Everyone saw an interview. Everyone lost their minds. We’ve heard the many opinions going around the community over the past couple of weeks…so we thought we’d ask the man whose words kicked off this storm in a tea cup.
For those of you who don’t follow Dota or happened to be living under a rock for a while, during their time in Taipei, Taiwan for the MSI Beat IT 2014 Tournament where they gave an amazing performance and narrowly missed making it into the semi-finals; the Bravado Emotion team sat down with joinDOTA for a short chat. During their chat, host Soe Gschwind-Penski asked Doni what the playstyle is like in the South African scene and if there is anything specific we do locally. Doni’s answer blew some people away:
“The South African scene’s just very awful. Right so, not to be rude but they’re just not very skilled so when we play against them we get away with so much. We can do whatever we want and we can mess around and still win the game. Like, tri-lanes lose to one player – it’s something stupid like that. But when we play these teams, you can’t get away with as many things as you’re used to and I think without that experience against good teams, it’s like, you do all the bad…you have all these bad habits that you have against bad teams in South Africa and then you try it here and you’re just like, ‘oh shit’…you can’t win…”
One could say many members of the community were not happy. One would be lying. People were downright pissed off. Here was someone who they held in high regard, along with the rest of his team, seemingly looking down on the entire local community. Nothing is ever that simple though and that’s when we thought we needed to have a chat with Doni and get his side of the story outside of an emotionally charged Facebook comment war.
nAvTV: Before getting into the meat of this scrumptious meal of a conversation and everything. How was the trip to Taiwan? Did you walk away from it thinking of it as an educational experience and proud of how you guys had performed, or a little disappointed?
Doni: It’s one of my dreams to travel around the world, so whenever I get the opportunity I get really excited. As for my experience in Taipei, it wasn’t my favourite place because of the heat, humidity and weird smell – although I really liked the people. I tend to prefer colder weather. Also what the hell, squatting over holes to go to the loo?
My gaming experience was great, we didn’t go to Taipei with the mindset of doing particularly well because of the strong teams we were going to face. That all changed when we practised for about 2 days at an internet café. “Wired gaming”, a skilled team also competing, scrimmed against us and help us out a lot. Managing to defeat them in a best of 3 at the café gave us new found hope to do well in the tournament.
I think we performed better than we expected. The teams at the event were really skilled and consisted of experienced players (something we lack). After being knocked out by immunity I couldn’t help but feel extremely sad and disappointed in myself due to my own poor individual performance at the event.
nAvTV: Who was, without a doubt, the most interesting player you got the chance to meet?
Doni: I didn’t really communicate with many of the players but from the ones I did, the Lebanese (wired gaming) guys were really awesome people, they were just genuinely kind. As for interesting situations, at about 7 am in the morning – coming back from a club – me and Leon(flarez) somehow ended up talking to Fogged and Korok from Na`Vi.US outside the hotel. I’m pretty sure we called Korok an asshole multiple times for saying we had ebola (he didn’t actually), it was pretty funny and both sides knew it was a joke.
nAvTV: Now clearing the air. As most people know, you gave quite the controversial answer during your team interview at the MSI Beat It tournament in Taiwan. There seems to be a split in how people feel about it. They either feel you were being an “egotistical douchebag”, or, simply caught out with some bad phrasing. How do you feel about the “discussions” that have gone on in the past few days over it all?
Doni: I’m not awfully surprised. The South African scene is plagued with players who think they’re way better than they are. Coupled with that, they have toxic attitudes most of the time. Although I didn’t mean it as a direct insult, I meant it as a whole – including me. Our scene isn’t very skilled and top players of South Africa are average compared to the world.
nAvTV: Do you think the sensitivity people seem to have over the issue points to a greater issue the Dota community has when it comes to encouraging skill growth and the player base?
Doni: Yes, I firmly believe that the only way you’re going to improve at anything is to realise that you’re bad at it. Many South Africans Dota2 players seem to be struggling with this step.
nAvTV: With all that in mind, if you had to start playing Dota today, would you stick it out and continue or has there been a shift in the general attitude since you started out that would put you off?
Doni: I played tons of computer games from a young age, Dota is just one of them that stuck. Obviously I started off playing casually, but I was drawn into the competitive side. During my Dota career I’ve gotten to meet many amazing people that I wouldn’t have outside of gaming. The emotions felt when you lose with your team and when you win with your team just makes all the practising worth it in the end.
nAvTV: How do you stay grounded, with so many people looking up to you as an example of where you can go in eSport, even in SA?
Doni: Haha, I’m not so sure about people looking up to me. I don’t really like to bother myself with things other than actually playing the game (except when I get baited in).
nAvTV: Do you feel it’s fair for people to have expectations of players at your and your teams level in the local scene to almost be a kind of “role model” ?
Doni: Well, my teammates have a passion for Dota but we all also have other commitments such as family, girlfriends (ginnypls), university, friends. So it’s hard for people to expect extremely professional behaviour from us, if we are only playing “casually”. This doesn’t mean we can run around causing havoc, but It should definitely make people expect less.[divider]
Well there you have it kids. A huge thanks to Doni for taking the time out to answer all our questions, especially during exams.
You can find out more about Doni and the rest of the Bravado Emotion team over at the Bravado Gaming website: http://bravadogaming.com/
He also hosts the nAvTV podcast and this here website is his domain.