EDIT: THIS POST WAS MADE WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE ABOVE POST. ESEA might not actually be dead, I guess. But this post was made in the assumption that it more or less was confirmed dead. im gay.
Real talk though I guess.
People compete for all kinds of different reasons. They compete to win money, respect and admiration, fun, to chill with their peers at LAN, for strange deviant sexual pleasure, or all of those. The reason itself doesn't really matter, but the presence of the possibility for that reason to be cultivated does. I compete because the struggle to improve and beating difficult teams is fun, but the possibility of never getting to compete on that even playing field never really bothered me; because of that, I don't really feel the loss of the ESEA LAN, as my personal directives are just that--personal. But as shitty as ESEA was to us and even with the reality of the fact that they literally used the client to mine bitcoins from their users, it's also a reality that there are (well, were I guess) people who care enough about the concept of that even playing field to put up with all that.
If there's a single TF2 inviter who played ESEA for the wonderful customer service, I'll eat my hat. The fact is this: one of the reasons to play this game competitively was to advance in ESEA far enough to make top 4 and play at LAN finals, and that reason is now gone. This is objectively a loss and is something that is absolutely, understandably upsetting. Still, I can't help but roll my eyes at the doomsayers in this thread about how "there's no reason to play competitive TF2 anymore", as if to deter people from playing in the free leagues that will fill the player gap in ESEA's place. TF2 has lost its last remaining regional offline LAN finals, and that sucks and will no doubt hurt the top end of the game, but it's comically melodramatic to claim that the "game is dead". No. The game is now different. Weaker in that strictly competitive sense, for sure, but different. And that's just the way it's going to be until the (admittedly unlikely) event of some kind of independent startup.
TF2 is a very popular game and there absolutely are still reasons to play it competitively even without ESEA LAN. Shitting on those reasons because of something you can't change is beyond unproductive and frankly childish--these elusive ~other reasons~ were and are absolutely as valuable as yours were. You're an inviter who has lost their reason to play because ESEA's gone? Good for you, sorry it had to end like this. But it's up to the remaining community where NATF2 will go from here; not you, not anymore. I implore the more influential players left over not to engage in such whining; figure out where to take the game from here instead of crying over spilled milk and hoping everyone else spills theirs too.