Watching The Dota Netflix "Anime" As Someone Who Doesn't Play Dota

Avatar image for daavpuke
Daavpuke

342

Forum Posts

7924

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 33

User Lists: 3

Edited By Daavpuke

Now that video games have been entrenched into mainstream media, Netflix has been trying to latch on tight. After a League of Legends documentary, several seasons of a Castlevania series and even a terrible take on Dragon's Dogma, the streaming service has teamed up with an industry titan. Together with Valve, an animated series about none other than Defense of the Ancients was spawned, named Dota: Dragon's Blood. Friends of the site may be familiar with the game.

I, however, am not a Dota player. I tried the tutorials once, but after a game or two, it became quite clear that this gargantuan effort didn't have a lot of rewards on the other end. My Steam inventory probably still has a bunch of beta keys. So, essentially being a rube, watching this show might give me more insight into the sprawling world of the arena game.

Still, it wouldn't exactly be going in blind either. When the auto chess craze ignited, I got heavily into the Dota Underlords beta. At the very least, I've heard of some characters already, like the ridiculously powerful Luna or Terrorblade. I may have even heard someone say: "By Selemene's light." Now that I think about it, that might've been Luna. That seems logical, since the series follows that hero and their allegiance to the deity of Selemene.

It seems the Terrorblade reveal was a huge thing? Wouldn't know why
It seems the Terrorblade reveal was a huge thing? Wouldn't know why

To start off the show: the main protagonist is Dragon Knight, who gets cursed with a link to a dragon. If you've ever seen Dragon's Dogma, this isn't exactly the strongest intro, considering the similarities. From there, ol' DK meets Mirana, the hunter with the jumpy feline in Underlords. The two team up to solve each other's problems, in what seems to be happenstance, more or less? The first few episodes of the show are scattered, so it's hard to tell what is happening. More on that in a bit.

Simultaneously, there are elves who seek artifacts to appease their god. These items eventually end up in a tower with a powerful wizard. From then on, all hell breaks loose and factions go to each other's throats. Once episode four rolls around, there's a little more action to keep things going, but also, that's about it? There's a war and blood gets spilled, the two protagonists share a rote love interest; the ingredients basically go through the motions.

After watching the complete series, I don't know if I've picked up any additional knowledge on Dota. The story is continuously chaotic; it seems like the show wants to touch on a myriad of references, while explaining very little. As a result, it always feels like stuff is just happening, for the sake of it, seriously deflating any action on screen. There's a knight with a colossal hatred for dragons who later on just gives up. Terrorblade, the main bad guy, barely shows up at the end and then puts in zero effort. Every scene feels like a justification, more than it is story pacing. Here's that thing from the game! On the other hand, the general bombastic way that dragons are displayed takes up so much screen time. If I didn't know any better, these predictable diatribes feel like they came from the Dragon's Dogma cutting room floor.

It's now been several days since I finished watching the Dota show and I can't say that I retained much. I do know Invoker is a hero now, but then I found out later that they're just named Carl? Why didn't the show just call them Carl? That would've been hilarious, particularly because they play such a dry role. The next season better change the name to Carl, if there is another one.

I still don't know why these were important somehow
I still don't know why these were important somehow

As far as quality goes, Dota: Dragon's Blood passes the bar of Dragon's Dogma, but that isn't saying much at all. Maybe diehard fans that understand all the goings on would enjoy this more, and there are tons of Dota players, but anyone without a compendium of knowledge about the game likely isn't getting anything out of this. You'd think that the goal here would be a symbiotic relationship, where Netflix lures in Dota players and, in turn, Valve can count on a new audience to help infuse some life into their ancient game.

Well, about that: I fear that I'm here to confess that I am a sucker. Due to not getting any satisfaction out of the show, I loaded up Dota Underlords again. I've been playing ever since. Seeing all my favorite heroes in that game has made me resent the flimsy show even more, but I also appreciate the characters better now. Remember Slark? They're just a fun fish dude who loves stabbing people. That's all they do; jump around and jab, jab, jab! If Slark was in this show, I would've enjoyed it so much more. I love Slark. What I forgot about Dota Underlords is how fun it is to puzzle with alliances in that game. Since then, I've been desperately trying to make Swordsmen work, then Brutes, then Healers. I'm still working on that last one, but I might dabble into some Demons.

