“Furion’s playing rat doto” – four words full of meaning to the well-informed Dota 2 player but to most people, half of those aren’t even words.
Valve’s Dota 2 tournament The International later this month will be by far the highest-paying digital sports competition yet, with a prize pool currently sitting at $10,466,388. It’ll also be the most confusing digital sports competition. What a weird game Dota is. But the pageantry and big numbers will surely lure in the curious and confused, so Valve are planning a special commentary stream aimed at newcomers.
Valve’s International page explains:
New to Dota? Or maybe you play Dota but have never gotten interested in the professional side of the game. Welcome to the Newcomer’s Broadcast, an English stream happening alongside the main stream, featuring commentary aimed at easing people into understanding the exciting world of BKBs, tri-lanes, and counter-picks.
I’m curious to see exactly what level it’s pitched at, and how effective it’ll be. The idea is certainly sensible. Dota 2 has 107 playable characters, 130-ish items, matches often running up to an hour long, and it’s own specialist lexicon, making it baffling to people who aren’t pr0 like me. But it’s all so weird and complex and learning it is a series of small lessons building upon the previous.
Maybe I’m being cynical. It’s fairly clear by now that people will happily watch someone else play a game they don’t understand at all as long as the presenter’s fun and interesting enough, and do pick bits and pieces up even if they don’t see everything. It could come out as a sort of ‘Let’s Play Dota 2,’ only watching the best players in the world.