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An International 4 Stream For People Like Me

I barely understand DOTA 2, which is why I'm glad commenting for newcomers exists.

The International 4, the world's largest annual DOTA 2 tournament, kicked off today. The main event portion doesn't happen until later this month in Seattle, though. Right now, the playoffs are underway.

You might be like me and feel a little left out, having little to no experience with DOTA 2. When a bunch of your friends are really into something, you want to be into that thing, too. It's natural. Even if, yes, it's a MOBA.

Fortunately, there's a video stream that I've been pulling up every few hours that's really worth recommending. It's International 4 commentary aimed directly at DOTA 2 newcomers. DOTA 2 lingo is still all over the place, but they do a good job of contextualizing what's happening, the benefits of certain heroes, etc. It's great.

This might not get me into DOTA 2, but at least it makes the madness a little more understandable.

If you need another reason to care, the prize pool for The International 4 is more than $10,000,000. Good lord.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Avatar image for pawsoffury
Posted By pawsoffury

I feel that from this stream & watching a good month or so of Brad's Daily DOTA I have a basic understanding of the game. Still, just like every valve game, the amount of shit you get from people as a beginner playing with randoms just isn't worth my time to learn.

Avatar image for sashcrash
Edited By SashCrash

Thanks Patrick, this stream is great and makes me understand this whole DOTA thing a lot more!

Avatar image for gaspower
Posted By GaspoweR

Purge and sunsfan is the combo you want for explaining whats going on.


They do a GREAT job explaining the intracacies of the game. Very informative stuff even for me who doesn't necessarily follow the pro scene or even play the game regularly anymore but I used to play it a lot and already have a grasp and knowledge about how the game is played.

Avatar image for gaspower
Posted By GaspoweR

The DOTA2 / MOBA community just seems horrendous, true or false that just stops me from having any type of interest in this at all.

Big online gaming communities in general are pretty bad esp. in pub games. Also Twitch chat that have a lot of viewers also generally can be pretty bad as well.

The newbie chat for the most part has been pretty good and asking legit questions on there gets some honest, non-trolling answers from a lot of the people on chat and from the mods.

Avatar image for flay
Edited By Flay

I play Dota, but pretty casually, so hopefully I'll learn something from this stream too. Purge and Sunsfan and really good commentators.

Thanks for the suggestion Patrick!

Avatar image for ninja_welshman
Posted By Ninja_Welshman

Is it bad that I still don't know whats going on?

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Posted By Dewar

Pyrion has been doing a lot better today being informative, but I still miss Purge.

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Edited By Brackynews

@amyggen said:

A brilliant move by Valve.

I would agree that the great majority of what Valve releases to the public is brilliant, at least in the long run. Talented people and a refined process of execution.

It truly makes me wonder about the kinds of insanity that get erased from the whiteboard.

Avatar image for ionkinetic
Posted By ionkinetic

30 minutes of logos *pling*

Avatar image for extomar
Edited By EXTomar

The key thing with SUNSfan and Purge (one team that did the Newbie Stream) is that both have a bunch of "caster" experience already. Purge has extensive experience playing and creating videos around specific elements of the game: One of my favorite series he does is "Purge Comments on a Pub Game" where he select a public game and does commentary on it. These are not high level play but he pulls the game apart analyzing what went right and more importantly what went wrong. SUNSfan has been helping to run DotaCinema which also features a lot of video production and commentary like Purge where he pulls apart games for comedy but that is still the same analytic eye.

So these guys have a lot of experience looking at and commenting over games and that translates well into this style of "Lets look at midlane, this player is doing okay but he can't leave or he wil fall behind but his bottle is empty. He can wait for the runes to spawn here (top) or here (bottom) or he can call the courier and carry it back to the fountain to refill. Lets see what he does...." where other more hardcore casters would just ignore that and concentrate on whether who has the higher last hits/net worth which will lead to who will win mid.

Avatar image for dkwildz
Posted By DKWildz

I watched the first one(?): MVP vs VP, but it was really tough to get anything from it. There seemed to be a lot of good information during the character picking stage, but the casters music was on and drowning out their voices, and then the general game volume during fights would drown them out as well. I messed around with my audio settings and nothing changed, so the spectator mode seemed to be going through their settings. I fell asleep so I didn't see if the 2nd team did anything different.

Avatar image for y2ken
Edited By Y2Ken

I watched this stream almost exclusively yesterday and it was great. Everyone involved was doing a good job of explaining things. It's still a lot to take in, but watch a few games and you'll definitely start to pick things up a lot faster than you might ordinarily with a traditional commentary stream.

