Development of Dota 2 began in 2009, when the developer of the DotA mod, IceFrog, was hired by Valve as lead designer. Dota 2 was praised by critics for its gameplay, production quality and faithfulness to its predecessor. However, the game was criticized for its steep learning curve and inhospitable community. Dota 2 has become the most actively played game on Steam, with daily peaks of over 800,000 concurrent players.
Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game in a three-dimensional environment, presented from an oblique high-angle perspective. The player commands one of 110 controllable character “Heroes”. Each Hero begins the match at level one and becomes more powerful by accumulating experience points through combat, thereby leveling up to the maximum level of twenty-five. With every level gained the player either selects a new ability for their Hero to learn or enhance their general statistics. Each Hero’s method of combat is influenced by its primary property: Strength, Agility, or Intelligence.
Each match of Dota 2 takes place on a functionally symmetrical map that features the strongholds of two warring factions, the Radiant and the Dire. The Radiant is based at the southwest corner of the map, while the Dire is based at the northeast corner; the two sides are divided by a river that runs perpendicular to the central lane. These factions are defended by up to five players. In each stronghold is a critical structure called the “Ancient”, a fountain that provide health and lesser structures. These bases are connected by three paths, referred to as “lanes”—two run alongside the edges of the map, while one runs directly between the two bases. The lanes are guarded by defensive Towers, as well as autonomous characters called “creeps”, which periodically spawn in groups and travel along the lanes, attacking enemies they encounter. Featured across the map are hostile characters referred to as “neutrals”, which are not aligned to either faction and are primarily located in the forests (primarily referred to as “the jungle” in the game, hence the term “jungler” for one who attacks neutral creeps in the jungle). Located in a tarn on the Dire side of the east part of the river is a neutral creep “boss” called “Roshan”, who typically requires multiple team members to kill and drops the powerful item “Aegis of Immortality”, and significant amounts of gold and experience.
Dota 2 features items, which the player stores in an inventory. These items are acquired predominantly through purchase with gold, the in-game currency. Items vary in function: some enhance the statistics of a Hero, while others grant additional abilities. The player automatically receives small increments of gold continuously, though they can obtain more by destroying enemies. Killing non-player characters grants gold only to the player who lands the final blow, whereas killing enemy Heroes grants gold to the player’s nearby allies as well. Destroying Towers or killing Roshan gives gold to all players on the team. “Denying” is a feature of the game where players inhibit the enemy’s ability to accumulate gold and experience by killing an allied unit or destroying an allied structure before the enemy can do so.
Dota 2 had 500,000 concurrent players.In February 2015, Dota 2 became the first game on Steam to have over one million concurrent players.
Currently Dota 2 is one of the most played games on Steam.