Dota 2 Shanghai Major host James ‘2GD’ Harding releases huge official statement

Shanghai Major James

Update 2 Feb 27, 2016: James Harding has released his own statement regarding what happened in Shanghai and at previous Valve events.

A few hours ago, James ‘2GD’ Harding, who hosted day one of the Dota 2 Shanghai Major before being removed from that position halfway through day two by Valve, released his official statement. It’s just under 7,000 words long and covers not only events at the Shanghai Major, but things that happened in years previous he believes lead to those events.

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You can read the whole thing in a Google doc, which was posted to Reddit. This post also contains various mirrors should the original be taken down, become inaccessible or if you can’t access GDocs from your current network. Normally I’d provide some sort of summary myself, but the amount of info is far too large to do so easily, I’d recommend just taking your time for the whole thing if you’re interested.

Day 3 of the event itself is continuing at the stream embedded below.

Update:Gabe Newell has posted on Reddit to say that both James ‘2GD’ Harding and the production company have been fired from the Shanghai Major.

Gabe Newell does not often show up on Reddit personally, particularly the gaming sections. Last time he did was during the paid mods disaster last year. The problems and reaction to developments at the Shanghai Major was enough to bring him out of hiding and, oh boy, did he have a post to make.

Posting under the same account that has been verified as him before, Newell made the following post, titled ‘Update from the Shanghai Major’:

“Two things:

1) James. We’ve had issues with James at previous events. Some Valve people lobbied to bring him back for Shanghai, feeling that he deserved another chance. That was a mistake. James is an ass, and we won’t be working with him again.

2) As long as we’re firing people, we are also firing the production company that we’ve been working with on the Shanghai Major. They will be replaced, and we hope to get this turned around before the main event.

As always, I can be reached at [email protected].


So. That happened. His only other post has been to say that those questioning his identity can e-mail to confirm. Harding also replied to Gabe’s thread.

Let’s be clear here, Valve are very rare to even attempt official communication with Dota 2’s players and fans. The most they’ll get is the odd post on the official Dota 2 site, a 30 second speech from Newell at the start of the International, and the odd cheer on Twitter during a major event. Even in companies thatdo regularly interact with their eSports communities, the actual CEO going to somewhere like Reddit and posting quite so bluntly about the situation – even rarer.

We’ll have more if and when it happens, but folks on the scene are reporting that the lack of production staff means no panel – just a commentary audio stream. Here’s where it will all kick off, scheduled for 10 minutes from now:

Original post:While it has so far been asurprising and entertaining tournamentas far as games go, the Dota 2 Shanghai Major is proving once again that production value is not an easy thing to come by. Yesterday’s tournament overran by several hours due to long delays, while today the official streams have been spotty, there have been massive pauses with little information available and the panel host, James ‘2GD’ Harding, has been removed from his position.

On the technical side, the problems are frustratingly familiar. Long pauses due to connection issues and delays in games starting have plagued eSports, particularly Dota 2, for years. The stream has also cut out at several key moments, including for big fights and throughout the early games of key matches. Even the commentary hasn’t managed to stay consistent, with mics cutting out and volume levels being incorrect. A thread on Reddit is hosting most of these complaints, as well as explanations of what’s going wrong from more knowledgable individuals.

Meanwhile, the host of the event, James ‘2GD’ Harding, announced on Twitter that after just a single day in the hotseat he’d been let goand wouldn’t be returning to the broadcast. He was an initially controversial choice for the spot, being well known for an at-best casual style, often bordering on unprofessional. According to Reddit, his final segment involved him ignoring production staff as they told him to go to break, instead attempting to fill dead air with chat from the panel. He later clarified that it was Valve, rather than tournament runners Perfect World, who said he wasn’t allowed back on the show, despite being told to ‘be himself’ before it started.

He’s been replaced byJorien ‘Sheever’ van der Heijden for the remainder of the group stage, it seems, but whether another host will be required for the main event isn’t clear. Paul ‘ReDeYe’ Chaloner, who hosted the The International 2015 and the Frankfurt Major, has tweeted that he isn’t willing to fly out there. Harding says he will make a proper statement later tonightto “clear up the situation.”Meanwhile the community is, to put it lightly,not pleased with his removal from the position.

Meanwhile in the tournament itself, another SEA team is doing surprisingly well in Fnatic after beating Vici Gaming 2-0, but are currently a game down in the deciding match to take the group to favourites Alliance.