Sadly, it seems like Valve might not be as enthused to pair the show with the chess game. The last update was in November and my ranked score has been the same since I stopped playing, about a year ago. This glorified Netflix advertisement would've been the perfect time for a big to-do, but it seems that the auto chess genre went as quickly as it came. At least the chess version makes sense; it's contained and clear in its objectives. I can't say the same for the show or the main game. Maybe I'll try again, should Dota ever land on phones. It worked when League of Legends did it, even if I haven't gone back to play Dr. Mundo in a minute. I would've also loved a show about someone named Dr. Mundo. As long as that show doesn't get into the weeds about blue buffs or something silly like that. We'll see.

What's next on the chopping block for Netflix, you think? My money is on The Elder Scrolls. Now bring back the All-Hero Challenge, damn you!

Avatar image for onemanarmyy
Onemanarmyy

5677

Forum Posts

431

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

#1  Edited By Onemanarmyy

Hello it's me, someone that played a ton of dota and place it in my top 3 games ever. That said, i never got much out of the dota lore. Don't get me wrong, i'm very much someone that likes story in games, but the lore in dota always felt like it was an afterthought and mostly an opportunity to throw some powerful sounding and mystical words together. So i wasn't super interested in checking this series out but a friend told me to give it a shot so i did.

Seeing the intro with terrorblade spout a bunch of mystical nonsense ("I FOUND TRUTH IN THE CHAOS.. ENGULVED IN RAGE", that kind of stuff) almost made me want to not go through with it. That type of *EPIC WORDUSAGE* is my personal kryptonite, but luckily the Davion storyline seemed to tone it down enough.

Honestly, i don't think the Dota world is all that fascinating on it's own to base a show around. Like you said, there are some fun characters to find in Dota, but the world just doesn't seem to be all that unique to stand on it's own. You still get your typical fantasy germanic human settlement (one is straight up called Hauptstadt, which means capital), the pointy eared elves, a bunch of big talking dragons and there are a few artifacts to be collected. It's like i'm watching a generic D&D show.

And naturally the humans are all about sitting together in the tavern, drinking booze, getting laid and being racist towards elves. There's also a whole lot of swearing and nudity on Davion that mostly feel like a nod to Game of Thrones & Witcher in their quest to make this fantastical show feel grounded and gritty. A lot of mundane stuff happens on screen; I don't know why Davion, respected hero of the humans, has so much trouble to find a weapon to defend himself with. Do we really need to watch him visit the local blacksmith and come away from it without a weapon in his hands?

Mirana's portrayal mostly seems like i imagined it. Which means she's quite serious and in tune with nature to hang out there with her mount and her servant. But at some point in the story she teams up with Davion and they walk through the human settlement and she's like 'aww yeah, finally a bed to sleep on!' with a cheesy anime smile on her face and all. I felt like that just doesn't really seem to fit her character? Maybe it's explained in the other episodes, but why is she choosing for this secluded life in the forests on her journey to find the lotuses if she craves a real bed and the humans don't seem to have any qualms with her at all?

I also thought that they did a lousy job of making you as a viewer be interested in her journey. Why do we need to care about these lotuses? What's up with the princess stuff? Is she being hunted by her former countrymen? Has she done anything wrong and has to live in the woods and dodge the open roads? Do the other realms care about this? Are there powers involved with the princess title or do you just need to have a certain link with the goddess? What are the rules of this world?

Finally, i thought it was sort of weird that the show has these hundreds of abilities and items to use in their show, but they still feel the need to come up with new abilities to make a big deal about. Like that half-dragon stage where Davion turns into a bloodthisty agile red scyther-pokemon. Almost Bloodseeker-like. Where the hell did that come from? I guess it's sort of a cool transformation, but at the same time it feels like if the creators can do whatever they want with these dota heroes, that it starts feeling even more like a random D&D show instead of a show about Dota, the game with characters and abilities i know. Davion learning his firebreath ability, Davion getting the default dragon knight armor, Davion using a shadowblade or blink dagger to initiate on his opponents. Davion getting the ability to turn into a dragon himself. Those should be the big 'AWW YES' moments for fans of the game. But why would i get hyped about that, when this agile halfdragon man already seems like a way cooler ability than any dragon can be?

After episode 2 i decided that i wasn't having much fun at all and didn't want to continue watching.

Avatar image for imhungry
imhungry

1445

Forum Posts

1241

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 3

#2 imhungry  Online

Dota is probably the game I've spent the most hours on if you go back to WC3 days. I don't plan to ever watch this but call me once they've finished their 10th hero-focused season and they announce the 11th season focused on the 5v5 battle between the 10 heroes they've introduced.

Avatar image for junkerman
Junkerman

646

Forum Posts

371

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 7

User Lists: 5

I think I'd be more interested if it was Omniknight centric as played by that one obnoxious Youtuber who RPd as the characters he was playing as. His take on Omniknight was Machoman Randy Savage and thats my canon.

