Five ex-Wings Gaming Dota 2 players, who left the team because of their disagreements with management, have apparently been banned permanently from attending any Dota 2 competition outside of Valve hosted events by ACE, the Association for Chinese Esports.
There aren’t many details in English about the situation aside from a few tweets, but according to a number of Weibo posts, the five players who left Wings to create a new team under the banner of Team Random — Chu “Shadow” Zheyu, Zhou “bLink” Yang, Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruid, Li “iceice” Peng, and Zhang “y” Yiping — have all been permanently banned by ACE, a sort of governing body in China, because they chose to leave Wings while they were still under contract. That also means, allegedly, that the five players cannot be picked up by other Chinese organizations, putting all of them on ice.
Holy shit. Just read the Chinese weibo drama. WINGS GAMING players all 5 got a LIFETIME BAN from ACE for #dota2 except for Valve events (..)
— kelly (@kellymilkies) May 17, 2017
The players, who won The International 6 and took home more than $9 million last August, allegedly left the team last month because of disagreements with the organization’s financial decisions. According to a Gosu Gamers report, sources close to the players said that Wings Gaming took 30 percent of the players’ winnings from TI6, and further Weibo posts also alleged the team didn’t paid the players’ salaries for two months and even kicked them out of the gaming house.
According to Shadow’s Weibo post, the members of Team Random were aware of the potential consequences of leaving Wings, and according to a translation in the GosuGamers report, the five players “collectively agreed that we will accept any consequences including a ban.” The five players have since played in the Kiev Major under their new banner, but the plot thickened when two of the players went behind the rest of the players’ backs and contacted Wings Gaming.
Shadow apparently accused y and Faith_bian of going back to their old organization and apologizing for their “hasty” departure, even though Team Random agreed to not cooperate with its former organization. To back Shadow’s accusations, iceice posted on his Weibo what appeared to be an email sent by y to ACE, and the email included an apology by y and Faith_bian with a willingness to negotiate, but it stated that the other three players have refused to come to the table.
Seeing as how dire the situation is for such a talented group of Dota 2 professionals, concerns are emerging from the community over the idea of a single organization being able to permanently ban players in a manner like this over contractual disagreements, as well as concerns for five of some of the most talented Dota 2 professionals in the world.