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Diretide is an annual tournament event which takes place in the online multiplayer strategy game Defense of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2) in celebration of Halloween. In October 2013, Valve, the event’s organizer, sparked a backlash among DotA 2 players following the cancellation of the highly anticipated second annual event.
On October 30th, 2012, Valve, the developer behind the game DotA 2, launched Diretide in celebration of the Halloween holiday, describing it as as a new “annual” event for players to enjoy new maps and game modes.
Diretide features three different play modes that differ from the original DotA 2 game. In “Candy Chaos” mode, players collect and steal as much candy as they can against the enemy within a 20 minute time limit. In “The Trickster Awakens” mode, the monster Roshan targets random heroes on each team to beg them for candy. In “Sugar Rush” mode, enemy teams must unite to defeat Roshan within 20 minutes.
On October 30th, 2013, DotA 2 content analyzer Matthew Bailey tweeted that there would not be a Diretide event that year.
On the following day, YouTuber Beyond the Summit uploaded a video featuring several men surrounding a tombstone with the words “RIP Diretide” engraved (shown below).
When Valve’s gamer base is displeased with Valve’s actions, the gamers call Valve Volvo instead. Encouraged by the single serving site Give Diretide created on November 1st, gamers have taken to Volvo’s Reddit Page, Volvo’s Facebook Page, and other social media pages to vent their disapproval of Valve’s actions with a never ending stream of comments “༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ Give DIRETIDE”. Through the thousands of comments, it would appear that Volvo, the automotive company has embraced the meme. Volvo has released the following comment on their Facebook Page “Valve, hats are great, but the people want Diretide!”.
Attention over Volvo has overflowed and the meme has taken a life of it’s own on other pages. One notable page that has been bombarded was President Barack Obama’s Facebook Page.
Meanwhile, many disappointed fans began downrating the game on Metacritic, resulting in a crash in the score from 8.5 to 3.7 in less than a week.
The same day, YouTuber booboo likes dagons uploaded a prank call to Volvo’s customer service asking about the release of Diretide (shown below). In the first 24 hours, the video accumulated over 198,000 views and 1,000 comments.
On November 2nd, Forbes published an article about the controversy, which criticized Valve’s lack of communication with its player base. Also, redditor thisjourneyends submitted a post to the /r/DotA2 subreddit, which scolded the game’s player base for harassing Volvo and Valve employees about the game. The same day, Dota 2 developer Matthew Bailey even claimed to have been targeted with harassing calls to his personal phone number over the issue.
On November 3rd, user down_limit released skin for Io (Dota hero) called “GIVE DIRETIDE TO IO”. It received over ten thousand votes in a matter of two days, making it one of the highest rated submissions in the history of Dota workshop. It usually takes months for a submission to reach that amount of votes, while most of them never even reach it. Number of votes are still rising.
Dota 2 Team’s Response
On November 8th, Dota 2 team wrote a blog post named “Not My Best Work” where they announced that they will be releasing Diretide in 2013 after all, as a part of major patch update. They also discussed few other things such as why they didn’t release Diretide or communicate with their fan base for last few months.
On November 8th, user down_limit changed the name of submission from “GIVE DIRETIDE TO IO” to “(づ｡◕‿◕｡)づ THANKS VALVE”.
On November 9th, YouTuber booboo likes dagons uploaded another call to Volvo’s customer service thanking them for “fixing Doto”.