eSports Game Review: Dota 2

What is Dota 2

Dota 2 is one of the most popular electronic sports in the world. It is a free to play MOBA game (multiplayer online battle arena) developed and published by Valve Corporation, which is a North American game developer and digital distribution company. Besides Dota 2, they also created Half-Life 2, Portal 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2 and the Steam platform.

Dota 2’s development began in 2009. The game was released 4 years later, in July 2013, as a stand-alone sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA). Since then, it has grown tremendously in popularity and is now played worldwide by around 12 million people.

How Dota 2 is played

Dota 2 is a very complex and challenging game, combining real-time strategy with RPG features. It requires prolonged focus (matches last anywhere between 20 and 75 minutes), teamplay (the game is played in a 5 vs 5 format), self-control (not only because you’re dealing with people but also because losing can be a brutal experience) and a solid understanding of its elements (the number of which is somewhere between 500 and 1000).

At its most simplistic level, this is how Dota 2 is played: two teams, named Radiant and Dire, choose heroes (one per player) out of a pool of 115 options at the beginning of each game. Then they proceed to battle each other in a two-sided arena split by a river, with the objective of destroying their opponent’s Ancient (which is the most important structure inside a team’s base, or the equivalent of the King in Chess).

Every hero possesses a talent tree and a unique set of abilities (which can be learned and upgraded as you grow in level), as well as a number of attributes: strength, agility, intelligence, damage, attack speed, hit points, mana points, armor, magic resistance and so on.

Heroes are divided into 3 groups and can be strength, agility or intelligence based. This means that their main attribute is one of these 3. Each point in this particular attribute will also increase the hero’s attack damage. For example, Earthshaker, Axe and Dragon Knight are strength based heroes. Slark, Phantom Assassin and Juggernaut are agility based, while Invoker, Puck and Queen of Pain are intelligence based.

Furthermore, heroes can also be classified by their most natural role within the game. The main roles are carry, mid, offlane, roam and support. A 6th role would be that of a jungler, but in Dota 2 you will rarely see full-time junglers at the professional level. That’s because having a jungler in your team makes your lanes weak and limits your roaming potential, making your entire strategy predictable.

Heroes develop just like in role-playing games, accumulating gold and experience as they kill creatures and enemies during the match. You start each time at level 1 and have very little gold to work with, and then begin to grow at a slower or faster pace.

Experience points help you to level up, while gold allows you to buy items. Each time you grow in level you gain one skill point that can be spent to learn a new available talent or ability, or to upgrade one of the spells you already possess.

As you increase in level and buy powerful items with the gold you’ve earned, you become stronger and more able to deal with the enemy team’s lineup. Subsequently, this allows you to dictate the pace of the game, put pressure on your opponents, take away their map control and force them to fight you in order to defend their structures.

Both teams split their efforts and resources in order to defend or launch attacks on three different lanes (top, mid and bottom). Each of these lanes is a path connecting their bases, and is defended by friendly towers and creatures which spawn every 30 seconds.

With so many unique heroes to choose from and around 150 items available for purchase, Dota 2 has an enormous replay value. No two matches are ever the same. The game cannot possibly bore you and actually becomes addictive once you start to learn the basics and get good at it.

Dota 2’s professional scene

Dota 2 has a well established professional scene with a lot of teams, coaches, analysts, tournaments and sponsors. Around 30 important competitions (plus qualifiers for each of them) are being organized each year, with prize pools ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

Within the Dota Pro Circuit, major tournaments (or Majors) have a prize pool of $1+ million while minor tournaments (or Minors) have a prize pool of $300K+. Every year, there is also a Dota 2 World Championship (called The International) being organized, which features the best 16 teams in the world and has a huge prize pool. In 2017, this prize pool was almost 25 million dollars.

Some tournaments, like EPICENTER, DOTA Summit and The International, take place once a year. Others, such as StarLadder i-League Invitational and ESL One take place multiple times per season, at different locations.

Needless to say, the top Dota 2 teams and players have a tremendous number of fans and are regarded by the eSports community the same way as top athletes from any other famous sport. Ask any Dota 2 player about teams like Team Liquid,, Newbee, Evil Geniuses, Team Secret, Natus Vincere or OG, or players such as Miracle, Solo, Sccc, Arteezy, Puppey, Dendi or s4, and they will know who you’re talking about.

As for the game itself, it’s so well designed and so complex that even highly popular personalities have started to take an interest in it. For instance, Elon Musk chose it as a testing ground for one of the artificial intelligence projects developed by his OpenAI company. At the latest Dota 2 World Championship, several people from OpenAI brought their creation and had it tested in front of a huge audience of 17.000 fans.

Becoming a successful Dota 2 bettor

Becoming a successful Dota 2 bettor requires you to either develop a solid understanding of the game and its professional scene, or gain access to people who are already experts in this field.

Playing Dota 2, watching professional tournaments and studying the professional scene will sharpen your intuition as a Dota 2 bettor and allow you make much more accurate predictions.

In addition to this, you should also develop your own betting strategy or system and incorporate sound betting tactics and principles in it. For instance, when betting on a Dota 2 game, you should always watch the drafting phase before placing your bet. During this phase, teams often outdraft each other, choosing hero compositions that strongly counter their opponent’s.

Dota 2 news, tournament previews and free betting tips

At, we keep you up to date with the critical events that are shaping the Dota 2 community and can affect your success as a Dota 2 bettor. What happened at the latest Dota 2 tournament and who emerged victorious? What is the next important tournament and what is the current form of the teams that will participate in it? Will a team play with a stand-in during the next LAN event? Has the game been patched recently? What are the latest player transfers?

In our Dota 2 section, we keep you up to date with all of these things and give you quick access to the most recent and relevant information. We also offer you in depth team analyses and valuable betting tips that can greatly improve your results as a bettor.

Magister Ludi
Magister Ludi