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Dota 2: an explainer for newcomers and the confused family of addicts

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A $3 million video game tournament is happening right now in Shanghai, China, pitting 16 of the best Dota 2 teams against each other. But what, pray tell, does any of that mean?

Dota 2 is an immensely popular video game that mixes elements of many genres, from sports simulation to role-playing epics to twitch-reaction shooters, and yet is unique in its own right. To its millions of adherents, Dota is closer to a lifestyle than a pastime. Think about the dedication most people show to playing and watching football or baseball, and you're on your way there.

I’ve been afflicted with the Dota 2 bug

Having accrued more than 3,000 hours in its mythical universe, I can say with assurance that I’ve been afflicted with the Dota 2 bug. I know all the professional players, all the fictional hero characters, all their magical abilities, and all the complex interplays among them.

There’s as much to learn about this game as there is for Magic: The Gathering, a competitive card game familiar, at least in name, to anyone who passed through a high school cafeteria in the 1990s. But we won't overwhelm you with strategy and lore. For this latest episode of What’s Tech, we’ll introduce the basics behind Dota 2, and how it came to be an e-sport with multimillion-dollars purses.

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