Free to Play

2014, Technology  -   40 Comments
Ratings: 8.62/10 from 121 users.

In August 2011 a contest promoting one brilliant online strategy game, Defense of the Ancients (Dota) 2, took place in Germany. It provided the biggest award fund to date ($1.6 million) drawing attention to skilled players from around the globe.

Just a decade ago competitive gaming was not existent. You would play for amusement against your best friends, for a cup of coffee, soda, beer or whatever you/they wanted.

From there, online competitive gaming started and suddenly you weren't just trying to be the best in your neighborhood, now you're trying to be one of the best on the planet. That transformed competitive gaming, set a whole new standard, and one of the games that made a difference was Dota.

Free to Play is a feature-length documentary that follows three professional gamers from around the world as they compete for a million dollar prize in the first Dota 2 International Tournament.

In recent years, E-Sports has surged in popularity to become one of the most widely-practiced forms of competitive sport today. A million dollar tournament changed the landscape of the gaming world and for those elite players at the top of their craft, nothing would ever be the same again.

Produced by Valve, the film documents the challenges and sacrifices required of players to compete at the highest level. - Free to Play: The Movie

Dota is kind of a mixture of soccer and chess. It is a game of momentum. You as five players attempt to compete against the other five players for momentum. Every single player is in control of one unit and the essential goal of the game is to wipe out the last enemy structure which is named the "Ancient."

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40 Comments / User Reviews

  1. TravisNJ

    Everyone that is talking like this is some terrible epidemic detrimental to humanity, you should really do some research into history specifically the gigantic paradigm shifts of societys past that we now hail as crucial developments in the human race. They were all thought of the same way, the simple minded are afraid of change. Even if everything in society is pointing in a certain direction, the ones of the opposite side always say the same. If any real atheletes are aganst this, its simply because they aren't good at it themselves. This is a mental competition, not limited by physcial restraints. why is this then seen so negatively?

  2. Jane Doe

    even though i've never played dota, i am an avid WoW player so to see these guys go that far through gaming was really incredible. I would love to see this introduced into the olympics, it would actually be amazing!

    1. Matthew Pierson

      Same here, I can definitely see gaming being introduced into the Olympics by the end of the decade. It's only a matter of time before it becomes internationally recognized as a major sport like soccer/futbol or basketball. I know some athletes get mad and say it isn't a sport, but look at how many fans esports have and it is growing exponentially

  3. Heini Mortensen

    Running around throwing/kicking a ball isn't more beneficial to the human race than playing computer games. As a professional musician I can relate so much to these guys. All the ressent from society they have to cope with during their developing years.
    If the average Joe sees or hears something they like fx pro SC2 or -DOTA then they'll wan t to pay to get more. Equivalent to sports, music, TV-shows, movies, etc.
    In the end fx the sport-industry is a huge money makin' industry which hence creates job opportunities.
    So how is it that people take becoming an academic so seriously? U don't have to go to university to become something in life.
    If there wasn't a job market they'll all be lying on the floor crying helplessly.
    This will only get bigger, and it will eventually globally steal some focus from sports. I bet you guys that almost everyone laughed at golf in the beginning, but look where the golfers are now.

  4. bringmeredwine

    I was listening to a researcher/socialist from MIT today on CBC Radio. She studies the emerging popularity of E-sports.
    I learned Twitch is a website where you can watch others play video games, complete with commentators. Every month, 45 million spectators watch 13 billion minutes of gaming!
    Private play has morphed into public entertainment forums.
    Spectators experience inspiration in watching the moves of their favorite players. They experience the same thrill as one feels attending a sporting event.
    At a League of Legends tournament last year, 8.5 million spectators watched concurrently online, while 15,000 watched in LA's Staples Arena.
    32 million watched over the total run of the tournament.
    I had no idea! You'd think the internet would crash!

  5. frequencydrive

    These people are losers. Imagine all the useful things you could do with your life and they want to waste it moving their thumbs around a controller. Professional gamer is a euphemism for LOOSER!