Purge in particular was excellent (as you might expect from a guy who has dedicated a fair amount of time in the past few years to helping newer players), but Pyrion, Shane, Blitz, and Suns were all doing a pretty good job as well. Purge even did a good job of explaining core slang (such as "nerf" or "PotM") which is commonplace in the other streams but bizarre to newcomers, even going so far as to explain their origins.

Avatar image for drugged
Posted By drugged

@justkamtoo: Are there any gaming communities that don't seem shitty - especially when they're this large? The worst people are always the loudest - it doesn't matter if it's Dota, League, fighting games, Call of Duty, PC 'master race' people, etc etc.

If I based my opinion on games on their 'internet communities' I'd probably never end up playing anything!

Avatar image for optimussubprime
Posted By OptimusSubprime

The Noob Stream has actually had better general commentating, especially when Purge is on, than the normal stream, which is mostly just kinda half assed hype yelling.

Avatar image for corvak
Posted By Corvak

The MOBA community makes me want to eat bleach.

I know the League of Legends heroes and competitive teams fairly well though, which is why it's easier for me to watch than Dota 2. Doubt i'll get into it unless my friends do - got into LoL because I had someone to bounce questions off of.

Avatar image for basketsnake
Posted By BasketSnake

Join the counter strike community instead, where we shoot first and explain later!!

Avatar image for justkamtoo
Edited By JustKamToo

The DOTA2 / MOBA community just seems horrendous, true or false that just stops me from having any type of interest in this at all.

Avatar image for andrewb
Posted By AndrewB

John Madden needs to come out of retirement and start commentating DOTA2

Avatar image for crysack
Posted By Crysack

The Purge and Sunsfan part of the stream was actually pretty damn good. Obviously, it's pretty difficult to understand more complicated concepts like damage types (pure, hp removal, magic etc) without playing the game for a while, but they were doing a decent job of keeping it simple and explaining hero roles etc.

Avatar image for sneakypickle
Posted By SneakyPickle

@christaran: 10 minutes wont get you anywhere, watch a few games though and youll pick it up.

Avatar image for kubqo
Posted By kubqo

Not only they are doing perfectly good job contextualizing what is happening, but also those 2 guys are extremely likable characters.

Avatar image for rmanthorp
Edited By rmanthorp


Avatar image for ndn_shadow
Posted By NDN_Shadow

I'm gonna be curious to know if they continue to explain things throughout the week. The early Purge and SUNSfan noob stream was really good in explaining the game, but as I tuned in later on it just felt like they were casting the game primarily with the beginner stuff just being sprinkled in every few minutes.

Avatar image for white
Posted By White

Important thing to note when watching any game with Enigma.


Avatar image for subsalicylate
Edited By subsalicylate
Avatar image for subsalicylate
Posted By subsalicylate

There are two casting teams for this stream in particular -- one with Blitz, Pyrion Flax, and Shane, then another one with Purge and SUNSfan. The first team was earlier in the morning today, and they didn't do quite as good a job of explaining concepts (though it was pretty funny.) Purge's run is the one you want -- he's been making videos explaining Dota in patient detail for years, and in fact his article 'Welcome to Dota, you suck' (google it) might sound sort of hostile but it's a one-stop new-to-dota shop and the first thing I recommend a new player read. If there are particular heroes you're interested in it's guaranteed he has a few games on youtube talking about decision making and skills.

I want a Purge / Pyrion stream for the finals, might make for a good straight man / funny man combo.

Thanks for this. I was looking last week for something exactly like Purge's videos and articles.

Avatar image for hour_glass
Edited By Hour_Glass

There is no way for them to go over every mechanic in every match. If you stick with it for a couple matches they will go over how lanes work, magic immunity, hex, experience, gold, buyback, towers, barracks, roshan, cheese, chain stuns, smokes, haste, bottle, runes, refresher, etc in one of the games. They have to cycle through the explanations or even people new to dota will get tired of it when they miss kills to explain wards for the 3rd time in the 3 game series. Especially when something happens like an Invoker pick and they have to try and explain how he has 10 skills. There just isn't enough time.

Also yes they are going to use dota terms. You are watching dota. They are also going to use nicknames sometimes because that is often what those heros/items/abilities are called by dota players/casters. How else are you supposed to learn those names?

Avatar image for gaspower
Edited By GaspoweR

@anobix said:

@christaran said:

Everyone I know likes sports, but I have zero interest in anything to do with them (sports = worse than DOTA), so can't quite understand Patrick's logic, but still may check out the stream later out of morbid curiosity.

