When the name “Defence of the Ancients” first appeared as a humble fan-made map for Warcraft 3, I bet nobody could have predicted the sheer impact the title would have on the esports community. Released in 2003, the mod would go on to capture the hearts and minds of millions of gamers worldwide - and become one of the three core pillars that the entirety of the booming esports industry rests on.

Dota 2

Just like StarCraft is a mother of competitive RTS (Real-Time Strategy), Counter-Strike is the inspiration for all the team-based FPS (First Person Shooters), Dota AllStars defined MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) genre, spawning one of the most prolific esports segments. Nearly two decades of history makes for plenty of interesting stories - especially when it comes to the passionate bunch that makes up the Dota community.

Let’s take a look at some of the examples that define Dota’s community. Since the first professional leagues ages ago, there should be plenty of fun stuff to choose from!

The timeless one

Let’s open up with the most obvious fact of them all - but it still doesn’t make it any less interesting. With all the hype around Dota 2’s incredible longevity in the intro, we just couldn’t pass an opportunity to introduce you to a legendary player whose career spans almost the entirety of professional Dota’s lifespan. Those in the know can guess who he is already, but if you don’t - meet Jonathan “Loda” Berg, the longest-standing still-active member of the Dota pro community!

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Having started his professional career as a player in 2006 in Dota AllStars, the Swedish player would later become synonymous with the name Alliance as he rallied his team to victory on the highest stage of Dota 2 tournaments, The International 2013. So if you have any doubts about if it’s too late to start working on your passion - don’t give up, as Loda’s perseverance allowed him to complete this 7-year-old journey to the top. But the player didn’t give up there, either - his quest in Alliance, first as a player, then as a coach, is still far from over - for a total of 17 years in the midst of professional Dota. Here’s to his health!

Running before you can walk

We’ve seen a story about perseverance - how about another, this time about speedrunning? A European team OG made history by winning two The International events back-to-back in 2018 and 2019. That achievement list itself is already impressive, but there’s one little-known fact that makes this feat even more mindblowing.

Dota2 Champion Earn Wimbledon 05
OG won more than $15 million

The legendary roster consisting of Anathan “ana” Pham, Sebastian “Ceb” Debs, Johan “N0tail” Sundstein, Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka, and Topias Miikka “Topson” Taavitsainen have played just 127 pro games of Dota 2 together at the time of their second trophy at The International 2019. Out of these games, 73 were a part of The International.

Usually, champions are made with years of practice and bonding, but the star OG roster only formed right before TI qualifiers. The funniest part about all of it is - even after their victory in The International 2018, the rest of Dota 2 tier-1 events of the next year didn’t go too well for the team, as they finished in the 5-6th places in MDL Paris Major and 7-8th place in EPICENTER 2019 Dota 2 championships- before proceeding to smash their competition at the highest stage once again. Talk about showing up in important matches!

The biggest stage - literally

With all the talk about it, we all know that The International is the absolute centerpiece of Dota 2 lifecycle. The prestige, the competition, the stakes - they’re all high. So high, in fact, that calling it simply “high” is quite an understatement - The International blows any other esports tournament out of the water with its sheer scale, and, especially, its prize pool.

The International
The International is the biggest DOTA 2 tournament and one of the biggest gaming tournament in the world

As it is the crown jewel of Dota 2 events, each professional year ends with this massive esports festival - and we’ve had 10 of them so far. While the very first TI started off at an already impressive prize pool of $1 600 000 in 2011, the game’s publishers decided that it wasn’t quite enough for their taste. Pledging their efforts to only improve the quality of the event, they kept growing it larger and larger with each year - and due to the previously mentioned long history of the discipline, The International 2021 boasted an eye-watering prize pool of whopping $40,018,195, no dollar less!

Just to give some perspective here - Dota 2’s direct competitor, League of Legends, featured a prize pool of $2,225,000 for its main event of 2021, the Worlds Championship 2021.

Kill ‘Em With Kindness

Despite all the wonderful things about the Dota 2 community, the problem with in-game toxicity is very much a real issue - just like in all MOBAs. There’s just something in the genre that makes your heart pump with excitement - making every win an adrenaline rush and every loss into… well, you know.

Dota Caster Tobiwan Responds To Accusations Of Sex
Famous DOTA 2 caster TobiWan ahs retired from the DOTA 2 scene

In this kinda environment, people who keep their heads cool are regarded as gods. Ninjas in Pyjamas’ Saahil Arora, better known under his tag Universe, is one example of that. No wonder - having won The International 2015, the man knows that he’s got nothing else to prove - he’s already the best! Upon meeting a “slightly” toxic low MMR player during his stream, who raged and flamed him the entire game, the end result couldn’t be anymore hilarious!

The Two Ancients

It’s always fun to go to the extremes - in entertainment, at least. One such extreme is the good old “who played the longest game ever” question. Once again, Dota 2 is way ahead of its competition - while League of Legends esports fans shudder at the thought of a 80-minute-long game, Dota 2 fans laugh at their rookie numbers after witnessing the game that lasted over 3 hours. #StayWinning

You heard it right: an SLTV Star Series Season 12 match between Cloud9 and ScaryFaceZombies got so out of control that it lasted 200 minutes. To add to the horror, it was only the second map of a best-of-3 series - and it went to map 3, as well.

The shadowy mastermind

It’s only fair that we end these facts on the most important member of the Dota community. Although he is not a caster or a pro player, many have heard of him - and we wouldn’t have the scene as we know it if not for his efforts. Talking about IceFrog, of course - the one man without who we wouldn’t have our beloved game.

Dota 2 Code

While other lead developers oftentimes elect to plaster their name all over the game’s fandom - and in the case of PUBG, literally add their own name to the title of the final product. The same can’t be any less true when it comes to Dota devs. One of the three project leads that ever graced Dota, IceFrog, is famous for two things - the level of polish he added to the beloved game, and his commitment to remain anonymous.

Despite having worked on the game for the longest time - ever since 2006 - IceFrog is shrouded by a mist of enigma. We can officially say that Dota has the humblest community - after all, it was created not for clout, but for the soul! IceFrog has revealed so little about himself - not even his name! Although some nosy people out there have figured it out in 2017, I won’t tell you that out of respect for him. I didn’t tell you nothing!

>>> Read more: Top 3 Dota 2 Team To Win The Internationals