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Long Form

EternalEnvy writes ‘A Secret Story’; spills Team Secret financial misconducts, says Puppey was egotistical, aggressive

Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao wrote a lengthy blog post on his organization Team NP‘s website, accusing his former squad Team Secret of taking 10% pay cuts out of initial agreements, delayed issuing of payments, and even using sponsorship revenue for the leisure of certain players/organization owners.

Payout Plights

In the first part of his 7400-plus-long blog post entitled A Secret StoryEternalEnvy opened up and claimed that Team Secret would often pay their promised tournament winnings too late. He also showed screenshots of his conversations with Kemal Sadikoglu (Team Secret‘s director since April 2015) that supports his claims, and that whenever he asks for an update regarding his salaries and payments — including the details of prize breakdown, etc. — they would often make many excuses. “Excuse, after excuse, without ever taking any blame,” he wrote. “Worse off, when I confronted Kemal about the Epicenter payment delays, he claims that he “doesn’t know” why and that Epicenter said they will pay on Oct 7. The lies just won’t stop.”

Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao.
Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao.

 

Envy also footnoted one of Team Secret‘s past scandals that OG‘s manager Evany Chang revealed last February 2016. The said post that former Team Secret player (Secret 1.0, to be exact) Johan “N0tail” Sundstein has not yet been paid of his tournament winnings right when Chang’s post was published.

The big problem was that players weren’t secured intricate contracts. According to EternalEnVy, they were promised a regular salary in addition to prize money but the team did not have contracts. While confirming that he was paid in random amounts intermittently, it was never clear whether the money came from either tournament winnings or their promised salaries.

When EternaLEnVy received an invoice last Sept. 8, he finally discovered that Team Secret had been taking a 10 percent cut of their winnings. This is despite of the fact that the players never knew of that there will be a 10% cut allocated for the organization.

“Not once on Secret have we ever talked about having a prize winnings cut to the organization,” EnVy said. “We have however discussed the complete opposite where we would talk about how it’s stupid to have a % prize winnings cut in DotA because of its abnormal prize pools.”

“Puppey and Kemal have always treated us to dinners at every LAN and always said “its ok I’ll pay for the food”,” EternaLEnVy recounted while he was talking about not having any idea at first where the 10% of the prize winnings go. “When Kemal came to Manila Major, he got himself an executive suite and told us we could buy whatever food we want and charge it to his room no problem. Well we did just that, and I’m sure that money came from the prize cuts in the end ;D.”

This is where he built up his frustrations about the founder of Team Secret, Clement “Puppey” Ivanov: “It was understood by everyone on the team that there would not be any prize winnings cut to the organization. Well, every player but Puppey.”

RELATED: The Case of OG.Ana vs Invictus Gaming

The Panda Predicament

EternaLEnVy recalled that though they were promised monthly salaries, it only came during the three-month stretched after the team was able to comply with their partnership with PandaTV. Take note, the initial idea by its founder Puppey revolved on Team Secret not having to depend on sponsorship. Nevertheless, it was through EternaLEnVy that Team Secret found a short-time marriage with PandaTV, one of the biggest streaming platforms available in China.

“At this point in the deal the deal was 1 million + 250k in donations for the year and if we get RTZ/Universe it would be 1.25 million + 250k in Donations. The money would be paid quarterly at the beginning of the quarter. We also talked about the number of hours to be streamed,” EternaLEnVy revealed as he was talking about what Team Secret and PandaTV agreed upon. “The final deal consisted of minimum stream hours of 30 for both RTZ/Puppey and 60 for myself. However the team all together had to stream 250 hours a month.”

Secret 3.0 wins Shanghai Major 2016.
Secret 3.0 wins Shanghai Major 2016.

 

EternaLEnVy was adamant that he kept his end of the bargain, especially when he already talked with his team on how they can work as five to comply with PandaTV’s requirements. “I actually kept streaming even after all these months but we failed our end of the deal so I never received another team hour report.” 

After a while, he “Noticed that not only did Puppey not uphold his end of the deal, but he didn’t even try. Streaming not 30 hours a month as promised but 12 hours in 3 months.”

Because the team wasn’t able to hold their end of the bargain, EternaLEnVy revealed that Panda eventually cut the deal short and only paid for the first three months. This would amount to USD 312,500. In a series of chat logs between EnVy and Sadikoglu, the director said that each player would only receive USD 8,000 per month for the three months the deal was in place. EnVy insisted that they were promised $12,000 a month, but Sadikoglu said that was only including the $250,000 year-end bonus the team would no longer receive.

