Dota 2 is the most popular game on Steam, an arena-based, team-oriented gonzo bloodbath where you control one of 100 heroes and run around a map attacking, defending, laughing, and loving, but never, never, NEVER learning. Lord help you if you think you know anything. The learning curve is so steep no one has beat the game yet. Everyone seems to get stuck at level 25 like they’re bored playing Skyrim.
The game’s championship tournament, The International, offered over $18 million to winners this past August and was the biggest payout in eSports history as of the writing of this article (discounting, of course, 1991’s $24 million live cage match between Zangief and Blanka). With peaks of over 900,000 daily players, its popularity is so immense that it begs the question: wouldn’t life be even better if we lived in the manner of the great heroes of Dotaworld? Dotaland? Eh, whatever. Where Sven and Nyx and those guys live. That weasel thing that multiplies itself like freemium games. Anyway, behold the 10 ways life would be much improved if we stepped out of the Chronosphere to apply the teachings of Dota 2 to real life.
10. Amazing Mega Powers
This one’s a gimme so I’m explaining it first: powers are awesome and Dota heroes have awesome powers. Who wouldn’t love to speed along like Windrunner? Or spit venom like Viper? Or fucking miss with your cosmic arrows like Mirana? Not only would all these specialties be awesome, but you’d have three – though granted some of the others would be blah compared to buffing your strength, intelligence and dexterity all at once come your birthday. Nevertheless, many of the world’s problems could be solved. For instance, by turning the right people into frogs we could… or, uh, by smashing colossal ruptures of rock straight across traffic during rush hour we could divert cars to… uh, hm. Okay, here we go: by spirit-charging through walls for miles and miles to clobber someone just about to enter their house, we could… Okay! Fine! It would not solve any problems. It would be abject chaos. Horrible, horrible abject chaos. But it’s not like Na’ix would be – oh, he was inside that charging guy and now he’s feasting on the target’s face. Huh.
9. Pet Couriers for Whenever You Forget Anything
Left your phone at home? Even worse, left the charger? With a few mental commands whatever misfit pet you’ve adopted from Chernobyl will come calling, either slower that it would take you to go back yourself, or hurtling through the air like a magic torpedo if upgraded. They’re also helpful in social situations, where flirtatious teens and twenty-somethings could show off their Llamas, Goggle-wearing Panda Bears, and bipedal Raccoons Serving Drinks. A gentle breeze will kill most of them, but they come back to life in 2-3 minutes so you can once again send them home for your acoustic guitar, fun hat, and that essay about metaphysics that are sure to impress Jessica.
8. Merging Two Crummy Things Together to get Something Awesome
I was rummaging through my storage the other day and fell upon two old, discarded Discmans – aka portable CD players. Then I found a Minidisc Player, which was a failed crossbreed between mp3s and CDs that existed just long enough for someone to buy it for me as a present. Were this world but Dota 2 I could take both of these items and use a welding torch to fuse them together with a Wraith Band. Voila! I’d have some supersonic, ten-speed, kaleidoscopic mp3 mega-player that could play 40 songs at once with an aura of smooth jazz and allowed me to stun every third or fourth hit song!
7. Beating Up Weaklings to Earn Currency
To be fair, this used to happen in schools around the country during the 1980s and ’90s and it didn’t really make life better for anyone. That said, the new Dota-Earth would really streamline the process, with gold coins immediately popping from the fading body of the weakling sinking into the dirt. Any time you need an extra buck or two, all you would need to do is find a stranger smaller than you and eradicate them. Cha-ching, that burrito is yours.
6. Educating People About Inequality
The world can be a sad and inhospitable place and we are reminded daily that unfairness is still systemic under our dominion of the planet. People are not aptly suited to understand their own happenstance, let alone reconcile it with those less fortunate. Love and acceptance too often give way to mistrust and accusation. With Dota-Earth we can do a little better. There are roles each of us would be given from birth. Ganker. Support. Carry. So clear would the divisions be, that a world-wide understanding of inequality would burgeon upon the consciousness of the people: the junglers have much, the supports lose most to totem poles and farm animals, and above them all, the Carrys – brilliant, angelic, sublime – look down upon the rest with the airy sneer of a 1%er. While we proffered at the blurry foot of the Phantom Assassin we would realize how unfair the world is. That, my friends, is how the revolution begins.
5. Eating Trees
How many times has this happened to you? “We’re late for the big party and there’s this ungainly hedgerow blocking our way. I guess we have to go around.” BAM. Not anymore. On Dota-Earth, scarfing down trees to create shortcuts would be commonplace and even refresh you like a tall glass of milk. Don’t tell me you’ve never wondered. Slender twigs. Brackish bark. The surge of pride knowing you’re emulating the noble giraffe. Of course, as a species, we’d run out of oxygen and die… but picture yourself as that giraffe. As that giraffe.
4. Toronto Would Be Hella Safe
The CN Tower is at least a tier 3.
3. Goals in Life and in Death
No one knows what happens when you die. No one knows the meaning of life. Both of these are known in Dota: in life you destroy, in death you prove the blame heaped upon you during life was unfounded after all. Or you prove you were a chump. On Dota-topia, your goal in life would be plain: to conquer the enemy stronghold (say, a neighborhood Starbucks or bank). Life would be better because you no longer have to lie awake at night wondering if ignoring your children was the right life decision in the pursuit of happiness. Death would be better, too, because this way you would get a final accounting of your time on Earth, telling you how much money you made per year, the six best things you collected over your life, and all things lacking upon your exit from the real world. Plus you might get a cool item to pop in your coffin.
People would have all sorts of crazy auras and you would benefit from the effects just by being in their general vicinity. Head downtown and people are capitalizing on Swiftness Aura to work late. Across town athletes exercise by sharing Borrowed Time. Some guy with Vampiric Aura runs up to an out-of-control fist fight in the street and suddenly both dudes are paramedics patching each other up. Of course, it would be a bit of a burden to have the entire population of Earth leeching off your Arcane Aura.
1. Upon Turning Six Years Old You Are Gifted an Ultimates
Kids in Grade One are wild, imaginative beings who want it all as fast as they can get it, so what better way to throw caution to the wind and reward them needlessly than by teaching them a super dangerous ability? Ignoring the fact that many will therefore not live past six, the sheer euphoria of a child surrounding their school yard bully in two-story, glowing orange snakes that spit electricity must be greater than that found in a century of regular life. Or imagine the joy of blowing out the candles at your leveling up party and discovering your ultimate is calling an ancient demon down from a flaming meteorite to smite your enemies (of course, there are no such things as demons, so it might just be an airplane or low-flying satellite). On the negative side, we don’t want these kids growing up to fast, and youths tend to skip forward a decade to become teenagers, as they will spend the next few levels wandering through the forest with their buddies, bottling runes, dropping some dust, and causing trouble. But it’s a beautiful world that can turn a black hole into a bildungsromans, and that’s no Lycanthrope.