Dota 2 is a popular esport that is enjoyed by gamers and fans all over the world. It is one of several MOBA games (multiplayer online battle arena) that have grown in prominence in recent years. Other kinds of MOBAs include League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Smite and Strife. There are well over 12 million people playing Dota 2 in any given month, which highlights just how popular this game is.
On average, this esport had just over 50,000 average concurrent players on Steam back in July 2012, and recent statistics demonstrate how much it has grown over the past few years. In our review, you can find out about the history of Dota 2 and how the game works; you can also learn about the competitive Dota 2 scene and why this esport is played by so many.
History of Dota 2
Before we had Dota 2, there was Defense of the Ancients. Defense of the Ancients is a multiplayer online battle arena game that was originally created on a community basis, as an extension mod to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne, developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. Dota 2 is the sequel to Defense of the Ancients, and was introduced to the esports industry in 2013 by Valve Corporation. It was the brainchild of IceFrog, a developer who has achieved some notoriety in the past, not least because he refuses to reveal his identity. He spent four years developing the game, beginning his work in 2009.
Dota 2 was first introduced in July 2013 on Steam for use on computers supported by Microsoft Windows, OS X and Linux. This release was the follow-up to the initial beta testing phase that lasted approximately two years. Since Dota 2 was first made available, it has been played by millions of esports fans around the globe.
Dota 2 Gameplay
In every Dota 2 match there are two teams battling it out within a compact virtual arena. Both teams are composed of five players and are tasked with keeping their core structure – the Ancient – intact while eliminating the counterpart of the opposing team.
Each of the players in both teams is responsible for controlling a hero. Dota 2 heroes are characters that can be picked and played within the game. Each have their own distinctive look, along with varying strengths, weaknesses and capabilities.
According to their strengths and abilities, heroes can be played in one of several roles: carry, offlaner, midlaner, roamer and support.
All heroes have one of three primary attributes: Strength, Agility, and Intelligence. Every point added to a Dota 2 hero’s primary attribute increases that hero’s attack damage.
Dota 2 heroes have a minimum of four core abilities. The ability which is the most dominant in your chosen hero is known as the ultimate – but this cannot be utilized unless you have reached level six in terms of experience.
When you choose to use any of your hero’s abilities, it is usually necessary to pay for each with mana points. These points are replenished over time through a process known as regeneration.
After you employ one of your abilities in battle, you have to wait a certain number of seconds until you can use it again. This is known as the ability’s cooldown.
Choose Your Hero
All heroes have three main aspects to their characters: strength, intelligence and agility. These have an impact on your health points, mana points, damage, attack speed, regeneration, armor, movement speed, magic resistance, spell damage and status resistance. When you start any Dota 2 game, your hero will be at level one in terms of experience, and this means that you can only access one of your special abilities.
As the game progresses, you can gain in experience and move up the levels, up to a maximum of level 25. As you reach higher levels, you can unlock your hero’s other abilities and also upgrade the existing ones. There is a system called Talent Tree which helps you to enhance your hero in several different ways.
If your hero loses all health points, it dies and then respawns in your team’s base after a number of seconds.
Besides being able to grow in strength and in terms of your specific abilities during the course of a match, it is also possible to buy items that offer added attributes. These items are not hero specific, and are bought with gold.
You can gain gold by destroying enemy buildings and by killing enemy heroes and creatures (called creeps). Killing creeps is also referred to as farming. You also gain a small amount of gold each second thanks to the game’s passive or periodic gold system.
The two teams that are involved in a Dota 2 game are referred to as Radiant and Dire, each of which take possession of a base camp at opposing ends of the map. The map is divided by a river and three paths, which are called ‘lanes’. Each of the lanes is protected by towers that are primed to attack any enemy player who happens to be passing by.
‘Creeps’, which are computer generated monsters, move along the lanes with the intent to attack and destroy any opponent who happens to get in their way. Creeps spawn, or are created at regular intervals from structures known as ‘barracks’. Barracks can be found in each of the lanes and in the base camps of each of the teams.
Over the course of the game, you can position special items that are called ‘wards’ on various places throughout the map. The wards give teams a clear view of the area surrounding them, which lasts for a total of six minutes – but can be eliminated before that time period if the opposing team discovers their existence. The whole map is pervaded by a ‘fog of war’, which makes visibility of creeps and heroes from the other team impossible unless they are right in front of you – and makes the game all the more challenging.
The two opposing teams fight throughout the entirety of the game, striving to gain map control and an advantage in gold and experience.
Neutral creeps belong to neither team during a game, and live in areas known as ‘camps’. These camps are found in the space between each of the lanes which is called ‘the jungle’ – and can be found on both sides of the map. Unless you set out to attack a neutral creep, or there is some other factor that incites them to go up against you – your hero will be safe from these creatures. If they are killed, they will reappear or ‘respawn’ after a period of time.
The most formidable neutral creep of them all is Roshan, who can be defeated in order to collect several important items. Roshan respawns slowly if he is killed, in 8 to 11 minutes – and becomes more and more difficult to kill as the game progresses.
Because Dota 2 is played by so many people all over the world, there is a thriving competitive scene. There are tournaments and events held throughout the year in many different countries, with esports fans tuning in via live streaming to catch the exciting and fast-paced action. Here is a rundown of several of the major Dota 2 competitions:
Tournaments like the StarLadder i-League Invitational, PGL Open and ESL One, are taking place every year and attract large audiences and fans from all over the world.
The International (or TI) is the biggest Dota 2 competition each year. The prize pool is substantial (in 2017 it was almost $25 million), so every single match is fought with determination, skill and passion by the best Dota 2 professionals in the world. Being invited to play in The International is a feat in itself, before you even start thinking about your winning strategy!
Dota 2 is a very complex game, which means that every match is different. Unlike other video games, you are not playing in the same way over and over again – which makes for a much more stimulating experience. The heroes are free, which isn’t necessarily the case with other MOBA games, and there is a wide range of ways to develop and enhance them – making your experience much richer and more exciting.
If you’re keen on strategy and working out crafty plans to defeat your enemies, Dota 2 will be right up your street. Because there’s so much strategizing involved, and it is a challenging game – it’s extremely satisfying when you do manage to win. If you’re looking for a real sense of achievement for all your hard work, this is the esport for you.
Final analyses and considerations
The main cons of the game are that it can be very difficult to learn and understand, as there is so much detail and a whole range of knowledge and skill to be developed before you can fully immerse yourself in the world of Dota 2. The community can be a little intimidating if you’re entering for the first time, with some members considered a quite unfriendly and hostile. Having said that, there are lots of players who are only too happy to welcome you to the game!
Read our Dota 2 News
If you want to be up to date with what’s happening on the Dota 2 professional scene, or see what the latest patches are going to do to your gaming experience, then make sure that you follow the Dota 2 news at Esports.net. This is where you can find out what your favorite players and teams have been doing lately and how the latest Dota 2 updates and balance changes will affect heroes in the game.
Insights from the Best Dota Players
Here, at Esports.net, we do our best to add depth to our coverage. Our Dota 2 news goes beyond merely relating what has happened in the world of esports. We try and give you the story behind the story, and offer a little more insight into what’s going on and why, rather than simply recycling information and old news.
When politics hinder esports: the StarLadder Dota 2 CIS' case
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