I finished Rise of the Tomb Raider with a 55% accomplishment rate, meaning I missed a lot of things. When I tried Starcraft II, I was too slow to move past third mission... I am not, by any Wikipedia definition, a gamer but I am very entertained by the idea of playing e-games and enjoy watching multi-player games. Dating a guy who can’t get enough of DOTA 2 does that to you.
I also learned that this whole gaming thing is really big and it’s only going to get bigger. Now if you’re dating or thinking of dating someone who’s into DOTA, you have got to get yourself a little bit acquainted to the game. Why? Because there’s no avoiding it. They will talk about it, they will rave about it, they will argue about it, they might even dream about it.
I was fortunate to see ESL Manila in April 23 & 24 at the Mall of Asia Arena. I was told many times that it is a very big DOTA event where qualified and invited teams from all over the world compete for a USD250,000 cash prize (about PhP11.6 million). It is the first competition that ESL hosted in South East Asia, so yeah, be proud of that (*cough* economic growth *cough*). What I have here are things I learned from the event that you or your non-DOTA playing partner should know:
1. Objective. Two teams try to kill the opponent as many times as possible and smack the hell out of the towers in their corresponding main base by playing through their characters’ skills. It’s like agawan base but you have to kill and destroy on the way. The green team assigned to the sunlit part of the world is called “Radiant”, the red team on the darker side is “Dire”. Don’t call them Green Team and Red Team and don’t even try saying good and bad teams.
2. Creeps. These are your team's minions and will fight in your favor but you can’t control them. Don’t get too attached to them though. The opponents and their towers can shoot at creeps instead of you but if they die, its fine, you don’t have to feel bad about it. I assure you, another batch of those will come along. The same with the players’ characters. They die easily compared to other games but you’ll come back after some time.
3. Farm & Wards. In DOTA, as in life, you need money to buy stuff that you can use to move and fight better. To get money faster, you “Farm” or kill a bunch of innocent creatures in the forest. This is the boring part, just skim through your phone while this necessary but mundane part happens. Wards are nanny-cams you stealthily stick on your opponent’s side to spy on them.
4. Clash. That’s when all of the team members, or at least some of them, go head to head with the opponent and they throw skills by pressing some keys and clicking the mouse really fast. What you’ll see are explosions, force field walls, fire, tornado, black hole and so much more. It’s as wild an intersection in Manila with a dysfunctional stoplight during rush hour.
5. Roshan. This big ass dude matters a lot because it’s super strong and it gives a lot of money. It is a big deal for the team to beat him or her (could also be an “it”) without getting caught. If you do, it just messes your mojo because the monster will be whacking at you from one end and the opponents shooting at you from the other.
6. Characters. DOTA has soooo maaaany characters, like, a loooot. In ESL, my boyfriend said “bantayan mo yan, malakas yan,” (watch out for that character, he’s strong) and I thought to myself, “I wonder which one exactly.” I never figured out which one but I was amazed by many, whose names I still do not remember. Each character has a particular set of skills, strengths and weaknesses so as teams select the characters to play, everyone can somehow tell if it’s a strong set and how each character should be played with the rest.
7. Art. The details that they put in the graphics and sound are fantastic! It makes you understand, (this sounds awful even to me) that you have got to have a high-resolution screen, booming speakers or headset, and fast-reacting mouse to appreciate it. The competition convinced me that I need a gaming mouse too, for, you know… reasons.
8. Superstars. DOTA’s professional players are superstar athletes. Those who play DOTA know what teams to watch, what country they come from and who the team members are. Some teams that you should remember: Fnatic (“fanatic”), Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, Team Secret, EHOME (“e-home”), Wings (they won ESL Manila, they’re from China), and Mineski. Mineski is the only Philippine pro team and they still have a lot to work on. You should also know Puppey – he is a highly acclaimed DOTA player from Estonia. Yup, Estonia; Capital – Tallinn. So when you hear these names be on the lookout for some really manly screams of excitement from the fans.
9. Big Business. These superstars are well-sponsored by the top electronics and gaming brands in the world! Logitech, Razer, Alienware, Intel, Nvidia, MSI and other brands you never thought sponsored things. The biggest prize in one of the competitions is about $6 million because there is a massive loyal and growing following that’s right on the money for these brands.
(Photo taken by Definitely30 at ESL One Manila, April 23, 2016)
10. Commentators. Just like NBA and EPL, there’s an expert panel for pre and post-game and there are commentators during the game. These guys are celebrities. Almost everyone is familiar with them. People are excited to take pictures of and with them and get their autograph in-between games.
Now that you’re slightly familiar with DOTA, let’s face the real reason you’re reading this – the inevitable argument or passive-aggressive banter about time spent gaming. If it has never happened and you think it never will, well whatever salamander! There’s a fact that you need to digest here: they’re not alone when it comes to gaming. You can bake an upsetting episode and frost it with a dramatic exit, but DOTA and their online buddies will never go away. So before you start feeling all high and mighty, know that between the game and you, it’s probably going to be DOTA today, tomorrow, and the day after that.
The solution: just like everything else, make it a proper conversation and instead of hating the game, appreciate it. It brings a lot more to the table than you think:
I suggest you be more open and give Benefit #3 a try. Especially since Manila Major is happening this year in Mall of Asia Arena. (I'm still bothered why there is no "s" to make it "Manila Majors". It just ends abruptly with "Manila Major" but whatever.) This is a much bigger international competition that will be held for a week (June 7 to 12). O N E W E E K! More teams have been invited to play for the first place prize of $1.11 million. That’s about PhP56 million! Holy sisig in a basket, PhP56 million! Tickets are being sold in SM Tickets and eliminations are on July 11 & 12. If your partner doesn’t have tickets yet (I doubt, better ask nicely), you could check to see if they are made available again. Check every hour of every day until July 12 to be sure.
Now I think congratulations are in order. You have just enough to get you through his or her next gaming session, and I hope this read encouraged you to ask the usually awkward “how was DOTA?” question. If you have any other basics that helped you or your non-DOTA playing partner understand the game, feel free to comment and share. And if you think your gamer of a partner can go pro, hit me up! I would be happy to cover a sponsorship and marketing gig…for a price.
GGWP! (I forgot what this means! Hay!)
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