    1. Alexander Olsson

      Just as all sport- entertainment is then i suppose? Because what a stupid and looser thing is it not to push around inflated leather patches(Football/soccer)? I think we should just stop with all sports since its only for losers wasting their life just moving things around with their incredibly stupid right?

    2. i_drink_Scope

      i don't get it. how are they more LOOSE?

      did you drop out of school or something...

  6. sliceAndDice

    This Documentary makes it seem as though this game has evolved into a legitimate sport capable of providing sustainable income to those dedicated enough to waste away their lives playing it. Let's break it down: The 5 man team that won $1 million had to divide their winnings by 5 which means they got $200,000 each. Now, most countries charge tax for sport winnings and when such large amounts of prize money are involved the tax is usually around 50%. They players paid probably around $5,000 in travel, room and board expenses so their net gain is around $95,000 each for wasting, on average, probably 3 years of their lives in pursuit of this goal which equates to roughly $30,000/year income. Since the top team was the only one to get paid, everyone else just wasted their time and money in a fruitless pursuit of getting paid for all the time they wasted obsessing over their hobby.

    1. linuxlifer

      Your argument is not valid whatsoever. The losing teams do go home with money. I believe the top 4-6 teams go home with some sort of money. Also, most of these teams are sponsored by gaming companies so they do not have to pay for travel expenses. On top of that, a lot of teams will actually live in gaming houses where their expenses are most likely paid by sponsors. The other thing to keep in mind is these teams play in roughly 10-20 tournaments a year with prizes ranging from $0 - $50,000 with the odd one higher then that. Why not make good money for doing something you're good at and enjoy? Although after they are too old to play, which is actually a young age, they will have nothing to fall back on.

    2. sliceAndDice

      The problem with this game vs other sports is it sucks so much of your life away in order to be successful that it leaves you with nothing to fall back on. Sports require you yo be a good student in order to paticipate at the college level. The more people think they are good at it the more people neglect their educations in the pursuit of a time wasting venture.

    3. Mateo Gonzalez

      Actually, either valve or the company that arranges the competition takes care of the tax fees and the players get away without a problem.

  7. jiq

    Boring! waste of time , bingo for the companies that makes these games , creating a world of drooling gaming idiots

    1. 3li

      The people who play are not idiots! It takes a lot of skill to play.

    2. jiq

      lol, skill is gain in every domain by practicing , hope for the sake of these guys this is just a hobby, not of life goal

    3. 3li

      It clearly is a life goal in which some could succeed.

    4. Van

      You have no right to call them idiots when you cannot even place commas properly. There are far more games that accomodate idiots than this. The game is free to play with only optional cosmetic purchases available. It's only boring and a waste of time if you're not into it which you obviously aren't.

  8. User_001

    Wow, when do you think we'll start seeing these athletes in the Olympics?

  9. bionara

    I'd like to see a documentary about esports that explores the exploitation: not of the players and such, but actually focuses on the way that it's becoming so popular purely because companies can and do spend millions of dollars to use it as an advertising platform to adolescents. Also, I'd like to see a discussion on the impact of a sport/discipline being owned outright by one company, for example Starcraft is owned by Blizzard - imagine if one company owned an entire sport?

    Anyway, a well-made documentary with some great insight and story-telling. Glad that dude got his bird back at the end!

    1. Vladimir

      Like UEFA/FIFA?

  10. bringmeredwine

    I loved this doc!
    I am totally clueless about computer games.
    This doc took me on an exciting adventure, full of drama, action and suspense!

  11. 3li

    I think that DOTA is a great game, I've been playing it for 6 years and it never gets boring, this documentary was good but I felt like there were some things missing, more or less what I expected. To get to be the best requires too much time and dedication and giving up other things in life.

  12. Peace Bewithu

    Decent documentary. The game itself? Very questionable

  13. 1concept1

    I have two grandchildren - boys - who have been play war games on the machine it seems like forever - and they win constantly - The 14 year old has been playing for years - This is something he needs to look into ? maybe ?

