Dendi discusses Dota 2 player count, The International 2020

Olivia R. January 12, 2020

The WePlay! Bukovel Minor had a number of heavily credentialed players in attendance. Nigma brought in a former The International-winning squad, three members of the 2015 Evil Geniuses lineup were competing, and other proven stars like Xie "Super" Junhao and Jacky "EternaLEnVy" Mao were all competing. But for many fans, these stars still paled in comparison to a legend of the game.

Also in attendance was Dota 2 legend Danil "Dendi" Ishutin. The longtime Natus Vincere mid laner was working the Russian analyst desk for the tournament, giving his insight on how the games were playing out and the emotional state the different teams might be in.

During the event, Dendi sat down with WIN.gg to talk all things Dota 2.

How do you feel about Dota 2 minor in Bukovel?

Dendi: Overall I’m super happy that someone is willing to do something like that. It’s very big to do a minor in a ski resorts in Ukraine. This is crazy. I would never expect someone would bring all this. It’s a lot of hard work. I appreciate the work they’re doing. I’m really happy to be here. I had some fun with my family [for the holidays]. Awesome that Dota is worldwide and moving here. I’m super happy about that.

Do you feel that Outlanders was a step in the right direction for Dota 2?

Overall I like it. I have no idea if it’s a step in the right direction or not. But I enjoy it. I like item drops. It feels like it’s bringing more randomness and disbalance to the game. But in time it will get balanced I’m pretty sure. All the small patches leading up to this big patch were pretty good.

Maybe I would love some moves where skill is worth more than it is now. Right now, team play is more important than skill in a way. Like people who play matchmaking. In matchmaking you don’t play as a group of people. To enjoy the game, you need to communicate with people. It’s a very, very, very team dependent game in a way. But you rarely have five people. It’s hard for many people to find a group. When you play alone, it’s hard to get joy.

What are your thoughts on the two new heroes, Snapfire and Void Spirit?

I haven’t played a single game with either of the heroes. I try different ways. Like when Mars came out, I was just spamming this hero out like crazy. Now I feel pretty good with him, I feel comfortable. When S and VS came out, I decided I’m not going to play the heroes until they get nerfed to a level where they’ll be playable, and then maybe I’d start practicing the hero if it’s for a five position or not. Of course I’m going to try Snapfire, too. The heroes look fun, for sure. I really like when you can get creative and be crazy with heroes. I enjoy those are heroes.

But they’re very annoying when I’m playing against them. Shooting me out of 3,000 range like crazy. Jumping up to me. Void Spirit was insane in the laning phase. I’m so happy that he got nerfed a few times, you know?

What is your take on the LoL vs Dota 2 debate?

Well, I don’t want to say too much because people may take it out of context and use it somewhere. I played both games. I played LoL in 2011, around 2,000 games. I have some opinions but I’m sure the game changed in a lot of ways since that time. So maybe I shouldn’t say my opinion. Overall, Dota is a better game. Simple as that. But I don’t want to say anything else. Dota gives you more creative plays and more opportunity to do crazy things. Dota is a chess table with 100,000 pieces, LoL is 10,000 pieces. That’s my comparison. But both games are really good either way.

Is it still too early to pick a favorite for The International 2020?

It’s still way too early. A lot of things can change for many different reasons. Overall, TI coming to Europe is cool. [The first time] was the first TI. Not many people know what’s going to happen? But what’s going to happen at TI…It’s going to be wild. It’s going to be crazy. People have been waiting for it to come to Europe. There’s an insane amount of people from Europe who are fans of Dota 2 and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be big.

What do you think is the reason that Dota 2 player count is declining?

It’s very hard to answer that question. I enjoy the game myself when I play, so everything is right for me. But maybe there are some steps that need to be done to make it more enjoyable for people who are playing it for fun. People who are matchmaking with friends might need tweaks in that direction. I can understand that. Matchmaking is a tough place to be sometimes. It’s really rough. But competitive Dota is amazing. I’m really enjoying it.