Valve’s New Project Is A Dota Doc, A MOBA Movie

'Whatcha thinking about?' 'Dota 2'
A Valve film crew spent the lead up to last year’s debut Dota 2 tournament, The International, following some of the participants as they prepared for the biggest e-sports tournament ever. The result: a documentary about how they managed to overcome the odds and make games their livelihood. You know, I think they deliberately chose those with a slightly tough background to make it interesting. It’s like Rocky, but with games. Now we all know the best Rocky is Rocky 3, because it has Mr T and Hulk Hogan. Rocky 3. Thu-ree. And what game are we all really waiting for? That’s right, Half-Life 3. So we can take from this that somewhere in the trailer for the Dota 2 is the reveal of HL3. Get pausing.

It’s basically a lot of parents pointing out how games will never be a job, and some nice camera work and inspirational music. This is why I’m not a film critic, btw. I give the graphics 100 and the sound 99.

I’m sad that the movie wasn’t done Aardman style, with Source Filmmaker being used to animate Dota 2 characters. This was the ‘non-gaming project’ that they were talking about last night on GT.TV. You can see the full episode below.


  1. Tusque D'Ivoire says:


    I like that valve, despite being one of these gaming-and-beyond behemoths, still cater to the hardcore-crowd, even though it probably isn’t for me. this moba thing is something I never wanted to nor will be a part of, beyond reading diaries like Quinns’ Eurogamer series!

    • Pazguato says:

      Agreed. They are turning too hardcore for the hardcore in me.

      I have no time in my life to play Dota 2, so a documentary about dota2 players… I would prefer a mockumentary, I’m sure they have good material.

    • hosndosn says:

      Indeed. That sports/competitive niche never interested me since even if you’re *really* good, like beating all your friends one-handed, you’re still like only #4594 on the world ranks so why bother? I can’t even impress anyone with it and don’t get enough personal joy out of it to do it for myself. Games like CS:GO at least create these more classic action movie style mini-dramas but something like DotA2 gets *so* abstract it’s essentially like chess. I got into the beta but after 8 or 10 matches lost all interest. I mean, there’s so much to learn and do but why bother, it’s all just projectiles of different speeds and power, maybe some invis or summoning spell… but always the same map, the same challenges… maybe you encounter the enemy on the left side now or the right side or 2 at once or 3 at once… Boring, indeed.

      • CuddleBunny says:

        Maybe boring for you, but I really enjoy competitive style games like Starcraft or DotA. I know I’ll never be in the top ten in the world or whatever, but I still enjoy being able to play a game with a really high skill ceiling where there’s always something I could be doing to make myself better. Admittedly, DotA has a really high learning curve and I wouldn’t recommend getting into it without a friend to show you the ropes. However, once you do get into it, not only do you have a new game to enjoy/get better at, you also know enough about the game to watch and enjoy professional competition.

        Regarding your comment about projectiles of speed and everything always being the same: Yeah the map is always the same. What you do on it varies a /lot/ depending on how your team is built (in terms of which heroes you pick and items you try to get,) though.

        • donmilliken says:

          Well yes Cuddle Bunny, it rather goes without saying that everyone’s experience will be different. That’s the beauty of gaming, there’s something for everyone. What bores one person to tears will endlessly enthrall another.

      • El Mariachi says:

        even if you’re *really* good, like beating all your friends one-handed, you’re still like only #4594 on the world ranks so why bother?

        The same could be said of any endeavour.

  2. Lambchops says:

    Surely the best Rocky was Rocky IV, with its “look at those evil Soviets and their machines while Rocky indulges in good wholesome mountain based training” montage. Not to mention James Brown.

    • Skeletor68 says:

      Rocky IV has my favourite training montage of any movie. Dolph Lundgren is just amazing too.

      • Ian says:

        I am rather partial to the “hurtin’ bombs” scene in Rocky Balboa. Anything looks good if it follows Rocky V I suppose.

