Dota 2: How to spectate The International 3

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Wednesday, 7 August marks the beginning of The International 3 (TI3) in Seattle, Washington, USA.  They are already well into the prelims, and some of you have been watching closely – especially if you already have a fantasy team picked out.  For those who don’t have the first clue about Dota 2, here’s a crash course so that you can follow along.

Glossary

  • MOBA: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena
  • Lanes: The paths that run along the bottom, top and middle of the map
  • Creep: AI monsters or minions that spawn regularly and move down the three lanes
  • Farming: Killing creeps to gain gold or EXP
  • Carry: A type of hero that can overpower the enemy in the late game, yet require large amounts of gold and EXP to reach that point
  • Support: A type of hero whose primary function is to help their team with heals, buffs, and debuffing of the enemy heroes
  • Laning: Heroes stay in their lanes, killing creeps and occasionally other heroes while pushing towards the towers – sometimes equated with farming
  • Jungling: Killing of creeps in-between lanes. Can also refer to when heroes move between lanes to help with a gank
  • Gank: Shortened from Gang Kill, ganking is a strategy where a group of heroes kill one player by surprise
  • Feeder: A player who “feeds” the enemy gold and EXP by frequently getting killed

Gameplay

Spectating Dota 2 is a lot easier than playing it.  It’s not necessary to fully understand build orders or hero differences to still follow along and enjoy.  The goal of the game is for the five players to get across the map and destroy the enemy’s Ancient.  The route to the Ancient is guarded by turret-like Towers, creeps and enemy heroes.
 
Most of the early to mid game is spent with heroes laning, levelling up and acquiring items to improve attack speed or defence.  During this phase, most teams follow what is called the “metagame”.  Metagame can differ between pros and casual players, with various teams or clans preferring different “meta”.  Most games have two players in the bottom lane, two in the top lane and a single player in the middle lane.  However, this can be swapped for one top, two bot, a jungler and a mid.  Some teams even opt for three bottom, one top and one middle.  This will affect how the heroes farm, push for towers, and even manage to gank the other heroes.
 
During this early to mid game “meta” phase, the primary goal is levelling up heroes and taking out enemy towers.  Heroes are levelled up in two ways: traditional levelling through EXP, as well as by attaining key items.  The towers serve as an excellent overview on which team is dominating on the map – the team that has destroyed more towers is generally “winning”.  However, it’s important to remember that MOBAs are dynamic and surprising – the tide can turn in an instant!
 
Particularly in the end game, we can see massive brawls among the heroes – ganks, ganks that go wrong, and tons of hero death.  This can be a climatic time that will make or break a team’s chances.
 

The International 3

The top 16 Dota 2 teams in the world compete for the Championship Title.  Five days of double-elimination bracket matches will culminate in the best-of-five Grand Finals on Sunday 11 August 2013.  All matches can be viewed through the Dota 2 client, or online at Dota2.com.  For more information on viewing the event, go here.
 
The prelims and solo matches are already underway; prelims are used to determine seeds (pools) for the main event.  The All-Star Match will take place at the end of the day on Wednesday 7 August 2013, while the Solo Championship Grand Finals will be fought at the end of the day on Thursday 8 August 2013.
 
The week of Dota 2 matches are not just for pride, although I’m sure that is a big part of it.  No, it isn’t just about which team is number one – there’s also a lot of money at stake.  The top prize is currently $1 406 981.  Most of that was funded through purchases of the Interactive Compendium.
 
The compendium is a must for any Dota 2 fan.  Compendium owners were able to vote on which players should participate in the Solo Championships and All-Star games, as well as received a variety of in-game bonuses.  Additionally, they were able to build fantasy teams, earning compendium owners points and items depending on their fantasy performance.

Now go watch!

I’m sure Dota 2 enthusiasts will all come and shout at me for missing out ALL the finer details of the game.  However, the best way to learn is to watch the pros.  So, boot up your Dota 2 client or head over to twitch.tv and watch a few matches.  You’ll pick it up and soon be shouting at the screen, or gasping at surprise choices.  Or, like the rest of the Lazygamer staff, you’ll use it as an awesome excuse to make up a new drinking game… with chillies.

Last Updated: August 5, 2013

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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