Dota 2 is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game developed and published by Valve Corporation. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux in July 2013, following a Windows-only public beta testing phase that began in 2011, and is the stand-alone sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA), a mod for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion pack, The Frozen Throne. Dota 2 is one of the most actively played games on Steam, with maximum peaks of over a million concurrent players.
Dota 2 is played in matches between two five-player teams, each of which occupies a stronghold in a corner of the playing field. A team wins by destroying the other side’s “Ancient” building, located within the opposing stronghold. Each player controls one of 111 playable “Hero” characters that feature unique powers and styles of play. During a match, the player collects gold, items, and experience points for their Hero, while combating Heroes of the opposite team.
Development of Dota 2 began in 2009 when IceFrog, lead designer of the original DotA mod, was hired by Valve. Dota 2 was praised by critics for its gameplay, production quality, and faithfulness to its predecessor, despite being criticized for its steep learning curve.Dota 2 utilized the original Source engine until it was ported to Source 2 in September 2015, making it the first game to utilize the new engine.
Dota 2 has a widespread professional scene, with teams from across the world playing in various competitive leagues and tournaments. The largest of the professional tournaments is known as The International, which is hosted by Valve and takes place annually at the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington. The 2015 edition of The International set a record for having the largest prize pool ineSports history, totaling over $18 million. Starting in 2015, Valve also began sponsoring smaller, but seasonally held tournaments known as the Majors, the first of which was held in Frankfurt, Germany.