Vikin.gg's Daniel Demian: "We are not afraid of difficulties"
Vikin.gg's Daniel Demian: "We are not afraid of difficulties" ⚡⚡⚡ Esports news, analytics, reviews on WePlay! The latest news on WePlay!
Ber er hver að baki nema sér bróður eigi, which means "One's back is vulnerable, unless one has a brother". The Saga of Grettir, chapter 82.
You can find this saying in Vikin.gg's Twitter profile picture. A brave team with a glorious future, but who would have thought about it a month ago? Now, as they've landed third at ESL One beating OG and Gambit during the group stage and Alliance and Team Secret in the playoffs, and have made it to WePlay! Pushka League Closed Qualifiers, we've reached out to one of the team's founders — Daniel Demian. But let's recall the timeline first.
It all started with three men: the founder of bannersnack.com Gabriel Ciordas, Daniel Demian, Gabriel's partner at bannersnack.com and Daniel "ImmortalFaith" Moza, the well-known Dota guide creator.
How did you get the idea to found Vikin.gg?
I believe that this is still the beginning of the Esports, so we considered that we have a window to get in. Our vision is to create a strong esports platform that will allow us to build a huge community on top of it. Building an esports organization is just the first step of our vision. Being a friend with ImmortalFaith, I wanted to validate my idea with him. He listens to what we plan to do, and he instantly decided that he wants in. Since then, we set our objectives and work towards them.
Is esports popular in Romania?
I think the word popular is a bit too much. We do have a considerable segment of gamers and people interested in gaming, but only some of them follow the competitive scene. People play more and watch less, but we can already see a change in this trend, and soon people will watch more and more.
What do you guys do as managers and founders? Do you even have free time?
For immortalFaith, the coaching role is an extended full-time job. My full-time job is at bannersnack. I am working only on the strategy of how to scale Vikin.gg. Other people are already involved, and more and more will join.
What is your Tier, how do you think? What can you say about playing on such level?
To be honest, we don't think much of our current Tier. With the Dota team, we started our journey to Tier 1. We understand it is a process, and we enjoy it, we have much fun while we learn so much, on all levels.
How will you get to Tier-1? What is your plan?
We consider that as an organization, we could do two things. Start to recruit directly Tier1 players, and we would have a tier1 team directly, but we thought it is a risky plan because it would not give us time to learn and adjust as an organization. Also, hiring Tier1 players as a new organization is not a simple thing to do. We preferred to start small and grow as we learn things. Regarding the Dota team, we have a multi-year plan now. Our mindset was to get onboard only people who are willing to stay with us for a medium or long term. Now we have a hard-working team with huge potential. They also have the patience to improve structurally.
Your first roster included well-known players (Chappie, Mastermind, bOne7), but most of them were already in decline. In November 2019, you completely replaced them with almost unknown players. How have you come to the current line-up?
Those players are players with huge potential, but we as an organization were not able to manage that roster, and they were also not able to fix a few issues. They were very hungry for results. If you are that hungry and you have a fail, it is very complicated to continue. That was not aligned with our plan, so we considered that we should find five players that are willing to build something systematically over multiple years.
How do you feel after and about ESL One?
We are thrilled with the results. According to our plans, we didn't expect those results, but they are a perfect reflection of how much time and passion our team invested lately to get there. It is a bit ahead of our plans, but we are happy we already can see the signs that we are on a proper path. We know that our journey will mean ups and downs, but if we normalize them, we can see an ascending trend line.
Is online format an advantage for mid-Tier teams?
No. In my opinion, there is no difference between close quals and online tournaments. Still in close qualifiers, usually, top tier teams get qualified. I think that regular LANs do favor the teams with more experience in playing in front of a physical audience. Generally, top tier teams are the ones who have that experience.
What are your plans for WePlay! Pushka League?
We stick to the plan. We are focused on learning new things. We are always looking to improve. We have no pressure to win at this moment.
You certainly know about The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few). One well-known Dota 2 team founder from CIS said that it was his mistake NOT TO SPEND 80% of his funds on marketing and 20% to the rest. In general, do you think marketing is important?
The Pareto principle states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In the early stage of a business, the key is to identify that 20% causes and focus on them. That will help you to grow fast. Marketing is important. If you have a good product, but you can't marketize it, you will earn nothing. At the same time, if you are an excellent marketer, but your product is terrible, you will never get big.
How should you spell our name? Vikin.gg is what we prefer.
Aren't you afraid that the line-up will shine, and wealthy organizations will snatch it from you right away?
I think we are unique as an organization, and we know what we want to become, and we will get there. During the process, we will face difficulties for sure, but we are not afraid. Also, in this process, we don't want to harm anybody. If it makes sense for somebody to leave us, we will wish him all the best and will adjust as we go. We will stick to our vision, and we know that more and more talented people will join us.
Did you invest much into this roster? Or is it more about the fact that the guys were given a bootcamp, and the guys started to bloom in these conditions?
We invest in multiple directions.
Our coach is helping them to become a true team. They focus a lot on this aspect, and I am so happy that they are so willing to adjust when needed. All of them are ready to listen to others without becoming defensive, which is a sign of very powerful motivation.
Regarding financials, they all have contracts. We all agreed to use a principle in which if you stay more with us, we invest more in you. Also, during this journey to a notable tier 1 team, we decided to forward all the winnings to the team. Bootcamps and other stuff are regular things that all teams should have.
In sports, there are "farm, or donor, clubs" whose main income comes from searching for talented players, raising them, and selling to rich clubs. How much can this model work in esports? Can the scouting thing live in, for example, Dota 2?
We do not plan to act only as a farm club. We aim to become a top club incorporating a farm, and we work to achieve that, but I think that can be a model for some clubs, and it should work. Regarding scouting, I think that lots of talented players miss becoming a pro player because there is no structure in scouting. Things are very at the beginning, but I genuinely believe esports will become huge, and then all these aspects will be addressed professionally.
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We'll see Vikin.gg in action today at WePlay! Pushka League! 19:00 CET — OG.Seed vs Vikin.gg.