The Dota 2 Shanghai Majors was supposed to be one of Valve’s big three eSports events; complete with a $3 million prize pool. Unfortunately, the group stages ended with the presenter James “2GD” Harding fired – along with the entire production team.
Harding was fired on the second day of what was supposed to be Asia’s biggest Valve sanctioned Dota 2 event for supposedly being “an ass”. The statement came from Valve CEO Gabe Newell himself, who took to Reddit to explain why the presenter was replaced in the middle of an event.
It was later discovered that Harding did not fit the more “professional” approach to Dota 2 that Newell had imagined. This was the result of several off colour jokes involving pornography and masturbation. Harding replied with a rather lengthy document shared through Google Docs explaining his side of the story. Despite this, he claims to have no hard feelings between himself and Valve.
Compounding the issue was the numerous production issues facing the group stage. Technical issues made it difficult for those following the event through the internet, resulting in choppy video and audio problems. Commentators and analysts also found that their microphones would stop working, preventing the audience from hearing what was said. As if to highlight the problems, the production team jumped the gun on the group match between Evil Geniuses and compLexity; declaring a win for EG long before the game actually ended.
The Shanghai Major is currently on a break before the main event begins on 2 March. Malaysian-based team Fnatic has found themselves in a decent position for the main event, and will be playing in the Upper Bracket quarter final against TI5 winner Evil Geniuses. The event will take place on 3 March at 1.30pm local time, which may be an excuse to eat lunch in the office for a change.
With any luck, the replacement production team will be able to sort out the technical problems and the worst of the Shanghai Major is over.