ESL and DreamHack have carved out a niche in Dota 2 with their clean and professional events. Beyond the Summit has done the same with more casual tournaments. But newer contender WePlay Esports has taken a different approach, putting on some of the biggest shows in esports and doing so with great flair.
Events such as Omega League and WePlay Mad Moon have stood out based on their elaborate stages and set designs. But how do those events come together? And what happens after? WIN.gg spoke with WePlay's Maksym Bilonogov to discuss the before and after of these extravagant events.
WIN.gg: WePlay Esports' stage designs have consistently caught the eyes of fans. What does it take to set up something like what was seen at the AniMajor?
Maksym Bilonogov, WePlay: When we found out that our team would be hosting the major we were holding another event at the WePlay Esports Arena Kyiv, the WePlay Ultimate Fighting League Season 1. The moment the awarding ceremony was over and the last scene was filmed, we started constructing the stages for WePlay AniMajor.
It took us a little more than a month to develop all the sets. The most attentive fans noticed that some stage elements were already used before for WePlay Dragon Temple, our first fighting game tournament. It’s hard to say how much time and effort it would take if we had to do everything from scratch.
The Juggernaut and Monkey King statues are safe and sound, we take good care of the results of our work. Maybe one day they will be used once again for another event.
What was the inspiration for the AniMajor?
Esports and anime cultures are intertwined and complement each other to some extent. It’s hard to tell how many games were created based on anime series. The community loves both of these worlds, so we just decided to bring that to the forefront during WePlay AniMajor.
What about other events? WePlay Esports has had a wide variety of themes ranging from ancient Rome to cyberpunk. How did you come up with them?
The process of searching for and developing tournament concepts is not limited by the event time frames. Our team is constantly on the lookout for new ideas that could potentially be interesting to the community. The main thing is not to set any limits for yourself and your imagination. Creativity takes courage.
Do you have any interesting or funny stories related to the setup or removal of your stages?
The whole [AniMajor] event was funny. We enjoyed how the teams engaged with the setting. The very moment they saw the arena, they started to reach out with ideas like “Oh, we’ve bought headbands from Naruto, can we wear them during the games?”
Some wanted to cosplay characters. Just have a look at that amazing Naruto run to the stage by Team Spirit. They would discuss their favorite series and debate amongst themselves on who is the best waifu. It was as if someone just told them that there was no need to hide their interest in anime anymore.
The big question for Dota 2 fans and pros right now is what’s happening with The International 2021. Have you talked with Valve about the possibility of bringing the event to your studios?
For now, there is no secret to reveal around The International 2021. The tournament will take place this year and will be held in Romania. It’s definitely going to be a tremendous event and a spectacular show for all of the Dota 2 community. From our side, WePlay Esports was always ready to help in hosting TI10, either in whole or in part.