Dota 2: Everything You Need to Know
Including its run as a mod for Blizzard’s Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and later on, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, Dota 2 is arguably one of the oldest esports titles in the world. It is right up there alongside Counter-Strike and Starcraft.
Dota 2 is billed as a “sequel” to the original Defense of the Ancients (DotA) mod. It went in development sometime in 2011 after being picked up by Valve. The Beta version of Dota 2 was then released in 2011 before finally going public in 2013.
Since its release, Dota 2 has become one of the biggest titles in all of esports.
Dota 2 enjoys an enormous player base from all over the world and is arguably the most lucrative esports. Every year, Dota 2’s annual tournament, The International, has set the record for the highest prize pool in esports, with The International 2019 finalizing at $34.3 million once crowdfunding had ended.
Read on below to know more about this uber-successful Valve-made MOBA.
How Do You Play Dota 2?
One of the original Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) titles, Dota 2 combines elements from both Real-Time Strategy titles (Starcraft and Warcraft) along with Tower Defense games (Dungeon Defenders).
In a typical Dota 2 game, two teams composed of five players each compete to destroy the other team’s “Ancient” structure, which sits right in the middle of their base. To help achieve their goals, players can control a “Hero”, which has a total of at least four abilities. Players will play in any one of the three lanes on the map.
There is, however, a “Jungle” that sits in between the lanes composed of “Neutral” creeps that respawn in fixed camps every 60 seconds.
There are no predefined roles for heroes in Dota 2. The game encourages experimentation. But players often choose from any one of the five roles based on farm priority. This is especially true in ranked games and professional matches.
The Hard Carry (Position 1) typically receives more farm priority over the others. The Mid Lane (Position 2) and Offlane (Position 3) are up next. Right at the bottom are the Soft Support (Position 4) and Hard Support (Position 5).
With 5 different player roles to choose from, and over 100 heroes available, Dota 2 is easily one of the most complicated games out there. This is especially true in a professional setting. There, professional teams may or may not follow the same standard “formula”. Not to mention, all of the available heroes in Dota 2 are usually utilized one way or another.
Dota 2 is a free-to-play game, but microtransactions are available for cosmetic purposes.
Interested players can download Dota 2 via Steam.
Who Are the Best Dota 2 Teams?
OG is considered the de-facto best Dota 2 team in history.
After winning The International 2018 and The International 2019, along with 4 of the original Valve Majors, OG are the winningest Dota 2 team in history.
Next up are the former Team Liquid squad, who are currently playing under the tag, Nygma.
Led by Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi, the five-man squad is composed of 4 players from the TI7 championship team. The team most recently made it to the Grand Finals of The International 2019, where they lost 3-1 to OG.
Other teams and organizations synonymous with success in Dota 2 are Natus Vincere (TI1 champions, TI2 and TI3 runner-ups), Evil Geniuses (TI5 Champions), Alliance (TI3 Champions), Newbee (TI4 champions), as well as Team Secret, Virtus.Pro, and PSG.LGD.
Who are the Best Dota 2 Players?
Unlike other esports titles, Dota 2’s competitive scene is very player-centric.
Whereas in other titles, such as League of Legends and Overwatch, the developers have turned to franchised leagues to create some semblance of organization and encourage stability, Valve’s hands-off approach means that much of the dealings happen mostly between the players and any organizations who choose to sponsor them.
This means that the most successful organizations in Dota 2 are usually those who are led by some of the game’s most successful players.
Team Secret, for example, was co-founded by Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, a former TI1 winner. Since its inception in 2015, Team Secret has been one of the most successful Dota 2 teams. Team Secret has won one Valve Major and three more Majors from the Dota Pro Circuit.
Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi is another Dota 2 player who is synonymous with Dota 2 success. He is the first player to ever win 1,000 games throughout his career. He is also a TI winner, and he shares the record of having attended every TI ever with his former teammate, Puppey.
The versatile Johan “N0tail” Sundstein is also widely considered as one of the game’s most successful players. After a successful career in Heroes of Newerth, where he was also one of the game’s winningest players, N0tail transitioned to Dota 2, where he formed OG, and went on to win countless accolades, including back-to-back TI tournaments in 2018 and 2019.
