Thirteen years ago when I was 11 I started playing an online game called DOTA. DOTA which stands for, “Defense of the Ancients” was a brand new custom game that a player created through Warcraft 3 Reign of Chaos. As a kid in 6th grade who already had a measly attention span for things academic, i was immediately hooked. That summer I remember my cousin sleeping over during the whole vacation and us taking turns at playing this brand new game. The game itself consisted of different characters you choose to fight other enemy players and the game would end when you or your opposing teams base was destroyed. At the time, not many people played but I knew that one day this game would be huge.
As the player base rapidly started increasing I only became even more addicted. The game developer improved the quality of the game by adding new characters and items that were so unique from one another. The level of strategy that eventually became involved in playing this game became a huge issue for my personal life. Personally, I stopped doing my homework and all i did was play the game and daydream about cool new strategies I could use in game. I made a whole bunch of new friends and never stopped loving the game. The game got ported into Warcraft 3’s expansion game, Frozen Throne, and was optimized even further to polish the game. This is all incredibly funny to witness because no one really played the original game it was a part of. Warcraft 3 was originally a game created by Blizzard Entertainment that involved real time strategy gameplay. However, when Blizzard decided to include custom map designs a player created DOTA.
Years passed and one day i stumbled upon an article on a gaming website telling me that Valve, a gaming company, was considering buying the rights of DOTA. Valve’s goal was to produce a brand new more polished version of the original called DOTA 2. I as a die hard fan of the original DOTA freaked out and just proceeded to lose my shit. It was finally happening. One of my favorite games from my childhood was being completely updated and re-released to the public for free. I immediately signed up for the beta and when I got in I was blown away because the whole game changed. The graphics were updated and all the characters were remodeled. The community rapidly grew and the game became a force to be reckoned with. Esports were in full swing and not long after the games release, tournaments were being held where players could win actual money for winning the whole shebang. Every year, Valve holds a DOTA 2 tournament called The Internationals. All the top teams from all over the world are flown to Seattle to fight it out and win the grand prize. In 2013, The International prize pool summed up to $2.5 million dollars and the prize pool has only kept increasing since then. The last International held in 2015 the prize pool reached up to $18.4 million dollars all of which was crowdfunded.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Dota 2 is here to stay. The community within the game has grown so much and i’m super proud to say that I was one of the first players ever. I often question myself wondering if playing for this long was worth it but there is no doubt in my mind that it was. I’ve made some incredible friends and i’ve met people from all over the world that love the game as much as I do. I’m excited to see how this game will continue to evolve.
all images belong to Valve Corporation.