A Brief Introduction
Defense of the Ancients 2 (DOTA 2) is the second installment, and most recent update, to one of the most popular MOBAs currently available. It’s a free to play online battle arena game that is developed and published by Valve Corporation. The original conception was developed by relatively unknown game designer Eul and was a Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos mod. After Blizzard released The Frozen Throne expansion pack in 2003, various clones of the DOTA mod were developed. IceFrog would eventually end up as one of the lead game developers, and Valve quickly took notice and began to correspond with him on the direction of the game.
Valve’s interest in DOTA 2 expanded to include Team Fortress designer Robin Walker and programmer Adrian Finol, who eventually hired IceFrog to lead a Valve development team on the creation of the current DOTA 2 game. It wouldn’t be until 2010, when Game Informer released an article detailing the game development, that DOTA 2 was confirmed (the resulting news and incoming traffic on GI crashed their servers).
The early development goals for Valve was to port all of the successful aspects of the original DOTA mod over to the new Source engine while also expanding the game’s framework. A profile matchmaking feature was developed in order to further expand on the game’s competitive scene and match players with similar skill levels in order to even out the competition. Valve’s other main goal was the make sure the game felt like a continuation of the previous game’s predecessor. To that extent, Valve brought in the original game developer, Eul, to help assist in the creative process. They also brought in former loading screen artist Kendrick Lim and the Warcraft III music composer, Jason Hayes.
To further accommodate the needs of DOTA 2, Valve engineers updated the Source engine framework in order to build high end models and improve global lighting. Having the game on the Steam platform, and it’s ever growing gaming community, also provided an excellent platform to promote a competitive scene. In 2012, tournament support was added to the game. The ability to spectate competitive games was also developed.
To a large extent, one of the reason’s DOTA 2 has been so successful is their commitment to getting the community involved. Much like the cornerstone of Counter-Strike, DOTA 2 used player feedback for balancing, map updates, and to continue the overall direction of the game. DOTA 2 has recently transitioned to the new Source 2 Engine, further providing a platform for innovation. While initially the player base was in decline due to a few technical bugs (player base fell off by 16% in September of 2015), DOTA 2 still remains one of the largest MOBAs on the market.
Betting on DOTA 2
Much like other popular eSports games, there are a number of ways to bet on DOTA 2. If you don’t want to use real money to bet with or just want to practice first, there are numerous companies that allow betting with virtual currency (Unikrn) or with skins (DOTA 2 Lounge). As always, making smart bets is the number one goal. If you’re new to the competitive scene of DOTA 2, the research required to make consistent and valuable bets can have a huge learning curve. The first step is to analyze the current competitive teams and formulate your own opinion on how a team performs against certain teams or in tournaments. Most teams and individual players will stream on services such as Twitch.tv, and previous competitions and tournaments can be found on YouTube. General practice is to evaluate the competition, formulate an opinion on a matchup, and pick a valued bet that you feel confident in making.
Like any sports, upsets happen. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to bet on teams that have an 80% or higher win rate. A $20 bet would only net a $4 payout or less, all at the chance of losing your $20 for essentially a low return. Finding a high bet, or where the odds are closer to 60-70%, are considered valuable bets. Medium bets, or where the competition has odds of 50-60% per team of winning, is also important to look at. Essentially the teams are even in competition, but if the bettor has done their homework, they may find subtle differences that would incline them to pick the winning team. It’s important to make bets on games you have an ample amount of information about (I strongly recommend not betting on games that you can find no information on). Once you start betting just because everyone else is can lead to problems. Always make informative bets.
Develop an Edge
Whether you’re using a sportsbook to bet on DOTA 2 (you can check out our reviews to find a suitable bookmaker) with real currency or just betting with skins on Unikrn or DOTA 2 Lounge, always check out the odds on multiple sources. DOTA 2 Lounge has their own odds, which takes into account the community feedback on who they expect to win. Don’t use the odds as real time data, but they’re good to take into consideration when looking at other bookie odds. Always check out other people’s opinions as well. Reddit and Facebook have thriving communities that go into detail on each team and popular opinions on who will win. Popular websites like Play play DOTA and Join DOTA have current rankings, team information, streams, replays, stats, and a plethora of other information that can be used to make informative bets. Gosu Gamers also has player feedback reports and a community dedicated to just discussing the professional competition.
Making your Bet
Just like most eSports, DOTA 2 has typical bets between two teams facing off against each other. Going into a competitive tournament, the first thing you want to do is look for valuable bets. We’ve outlined what high, medium, and low bet values are, so now we want to look for one of those medium-high bets that will return a maximum profit. Generally I don’t want to all-in one matchup, so if I’m looking to spend $20 I’ll bet on 2-3 matchups. This would be a theoretical bet:
In matchup 1, Team A (LGD) has a 75% chance of winning over Team B (Alliance). I feel confident in LGD winning, so I bet $16 with a payout of $4.
In matchup 2, Team A (Evil Geniuses) has an 85% chance of winning against Team B (Invictus Gaming). I know Invictus Gaming has historically played decent against Evil Geniuses in the past, and I feel they have a slight chance of getting the upset. I bet $2 on Invictus Gaming with a potential payout of $10.
The most likely outcome is that I win the bet for Matchup 1 and lose the bet on the second matchup. The end result is I come out even on the day. However, if I win Matchup 2, then I end the day up $14.
There are other unique bets that can be made, as well as multiplier (accumulator) bets for higher returns. If you don’t fancy betting on just head-to-head matchups, you can always find bookmakers with prop bets, such as the team with the most kills, the team to get first blood, the most towers taken down, etc. As always, have fun with betting. While a select few make it into a career, the majority of people are just casual bettors. Unless you’ve had years of experience, make smaller bets until you have full confidence in your skills.