A professional Dota 2 player has come under fire for events that took place during a qualifying event for the MOBA. A player by the name of Ivan ‘Pure’ Moskalenko of the team Vitrus.pro, began to draw a “Z” symbol on the minimap of the game, which is meant to show support behind Russia invading Ukraine. The symbol has been known to be painted on tanks and artillery from the first few weeks of the attempted occupation. The symbol was immediately found out by organizers and fans, and strict punishment was handed down to the Pure and the team on which he was competing. You can see the symbol drawn on the minimap below:
Pure seemed to draw the Z in the upper left corner of the Dota 2 map before the team realized what had happened. They all were trying to feverishly draw over the symbol so that no one would notice what had happened, but it was too late. Based on this event, Pure was fired from the Outsiders, which is the name under which Vitrus.pro was competing, and the team was forced to forfeit the rest of their Major Qualifying matches in the ESL One Stockholm Major. According to Pure, the symbol was drawn by “accident.” No one fell for this, as he also publicly apologized. You can see his apology below:
Outsiders were meant to take on Mind Games, but Mind Games received a forfeit win to advance in the Dota 2 tournament. Updated stories have claimed that Pure was fired from VP following this incident, and the team was meant to be allowed to compete. However, based on rules for the tournament, VP was not allowed to use substitutes, so they were forced to forfeit their place in the qualifying tournament. The organizer of the tournament also released a statement and explained the punishment that was given out.
Outsiders had no choice but to forfeit their entire slate of games that would have seen the team likely enter the semifinals of the tournament. Both Mind Games and Team Sprit advanced in the Dota 2 tournament further due to the VP team having to forfeit. According to VP, Pure was fired from the team, “for his diminishing actions that led to [the team’s] disqualification from the tournament and caused a great deal of harm to our relationship with the worldwide esports society.” Gaming is meant to be about inclusion, so drawing a symbol that was associated with hatred is certainly something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Sometimes younger adults don’t realize the jokes they make cause a ripple effect that hurts many. The team which VP was meant to play in the tournament also has two players from Ukraine.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been met with disdain all across the world, and people were naturally very upset at Pure drawing this symbol. Although VP was upset that their team had to forfeit the tournament, they realized the harm that had already been done, which resulted in firing Pure. There is no telling if he will be selected for another team in the near future, but for now, he is likely not to sit on any Dota 2 action for quite some time.