      • AndyBumpkin says:

        With awesome music from Vince Dicola of course!

      • YogSo says:

        Indeed. I love how the montage starts ‘sensible’ enough, running around the mountain, but soon Rocky is sawing off a log, carrying rocks or pulling from a sleigh. :D Oh, and the little homage to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ at the end is awesome as well.

      • Bhazor says:

        This is a better Dolph training montage.
        link to

      • mooken says:

        Absolutely agree. There is a direct correlation between the quality of a film, and the number of training montages. Rocky IV had TWO training montages. QED.

    • Chap O says:

      I’m afraid Nathan is right for the reasons he listed (appearances from Hulk Hogan and Mr. T) and the reason he forgot – Rocky 3 was the first film in the series to feature ‘Eye Of The Tiger’.

  3. Pathetic Phallacy says:

    I would love to watch a study on why the MOBA community is so bloody terrible. I want an in-depth analysis that looks at every angle in an effort to determine why the dredges of gaming congregate daily on servers across the MOBA universe to spew racist and homophobic bile.

    I played organized sports in high school and those fuckers were bad; however, gamers who love competitive games are much much worse.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      You sound like a little girl who can’t handle a real man’s game. Pathetic Phallus indeed.

      • Krimson says:

        Case in point.

      • Llewyn says:

        Yeah! Because if there’s one thing that defines real men, it’s behaving like 14yo boys, right?

      • Pazguato says:

        “You sound like a little girl who can’t handle a real man’s game.”

        Eh, you are crying like a… real man, “man”.

      • Unaco says:

        Are you one of these MOBA players Pathetic Phallacy is commenting on? If so… maybe Pathetic Phallacy has a point…

        Edit: If not, I apologise to the MOBA community for associating it with this person.

      • CrookedLittleVein says:


        You must be very new here.

      • PodX140 says:

        Thanks for making people like me who play dota 2 look worse!

        Seriously. I absolutely love the game, HATE the community. It just sucks that every 1 game out of 3 you have some smartass or troll who decides to ignore everyone else, spout pathetic racist bullshit, and annoy everyone to no end.

        • syndrome says:

          That’s what mainstream is all about. Embracing the people we’re ought to avoid.

          So by generating a lot of friction which apparently results in discriminating intelligent, tolerant, and generally friendly players, the overall playerbase quickly reduces to a retarded misogynic and xenophobic trollfest that is inept at having fun and probably born to die for fanatical religious, nationalistic, and racialist reasons instead.

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      I think it’s a result of the comparatively low likelihood of being punched in the mouth. Frankly, i think the internet would be a more civil place if we could somehow reproduce this risk.

      • gunny1993 says:

        like this?

        • Mollusc Infestation says:

          That’s pretty much exactly what i had in mind. It’s like a broader form of digital rights management.

          Edit: Digital Responsibilities Management?

    • Asuron says:

      Before we go any further one thing has to be addressed. Can we please not call this genre MOBA. For the love of god it literally tells you nothing about the style of play involved in these games and can literally apply to any multi player game in existence. It’s just a term coined by Riot because they didn’t want to be called a DOTA clone, but it’s really awful and has to be changed to something better.

      Anyways, as to why people are so aggressive in these games? Well its mainly because the game requires your team-mates to be performing on peak at all times for games that can last up to 40-60 minutes. If they don’t do correct things it becomes increasingly obvious because of the very noticeable benefits it provides the other team when you don’t do your job properly.

      Combine this with the long period of time your stuck with people and it can get real ugly, real fast. Doesn’t excuse the idiots who use racist terms or are homophobic, but it does explain the aggression and if you have idiots playing your game who already get aggressive in other games that aren’t anywhere near as intensive on teamwork, a whole game can go to shit real fast.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I don’t think it’s the time thing, other games have matches as long or longer (albeit with timeouts and breaks) and 3v3 LoL (which is usually about 25 minutes) is just as ugly as normal LoL.

