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DotA 2: Trials of being a professional DotA player

Professionals

Following any major sporting event that players trained all season for, there is going to be burnout. Professional players dedicate their whole selves to coming out on top at one tournament and need to take a break after the fact. This is especially true for DotA and other esports because players are able to practice without moving. As a result, players often find themselves playing for extended hours for days at a time which can artificially reduce their desire to play.

Additionally, players need to worry about how their performance looks going into the free agency period. So players must continue playing the best DotA they can in order to get signed. But it is inevitable that players are left without teams during this tumultuous time. Players being left team-less can show just how difficult it is for top class players to make ends meet.

Being a Professional DotA Player

People think being a pro gamer is easy. To sit at home while playing video games and earning money sounds like a pretty fantastic gig. However, this is not the reality for professional gamers, many of whom can say they live that life. Pros have to be dedicated and play upwards of 10 hours each day. Players will sometimes stream more than 15 hours of just straight DotA. This is all just practice, honing their accuracy and decision making skills so they are the sharpest possible for the main stage event.

On top of that, they must review footage from other teams and practice with their own. Scrimmaging other teams can be trying because repeatedly losing in them can produce negative morale. Not only that but when it comes time for tournament play the travel can be brutal.

Travel

DotA, much like other esports, is a global phenomenon. As a result, tournaments are hosted in a multitude of countries. This allows teams from around the globe to compete at LAN events while trying to maintain a balanced flight schedule. While it is a cool aspect of becoming a professional player, being able to travel the world, it can be taxing. Traveling every month or two to a new country, a new time zone, in order to play the highest level of DotA one can muster can take a toll on players.

These effects can be heightened when teams receive unsatisfactory results at tournaments. Finishing lower at tournaments means less money and more stress for the player. Not to mention they need to worry about their personal performance come free agency.

OG’s Announcement

ProfessionalsOG, The International 8 victors, have announced they will not attend the first major following The International. Their players cited many of the reasons listed as reasons for their break. One particular point that was emphasized was mental health. It is important to maintain one’s mind as a professional DotA 2 player. This becomes difficult in addition to the fact that these players are in the spotlight. This is especially relevant to OG player Johan “N0Tail” Sundstein whose former teammate, Adrian “Era” Kryeziu, suffered from anxiety at previous events. Intense pressure to perform and the scrutiny from fans following a sub-par performance can also contribute to deteriorating mental health in players. But true fans understand that the most important thing is players put their health first.

Looking Forward

While there are always going to be trials associated with becoming one of the best DotA players, those challenges produce serious entertainment for viewers. The roster shuffle period has produced many new interesting teams. The free agency period has also left many players without a team. This allows them to spend the season honing their skills for the next big shuffle period. The Kuala Lumpur Major is steadily approaching which gives these new teams a chance to show off their new compositions. All in all, fans ultimately want to see their favorite players healthy. And just past that, fans crave really good DotA which will certainly be present at the coming Major.

Featured image courtesy of Valve

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