The MOBA Dota 2 was released July 9th, 2013 and met with great success, continuing to grow to this day. In June 2016 alone, Dota 2 had 13.02 million MAU (Monthly Active Users) globally and is undoubtedly one of the biggest eSports on the scene. With hundreds of heroes to choose from, Dota 2 has always offered a lot to its players, but the market for interactivity is huge. With the VR Hub, Valve aims to fulfil this need.
Free to download under Dota’s DLC menu, the Dota 2 VR Hub facilitates the launching of the game in a VR setting, consequently creating an immersive experience. Live matches are available to view in the Dota VR Theatre, while replays are offered by SteamVR. The layout in this mode is comprised of a large screen displaying the action, with an interactive map of the arena in front. At either side stand the avatars chosen by the players of each team, with their health, mana and items displayed. You can then use the map and controllers to teleport around the arena, watching the battle unfold from a variety of perspectives.
Do you have that one specific pro that you’re a massive fan of? Now you can invisibly follow them specifically around the arena as they play, taking in their skills up close. The spectator mode includes a map, allowing you to keep track of all the players and action across the entirety of the game, witnessing firsthand all the roaming, ganking, pulling, evasions, blocks and even choke point jungling, as it happens. Critic Ben Kuchera believes that “This isn’t just a new way to spectate Dota 2, it’s a better way”. One of many benefits of following pro players around is that you can learn from them in terms of gameplay, team coordination, and how they exploit their chosen characters’ skill sets to greatest effect.
Similarly, these benefits were experienced by James Archer when he found himself one of eight winners of joinDOTA’s random draw for their event “Beat the Legends”, which took place on July 20th, 2017. With the two teams captained by professional Dota players Troels “SyndereN” Nielson (Crescendo captain) and Henrik “Admiral Bulldog” Ahnberg (International champion of 2013), the game was streamed not only on joinDOTA’s Twitch channel but also on SyndereN’s and Bulldog’s as well, with commentary from Tobiwan and Capitalist. From this experience playing with a pro, Archer gained a number of tips, such as the importance of having a shot-caller and the advantage of researching your opponents before the match if you are able.
Why YouTube and Twitch are Important to Gaming Culture
— Obilisk (@ObiliskGames) July 27, 2017
Streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube are increasingly important in terms of allowing players to feel part of the action of gaming. The live video streaming platform Twitch was launched in 2011 and has an estimated 100 million users per month. As of June 2017, Twitch has gained exclusive streaming rights from Blizzard, lasting for a duration of two years. The rights concern the streaming of eSports, with Twitch hosting over twenty events, including StarCraft II World Championship Series, Hearthstone Global Games and the Overwatch Premier Series.
Furthermore, YouTube Gaming is one of the most popular categories on YouTube. YouTube and Twitch not only provide platforms on which eSports and playthroughs of video games can be watched, but users can additionally become fully involved in creating their own content, thereby becoming streamers themselves. Another means by which you can become more of a part of the excitement and action is live casino gaming. This refers to casino games like roulette and blackjack played in a land-based-casino-like establishment and live streamed to the player’s screen. The latter decides on the action while a real dealer will deal their cards live. With a multitude of eSports competitions to bet upon, this adds an extra layer of emotion and investment into tournaments.
The International is the Dota 2 eSport championship tournament hosted annually by Valve, with the upcoming 2017 games marking the seventh event since the first in 2011. The tournament is to be held August 7-12th 2017 at the Key Arena at the Seattle Centre, where eighteen teams (including prolific competitors such as Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, Team Liquid, Invictus Gaming and Cloud9) will battle it out for a current prize pool of $22,522,699, which stands at over $2million more than the 2016 total of $20million. This greatly anticipated event is set to provide numerous opportunities for interaction, including commentary and analysis from gamers on online media platforms, live betting in order to join in with the action, as well as the emotional response to the tournament itself.
— Top State Events (@liveeventsus) July 25, 2017