Dota 2 was developed and published by Valve, more than a decade after the original Warcraft 3 mode was released. The multiplayer online battle arena game can be played exclusively on computers and has no version for consoles. The developers chose to release it on Steam, where it quickly became the most played game, with more than 1 million players simultaneously. It has more than 100 characters and just as many items, which can be bought and combined to create powerful artifacts.
Gameplay of Dota 2
The Dota 2 gameplay makes only slight changes to the original Warcraft 3 mode, but the graphics were greatly improved. With more than 100 characters to choose from and the mix of classic and original items, it encourages players to get creative. The team composition consists of five players and they compete against a squad featuring the same number of opponents. Compared to its previous answer, this game has 3-D graphics and it offers a unique perspective of the main map.
Players begin by selecting the champion and in professional games they can also ban opponents. The decision is made based on the desired team setup and with the intention to prevent opponents from choosing heroes to counter their plans. Once the Dota 2 game commences, the characters start at level I and become more powerful as they accumulate experience points. This is achieved by killing creeps, enemy heroes and structures, which is also rewarded with gold.
The in-game currency is spent on items which can be combined to create powerful weapons, shields and specialty artifacts. What makes the Dota 2 gameplay special is that players can assemble well-balanced teams consisting of tanks, damage dealers and support characters. All the heroes available are centered on one of the three core attributes, agility, strength and intelligence. Neutral monsters spawn across the map and when killed they trigger financial rewards as well as powerful buffs.
Compared to other popular multiplayer online battle arena games, Dota 2 has a couple of original mechanics. The practice of denying creeps consists of last hitting the AI controlled creatures before the opponent can do it. At professional level, this is done routinely to prevent opposing players from collecting cash and experience points. Players can apply the same mechanic to their own structures, which if destroyed award enemy team big payouts.
Dota 2 Heroes and Abilities
The Dota 2 heroes are grouped in three main categories, based on the core attributes. However, with more than 100 characters to choose from, players can come up with various combinations. What makes this game special is that all the heroes available are offered up front. Even though Valve relies heavily on micro-transactions to fund its flagship multiplayer online battle arena game, heroes are not purchased. These financial transactions are made to unlock schemes and other vanity items.
The upside of having access to all the heroes upfront is self evident, since players can try all of them out for free. Dota 2 fans appreciate the game for its sheer complexity and don’t feel overwhelmed by all these possible choices. Each hero has its own short story and players are invited to read it to learn more about these characters. In the absence of a single player campaign, the narrative plays no real role, but helps players get fully immersed into the gaming atmosphere.
The best way to try Dota 2 heroes, learn about their core mechanics and master various skills and abilities is by playing against the AI. Bots are unable to give a real challenge to expert players, but they provide sufficient opposition for amateurs. To learn more about how the heroes perform in real games players can try them in unranked matches before moving on to competitive gameplay.
Dota 2 Multiplayer and eSports Potential
Dota 2 tournaments are by far the richest worldwide and year a new record is set. The International is the best paying eSports competition in the world, with tens of millions of dollars in prize pools. Winners walk away with seven digit amounts and players who make a deep run in these events win significant prizes. There are thousands of smaller events hosted all over the world, with players from most countries competing for their national team.
The final stages of relevant tournaments are broadcasted live on streaming platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. These also represent significant funding sources for professional players who broadcast their own games outside tournaments. The popularity of Dota 2 has also surged because of the growing interest for watching these games in real-time. Multiplayer online battle arena games currently have the highest number of active players and people watching professional matches.
Dota 2 players can compete over the Internet in ranked matches, against people from neighboring countries. Valve updates the leaderboard for various regions and the most successful players are invited to participate in land-based tournaments. The game can be downloaded and play over Steam for free, while micro-transactions remain its main source of funding.
Popular and Critical Reception
Dota was unchallenged as the best multiplayer online battle arena game for nearly a decade. It inspired video game developers to come up with a sequel and Valve was the one to secure the copyright. By the time Dota 2 was released, Riot Games was dominating the niche with League of Legends. Their take on the MOBA genre is today the toughest competitor to Valve’s product. It has more active players but LoL tournaments have smaller prize pools and are also less numerous.
Dota 2 spent a lot of time in development and was available for beta testing. By the time it was released, players had high expectations from it and they were largely met. Today, it has a dedicated fund base and players who enjoy it praised the complex gameplay and its original game mechanics. It is regarded as a worthy successor of the original Defense of the Ancients game mode and the more challenging MOBA than League of Legends. Its fans are not deterred by the steep learning curve.
Key Features of Dota 2
- There are more than Dota 2 100 heroes to choose from and just as many items.
- Dota 2 is the most difficult multiplayer online battle arena games, with a steep learning curve.
- The game is played on a single map, a visually upgraded version of the original Dota arena.
- Dota 2 tournaments are the best paying ones worldwide and the top event is The International.
The Bottom Line
Dota 2 brilliantly succeeds at capturing the very essence of the original Defense of the Ancients Warcraft 3 game mode. Its gameplay was tweaked to keep the multiplayer online battle arena genre fresh, without straying too far from the proven concepts that made the first installment so popular. Despite being more challenging for beginners and overall more difficult than its counterparts and Dota 2 is a game worth investing time and energy. The huge guaranteed prize pools of top tournaments and its sheer competitive nature make it a must play MOBA.