A Reflection on the State of DOTA 2

Thanks to its popularity as an eSport, DOTA 2 is perhaps one of the best-known online games. Since its launch in 2013, the game has attracted a considerable amount of attention and popularity, gaining fans all around the world. For Valve, the developer, an important part of keeping DOTA 2 so relevant, has been making frequent and often substantial changes to the game- both to its gameplay, as well as the software behind it. Some of these changes have been fairly controversial and divisive.


An eSports Phenomenon


To the uninitiated, eSports can seem like an odd phenomenon. Not everybody understands the appeal of gathering to watch professional gamers compete. However, eSports is rapidly popular worldwide, with DOTA 2 being one of the most popular games. Every year, The International is held. This is both a DOTA 2 tournament, as well as a celebration of the game and its wider community.


Every year, The International has a substantial prize pool, which is shared between the top five players at the tournament. In 2019, the prize money for first place at The International was $15 million – an incredible amount, as well as a testament to the huge popularity that DOTA 2 has attained. Something else that is noteworthy is that 2019 was the first year that a team that had won at The International managed to win again.


Greater Legitimacy and Professionalism


Part of the reason that the team OG was able to win for the second time was the restructuring of the points system used at The International. In previous years, DOTA 2 competition has been somewhat chaotic and disorganized, even at the highest level. Rules have varied from year to year, which has favored different play styles or approaches.


For example, in 2017 and 2018, the developer of DOTA 2, Valve, tried to organize an enter season for DOTA 2. Part of this included implementing a penalty system, which penalized any player who attempted to leave the competitive cycle before the season ended. This forced teams to compete throughout the entire season before finally being able to take part in The International.


The Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) Continues to Grow


However, the restructuring of this point system has given the entire competitive scene much more structure, allowing the best teams to flourish at the highest level. The creation of the Dota Pro Circuit has also made it possible for teams from smaller countries or regions to succeed.


This is partially due to a type of positive feedback loop. As these teams succeed and the DPC gains legitimacy, DOTA 2 becomes more popular worldwide, and the competitive standard continues to improve at the same time. This can only be positive for the future of DOTA 2, and we can expect a higher level of skill and professionalism in the DPC as time goes by. The future of DOTA 2 looks bright. It seems likely that the profile of DOTA 2 is only going to keep growing, and the game is expected to continue dominating eSports on the whole.