Every Dota 2 game is canon in Dota 2’s lore, here’s how

By Kenneth Williams

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Sep 20, 2021

Reading time: 3 min

Many Dota 2 mechanics seem entirely separated from the lore, but everything from cosmetics to respawns have in-game lore explanations. 

Games like Undertale and The Elder Scrolls franchise have lore explanations for why the player can save and load, but Dota 2 takes that idea one step further. Valve’s MOBA has actual lore explanations for why the battle of the ancients happens over and over again with slightly different results each time. Read on to learn how every match represents an alternate reality in the world of Dota 2.

Hero respawns are explained in Pudge’s lore

Pudge the Butcher is the most popular hero in Dota 2 history, so it’s fitting that his home location is the Dota 2 map itself. In Pudge’s lore, he’s specified as the gruesome guardian of the Fields of Endless Carnage, a battlefield where bodies refuse to rot and even spontaneously revive. The Fields of Endless Carnage have never appeared on any map because it’s been right in front of the player this whole time. 

This popular theory explains several mechanics, including why heroes are able to respawn after dying. Hero corpses simply refuse to rot and come back to life after a period of time. It also neatly ties into Pudge’s popularity. The battle of the ancients always takes place in Pudge’s backyard, so it makes sense for him to show up so often.

Every Dota 2 match is an alternate universe

The war for the ancients has already been settled millions of times by now, so why do the radiant and dire ancients continue to fight? The answer lies in their mysterious powers. When one ancient is on the verge of defeat, it uses the last of its powers to transport itself and its enemy into an alternate reality. The stage is reset and the battle plays out again, this time with a completely different progression.

For Dota 2 players, this explains why every match of Dota 2 is slightly different. Each match represents an alternate universe for the battle of the ancients, complete with new warriors, strategies, and results. The ancients brainwash legendary heroes to fight for them, but the exact lineups change from timeline to timeline. This theory even accounts for balance updates, patches, and map changes throughout Dota 2 history.

Dota 2 cosmetics represent alternate reality heroes

Valve has chosen to monetize Dota 2 with a massive amount of cosmetics, and these too come with an in-game explanation. Dota 2 cosmetics are meant to represent an alternate reality version of every hero. They keep the basic lore intact but show that the hero has gone through different experiences on their way to defend the ancients. Some Dota 2 cosmetics just show a different set of clothing while others imply entirely new backstories.

For example, Bounty Hunter’s lore can radically change depending on his equipped set. The Black Blades of the Qaldin Assassin reimagines Gondar as a royal assassin of the desert kingdom Qaldin. Equipping the Giant Hunter sets turns Gondar from a fugitive tracker to a monster slayer, complete with trading his signature shuriken for a set of arrows. These lore changes apply to nearly every set in Dota 2, but they’re especially noticeable on arcanas and hero personas.

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