Is Dota 2 dying? The decade-old debate for the ancient game needs an answer. While Dota 2 itself is barely ten years old, its predecessor, Defence of the Ancients (Dota), has had far older origins and lore.
Dota 2 survived the test of time for the most part, but seasonal fluctuation in players occurs all year round. Most notably, when Icefrog drops a significant update on the game that revamps the game mechanics itself, or when the Internationals series is approaching. On the Esports side of things, Dota 2 fans can appreciate the fact that most of the best Dota 2 players do not move on to other Esports titles. After all, there’s just something so enticing and nostalgic about Dota 2 that keeps its fans around.
Hence, is Dota dead, you might be wondering? Well, long story short, nope, not in the slightest.
Valve has consistently worked on bringing Dota 2 to the general public’s attention. Earlier in 2021, Valve collaborated with Netflix to release an entire Dota 2 series featuring the Dragon’s Blood. Needless to say, it was just the attention the game needed to get more fans on board.
The Dota 2 developers have also attempted to make the game a more beginner-friendly experience. Fundamental game mechanics, such as the correct stacking times and ward or skill range, were some of the many features included. Which once again raised quite a debate among old-school players, who aren’t too excited at Valve for making the game easier.
Meanwhile, they are also ensuring there are fun events and rewards to spice up the festive seasons. For instance, we saw the Aghanim’s Labyrinth event brought a peak player count of 723,000 during its course.
Sure, the numbers are by no means worthy of a celebration as Dota 2 once reached a peak player count of a million players back in 2019. Furthermore, the global pandemic halted the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) last year, directly impacting the Esports betting side of Dota 2. Without the major tournaments and Internationals, it took a toll on the fan base to keep pursuing the hobby.
Every year, the Dota 2 player base waits eagerly for Valve to release the Dota 2 Battle Pass. In 2020, the Dota 2 Battle Pass raked in 160 million USD of revenue from sales. It’s that one time of the year when Dota 2 players pump in cash to fund the Internationals series.
Although there’s a heavy debacle about how inefficient Valve uses the funds to nurture Dota 2 Esports scene, we can rest assured that Dota 2 fans are still as dedicated as they claimed to be. With each subsequent year’s prize pool surpassing its previous years, the amount itself is good enough encouragement for Dota 2 pro players to stick around.
Perhaps, with better regional league systems, Dota 2 can encourage younger talents to join the fray.
As of May 2021, Dota 2 has 11 million unique players, albeit only having a daily average of 415,000 active players. These numbers are still record-breaking for a game compared to its competitors, but we had rather enjoy the good old times when a daily average of 1 million active players was typical.
Will these numbers improve as we creep closer to the International 10 in August 2021? Yes, we can at least expect a surge when the championship takes off. After all, who could resist the hype and thrill of watching our favorite teams play?
Yes, Dota 2 is indeed losing players, but not to other MOBA games. With the recent rise in popularity of mobile games like Genshin Impact, there’s perhaps a new trend in the gaming community to try out mobile games. Furthermore, Dota 2’s average player age is quite higher then other game titles. Dota 2 is mostly retaining veteran players around, but the lack of interest from the younger players is the main factor here. As years go by, Dota 2 needs to attract younger generations to fill the void. After all, we can’t just rely on Dota 2 fans in their late 30s to maintain the player base.
On average more players stop playing Dota 2, then new players sign up to play. There is however the added benefit of Dota 2 being a cyclical game, with players returning to the title every 6 months on average.
In 2021, we have witnessed a new class of best Dota 2 players rises to our expectations. We saw the Chinese cluster of skilled players snatched both Dota 2 Majors to claim the top spots in DPC 2021 rankings. While traditional powerhouses like Natus Vincere, OG and Alliance are having a slow season, there is plenty of organizations fighting up the ladder to challenge the powerhouses.
Some of the best players in Dota 2 are retiring though. Anathan “ana” Pham recently announced that he is retiring from the competitive Dota 2 scene for good. Despite ana’s celebrated return in April 2021, it saddens us that he will not be featured in the list of best Dota 2 players of 2021.
Most of the best players still play though. Even Dendi, the first ever TI champion is still active with his own team B8.
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