The Kiev Major, the second and final major of the Dota 2 season before the next International (Dota 2’s world cup), is facing a raft of problems. Travel issues, ticket scalpers, and changing dates are dredging up ghosts of majors past.
In December, it was announced that the Kiev Major would take place from April 20–23. Last week Valve pushed it back to April 27-30 to “help reduce potential conflicts with other tournaments.” That other tournament is the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017, whose main event takes place from April 1–4. The original three weeks in-between the two events sounds like plenty of time, until you take into account that every major has both open and regional qualifiers that take up at least a week, as well as travel time.
Kiev, Ukraine, is a prime location for a Dota major, given Eastern Europe’s long history with the game. Popular players like Natus Vincere’s Danil “Dendi” Ishutin and the entire Virtus.Pro lineup hail from the region, and part of Dota’s hazing phase is learning to recognize certain Russian phrases in pub games. Russians in particular are having a tough time making it to the major, though.
A recent reddit post from a Russian fan wanting to attend the Kiev Major highlights the issue. The current military stalemate between Russia and Ukraine prevents most people from crossing the border into Ukraine, whether by plane or car. The U.S. State Department describes the situation in Ukraine as “unpredictable” and warns that it “could change quickly.” Some posts from Ukrainian Dota fans have tried to quell those worries, but the travel issues persist, especially for Russian fans eager to attend a major close to their homes.
Ticket scalpers are also running rampant. On the day tickets went live, fans on social media and subreddits reported being unable to even see a ticket purchase screen, much less able to reserve seats. Kiev Major tickets are currently selling on OLX, a reseller site, for 300 percent markup, after much of the initial batch was snatched up. There seems to have been no ticket purchase limit, or if there was it was a very high one, enabling the scalpers to corner the market.
This isn’t the first time Valve has had problems hosting a major. Last year’s Shanghai Major had a number of memorable mistakes with both technical and talent issues. From audio issues and match delays to literally firing a host between segments, it’s hard to imagine Kiev’s problems could be worse than Shanghai’s were. Then again, the major is still two months away.