At 11:51 PM IST on the 25th of February, James ‘2GD’ Harding, one of the more recognizable faces in the pro-DotA international circuit announced on twitter the following:
For those of you not in the know, James Harding is a former professional Quake 4 and World of Warcraft player turned commentator, community member and twitch.tv employee who also is the founder of The GD Studio, an eSports content production venture located in Stockholm, Sweden. With the rest of the studio, he hosts The GD Show, a self-described, ‘no fluff’ eSports talk show. He also had risen to prominence in the professional StarCraft 2 scene with his quirky style of commentary. About his contribution to DotA, as described in one of the trending threads of reddit, 2GD also is DotA 2 panel host who mediates a panel of DotA 2 experts in discussing the games that have happened/will happen soon as well as the teams who will be playing the games. Think soccer round-table host, talking about the soccer match before and after. He’s known for being unconventionally entertaining (with British banter, swearing etc.).
Now, coming back to the controversy, 2GD “Yames” Harding which happens to be his more popular name was ‘let go’ from the Shanghai Majors by Valve which went on to spark quite an outrage on reddit as well as the chat on the twitch streams of the Dota Majors. But let me take you step by step into it:
# James announces on his twitter handle about Valve letting him go for the Shanghai Majors.
# This news is followed by reddit threads appearing in the subreddit dedicated for DotA 2 demanding Valve to get James back in the casting booth. Major outrage is expressed by fans of the queer style of Yames’ casting all over reddit and even in the twitch chat of the Major’s stream. Focus of the debate also turns towards Valve and Perfect World who are the organisers of the Shanghai Majors and their obvious role in the whole matter. Few excerpts from the comments section of a reddit thread asking the return of Yames are as follows –
# The lord Gabe Newell himself makes an appearance on Reddit and brings about a whole new flavor to the existing controversy. In a single reddit thread, Gabe manages to call James an ‘ass’ while also setting up fire on reddit, which is pretty obvious from the outspokenly harsh words that he had to offer. Check out his statement on 2GD’s matter in his thread ‘Update from the Shanghai Majors’ below –
# Following the developments, 2GD as promised on the 26th of February releases his statement (of sorts) regarding the whole matter, from his perspective. He goes in detail about his relationship with Valve, past events where probelms of similarity arised and his personal interactions with Gabe Newell which surprisingly were pretty vague and small if his words are to be believed, and also they have physically met only twice which can be considered shocking keeping in mind the confidence and style with which Gabe openly disgraces 2GD. James does go ahead to open up about many other particulars and problems experienced in his journey as a caster for many of Valve’s tournaments, but we shall not divulge into the many points raised by James, but stick to the one that is in accordance with the matter at hand.
First up, 2GD’s statement foremost screams of one argument in his favour. He was told to be himself, and not just by Valve but by Icefrog himself. And people aware and lovers of his style of commentary and analysis also would know just how well he lived up to his reputation. It is however, the longer version of the article and everything that needs to be hogging the limelight, or it is not everyday when people point out flaws on one of the world’s most widely popular publishers.
What do you take out of this whole controversy? Is Valve justifiable in firing one of the most beloved personalities in the circuit due to his undeniable nonprofessional attitude that he brings to his work? Or was it a nail in the a coffin to a much larger controversy raging behind the backdrops of the most played game on steam? Let us know your views in the comments section!