Dota 2: Understanding The Game

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Let’s take a look at the popular game Dota 2, a free video game distributed by Valve Corporation’s Steam platform. This is a RTS genre game (Real Time Strategy), of the sub genre known as MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). Dota 2 is a game where two teams face each other occupying and defending their own separate base on a map structure.

The origin of Dota 2 goes back to the video game StarCraft (the first MOBA of all), a customized map-scenario and late on, with the release of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne as a modification of it, in 2003 was created “Defense Of The Ancients” (DotA) by the same users of the game, including IceFrog, the leading designer, while his partner Guinsoo decided to take another path with the famous game League of Legends.


Defense of the Ancients became so popular that over time, several games were developed with a similar style such as Heroes of the Storm, Demigod, League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth. In October 2009, IceFrog was hired by Valve Corporation to lead a team and develop the independent sequel, Dota 2, a modernised remake of DotA. This was announced in October 2010 and finally released in July 2013.

Dota 2 has been positioned for years as one of the most important Esports games of all times. Every year since 2011, Valve Corporation organizes The International, the annual Esports world championship tournament for the video game Dota 2, whose total prizes in the 2019 edition was over $33 million.

The Game

The map is played in two teams of five players each, and the objective of the game is to compete collectively to destroy a large structure called Ancient which is defended by the opposing team whilst defending their own.

The Ancients are heavily protected base structures, located at the extremes of the map, with two opposing sides called Radiant and Dire respectively. This is divided into three lines (top, mid and bot) that connect both bases, and a river in the middle that separates the two territories. Players will have to knock down the rival structures until they reach the opponents’ bases as a goal.

The Heroes

The players control powerful units known as “heroes”, which are helped by artificial intelligence-controlled units called “creeps” that appear every 30 seconds and are on their way to the enemy base to fight against their creeps and towers. 

Just like in a role-playing game, the heroes are gaining experience points to increase their skills and they will use gold to buy equipment and useful items during the mission, which can be acquired to have more attack power towards the opponent. As the game progresses, players will kill creeps, heroes or destroy enemy buildings, which will give them experience to level up, as well as gold so that they can buy items and equipment for their hero. 

The platform has over 123 heroes with skills and game styles of different degrees of complexity and the players choose them at the beginning of the game. The heroes begin by being weak at the start of the game, but their skills and stats will increase as they acquire experience over the course of the game and can go up to a maximum of thirty levels.

Dota 2 is a video game highly focused on team play where players must coordinate and plan all their actions with their teammates, in order to achieve the victory. Expert players say that it takes from 3 to 6 months of daily play to know all the options and play the game with confidence. Each game can last from 30 minutes to one hour, approximately.

Other Facts

Dota 2, being a popular MOBA, was chosen to test the artificial intelligence system OpenAI, founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman.

In March 2014, Valve produced and published a documentary about the game and its professional scene, ‘’Free to Play, The movie’’. The documentary follows three different players who arrive in Cologne, Germany in 2011 to compete in the first The International, the Esports tournament for Dota 2, and try to get the US$1 million prize. 

Unfortunately The International championship scheduled for this 2020 was finally postponed by Valve Corporation, publishing a statement in which the company reported that after extensive consideration regarding the global health emergency arising from COVID-19, they took the difficult decision to delay The International,  and the event will take place next year 2021.

We hope you have enjoyed this article and maybe now it’s time to start playing Dota 2!

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