History of Esports: Dota 2

When we check out how today's esports look like, there is an inescapable reality which is called "MOBA" games. Thanks to its strategic structure and team-based performance, it addresses directly to a big population of esports lovers.

And if we are talking about MOBA, there is one game that makes it nearly impossible to have a discussion about MOBA without mentioning it: Dota 2.

Today, we will take a look at Dota’s early development and evolution over the years.

What is Dota 2?

Dota 2 is a free-to-play MOBA game developed and distributed by Valve Corporation. The game is an independent sequel to the 2002 video game Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion pack The Frozen Throne map (mod), Defense of the Ancients (DotA).

via Valve

Dota 2 matches are played on a map with 2 team centers in the lower left and the upper right corner. Each of the teams has 5 players and if one team demolishes the Ancient building in the center of the other, it will win the match. There are 122  kinds of heroes with different abilities, available for each player to choose before the game starts.

History of Dota 2

Primal version of Dota 2, DotA first appeared as a mod in the game Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos in 2003, made by Eul with the help of the world and map editors. Later, with the arrival of Warcraft 3: Frozen Throne, Eul continued to make new versions, but it is hard to say that he was successful in adapting it to the new game and that's when he stopped developing DOTA.

After the contribution of some volunteer developers, it became the most popular game in battle.net. After being a part of WarCraft as a map, developers realized that they were not able to have the freedom and creativity to do their improvements.

That is how Valve Corporation made one of the biggest decisions of the company in 2010 by buying the naming rights of Dota 2 and announcing that they will release the game. The game was officially released on July 9, 2013.

Dota 2 Esports

The first steps of Dota 2 started when Valve organized a tournament including Defense of the Ancients players in order to have new audiences for the new game. The tournament which will be called The International in future was held with 16 teams at Gamescom in 2011.

The International got a specialty for its prize pool, which is growing every year thanks to in-game purchases made by Dota 2 players, effectively contributing towards every TI’s prize pool. That is how The International is known as one of the biggest tournaments thanks to its prize pool.

Another example for the beginning of Dota 2 esports can be given when the game was still in the beta version and some popular esports events started to host Dota 2, such as Electronic Sports World Cup, DreamHack, World Cyber Games and finally ESL.

In a very short span of time, Dota 2 was the most popular esports game on all the lists right after StarCraft II (check out our article about StarCraft II history) in 2011.

Credit: Valve

The popularity that came with the big esports events and by Valve itself also led to a big investment for Dota 2. When E3 2013 was still going on, South Korean video game publisher company Nexon announced a ₩2 billion (US$1.7 million) investment for the local leagues in the country.

In February 2015, the Valve-sponsored Dota 2 Asia Championships took place in Shanghai, with over $3 million in prize money raised through compendium sales. Since then, other Dota 2 Asia Championships have taken place, sometimes referred to as the "Chinese International".

Between 2015-2017, Valve sponsored a series of smaller, seasonal tournaments known as the Dota Major Championships, all with fixed prize money of $3 million.

After the complaints from the teams and Dota 2 fans about the opaque and unexpected awarding of international invitations to Valve, the Majors left its place to the new system called Dota Pro Circuit (DPC).

Nowadays, all Dota 2 fans are hyped for upcoming Dota Pro Circuit matches which will be followed by the Majors and finally with The International 2022.

Of all MOBA games that have a certain popularity around the world, especially a game like League of Legends, the name they should thank is none other than Dota 2 and the great support behind it (especially Valve Corporation).

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