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SirActionSlacks: “If I knew how to fix it, I would probably work in Valve right now.” – Interview on the DPC issues and the state of the scene

In the second part of the interview SirActionSlacks discusses the ramifications of the Major cancellation, Arkosh's role in Dota and his own place in the community

Written by Pedro Romero, Community Writer for esports.com.

In the second part of the interview with SirActionSlacks, he goes into length about the cancellation of the first Major event in the 2021-22 DPC season. Not only that, he discusses Arkosh’s role in North American Dota and his own position within the general community.

(Please note that his interview was conducted on January 25.)

On the Winter Major Cancellation

Moving forward, I’d like to cover one of the news that obviously shook the DPC in recent weeks which was the cancellation of the Winter Tour Major. What was your initial reaction upon learning that the cancellation was happening?

It don’t affect us so what do I care? Cool. Neat. I would put N-E-A-T period. But in terms of myself, I don’t know. I had faith that Valve typically operates under very good intentions. They’re robots, you know? They’re robots. They think, ‘This is the most logical thing that we can do,’ and then they say, ‘Oh the humans don’t like this. Oh no. Why don’t they like this?’ Valve is basically Skynet. They end up making the correct decision at the end, but they sometimes fail to factor in the human aspect. That’s how we beat Skynet in the future: with love and friendship. It’s things that robots cannot calculate.

So yes, the initial calculation of ‘Oh no. These humans may want to have some sort of money or esteem for their hard work. Perhaps we should do it for them’ and they came through at the end. I was ready to step in and do a s****y little Major if nothing happened, but the thing about learning AI is that eventually it does learn so we will be having some sort of event and all is well.

I actually wanted to ask about that. You took to Twitter after the announcement about yourself organizing a separate event to make up for the loss of the Major. Sure, I guess it’s now fair to say that it’s gone?

Yes, absolutely. I feel like Valve stepped up and they did what was right. They said ‘We made a mistake. Let’s fix it,’ and then they did it. I mean, who’s gonna show up to my event? In comparison to DPC points, Arkosh Gaming? Nobody gives a s**t. I’m happy for Valve and happy for the community that we get some closure on the first season of the DPC and I’m super excited to see how it turns out.

From those changes, we’re going to see a form of regional finals which will oversee the distribution of prize money and DPC points. What do you think of the changes that will substitute the Winter Major’s cancellation?

I haven’t heard anything official from it or did they do a blog post yet? Probably but, I mean, neat. Cool. I think we all know what really matters is this LAN event where different teams from different regions can take all the stuff that they’ve learned in pubs and apply it on the grand global scale. It’s a band-aid fix for now to have regionals but Undying beating Arkosh does not mean anything when it comes to the TI scale. I just hope that they’re getting something in the future that’s actually more sustainable. That’s because I don’t feel like the problems with COVID are going anywhere and it’s going to be a long time till we have some sick LANs.

That sort of substitution was made as a result of the public’s upheaval regarding how the news of the Major’s cancellation was relayed to not only them but the teams also. For Valve to make these regional tournaments, do you think it’s a step in the right direction with respect to addressing the fans and the players’ grievances of the DPC?

Yeah. I think that Valve is extremely reactionary. They kind of do what they want to do and then when people have issues then they fix them. I think that this system stifles innovation but it does have some positives and at least shows they’re listening. Overall, having the community come together and say they wanted something and then Valve says that they heard them, not a lot of companies would do that.

I know it’s pretty rad to hate on Valve these days, but I think that’s pretty cool. If we were in a different esport with a different dev, I think a lot of this stuff would be like ‘You’re banned from future events,’ rather than ‘Okay, we hear you and we’re gonna fix it.’ There’s a lot of passionate people over there that are very passionate about Dota and esports and everybody sometimes makes mistakes, but making mistakes is the best way that we learn in life. By doing something okay and not making a mistake, you never get better at it so as long as mistakes are fixed, then everybody’s happy. I like where it turned out and I think it’s fine.

This sort of reactionary fixes in response to the fervor that the fans displayed to the cancellation follows a trend of Valve leaving players and teams in the dark regarding the DPC for an exorbitant amount of time. Quinn of QCY described this as being “stuck in an airlock” with other teams where they fight for “crumbs of food” whenever Valve scarcely opens it. Why do you think it has been difficult for them to properly communicate with teams about DPC news in an orderly fashion?

