Dota 2’s past, present, & future: Guide-maker Torte de Lini reflects on game’s 10th anniversary

cover art for Dota 2 featuring Muerta.Valve

2023 marks the 10th anniversary of Dota 2’s global release as the game continues to dominate the MOBA charts as one of the go-to titles from the genre.

Dota 2 is often regarded as one of the most challenging games to master with a virtually unknown skill ceiling. Given that the game is constantly evolving under the tutelage of IceFrog’s brilliance, discovering new features and mechanics is a regular occurrence in the MOBA.

As the game approaches its 10th anniversary in July 2023, we’re taking a look at the storied past and mysterious future of Dota 2. Esteemed Dota 2 guide maker, Michael Yossef “Torte de Lini” Cohen-Palacios also joins us to share his own views and thoughts about the game.

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Dota 2 through the years

cover art for diretide in Dota 2 featuring the Roshan.Valve
In-game events like Frosthaven and Diretide introduce exciting custom games for everyone to enjoy.

While Dota 2 is set to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the game’s history can be traced all the way back to the early 2000s. Originally developed by Kyle “Eul” Sommer, Defense of the Ancient – or DotA – was a mod for Warcraft III: Frozen Throne. The mod drew inspiration from the custom map in Starcraft, Aeon of Strife.

From there, the community eventually shifted to a newer mod which went on to lay the foundations of the Dota 2 pro community as we know it today. Steve “Guinsoo” Feak, who later went on to build League of Legends with Riot Games was the designer of the DotA All Stars mod.

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With games like League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth on the rise, IceFrog – the mysterious developer who had taken over DotA: Allstars from Guinsoo – confirmed in 2009 that he was working with Valve. The developer later confirmed in 2010 that the game will release as a closed beta in 2011.

However, the big surprise came with Valve’s announcement of The International at Gamescom 2011. This tournament was Valve’s way of showing off Dota 2 before the game’s closed beta began. Additionally, Valve also announced a record-breaking prize pool of $1.6 million, which was the highest for any esports tournament at that time.

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Since that, The International has continuously grown to reach new heights every year, breaking its own record. The introduction of the Compendium during the third iteration of TI made this possible. Dota 2’s global release also happened a month before TI3, in July 2013.

artwork for TI10's Battle Pass in Dota 2Valve
The seasonal Battle Pass for every TI is one of the main attractions in Dota 2.

The Compendium was eventually revamped as the Battle Pass and a part of all community spending towards it would directly go to the prize pool of The International. This allowed the tournament to feature a prize pool of over $40 million in 2021, which still stands as the highest prize pool in esports tournaments. As a matter of fact, the five highest prize pools in esports have all been from The International.

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Despite growing steadily since its inception, the prize pool of TI saw a massive drop in 2022. After the $40.02 million prize pool of 2021, the 2022 Battle Pass saw a total figure of $18.93 million prize pool for TI11. While this may appear concerning, there were a lot of other factors at play which could have led to the drop in the prize pool.

The 10th anniversary of Dota 2

2023 marks 10 years since the official release of Dota 2 in July 2013. While this journey of 10 years has seen its share of ups and downs, the game has always maintained its position as one of the most played multiplayer games.

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Despite Valve’s efforts of introducing games like Artifact and Dota Underlords, nothing has quite come close to the popularity of the MOBA. Speaking to Torte de Lini about how far the game and the community have come, the esteemed guide-maker said: “Back then [2011], the game didn’t have as many in-game resources to help players as they do now. Originally, there were only external sites for which you’d have to Alt+Tab in the middle of the game.”

Further explaining the importance of the in-game guide system and its growth, Michael added, “At first, there were a lot of us who made guides when the system first came out. But the system wasn’t always reliable: it would sometimes glitch out your guides, or error out which eventually lead to a lot of people giving up. However, I persevered and it’s one of the reasons I gained over 525 million subscriptions, with my guides influencing 90% of all games every day.”

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However, he did mention how far the in-game systems have evolved since their initial launch and said, “In 2017, I had the chance to work with Valve to create a whole new guide system directly in the game, and with every new patch, it shows how much there is a need to update guides and having a system to accommodate that constant work and yeah, I am more than happy to do it.”

With that being said, it remains to be seen what Valve has planned for the 10th-anniversary celebrations of Dota 2. The largest patch of the year will arrive in April, so it will be exciting to see what kind of changes are in store for Dota 2.

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cover art for Dota 2 featuring several in-game heroes.Valve
Dota 2 features over 120 heroes for you to choose from and all of them are free to play.

The future of Dota 2

Ever since the early days of DotA and DotA All Stars, the community has shown a staunch affection towards the genre. While Riot’s League of Legends has gone on to become a far more popular title in the genre, Dota 2’s unique focus on the micro aspects of the game has helped it retain quite a huge part of the original DotA player base.

Despite facing several lows and rumors of the game ‘dying’ surfacing on community platforms, Dota 2 continues to be one of the most played multiplayer games in the world.

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Talking about the community and how it continues to strive against all the challenges, Michael said, “I think we know how important Dota 2 is to Valve and how important it is to IceFrog. I can’t imagine him [IceFrog] being completely hands-off from Dota 2. I trust IceFrog and Valve to pretty much know how to go about things with respect to longevity and the survivability of the game.”

Having said that, the future of Dota 2, as mysterious as it might seem right now, is definitely in good hands. Valve has successfully maintained the Counter-Strike franchise as the prime FPS title for over two decades now and it would be foolish to doubt their capability of doing the same for Dota 2.

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Don’t forget to check out our Dota 2 hub for all the latest news and updates about the MOBA.

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