Canadian professional Dota 2 player David “MoonMeander” Tan has stated that he hasn’t earned a dime during two years of playing in Valve’s Dota Pro Circuit tournament structure.
MoonMeander tweeted that his former team Tigers hasn’t paid him for a minor win with the squad or for playing at the Kuala Lumpur Major. He hasn’t received payments from GESC tournament organizers for the last season of play either.
“Tough times to be a Dota 2 professional if you aren’t on top,” Moon said.
It’s not the first time a pro player has complained about the financial situation for players that compete in mid and lower-tier teams in professional Dota 2.
A veteran player Ramus “Chessie” Blomdin has just recently highlighted this issue after spending a number of years playing in North America. Chessie recently returned to his native Europe after leaving former team Complexity, but has since stated that he’s thinking of moving regions again or retiring from competitive Dota 2 altogether if the situation doesn’t change for teams outside of the very top tier of squads.
Peter “ppd” Dager, the captain of Ninjas in Pyjamas, has also shared his opinion that Dota 2 lacks sufficient opportunities for progress for those players who aren’t already on a top-tier team.
Top-tier teams offer players more money and more exposure, which in turn leads to greater stability. As such, these players always ensure themselves the best rosters. This is not something lower-tier teams can currently compete with. The system of open and closed regional qualifiers in the Dota Pro Circuit additionally complicates the issue, since lower-tier teams need to fight against top-tier squads just to earn a spot in a major or minor.
This leaves lower-tier teams with very small earnings potential and without consistent access to international competition. And while Dota 2 positions itself as the highest-grossing esport in all of professional gaming, the reality is that most of the money is focused on one tournament only: The International. And it’s a relatively small number of players who have any real opportunity to compete for the prizes on offer there.