 I think that devs are a lot like geopolitical governing styles, right? I mean, the grass is always greener. I’ve said for a long time that the Dota ecosystem, especially with Valve, is a lot like capitalistic America. The best will rise, a lot of people will suffer, but in the end, whoever has the best product, the best teams, and the best players will go on and become the 1%. That’s an ecosystem that some people absolutely despise. That’s an ecosystem that some people really enjoy and I think that a lot of the players have issue with this hyper capitalistic 1% society and yet they still want to be in that 1%. There have to be losers in capitalism. It sucks but that’s the sad truth of it.

But the grass is always greener, bro. You can have it different. You can have utmost communication. You can have an Overwatch League. Head on over to North Korea, over at Blizzard where every single decision that you make is made for you. You want to talk about something? You have a script in front of you. You want to play? You play every single week, every single day no matter where you are tied to your team.

All these different dev companies (Blizzard, Microsoft, Valve) have different ways of governing their systems and it is very kind of ‘pick and choose’ and you’re just kind of stuck to where you’re at. But just because there’s faults in Valve’s system doesn’t mean that it’s the worst system. There are just way worse things out there and if you want to survive in that as a pro gamer, I’m sorry if this sounds hurtful but you can switch games. You can go to Valorant. You could be in the back pocket of Riot and Tencent and live this miserable life of slavery. Or you can fight in this capitalistic, nightmarish society. None of it is good, but if it was easy, how rewarding would it be?

So the good thing about us though is, unlike the American government, Valve actually listens to us and actively tries to change things when the time comes (like my student loan debt). *laughs* What I’m saying is that the grass is greener but complaining about stuff and trying to communicate with stuff is what gets things done and that’s always good. I have no ill will for Quinn or anyone else. In fact, I fully support them. I just think that this system is very much designed around competing parties trying to come up with a solution in order to all arrive at the same goal. It’s not that bad. Communication could be better. Proactive is always better than reactive.

One of the reasons we probably have such a great game is because of this reactive system because they’re too busy doing other things. Aghanim’s Labyrinth is a fantastic game mode that has reinvigorated Dota and had more viewers and players in it than we’ve seen in the last three years. Valve does not have the Dota company. It’s like a select group of people that are working on all aspects of Dota. Could this change? Could they actually have an esports manager? Absolutely. But that takes time, effort, and money and why lose money when you could just make money and once in a while fix some s**t. That’s my personal interpretation by the way.

A match at TI10 (Image Credits: Valve)
A match at TI10 (Image Credits: Valve)

You mentioned the administrative adjustments that Valve could do to prevent another similar instance from happening again, so how would you fix it?

If I knew how to fix it, I would probably work in Valve right now, bro. I don’t know, man. Players are iffy. if you’re not the top tier player, if you’re not the 1%, of course you want the prize pool distributed differently. What’s the point of giving all of the money to the Jeff Bezos of Dota to make them even richer?

However, if you’re the Jeff Bezos of Dota, if you’re Puppey, iceiceice, or RTZ, if you have a legitimate chance of getting that piece of the pie, why in God’s name would you want to spread it out? I think it would take some very utilitarian top players to come out and say, ‘Yeah, make the prize pool smaller.’

If Team Secret comes out and they’re like, Yes, separate the TI prize pool, man. It doesn’t matter to us. We care about the future of Dota,’ then it’s possible. But as a community, you’re only seeing the front end of it. You’re only seeing the vocal guys that are like, ‘I want it to change so that the scene can flourish.’ Would they have the same opinion if they were Top 1 in EU with a very real shot to make $12 million? Probably not.

It’s a very complicated issue and our identity as Dota players are ‘we are the best,’ and that comes to not only our game but from our esport event The International. ‘We are the best because we have the biggest prize pool.’ If you distribute that and make it less, does that take away from the integral part of our identity? I don’t know. These are questions that are very complicated and hard to answer and these are questions that I don’t give a s**t about because I want to make a YouTube video. So I don’t know, man. Jesus. They should hire somebody for that s**t. Not me though. I don’t want to do it. Sounds like a lot of math. No thank you.

Which role suits Arkosh? Which role suits SirActionSlacks?