      • RagingLion says:

        So, Lords Management then?

      • Fincher says:

        Pedant ahoy!

      • Pathetic Phallacy says:

        Yes, the MOBA discussion is something people over at playdota love to run in the ground while pretending like DoTA is some wonderfully unique gem that cannot be defined by any sort of genre standards.

        Listen, First Person Shooter really doesn’t explain anything beyond the perspective of play and the style of killing. Real Time Strategy only tells you that it’s a strategic game that takes place in real time. Hell, Counterstrike could be an RTS. A genre does not need to be defined purely by the acronym. We, as gamers, decide the subtle and not so subtle differences between genres that extend beyond the title.

        MOBA is here to stay.

        A high ticket game of Battlefield can take 40 minutes. A few bad players can really keep a team down. There is something else about MOBA games that goes beyond the simple mechanics of the game that attracts these assholes.

        • bear912 says:

          The problem is that MOBA doesn’t define anything well. Every online game that involves killing other players qualifies as a “Multiplayer Online Battle Arena”. Not only does it sound silly, it’s useless as a genre-classifying term. ARTS is better, but not by much. So far, the best suggestion I’ve heard for naming the genre is Lane-Pushing Game or LPG, which makes far more sense than the uselessly generic MOBA.

          • godwin says:

            You really could say the same for something like “RPG” though, because in which game do you not play the role of something (for the pedantic, please don’t try to start an argument over traditional role-playing games)? In the context of everything else, MOBA makes sense because it’s referring to something specific, and it is this use which will come to define what people associate the term with. But of course, given that it is a unique opportunity to create a new name, why not go with something that is actually descriptive? Perhaps it’s just down to persuasion and campaigning that will decide what gets adopted.

    • karhax says:

      Have you actually played Dota 2 enough to have an opinion or are you just going with the “dota has bad community” meme?

      • SexualHarassmentPanda says:

        To be honest, Dota 2 has one of the better communities considering hardcore flaming will get you banned from the beta. Valve has no problem with permabanning which is very refreshnig from the 2-3 day suspensions given in LoL for bad behavior. They even give a pop-up message whenever someone you’ve previously reported gets banned.

      • Pathetic Phallacy says:

        I’ve played over 1000 games of DoTA 2. I’ve been in the beta since they first introduced the level system.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Maybe you should suck at the games less.

      (what the hell is a moba)

      • Pathetic Phallacy says:

        59 percent w/l ratio with over 1000 games played on the ‘high skill’ ranked servers.

        Thanks for proving a point. Perhaps you should return to PlayDota.

        • Jason Moyer says:

          It’s possible I was making a joke there. Your stats are probably impressive to someone who has the slightest idea of what Dota is.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It’s not really a secret. In most team games the poor performance of one member temporarily hurts the overall performance of a team. In Mobas the poor performance of one member aids the opposing team for the rest of the game. Combine that with anonymity and you’ve got a poisonous brew.

      • hosndosn says:

        This is the truth and pretty much all that is needed to say.

    • dewey15 says:

      the idea that the dota 2 community is any meaner, more racist, homophobic than any other part of the internet, or any meaner than any actual community is completely false. people “rage” like in any other competitive game, but i find it to be far less vitrolic than what you’d find if you play any competitive FPS.

      ive played a lot of dota over the past 6 months and completeyl fallen in love with the game, the pro scene etc. its the first “hard core” gaming experience ive ever come close to. mixed in with the frustration of losing is a sincere effort to win, and some truly amazing co-op experiences with complete strangers. when you get paired up with people as skilled as you and you play well together, its an awesome feeling.

      i think the international element of it is a big part of the weird, sometimes abrasive community as well, but it is SO easy to counteract people being jerks. you just have to laugh, make light of it and not take it personally when a complete stranger says you are doing bad at a game.

      i seriously dont know if i’ll ever be able to enjoy a game that isnt this hard to be good at again. everything else feels so EASY and clunky by comparison.

