Dota 2 history, current phenomena, and the future

Dota 2 is amongst the veteran titles that laid down the foundation of the eSports industry. Since its release in July 2013, Dota 2 has become a true success story. It is unarguably one of the most popular online multiplayer games in the world. Let’s have a comprehensive look into the rich history of the game over the years.  

Every day, millions of players worldwide enter battle as one of over a hundred Dota heroes. And no matter if it’s their 10th hour of play or 1,000th, there’s always something new to discover. With regular updates that ensure a constant evolution of gameplay, features, and heroes, Dota 2 has taken on a life of its own.


2014, Early Days of Dota 2

In January 2014, Valve made it official that they have paid out over $ 10 million to those who created in-game skins of TF2 and Dota 2. The developer even made a documentary about the professional landscape titled, Free to Play. It focused on three veterans of the games who aimed to make a mark in the esports industry. Remarkably, the documentary was watched by 5.5 million people.

In May 2014, Dota2 simultaneously had 786 million players online. This feat officially made the game more popular than the World of Warcraft 3. Apart from the record-breaking 10.9 million prize pool, we believe that the biggest success of the title was its partnership with ESPN. The developer made an agreement with ESPN to broadcast all the matches. We also saw post-match analysis by renowned analysts of the game. Owing to the success of Dota 2 that year, the title made headlines on the New York Times.  

dota 2 history

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2015 – Money, money, money

Dota 2 made a strong start to 2015 by declaring that they host over 11 million players each month. After gaining so much popularity, it was evident that the developer was making incredible amounts of money. In March 2015, a renowned eSports platform Super Data, officially claimed that Dota 2 provided a staggering $18 million in revenue to Valve.  

In July 2015, Valve announced that they are designing a new engine for the game. It was titled as Dota 2 Reborn and was officially released in September. It diversified the title with in-game custom modes. Valve also introduced the new in-game interface with the aim to improve the hardware compatibility of the title.

Yet, the biggest highlight of the year was the International. The tournament again featured the biggest prize pool in history with $18 million. It was also a big success in terms of viewership as it had a global audience of 4.6 million. This was a tremendous boost compared to the 2 million dollars figure established in 2014. The competition did have its fair share of troubles. Since on the second day, the event was put on hold after a DDoS attack. Yet it didn’t stop Evil Geniuses from reigning supreme in Seattle. 

In November, Valve notified the community with the first official Major of the Title, The Frankfurt Major. It was a big announcement since we believe that this event laid down the foundation of the DPC circuit we have today. 

2016, The Year of The Majors

The Year 2016 was a big success for the competitive landscape of the title. Apart from the traditional compendium, we had the first Winter Battle Pass of the season. It included a new custom map and points wagering features. 

In 2016, Apart from the previously mentioned Frankfurt Major, we welcomed the Shanghai Major. To date, this competition is one of the prestigious events of Dota 2. The Russians were not sitting behind the Chinese and we got the first event, the Epicenter Major. Meanwhile, in the in-game improvements, we got Underlord hero and the patch 7.00. 

2017 & 2018, The Years of the DPC

After an incredible success of Majors in 2016, Dota 2 welcomed its first official competitive circuit, the DPC in July 2017. Valve decided to partner with third-party organizers and arrange Major and Minor competitions. Apart from the attractive prize pools, the competition featured DPC points. These points were meant to be earned for the direct qualification to The International 2018. Team Liquid was tipped by many to shine after their successful triumph in the 2017 TI. Yet the side didn’t have the best of runs in the following year, but still managed to finish at 2nd place in the DPC. 

Virtus.Pro reigned supreme since they won almost 50% of the points. They finished at first place after winning five Major competitions and managed to earn an incredible sum of $2,540,000 in the process. 

The DPC Season 2017-2018 was incredibly packed and even the toughest Dota 2 fan could not keep track of all the tournaments: Fifteen competitions alone in the first half of 2018 – 7 Minors, 7 majors and the International 2018. In addition to fame and honor, the pros fought over 35,000,000 US dollars in prize money. 

We have talked so much about The International, let’s give you a comprehensive insight into the competition.

Most Prestigious Competition, The International

Each year, the Dota 2 World Championship, The International, breaks the record for the most lucrative tournament in the history of electronic sports. On 25th August 2018, in Vancouver, Canada, its 8th edition hosted the biggest eSports tournament in the world. The competition distributed $25,532,177 USD. 

dota 2 present

Organized annually by the American company Valve, The International is the world championship of Dota 2. Top 18 teams in Dota 2 competed in Vancouver for the Aegis of Immortal, the title of world champion. Among them, 8 received direct invitations from Valve. Those were the top-ranked teams in the competitive circuit of the 2017-18 season. The other 10 teams were the winners of the regional qualifiers. The sides arrived from Europe, America, China, and other parts of Asia.

Dota 2, The most rewarding eSports title

If League of Legends (LoL) is still the most popular eSports in the world with 67 million players each month, then Dota 2 retains its first place in terms of prizes distributed. 

The 2017-18 DPC season was the first official competitive circuit of Dota 2 since its launch in 2010. After its success, the developer made some changes to the rule and regulations for the 2018-2019 season. In the DPC oriented competitions teams can win $ 500,000 to $ 2 million per tournament.

