Garter has competed in Dota 2 since 2011, although he has never quite broken into the top tier of play, and has now announced he will be departing the game in favor of League of Legends.
There has long been a fierce rivalry between fans of the two MOBAs, one that surfaced again recently after Team Liquid’s Yilliang ‘Doublelift’ Peng claimed that League of Legends was the harder game, with two-time The International winner Sébastien ‘Ceb’ Debs also weighing in.
In a Twitlonger explaining his decision, Garter highlights several issues with Dota 2 as the causes for switch, primarily being in the structure and instability of tier two competition. With players relying on third-party organizers to create tournaments, opportunities to compete can be scarce, and “even as scarce as they are, you can't count on the money won because they just don't always pay out.”
Meanwhile, with Dota 2 lacking a central authority to implement and oversee rules against poaching, Garter states he has repeatedly found over his career that promising teams can quickly find themselves taken apart with no notice as players receive offers from more established organizations.
It’s not just the professional scene that he takes issue with, however, but the game itself. Describing the game’s matchmaking system as “the last straw”, he states that at the upper end of ranked play he consistently encounters either extremely long queue times, or “extremely unbalanced free-for-alls” featuring players with a wide range of skill levels.
Despite his frustrations with Dota2, Garter states that is still an “amazing game”, but that it is time for a fresh start:
“Dota 2 is really an amazing game and I have met some incredible people and had some positive and impactful experiences, but it's time to hang up my Dota 2 hat and start the new year, the new decade with a new start.”
That new start will be a move to Dota 2’s chief rival MOBA, League of Legends. While Garter states that he is not even yet able to play ranked in League of Legends, which requires that accounts be level 30 and have unlocked 20 champions, but is “already in love with the game.”
Where Dota 2’s professional scene is largely operated by third-party tournament organizers, Riot Games not only directly control tier one competition with their major leagues, but also tier two, including the Academy competitions and a variety of leagues in smaller regions, which therefore in many cases offer more stability than tier-two competition in an open circuit can necessarily provide.