Charting the rise of Midormeepo, one of the stars of Dota 2's YouTube scene

Beyond hour-long game sessions of joy and rage, a long-standing community thrives around Dota 2. Creatives put out all sorts of art, from cakes to cosplay and canvas art, with varying degrees of success. More difficult is sustaining that success with quality work in the long run. While the community does appreciate creativity, its attention for these artists and artisans, between constant patches and a thriving esports scene, ebbs and flows.

One of the most notable creators has mastered the golden goose of Dota 2 content: memes. And they express this expertise through silly and/or impressive Dota 2 gameplay, which, in a community full of tryhards, creates a valuable currency of relatability (or, if you will, the work is “#relatable”).

With over 160k subscribers and view counts that prove this number isn’t phony, Midormeepo has climbed a difficult but enjoyable ladder reach their current prestige. The French team, based out of Paris, began as two close friends before YouTube became wildly popular. They decided to make videos one day and advertised everywhere they could.

“We saw there was an opening for us in Dota,” they explain. “We used to post on every forum, even the French one, like, ‘Hey guys, this is me, we’re starting a new channel, you should come check us out.’”

Their big break came during the Google+ days of YouTube, when comments on the video sites were linked to the Google accounts and shared to followers. An established video poster known for sharing replays from streams and tournaments, NoobFromUA, commented on their video, which drew thousands more viewers and helped spike their popularity quickly.

Such fame and infamy doesn’t just come with a good shout-out. Midormeepo’s videos are fluent in Dota 2, stringing together much of the community’s taste in humor and focus. In a community packed with dedicated players with literally thousands of hours poured into the MOBA, well-produced gameplay footage is a form of communication and entertainment. In many cases, other players with less time have their moment of fame sharing jaw-clenching moments from their own game. Midormeepo, meanwhile, can efficiently take whole games, or one player’s time with a single character, and churn out entertaining, digestible, and overall humorous montages that both casuals and veterans can enjoy.

The pair uses everything from French rap to Fatboy Slim to Undertale remixes, which sets the mood outstandingly.

And the style, of course, isn’t simply about sharing a replay. Their videos are narrated visually with a strong dialect of memes and visual humor. In addition to well-timed zooms and video effects, their videos have a smooth mix of brief images, gifs, and phrases to react to the most notable gameplay moments. They’ll occasionally use a clip from a show or movie as well, editing the heads of the related characters to craft a small moment of pop culture crossover.

What usually doesn’t get mentioned about in such videos, though, is the outstanding music curation. The pair uses everything from French rap to Fatboy Slim to Undertale remixes, which sets the mood outstandingly. And they always include a link to the featured songs, so you can build your playlist. One attributes it to their background as a music editorial writer, but they also spend hours going through SoundCloud for the perfect fit each time they work on a video. They emphasize a sharp ear for good tunes: “finding the right track is 50% of the work.” 

With this perfect mix of memes, music, and masterful (or monstrous) gameplay, they’ve been able to quickly expand their channel’s breadth. Now, they even have a sponsorship with a skill improvement site, which they advertise at the beginning and/or end of every video.

It’s certainly the dream for any video maker, especially in what they recognize as a flooded platform. However it’s definitely a hustle, and often, it may not feel like enough to support creators, Meepo included. Especially with YouTube constantly changing its monetization rules and only one opportunity from Valve, with its video contest at The International, it can be difficult to put time in for those who aren’t regularly supported.

In a few words, they’re thankful to YouTube for giving them a community. However, between the sponsorship and working towards YouTube ad revenue, there’s the issue of balancing how to serve that community and how to live off their own work.

“Every one of these content creators should be getting rewarded,” Midormeepo says, discussing some common ground they’ve found among other Dota 2 video creators. “You’re able to have millions of people watching your content, and the only thing is, it doesn’t usually provide an opportunity for these people to be rewarded. You have to use other platforms. If you’re only using ad revenue, you’re not getting anywhere.”

They have a number of videos that never make it out because they don’t want to let down their viewers.

“I mean, this is some kind of talent you use. And unfortunately, if you’re not getting any money, this kind of thing won’t last. Because, at some point, reality hits back, and real life takes over.”

They’re mostly concerned now about how to balance their rapid success with their community image.

“If you want to last long, the real goal is⸺how do you get money from that community?” they explain. “And it’s good to not rip people off, to not be a sellout. It’s like... how do you find satisfaction for everyone? And when you’re a content maker on YouTube, there’s always the fear of being seen as a sellout.”
“For some people, this is their dream⸺you know, to be able to live off their videos… But maybe, because you watch that 30-second ad, this guy’s going to be able to keep living the dream.”

Especially with this in mind, they want their viewers to know that that every work absolute best⸺they want to “break the internet” each time they put out a video⸺and they want their viewers to be with them throughout that evolution. In fact, they have a number of videos that never make it out because they don’t want to let down their viewers.

Further, they feel it’s especially important to continue their work during such a tense period.

“We don’t think people come in here for political teachings,” they mused. “Music, funny stuff⸺that’s the main thing. They want to spend a good moment. We don’t know about people’s life. I don’t want to get too political or social, but our world is sick, and lots of people are getting depressed. So for some people, maybe our videos are some kind of getaway.”

Keeping an eye on the expanding esports scene, which has proven essential to the game’s community, the creator recently began a second channel that focuses on pro players’ top moments. But Dota 2 as a game is growing as well, and with more players come more viewers for creators like Midormeepo. While there’s always more room for such videos, it may be difficult to emulate the multi-faceted success of this creator.