Wednesday, August 21, 2013

TI3, eSports, Generations

Wow, what an amazing event that was. Valve once again managed to outdo themselves from last year, and by a huge margin. Seeing the prize-pool being increased by a massive 1.2 million dollars just from compendiums bought by the community was indescribable. The games were great, I could do lots of analysis but that's not what I want to talk about right now - although I have to say I can't believe I used to overlook Orange before.

Over-all, seeing the event invoked polar feelings in me. I really enjoyed it and was happy about what was going on, but somehow the many amazing parts made it all the harder to swallow the fact that I wasn't there. I had had my eyes set on TI4 even before watching TI3, but seeing the fantastic event just made the fire burn that much brighter.

Something specific - Dendi's Pudge made a great appearance and got the appraisal of nearly everyone. However it pained me especially because Pudge is my best hero and I consider myself one of the best Pudge players. This may sound weird - why would someone else being good with Pudge make me uncomfortable? Well, I guess it's the feeling of wanting to prove myself but not being able to, yet. Dendi is obviously an amazing player, no doubt about it, but I can't help but feel that his Pudge is good simply because he is a good Pudge player. He does know the hero well, he hooks well, but he is not the best Pudge in the world. People have not yet seen a pro that is specialized in Pudge - they will, soon enough. It's really something else.

I made a bet the other day with a friend. The bet was on whether I would make it into TI4 or not, and we bet 20 keys on it. I bet him I'd make it, he bet I wouldn't. His choice was obviously the more logical one - 5 unknowns on a team making a name for themselves and getting invited to the most prestigious tournament in but a year? Does not seem very likely. Yet in my mind it's almost... inevitable. I simply know we can do it. I've managed to gather up players that consistently impress me in all aspects of their gameplay, players that can match pro players easily. Once the new dota season starts and we start entering some tournaments... Well, I simply can't wait.

Then there are always still the struggles with family. How can parents possibly understand that this game could potentially earn me hundreds of thousands in the near future, before I've even finished my education, and is not simply something I do to pass the time? The generational differences are simply getting out of hand... As technology's advance rate increases exponentially, the gap between each generation widens. Right now it's already massive, with all electronics and digital devices. Can't imagine what it will be like between my children and me.

But, I suppose that's the downside of starting to seriously try and get involved with the competitive scene at the young age of 16. A great advantage, though, is that I still have a very long time to go. Assuming the average DotA career ends at around the age of 23-24, I've at least 6 years to go. TI9 seems like a pretty realistic goal. And can anyone even imagine how amazing TI8 or TI9 will be, judging by the amount of improvements every consecutive International has had so far? Games generally don't last very long, usually it would be too optimistic to assume it's going to still be around for a TI9. But this game has already been out for 3 years and it still feels brand new, it still feels like we've only seen the tip of the iceberg and there are huge amounts of untapped potential.

This is not simply about DotA as a game, it's about eSports and their place in society. How come if you're an football player looking to go pro everyone is very impressed? How come basketball practice with your semi-pro team is a perfectly legitimate reason to miss a wedding, whereas saying you have to practice with your semi-pro team for an eSport, or 'just a computer game', would be considered a ridiculous excuse?

This will change eventually, society's perception will adapt and people will start recognizing eSports. And all this will happen right as I hit the competitive scene full-stride! At least, that's the plan. But I'm confident it will work out. And hey, if it doesn't, I can always fall back on traditional methods like education. There's no reason why both couldn't be done.