As someone who isn’t really a Dotahead, I think it can be difficult to write about in a way that engages me. I wanted to praise Melnick for writing a truly accessible account of why I should find The International interesting, and it definitely gives me some interest in trying to follow along (as unlikely as that might be for me).
I feel like, in Dota and elsewhere, the regionalism one can encounter is really interesting. Likely because of the international reach of the internet, it can sometimes be easy to assume that there is a homogenised meta and culture around games, which is, obviously, not true, whether in Dota (as this article brilliantly lays out) or elsewhere. This articles touches on some structural issues why certain regions have been traditionally under-represented (like a single ‘Americas’ pushing out South America), along with some social reasons (the assumption of ‘weak leadership’ in South-East Asia). This reminded me of Andrew Groen’s Empires of EVE, in which he touches on how the casual xenophobia of other players helped to drive the creation of small and elite Russian corporations, which affected the broader meta of that game.
(P.S. Could someone elaborate on what the CIS region is?)