I’ve been a Dota (Defense of the Ancients) player for quite a while now. With the introduction of Dota 2 by Valve, the community managed Mod became huge. So huge that there are millions of dollars as prizes & players are being venerated on celebrity levels. There have always been eSports events as far back as the mid-80s. But never this big up until its first event ‘The International’ which amped up the hype so much that even ESPN was covering it. And already being a part of that community (with countless hours of LAN parties and even more of discussions), this has been something I was longing to experience myself. I wanted to be there. Matter of fact, we wanted to be there.

Dota 2 regularly has events around the world all throughout the year. So, a couple of friends and I started planning on something that we would be able to visit. At first, we were aiming for the ‘Manilla Majors’ but that plan fell-out due to other obligations.

Next, we heard about the then-upcoming ‘ESL One Genting’ event to be conducted at the end of January 2018 in Malaysia.

We all decided that this would be our thing. Learning from our first attempt, we did not waste any time. Bookings were made and we were on our way. I could barely contain myself, as this was also my first experience travelling abroad.

I did some reading up on what to expect and what to do while we’re there. Not much but hey, might as well while we were there, huh?

Visit Twin towers

Tasting the famous Malaysian dish ‘Nasi Lemak’

Roaming in Petaling Jaya

Coming back to the event, ESL One Genting is a Dota2 Minor tournament with a prize pool of $400,000 USD and 400 Dota 2 Pro Circuit points up for grabs. A total of 16 top tier teams were participating in the event.

The event was being conducted in ‘Resorts World Genting’ which is a hilltop resort near Kuala Lumpur. Here’s a fun fact: ‘Resorts World Genting’ is home to world’s largest hotel ‘First World’.

Finally, the day has come, where we were about to witness our first live game, though Navi (Natus Vincere; One of our personal favorites since they started playing ‘Dota 2’) was attending the event, due to poor performance in group stages they did not qualify for the Main event. This was a huge bummer as we’re hoping to see our favorites play on the Main event.

Disappointment aside, I wasn’t going to let this ruin my fun. So, I started rooting for my second favorite team ‘Team Liquid’. Liquid cruised through the Group stages and entered the Finals as clear favorites. Though Team liquid lost in finals but oh boy! What a series of games it was. Glad I got to see it live. Newbee took home the cup that day with 3-2.

The crowd went wild. Honestly, everybody was cheering after the finale. It didn’t just feel like a competitive event but a gathering of people celebrating their favorite game. Seeing so many people celebrating something you also love is just unreal. My cheers and screams might have died down in the crowd but my spirits were higher than ever.

I would like to share a few things to look out for while visiting an ESports event:

Meet and greet with famous eSport personalities.

Signing and photo sessions with teams and players.

Goodies and official merchandise.

Cosplays of popular video game characters.

Final thoughts, some people might say you are better off watching it on stream such as Twitch.tv with the comfort of being at home. But like any other sports event, nothing beats the stadium atmosphere with 30,000+ fans screaming and chanting their support to their favorite teams. The sudden roars and gasps on unexpected plays. This is something to be witnessed firsthand. A truly memorable experience and am glad we decided to do it.

Oh, and if you are wondering what the title means, Dota is affectionately called “Three lane highway” because of its three-lane gameplay.

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