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What it's like to attend a gaming competition that's as big as a rock show

One of the biggest events in competitive gaming is underway this weekend, and unless you knew where to look, you’d miss it entirely.

Organized by acclaimed game developer Valve for four years running, The International is the annual championship tournament for the wildly popular multiplayer game Dota 2. Abbreviated from Defense of the Ancients, Dota 2 organizes players into two teams of five tasked with defending their home base (the titular “Ancients”) whilst simultaneously trying to take down their opponent’s base on the other side of the in-game arena.

It’s a fast-paced genre mashup that reads like a greatest hits of video game favorites—equal parts Diablo, Warcraft, and any one of a dozen tower defense games—yet the result is something entirely new. What results is called a MOBA—short for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. It’s arguably the most widely-played genre of video game, and tournaments like The International are a big reason why. READ FULL STORY

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