I suppose this is an appropriate time to say goodbye to the past, or at least this section of it. This is nothing except my trying to be as honest to myself as possible.
It troubles me to no end how easy it was to leave Playdota.com. For those who are unaware, I used to play a lot of a video game called Warcraft 3, especially one of its popular modification map called Defense of the Ancients. Fast forward years later, I found myself as one of the many people who participates in its “sequel” Dota 2, a game developed by Valve. Through all of these times, I have stuck with Playdota.com (PD), dubbed “the official DotA website” by the game’s developer, IceFrog. At this point, if you still have no idea of what I am speaking, it is best to just leave.
For those of you that are still here for whatever reasons, let me just come out and say it: PD was a big part of my life for the past 4 years. I don’t mean big as in I personally invest a lot of time and effort into the site, but big as in what I got out of my time on it. I started playing the game during the end of 2009, and quickly started roaming the lands of this infamous forums. Not a lot of it was particularly memorable, mostly nostalgia hits if an old thread was revived once in a while. Over the years, however, I have met people there. These people are, for the lack of a better word, simply interesting. I can feel my skin hardened, as my memories accumulated. The posts I’ve read range from marvellously articulate to excruciatingly brain-dead. Being honest, I’ve made some that fit both. I do not regret making any of them though, as it would imply I would preferred not to have done so in the first place.
It would be quite discrediting of me to compare such a place to my home, but it was certainly somewhere I found solace in. I was going through difficult times, and nowhere made a better escapist’s hideout. There, the people I met, whose names I shall not mention, became familiar. I cannot say I have never tried to care about the game, but I will address that soon enough. All the way I was there though, I remembered people. This was why I prefer PD over r/dota2, even when the subreddit became massive and it was in my best interest to cater to it. I found myself going back to PD every time, every day. I didn’t spend a lot of time on it, an hour a day at most (which is still too much for some), but it is something I certainly paid attention to. While on reddit, all I saw was names after names and votes after votes. It was devoid of any actual discussion, and it still is. The system did not allow that. Then I go back to PD and I saw… people. These “faces”, these “voices” that I recognized, those that I remembered and spent my time with, playing the game or otherwise. I found friends, for better or worse. I never cared for internet culture, especially on an obscure gaming forum, but I would have stuck to PD’s defence until the end. It was a place where discussions survived, where someone’s words are as heavy as their reputation and their arguments as believable as their proofs. Elsewhere, the only thing I could find is the internet equivalent of public figure’s ass kissing. PD was harsh and real. Not a lot of it was, but just enough. It’s a place that, despite being official for years, have had the so-called “professionals” steer clear of. It was in their best interests to do so, of course, as real debates were had.
All the while, I would be lying if I said I did not notice the change in the forums. As my post counts started climbing towards an insurmountable amount, I started to see the ugly sides of the system. I was neither the first nor the last to do so, of course, as procedures changed. The forum was inevitably dying, as the developer’s attention drift towards social network and their strategy shifts towards appeasing the massive rather than the game itself. That has always been why Dota 2 is no way comparable to its predecessor. The game used to be a passion project, and it was driven by just that: passion. The game was alive. The game was full of people sacrificing their effort for the joy of the competition, rather than the glamour of those at the time. The game was raw, and it was beautiful. It no longer is, and neither is PD. I am trying rather hard to calm the urges to name names, but I’ve tried a fair amount to revitalize activities, and was shut down every time. Sometimes by my own incompetence or lack of forethought, sometimes by those with ulterior motives and bitter intentions. That was no further than half a year ago, when I was actively trying to put the life back in what I perceived as a dying community. Seeing my efforts crushed so mercilessly, I honestly gave up hope.
I used to be so much more involved in this game, and even gave it a chance despite the new developer’s intentions showing through the cracks. I had opportunities, but never followed through with any of them. It was either because of the limitations of my own situations at the time, or I simply refused to do things the “easy” way. To anyone outside of PD, I shall be remembered as that name who has some interesting content on YouTube, some time ago. To those on PD, however, I am a person. I was one of its members. I was one of its pillars, albeit in the backstage kind of sense. There was little glamour associated with my years there. I made a name of myself as a very peculiar person with very peculiar ideas, and I don’t even think those who are left will miss me that much. I have gotten what I wanted, in fact much more so, from a forum of such sort. I have given adequately back, of course, and I will soon move all of my PD blogs to an archive on this blog instead, just for the sake of preserving them just in case something happens. I no longer play the game of course, but I wouldn’t put it past me to revisit it once in a while purely as a novelty, or should some of my connections feel the need to ask for my assistance. I doubt it would happen, but I would not want to get ahead of myself.
If you tell yourself that at this point, what I am saying makes little sense and adheres to some sort of alien structure, you would be very correct. This is nothing more than a distant collective of my thoughts, patched over on an increasingly unpopular medium.
So, I suppose.