Published on May 11, 2020

Dota Background Images

License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC
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Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game developed and published by Valve. The game is a sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA), which was a community-created mod for Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion pack, The Frozen Throne. Dota 2 is played in matches between two teams of five players, with each team occupying and defending their own separate base on the map. Each of the ten players independently controls a powerful character, known as a “hero”, who all have unique abilities and differing styles of play. During a match, players collect experience points and items for their heroes to successfully defeat the opposing team’s heroes in player versus player combat. A team wins by being the first to destroy the other team’s “Ancient”, a large structure located within their base.

Development of Dota 2 began in 2009 when IceFrog, lead designer of Defense of the Ancients, was hired by Valve to create a modernized remake for them in the Source game engine. It was officially released for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux-based personal computers via the digital distribution platform Steam in July 2013, following a Windows-only open beta phase that began two years prior. The game is fully free-to-play with no heroes or any other gameplay element needing to be bought or otherwise unlocked. To maintain it, Valve supports the game as a service, offering loot boxes and a battle pass subscription system called Dota Plus that offer non-gameplay altering virtual goods in return, such as hero cosmetics and audio replacement packs. The game has also been updated with various other features since release, such as a port to the Source 2 engine and support for virtual reality.

Dota 2 has a large esports scene, with teams from around the world playing in various professional leagues and tournaments. Valve manages an event format known as the Dota Pro Circuit, which are a series of tournaments that award qualification points for earning direct invitations to The International, the game’s premier annual tournament. Internationals feature a crowdfunded prize money system that has seen amounts in upwards of US$30 million, making Dota 2 the most lucrative game in esports. Media coverage of most tournaments is done by a selection of on-site staff who provide commentary and analysis for the ongoing matches, similar to traditional sporting events. In addition to playing matches to a live audience in arenas and stadiums, broadcasts of them are also streamed live over the internet, and sometimes simulcast on television networks, with peak viewership numbers in the millions.

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