Avatar image for daavpuke
Daavpuke

342

Forum Posts

7924

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 33

User Lists: 3

@junkerman: Okay, you gotta link that, if you still know who that is. That honestly sounds like a trip. Seeing as I'm recruiting OK every game right now (healer), I'd be down to watch that.

@onemanarmyy:It's good to see I'm not alone on that. It really disappointed me that all of the material they had didn't result in more than just the most generic fantasy story possible. It gets a little better after the first few episodes, but I wouldn't fault you or anyone for not sticking around. The payoff is pretty minimal, though the Invoker story gets a little more personal, if that's your thing.

Avatar image for onemanarmyy
Onemanarmyy

5677

Forum Posts

431

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

#5  Edited By Onemanarmyy

@daavpuke

I think he's referring to SirActionSlacks. This is his Omni voicepack

Definitly make some time for his Gyrocopter as well.

But yeah, maybe i would've been more into this Dota show if they didn't make it revolve around the most standard heroes (man with sword & lady that shoots arrows). You base a story around heroes like Slark (Treasure hunter), Naga Siren(his fishy love interest), Slardar (guardian of the treasury) Kunkka (undead pirate) and Tidehunter (Big dumb seamonster) and mostly let it take place underwater and suddenly this show has more of an identity for itself. Like apparently Slark was part of some tough gang back in the day, stealing items, got caught, had to do a whole prisonbreak, had to disguise himself as a shark at some point... There could be something fun there to work with.

I could also decide to rewatch Aladdin and the King of Thieves because that's basically a dota anime. I mean, it has the hand of midas!

No Caption Provided

Avatar image for mezmero
Mezmero

4037

Forum Posts

405

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 16

#6  Edited By Mezmero

I have no reverence for DOTA so I'm not sure if I'll ever watch this. I'll at least give them credit for getting a proper voice cast. One of the weakest parts of the Castlevania anime was the voice work IMO, likely because they opted to get people who were mainly screen actors with few exceptions (Storemare rules at everything).

Avatar image for daavpuke
Daavpuke

342

Forum Posts

7924

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 33

User Lists: 3

@onemanarmyy: I forgot voice packs were a thing there, for a moment. I wonder if other games will ever adapt that as well, like they did with battle passes. Thanks.

Also: I love Slark. What a cool fucking character. Just aces.

Avatar image for chilibean_3
chilibean_3

2396

Forum Posts

324

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

Dota is in my Top 5 games of all time. Love it. Luna might be my favorite hero to play. When I finished the anime my only opinion was, "well they sure did make that thing. Good for them." It has little to do with existing Dota lore. I didn't feel like knowing the game well added anything to the experience because they made up their own stories to replace the lore for most of the characters. The only plot line I'm interested to see continue to play out is Invoker's. Even then I'm not all that interested in a season 2 if it gets made.

I do wonder if they would plan on using more of the less "human" characters in a season 2. Kind of like how the Marvel movies didn't get into the weird comic book stuff until they had an audience hooked already.

Avatar image for daavpuke
Daavpuke

342

Forum Posts

7924

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 33

User Lists: 3

@chilibean_3: I will take this comment as another vote for Slark! A vote for Slark is a vote for the people.

I agree that Invoker's character development was, at least, interesting. Personally though, being voiced by Troy Baker is the only thing that puts me off from hearing more about it.

Avatar image for humanity
Humanity

21219

Forum Posts

5738

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 40

User Lists: 15

As someone that has never played or engaged with DOTA in any way I watched two episodes of this and thought it was mostly alright. I'm an extreme outlier in that I thought the Castlevania show on Netflix, apart from a few cool fights, was mostly embarrassing to watch on every level. The threesome in Season 2 almost made me just turn it off because of how teenage-horny it was. The Dragons Dogma show released last year was absolute dogshit in terms of visuals so I didn't bother to give that a chance despite loving the game. From the two episodes I've seen of DOTA I thought the animation was a good mix of hand and CGI graphics without effects becoming too overbearing. The story seemed mostly easy to follow although I'm sure I'm missing a ton of nuance about the characters which.. I assumed were from the game? Will I keep watching this? Ehh.. maybe? It's only 8 episodes if I recall correctly so if I'm really bored I'll see where it goes. I watched that shitty Blood of Zeus show so why not waste more of my life.

I gotta say though, each time the title card comes up and you just see DOTA the acronym as the title of the show it gets a chuckle out of me for who dumb it is.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.