“Basically the bottom line is that the first sponsor that provided money to Secret wasn’t even sought out by them. Then Puppey himself failed to uphold the streaming hours and failed the contract. Afterwards they lied about the salary and withheld 46% of the Sponsorship money for non DotA related things,” EternaLEnVy stressed. A lot of the people they supposedly paid salary too weren’t paid anyway.”

Problems with Puppey

“It’s true that he is a charismatic person with high confidence, but now I believe that he builds his confidence by looking down on everyone else,” EternaLEnVy quoted, as he was describing Puppey as egotistical and aggresive“Throughout the year he has always been lazy. At first I thought that he was just burnt out after losing TI5 and I accepted all that but eventually I realized it’s just how he is.”

Clement “Puppey” Ivanov
Clement “Puppey” Ivanov

 

EnVy went into really specific details to describe his downhill relationship with Puppey. At first, they both had a good friendship, even revealing that Puppey once said that he would like to play with EnVy forever.” However, as the team spiraled downward from their climax during the Shanghai Major into the slump that they were during TI6, so did their friendship.

EnVy also attributed Puppey‘s bad work ethic to most of Team Secret‘s bad performances during LANs. “Now if he doesn’t need to play any pubs then that’s all fine, the problem is that our captain would generally not show up to the practice room at all. This happened at every major except Shanghai Major,” he said.

“Against Vici Gaming, our match was scheduled to start at 6 PM only for him to show up at 5 PM. Everyone was like “Where’s Puppey?” There was a break day between the VG Series and the EG Series, so Puppey decided to get drunk and sleep at 6 AM. The following day, he didn’t show up to the venue at all,” EternaLEnVy added, talking about Puppey‘s unprofessional attitude during the Frankfurt Major.

There were also accounts that Puppey was verbally abusive with his teammates to go with reports that he was also exhibiting violence.

“We lost a scrim and Puppey and RTZ were arguing over some bad plays. I entered the argument because I believed that the picks were more important to talk about. Puppey disagrees and we get a bit heated,” EternaLEnVy recalled. “Before long Puppey slams the table and his keyboard’s keys fly everywhere. Once again everyone just stayed silent. Though unlike last time he followed up by pointing fingers at everyone and said ‘If you guys want to talk about who’s right or who’s wrong, why don’t we fight.'”

 

At the end of the day, EnVy stressed that Team Secret still owes him $29333 for the 10% Prize cuts and reminded the organization, “though I don’t expect that money back. Nor the 21K from the salary they promised. Hopefully they will pay me for the rest of the tournaments when they pay out (Epicenter already paid though, even though Secret claims they haven’t). I know a lot of players/coaches haven’t gotten paid yet. Please make sure you get paid!”

“I’m sure people are going to talk about verbal agreements a lot and that I’m stupid for not signing a contract. Well maybe so. Regardless I’m going to run my own org this year and ask my team to be stupid and believe in me. The Secret that was meant to be, hopefully I will be able to bring it to reality,” EternaLEnVy concluded.

Long Form

5 Female Video Game Characters who defied Stereotypes

Women in video games back then are often just damsels in distress. Say for example Princess Peach; her only role in the first few Mario games is to be abducted and saved by the player. If not seen as objectives to be saved, female game characters were often just eye-candy, wearing revealing clothing without any unique personality traits to speak of.

Now before the month of March is about to end (it is after all Women’s History Month), we are highlighting five female video game characters who have defied the stereotypes. These characters are nuanced and multi-dimensional, with different ages, backgrounds, and personalities.

Lara Croft

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Lara Croft, she’s one of the most recognizable video game characters of all time, and with good reason. The Tomb Raider series are excellent adventure games in their own right, and is one of the first adventure series to feature a badass female playable protagonist. No matter which iteration of Lara, she’s sure to be a force to be reckoned with. Though we would like to highlight the latest incarnation of Lara from the 2013 reboot.

The current Lara Croft is a great character, as she is initially portrayed as vulnerable and inexperienced, but through her experiences throughout the game, she turns into the Lara Croft that we have all come to know and love. This evolution of her character shows more depth to her personality, and is much more realistic compared to the previous Lara’s; not to mention she wears much more appropriate tomb-raiding attire (I mean, who wears a bright blue tank-top and short-shorts to tombs?).

Aloy

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Aloy is the newest character included in the list, though this does not make her the least interesting. She is the playable character of Guerilla Games’ and Sony’s newest IP, Horizon: Zero Dawn. As the game is set in a post-apocalyptic world filled with robots, you have to be tough to survive, and Aloy is just that. She climbs, fights, and takes down large robots with ease, and she’s resilient despite the harsh obstacles along her way. Most importantly though, Aloy is compassionate and sympathetic to those in need, making her one of the best new female characters in games.

