Tribute to Peter "PPD" Dager
Tribute to Peter "PPD" Dager ⚡⚡⚡ Esports news, analytics, reviews on WePlay! The latest news on WePlay!
2013, autumn. A small online NA region Dota 2 tournament. Evil Geniuses, the old lineup with Fogged and MSS, play against Stay Free. Those beginners, with nicknames so far only perplexing, launched a very aggressive trio to the offlane on the third map, leaving their hardlane Lycan alone on the easy lane. 20 minutes later, Stay Free pushes all over the map, while the commentators call the team's captain a genius. Perhaps, this is one of the first cases when PPD won such praise in Dota 2. Although they still lost that match.
Peter in his heyday was the perfect definition of an evil genius. The one who giggles and rubs his hands, looking at how his insidious plan unfolds, sometimes openly, sometimes behind the curtains. And he managed to leave his mark everywhere: from ordinary pubs to the entire esports scene.
"Thank you, Peter, I fell in love with the support's role thanks to you" — people write on Reddit. While everyone else on Twitter praises the number of PPD's silverware, Noxville, as always, ran through the statistics. Before TI5, he worked on improving fantasy and was creating an algorithm that would calculate player points based on the percentage of team networking. After TI5, Peter broke the system - he had about 9% of the team’s money on his account. For five years, he has not dropped out of the top ten in terms of this indicator, and the picture below still represents his game better than any graphics.
Position 5 in Dota is an absolutely unique role. You do so many different things that no one else does. This is a different game. And you need to get used to it. This is not what you come to in one day. People usually dump everything on supports. You have the lowest networth, you die more often than others, you least contribute to fights. Carry and midders do ultrakills, vanish the entire enemy team in fights, while supports are unsung heroes. Sometimes people pay attention when supports manage to save someone in a moment. But this is not your game. It’s about how you will take this fight, that’s what the supports' help is about.
And hardly anyone would blame Peter for not being able to take fights, even though you can count his career's famous highlights with your bare fingers.
"Thank you, Peter, you showed how you can win the game with one decision," they say in chat. Like any evil genius, the beauty of his plans has always been in the details.
In the draft's details, like winning The International 5 Grand Finals. Someone will say that EG won thanks to Aui_2000's skill, but in fact, everything revolved around one decision: to give the imba Leshrac to the opponent. CDEC turned out to be the only team that could not use this character in full force. Peter freed himself a ban, made his opponents pick up a specific hero and untied Sumail's hands in the mid. One decision turned the crushing 0–2 in the top bracket into a confident 3–1 in the grand finals.
And in the strategy details, as his favourite victory since the SADBOYS days — the team played the finals of a small online tournament against Team Empire. Peter studied Empire's games and noticed that when opponents picked a jungler, the Imperials would certainly go and ward the woods. He took advantage of this, picking Chen and taking Roshan before the start of the game.
I am more a thinker than a player. If you watch my streams, you would know that I'm not the most talented player in terms of mechanics. I use strategies, try to be smarter, find the right position — this is my style of play.
"There will never be another person who will do what he did. He personally saved the American Dota from death at the beginning of its existence. No words," GrandGrant says on Reddit. PPD managed to save the American scene even playing in Europe. Three years ago, when he made his first attempt to end his career, he was called "the best that happened with the American Dota." And the opinion is unlikely to have changed.
In 2016, Peter was praised for victories. Prior to his appearance on the esports scene, the American Dota was similar to what is happening at its tier-2 level now: players constantly mix with each other, turning a blind eye to real problems. The ambitious captain built what every NA team really lacked: discipline, system, dedication. Surely, the community named him a tyrant, but the results and trophies were clearly worth it. Thanks to him, people began to reckon the American region.
I can be demanding, but without it, I would not be so successful. I would not have achieved this by taking everything calmly or saying: 'Oh, everything is fine! We will win next time.' It's not about me. Good or bad, but sometimes I put pressure on people. I'm trying so hard to make them be stronger. And I definitely don't always do it right. I'm not so good at captaining. But my leadership brought results.
Now, in 2020, when Peter was no longer serving the North America region, local players still have something to thank him for. In 2018, he launched NADCL, a regional league for semi-professional teams that have not yet found sponsor support. He invested his money to develop the initiative, engaged the media promotion, helped to organize streams and talked with potential partners. And all so that the local teams had reason to stick together and have a small amount of money.
There are no other real opportunities for second-tier players. You sign up for professional quals, minors, majors. That is irrelevant. There were no more places to compete and be noticed. Moreover, in such a system they earn nothing. As long as you live with your parents, you don’t get anything for playing Dota 2. I just want players to start striving for the professional stage.
Unfortunately, NADCL was cancelled after three seasons. No investors decided to take a risk or came to the rescue. But thanks to this league, we've seen Team Team gathered, the guys from Demon Slayers played and several young players found themselves teams. PPD said that the American Dota was dead when he was abandoning his own child. But a lot of players are sure that it is still alive, and largely thanks to Peter's initiatives.
"Maybe he didn’t change the Dota scene himself, but many of his proposals brought changes. He could be right or not, but we need people who are ready to speak openly," says someone on Reddit. They have long ago named PPD as the Valve's Kingmaker for how any of his tweets could turn into an official statement by the developers.
Peter writes that it was unfair to take points from NiP for a forced replacement — and Valve agrees. Peter condemns the CCnC team, who come to South America just to win qualifications there, and the squad will be disqualified from the Major. Peter says that minors are useless and you need to have regional leagues — get it?
We, as a community, must cope with our own problems. All my attempts to organize something in Dota were broken by people saying, 'Oh, what does Valve think about this? What will they say?' No one wants to just act. It seems to me that Dota is almost owned by us, players, commentators, community members — people with audience. We own esports in Dota. But we decided to sit back and let the companies from the outside who did not know our game conduct our business for us and invent esports. I consider it irresponsible.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. There, behind the scenes, he was always one of the most active esports people. When Kuku had that racism thing, PPD offered him help and prepared an official apology statement. He helped to create the CS:GO Players Union and tried his best to do the same in Dota 2. He constantly shared feedback with the tournament organizers: sometimes personally and calmly, sometimes being annoyed and on Twitter. But all this time, Peter cared more than any other, even if the community recognized him as a whiner.
"We will always be grateful to you for who you were, PPD. And thanks for the PJSalt memes," the Reddit users conclude.
Victories, titles, scouting, an own league and helping to develop the scene is great. But the most important thing that Peter did was to show how important it is in esports to be not only a player.
His interviews are frank, and not a single one goes without a loud but true phrase. He has some real and far-fetched confrontations with players that are fueled by taunts on Twitter. It seems that his TI5 victory may well be forgotten, but a tweet about kicking Arteezy or Sumail instead of Universe — never. And the streams where he deliberately flames his teammates with his microphone off just to entertain people who are waiting for an occasion to spam PJSalt. Even when PPD stream Sims and Rimworld, they still watch him because he is much more than just a player. He is a person who will be missed much more than his Treant Protector.
Back in the days when I played HoN and started playing Dota 2, I hesitated between restraining myself or being myself for one hundred percent. But now I do not care. I don’t mind showing people what I really am. And I try to get as much out of it as possible.
In 2016, Peter said that when he took over as CEO of EG, there should have been a separate official announcement of his departure from Dota 2. But the Redditors were not very happy when the team decided to present the new players gradually. So Pete left somehow quietly, in a paragraph at the bottom of the landing, hiding in the shadow of another Arteezy return.
Now, even without big victories over the past couple of years, Peter got his well-deserved moment of fame. And looking at all those testimonial tweets, highlights, and people's stories, there's only one thing we can say: