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Dota 2 in a Nutshell

Updated on June 25, 2017

A little insight about Dota 2

Dota 2 is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game where basically, there are two sides in the map each side having their teams comprised of 5 players. They are tasked to protect (usually) a building and destroy the other team's building on the other side of the map. In Dota 2, Heroes (the characthers players play as) are tasked to push through the enemy's defenses and destroy the Ancient (the building in the heart of each team's base)

There are two affiliations in the game, The Radiant team, where their base is filled in blue arcane runes, trees and nature. And The Dire, where they are the opposite, their base filled with red lava, black rocks and dying trees.

The map is comprised of 3 lanes each, Top, Middle and Bottom respectivley. And heroes push through those lanes fighting the other team's creeps (non controllable AI monsters whose only role is to keep on pushing the lanes and fighting to reach the other team's ancient, even if it mean's their death). It's not just the creeps they have to worry about, each of the three lanes have 3 towers (also AI controlled buildings who attacks enemy forces who are near) each getting tougher and stronger the deeper you dive into the enemy base.

There is also the jungle where neutral creeps spawn, unaffiliated monsters who just stays in their designated camps unless disturbed.

Each heroes can gain gold each time they kill a creep/hero or even when they destroy buildings. They use those accumalated gold to buy items in their base's shop to get stronger in order for them to win the game. (I'll give a more detailed run down of items in the game later on)

Once the heroes (and creeps) push through the enemy's defenses and destroy their Ancient, they win. Simple as that right? Haha

Each game usually lasts about 30-50 mins.

THE HISTORY: How it started and where is it now.

Before we delve deeper to the game's mechanics and gameplay let's start with the history of Dota 2, how it started and where is it now.

Before Dota 2 there was DotA (Defense of the Ancients). It was a MOBA mod map for the game Warcraft III: Frozen Throne first made by Kyle Sommer (who goes by the alias Eul) around 2002 using Warcraft III's free "world editor". It was based on the Starcraft map, Aeon of Strife (AoS) after a while, DotA Allstars was born, along side with Ragn0r and Meian who helped develop the map and compiled all of the heroes of the game unto one map.

In March of 2004, Guinsoo (Stephen Feak) took control of development and has updated DotA: Allstars until Febuary 28 the next year after releasing the 6.xx version of the mod.

Guinsoo left the team which lead to the mod going to the hands of Neichus and IceFrog, but Neichus didn't last long and IceFrog was in charge of the game.

He maintained the game, updated it and listened to players who posted on their forums to help make the game better.

In October 2009, IceFrog was hired by Valve Corporation, leading a team to create a sequel for DotA. A year after, Valve annouced Dota 2, which was a stand-alone sequel of the original game. With some legal issues about importing characthers from the original game since some characthers and names were owned by Blizzard Entertainment, they had to redo some heroes and once everything was all settled and done, Dota 2 was released July of 2013.

Mechanics and Gameplay

There are alot of mechanics that work in the game, alot of statistics, chances and almost pseudo-random luck involved, but i'll just give you the basics.

The game is played in a 3rd person view where they look over the hero they control and the terrain around them, they could also go around the map to see other parts of it as long as they have vision of it.

So let's start with the Hero, a Hero is a player-controlled characther where each has their own unique skills and spells to use in combat. Some takes advantage of their long range attacks while others are melee and needs to be close to the enemy to attack.

There are over 113 unique heroes to choose from, each with different skills and attacks.

Each heroes are divided into 3 categories, Strength, Agility, and Intelligence.

Strength heroes are usually tanks or heavy hitters in the game. Intelligence are more of the mages and casters of the game who heavily rely on their mana. And Agility heroes are more of a balance of the two, usually they're the carries of the game, or who usually deals the most damage to the enemy in a fight.

If the Hero dies, it's not game over because after a while your hero will respawn to fight again, or you could buy your way to not wait for the timer to countdown till you respawn using the gold you accumulated over time.

But take note, everytime you die, a portion of your gold will be deducted and will be given to those who have killed you.

Other than using it to buy back into the game you can use those gold to buy items in shops.

