by Sören ‘Fantasy’ Vendsahm
A cold trip to Shanghai in the middle of February. One of the most expensive hotels in the city is playing host to a Dota 2 tournament. Once more compLexity Gaming is part of a Valve tournament, but this time in China.
Technical issues come with the territory. Especially on the first few days, Dota players have to fight to improve their conditions. The first glaring thing was the 60hz monitors in the practice rooms, which Handsken commented about on Twitter. Those visual issues weren’t the only ones, as jackhammers and other hotel construction noise caused some audio difficulties. Adding the language barrier on the Chinese computers, three major issues have surfaced so far. Chinese Windows installed, Chinese keyboard overlay at first – lots of symbols with no meaning to the international teams.
The hotel where players are staying for The Shanghai Major
Besides that the hotel is beautiful, modern and high-class. Sophisticated, even – something that Limmp would not say about the quality of the Chinese pubs. As one of the few coL players brave the queues on this journey he experienced plenty turbulence, causing mild hints of rage aimed at his keyboard.
To cool off after a frustrating prep time the entire team had to take a trip to the photoshoot location around 30 minutes away from the hotel complex. The swagbus stopped straight in front of the hotel, everyone entered and the entertaining journey through Shanghai’s street began. During the ride the team was in high spirit, listening and singing along to the tunes blasting out of ZfreeK’s tablet. The sing-along reached it’s high point, literally, when part of the crew tried to reach the high note of a-ha’s classic “Take on me”. None of the vocal acrobats could really match Morten Harket’s performance in the original – and it wasn’t for the lack of trying.
coL.Acapella they are not.
Once the bus stopped and unloaded the North American and Swedish cargo, the crew stood in front of what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse in the middle of nowhere. Walking into the warehouse didn’t help that feeling either, as they walked into a pitch black room with only one spotlight shining on two Vici Gaming players. Eventually the lights were turned on again, so the compLexity Gaming part of the photoshoot and media day could start.
At first it was all fairly common and normal, similar to the procedure that swindlez and ZfreeK went through at The International. Getting their makeup done, posing for shots, being interviewed – all straight forward, all standard.
Swindlezz preparing to “Blue Steel” his way through the shoot.
The challenging part was the motion shots. As the first up Zfreek got his done without much trouble – after that it was just mayhem. Something was due to the language barrier – the film crew did not speak or understand English – the other fatal flaw was the inability of some to keep a straight face. Chessie and his “sit-down thinker pose” started it all. Comments from the resident peanut gallery did not help as the rest of the team made their smartass remarks. Especially captain swindlezz was asking for more from his squad with rather colorful metaphors. “Be a proud peacock!” was his motivation for Limmp. “Look angry, you are an angry mama bear who’s protecting her cubs!” was his motivation for Zfreek during the shoot.
Once the master itself had to do his pose though, the real issues started. The captain himself, the master of motivational speeches couldn’t really keep a straight face during his acting job. So the task of walking a few steps towards the camera and then doing hand motions like he was playing a game of Dota required plenty of takes. At some point the coL team had to turn around and not look, containing their giggles so that swindlezzz could go through with it. The successful take was also in jeopardy, as the facial expression of the team captain once more was very close to cracking. The moment he couldn’t control it anymore, thankfully the director yelled “CUT” and the misery was over.
Back in black.
Once it was all set and done, only Shanghai rush hour was kept the squad from the hotel, dinner and recharging the batteries. An exciting Day 1 of the Shanghai Major is in the books, not with much practice or Dota 2 action, but still with a lot of fun experiences. Tomorrow, once all the hardware issues are fixed, Chinese windows is overcome and the monitors are replaced, the scrim action against the best teams in the world will start – getting ready for the big showdown with Evil Geniuses, Virtus.Pro and Team Liquid on Sunday.