In October, WePlay! Esports announced that it would be hosting its first Valve-sanctioned DPC event in the form of the WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020. The tournament, which is the second Minor of the current DPC season, will take place at the Bukovel ski resort in Ukraine.
Inserting your company into the circuit, which is predominantly occupied by the same few faces, is no small feat, and it’s clear that WePlay! Esports is going all out to make a great first impression.
Valve sanctions such third-party events – those that fall within the Dota Pro Circuit, that is – and it’s not a simple process to get accepted into the series.
“Before granting us the privilege to host a DPC Minor, Valve evaluated the creative concept, technical capabilities, team experience, and the event portfolio,” explained Marina Frolova, Chief Marketing Officer at WePlay! Esports UA. “Throughout the last year, we organized more than 10 events, including a Counter-Strike LAN that was part of our own league. The professionals from our studio were brought to work on a project during The International 2019.”
The WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020 will be hosted on January 9-12th and the company is looking to separate its version of an official Dota 2 event from the pack through its unique offering. Dubbing its competition and production style as ‘esportainment,’ WePlay! Esports has forged a unique style for its events and the Minor doesn’t appear to deviate from such an approach.
“WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020 won’t differ from our other tournaments in the sense that it will take place in the esportainment format,” Dmitriy Karpenko, Сhief Business Development Officer at WePlay! Esports said. “This means that we will focus a lot of effort on entertaining the audience between the matches. The viewers will see a full-fledged show.
“We already see that the idea to host the Minor at Bukovel was justified. After the announcement, we were bombarded by positive reactions and questions about the resort.”
It’s challenging to host a DPC event in a remote location, but the WePlay! Esports team feels it’s up for the task. Picking a suitable location is very much part of the process, but much more goes into it.
“While choosing the location, we were considering the dates and our experience,” Max Belonogov, Executive Producer at WePlay! Esports told Esports Insider. “We had already held the Dota 2 Winter Madness tournament with a winter fairytale theme. Its concept was very well received by the audience and it fit the dates perfectly. Once the concept was locked, we started looking for a location, that would facilitate and enhance the general vibe.”
The decision to choose the ski resort as the destination for the Minor instantly sticks out as an inspired choice, and it’s much more than a gimmick. WePlay! Esports aims to build an entire experience around the event, allowing fans and players alike to venture out into the resort to explore when the Dota 2 action is over.
“Usually, during an event, a person enters the venue and gets pulled in the competition for 3 to 10 hours,” Belonogov continued. “We wanted to expand this experience and create a holiday that would last four days uninterrupted. Searching for a real-life Christmas village with an atmosphere of magic and where people can enjoy winter in all its glory, we discovered Bukovel.”
The proof is in the pudding, of course. Execution is just as important as planning something special, so the pressure is on for WePlay! Esports to deliver on its esportainment premise and the idea of the Minor being an entire experience – one that deviates from the norm.