Last week, Valve released Free to Play a documentary following three hopefuls, Benedict “HyHy” Lim, Clinton “Fear” Loomis and Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, all challenging for what would be the largest pool of prize money ever seen at a competitive gaming event, a whopping 1.6 million dollars. The captivating documentary focuses less on the game in question (DotA 2) and more on the human experience of living in a competitive gaming culture.
First a little background about DotA and MOBA’s in general. The game usually consists of two teams of 5 pitted against each other where each player controls one specific unit or hero. Their goal is to raze the opponent’s base and destroy their main building which in most MOBA’s are known as Ancients. The game is highly tactical and communication based where timing is key. As an avid MOBA player myself I was under the impression that this documentary was going to showcase Valve’s DotA 2 in its entire splendor but boy was I wrong. Instead I got to know what it’s like to dedicate yourself to video games and the trials and tribulations these gamers go through to strive to be the best.
The major themes of this documentary are family, sacrifice and dedication. Each of the three players followed before and during the DotA 2 International competition have their own storylines and reasons as the why they dedicated so much of their life to gaming.
If you’re interested in watching the full documentary, you can either get it on Steam or stream it off the YouTube below: