The International Dota 2 Tournament

My favorite week of the year

One of these things is not like the others.

Purses for competitive sports events:

The annual Dota 2 tournament is my favorite week of the year. I’ve attended three times in person (TI4, TI5, and TI6). Every other year I try to catch what I can on Twitch.

There’s nothing quite like the experience of going in person. It’s like a mashup of Comic Con, a music festival, and a major sporting event. The games themselves are thrilling, the crowds electrifying. And outside the arena, there are tens of thousands of people who have—like you—spent hundreds of hours in this virtual world.

So many things are special about these events, but I want to call out one thing that’s distinctive compared with traditional sports: relatability.

The pros, game casters, panelists, and fans are all relatable. You can see yourself in them. You don’t have to be tall or rich or from an area with top coaches and players to have a shot at playing at the highest levels. Top players can look like anybody. They come from every region on earth.

In many cases, we can watch their journey live. Many of today’s top players were just pretty good players when they started streaming on Twitch. Off the top of my head, I remember watching Matumbaman, Khezu, w33ha, and Miracle- streams before they had played any professional games.

On some measures like prize pool, esports are starting to look competitive with traditional sports. I assure you this is just the beginning. Esports are global and accessible on an unprecedented scale.

I believe the finals are tomorrow. If you have some time, check it out for yourself.