Back in March of this year, VALVe Corporation has released a documentary featuring three professional players of their hit MOBA, Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2), and their road to the first ever world championship that is The International. In 2011, a lot of world championships for professional gaming didn’t pay out a whole lot of money. Even the StarCraft World Championship Series paid out a sum of roughly $250,000. Unexpectedly, the prize pool for The International reached $1.6 million, with $1 million going to the Grand Champions.
Free to Play is a documentary following the lives of Clinton “Fear” Loomis from Medford, Oregon, who’s currently the coach for Evil Geniuses, Benedict Lim “hyhy” Han Yong of Singapore, currently inactive, and Danil “Dendi” Ishutin of L’viv, Ukraine, currently a member of Natus Vincere (Na’Vi), who most recently appeared at The International 2014 that concluded on Monday earlier this week. The documentary shows the lives of all three players and how they were introduced to the world of Dota 2. They each had their own reasons for wanting to work hard at what they wanted to be good at as all three went to The International 2011 in Cologne, Germany, with their respective teams. Fear’s team at the time, Online Kingdom, fell in seventh place, while hyhy’s team, Scythe, took a gamble and lost against Chinese favorites EHOME later in the playoffs, and exited the tournament in third place (taking $150,000). Dendi’s team, Na’Vi, moved on to become the first ever world champions of Dota 2, securing the $1 million prize and having their names forever written into Dota 2 history.
Free to Play does more than just show us the famous people in pro gaming, it also exposes the growing world of eSports. In fact, during the earlier segments of the film, they interviewed Jeremy Lin, a star basketball player currently playing for the NBA team Los Angeles Lakers and a Dota 2 enthusiast, who suggested that pro gaming may be as big as, if not more popular than, physical sports like basketball or soccer (football, if you’re outside of the US) in the near future. This film is for everyone to see, not just gamers or the casual viewer. It’s a great look into the changing world of eSports and how it may soon become accepted in modern society.
The movie is free on iTunes, Amazon, Steam (especially), YouTube, and VHX.