I took a few hours out of my busy schedule on Saturday to stop by Mettlestate’s #JoinTheLegion Dota 2 event at Evetech Studios. If I’m really honest though, this was the more realistic scenario: I tore myself away from my latest obsession Forza 7 for just long enough so that the severe withdrawal shakes weren’t too noticeable to others in the room.

ax at a Dota 2 event? Wut?

Me, a CS:GO caster, analyst and writer, at a Dota 2 event? Sounds rather unlikely even to my own ears. At the height of my (ongoing) love affair with Counter-Strike, I myself would have called such a thing sacrilege – neigh, heresy! In the past I only really had time for following CS:GO as my esport of choice as a fan and for obvious career reasons. With my more recent involvement as the esports host of the NAG Podcast, I’ve been forced to tear my ever loving gaze away from Counter-Strike and shift my focus towards the wider esports world. I have to know what I’m talking about after all. At least a little. 🙂 Which leads me to #JoinTheLegion.

Sam “Tech Girl” Wright setting the stage for viewers ahead of the start of #JoinTheLegion

A vintage Mettlestate experience

I’m not going to go into the details of the match we were there to watch all that much – you can read more on that in a previous article from Zombie Dredd, our illustrious (and slightly smelly) leader, here.

Mettlestate, as always, knows how to create a superb overall experience for those attending their events. We got a great opportunity to meet people and reconnect with old friends over snacks prior to the start of the match. The air conditioning was an absolute godsend on such a hot Centurion day and having access to some of headline sponsor Legion by Lenovo’s gaming notebooks was also appreciated.

Evetech’s Studio venue really is a great place to be. In fact it was also the site of my first time casting CS:GO at a live event at last year’s Evetech Champions League. I have fond memories of the place and #JoinTheLegion only adds to those along with August’s Valkyrie Challenge. Like that event, #JoinTheLegion is proof that South African fans are willing to make a day of esports at a dedicated event. Well done to Mettlestate for another successful outing. Once the players were ready, we were ushered into the main auditorium and the broadcast began ahead of the match start.

Confessions of a total Dota noob

Dota 2 of all the major esports has always been the largest enigma to me as a spectator. It assumes a lot of in-depth game knowledge of the viewer for one to follow the action and actually have some understanding of what is transpiring on the server. I have some of the basics down, but I’ve always struggled to translate that to watching the game and getting the gist of what is happening during the course of a match.

A full house at Evetech Studios for Mettlestate #JoinTheLegion

Fortunately George “Geemax” Smith and Kaameel Chicktay were on hand to guide hapless simpletons like myself along and keep us apprised of the action. Both veterans of NAG Podcast supremo Richard “Beetle001” Ferreira’s Noob Friendly Dota streams, they were well equipped to teach the likes of me. I had an additional ace in the hole in the form of my frequent collaborator, Shaun “Profeci” Murrell, at the event. Prof is the veteran caster of two DGC Dota 2 finals and 2016’s momentous Masters final win for White Rabbit Gaming. With so much help, surely I would come out of the experience with a working understand of Dota 2?

Doting on noobs

I don’t think I’ll be taking up Dota anytime soon as a player, but it certainly helped having all this guidance and information available to me as a spectator. I actually might have maybe understood what was happening a couple of times. 😉 The burden of knowledge will always be a significant barrier to entry for new Dota viewers. More events of this type and more initiatives like Beetle001’s Dota 2 Noob Friendly Stream are definitely a good idea if we want to bring new fans into the Dota fold.

Oh, and Adastam’s team won (down Sargon, bad Sargon!). But you can find out more about that and how the match actually went down in Mettlestate’s aftermovie, due out late this week. Keep an eye on their Twitter and Facebook pages for more.