      • Pathetic Phallacy says:

        The MOBA community is worse than the average gaming community, this is something expressed both by outsiders and insiders.

        I’ve been playing DoTA for a very long time and I’ve been a gamer for even longer. DoTA has some of the shittiest human beings alive. That is not to say that every player is bad; however, what is fascinating is that almost every player has the potential to become hateful lunatics in a matter of minutes. The most well-mannered individual becomes the most angry SOB on the planet if some guy on his team proclaims he’s new at the game.

        You’re welcome to disagree, but you’re going against the grain.

        • Vorphalack says:

          ”The MOBA community is worse than the average gaming community, this is something expressed both by outsiders and insiders. ”

          What you mean by ”something” is ”an opinion”. You will not be able to provide one hard fact to back up that opinion because there are no metrics for being a dick on the internet. Stating that your opinion is held by the majority is another opinion with no factual basis. Just saying it is so does not make it so. I mean, what the fuck is ”the average gaming community” anyway? Who gets to be average in your mind, and why do a bunch of people playing the same game constitute a community?

    • DrGonzo says:

      It’s very simple and wouldn’t warrant an in depth analysis.

    • MasterDex says:

      The DotA community is hardly any worse than the FPS community. But let’s not tar the entire community with the one brush because then we’d be as bad as the people you complain about.

      The fact of the matter is that it’s got nothing to do with gamers and everything to do with people being who they are. The same sort of people that weren’t nearly as bad in the physical sports you played are cut from the same cloth as the people that act so awful in competitive gaming, and the same people that post hateful comments across youtube or whatever other online community you care to think of. The reason the people in online games and websites seem worse is because they’re behind a computer – See Gabe’s Internet Dickwad Theory.

      • exenter says:

        “The DotA community is hardly any worse than the FPS community.”

        That is completely false. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen name calling between players in Counter-Strike or Battlefield and I play these game almost every day. FPS games on PC have the best gaming communities of all game genres.

      • Pathetic Phallacy says:

        FPS games were my first love and they are something I play right along side DoTA. This is an incredibility false statement.

        Go to the PlayDota forums and compare them to the official forums of various FPS games. You’re in for a special surprise.

        • MasterDex says:

          Go to the Battlelog forums then come back and talk to me.

          Seriously, DotA doesn’t have a monopoly on whingers and douchebags. Sure, it’s easier to avoid in-game abuse by frequenting well-administered servers in FPS games but the vitriolic bile that spews from many in the FPS community is as bad as anything in the DotA community. Hell, I can’t remember the last time I went through a game of BF3 without someone screaming (insert weapon/gadget/vehicle here) Noob!

          I’ve been an active member of many FPS communities for the past 15 odd years and I’ve seen the depths many in it have fallen to so sure, while I can understand how a more niche genre like MOBA appears to have a more vitriolic community, I certainly wouldn’t say that my opening statement is completely or incredibly false. There are people just as bad, if not worse, in the FPS community at large. It’s just that they’re shadowed by the sheer size of that community.

    • Rhin says:

      * In most team games, one good player can carry a team on his back, while a bad player at most makes it a bit harder for his team. In DOTA-likes, It’s hard for a single good player to make up for his mediocre team, and a single bad player can “feed” the enemy and lose the game for everyone else.

      * Mistakes are often about judgement rather than mechanical skill. It’s hard to fault someone for getting shot in a FPS shootout — it is quite easy to call someone out for being too deep in enemy jungle and getting killed, for not being with the team when a fight breaks out and the rest of the team dies, etc.

      * Player Investment: Games can last 30 minutes or more.

    • aldrenean says:

      The MOBA community is exactly as shitty as any other online community of similar size, it’s just exacerbated in-game because of the relatively huge game length and importance of teamwork. Stay in a Counter-Strike or L4D server for an hour with the same people and you will likely experience vitriol of a similar caliber. Or go hang out in Barrens chat. Or go to 4chan.

