Offseason. It’s the time of year where we look back and review what went well and what didn’t. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve what we do in the pursuit of excellence and we wanted to be transparent with the community on what to expect from the Wolves in 2019 and beyond.
Where have we come from?
Dire Wolves made its initial mark on the League of Legends scene with a 2nd place finish in the first OPL Split in 2015. What followed was a number of 3rd/4th placings until the new majority owners Guinevere Capital entered in September 2016. From that point on the era of Dire Wolves success began.
At the beginning of 2017 we moved into a gaming house, Shernfire joined and k1ng returned alongside Sharp as Coach (while also hiring an external Performance Director). All this resulted in a dominant OPL year with two Split titles, we travelled the world on international campaigns in Brazil, Vietnam, China and multiple Korean bootcamps playing at the highest level League of Legends has to offer.
Despite all the successes in 2017, we managed to surpass them convincingly in 2018. We moved from the gaming house model to a dedicated training facility within the Sydney Cricket Ground precinct, we launched our development squad Dire Cubs where two players were promoted to OPL and went undefeated domestically, winning our 4th consecutive Split in front of a massive live crowd at the iconic Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
What wasn’t mentioned in the above was the series of international disappointments. From each of these events we’ve come out with many valuable learnings, which have built our long term foundation moving forward.
Coaching and Leadership
One of our biggest learnings is the importance of leadership from coaching staff. Drawing from best practises in traditional sports and other industries combined with our experiences in esports, we aim to create long lasting systems and processes to bring about high performance. To achieve this, we will be expanding our coaching staff with Coach Curtis at the helm, bringing in an overarching philosophy and key beliefs to how the team operates on a day to day basis. The purpose of the coaching team is to ensure that every individual on the squad is able to reach their full potential. This will be achieved through ensuring the correct structure is in place to foster a world class environment. There is no doubt competing at the highest level comes with its challenges. Having our fair share of these experiences, moving forward, our team will have an increased focus on appreciation and care for others.
Our recruitment process has significantly changed from the days where we would simply select the players on top of the Challenger ladder. While we do put a strong emphasis on the individual skill of a player, what we value higher is:
- Drive and hunger for competition
- Self confidence
- Positivity and enthusiasm
- Assertive yet open minded
These qualities embody what it means to be a Dire Wolf and enable individuals to thrive and build meaningful relationships within the team.
The Dire Cubs and more specifically BioPanther have been a great case study for us this year. What we learned was just how driven the new generation of upcoming players are and how quickly they can progress in our environment. In 2019 we’re going to take this to the next level. Through our focus on coaching and leadership we will be putting the right support and infrastructure around our players to encourage them to tackle the demands and challenges that come along with being a Dire Wolf.
This year we took the leap in separating the work and living environment through our partnership with the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust. What we found was just how important this was to creating a professional and focused practise environment. However, it wasn’t perfect. What was partly overlooked was the finer details in making the conditions as comfortable as possible so our players could focus entirely on improving at League of Legends. We’ve identified what needs to be changed and are taking the necessary steps to make what is already the best training facility in the region to new heights.
Will DW import players from other regions?
The short answer, no. When we talk about building a great foundation to develop the next generation of players into world class competitors, we want to do it our way, the Dire Wolves way. We’re proud to be an Oceanic team, and part of this means to recruit and succeed with local talent.
Will we see DW in other games?
In 2019 Dire Wolves will not be expanding into other esport titles. Dire Wolves is committed to the success of our League of Legends team’s and we believe to achieve the level of success we’re seeking, it will require the full concentration of our efforts and resources from the entire organisation.
I’m a fan of DW, how can I support the team?
In January of 2017 we launched the first version of our membership program, where you could get exclusive access to the team through behind the scenes videos and jumping on the rift with the Wolves.
Since then it’s grown into a place where we can engage with our most passionate and dedicated fans who have supported us every step of the way. Seeing the community we had built in person and meeting our members at MEO for the OPL Grand Final, was one of the highlights of our year.
In 2019 we will continue to grow and build upon this. Our membership is not just for our hardcore fans, it’s also a place where we want to help players of all levels get better at League of Legends. If you want to find out more about our membership head to direwolves.gg or join our Discord server.
We’ve won four consecutive OPL titles, had an undefeated 2018 domestically, and represented the Oceanic region internationally on multiple occasions, but we’re not content and are hungrier than ever. We believe we have the knowledge, experience and courage to make the necessary decisions in the best interests of the organisation.
We hope you’re as excited for 2019 as we are! #WOLFPACK