Defense of the Ancients, or Dota as it’s known to millions of players worldwide, is a hugely popular, free to play, chaotically-paced multiplayer online battle arena game (or MOBA for short), where teams use “heroes” (but the villains are cooler) to take down the opposition and their bases. It also served as inspiration for this classic mid-2000s dance hit. Originally a custom map for Warcraft 3, Dota grew as a cult phenomenon from LAN to LAN, with regular updates and mods in the community. The game features underlying RPG and RTS elements thanks to the Warcraft influence, with unique characters and item builds, and leveling up similar to games like Diablo or WoW, but it all happens in minutes instead of days, and each game lasts about an hour instead of months or years.
Nowadays, Dota 2, the stand-alone sequel to Dota, is owned by Valve (after a legal battle with Blizzard) and is one of the biggest eSports ever, giving out over $65 million in prize support in just over a decade. At Retro Rabbit, games are played for pride, not money, which is why we hosted a Dota 2 tournament where the losing team’s captain had to let the spice flow by eating 5 of the hottest meals from Nandos or Tranna, one for each teammate.
We chatted to each captain after the tournament to get their thoughts on the matches, behind the scenes intel about their preparations, and a little smack-talk to boot. We won’t spoil who won just yet, but it’ll become apparent fairly quickly.
“So, for the tournament, which consisted out of 3 games between Darren’s team and my own, I played Zeus and Monkey King,” Wayne Scott, captain of Team Wayne (party on), explains when asked which characters he chose to play as. “ I chose Monkey King because he is the most “troll” character out of them all, and I chose Zeus because…well he is Zeus.” Fair enough. As mentioned earlier, Dota uses different item builds, which are items you buy to improve your hero as the game goes on, and are critical to success. Wayne relied on the advice of others to kit out his heroes, “I used some random guys build that one of my teammates (Daniel) suggested, and for a noob like myself, I think they worked out quite well.”
Darren Knibbs of Team Darren (creative, we know) came into the tournament with a bit more of a plan, “I play quite a few characters but usually play the hard carry role when I’m playing competitively, I played with Phantom Assasin and Medusa in the tournament.” The “hard carry role” means someone who focuses on item acquisitions for strength, something Darren enjoys, “I like playing with hard carries ‘cause they are the most powerful in the late stages of the game so it’s usually your skills that decide the victory.”
Preparation is half the battle, something Darren and his team took very seriously. “We practiced as a team before the tournament, we knew our roles in the team and we picked a strong team that worked well together,” he explained. Wayne Scott had a bit of a different experience, “At the time of the tournament, I’d only had like 10 hours of gameplay in Dota 2, I didn’t know much about the characters nor what they are capable off.” You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight and you don’t bring a n00b to a Dota tournament. There’s a bit of a learning curve to Dota and it rewards those who put in the time. This saw Team Wayne at a disadvantage with Wayne requiring in-game tutoring “I played bottom lane with Riaan most of the time, for someone who was not sure what to do for most of the game, he acted as my blanket of protection and provided guidance.”
Darren, on the other hand took to the “safe lane”, which is the is the bottom lane for Radiant and the top lane for Dire. This is the lane where you can get lots of last hit creep kills due to dynamics that if you don’t play Dota, you don’t need to know, and if you do play Dota, you already know. Protected by his trusty supports, Christiaan and Hugo, Darren was able to steadily build up whilst killing heroes and taking names. “My favorite play of the match was when my Phantom Assassin was really farmed and I one shotted Wayne’s Zeus (killed him with one swipe of my blade…#ded) #wrekt.” Can you tell he’s played before?
“My team lost because well… they had to compensate for someone who has barely touched the game while going up against a team of “veterans”, as one might call them.” As you probably guessed, Team Wayne went down, but the captain was gracious in defeat. “If my team could replace me with anyone else of equal level, they would have won, and I stand by this. My team did a great job given the fact that I was just feeding (constantly dying) at some point.” Darren also gave his team praise, but not without rubbing some salt in the wound. “I am extremely happy I won but it’s all about the team so thanks to my awesome team, without them I would be nothing, enjoy the iced TP Wayne noob!”
Even though they lost, and Wayne has to sweat for each of his teammates, he doesn’t hold it against them. “I don’t resent my teammates, they did a great job, amazing even, given that we didn’t practice, nor did I care to…the game to me personally is soul sucking, and it requires a great deal of effort. The other team might have won the tournament, but personally, with the odds stacked against us as much as it was, I feel like my team member were all champions for not giving up until the very end.”