The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Seniors Attend Video Game Conference in Seattle

Seniors Troy Hetzler and Ethan Stern attended a video game tournament for Defense of the Ancients 2 (DOTA 2) last weekend at the Benaroya Symphony Hall in Seattle, Washington from Friday, August 31, to Sunday, September 2.

Troy and his friend Ethan traveled to the tournament for Troy’s 18th birthday present.

“For me, since I got to see all my favorite teams, I thought it was a really cool way to spend my 18th birthday,” Troy said,” I definitely would do it if it goes to the United States again.”

Last year, the DOTA 2 International was held in Cologne, Germany. But this year, it was moved closer to Valve’s headquarters in Washington, making it easier for Troy and Ethan to attend the tournament.

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“When we heard it was going to be in Seattle we realized that this was actually doable,” Troy said. “[the] airfare is not so expensive, [so] we decided to fly down there and give it a watch.”

Valve, the company that created DOTA 2 and other games such as Portal and Team Fortress series, hosted this tournament as an international competition between DOTA 2 players to promote the game before its release in the upcoming year. DOTA 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena game where players manipulate heroes and work together to destroy the enemy’s Ancient, which is a guarded structure located on the enemy’s side of the map.

“Essentially thousands of other fans from around the world and [Ethan and I] came into this big building and watched the sixteen best teams in the world for this particular computer game compete live,” Troy said. “Countries around the world would send their best team here for a chance of winning a million dollars, which was the first place prize pool.”

Troy found that watching the tournament live was a far more exciting experience than watching it on his computer at home.

“It was really, really energetic and excited atmosphere,” Troy said, “Everybody there was really excited to be there and they really wanted to be there. Every time something crazy happened on stage everybody stands up and starts cheering and everyone is chanting for their favorite team. A lot of people brought in flags for there country that they came to represent and everyone’s wearing a t-shirt from their one team.”

Ethan found it exciting to meet and watch the team members on the United States team, whose playing style he tries to learn from.

“It’s good to meet these players who we watch everyday and try to learn from,” Ethan said.
“They’re the best of the best.”

Troy feels that DOTA’s ability to constantly update the game and refresh it with new content sets it apart from other games.

“What makes it really fun for me is the sheer variety that you don’t really get in other games. In every round, is different, it’s a really dynamic-flowing game that’s constantly evolving,” Troy said. “The theme is that there are frequent updates with lots of new content every time, and lots of tweaks and changes that keeps things fresh or interesting.”

DOTA 2 also creates a sense of teamwork and bonding as players have to work together towards a common goal.

“You come together as a group of friends and you have to come up with these crazy strategies and it’s really satisfying to work with your friends and pull off something that’s really cool,” Troy said. “You watch these crazy professional players pulling off these strategies that you’ve never seen or thought of before and there is so much variety there.”

In the tournament, China’s team, Invictus Gaming, placed first and won $1 million while Ukraine placed second, winning $250,000 while the United States was eliminated in the quarterfinals.

“China’s Invictus team won,” Troy said. “The crowd’s favorite was definitely the Ukraine team because they won it last year, but Ukraine got second. Unfortunately, the United States got eliminated around the quarterfinals.”

Troy has played with the DOTA series for three years. While he enjoys the game, he sees it as more a “fun distraction” and a hobby than a competition.

“I don’t think I could ever do that [play competitively],” Troy said. “I like the game a lot, but I feel like it would be very difficult job to take because the game itself is incredibly complicated and I guess I don’t have a lot of free time to practice and what not.”

Even though the game has not been officially released yet, the DOTA 2 finals were watched by over 550,000 people live and has already become the most played game on the Steam Client.

While the highlight of the tournament was the matches itself, there was also a chance for Troy and Ethan to buy merchandise and meet both developers and the nation’s teams.

“I also took a picture of myself with the United States team and everything and I got a lot of really cool merchandise,” Troy said. “The highlight of it though was watching the tournament and getting to meet the celebrities [the United States team].”

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