‘Dota 2’: What you need to know

Kyle Chua
The esports juggernaut will be a medal event at the 2019 SEA Games

 DOTA 2. Image from Dota 2 website


MANILA, Philippines – Dota 2, one of the most popular multiplayer games in the world, is one of the 6 medal events in the inaugural esports tournament of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).  

Here’s what you need to know about the game.

What is Dota 2?

Dota 2, is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) developed and published by Valve Corporation. It is a sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA), a game mode created by a modder known as IceFrog for the game Warcraft III.

Valve reportedly hired IceFrog in the development of the game, which runs on the company’s proprietary Source engine. It was released on Valve’s digital distribution platform, Steam, in 2013. 

How do you play?

In Dota 2, two teams of five players each battle it out to see who can destroy the enemy team’s Ancient first. The Ancient is the main building that has to be destroyed in order for a team to win. 

At the start of the game, each player gets to select a hero they want to play as. There are more than 100 heroes to choose from; each with his or her own unique skills and stats. These heroes are divided into three primary attributes: Strength, Agility, and Intelligence. 

Strength heroes have high health pools and strong defensive skills. Agility heroes, meanwhile, are usually known for dishing out a lot of damage in the later parts of the game. Lastly, Intelligence heroes are characterized by their ability to deal spell-based damage or keep their teammates alive in battle with healing spells. 

These heroes also have different roles in teams namely carry, support, mid, jungle, and offlaner. For instance, support heroes are in charge of protecting their teammates, beefing them up with buffs or healing them whenever they take damage. Understanding the complex dynamics of team composition in the game can be crucial to winning. 

Of course, to win, players must make their heroes stronger by killing AI-controlled creeps, defeating enemy heroes, and destroying towers. Doing so earns them experience and gold, which can then be used to level them up and buy items that boost heroes’ stats. 

How popular is it?

Dota 2 currently has an average of 400,000 to 500,000 players each month, according to Steam Charts. While the last few months saw its player base decline, the game remains immensely popular among both professional and casual players alike. 

Valve continues to draw a lot of mainstream attention to its annual Dota 2 tournament, The International, by consistently topping each iteration’s prize pool, which is 25% crowdfunded. The company is able to raise millions for its annual tournament pot by selling players “Battle Passes,” an optional add-on that gives players in-game cosmetic items and access to special game modes.

In 2013, the company put over $2.8 million up for grabs in what was at that time considered the largest prize pool in esports history. Fast forward to 2019, Valve set the bar for prize pools with a pot surpassing $32 million.

One of the most succesful Dota 2 teams in the Philippines is TNC, which in the most recent The International tournament, took home about P35 million, having finished 9th-12th. 

Aside from the prize pool, few can rival the sheer size and spectacle of the event, which draws thousands of live spectators, broadcasted in various online channels.

Some of the most renowned esports leagues around the world such as the Professional Gamers League (PGL) and the Electronic Sports League (ESL) also host their own Dota 2 tournaments. – Rappler.com

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