There are three different types of shops found in the map: The base shop, the one inside your team's base where you buy your starting items and recipes and whatnot; The Secret Shop, found hidden in the woods near the top lane in the Radiant side, or the Dire's bottom lane; and lastly the side shop it is found on the upperleft corner of the map or the lower right.

Each shop sells different kinds of items and if you combine these items (sometimes with a recipe) you can create an even powerful item that will help you win the game.

Some items make you invisible, some items make you move faster or teleport in a blink of an eye, some items even shoot out deadly lasers and some can heal you or regenerate your health (HP) or mana (MP).

Aside from the unaffiliated jungle neutral creeps and ancients, there is also another monster in the map. Roshan, found in his pit in the middle of the top side river, he is a giant rock-like monster when killed he will drop the "Aegis of Immortal" if a hero picks up that item and having it in their inventory, once killed they will be revived again in the same spot they got killed after a few seconds. But be warey because the aegis expires because Roshan will respawn again after a couple of minutes and take back the aegis from the player's inventory automatically.

Around the map, players may encounter these glowing runes where, if picked up, their heroes will gain power ups for a few minutes like Invisibility, Haste (a movement speed boost), Regeneration, and a whole lot more. So keep an eye out for them in their rune spots in the river.

The game isn't really much about brute strength and attack damage, teamwork is essential to win any game, since Dota 2 keeps on getting update to balance heroes and items out, counters can be done to almost each hero. Someone's invisible? Buy a Gem of Truesight and you'll see them. Your attacks keep on missing? Buy Monkey King Bar. Keep on getting hit by magic spells and attacks? Buy a Black King Bar. Lots of counters even hero counters is a thing. That's why teamwork and communication is important.

Sample of what players see when they play the game. On the very top you see the timer, indicating how many minutes have already passed in the game.
Sample of what players see when they play the game. On the very top you see the timer, indicating how many minutes have already passed in the game.
The hero Lycan. Able to summon wolves to do his bidding and even shapeshift into a werewolf with incredible movement speed and damage.
The hero Lycan. Able to summon wolves to do his bidding and even shapeshift into a werewolf with incredible movement speed and damage.

This is a sample of the map of the game.

The "Hard;Medium;Easy;Ancient" words along with a timer are the type of creeps and guides to indicate when to attack the nuetral creeps to pull them out of their respective camps and make it spawn another set. This is called "Stacking
The "Hard;Medium;Easy;Ancient" words along with a timer are the type of creeps and guides to indicate when to attack the nuetral creeps to pull them out of their respective camps and make it spawn another set. This is called "Stacking


Even before the launch of Dota 2 there were already tournaments held by organizations with prizepools upto thousands of dollars to the winner of the tournament. They would usually play LAN(Local Area Network) tournaments where the players themselves get together and play in the same room.

In the year 2011, Valve announced a tournament where proffesional players from all over the world would come together in Cologne, Germany for The International. The total estimated prizepool of the tournament would be around $1.6 Million, where the 1st placer would win $1 Million.

Of course it was a big thing to players and gamers when valve announced that tournament, players that we're invited by Valve prepped themselved and practiced playing Dota 2. Some teams we're "Online Kingdom International" (comprising of players from the US to players from the EU), The Russian team "Moscow Five", The Chinese "EHOME" and The International 2011 winners, the Ukrainian team "Natus Vincere" or "Na'Vi".

Na'Vi won the grand finals against EHOME 3-1 with a 1-game advantage. Taking home the $1,000,000 prize money.

Even until today there are hundreds of tournaments held all over the world with prizepools reaching thousands of dollars.

This year, August 2017, Valve will kick-off The International 2017 with the ever increasing prizepool of a whopping ~$19 million and still growing because Valve offers players to buy a Compendium (an in-game item where they could predict who would win and even win prizes like unique in-game items) and a percentage of the money they used to buy that compendium will go to the prizepool of the upcoming tournament.

Free To Play: The International Documentary

The video above is a documentary made by Valve showing the behind the scenes lives of 3 players from different teams and countries.

Recent Tournaments and Prizepools

Tournament Name
Kiev Major
April 30, 2017
June 9, 2017
The Manila Masters
May 26, 2017


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