    • crizzyeyes says:

      It depends on which MOBA you’re talking about. DotA 2 and LoL, for instance, have different matchmaking systems as of now, which radically changes the way players are placed in games together. I’ve played both a large amount, and I can tell you that level 30s in LoL tend to not be much better than they were a long time ago. At some point, they just stopped trying to improve and decided that they were good enough at the game. People who do this often cannot see their own actions as mistakes, and even if they can, they have a tendency to call others out on their mistakes immediately, and rudely. It happens in DotA 2 as well, but in LoL it’s much more prevalent because it’s been around for a longer time, and there’s many people at the maximum level. This is my personal theory to the issue. People are insecure about their skill level in the game, and nobody wants to be “that guy who ruined it for everyone,” when in reality if only one guy made mistakes on the entire team that team would almost certainly never lose. It takes fuck ups from everybody to lose the game, but most people don’t see it that way. So, they blame others before they get blamed themselves.

      In my opinion, DotA 2’s “low priority” matchmaking system does actually alleviate this problem somewhat. It still depends quite a bit on your regional server, though. I know many Europeans who complain about Russians on their server, and about how it’s way worse than Brazillians on the American servers, whom I have to deal with. However, someone who ruins a game by being a crybaby and leaving the game halfway through automatically gets thrown in low priority for a day for abandonment, and if they harrassed you the whole game, you get to report them for it. To prevent people from abusing reports, you only get a limited number of them over a set period — I think it’s a week, but I’m not entirely sure. Enough reports on the same guy and he ends up in the same place: low priority.

      Low priority means that players only play against other people who were reported or abandoned their game if at all possible. You’ll only get placed in a normal game if the system can’t find another normal player within the search boundaries.

      It’s not an end-all solution but it really, certainly helps. I’ve gotten way less assholes out of DotA 2 than playing LoL since they implemented the community rating system, which amazingly enough includes commendations. I try to set an example for people; I reprimand those who flame others, even the enemy team, and I try to point out mistakes without calling anyone terrible or a faggot. This has gotten me commendations.

      It also really helps that you can only report for a few things: verbal abuse (be it text or voice), intentional ability abuse (there’s many abilities that manipulate teammates as well as enemies), or intentional feeding/assistance to the enemy team. There’s no “he’s fucking awful at this game.” Everyone’s awful at some point, and it’s not a crime. You accept the loss and move on. I really appreciate that Valve forwarded that attitude by making reports only have those options, as opposed to an essay answer box.

  4. squareking says:

    I’m kinda torn because I love a good doc, but I truly hate these games. Nice to see Valve doing more things now, but…well, obligatory HL3 comment.

    • SexualHarassmentPanda says:

      Well, if you hate that style of game it may be a decent way for you to get an inside view of the game without having to actually play.

  5. TheManfromAntarctica says:

    Sharks, behave!

  6. Big Murray says:

    Is Gabe trying to grow a Santa beard for some kind of Steam-related Christmas event …?

  7. Dowson says:

    Sounds pretty interesting, I’m strangely somewhat excited for this.

    I assume it’ll be out by the end of this month.

    • etusa says:

      Yeah, me too. I’m suprised by the lack of love here. It’s a (presumably) quality documentary about gamers, promoting e-sports while also giving insight to a progamers life. I understand it is not everyone’s cup of tea but saying something like you’re disappointed at Valve? I don’t get that. Also half of the comments here just bashing the dota2 community; everyone knows it’s a bit bad sometimes, what about it? The pro scene is still interesting and this documentary will probably be too.