Clementine

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The two previous girls on the list are strong physically, though they might not match the mental and emotional strength of The Walking Dead’s 8-year old Clementine. The game’s two seasons (with a new one underway) throws equal parts danger and heartbreak throughout her journey of survival, but she keeps on persevering. Clementine is smart and mature for her age, and she makes many tough decisions throughout her journey, decisions that most of us might not make properly given the situation. Given all that she’s been and will go through, Clementine surely deserves praise.

Tali’Zorah Nar Rayya

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One of Commander Shepard’s constant companions throughout the Mass Effect trilogy, Tali’Zorah Nar Rayya might not be human, but she’s one of the most memorable characters in the said trilogy. As a Quarian (one of the many alien species in Mass Effect), Tali is a mechanical genius, which proves invaluable in their fight against the Reapers. Tali is also a kind-hearted and gentle soul, but can kick-ass when needed. And the best thing about her is that she’s loyal to her friends aboard the Normandy, and her family in the Quarian Fleet.

Ana Amari

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Overwatch is one of the finest games when it comes to female representation, with female characters ranging from a bodybuilding Russian, to a feisty Korean gamer. And the last one on our list is Ana Amari, the game’s Egyptian sniper/healer. At 60 years old, she’s one of the oldest characters in the game, and one of the oldest female characters in any FPS.

Ana’s design deserves a lot of praise, especially as there are only a few games that feature playable female characters that are already in their 60s, even though old male characters are quite common. She’s also unique gameplay-wise, as she is equipped with a sniper rifle that heals allies. And best of all, she has a motherly nature, which is in line with the colorful personalities of characters that inhabit the world of Overwatch.

Images courtesy of in2gpu, Escapist, PlayStation Universe, PlayOverwatch, and the Mass Effect Wiki.

Long Form

Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 Tier List (Part 2 of 2)

The Dota 2 Asia Championships will be starting March 27th, where the 12 participating teams shall undergo a BO2 round robin stage to determine who’ll go to the Upper Bracket or the Lower Bracket of the Main Event come April 1-4. GG Network evaluated where the 12 participating teams fare in terms of their chances in winning this tournament:

READ: Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 Tier List (Part 1 of 2)


Tier 3: Dark Horses

Vici Gaming. J (VG.J)

Sun “Agressif” Zheng
Liu “Freeze” Chang
Bai “rOtk” Fan
Xu “fy” Linsen
Lu “Fenrir” Chao

The standout performance of Vici Gaming.J last Star Ladder Star Series — where they eliminated teams such as Wings Gaming and OG en route to the Grand Finals — was enough for Valve to actually directly invite them for the Kiev Major. Understandably so, because the face value you get from just their lineup is quite immense. It is still the support duo fy and Fenrir as well as former TI runners-up Agressif and rOtk, anyway. They’ve shown that they can defeat even the greatest if they find their groove.

Wings Gaming

Chu “shadow” Zeyu
Zhou “bLink” Yang
Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida
Zhang “y`” Yiping
Lee “iceice” Peng

Wings Gaming might be the recent world defending champions, but teams have already figured out their unpredictability up to this point; hence, their poor performances in their past tournament outings since their TI6 championship run. They have shown that VG.J can defeat them as well, but the chaos that Patch 7.04 might bring could be their second wind.

Newbee

Xu “uuu9” Han
Song “Sccc” Chun
Damien “kpii” Chok
Hu “kaka” Liangzhi
Zeng “Faith” Hongda

The second Chinese powerhouse hasn’t been active as of late — but the fact that they were direct invites to both DAC and the Kiev Major speaks a lot about the team’s pedigree. There’s still much to stay whether or not they look good for the recent patch, but their roster since Fall season has been kept intact and their strength should also be here as well. It is not impossible at all for the 9000 MMR-heavy team (both Sccc and kaka were the first ones to reach such height in the China Region) to take this tournament home.


Tier 4: Championship Contenders

Team Liquid

Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen
Amer “Miracle-“ Al-Barkawi
Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov
Maroun “GH” Merhej
Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi

Finally, the three-man 9000 MMR stack of Team Liquid — MATUMBAMAN, Miracle-, and even the support GH all reached 9000 MMR  — found their success after winning the StarLadder Star Series Season 3 last month. More importantly, they did it in a very convincing fashion. They have netted their Keiv Major invites as well, and it’s no doubt that the uber-talented team can easily become the champions of this tournament.

OG

Johan “N0tail” Sundstein
Anathan “ana” Pham
Gustav “s4” Magnusson
Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka
Tal “Fly” Aizik

The recent Fall Major champions may have had a rather premature exit at the Star Ladder Star Series Season 3, but their strength and tactical depth as a team is nothing to be shrugged off. In almost all of their LAN outings, they are a threat to any team and a championship contender as well. They are looking in prime shape as of late, and they are a very strong force here in DAC.

