Read Time:5 Minute, 52 Second

How Can Valve Save Dota 2 in 2024? Esports.net

It’s been a rough couple of years for Dota 2.

Failure to grow the player base and continue The International’s reign as the most lucrative esports tournament has resulted in Valve making some massive changes.

Thus far, the changes have proved less than successful. Valve’s number 1 focus needs to be attracting new players to the game if it is to survive much longer.

dota ancients

Credit: Valve

It’s hard to get new people to play Dota 2

Dota’s infamously steep learning curve makes the game inaccessible to new players. Unless you have friends or join a guild of experienced players, it’s almost impossible to learn all of the intricacies of the game. The sheer volume of heroes, items, timings, roles, interactions and even types of damage require you to stay up late finishing your homework. Even with a guild full of veterans with infinite patience guiding me, I’m hundreds of hours in and no way near “good” at the game.

The truth of the matter is that nobody wants to play a game where they play 100 hours and get relentlessly flamed in chat before they can even play ranked. Being accused of griefing for making mistakes that seem obvious to experienced MOBA players prompts a lot of people to quit. Yes, there are short training modules, a demo mode and bot games. But they’re insufficient and still require new players to commit to a few hours of study before they ever enter the game and pick a role for the first time.

“Just start playing turbo mode” is another recommendation I’ve heard a few times. But there is no real benefit to learning a sped up version of the game that is actually quite different in terms of timings, XPM, GPM and more. If anything, having less time to react and fix mistakes can make for an even poorer gameplay experience.

Dota’s crown jewel – The International

In years gone by, The International was the cherry on top of not only Dota, but of esports at large. The showmanship and excitement, as well as the eye-watering prize pools, drew a lot of fans. Even esports fans who didn’t play Dota could tune in to The International and get hype.

However, there is one key problem. The prize pools are very dependent on contributions made by players during the pre-TI battle pass. It seems obvious but to get people to buy a battle pass, you need to give them worthwhile rewards. Which is something Valve seems to have missed in recent years. Because of this, the TI prize pool dropped from $18,930,775 in 2022 to a mere $3,380,455 in 2023.

TI 2023 Team Spirit

Credit: The International

Now, alongside waning prize pools, the abandonment of the Dota Pro Circuit has made the road to TI has become much foggier. Thankfully, ESL has stepped up to the plate and are continuing to produce 3 Majors and 2 DreamLeagues in 2024. This has given us some direction. But the promise of third party tournaments springing up left, right and center has proved inaccurate to say the least.

Dota’s thriving pro scene has played a huge role in its sustainability in the last 10 years. Initially, the DPC was brought in to regulate the scene and give orgs a clear vision on how to get their team to TI. Even without a DPC to count points, there needs to be something. In its current state, Valve has essentially mic dropped and left the teams to fend for themselves. Without established organizers like ESL, Dota may already be on its last legs. Valve needs to support and encourage other organizers (RIP Beyond the Summit) to keep things going.

dota prize pool tracker

Credit: u/comingsoontfirst on Reddit

Valve is not sitting idle

All of this may leave the impression that Valve is abandoning its most popular MOBA. But this actually isn’t really the case. There has been a significant number of changes to both the game itself and the pro scene in order to improve the sustainability in the last year. I expect there to be some growing pains while fans, players and orgs figure out what to do next. If this is the beginning of a Dota renaissance, then I’m all for it.

Game Changes

In April 2023, Valve released patch 7.33 (affectionately referred to as Dota 3). Along with massively expanding the map, this patch introduced twin gates, 2 Rosh pits, tormentors and an overwhelming amount of other changes. This patch also required all players to recalibrate their MMR in an effort to level the playing field. In theory, this was a great idea. Moving the MMR goalposts to more accurately reflect players’ skill level should result in fewer stomps and truly disheartening matches.

This patch was something the game was sorely in need of. The old format was tired and, well, old. It certainly brought a small surge in players back to the game and brought in a number of new players. But even this isn’t enough.

new frontiers dota patch 7.33

Credit: Dota 2

Jury’s out on new changes in format

Valve has published a number of blogs confirming changes to the way the Dota year in formatted. Instead of a TI-centric approach that saw all events lead to one place, things are set to be more spaced out over the year. Initially, this lead to massive disappointment when battle passes were permanently removed from the game and the pre-TI event didn’t have an arcana.

But if Valve are to be believed, arcanas are coming!

Personally, I quite like the idea of events being spread out. With less focus on TI, there is more reason to keep playing and grinding levels on a more relaxed timescale. But I will riot if they don’t bring back Aghanim’s Labyrinth this year.

How can Valve save Dota 2?

The long and short of it is that a lot needs to be done. The promises made in terms of in-game rewards, events and arcanas need to be delivered, and fast. Consistency and stability in the game itself will lead players to keep coming back for a new event. Custom game modes and more arcade style games can also keep people playing when they need a break from the traditional format.

Lowering the barrier to entry is realistically the only way that Dota will encourage and retain new players. With a more robust training system and quicker, a new generation of gamers may actually want to pick Dota up.

Similarly, there needs to be some measure of structure to pro Dota in a post-DPC world. Relying on third parties to produce more fun and creative tournaments without any input from Valve is unrealistic and frankly laughable given the way they have been treated in the recent past.

Dota 2 isn’t dead yet. But more needs to be done to keep it that way.

Sophie McCarthy

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stratos Sells A330s on behalf of Etihad Airways Previous post Stratos Sells A330s on behalf of Etihad Airways
Aventure Aviation Acquires 21st Boeing 737NG Next post Aventure Aviation Acquires 21st Boeing 737NG