Dota 2 is a 2013 multiplayer online battle arena video game and the stand-alone sequel to the Defense of the Ancients (DotA) Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne mod. Developed by Valve Corporation, Dota 2 was released as a free-to-play title for Microsoft Windows, OS X and Linux in July 2013, concluding a Windows-only public beta testing phase that began in 2011. The game is available exclusively through Valve's content-delivery platform, Steam.
Dota 2 is played in discrete matches involving two five-player teams, each of which occupies a stronghold at a corner of the map. Each stronghold contains a building called the "Ancient", which the opposite team must destroy to win the match. Each player controls a "Hero" character and focuses on leveling up, collecting gold, acquiring items and fighting against the other team to achieve victory.
Development of Dota 2 began in 2009, when the developer of the DotA mod, IceFrog, was hired by Valve as lead designer. Dota 2 was praised by video game critics, who lauded its rewarding gameplay, enhanced production quality and faithfulness to its predecessor. However, the game was criticized for its steep learning curve and inhospitable community. Dota 2 has become the most actively played game on Steam, with daily peaks of over 800,000 concurrent players.
Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena game; its gameplay focuses on combat in a three-dimensional environment, presented from an oblique high-angle perspective. The player may command a single controllable character called a "Hero", which is chosen from a selection pool of 108. Each Hero begins the match at level one but becomes more powerful by accumulating experience through combat, thereby leveling up. With every level gained the maximum is twenty-five the player may either select a new ability for their Hero to learn or enhance their general statistics. Each Hero's method of combat is influenced by its primary property: Strength, Agility, or Intelligence.
Dota 2 features a host of items, which the player may store in a small inventory. These items are acquired predominantly through purchase with gold, the in-game currency. Items vary in function: some enhance the statistics of a Hero, while others grant additional abilities. The player automatically receives small increments of gold continuously, though they can obtain more by destroying enemies. Killing non-player characters grants gold only to the player who lands the final blow, whereas killing enemy Heroes grants gold to the player's nearby allies as well. Destroying Towers or killing Roshan gives gold to all players on the team. "Denying" is a feature of the game where players inhibit the enemy's ability to accumulate gold and experience by killing an allied unit or destroying an allied structure before the enemy can do so.