Guest columnist Andrew Miller of Scranton, PA (Twitter @scarecrowman175) gives us a first person view of the new DotA VR experience.
Each and every time I put on my Vive’s HMD (head-mounted display/VR goggles) and pick up the two motion controllers, I’m looking to experience the latest and greatest in VR. Dota 2’s VR Hub delivers exactly that and then some.
When you first boot up Dota 2’s VR mode you’re instantly placed in the middle of a slightly modified base for the Radiant team. You can use a built in teleporter to move around, or walk around the environment on your own. The menu area is neat, but you’re not going to be too interested in it for long. Instead, you’ll want to select the character viewer or find yourself a public or private Dota 2 viewing lobby.
The nuts and bolts
The character viewer is an awesome way to play virtual dress up. You select the hero you want to be and can walk to or teleport around them a full 360 degrees view. You can also walk inside them, if you’re into that kind of stuff.
This is a great way to get acclimated to the scale of the game. I was able to spawn in and stand inches away from Pudge while checking some different cosmetic combinations on him. This probably wouldn’t be a good idea if VR had the ability to produce accurate smells, but since that’s not a feature of the HTC Vive, the whole thing was a very fun and enjoyable experience!
While the character viewer is a neat little feature, the most impressive and coolest experience is found in the VR Hub. This is where you’ll be able to find live games, watch your own or a friend’s replay, or watch some old tournament games.
Spawning in 5… 4… 3…
When you spawn into the room you’ll be presented with a giant screen that the game is displayed on with the mini-map on a pedestal in front of it. You’ll see each teams’ heroes displayed on the left and right side respectively with their current items below them to make your viewing experience easier. You can walk around the room freely and if you join a public viewing lobby you’ll be able to see and interact with the other people’s avatars.
After playing around for a little bit, I loaded up a game from the Manila Major Finals between OG and Team Liquid and dove (literally) right into the game. When you first go into the game you’re presented with a God view over the map. This is a unique and much more practical way to view over the map without watching the game on the big screen.
So cool you might miss the action
Personally, I thought the best way to go was by scaling everything down to 1:1 and walking around like I was a hero in the actual game. I was able to walk through the jungle and creep (pun not intended) around throughout the lanes. Sometimes I caught myself doing the stupidest things in the environment and getting super distracted spectating this way.
One such example of this is when I completely missed a big fight in the middle lane involving all 10 players because I was nowhere near anyone. Instead of actually watching the action, I was too preoccupied crawling through the rosh pit like an army man at war to even realize the big showdown. My only cues something big was happening were the distant sound of fighting and the casters getting hyped.
The wrap up
All in all, the VR Hub is an awesome way to view a Dota game. While I don’t see myself watching any games from the upcoming Dota International live this way, I know I’ll be watching some of the replays with it.
The Hub provides you with a ton of tools to see and do things in Dota that you’ve probably only thought about in your wildest dreams. That’s not to say you should go out and spend $800 on a brand new Vive just to experience it, but if you already have a Vive or know someone that does, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t give this a try sometime in the near future.
With TI6 right around the corner, there’s no better time than now to experience something new when it comes to Dota.