Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles In August 2011 a tournament featuring the popular online strategy game Dota 2 was held in Cologne, Germany. It offered the largest prize pool to date attracting professional players from all over the world. Yes, it is actually confirmed. 1.6 million dollar prize pool! I'm double-checking to make sure they haven't changed any details since they told us last time. 1 million in US dollars for First Prize. That is for the winner. 1 million dollars for winning Dota! It's going to be huge. Dota2.com The tournament tab is up, too. Our website will actually change for the next 24 hours as well... The day I transformed into an adult was the day I started playing Dota. It's times like, when you go up on the stage, you represent your country for something. You get the prize. It's the amount of satisfaction and achievement that nothing else can give you. It's something I definitely don't regret ever doing. Gaming is simply the proudest thing in my life. It can be called "gamer," but for me, it's something different. One way to forget about pain is to do something that you will be in completely. So... computer games. For me, it was... everything. This is my career. I've chosen to do it for so long. Success in my eyes is always based on how other people see you. In the eyes of the public, it's up to them. It's important to be doing things that you love and you really appreciate. Because that's your passion, man. You should really work for your passions. Ok, guys, you have 7 minutes to set everything up and then we go. This is the first time I really wanted to take something seriously and do something good for my life. FREE TO PLAY 10 years ago, competitive gaming wasn't even really a thing. You would play for fun against your friends. Maybe you would play for a cup of coffee or whatever you wanted. When I started playing, we'd been fighting for 24 bottles of beer as a first place. I'm not joking. From there, though, online happened. And, all of a sudden, you weren't just trying to be the best on your block. Now you're trying to be the best in the world. And that opened up competitive gaming to a whole new landscape. And one of the games really leading the way is Dota. Dota is sort of a combination of football (or soccer for the Americans) and Chess. This is probably how I would try to explain Dota to someone who's not familiar with it. At least, that's what I did to my parents. Dota is a game of momentum. You as 5 players try and battle against the other 5 players for momentum. Every single player controls one unit. And the main objective of the game is to destroy the final enemy building which is called the "Ancient." Everything else that happens in the meantime is your amazing filler of a game. You could play 100 heroes in conjunction with 99 other heroes. It's just nonstop possibilities and it's so much fun. And you know, it's like the same map every single time but it literally never gets boring. I would say Dota is a way of life. When the prizes started coming I was like, well we have tournaments so obviously some people are going to come and say, "This is a great game. Let's play it. Like, let's put money in it." And it started progressing each year. Those at the top level, they just do like lots of calculations in their head. Something like "A Beautiful Mind" where you see like all kinds of things. And using all this information make your next move. I see it in a lot of ways similar to basketball. Just like a 5 on 5 game where you kind of have to work together and utilize each other's strengths and synergizing everything together. The teamwork, and the trust, and the sacrifice those are all true for every single team sport. Dota is a game that unites everybody. It doesn't matter what country you're from or race you are. It's kind of like a bond that is shared and when you're part of this tight-knit group of people. It's like having a second family. That's something you never let go. Everyone's searching for something. Fulfillment. Fame. Satisfaction. It gives you the ability to become someone else. A someone who is powerful. Who can take down 5 opponents. Express their creativity. Break the rules without actually getting arrested. All of these reasons are in there somewhere. The player himself might not even know. He might not even understand it himself. But it's there. Medford, Oregon Gaming fulfills my competitive need. I'm a very competitive person. When it comes to sports, I consider gaming a sport. So I use my competitiveness and I fuel it with Dota. So it fulfills that side of me completely. Fear's one of the best in America, if not the best. He has a lot of experience. He's one of the old hogs, basically. And he's generally just a calm guy. So, in my opinion, that's his strength. Really good basketball player. I remember my coaches watch him playing and just talk about picking him up the next year when he came in. Always had nothing but good things to say, but he wasn't picked on the team. The reason was, yeah, he just wasn't tall enough, I guess. So, I know that, yeah, he found the game. He got really devoted in that and stuff and just found