posted by Malystryx.GDS,
The outspoken and talented caster LyricalDota shared what it's like to attend The International 6 as a visiting fan in this travel blog.

A travel blog of TI6 by LyricalDota
"I don’t completely know what I expected to experience when attending my first ever The International this year. My only prior exposure to an esports event was attending a Dreamhack StarCraft 2 tournament in Stockholm back in 2013 while traveling. The Dreamhack event, which was amazing for the time, seemingly pales in comparison to this week's festivities.

I think what initially surprised me is the general tone and atmosphere of the event. From day one I felt as if I had stepped out of my Uber and right into a Dota theme park. Each path leading into the Key Arena is lined with banners and flags all proudly displaying team logos.

Everywhere you look there are interesting activities to partake in and fascinating people to meet. During my first walk through the grounds towards the arena I saw some exuberant cosplayers, passed the large jumbotron broadcasting the games for an audience enjoying the sunshine on the field, glanced at the secret shop and perused the menus on a bevy of food trucks lining the pathway to the doors.

For some reason I didn’t anticipate this tournament to have the grandeur that it does. I knew the production value was going to be insane, this is T.I. after all, but I didn’t expect so much attention was going to be put towards stuff that isn’t even on the stream. Frostbite Lager and Alacrity IPA beers are sold in specially made cups. There are giant signs and flags all over bearing the dota symbol and “The International”. Every little thing feels tailor made to make this the best viewing experience it can be.

LyricalDota in the stands at The International 6

As a spectator I appreciate the general layout and structure of the event. There is a basic framework of areas that are accessible vs inaccessible and within the scope of that you are free to come and go as you please without restrictions. While watching games inside the stadium is an impressive experience, I also find myself enjoying time spent out on the field in the sun. Perhaps one of my favorite times spent there was during EG vs EHOME game one.

The temperature was perfect for rolling up sleeves and laying out on the lawn. You could hear the cheers from everyone when the chronos went up and likewise the groans when when timber cut them down. In the end against mega creeps people were slowly catching on that EG was going to win. People were jumping up and down and the stadium emptied as everyone wanted to just go outside and rave about the game. Everyone I talked to in attendance had a smile on their face and were feeling the energy.

LyricalDota on the TI Today show with Toffees and Reinessa

The city seems to know that we are here and are curious about our world. I have witnessed numerous people smiling and looking around the Key Arena grounds, like a beacon drawing them in. I have had conversations with Uber drivers asking if EG will defend their reigning title or bragging about how they were the one to drive CDEC after last year's finale.

The streets of Seattle swell in the evenings with excited participants discussing the best plays of the day or making plans for meeting up later in the night to spend quality time with the pals they get to see one week out of the year. People I have never met wave as we pass each other on the street, both acknowledging how enthusiastic we are to be here. I have got to know the people that were once just twitter thumbnails or faceless names on a computer screen.

What I expected from TI 6 was great Dota. We have had upsets, redemptions, throws, and teams like Wings that you can't help but love. But at the end of the day at my first TI what stands out most is the atmosphere and celebration of Dota that has taken over Key Arena. I think it's safe to say I have every intention of making this an annual trip and I hope to see you there."

[i]joinDOTA's TI6 coverage is brought to you by ASUS, our official partner for the event.