Starladder 12 or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Travel and Love the Dota

Before people take the intent of my tweet out of proportion I want to clarify some points about the travel issues at Starladder 12. While Envy has removed these statements from his current blog, I still wanted to speak about some of the workings of doing travel as a manager.

This is from my own point of view.

This tournament was not perfect in regards to travel. The biggest problem was that Starladder should have had more time in between their qualifiers and when the stipends / flights are arranged. Doing this would have prevented a lot of the issues that Envy mentions in his blog. Here’s the timeline:

Travel Timeline

  • April 6th — Last C9 match for Starladder, we qualify for LAN
  • April 8th — Cyborgmatt and I reached out to Starladder looking for an increase in stipend because we are sending people from North America
  • April 14th — I received the final info on stipends from Starladder, I also ask if it is possible to travel a day earlier.
  • April 15th — Andrey confirms that we can arrive a day earlier than planned, I book flights for the players to travel to Bucharest.
  • April 22nd — The entire C9 squad arrives in Bucharest
  • April 23rd — We transfer to the last hotel and participate in the tournament
  • April 27th — Everyone’s flights are booked and they travel home

This timeline to organize travel for a tournament, from a manager’s perspective, is sub-optimal. I want to be booking players much earlier than this and having a short period of time makes it more expensive and difficult to manage problems if they arise. In the future tournaments should be aiming to have qualifiers played earlier to allow more time for travel and planning once teams have qualified.

The Cloud 9 team wanted to arrive a few days earlier to the event so I reached out to Starladder about coming a couple days earlier to the event. Starladder immediately contacted the DreamhackRO guys and informed me that coming a day early would be possible but we would have to stay at another hotel for one day. We agreed so they booked us at the Golden Tulip on the 22nd and we transferred the next day to the InterContinental, where we remained until the end of the tournament. I know that Team Secret had issues when checking in but I want to believe that fell to unfortunate circumstances rather than an overall problem.

The team was aware of the stipend when we accepted the tournament and I was very happy that Starladder raised the stipend for us as it would have been difficult to attend the tournament with the original stipend. I 100% agree with Envy that it should have been made more clear that it was hotel and flights were included in the stipend. This falls into a misunderstanding in communication and assumptions. From my perspective, when the travel was discussed, I was under the impression that stipend was for just flights because the hotels were being booked by Starladder. At previous events that I have attended, when an tournament organizer has provided a booking for a hotel, it meant the hotel was covered. Charlie informed me that in the past Starladder travel budget means flights/hotels, which I learned only a few days before the tournament.

This is the first Starladder I had booked for the team (We did not participate in SL11 and I only managed the team last minute for SL10) and my personal view was that it was a misunderstanding, not someone trying to hide information from me. The people I deal with at Starladder such as Andrey and v1lat are people I would describe as people who want to grow Dota, not break it down.

I hope this explained some of the details of the travel process that happened for SL12 and my thoughts on the issues, but also the good stuff. Nobody is perfect, but let’s all work to take this as a learning experience and move forward to improve!

tl;dr — It wasn’t perfect but it was still a good tournament. I agree with with Envy on some points but I hope my thoughts and information shed some light on specific details of the travel for Starladder 12.

Thanks for making it through this blog, hope I hit all the big topics about travel. Please be sure to give me feedback as I am a bit out of my element! Be sure to check out my photo blog which I will be releasing soon.

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