something else that worked. I was your typical parent. "Clinton, you're spending too much time playing computer games." "You need to go to school." "You need to go to college." and he would tell me, "I want to be able to play games and get paid for it." Now he said this at a very young age before Dota ever came along. And I thought, well, you know, he's going to grow out of it. He's going to get sick and tired of sitting there in front of that computer and playing. Never did. Never did. Singapore In Singapore the families actually put a lot of stress on us in terms of our education. I would say it's been tough on me trying to juggle both studies and gaming at the same time. My grades have dropped for two years already. And my parents have treated the gaming as the cause of it. I mean there was this phrase that they used. They said, "Gaming will be the death of you one day." He's a great player and a great captain. I would say he's the top player in Singapore. Easily. My parents and my family, they don't actually speak much of my gaming career. They don't tell their friends and my other relatives that I'm actually that good at my games. All along they have only been bragging about my studies. Because I used to be an "A" student. Yeah, they go on and on. And... And it seemed like that was the only thing they could ever be proud of. Actually, there has only been one person that has always been very supportive of me gaming. And that was my ex-girlfriend, Huayan. She's from the female Dota team in Singapore. There are a lot of things that we share in life. So many things. In my case, it felt really good, you know, to have someone who truly appreciated what you did best. And loved you for it. She was aware of what I'm doing and what I'm passionate about. The breakup was her decision and I respected it. We'd been together for close to three years and ever since the breakup, I haven't gotten over it. I recall the last time she spoke to me she named me as a bastard so... *Laughter* We're not in contact anymore, yeah, but... life goes on. L'viv, Ukraine I'm from Ukraine. My nickname is Dendi. I finished my university, and I'm just playing computer games right now. He was doing music. He played the piano. He was doing dancing. At school, he had musical plays in which he played the main role. Audiences were always impressed by his artistic ability. When their kids' group was showing, Danil would always stand out. When we were growing up it wasn't a good time financially for our family. But my grandma helped us to get our first computer in 1997. Early, compared with other kids in Ukraine. We got visitors every day. The friends of my older brother used to come to visit us and we were playing games. And Danil, every time looked at what we do. Every time we would try to push him away but he would come back and look again. It was more prominent with him than with other kids. During all his conscious life we were trying to stop him from playing. We were hiding our computer cord everywhere in our apartment but he always found it. I always wanted to understand him better. Including that hobby, I wanted to understand him better. There were certain reasons. I'm not going to mention them now. I think somewhere deep inside he's a little bit sad. She stopped preventing him from playing Dota. She gave Dendi the freedom to choose what is the best for him and his life. Tournaments back then were really low prizes. And a lot of prize money didn't even get to the players. There's been a lot of scams with the managers and stuff like that. There were, like, some rumors that it's going to be $50,000 first place, and everyone was going, like, "Nah, it's not going to be like that." August 10, 2011 Watch the forums go nuts, guys. Watch the forums go nuts. It is actually confirmed. It is off the fricking hook. 1.6 million dollar prize pool! That is for the winner, 1 million dollars for winning Dota! Dota, the game I've played for 5 years now. Which I played for fun. For some food money or whatever, you know. Ok, it's actually getting big. It's the largest prize pool of any gaming competition to date. It just felt like the start of something big. Like a revolution. You know, we had everything we needed for the game to become big and respected as an E Sport. It would kind of like vindicate us. We're not just playing because we're addicted. There's a goal, a motive. That we can actually reach out and grab if we are good enough. Beijing, China Over in Asia, professional gamers are treated like rock stars. It's a viable career opportunity. They actually live in gamer houses. So it's set up to be a thing all year long. I think their approach to practice is that it's like a day job. The fan base is immense. It probably is as big as the whole western audience together. Or even more than that. So now you really have to play good. You really have to try hard. It's first place. It's go big or go home. The big teams get big money. But the 9th to 16th place earn nothing. And their salaries are not worth considering. While in sports, you have a salary that you can live on. With pro gaming, I think that's one of the toughest parts is living game to game.