It’s common to see complaints raised on Twitter or other social media outlets about the hotel accommodations and the setups at LAN tournaments. Professional players often criticize the lack of privacy and quiet areas to practice before playing on the main stage, the lack of comfortable chairs or ambient temperature in the gaming areas, and sub-par computer setups for play. In particular, Jacky “Eternal Envy” Mao has mentioned the tournament rules in regard to bathroom breaks as well as a lack of player – only bathrooms as one of his major issues with these events. Fans, eager to snag an autograph or a photo with their favorite player, often innocuously mob the pros on their way to and from the bathroom, often in between games in a series where the players are in the zone and trying to stay that way.
Another complaint often levied against tournaments is the availability and diversity of food, both within the venue and within the area. Players often travel from their homes to other parts of the world and to places where the readily available foodstuffs are vastly different than what they are used to eating. Should they feel entitled to having their dietary needs catered to by the hosting organization? In some cases, their objections are based on sensitivities or religious obligations. In other cases it’s purely a matter of taste. How far should tournament organizers go to maximize comfort for the participants?
The responsibility of ensuring player comfort falls partly on the shoulders of team managers. They often make emergency runs to pick up supplies, find alternate food, or as seen at DAC, purchase a set of better chairs for the team to use during the event. However, managers cannot purchase five brand new PCs or materialize an extra bathroom on the premises.
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Vitalii “V1lat” Volochai, a well-known Russian commentator and long-time figure in the Dota 2 scene posted a scathing response to a recent article about tournament conditions and complaints on the Cybersports website. The article specifically referenced Eternal Envy’s complaints about ESL Frankfurt. V1lat compared tournament conditions from this past year to what it used to be like to play in LANs when competitive Dota 2 was in its infancy. He cites his experiences sleeping on the floor or have six people in a hotel room during the early days of LANs as reasons why the players who he refers to as “new” on the scene have no reason to complain about the current setups.
His responses have generated a lot of discussion – if conditions were poor a few years ago, does it imply that players should simply be grateful that things have improved and adapt to the unique conditions of each tournament? Many argue that criticism and feedback from players incites change in the tournament logistics, which produces a better environment for the players and by proxy a higher caliber of play and better viewing experience for fans.
With the advent of Valve’s new Majors tournaments, players may begin to expect a higher caliber of accommodations at all LANs. Smaller tournaments may feel pressured to comply with the players’ requests in fear of losing the participation of top tier teams. Where do organizers draw the line between reasonable and outlandish requests? What standards should exist for gaming room set ups, player areas, and catering/hotel accommodations?