Defense of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2), is a multiplayer online battle arena with an active eSports scene. Offering live action RTS gameplay elements, DotA 2 not only has a huge player fan base, but also an active viewership with over 25 million viewers on primer leagues and tournaments. Moreover, the competitive game is considered a trend setter in eSports, because of the innovative approach towards crowdfunded events by its creators at Valve, leading to the biggest tournament rewards in eSports history.
Defense of the Ancients first appeared as a collective mod for the real time strategy game War Craft III. Supported by the community, the game quickly became an active eSport. However it wasn’t until the game was picked up by Valve and redesigned through their game engine Source, that DotA, now Dota 2, reached a wider audience in the eSports industry by offering a tournament with a prize pool of one million dollars.
Since then, Valve have been trying to grow its fan base, by constantly keeping the competitive elements of the game balanced and through certain innovations such as crowd funding for tournaments and coverage on major TV and other media networks, such as ESPN for their biggest premier league and tournament events.
Although there are various modes of gameplay, on the eSports DotA 2 scene the rules that are followed are those of the original game mode. Two teams of five players face off in an interactive online battle, showing their wits, decision making skills and more.
The game is played as the captain of team team chooses for each of the players a hero in the game with unique skills from a roster. Once the teams are finalised the battle starts and the players focus on defending their stronghold, called the ancient, while acquiring gold and experience in order to defeat the opposing team by destroying their stronghold.
As with other eSports, due to their nature, in DotA 2 there are dozens of tournaments and leagues played every day either online or offline. However, the best teams face off in the Premier Leagues and Torunaments, which also gather the biggest audiences and sponsors, leading to the hugest prize pools in competitive DotA 2.
Just some of the larger and well known tournaments include:
Even though there are a number of Primer Leagues and Tournaments in competitive DotA 2, the biggest one is held annually by Valve and is called the International. Each year, the best teams and those who managed to climb the competitive ladder gather in Seattle to face off for the biggest prizes in eSports.
Due to its core game play architecture that is separating the game from other MOBAs, mistakes in the games are costly, but not winner defying. This leads to a thrilling competitive scene and is one of the main reasons why it is loved by its viewership. Moreover as both player skill and team coordination are equally important, each game is filled with intense action, pressure and excitement for both the viewers and the players.