Amid falling numbers, fans wonder if Dota 2 is doomed to die

By Neslyn Apduhan


Mar 2, 2020

Reading time: 2 min

A viral video on YouTube claims that Dota 2 is slowly dying. It’s a subject fans have increasingly discussed given falling player counts and other worrying metrics around the popular MOBA.

The video was released on the YouTube channel Elwono. Wono is a content creator who started a French Minecraft channel in 2011. He began producing Dota 2 videos in 2014 and reached 1.1 million views in just six months. He owns a couple of YouTube channels that were both well received by the Dota 2 fans. Midormeepo and elwono have a total of more than 75 million views.

Recently, he posted a video that tackles the underlying problems of Dota 2 and reasons that the game was regarded as a dead game for several years.

The low player count in Dota 2 has created a buzz within the community. It reached its lowest point at 378,925 in January 2020. This was the lowest recorded number of average players since December 2013.

The community was alarmed. Several pointed to toxicity and smurfs in-game as culprits. Others blamed it on the long queue times and the broken ranked matchmaking system.

It’s safe to assume that Valve did not turn a blind eye to these issues. The developer continues to impose wave bans and improve the options for matchmaking. But it seems that these efforts are not yet enough to bring back Dota 2’s glory days.

Dota 2 fans debate reasons behind low player numbers

In his video, Wono identified several “cursed problems,” or unsolvable design problems that were deeply rooted in the system.

One of the most notable cursed problems cited was skill inflation. Dota 2 players matured together with the game and they have a deeper understanding of the game mechanics.

On the other hand, there’s a huge learning curve for newbies in Dota 2. The complexity of the game might hinder their ability to have a good experience when they begin playing.

The learning environment is also negatively affected by smurfs. Players who find it hard to advance their ranks tend to create new accounts and bully newer players.

Wono proposed an idea to create games that could potentially be without rank or calibration for new players to learn. Scored games will be for experienced players who want to start in a clean slate and calibrate their ranks.

Dota 2 relies on a strong community

“Many people think that it’s Valve’s responsibility to make Dota 2 great again but that’s only half true,” Wono said in his video.

He encouraged the community to talk more about the game, implement initiatives that will attract new players, support tournaments, and create memes. He told fans that memes revived Minecraft in mid-2019.

Despite of the low player base, the game’s viewership has remained strong. Tournaments provide high-quality entertainment and show the undying support of fans. This is evident in the annual record-breaking prize pool of The International.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of The International. Valve teased fans with a video commemorating the previous iterations of the event.

The highly anticipated event will surely inspire fans to get back to the game.