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Update at 1:45 p.m. Pacific time: The delay is over, and The International is running again.
Modern gaming is strange. Even when you get the best teams from around the world together in the same room, they still have to play over the Internet — and that’s causing a problem.
Publisher Valve has put its Dota 2 tournament on hold after a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack caused the game servers to fail during competitive play. Valve’s on-stage commentators confirmed to the assembled crowd of thousands that the DDoS was the reason they were pausing the action. For now, the livestream production team is killing time by showing preproduced video packages and by doing analysis of the remaining teams. This is a lot like a rain delay in baseball — and I guess we’ll just have to start treating DDoSes as digital precipitation.
We’ve asked Valve for an update, and we’ll update this story with any new details. At this point, The International has no restart time.
Today’s official pause comes after several connection issues caused troubles during matches over the previous two days of the event. These troubles have also caused problems with the video broadcast as well, which has gone down during matches on Twitch, YouTube, and Steam.
But this malicious cyberattack is especially troublesome because Valve, sponsors, and its customers have put up $18 million in prizes for this competition. These connection errors are essentially corrupting the results and making it so no one cannot guarantee that the best team is really going to win.
A team could lose out on the chance of coming home several million dollars richer because someone on the Internet is bored, but it’s also a problem for the hundreds of thousands of fans trying to watch the event at home. That aforementioned $18 million was at least partially funded by Dota 2 players buying an in-game item called The Compendium. A quarter of that revenue went directly into The International’s prize pool, but now the people who paid for that are forced to watch less-than-ideal matches.
Of course, this is only a problem because Dota 2 — like most of today’s online multiplayer games — doesn’t have a real LAN mode. In the early days of PC gaming, PC owners could get together and network their machines into one LAN for a night of intense multiplayer gaming. But for something like Dota 2, they would still need to connect online and go through a server to play the game.
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