Kyle ‘Beef’ Bautista is a well-known personality amongst North-American eSports enthusiasts. With almost five years working in compLexity Gaming, a constant pressence in the North American scene, his voice is definitely an authorized one when talking about the region and the evolution of Dota 2 as a competitive game. This is the English version. Para leer la entrevista en español, haz clic aquí.
Hello, Kyle, thanks for accepting this interview. Could you please present yourself to the LatAm community?
Hi, I’m Kyle ‘Beef’ Bautista, General Manager of compLexity.
When did you discover competitive gaming? How did you see videogames before joining this world?
I’ve been playing games since I was about 8 years old, starting with the Gameboy, Super Nintendo, and Nintendo 64. I discovered competitive gaming when I was playing World of Warcraft Arena at a high level, and went to my first Blizzcon event. It was a real eye opener to a world I didn’t know existed!
What games do you play the most? Any hidden gem you’d like to recommend?
Currently I play PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, Dota 2, CS:GO, Overwatch, Hearthstone, and occasionally some other games.
What’s your favourite hero in Dota 2?
My favorite Dota hero is definitely Elder Titan. Great play style, and can have a huge impact from the support role.
How did you start working under compLexity?
I joined compLexity in 2012 as a caster, broadcasting scrims from the compLexity Heroes of Newerth team (then comprising players like PPD, MoonMeander, and Chessie). I worked my way up through the company, learning on the way.
You used to be the Dota 2 team manager at compLexity and are now the General Manager. Are you still in close contact with the Dota 2 team? What does it mean for you to be the General Manager?
I still live just about 10 minutes away from the Dota 2 house and I see them at least once a week. We have a very close working relationship. As the General Manager I am responsible for day to day operations across the entire company, and providing guidance for larger strategic decisions.
As an organisation, compLexity has managed to stablish himself as a powerhouse in the North American region. Are there any plans for expanding into new markets, like Europe or South America?
While we have had teams that were based in South America, Korea, and other locations, North America is our home base, and where we will see most of our efforts focused for the foreseeable future.
During the past years, compLexity has been notorious for working with pro players switching from HoN to Dota 2, most notably, players that were part of your own HoN division. Was there a conscious effort in helping players like MoonMeander or Chessie do the transition or was it more of a “path of least resistance” thing, working with players you already knew and trusted?
It was a bit of both for us. We like working with players that we had established relationships with, and they already knew me and the compLexity management as well. We also had a top HoN team and knew many top HoN players, so we had a great selection of highly talented and motivated individuals to work with. Just about every former HoN pro we’ve worked with has gone on to have high levels of success in the Dota 2 scene.
At this point, it’s pretty clear that the Dota 2 roster is based around the Freedman brothers, with zFreek and swindlezz playing under your banner since the organisation decided to go back to Dota 2. What would you say is the most important trait of the duo and what makes them so valuable to the organisation?
We love working with Kyle and Zak, and the whole Freedman family. Ultimately there is a level of mutual trust between us that makes working together very easy. We knew going into this we weren’t going to have immediate success, but that these two players were not going to burn out, and would not quit until they had met their goals. There is something reassuring in that. Ontop of that, Zfreek’s huge playmaking skill, and Melonzz leadership and teambuilding skills have always helped us to pick up the pieces and keep moving in a positive direction.
Considering your experience with other eSports, how would you compare the Dota 2 competitive circuit with other scenes? Do you feel it’s at a healthy position right now?
Unfortunately I’m not convinced the Dota 2 scene is in a healthy position currently. Other games have consistent competition in an easy to follow format. CSGO’s EPL and ECS, Riots LCS, LCK, and other regional series, or even COD GPL, HotS HGC, and Smite’s SPL. These leagues are in addition to major LAN events, and Majors/World Championships. Dota doesn’t have something like this. Any league formats are simply qualifiers to LAN events, and there is no emphasis on story building, ease of viewing, or stability in rosters. As a result, it is difficult for new organizations or event hosts to get involved in the game. In addition, the money and budget of the Majors and The International overshadow all other events, making it difficult to compete, or for teams to generate substantial ROI for their organizations outside of those 3 events per year.
What are some changes you’d like to see in the scene? Be it changes in the players, tournament organisers or esport teams.
I would love to see some kind of a regional league in each of the major regions. These leagues would not only attract new viewers through easier viewing, story building, and consistency, but it would promote growth in the smaller regions, and provide an outlet for tier 2-3 teams to provide ROI. Unfortunately the prize money required to gather the interest of top teams would likely be prohibitively high for anyone other than Valve themselves.
Talking on a more general note, what do you expect from eSports in the upcoming years? Do you think they will compete with traditional sports or will they settle with a niche viewership?
I think that the next generation will certainly start to skew more toward esports viewership. Traditional sports certainly aren’t going to die, or be the minority in the next decade, but i would not be surprised for esports to start carving a huge portion of viewership away. Kids are going to be growing up with idols like Faker and Coldzera, and it will only continue to grow in the next generations.
Following on the previous question, how do you feel about traditional media giving attention to competitive gaming? Do you think it would be helpful for esports to be spotlighted in such a way or is this only a corporative attempt to cater to new generations?
I think attention from traditional media can (mostly) only help. I don’t think that the majority of esports media needs to be shown in that “traditional” light, or that we need TV, but the additional exposure rarely hurts.
Going back to compLexity, how’s the atmosphere in the Dota 2 team right now? What are the objectives of the team regarding their scene?
The atmosphere of the team is positive. We unfortunately just had to make some changes, but both Monkeys and 747 understood why we felt those changes were necessary. We have plenty of time to look for some new blood before the upcoming season, and we’re hoping to make a highly competitive run at TI7.
I’m gonna be honest, I’m a big fan of swindlezz’ passionate aproach to the game (which brings us gems like the Beaver face). Do you have any particular anecdote that would picture swindlezz’… enthusiasm?
I think the qualification to TI5 with Fly, Moon, and Zyzzy was one of my personal highlights. We had gone through over 30 players looking for those additions, and to rally and qualify for the biggest event of all time, in that fashion, it was incredible. swindlezz and the entire team were so emotional, and they didn’t hide it from the camera we had in the playing room. He let the tears flow, recorded forever there on YouTube, and you could see just how much that win, his passion and leadership meant to the whole team.
Thank you very much for your time, Kyle, any last words you’d like to share with us? Any social media links we can follow you on?
Thanks for reaching out to interview me. Always happy to help! You can follow me at @coL_Beef on Twitter and compLexity at @compLexityLIVE. Also check out our sponsor’s new fan showroom at coL.vg/BlasterX for some sick deals on the same gear our players use!