At about 11:00 p.m. local time a day ago, in the European West servers of Dota 2, 10 players queued up for an average, unranked match. Over the course of five hours, these players would rage, taunt, abandon, create new accounts, and become good friends. It was an odyssey of Dota matchmaking, a play in five acts, and God bless it, a damn glorious battle.
With no real “surrender” option, Dota matches can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour-plus on the long end. Five hours, though, is a grand new high—for comparison, the longest competitive match was a qualifier match between SFZ and Cloud9 in 2015, which went for 3:20:34. Unlike that match, there were no map breaks or fire in this one, but still plenty of exponential scaling.