Bucharest struck me as a very surprising place, with its monumental buildings, a familiar language so far away in Southeast Europe (as a Portuguese speaker at least), sunny weather and incredibly busy streets.
From the airport, we went directly to the area known as “Old Town” to get to our hotel, surrounded by bustling streets full of bars, clubs and restaurants. Unfortunately, we couldn't actually enjoy any of them, as we needed to get ready for some great Dota 2 matches and prepare interviews for the players and talent present.
In the little free time I had before the finals on Sunday, I managed to take a walk around Bucharest to check the second biggest building in the world after the Pentagon: the Romanian Palace of Parliament!
Going to Polyvalent Hall, event's venue, located in the middle of a massive park, could take from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. Compared to other events, there wasn't much to explore or many stands to stop by: the Hall was all about the Major, as the games flew in a timely and intense manner.
The playoff games were great — a shining example of the high level competition Dota 2 provides right now. The crowd was roaring... always roaring.
You couldn't always pinpoint which way the crowd swayed in terms of team fandom, however. The viewers seemed drawn just by the promise of great games, something I find particularly beautiful and hope it continues as a trend in esports. It was a stark contrast to traditional sport competitions, where fans align with a team based on geography or family traditions. But moreso than many of the events I visited recently, the Bucharest Major crowd was here for the sheer appreciation for the game itself.
To find us, the easiest way was to go to the press room. It was quite barren even during the playoffs weekend and I really wish we at least had a TV to keep up to date with the games. But on a positive note, the internet was the best I've ever had at an event so far: super fast and reliable!
When we weren't in the press room, we were running around, chasing great interviews, which are already being posted on Cybersport.com and will continue over the next week or two! Oftentimes, we had to compete for players' attention with the huge crowds waiting for an autograph, but it worked out for everybody at the end.
The last day was focused on the big, best-of-5 finals. That had a bittersweet taste to it, with a 3-0 victory for Virtus.pro over VGJ.Thunder. Both teams had such dominating performances during the tournament that I hoped for a more contested final. VP took it swiftly, however, winning their back-to-back Major, even with a daring last-pick Broodmother in the third game.
After the Valve parade spanning from the first days of ESL Katowice to the last of the Bucharest Major, we will be taking a side step next. The League of Legends EU LCS Spring Finals are going to Copenhagen and so are we! Keep your eyes open and follow all our social media channels so you don’t miss anything.
- Maut on Moonduck: “The fact that we get to do tournaments and cast Dota is just a dream.”
- TobiWan at PGL Major: "To understand Valve is to understand God."
- LD on retirement, casting and more: "Fans may not realize it, but casters are earning fractions of what the players are. No caster is set for life because he works TI."