Edit: Watched 10 minutes... not sure how that was newb friendly, they weren't really explaining anything. Just not for me I guess!

They were really breaking down some of the basics of DOTA during the 10-15 that I just watched. Focusing on wards and their usefulness, item choices, farming, and pushing.

If its hard for someone to grasp or be able to appreciate the rules and mechanics in regular sports, it'd be even harder to grasp it in a competitive video game like LoL or DOTA wherein there are even more variables added due to all characters being unique from one another.

The best solution would be to really have some sense of what people do in matches using incredibly basic descriptions and then have someone else watch the matches and talk you through them. It's really hard to do that even in a greenhorn-friendly live stream with thousands of people watching and with varying levels of understanding. They can't be too specific with each and every action and yet they can't go ham with the jargon without explaining, either.

Avatar image for gaspower
Edited By GaspoweR

@extomar said:

It should be noted that the "New To Dota 2" stream is available in the in game replay system. Fire up the client, download one of The International 4 games and you can hear and hear that stream with additional controls.

cc @patrickklepek

Avatar image for jschlic
Posted By jschlic

@patrickklepek definitely jump on the direct twitch stream, they have the nicest chat I've seen on twitch and a bunch of mods who are open to answering really basic questions like what Items do and going over stuff that the casters miss.

Most of the time you don't have to ask, someone else asks your question before you!

Avatar image for jschlic
Posted By jschlic

@dropkickpikachu: the stream was helpful to me, explaining some of the nuances of buying back that i've never dealt with, and a bunch of other stuff, but the chat attached to the stream on twitch is the real hero. THE NICEST twitch chat I've ever encountered and way open to answering super noob questions like what's bkb or Mec or what Roshan's drop does when the casters skipped their own explanation.

I find it helpful since there is stuff that Brad and his crew just never encounter playing since they NEVER reach the point where they are constructing 5th items and hitting roshan for the 4th or 5th time or any of the pro level technique.

Their one problem is they expect people to keep watching their stream, so they won't repeat themselves with hero abilities and technique if they've seen the hero in a previous round, that sucks for people jumping in in the middle.

Avatar image for extomar
Posted By EXTomar

It should be noted that the "New To Dota 2" stream is available in the in game replay system. Fire up the client, download one of The International 4 games and you can hear and hear that stream with additional controls.

Avatar image for debigulator
Posted By Debigulator

Purge and sunsfan is the combo you want for explaining whats going on. The pyrion/shane/blitz group will probably be the most entertaining, if you're ok with some conversation going over your head. Never know though, it's only day one and they will most likely take the criticism to heart.

Avatar image for paulunga
Edited By paulunga

I don't feel like getting to understand DOTA 2 is that hard. I started watching Daily Dota and crispy's stream last year and by the time The International 3 rolled around I had a solid enough grasp to get the commentary and what was generally going on. Sure, I don't know all the match-ups and I spent some time looking up specific heroes, skills and items on the wiki, but it's not that hard to follow for a spectator. I haven't played a single match of DOTA 2, mind you.

Avatar image for drugged
Posted By drugged

Trying to explain the game to newcomers is a difficult thing to do and I think game-by-game the casters got better at it. I'm glad they're trying it even if it isn't always completely successful.

Some things you just cannot explain in that much detail - the time it would take would mean you would miss everything that is going on in the game. I think Valve would've been smart to make a ~5 minute brief video explaining the very basics (stuff like what a lane, tower, barracks etc is) that they could put on the official site or run as a bumper/trailer before the start of every game.

I got into Dota at TI3 and didn't find it that hard even though there was no newcomer stream. Really it depends on how much you are interested and how much free time you have. I was pretty happy to sit and watch an hour long game and just pick things up through context etc. All it took for me was one exciting game because the crowd noise and caster hype was infectious even though I didn't know what was happening. That made it easy for me to persevere and learn. Like any sport it also helps if you choose a team to root for.

For people that are watching this just out of a sense of 'obligation' to eSports or gaming in general, or people that don't have a lot of free time I can see why even this 'newbie' stream might be too dense for them. At the end of the day, Dota is an incredibly complex game - on some level you have to have a desire to want to learn or enjoy it. This type of stream is a good thing but they can only do so much.

Avatar image for megalowho
Edited By megalowho

As a casual Dota fan, newbie stream was fun today. Only watched a little but at one point they broke away from the action completely to show what wards look like, what different wards to, where to put them in pubs vs what pros do, etc. The in game spectating tools are great for this, lets the casters draw all over the screen as they explain. There was still a fair amount of Dotaspeak that might confuse newcomers but it felt like the right place for me.

