Before I start with my heroic journey full of action and mischievous encounters, I want to thank everyone who has read my first post and gave feedback, I’m quite glad that there are some people who find this kind of thing interesting. This post is going to detail my experience in general, from how I became a manager to the many things I’ve encountered, I realized that this is one of the better ways to explain things.
How did you become a manager?
A question I’m always asked and the actual answer is always more complicated than the one I briefly give. I have no idea how most managers became managers, I’m sure it wasn’t too far off from my story but I’m just letting you know that this is not a staple, but simply my own story.
It started when I was approached by Absolute Legends to become a writer, they have seen some of my posts on r/dota2, which included an introduction to Absolute Legends IHL. I was approached by the aL IHL admins at the time via IRC to write a brief introduction since they thought I was good at this kind of thing, those IHL admins later turned out to be the worst people I have met in eSports, if names like Mikeylicious ring a bell.
Moving on, I agreed to become a newswriter for Absolute Legends as I did quite enjoy writing and I wanted to enter eSports since it is my passion after all, I was a very active writer and within less than a month I was approached by Raoul from aL management to help him organize tournaments, from there I was approached to become part of aL management to handle the Dota 2 sector. At the time GoDz was with the Australian aL squad, and after they disbanded I asked to find a new team for the organization which I will personally manage, aL agreed to my request and the search started.
Absolute Legends : A sweet disaster
There has been so many posts to expose how shady Absolute Legends are, and how bad Tim Buysse is, etc.. The truth is none of those posts gave it justice, both in a bad and a good way, there’s a lot more that goes into everything and I feel like it’s about time someone who was actually part of the organization on a deep level speaks out. I will discuss everything from the start, this will both detail my experience as well as shed some light on Absolute Legends.
The search was on! I was actively on the lookout for new teams, free agents, and keeping up with the scene day by day, it was one of the most interesting things that I’ve done so far as a manager, it’s like being a talent scout. I was given a budget by aL, and it depended heavily on the stream quality of the players we would get; if the team had active streamers I could offer them as far as 500 Euros, and if not I was capped to around 200-250 Euros. We were in a hurry because we wanted to remain relevant to the scene, following the aussie squad’s disbandment, so we had to look at our current options, and of course the main goal was streaming potential.
Twista came to me with the news that an interesting team was being formed, with names like Vigoss, God, ComeWithMe, and freezer. At first glance I thought this was not the best of options if we were looking for stability, but there was definite stream potential there as well as star quality and a huge entrance to the Russian audience. I spoke with the players to hear their thoughts, Vigoss and G said they were ready to stream if we got them new computers capable of streaming, they said it was no problem. The team was still unsure on a fifth, Admiration was playing with them for a while but when he found out they were about to sign he started backing out, he did not want to commit to an organization or a team fully without testing it for at least three months, I thought it was very odd of him. In hindsight, Admiration seems like a very smart guy!
While tryouts were going for the fifth player, I approached the rest of aL management with the team, I assessed it carefully and gave them a summary, we agreed to offer them a deal where their salary will depend on the amount of average viewers they have on their streams, together with the amount of streaming they do, since the point of this is transparency I will not hold out on the numbers. They were to receive 300 Euros base, and 600 Euros if they reach an accumulated total of average 6k viewers when they do stream, and a number of hours that has escaped my mind at the moment. Tryouts brought nothing worthwhile, I found out MaNia was back from retirement and I saw him scrimming with some Swedish players, I told CWM about him and he said that sounds like a good idea. CWM approached him, and MaNia decided to try it out, it seemed to work out fine and MaNia was the fifth player in the team. The deal was cut with aL, we bought a new computer Vigoss and got him to start streaming. The team was doing relatively okay, there were no issues except they weren’t streaming as much as they should be, Vigoss stopped streaming after two days and every time I told him to do it he said he doesn’t like interacting with people, and that he was scared of doing things on the internet. We were about to buy a new computer for G when he hit us with the surprising news that he has received an offer from China to form an international team there. He pitched me a story of love and heartache, that he couldn’t stand staying in Russia any longer because of a girl that broke his heart, it sounded like bullshit to me and that he simply got a better offer. I knew that if we stopped him from leaving and forced the contract on LGD, LGD would never buy him out for the crazy number aL had there ($5,000) and would just look elsewhere, which would leave God stuck with the team when he most likely would not be happy anymore. I had a talk with aL and we decided to let him go, we broke his contract free and he went to China leaving our team with a lot less value since we put a lot of hope on G’s streaming numbers.
