It’s The International season

While the normal (or at least less weird) colleagues of mine are watching football (soccer for you yanks) or basketball, I’m doing something a bit more eclectic.

I’m watching Dota 2. Specifically, The International 6, aka TI6.

I feel like E-Sports is a guilt-free pleasure. Retiring players don’t have to deal with massive brain injuries that impair them for the rest of their life, there’s no college apparatus elevating players’ unhealthy egos leading them to acts of violent entitlement, there’s no changeroom and therefore no locker room antics, and most of all, it’s not yet big enough to blackmail cities into building new arenas to host them.

Big tournaments, like The International, are played on a Local Area Network. The stakes are high, and lag would be unacceptable. Even though the LANs often rent arenas to throw the game onto massive monitors and fill out the audience with nerds like myself (or I would be there, except America terrifies me), they’re not typically blackmailing cities the way sportsball sports do. Perhaps most importantly to me–teams do not represent nations. There is no nationalist under current in Dota 2, because the players often are from all over, and they just don’t represent a country. That’s a big turn-off for me in sportsball sports. Now I can like a team because of the way they play without being seen as a “traitor.”

Rewind a bit–I’m in high school, depressed as fuck, with no idea why this is the case. I find a game I’m kinda okay at, and play it obsessively, going from kinda okay to pretty alright. The competence rewards my self esteem and keeps me alive long enough to not kill myself. So here I am. Still playing Dota 2 now and then, though I’ve found other pursuits which are more fulfilling and less stressful. Every now and then I’ll do a few rounds of matchmaking just to make sure I still know how to play in the current patch.

I’m cheering hard for Escape Gaming, because syndereN is one of my favourite team captains, and his team has been performing fabulously in the qualifiers so far. Don’t post spoilers. I know as of this writing that the second Euro qualifier has been decided, but I haven’t finished watching Escape’s games, and if you spoil them I will see you banned from every blag on this network!



  1. Rick Pikul says

    One thing that I think will give at least some insulation from the arena blackmail thing is the sort of facility you want to watch E-Sports: You want a big screen with seating set up to have a good view of that screen. Gee, I wonder what sort of facility that describes?

    In Theater 1 we have Star Wars IX, Theater 2 has Iron Man 5, Theaters 3 and 4 have the match between the Digital Divas and the Grid Grinder Goblins, (DDs live in 3, GGGs live in 4), Theater 5 has….

  2. invivoMark says

    Another great (potential) advantage to e-sports: any minorities can compete and do well. My favorite Starcraft player is Scarlett, a trans woman from Canada. And she is incredibly popular and has tons of supporters.

  3. Siobhan says

    Also no shortage of people misgendering her or saying her “maleness” is the only reason she does well.

    Not that I dislike Scarlett–she’s great–but I can’t follow her because everywhere someone posts about her, the transphobes come out in force.