Why Strong Regional Voices Matter in Dota 2: The Significance of “Blanket Players”

New Personality Shines on The International Broadcast Desk

The International is no stranger to controversy when it comes to selecting personalities for the broadcast desk. However, one individual stood out this year and showed us how international events should be handled in the future. Jack “KBBQ” Chen, a Chinese-American content creator, bridged the gap between Chinese and English-speaking audiences, bringing a unique perspective to the desk.

Breaking Down Barriers between Audiences

KBBQ appeared on the English-speaking desk segments during games featuring Chinese teams. This was crucial in breaking down the language-barrier between Western and Chinese audiences. As the region with the highest number of active Dota 2 players, it’s important to have someone like KBBQ who can provide essential background material and translate Chinese interviews.

A Heartfelt Story Revealed

KBBQ shared a gripping tale about LGD support player Yao “Yao” Zhengzheng. He introduced the term “blanket player,” which is a term of endearment for veteran Chinese players. These players faced many challenges in the early days of esports, including traveling long distances for tournaments and not having a guaranteed place to sleep. Instead, they brought their own blankets and slept on venue floors.

Bridging the Gap at The International

Valve’s effort to bridge the gap between different regions at The International 7 is commendable. This should become a standard practice at future Majors and Internationals, especially considering the game’s international growth and the rise of Southeast Asian and Latin American teams. Just like Riot Games does at the League of Legends World Championship, it’s important to have diverse voices from various regions sharing their insights on the biggest Dota 2 stages in the world.

By having regional expertise, viewers can better connect with the players they’re watching. This is essential in preventing the denigration and stereotyping of players from other regions, as seen in other esports like StarCraft 2. South Korean players in StarCraft were often stereotyped as robotic and faceless by Western fans due to cultural differences. But in reality, many of these players sacrificed a great deal to achieve their victories, leaving their homes and families behind.

Having broadcasters who understand the regions and players can provide a counter-narrative to popularized stereotypes. Every country and region has their own “blanket players,” and it’s important for fans to know their stories and how they reached the biggest stages in esports.

Keywords: The International, KBBQ, Dota 2, broadcast desk, Chinese teams, Chinese audiences, language-barrier, blanket player, Valve, Majors, Internationals, Southeast Asian, Latin American, League of Legends World Championship, denigration, stereotyping, StarCraft 2, South Korean players, robotic, faceless, esports.

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