Avatar image for rlhyeung
Posted By rlhyeung

@darkest4: That's what I love about Patrick, and why I think he's so invaluable to Giant Bomb and our community!

Avatar image for darkest4
Posted By darkest4

Classy Patrick trying to understand all games instead of just the ones he knows he'll like.

Avatar image for raremonkey
Posted By RareMonkey

@slyspider: doubt it since the only moba person in brad and he thinks league is worthless even though he never tried it. which is a terrible way to figure out if a game is good or not

Avatar image for slyspider
Posted By slyspider

Maybe someday we can get a league article on the front page of the site. Maybe

Avatar image for guardianknux
Posted By GuardianKnux

And I'll be honest here, the newcomer stream has been better than the main stage stream. It's been a lot more playful and fun to watch. The other guys have been doing great too, but even for an experienced veteran, the newcomer stream is where it's been at so far.

Avatar image for eternalhav0c
Posted By EternalHaV0C

Thanks for giving this a shot Patrick.

Avatar image for silan
Posted By Silan

As someone with 200 or so games under my belt, I didn't really think this stream was very helpful for someone just barely coming to the game or who has never watched it before. SUNSfan (among one or two other casters) was using character names from Dota 1, and still talking about things from a pretty high level. Maybe I missed it, but they didn't do a lot of explaining about what the safelane is, what it means, why pro dota players run trilanes and offlanes, etc. which is a concept that even after hundreds of games I still don't quite grasp.

Going in depth with how laning works in detail is way too advanced for a stream like this. Sunsfan is more the comedian while purge is your more serious teacher. And the hour or so I watched, he did nothing but explain hero abilities and other core concepts. I was really impressed.

To be fair i'm not a newbie, so my point of view is not as relevant.

Avatar image for hellknightleon
Edited By HellknightLeon

Dota... all of it...

Yeah this was dope of you Scoops.

Avatar image for president_barackbar
Posted By President_Barackbar

I was watching the one with PyrionFlax and I thought that they did pretty bad when I watched it. They weren't entertaining or that informative imo (even though I know a little bit about Dota). I haven't heard Purge yet, but I really like his videos so I'm hoping to catch some of him commentating.

Avatar image for mr_creeper
Posted By Mr_Creeper

Brad got to him...

Avatar image for crono
Edited By Crono
@dropkickpikachu said:

Maybe I missed it, but they didn't do a lot of explaining about what the safelane is, what it means, why pro dota players run trilanes and offlanes, etc. which is a concept that even after hundreds of games I still don't quite grasp.

Trilanes are run to secure early farm for the hard carry. Off-lane heroes usually have the ability to either take a beating, heal themselves, some kind of mobility or escape ability - best if they can disjoint incoming single-target disables. Trilanes usually operate by having 2 in the lane while a third stacks and pulls the neutral creep camp. You have to stack the creep camp nearest your lane so that the 'neutrals' kill off your creep wave. If you don't stack first before pulling, you will end up with 2 waves of your creeps pushing up the lane. You can use this to your advantage if you intend to push the enemy tower, but generally you want to stack first and then pull. Stacking and pulling does 3 things in the trilane:

1) The most important thing is that it controls the flow of the lane. When the creeps are pulled, the incoming enemy creeps have no opposition and will push up the lane. So if your lane is pushed up to the enemy tower constantly, it makes it difficult to secure farm early game and also difficult to escape if they make a move; you're also more susceptible to getting ganked. But if you pull the creeps, you can then shift the action of the lane to a more favorable position, closer to your tower in case you need to escape, and also easier to farm because the enemy will not be able to come as close to you without risk.

2) It provides gold and experience for the player that is doing the pulling and keeps them out of the lane to allow the other two players to have better experience gain. That is to say that if all 3 were in the lane, the experience would need to be split 3-ways and this would put the players behind in terms of levels as the game progresses, whereas with a designated "puller" you can all get pretty standard experience gains all around.

3) It denies an entire creep wave from the enemy and they therefore miss out on crucial gold and experience.

Avatar image for christaran
Posted By ChrisTaran

@anobix: I might have hit a bad time, they were just doing what to me seemed like normal commentary to me. May check it out again later then.

Avatar image for plasmamachine
Posted By PlasmaMachine

I learned DOTA by watching the Daily Dota. I didn't learn a damn thing except BLACK HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLE.

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