In about two weeks, The International 6’s main event will begin, and fans of Dota 2 will get to experience one of the time honored traditions of the multi-million dollar tournament: the opening of the Secret Shop.
The Secret Shop refers both to a pair of in-game shops where heroes can acquire specialized equipment in game and the physical merch shop Valve operates throughout the duration of the International. This year, the Secret Shop was developed in partnership with WeLoveFine, a geeky online retailer who has worked with Valve on a variety of apparel, figurines, and plushes.
Not all merch is created equal.
If you’re into Dota 2 merch specifically related to the International, you could buy an International throw pillow from RedBubble. But then you’d have a throw pillow, which might be one of the oddest pieces of game related merch you could purchase. Or it was, until the Secret Shop started carrying Faceless Void boxer briefs with a set of teeth on the package area. It’s like Teeth, but for dudes (For the non-boxer wearing contingent of fan, there is the chibi heroes sleep pant, but, alas, no bikini bottoms).
Assuredly, not all merch is created equal. The above example notwithstanding (you can’t really compare knock off with the original) some events go the extra mile to make their merch that extra special something. Seriously, compare the merch from the Hershey’s store and the Coca-Cola store and you’ll see what I mean.
As with most gaming goods, there’s little in the Secret Shop that could reasonably be considered “subtle.” Your average sartorial enthusiast probably won’t recognize the origin of the Tidehunter Backpack, but they’ll assuredly have clocked you as referencing something. Thankfully, there’s also the International neck-tie, for when you’re taking Dota 2 to the office (and, let’s be honest, it’s better than most ties that are out there, even while festoooned with the Dota 2 logo). If the office isn’t the only place you want to bring your gaming love, then good news: the folks at WeLoveFine have really focused on the sports side of “esports.” Their catalog shows a lot of athletic-wear, including a “soccer” jersey and women’s running shorts. There’s also a solid collection of t-shirts and a swell Windranger cape. Which I suppose you could also run in, if you wanted to, as it would flap behind you like an unambitious dragon.
While fans unable to make the trek to the actual Secret Shop at the International will have to wait til after the tournament closes to order the goods, you can check out the full catalog on WeLoveFine or shop at the event itself.