Things went on from there having player after another, S0ny joined the team to replace G. The team wasn’t doing too well and most of it was thanks to Vigoss, he was always ‘busy’, he didn’t talk during any game except for like two words. We talked to him a lot, he still was the same. I spoke to CWM and all I got was ‘I dunno whats wrong but Vigoss is my good friend’. It was time for DreamHack and Vigoss was supposed to go get his visa work done, he kept avoiding the subject every time, he was highly incompetent in doing the simplest of tasks like making sure he sent the papers on time, I was 99% sure that he was not going to get the visa in time. That plus his attitude in-game and the general team atmosphere forced me to consider replacing him completely, I talked about it with the rest of the team and they all agreed it was the right call, we replaced him with SexyBamboe and went to DreamHack, after which the team shortly started to disband.
This was by far one of the worst teams to ever be formed and I take no pride in being responsible for it, it was a ‘star’ team with a lot of potential value for the organization, but it really never panned out. It was full of drama and headache, CWM and freezer raged on each other more than two strangers in a pub did. Vigoss was by far the weirdest and most incompetent player I’ve had to deal with (He once wanted to link me something and he sent me a link to his INBOX, yes his bloody INBOX.). Despite how much I love SexyBamboe, he was quite nonchalant and overslept a few times when scrims were scheduled, but he probably knew this team was destined to fail and did not care so much. S0ny is one of the nicest people I have met, but he seemed to go in a package together with freezer. The only good thing that came out of this entire idea of a team was MaNia, by far the nicest player I have had the pleasure of meeting. The decision was obvious to ditch everyone but MaNia and form a new team from scratch, I will be discussing that in part II.
To take a break from this extremely long story, I have split my ‘journey’ in two parts, I will continue in the next blog but I will now move on to talk more about Absolute Legends, there is a lot to be said and I will try my best to summarize it.
During my time at aL, I have seen so many posts accusing them of being liars, scammers, and whatnot, and I have defended them often, but I have always restricted my defense to the Dota 2 sector. Sometimes I regret staying at aL knowing all the things that were said about them, and knowing that most likely some of them are true, but I was enjoying the freedom I was given, I was enjoying creating my own experiences and my conscience was resting knowing that the sector I manage was well handled, everyone was getting paid and treated fairly.
The aL management was a very odd thing, it had some of the nicest, most competent, and greatest people I have met in eSports to this day, but it was all under two shady highly incompetent CEO’s Tim “WetDream” Buysse, and till a point Ryad Abour from eSahara. While I, Raoul, KrausBaws, and Linas worked everyday – as well as many others- to create new content, make sure aL has a good name out there despite the shit storms being caused, we knew that in the end it was all a sinking ship, because no matter how hard we tried to convince Tim of not doing something stupid, he’d almost always end up doing it anyways. Suddenly we’d see things like him buying out domains and making redirect to the aL website to piss off freaks4u and get more traffic. We’d hear from some SC2 player that he was not paid, we’d hear that the LoL team did not get paid, he always had a reason, an excuse, an answer. I used to believe him at first but eventually I just realized he was completely making a fool out of both himself, and the rest of us. It was too much at one point that we all said screw this, and slowly left one by one, no more reason to stay in a sinking ship, especially since the resources we had gotten from them to create content, or get new teams, were quickly running out. To this day, I talk on Skype almost everyday to the good people that were in the aL management, we always hoped to start our own thing one day, maybe Sigma will be big enough to take all of us in the near future!
I believe I don’t need to mention every fuckup that aL has caused anymore, they’ve been exposed way too much and if they ever try to restart again they’re going to have a really tough time, but since I have made an oath to myself to not let my team miss a penny they earned, I will continue to pursue the $2,000 that my team has won in the second season of RaidCall EMS One. The team had MaNia, Miracle, Ryze, Unicornxoxo, and miGGel at that time, we were owed $2,000 and they did not ever receive the money, I have been to both ESL and Tim several times, and both of them seem to not understand what’s going on. They both shift the blame on each other and in the end the players, as always, are the ones who get hurt. There’s a lot more that aL has done but I feel like this is quite enough, in the end it was a great experience for me and some of the other people, but the organization was truly ran by a shady person, despite how often I have tried to believe otherwise, I would not trust Tim Buysse with anything.
I have written a bit too much this time, I don’t know if this will be easy to digest, but I wanted to share an experience that I think was never shared with transparency before. If you have any questions you can ask me here, on r/dota2, or via Twitter.