A Tournament of Heroes Part 1
Alright, this is going to be something a little different today. For those not in the know, this week is Valve’s The International 3. It is, perhaps, the biggest tournament in e-sports. At least, it’s the biggest tournament I care about in e-sports. And while the category may carry a silly name, electronic sports may perhaps be the only type of sport I enjoy watching.
As such, I’ve been knocking back almost twelve hours a day of wall to wall action and high stakes combat. This means that my productivity is pretty much shot so I really don’t have anything prepared for the blog. I’m sorry to disappoint but you’ll have to rely on my co-creators for more meatier content this week.
For those with a slight interest, The International is a Dota 2 invitational only tournament. Held in Seattle, the best of the best are brought to Valve’s headquarters and Benaroya Hall to compete for a prize pool that is currently over 2.8 million dollars. See, I told you this is big. Granted, this is the entire pool and first place is only taking a measly 1.4 million. They’re practically paupers.
Now, there are two reasons I find Dota 2 a more engaging activity to watch over something like golf is two fold. For one, golf doesn’t involve a myriad host of critters and individuals stabbing each other in the face with swords, spears, pincers and what-have-you. Second, I actually play the game so watching people perform at the height of skill and competitiveness gives me pointers for improving my own performance in game. It’s fascinating watching the strategies that a cohesive team of five individuals will do to try and take the match against an equally fearsome opponent.
And Valve has done a remarkable job of making this spectating as engaging and enjoyable as possible. You can watch the entire tournament live from their in-game client for free. This allows you to listen to commentators and control the camera however you like. I can set it so I can watch the game from the perspective of my favourite player or ghost over the shoulders of the in-game casters as they make the calls for every play. Furthermore, I was graciously gifted this year’s compendium which is like one of those pamphlets they give out at sporting or theatre events. Only this one had a bunch of goodies packed inside and allowed me to construct a fantasy team of players who accrue me points and to make predictions based on the outcome of the game. This book, however, is not free and is priced at $10. Which might seem a little steep except it’s essentially a ticket for the event and $2.50 from it is contributed directly to the prize pool.
Hence why I initially stated that the pool is currently around 2.8.
Being able to invest directly into the tournament helps give a sense of proud ownership to each compendium holder. It’s nice to know that I’m directly supporting these players with my own money and, given the amount of entertainment they’ve provided, it’s a rather affordable price too. There’s even the option to purchase team pennants if you wanted to give money directly to your favourite team and those will cost you around $2.50 though you can give more by upgrading it. These pennants, in turn, increase your chances of obtaining tournament stamped digital items you can wear when you play though the chances of actually getting one are rather minuscule.
This year I’m throwing my support behind team Fnatic. They’re a relatively new team to the Dota 2 scene. Apparently, they were an old Heroes of Newerth (HoN) group who finally made the switch to Dota 2. I have no idea how highly ranked they were, but considering that my favourite caster Draskyl is also a former HoN competitive player, I won’t hold their origins against them. They’re a European team in the full sense of the term. Not a single member is from the same country but despite that they all get along seemingly extraordinary. I kind of like that global community feel. Plus they play some damn good an unconventional Dota. Anyone that picks and wins with Meepo in a tournament is surely to win my heart.
So, if any of this sounds interesting, you can find more at Valve’s official site: http://www.dota2.com/international/home/overview/
While I doubt I’ll make any converts of readers, I will likely post at least once more on this small obsession taking over my life. I consider this my Super Bowl, so I hope you’ll forgive me for minor consumption of my time. I’m trying to ride this wave of the future on a brand new phenomenon… or something.