The world championship, The International, still remains the most prestigious title. From its first edition in 2011, this tournament has become the most lucrative event of electronic sports in history. Since back in the day, the Ukrainian team Natus Vincere was awarded $ 1 million. Every year, this prize increases steadily and remains the highest among all e-sports: Over $ 11 million was awarded to for the winner of The International 2018, OG. While only $ 2.4 million was awarded to the winner of the League of Legends World Championship. 

How does it work?

Valve contributed only $ 1.6 million to extraordinary $ 25.5 million prize pool. The remaining amount came from the contribution of players and supporters around the world via the game itself. This was done by the launch of the Compendium. It can be purchased by the players to buy levels and exciting cosmetics for the heroes. A certain percentage of Compendium sales goes into the prize pool.

This year, only the top 12 teams in the DPC will be able to receive the direct invite to The International 9. No exceptions will be made, even for the defending champion of the year 2018, the European team OG. Apart from these top 12, hundreds of teams from around the world would have to participate in the qualifiers.

dota 2 future

To win the most points during this long 10-month season, each team must have a very well-prepared strategy. It includes player transfers, formulating the best strategies, qualifying for the DPC competitions and keeping the players satisfied. 

In 2018 edition of the TI, we had former world champions: Team Liquid (2017, Europe), Newbee (2013, China), Evil Geniuses (2015, USA), and Invictus Gaming (2012, China). 

Meanwhile, six teams participated for the first time: Win strike (Russia), VGJ. Storm (United States), Serenity (China), Optic Gaming (United States), VGJ.Thunder (China) and Pain Gaming (Brazil). 

We cannot forget to mention other renowned participants: Virtus Pro (Russia, No.1 team of the 2017-18 season), Secret (Europe), Fnatic (Malaysia), Mineski (Philippines), Vici Gaming (China), TnC Predator (Philippines) and PSG.LGD (China).

After over 500 matches, the 2018 World Champions were OG. The EU side rose from the ashes since they were nowhere to seen in the DPC. They had to take the long way for the TI, through the regional qualifiers. They even had to make a couple of changes to the roster on the eve of the qualifiers. Even with so many troubles, the team to annihilate the competition, they won the finale after an incredible 3-2 victory. This series is rated as one of the best finals in the competitive history of Dota 2.  

The Former TI Champions

We have put up a brief list of the former champions of The International. You should know that after 9 competitions, no team has managed to win the title twice. Let’s have a look at the former TI winners

2011-Natus Vincere (Ukraine) was the first champion of The International. The tournament that awarded the winner with US $ 1,000,000. The competition was held at the Gamescom in Germany and was the first public exhibition of the game.

2012-The International moved to Benaroya Hall in Seattle, United States. Invictus Gaming (China) was crowned champion and won One million dollars after beating Natus Vincere in the final.

2013-Alliance (Sweden) was the champion of the tournament in Seattle after beating Natus Vincere in the finale. The prize increased to $ 1,437,190. After this defeat Na’Vi declined in form and has yet to reach the finale.

2014.-The International moved to Key Arena. Newbee (China) won against his compatriots of Vici Gaming in four fast games. The prize amounted to $ 5,025,029.

2015-Evil Geniuses (United States) beat CDEC Gaming (China) and took home $ 6,634,661.

2016-Wings Gaming (China) won by 3-1 beating Digital Chaos and winning $ 9,139,002. After their triumph, the team was banned from competing in the professional landscape. The organization was charged with criminal activities.

2017-Team Liquid defeated Newbee (China) by 3-0 to win US $ 10,862,683.

2018-OG defeated PSG by 3 to 2. LGD and won $ 11 million, the largest prize in the history of eSports. For the first time The International was played outside the United States, in Vancouver, Canada.

The 2019 Season

In the 2019 Season, four teams have managed to qualify for The International: Evil Geniuses, Vici Gaming, Team Secret and Virtus.Pro. While the eight spots are still up for grabs. The top 12 teams will earn the right to compete in The International 2019. The competition will be held in Shanghai, China. As we approach the final months of the season, we should applaud Valve for fixing the tight schedule of the circuit. Since the team complained about the lack of rest in the 2018 season. 

The future of Dota 2

The future looks bright for Dota 2. Since the developer continues to offer attractive prize pools. This encourages big organizations to bet on Dota 2. The in-game mechanics of the game need improvement since the title is still full of bugs. Yet Valve’s product will prosper and should be a crucial element in the development of the eSports industry. Over the years, Dota 2 has progressed by leaps and bounds. It will continue to a force to be reckoned with in the future as well. 

dota 2 teams

Some of the best organizers, DreamHack, ESL, and StarSeries continue to host prestigious Dota 2 competitions. They are clinical for the title’s success in the last decade. The competitive structure still needs some adjustments since the roster troubles still exist. The teams sign shady contracts with the players and kick them out whenever they please. This should stop and Valve needs to provide some regulations to penalize the teams.  They have introduced some reforms for the 2019 season but still, it is not enough to stop big names from playing around with the future of the players.

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