PPD returns to competitive Dota

4 min read
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PPD discusses some of the motivations behind his retirement and the thought process behind his 2nd return to the professional scene.

Earlier this year, I announced my retirement from competing as a professional player in Dota.

This was a tough decision that was fueled by many motives. 

After a rocky start to the season where we, NIP, competed in NA with Gunnar, Skiter, Biver, Universe, and myself, we made significant changes to our roster (Daxak, Tanner, Lelis, Universe, and myself) and qualified for the LA Major out of Europe (the hardest region).

However, the day before we got on our flights to attend the Major we hoped would land us a spot at TI, President Trump announced the travel ban on January 31, which in turn canceled the Major and indefinitely suspended the DPC. 

A few days later, Universe got on a flight back to California, where he waited around for COVID to settle down. He was released by NiP on April 7 and announced his retirement from Dota on April 23.

Aftermath

Lelis stuck around for a few days, quite certain that he would not be able to return to Europe but inevitably flew back to Brazil, where he would be unable to compete. Lelis was released by NiP and now competes with Quincy Crew from NA out of Brazil.

However, for myself and NiP, the show must go on, and my job as a captain was to steer the ship and keep things progressing forward. With Lelis and Universe gone and online tournaments being frantically organized by panicked tournament organizers, we had little time to find suitable replacements. We were lucky enough to find both Blizzy and Milan, who helped us out, but our team was weak.

With Lelis and Universe both leaving, we were struggling to compete on such short notice. I don’t think I handled this stress particularly well, and I stopped enjoying the games. Dota, once again, felt like work.

Anytime this happens, I know it’s time to take a break, and, in hindsight, maybe taking a month or two off may have been the safer play. But that’s not who I am. I’m spontaneous and often reckless, especially with major life decisions.

After the conclusion of ESL One Los Angeles 2020 Online, where we placed 13/14th of 16 teams, I decided to call it quits. I let everyone know I wanted to retire (indefinite break) and move back to the US. 

Retired life

During the first month home, I didn’t touch Dota. It was nice to take a break; as much as I love the game, it’s way too easy to get too caught up in it. The losses were getting to me more than I wanted them to. Sometimes this energy can be inspiring, but when it's all the time, and it can lead to my demise.

I spent the summer exploring what else might be out there for me. I have a wealth of experiences in the esports industry and consider myself to be decently rounded as my attention has experienced many perspectives. First, I dug into the idea of working with players and influencers to build their brands alongside their professional careers.

I understand the importance of a storyline and thought I could contribute to the betterment of esports as a whole. As I dug deeper and deeper into this project with some amazing people, I quickly realized that my passion was based more on execution rather than sales. 

Second, I took a look at positions that might be available with game developers. I thought it would be great to share my experience and knowledge as an esports player to help guide in the creation of games and execution of a marketing strategy. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a perfect fit, maybe another time.

Next up, I began to focus again on Dota; what could I do outside of playing again? Casting, coaching, managing, and streaming. 

Casting is cool, but it only makes me want to play, and we all know what happened to TI7 analyst PPD…

Coaching would be neat, and truthfully I still consider the option today. I think I could be a great coach, and it’s an angle of esports I’ve never done, so I’d love the personal development involved. Unfortunately, it’s a tough job to land. Very political, and I haven’t been the nicest politician over my career.

Managing could be neat, but I’m certain it’s not for me. Rosters are often managed by the players themselves, and anything I do I want to be a big part of. I often think managers are at their best when you don’t notice them, and I love the spotlight.

Streaming is something I’ve always been passionate about. Unfortunately, the schedule of a pro player makes any consistency impossible. Streaming requires a ton of time and consistency, but with COVID parking my butt at home, I could do it. 

So streaming was my decision, and I’ve been pretty good about streaming 6 days a week with a minimum of 5 hours+ per day. I’ve had a great time connecting with other gamers from my sub Discord and on stream.

However, I think it’s safe to say this isn’t what I’m most passionate about and now I realize that competition is the thing that inspires me to be the best version of myself. After three months of this, I’ve decided that I need to change my focus yet again.

So, for now, I’m back. I’ll be competing in NA Dota tournaments and, hopefully soon, international tournaments with Fear, DNM, Moo, and Sneyking. I am very grateful to these guys for carrying me and, honestly, I don’t know if I would have come back if I didn’t find such an amazing team to compete with. We’re currently playing under the tag Sadboys and fielding offers from interested esport teams.

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Columnist

Peter "ppd" Dager

The International 2015 Champion

Peter Dager, aka ppd, is a former professional NA Dota 2 player. He was the former CEO of Evil Geniuses, where he also won The International 2015 as a player-captain, later playing for OpTic Gaming and Ninjas in Pyjamas.

Read all articles from Peter "ppd" Dager
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