Olivia R. October 30, 2019
Over the last 30 days, Dota 2 has seen the lowest average player count the game's had since January 2014.
The 30-day average that makes up October thus far is 398,566. According to Steam Charts, this is 5,000 more players than Dota 2's lowest player count of all time back in 2014.
Ever since that January, Dota 2's player count has continued to climb. In fact, it's never dipped below the 400,000 average since that month five years ago. Until now. This October marks the end of Dota 2's five-year streak of surpassing the 400,000 player average.
If this trend continues into November, Dota 2 will have lost more than 100,000 players since August.
Dota 2's low player count in 2019
Dota 2's player count tends to rise around the time of The International each year, and then slowly lose players after the hype of that year's International tournament concludes.
But this month fell well below what has normally been the pattern for players coming and going.
Many Dota 2 players feel as though Valve is to blame, since they don't advertise the game to new players or provide support for users new to Dota 2. While this may be the case, gamers have been saying for years that the game has a toxic community that not only drives away new players, but has veterans quitting as well.
"I stopped playing and ended up uninstalling steam after TI. All I played was hard support and just get nothing but treated like shit, blamed for everything. It becomes very unfun and toxic, so I just start to throw the match," one user said when the game started dipping in player count.
Another issue has been the MMR rankings, which leaves new players often facing hardcore players they aren't prepared for.
Another player confirmed that they were a new player that wasn't having fun on Dota 2 thanks to "getting grouped up against people with over 1,000 games." They noted that they can't train or get better when they're just getting constantly "shred to pieces."
Dota 2 Outlanders update may help player count
A major update is coming to Dota 2 in November. Dota 2 fans are hoping the Outlanders Update will shake up the meta, which has became quite stale during the last few months and TI9. This will hopefully bring about a bigger carry pool, since safe laners often feel underpowered in the current patch.
Carry picks like Juggernaut, Slark, and Lifestealer were nerfed ahead of TI9. Alchemist followed. While Dota 2 players aren't asking for hard carries to also be great laners, they're beginning to get sick of playing off-laners in the safe lane, like Night Stalker or Bristleback.
If this is addressed in Outlanders, along with some updates to the MMR ranking system, Dota 2 could see not only a huge player spike around its release, but also a steady increase of players well after.