    1. bringmeredwine

      The young man living next door to us has been playing something steadily online for years now.
      He rarely leaves his home or seems to sleep.
      He has dropped out of school.
      He is so loud that no one can sleep in our back bedroom or enjoy our deck during the summer months.
      From what I see, he's morphed from a lively, friendly little boy, into a pasty pale recluse.
      Maybe if our young neighbour got onto a competitive team at the top of his game and participated in tournaments, travelling to other places, his life would change for the better?
      Or his parents should shut off the computer and pay attention to him.
      I'd hate to see your grandson turn out like this kid.

    2. 1concept1

      I understand what you mean - they can get a little testy from cabin fever at times - how ever there mother keeps them in line and they are basically good boys - This is relatively speaking a good area to raise children - and if you don't buy them cars its sort of like and internment camp in these mountains -

      its my little 4 and 5 year old granddaughters that are the trouble makers and holding us all hostage :-)

    3. Gadea

      I know someone with the same problem.
      His parents eventually, gave up, trying to keep him
      away from the computer. He just lives in his room,
      orders in and plays video games all day long.
      It is not healthy and he too has changed from an outgoing person to a home bound individual.
      It's scary.
      In recent years, there have been reports about
      young males turning on their parents, when they
      are cut off from the computer. It can get very ugly.

    4. bringmeredwine

      I know, eh?
      I wonder how many kids are doing the same thing? Is this yet another societal epidemic for us to worry about? Sigh!
      I noticed many moons ago, in the early 90's, that my two little girls became very cranky and wound up, while playing SAGA on an old tv.
      I started limiting them to just one hour, then sent them outside to play. (parents used to do that).

    5. a_no_n

      because you never got grumpy as a child?

    6. bringmeredwine

      I sure did!
      I noticed a real change would come over their behaviour all of a sudden.
      Mostly they'd play happily together. But after playing the game too long, they'd be squabbling and cranky.

    7. a_no_n

      i'm just saying that's what kids do, they work themselves up until they're knackered and then they start acting out.

      If they've spent an afternoon playing games together then they've been competing or co-operating together for that length of time. If you had them doing anything all afternoon they'd eventually get cranky and tired.

      it all seems pretty normal and expectable to me.

    8. bringmeredwine

      They'd come home exhausted and their faces shining with joy after a day spent at the dance studio. Or from riding their bikes or swimming at the beach all afternoon.
      I tried to steer them into those types of activities.
      If we played board games together there was lots of laughter, not fighting.
      Video games set them off into Cranky Land. Maybe my kids just have weird circuitry in their brains like their mother.

    9. a_no_n

      What do you actually know about the guy?
      PTSD, Depression, Trauma...he might be suffering from any one of these things?

    10. bringmeredwine

      I've known him since he was 3 years old. Now he's 17. His parents haven't mentioned anything like that about him.
      You could be right.

    11. a_no_n

      just going from personal experience, i know a couple of people like that and in many ways am like it myself. many many issues and traumas.

      It would be understandable that the parents might not want to go spreading that kind of information about to the neighbours,,,just my personal opinion really for i know much less of him than you do.

      I find games are like drugs, if people are spending all day on them then they're clearly trying to get away from something or get out of their own heads for whatever reason, usualy something like depression or trauma..

    12. bringmeredwine

      I totally agree with you. I think he needs help. His parents have come over to my house frequently over the years but we're not close friends.

  14. Guest

    I'm interested to watch the commercial side of this doc, but I really cannot stand DOTA! I love Starcraft & Starcraft 2, and other competitive games...but I just cannot understand the appeal on this one! It makes me cringe to watch people shovelling their lives into this. Even for $1 million :)

    1. a_no_n

      have you seen any docs on the Korean infactuation with starcraft? those guys take it to a whole other level.

    2. bionara

      Yeah, fascinating eh! In the end, I loved this documentary despite my views towards DOTA. Some great suspense and insight into this.

    3. a_no_n

      most definatly. Even their Air force has a starcraft team.

      It'll be interesting to see where the next hundred years takes gaming.