Daeja’s View: Watching Dota 2 Online

Whether you catch the official broadcast or wait for highlight videos later, we’re all watching the same games, so does it matter?


The ideal way to watch: in person! Photo of crowd at MDL Changsha Major, courtesy of Mars Media

With the Dota 2 Pro Circuit (DPC) racing to an exciting finish through ESL One Birmingham and the China Dota 2 Supermajor, I wanted to consider how we consume professional Dota 2. I’m setting aside the highly desirable in-person option because realistically, most of us are watching Dota 2 online. At a basic level, this could mean watching the games live through the Dota 2 client or on a stream. It could mean watching videos or restreams of completed games or highlight clips. And beyond that, I’m also interested in how much attention we give each game; are we fully focused, using games as background noise, or somewhere in between?

When I started watching professional Dota 2, I binged tournaments that featured specific teams I’d decided to follow. I established my viewing habits then: always the official broadcast, and if there were simultaneous streams, I’d always try to follow a handful of teams through the tournament rather than trying to sample them all. I might focus on the games if I could catch them live, but if I was watching restreams or videos? I’d do something else at the same time: work or chores, usually.

I’ve got the official broadcast of a live game open right now while I’m drafting this article.

One benefit of watching the official broadcast, whether it’s on Twitch, Facebook, Smashcast, or somewhere else, is that I can view all of the content rather than just the games themselves. The panels, interviews, and whatever extra videos the tournament talent have created aren’t accessible through unofficial streaming coverage nor through the Dota 2 client. And I think this content is a critical component of each tournament, contributing to the overall character of the event.

Chelsea “Daeja” Jack

I love talking about esports and books. I think compassion and curiosity are really important and that a balance between serious and silly keeps life interesting. You can follow me on Twitter @writingdaeja

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