Evil Geniuses

Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan
Saahil UNiVeRsE Arora
Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg
Andreas Franck “Cr1t” Nielsen

Their Fall Season have had a rocky start, but the new iteration of Evil Geniuses seemed to slowly be gelling. They had quite an impressive run during the Boston Major, but their stand out performance was taking down the titans OG last Dota Pit Season 5 to win the tournament in five epic games. They are indeed the defending champions of this tournament, and SumaiL might just get his second Divine Rapier from DAC this year.


You can follow this writer through @caisamyvez

Long Form

Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 Tier List (Part 1 of 2)

The Dota 2 Asia Championships will be starting March 27th, where the 12 participating teams shall undergo a BO2 round robin stage to determine who’ll go to the Upper Bracket or the Lower Bracket of the Main Event come April 1-4. GG Network evaluated where the 12 participating teams fare in terms of their chances in winning this tournament:


Bottom 3: Happy To Be Here Tier

Team Empire

Vladimir “Chappie” Kuzmenko
Rostislav “fn” Lozovoi
Andrey “Ghostik” Kadyk
Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov
Rinat “KingR” Abdullin

Team Empire found a lot of luck after Virtus.Pro failed to participate in the online European Qualifiers of DAC. This team was also neither invited nor qualified for the upcoming Kiev Major, which proves their struggles in maintaining their performance at the EU scene. Still, they qualified for DAC, but they’re long ways to go especially against 9 other Kiev Major participants.

LGD.Forever Young (LFY)

Du “Monet” Peng
Xie “Super” Junhao
Xiao “Jixing” Zhihao
Lei “White” Yipei
Luo “Lpc” Puchao

Like Team EmpireLFY would not be participating in the Kiev Major and might just be the weakest link in the stronghold of the Chinese lineup for DAC, as their revamped roster still hasn’t brought fruit. They can easily be taken down by other more stabler teams, and both Super and Monet has a long way to go in terms of representing this team.

Team NP

Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling
Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao
Arif “MSS” Anwar
Avery “SVG” Silverman
Theeban “1437” Siva

Team NP also failed to qualify for the Kiev Major, after a big upset from Team Onyx and Abed “Abed” Yusop’s Meepo. This is hard evidence for Team NP‘s chances in DAC: surely, they can go far in this tournament by talent value in ther lineup alone, but they can also be easily defeated by any team if they don’t get themselves together. Team NP‘s chances are slim against other top-grade teams here in DAC, and they themselves can make it slimmer because they are a team proven — time and time again — to be outplaying themselves.


 

Second Tier: Long Shot

Invictus Gaming

Xu “BurNIng” Zhilei
Ou “Op” Peng
Lin “Xxs” Jing
Ye “BoBoKa” Zhibiao
Fu “Q” Bin

iG might not be the best in the Chinese scene, but still proves to be successful in many of their recent online tournament outings. They’ve bested many teams in this region, and successfully qualified through three premiere tournaments throughout 2017: DAC, Kiev Major, and Manila Masters. The BurNIng-led bunch of considerably upstarts in the Dota 2 scene showed the whole world recently that if they can find their stride, they can be successful against many other teams.

Invictus Gaming Vitality

Zhang “Paparazi灬” Chengjun
Xu “Sakata” Zichen
Yang “InJuly” Xiaodon
Su “super” Peng
Gao “Dogf1ghts” Tianpeng

As the secondary team of the franchise, iG.Vitality found themselves more successful than the main squad since their revamp last Fall season. They actually qualified for last season’s Fall Major — though they had to change three of their players because of US VISA issues — and masterfully defeat them in a series to effectively qualify for the upcoming Kiev Major. They still have a lot to prove when going up against the top-grade Chinese teams, but they have already shown the international scene their strength as a team. It wouldn’t be surprising if they can upset many other teams because of their youngster savvy.

Team Faceless

Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier
Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong
Daryl “iceiceice” Koh
Toh “Xy-“ Wai Hong
Wong “NutZ” Jeng Yih

There’s no doubt that Faceless are currently the kings in the Southeast Asia region, but they are the team that showed quite inadequate performances when it comes to international tournaments. Then again, they showed last Dota Pit Season 5 that they can defeat even the top teams because of the amount of veteran experience running through their decorated lineup. If Faceless can still pull something out of their bag o’ tricks, their chances in making it through the tournament can be higher.


Watch out for Part 2 of this GG Network Tier List for Dota 2 Asia Championship. You can follow this writer through @caisamyvez