, MVP owns the first Dota 2 team. Not long after, in November, the organization got its second Dota 2 team. In 2014, Korean Dota League (KDL) officially started. This is the time when Korea is expected to catch up with the world Dota 2 trend.
MVP.Phoenix finished second in Korean Dota League Season 1 and placed 7-8 at StarLadder StarSeries Season IX. They then won the Korean Dota League Season 2. However, the brightest highlight of the team was winning the Wild Card Series spot of The International 4, thanks to the second place in the Southeast Asia TI4 qualifier.
At TI4, MVP.Phoenix completely disappointed, the team came in last place after being defeated by Team Liquid. They only managed to get one win out of five matches.
Although the popularity of Dota 2 in Korea has gradually disappeared, the ray of hope has not gone out. Unfortunately, in December 2015, Nexton shut down the server and Dota was never revived in Korea, unless Valve stepped in or a new party took over the management.
Korean players are forced to join SEA or Chinese servers, but the high ping makes the gaming experience uninteresting.
Never give up
Despite the difficulties and challenges, the players in Korea continued to compete, while the MVP used up to two lineups at the same time.
In 2015, for the first time in history, Korea participated in The International, not just one, but two teams. Both compete under the MVP brand.
With high rankings in domestic tournaments, as well as in Southeast Asia, such as IeSF Asian Championships and Nexon Sponsorship LeagueMVP.Phoenix trains hard to make a splash in the international arena.
MVP.Hot6 includes four new Korean talents and an experienced Finnish player – Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka, a two-time TI champion with OG. The two MVP teams successfully competed together, marking a historic moment when participating in The International for the first time.
While MVP.Hot6 finished last at TI5, MVP.Phoenix ranked 7-8 higher. After that, the organization created an all-Korean squad, bringing together players from two teams.
The team then won multiple titles at LAN tier 1 tournaments and placed 4th at the Singapore Major, 5-6 at the Manila Major. MVP.Phoenix finished the year successfully 5th-6th at TI6.
In 2016, MVP.Phoenix was named at the 2016 Korean esports Award and received the “Best ovseas activity award of the year” award. Although Dota 2 has not had much of an impact on the esports scene in Korea, the MVP organization still dominates the international Dota 2 arena.
This is the second year in a row that the organization has received this honor after its international achievements during the year. Previously, in 2015, this organization received the above award when both lineups, MVP.Phoenix and MVP.Hot6, won the right to attend The International 5.
— e스포츠협회 (KeSPA) (@kespa) November 23, 2016
Second boom chance for Korea?
Korea hasn’t left any mark on Dota since 2016, when the MVP disbanded the Dota 2 roster.
It took 3 more years for Dota 2 activities in Korea to boil again. In August 2019, T1, the Korean tycoon announced his intention to join Dota 2.
T1 then decided to make a breakthrough: developing young talents with a team of three coaches, led by the head coach of three-time League of Legends World Championship champion Choi “cCarter” Byoung- hoon. Despite all efforts and personnel changes, T1 has not been able to bring success. During his first year of playing Dota 2, the best T1 achieved was the top 6 ESL One Thailand 2020: Asia.
It had to wait until the brains of MVP and former TNC Predator coach Park “March” Tae-won signed with T1, as well as allowed to build a new squad from zero, that T1 began to find it. successful.
T1, with March’s support, is clearly a big player in Southeast Asia. Now, T1 is considered the Korean team with the highest ability to write a fairy tale and win the country’s first Aegis shield.
What is enough to revive Dota 2 in Korea?
In Korea, Dota has never been seen as a big game like League of Legends. Despite the huge bounty, nothing could turn the Korean community away from the League. All the attention and success before that wasn’t enough for Valve to want to get their hands on this area on its own.
So, what is enough to revive Dota 2 in Korea and what are the reasons for its failure over the years? In a 2016 interview, Kim “QO” Seon-yeop pondered the following:
“Korean Dota 2 is really dead. Nexon has withdrawn and now there are only a few thousand Dota players left. I think if you play well and win a lot of money, then the media will interview and that might be an opportunity for Dota 2 to be developed in Korea.”
Yongmin “Febby” Kim previously joked that women don’t play Dota 2 as much as League of Legends as the main reason. If girls don’t play much (they prefer cute skins in League) then boys don’t play much either.
GosuGamers has an interview with Lee “Forev” Sang-don for a more serious and clear look at Korea:
GosuGamers: You started playing Dota 2 in 2013 but League was already popular in Korea, so why do you still choose Dota 2 over League?
Forev: Good question! In the past, when I had just finished my military service, the MVP asked me to become a professional Dota 2 player for the organization I played at 2011 AWCG Jakarta. Of course, I used to play both games at the same time, but I prefer Dota 2 due to the deny creeps, hero mechanics that make the game harder.
GosuGamers: When Nexon stopped providing servers and Valve almost gave up on the region in 2015, what motivated you to keep playing?
Forev: Hmm.. Honestly, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the MVP organization. Both MVP teams made it to TI then. They treated us very well, so I was able to keep my Dota career even though the server was gone.
GosuGamers: Did you ever hope that the two MVP representatives at TI5 would help Valve invest as well as Korean players who want to play a lot again?
Forev: Yes! I’m really trying to inspire gamers who have never played Dota. In the end, the former HOTs and League players also wanted to jump to Dota somewhat, but they gave up because Dota took too long to learn everything and adapt.
GosuGamers: Do you think the presence of T1 in Dota 2 will help Korea better?
Forev: Hmm… Not really, we were always short of players, even when Nexon released Dota in Korea. That means no other Korean players will join Dota 2.
GosuGamers: So what’s new to help Dota 2 surpass the popularity of League? Is bringing the server back the solution or is there another way?
Forev: If you ask me about people around the world, I don’t know what will help Dota 2 surpass League. But, I understand what Koreans like at least. Faster game search time, casual gameplay (universal), cute skins and heroes, and a ‘surrender’ system. I believe Koreans will then prefer Dota 2.
The International 10 . Bonus
The total prize money of TI10 is $40,018,195 USD. This money is obtained through crowdfunding and Battle Pass. It increased 2401.14% from the original $1.6 million. Only 25% of the revenue is contributed to the prize money of $153,672,780 that has been put into the game by Dota 2 fans. Last year, The International 9 prize money totaled $34,330,068 (community contribution $32,730,068).
According to gosugamers
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