Coincidentally, the three aforementioned players, who many consider as the best Dota 2 players ever, are captains of their respective squads. Or, in the case of N0tail, previously served as their team’s captain before transitioning to a coaching role for the 2020-2021 DPC.
In terms of mechanical skill, Anathan “Ana” Pham and Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi are right up there as the most skilled and most successful Dota 2 players ever. The former has won two TIs with OG. Meanwhile, the latter was the first-ever player to reach 9,000 Matchmaking Rating (MMR) points.
Other players considered as among the best Dota 2 players are Sumail Syed “SumaiL” Hassan (Free Agent), Artour “Arteezy” Babaev (Evil Geniuses) and Lu “Maybe” Yao (PSG.LGD).
How Can I Keep Up With the Dota 2 Competitive Scene?
Because the various tournaments in Dota 2 are hosted and organized by different organizations, keeping up with the latest tournaments will not be easy.
For Valve-sanctioned tournaments, such as those part of the Dota Pro Circuit, you can find most of the necessary information within the in-game client or on the official Dota 2 website. However, for tournaments outside of the Dota Pro Circuit, you’ll want to use Dota 2’s Liquipedia page to keep up with the latest happenings in the scene.
While tournaments that are part of the Dota Pro Circuit are the most important tournaments in Dota 2, there are others that are also worth watching.
A few good examples of these tournaments are The Summit (Beyond the Summit), DreamLeague (DreamHack), ESL One (ESL), Epicenter (Epic Events), and Midas Mode (Moonduck).
If you want to watch live Dota 2 games, you can use Twitch or Dota 2’s in-game client.
For the most robust viewing experience ever, we recommend using the in-game client of Dota 2. This is because it allows you to choose between multiple observers, language commentators, as well as player perspectives, and many more. The in-game client also allows you to download replays and rewatch games.
For casual viewing, Twitch, as well as Facebook, and YouTube are other options.
What is The Dota Pro Circuit?
Valve has experimented with the competitive scene of Dota 2 since its first beta release. However, Valve later found a compromise for their hands-off approach and a way to let fans and teams know their current standing within Dota 2.
Valve introduced the Dota Pro Circuit following the conclusion of The International 2017.
The DPC, as it is often abbreviated, is composed of numerous tournaments hosted by various organizations that all build-up to the international.
In its first year, a total of 13 Minors and 9 Majors were hosted, with there being little distinction between Minor and Major tournaments except for their prize pools. The following year, Valve added a bit more structure and fewer tournaments, with only 5 Minors and 5 Majors. Finally, Valve refined the system for the 2020-2021 DPC to tweak the little kinks that the system previously had.
Either way, the DPC was intended to create a clear way to build up to The International.
High placements in a DPC tournament reward teams with DPC points. At the end of the season, the DPC points are totaled and will determine which team will receive a direct invite to The International. This is especially important, because, as of The International 2019, the Top 12 teams of the DPC will receive a direct invite to the event. This left only 1 slot for each of the competitive regions (North America, South America, CIS, Europe, China, and Southeast Asia), for a total of 18 teams for the event.
What is The International?
Since 2011, The International has been considered as the biggest annual esports event.
Every year, Valve’s gargantuan Dota 2 tournament has separated itself from the rest of the pack by offering the largest prize pool in existence.
TI owes much of its prize pool to crowdfunding.
This feature was first added to The International 2013 in the form of the “Compendium”. Later on, this was changed to “Battle Pass” for The International 2016, which contained far more in-game rewards including special game modes, cosmetic items, and even a physical reward in the form of a real-life replica of the “Aegis of Champions” and the in-game monster, “Roshan”, for a select few players.
Available mostly only during the duration of The International, players can purchase the “Battle Pass” for a price. In addition to this, players can also purchase levels for their Battle Pass to receive more in-game rewards. Although it is also possible to level up your Battle Pass simply by playing the game.
In total, 25% of all the sales from the Battle Pass will go directly towards funding the prize pool, with Valve investing an undisclosed amount into the event itself.
The next TI, The International 2020, will be held at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. This marks the first time that the tournament will be held in Europe since the very first TI, which was held in Germany as part of GamesCom 2011.