DOTA 2 is the New Magic

DOTA 2 is the New Magic

I think DOTA2 is the "Magic: the gathering" of it's time in a lot of ways. There's a dense and complicated lexicon that needs to be mastered, core strategies required to play with any real competence beneath a more fluid and evolving layer of smaller strategies. The deckbuilding aspect is missing, but it might be more accurate to say it's been morphed into experience building. You don't buy 20 packs to get your Knightmare or...whatever the hell that one dragon was that was really popular. The red Knightmare equivalent, whatever that was. Instead you play 20 games and master a hero's role and skill progression.

And there's trading! Hah! They still get to sell you booster packs full of hats and swords and bracelets which you can then trade and build sets out of. They can sell them to you for a fraction of the cost of a booster pack of Magic cards because it costs Valve almost nothing to sell them to you. They put the treasure chest in your backpack and say, "This thing here? It's yours, you already own it. Carry it around for a while. We'll wait! Let us know when you want to buy the key that opens it."

It's less cynical than it sounds. Really, it is.

Anybody who wants to try to learn DOTA 2 can do it. You assume that anyone in that demographic has a computer and an internet connection with at least basic entry level hardware. If you're in that group in the first place it's not so large an assumption. The kid with the best part-time job or the adult with the most disposable income no longer has a distinct advantage. You get better by playing, by watching other people play, and by interacting with other players directly. You share strategies and tips, and if you don't get the way one person explains it there are ten plus other people explaining the same thing differently.

The progression of interest, from my point of view, is very similar to what we saw when Magic: the gathering first started taking off. Somewhere just after Antiquities and just before Legends. "Revised Edition", which was the third core set. The same way there was DOTA before there was DOTA 2, there was Magic: the gathering before most of us jumped on board. Interest in DOTA 2 isn't snowballing, it has straight-up balled. The Benaroya Hall in Seattle seats nearly 2,500 people and it's full this August. People can make a living making low-poly hats (and higher poly couriers i believe). I knew a guy who remodeled his kitchen when he sold his Black Lotus. I'm just sayin'.

I'm focusing on DOTA 2 because I don't know anything about League of Legends or Heroes of Newerth or the myriad other moba's out there. We all had that one weird friend that played Spellfire or Jyhad. Maybe it's like that. I couldn't really say. As of this writing League of Legends has 40,497 viewers on Twitch. DOTA 2 has 6,114 viewers, which curiously is the same number of people watching Black OPS II.

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