Giff Diretide! The meme that came alive when Dota players found out there was no Diretide 2013 cover image

Giff Diretide! The meme that came alive when Dota players found out there was no Diretide 2013

The story behind the origins of the Giff Diretide meme, and how the Dota 2 community rallied together in 2013.

It was Wednesday the 31st of October 2012. A few weeks ago, Invictus Gaming had defeated the crowd favorites, NAVI to lift the aegis and win TI2. Dota 2 was still very much in its infancy, a brand new game produced by Valve and with Icefrog at the helm. And Valve announced Diretide, a game mode that became so popular that when it was not released in 2013, the community started a meme 'Giff Diretide' which even got a response from Volvo, the car company.

The iconic Diretide music rang through almost every player’s earphones as Roshan rampaged through the Dota 2 map. Players would flock to local internet cafes to play Diretide with their friends. It was one of the first game modes in Valve’s Dota 2 and it was fun. Oh it was so so fun.

The 2013 Diretide event

So imagine everyone’s surprise when next year, 2013, October 31 came and went. There was no Diretide event, no announcement from Valve. Dota 2 players were eagerly waiting for this popular game mode and the forums were abuzz with anticipation. But there was no Diretide. 

Players were confused. Where was Diretide? There was a patch update, but it did not have any mention of Diretide. Dota 2 analyst Cyborgmatt confirmed there would not be a Diretide event in 2013. 

Fans were enraged, they would not be able to play their beloved game mode in 2013. 2012’s Diretide event was such a success, everyone had simply assumed it would make a return in 2013. 

A few community figures got together to make a short video with the title RIP Diretide. In the video, we can see Purge, LuminousInverse and LD mourning over a tombstone on which the words ‘RIP Diretide’ are engraved.

Thousands of Dota 2 players spammed the in-game public chats, in-game texts and community forums demanding Diretide from Valve. The demands took on various forms including memes and changing spellings. Give Diretide became Giff Diretide Volvo or Volvo Giff Diretide.

༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ Give DIRETIDE

Players took to various social media platforms, spamming Volvo, the car and truck company with “Volvo, Giff Diretide”.  Some started spamming Volvo subreddit and Facebook page as well. Some others started a petition.

For one of the moderators of the Volvo subreddit, the start to his day was with 53 reports on a front-page post.

I woke up and thought, why the hell is a Volvo thread on the front page with 53 reports?

Volvo Subreddit moderator on seeing the spam for give Diretide

Dota 2 players had entered the Volvo subreddit and were demanding Diretide. And the /r/Volvo thread made it to Reddit front page, much to everyone's amusement.

The carmaker’s official Twitter handle was also the target for Diretide requests by Dota 2 players. So much so that the brand mentioned the official Dota 2 handle in a reply to such a request.

We certainly haven’t missed that the people want Diretide, but is @DOTA2 listening?

Over the years, Diretide has faded away until Valve brought it back in 2020. The iconic game mode remains one of the most popular game modes in Dota 2 and quite unique in its implementation. 

Valve made a mistake

We had to be really clear that we screwed up

Valve introduce Diretide for 2013 and later Gabe Newell would admit they made a mistake.

"Essentially, anytime you do an event like that everybody expects it's just going to keep happening", Gabe Newell told the Washington Post.

He went on to say Valve were working on another project they had hoped to have ready by Halloween. In hindsight, it was a mistake. And Valve owned up to their mistake and rectified it.

"We had to be really clear that we screwed up," Newell said. "Nobody says that you’re not going to have Halloween this year because Christmas is just going to be huge,"

It didn’t make a return next year, as Valve tamed expectations well ahead of time in 2014. 

"We on the Dota 2 team have a number of updates in the works right now that we’re really excited about, some for the rest of this year, and a big update for early next year" said a Dota 2 blogpost in 2014. "But we’re pretty sure we won’t be able to make enough progress on the larger update if we put it down to work on Diretide – so we’ve decided that we’re not going to ship a Diretide event this year. We know that last year we weren’t clear enough in our communication about this, so this year we wanted to be up front about it early. Next year will bring monumental changes to Dota 2, and we’re confident that when you’ve seen what we’ve been working on, you’ll agree it was worth it."

What is the Diretide game mode?

The Diretide game mode was one of the first ‘new’ game modes in Dota 2. It only lasted a couple of weeks, but it brought the community together in their attempt to try to defeat Roshan. There were three parts to it in the original version:

  • Candy Chaos
  • Trickster Awakens
  • Sugar Rush

Candy Chaos

In Candy Chaos, players steal and collect as much candy as they can in a time limit of 20 minutes. 

Trickster Awakens

The second part of the Diretide game mode sees Roshan leave his lair and move around the map. He would randomly ask players for candy. If players refused or did not have candy to give him, he would chase until death. A pretty scary thought to have Roshan run after you through the map, but that was the charm of the game mode.

Sugar Rush

And finally, Sugar Rush mode is when all ten players on the map will unite to defeat Roshan. The teams that defeated Roshan with the fastest time earned valuable rewards, many of which would sell for a sizable price on the Steam market.

Diretide made a return in 2020, a slightly different variation but with similar music and a similar feel. Valve also announced Diretide for 2022 soon after the conclusion of TI11.