Shack PSA: Dota 2 The International has begun

Valve's three-day Dota-rama The International kicked off this morning, bringing 16 professional Dota 2 teams together to slug it out over a novelty over-sized cheque for $1 million. The game has come a long way since it was introduced to the world, and picked up oodles of new fans, so come on gang, let's watch some Dota!

Valve is streaming the matches online through Twitch.tv and own3d.tv, but the best way to follow the games is through the free Dota 2 spectator client. If you have Steam installed, you can download the client to watch the matches in-game, letting you play around with the camera, examine skills and item descriptions for as long as you like, and switch commentary streams. And there are no nasty video compression artifacts, of course.

The winning team will score a whopping $1 million, with $250k going to second place, $150k for third, all the way down to $25k for seventh and eighth. A lot is at stake, basically, so we should see some splendid Dota this weekend.

Matches begin at 9:30am PDT until Sunday. Check the schedule for more.

You can show your support for the teams by buying pennants, which gives Valve and the team some money, and gets you a small chance to win an exclusive in-game courier.