Dota 2 has been around for eight years now and the Southeast Asian region has been with it from the very beginning. What started out from humble beginnings has since blossomed into a full-blown industry that is taking the world by storm.
Southeast Asia and Dota 2 go hand-in-hand; it has become one of the most passionate regions when it comes to the game. A thriving scene filled with new talent, SEA is anything but a pushover in the Dota 2 scene. But to truly understand where SEA is at with Dota 2 right now, we have to take a detour towards the history of DotA aka Defense of the Ancients.
Much like the rest of the world, DotA came about in SEA through the Warcraft III mod map. Playing on the iconic 5.84 map was one of the earliest beginnings of DotA’s history in SEA, which only began to grow from there.
This included national tournaments like the now-defunct SMM that had prize pools mounting towards RM50,000 and up. SMM 2011 was where it had hit its peak, making this is where the regions best would congregate to play.
But soon after, Dota 2 was released by Valve with an abundance of Beta keys being given out. In the months after the first TI was held, more and more LAN cafes around Malaysia began adopting Dota 2 into its ecosystem, essentially wiping out the original DotA map from existence.
Sure, you could still find the Warcraft III mod map but there will be far fewer players than there once originally was given the surge in Dota 2 players, especially in SEA.
When DotA was first launched in SEA, teams and players seemed to be mostly based in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines. The biggest teams and most well-known players including the likes of MUFC and Scythe Gaming were invited to compete in the First International event ever in 2011.
Each region also had its very own hometown heroes to look up to — Malaysia had Ng “YamateH” Wei Poong and Chai “Mushi“Yee Fung; Singapore had Benedict Lim “HyHy” Han Yong while Darryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang is still in action; Thailand featured some great talent like Trai “TnK” Akaravinak and Pipat “LaKelz” Prariyachat with the latter now a coach for Motivate.Trust Gaming, and even the Philippines chimed in with their own stars like Julius “Julz-KACL” De Leon and Jessie Cristy “JessieVash” Cuyco.
You may recognize a few names on the list, especially Mushi and HyHy, both of whom were household names in the professional scene at one point in time. Mushi was joined by Chong Xin “Ohaiyo” Khoo, another professional player from Malaysia who, alongside Mushi, became the dynamic duo of the Dota 2 SEA scene for many years. Starting out together with Orange Esports back in 2013, their greatest achievement was a third-place finish at TI3.
As for HyHy you may know him for being one of the three main characters for Valve’s Dota 2 ‘Free to Play’ documentary. Of course, for younger viewers, you may just know him for wanting to be in the trees.
Now, teams from all over SEA compete, especially from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. As the scene grew bigger and bigger, younger prodigies started coming into the foray, slowly leaving the old guard behind. Now we celebrate and cheer on (insert various players) who not only dominate the SEA but prove they are among the best as they wrack up international titles and compete at the highest levels.
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