July – August is some what a migratory period for many NRI’s. Many families have their kith and kin visiting their homeland for a month or a little more than that. Sadly, for them, a so called “vacation” turns into a very hectic visitation program. Shuttling between families, meeting up with few friends if they are lucky, but mostly, their precious time is spent, trying to satisfy every known relative in the country.
Well our family too has its share of annual reunion. It is this time of the year when we recollect and relive our childhood moments, tease each other about all the weird things we did and laugh at all the stupid annoying tricks we played on each other. More importantly this is the time we get to meet each other’s family especially the children.
It’s interesting to see how each of our kids have grown and changed. Every year there is something new that these kids would have picked up, ballet, gymnastics, tennis, few slangs, taste for some crazy fashion, music, weird videos on YouTube, so on and so forth. Of all the new acquisitions, the most intriguing thing for me was my nephew’s addiction to these noisy, fuzzy looking videos. When asked about them, he would say “DotA”. Apparently by watching those videos he was learning from the masters to become a “DotA 2” champion. Some of you must be wondering what this “DotA” is all about.
As you may know, for years now we have mastered E-mailing, come to terms with E-education, E-learning and E-commerce, now is the age of E-Sports( simply put “online games”). Although computer games or video games existed as early as 1950’s, they became very popular source of entertainment only in 1980’s. Today there are innumerable gaming consoles such as Nintendo’s Wii, Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation each with greater improvements from one generation to another generation. Video games have come a long way from simple 2D, to virtual reality multiplayer games.
Coming back to “DotA”, it is an abbreviation for Defense of the Ancients, which is a fast paced, high intensity MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) developed by Valve Corporations.This nerdy game is played by millions of players from across the globe within the confinement of a room with their high-tech computers, not moving their body much except for their fingers clicking away at the keyboard and the mouse simultaneously.
According to my nephew “DotA is an extremely difficult and nuanced game, not always forgiving to newer players”. There are two teams with five players each, pitted against each other in a race to destroy each others base, ultimately their race / ancient. Each game starts with recruiting or drafting where the teams pick and ban heroes. These 5 players get to choose to play the role of 5 unique heroes each with various abilities. These heroes are picked from the given hero pool which has over 100 heroes. And this battle takes place in a jungle, kind of reminds me of our Mahabharata characters and the great battle of Kurukshetra between the Pandavas and Kauravas. Flexibility is everything.
Today E-sports is also considered as one of the career choices by our youngsters, I was surprised by the fact that there are tournaments played at international levels and that “The International” is one of the largest tournaments hosted in E-sports history, with a prize pool of upwards of $20,000,000. Imagine most of this prize pool is contributed by fans alone. These fans go to watch pro players at the The International, and millions more watch the live streams on streaming platforms such as Twitch.
I was told that E-sports teams are extremely similar to conventional sports teams. They too have an active roster with stand-ins, coaches and managers and choose to boot camp before tournaments to get in the habit of playing with each other. Winning does not come easy you see, pro players play anywhere between 4-10 hours a day like any other regular sports.
Finally, some “Gyan” from my nephew about his learnings from this game –
- Play to your strengths– Each and every hero has their strengths and weaknesses. Learn to capitalize on them.
- Teamwork– DotA is a team game. There is no getting around that. One person CANNOT win by themselves. Learn to communicate with your team.
- Don’t be toxic– Your team, or anyone will not listen to you if you shout at them. Encourage them and you’ll have a higher chance of winning.
- Select your battles carefully– You can’t win every battle. Select the ones you can win to maximize your chance of winning.
- Analyze and exploit your enemy’s weaknesses– Give yourself every advantage possible. You can’t take the chance of losing, when something important is at stake.
Come to think of it, these are great “Life Lessons” too. Who knew that playing online games would teach life lessons. Anyways I am not sure how long this new found interest will last for my nephew, at least it has got him interested to build his own gaming PC which makes us very happy.
– Aruna C. – Head R & D, BRAINSTARS, Co- Authored by Arya Prasad (my nephew)