      • soldant says:

        Probably because few of us are interested? Personally I dislike the MOBA community which turns my friends into entirely different people whenever they start to play, but by the same token I guess I’m not going to bash Valve for making a documentary. I guess people need to recognise that Valve have a lot of different teams (cabals?) working on different projects, so working on a documentary isn’t necessarily going to stop something else from happening. That said, I doubt many people are interested in “e-sports” outside of South Korea… particularly when it’s DotA. Really, it kind of seems like advertising dressed up as a doco for DotA2.

        • StenL says:

          South Korea doesn’t play DotA, DotA is biggest in China, SEA and the CIS region.

  8. Discopanda says:


  9. CaspianRoach says:

    “Exclusive Documentary Trailer” has three words in it, Half-Life 3 confirmed!

  10. JayArr says:

    Dang, I was hoping that it was just going to be a general ‘Indie Game: The Movie’ style documentary about Valve itself. Not that that ever really seemed likely.

    • DrGonzo says:

      That unbearable Gametrailers guy did a good series of articles on the making of the original Half Life, it’s quite long and detailed, gives you a good insight into Valve.

  11. Jams O'Donnell says:

    Time until “I hate sharks” is revealed to be the start of the next ARG … ?

    I hate ARGs.

  12. Eclipse says:

    the best Rocky was… wait, there’s no best Rocky, they suck balls

  13. Brit89 says:

    Pro-gamers think too much. Honestly, and it’s always dramatic with them, or maybe Valve picked these guys for that reason. Anyway, looks boring. Just give me the game already Valve!!!

  14. dewey15 says:

    also, that dude Dendi, the Ukranian kid, is like the Messi of Dota. He is like an artist and winning at computer games is his canvas. I can’t believe I sincerely believe that.

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      Now that you mention it, yes, he does resemble Messi a little bit.

  15. Erithtotl says:

    So %99 of the gaming world wants Half-Life 3, and yet Valve keeps doing everything BUT HL3, and in the meantime bitches about how they are worried about being irrelevant with Windows 8 release. Here’s a news flash Valve: Focus on producing the product everyone wants and you won’t have to worry about the other crap.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yeah, no one wants their products except Half Life 3. It’s why they make so little money.

      • zeroskill says:

        ^this. close comment section. too much battlefield 3 in here.

    • jezcentral says:

      I’m not sure you know how Valve decide on which projects to work on. I bet you think there is someone whose job it is to say “Right, we are going to start work on Half-Life 3”. Well, there isn’t.

  16. MythArcana says:

    vALVE: The Cutting Edge of Boredom.

  17. Godwhacker says:

    That GT.TV piece was horrible. People’s attention spans can’t be so low that they need a new image every 3 seconds, surely?

  18. Chakawi says:

    I just really cant believe that that embedded video actually changes my page after it’s done. Something like Top.document.location =… so so so bad…

    Ohh yeah it’s flash. Then it means RPS has them in crossdomain.xml… This means that… I dunno what this means, but I know it’s bad web practise.

  19. Jimmy Jazz says:

    I’m sorry, but i believe you mean “Lords Management” instead of “MOBA”

  20. Botoks says:

    I, quite frankly, don’t understand all this hate towards promotion of e-sports. Obviously also an advert, it’s huge step ahead in terms of bringing the general public closer to electronic sports.

    Also about DOTA-likes community being terrible. It’s as awful as any other game, but because it forces so much interaction between players, they are much more vocal than in any other genre of games.

  21. SkittleDiddler says:

    Jesus Christ, Valve. What a disappointment.

  22. Solanaceae says:

    The Dota community is terrible because it’s the nature of the game. Unlike a game of TF2 or something else, everyone is ALWAYS seeing every mistake you make clear as day, that combined with the length of the games and anonymity explains people’s behaviors. Definitely doesn’t justify it though.

    You do come across people who are more willing to help though. And of course this has a much better effect in actually improving someone’s play.

  23. godwin says:

    I guess it’s funny how there are subtitles for some people even though everyone is speaking in English?

  24. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    I’m worried about Gaben. He looks rougher every time I see him.