We had a quick chat with ESL Tournament Director Jonas "bsl" Alsaker Vikan following the recent Dust2 announcement to know more about the process of adding the map to the pool for its big events.
ESL has become the first tournament organiser to embrace the new Dust2, which was added to the Active Duty pool in Cobblestone's place in Friday's update, with the map set to make an appearance at the upcoming IEM Sydney event, kicking off in a week's time.
Players like Jesper "JW" Wecksell and Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo have expressed concern about the timing of the announcement, with the SK captain stating that teams should be given at least a month to practice a map that has undergone changes.
Read on to find out why ESL is introducing Dust2 just days leading up to an event, how the teams were consulted in the decision-making process and their reaction to changes in this brief interview with Jonas "bsl" Alsaker Vikan, the German company's Tournament Director since August.
What made ESL decide to add Dust2 this close to IEM Sydney, with teams having very little time to practice the map?
At this point there was not a great option or any ideal timing. Valve introducing it into the Active Duty sends a strong signal to all, the early stages of the Major will start soon and on our end there are two huge tournaments coming up in little over three weeks. From there it’s back-to-back competitions up until the player break. Continuing with Cbble when it won't get played just because teams are used to it seems pointless. Also the time frame involved here is the same for everyone. Teams who do not feel comfortable can always use veto.
What was the process behind this decision? Was this previously discussed with teams and players, or was it made by ESL alone?
I began the process here as always by contacting player representative Scott Smith. While that marinated we had discussions internally at ESL. After talking to Scott again, we reached out to the Sydney teams to ask for their feedback. Most rendered opinions and they were weighed against the facts; equal time to prepare, no good moment to introduce due to condensed schedule and the fact that Dust2 will be part of a Major everyone is gunning for. Ultimately I have to make a decision in these matters. They will not always be right or popular, but I think the process here was fair, given the time restraints everything was working under.
Don't you think teams will make a pact and outright ban the map?
How teams choose to use their vetos is one of the many things that make CSGO so interesting. From my position I’ll be careful in having an opinion on how they use their vetos, they will do what they feel is best for their team on the day and the rest we’ll all see on the server.
How have teams reacted to the news?
Reactions have been mixed, some are happy, some are not. I realize it is a challenge for them, but you have to remember these are, by now, highly paid professionals, and I am confident they will handle Dust2 just fine.