Valve adds first-person VR spectator mode to Dota 2

Getting up close and personal with MOBA battles.

Next week, Dota 2's The International tournament kicks off in Seattle, Washington. It's already bringing together a bigger cash purse than any Dota 2 event in history, with more than $18 million on the line (and growing, as Dota 2 prize pools are drawn from in-game item sales).

Just ahead of The International, publisher-developer Valve has rolled out a special new feature for Dota 2 and players who own a virtual reality headset like the HTC Vive: a VR spectator mode, which allows you to explore the game's environments and characters up close and in detail, including in the midst of live matches.

Dota 2, like League of Legends and other multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs), pits teams of five players against one another for control over a sprawling map populated with defense towers. There's a high degree of strategy involved in these games, comparable to a real-life skirmish, so the appeal to being able to witness a match from the ground floor should be obvious.

Below, YouTuber Brad Lynch walks through the new VR Hub and its features. I've taken the liberty of setting the start time to about two minutes in, just past Lynch's introduction, so you can get right into how the spectator mode looks and operates.

It seems like one of the more interesting uses for the technology, if only for the novelty factor.

(h/t Kotaku.)