SirActionSlacks at TI
SirActionSlacks at TI (Image Credits: Valve)

There was an article written by GosuGamers who presented the question of whether Arkosh was the protagonist or antagonist of NA Dota. Which role is more appropriate to describe Arkosh?

That’s a complicated question, man, I don’t know. It depends from person to person. That’s the fun of it, right? To some eyes, we’re evil by bringing only unwanted and mocking attention to an esports scene that desperately needs to be taken seriously. To others, were shining heroes that bring eyes to a scene that they wouldn’t have given a s**t about. I don’t know. Whether it’s to be vilified or to be praised, it doesn’t really matter. The boys do what they want to do and in our hearts, we all think that we’re doing the right thing. And when the moment comes that it doesn’t seem like we are doing the right thing, I think that we will not do it any longer.

 

If we look at competitive Dota as a WWE show and there’s a heel and a face, which side would Arkosh be in right now?

Well, if you want to quote WWE, it changes all the time. The Rock was a heel. Do you think The Rock is a heel right now? Heels come, heels go and storylines change. It’s hard to say. Am I a good guy? Are you a good guy? I don’t know. Today yes, maybe tomorrow no. I like to push old people sometimes. Who knows? S**t gets crazy but it’s hard to answer that question.

I think that life and circumstances do certainly change stuff. When some of our players you know are accused of smurfing and s**t, that’s a heel day. That’s not under my control. I’ve been trying to get rid of that player for two years now. Some days we’re heroes. It’s a moral gray zone, you know? EG no though. Those guys are evil though. One hundred percent evil there. There’s no gray there. Just legitimate villains. Evil Geniuses is their name. Am I the only one who notices this s**t? You think we’re the heels? They have literally evil in their name, guys. Evil!

 

This comes from a manager whose team has a goat skull in its logo.

Yeah. You know what Arkosh means in the demonic Dota 2 language? it’s a real language. It’s fully written. There’s a dictionary on the wiki. Arkosh means love so look at you. Don’t you have egg on your face? Arkosh means love. Shame on you.

 

Love Gaming. I’ll make sure to research this as soon as the interview is done. (NOTE: After subsequent days of research, I found that there’s no correlation between Arkosh and love.)

I’m not sure if it’s accurate. I don’t remember what it means but it means love to me.

 

Anyway, this is sort of the same question, but more directed towards you. How do you view yourself within this region’s community. Take away your responsibility as Arkosh’s manager/coach. As a protagonist, side character, deuteragonist, or antagonist?

God, I don’t want to think about stuff like that. What kind of psychotic person would think about where they fit in in the grand scheme of things like it was an anime? This isn’t Naruto, bro. We’re all in this together. All of us are desperately begging Valve to not let the game die because they feel like making a Nintendo Switch 3. We’re all in this.

I don’t consider myself a player. I consider myself as a s**t poster on Reddit that has more sway sometimes than others and knows Purge. I don’t consider myself anything. The main person that believes themselves to be the “I am esports” of Dota 2 needs to take a Goddamn chill pill. That’s how I see myself. Just another man who has a very annoying voice and that’s it.

 

I think that about wraps up all of my questions. Well, thank you so much, Slacks, for taking the time and answering as best as you could. Do you have any words to say?

Please check out SUNSfan’s new game Project Horse. It’s a custom game. Eight people have downloaded it. It’s super, super cool. Check it out. Really bother him. Tweet at SUNSfan and say, ‘Can I get invited to your custom game?’ He is not ready in any fashion to have any advertising for this game so I really want you to blow him out of the water. Just ruin this project immediately before it even gets started. He asked me not to tell anybody about it but this is the biggest platform I can find where I can just ruin his entire investment right here.

 

Thank you so much, Slacks. 

TSM just signed Undying five minutes ago.

 

 

Really!? I literally didn’t know about this since I was focused on conducting the interview. Any initial reactions?

I’m not here to take any credit but it’s 100% Arkosh Gaming’s fault. Us making them look good got them TSM so there you go. You’re welcome, Undying. I’m glad we made you look good. Enjoy all the money.


This interview was conducted and transcribed by Pedro Romero, Community Writer for esports.com.

Freelance writer with approximately three years of experience. Worked for numerous outlets including esports.com while covering League of Legends, Valorant, and Dota 2. Currently at Bronze I in NA LoL solo-queue.

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