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The joke of “322” in the DOTA 2 community

“322” is a popular joke and insult in the DOTA 2 community, used to often criticize and more often make fun of players who are performing so badly that one might suspect they are bribed to deliberately do so to undermine their team efforts.

No one is sure who or even which group first started using the phrase in matches. But almost everyone agree, with slight variations, on the origin story: in 2013, a professional Russian Dota 2 player “Solo” committed fraud against his own team zRage. He betted against his own team on the promise of $322. To ensure the success in his bet and, henceforth, the failure in his team’s performance, he played particularly badly. Ironically, he never even received the $322.

THE INFORMANT

The informant is currently a student in university. We were teammates together on our DOTA 2 team. As of now he has been a player and an active participant in the community for 3 years.

He learnt of this folkspeech through in-game experience as well as the chatters on reddit. In one our team’s matches, he explained to me about this folkspeech as he was laughing hysterically at my Kill/Death/Assist ratio – which at the time was 3/2/2.

THE ANALYSIS

“322” serves as an interesting example of how a popular folklore can often come from an oddly specific event – sometimes so specific that it may easily seem random or illogical to people outside of the said community. It is tempting, for example, to wonder if the phrase would ever be just as popular if the number of the money “Solo” was promised isn’t something that sounds as catchy as “three-two-two”.

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