The 2013 Dota 2 International!!!!

Flags were flying in the lobby of Benaroya!

Flags were flying in the lobby of Benaroya!

Ellen and I had the great honor and privilege to attend the Dota 2 International this year in Seattle. It was PRETTY FREAKIN COOL!!!! Valve had Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony, completely decked out for the games and it never looked better. Ellen also never looked better as we peeked into the main concert hall where the games were being played.
My lovely wife, homicidal A.I. GLaDOS, and the voice of Broodmother and Death Prophet for Dota 2 in the Big Room!

My lovely wife, homicidal A.I. GLaDOS, and the voice of Broodmother and Death Prophet for Dota 2 in the Big Room!

We were met by our pal Marc Laidlaw, who has written many of your favorite lines for the games we’re in, and shown around the facility. We got to meet lots of the Valve folks that work so insanely hard to bring out games like Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, Portal and, of course, Dota 2. Animators, game level designers, writers and programers all became TV producers for the Super Bowl of Esports: The Dota 2 International! Wandering around backstage was wild. The staging area for the symphony was cleared of bassoons, violins, tubas and percussion and filled with computers all showing different camera angles on the games.
Ellen gets to talk to one of the stalwart Valve guys who bring the games to life

Ellen gets to talk to one of the stalwart Valve guys who bring the games to life

The teams, which came from literally all over the world, had their own very nice green room (the traditional name for the room where performers can relax before performing: they’re never green) and us Valve folks had the … other green room. With food! Sloppy Joes were the lunch item. I hadn’t tasted a sloppy joe since I was at band camp in high school. These were not your garden variety sloppy joes, however. Very tasty. And a good thing, because Ellen and I needed to fuel up to meet the fans. We were escorted out through a maze of hallways to the lobby again to man the signing table.
Fans ...

Fans …

... fans ...

… fans …

... fans ...

… fans …

and more fans lined up to meet Ellen.

and more fans lined up to meet Ellen.

... and me.  Although I'm not nearly as pretty as Ellen.

… and me. Although I’m not nearly as pretty as Ellen.

People were waiting in line as long as four hours to get our autographs. The fans were wonderful, and had really great stamina! Some of the thigh muscles on them could have held off an attack from Pudge. In fact, they were in line so long that at least one of them had time to create a major work of art.
Fan art created while standing in line to see us.  Who says standing in line is a waste of time?  Not this guy.

Fan art created while standing in line to see us. Who says standing in line is a waste of time? Not this guy.

We were scheduled to sign autographs from 2:00 to 4:00. We ended up staying an extra hour and still didn’t get to see everyone. But several people caught up to us as we moved around the lobby. Chris, another great Valve writer, took us up to the balcony where the press was watching and reporting to the rest of the world how the games were progressing.
The whole world is watching!

The whole world is watching!

We stood right next to the China press box as mayhem was unleashed on the stage below.
Keeping the gamers of China informed!

Keeping the gamers of China informed!

International geeks and nerds vie for dominance in the most bloodless blood sport of all time!

International geeks and nerds vie for dominance in the most bloodless blood sport of all time!

The action was so hot and heavy it made my camera hand shake. The climax of the whole event was the finals. A five game series between Na’vi from the Ukraine and Alliance from Sweden. I got to announce the teams as they burst into the arena. Valve spared no dramatic touches.
The International Grand Finals begin!

The International Grand Finals begin!

I was standing right next to the door as the teams entered in clouds of fog and pulsing lights, led and followed by cameramen streaming it live to the world. The crowd roared their support for each team. The players made their way down the aisles, up onto the stage and into their respective soundproof booths where they could do battle undistracted. Heroes were banned, others were chosen. Strategies were formed, discussed and solidified. The lights went down … Alliance won the first game handily, making us wonder if they would sweep the series. But Na’vi came back strong and took the next two games, forcing Alliance to win the final two to take the series 3-2 and become the world champions.

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5 Responses to The 2013 Dota 2 International!!!!

  1. Harveytherabbit says:

    I realize I shouldn’t ask this, but I have manic depression, and any news you can give me would be appreciated. Have you gotten a chance to ask the Valve folks at Dota 2 if they will be making any announcements at Gamescom next week?

    • john says:

      We were so busy that I didn’t have a chance to ask them anything but “Where do we go next?”

  2. Harveytherabbit says:

    Thanks for the response. Tell them Harvey the Rabbit says they’re L4D and HL franchises are artistic masterpieces, and please, if you can, tell Mr. Laidlaw that the storyline for the latter is the finest in gaming history. Whatever problems they may be having I’m sure they’ll solve in due time. I would rather they take their time so whatever conclusion they may make for it raises the bar yet again.

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