Dota 2 fans have a new reason to celebrate this February, as their favorite game just hit its highest player peak in 20 months.
Dota 2 had a peak player count of 786,118 this January, according to data from Steam Charts. Last month's peak had nearly 100,000 more players than that of January last year, which peaked at just under 700,000 players.
This January's peak is the highest peak player count for Dota 2 since April 2020, when the game peaked with over 800,000 players. Dota 2 also continues to rank highly in Steam's list of most played games, currently holding second place on the platform behind Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
That’s pretty good for a game most players say is “dying”. With that said, Dota 2's latest major update, the 7.30e patch, came out three months ago, so why is the player count rising now? Here are three reasons we believe Dota 2 had a major peak in January:
DOTA: Dragon's Blood
Dota 2 has been playable on steam since 2010 and has topped the Steam charts ever since. The game continues to receive balance patches, new content, and exciting tournaments.
But one of the few things Dota 2 has suffered from is a lack of marketing for the game. Developer Valve Software has relied mostly on massive prize pools of The International (TI) to keep fueling people’s interest in the game. While that works to an extent for professional players, it hasn’t had as much success towards introducing a more casual audience to Dota 2.
That’s where the anime comes in. DOTA: Dragon’s Blood debuted its first season on March 25, 2021, and saw impressive player growth in April thanks to that. Season two of the anime was released on January 18, 2022, topping the Netflix viewing charts in several countries.
With more seasons rumored to be coming out in the future, it’s a great sign for the game that Valve will continue to develop the show and hopefully turn more viewers into Dota 2 players.
The return of Aghanim's Labyrinth
Aghanim's Labyrinth is one of the most popular game modes to have been introduced to Dota 2. The mode allows four players to group up and tackle a dungeon with random rooms and power-ups.
The random nature of the game gives it a strong rouge-like element that keeps people coming back for more. It also has multiple difficulty levels with an emphasis on working together, making it a perfect mode to play with friends.
The Dota Pro Circuit
The Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) took a break in December for players to enjoy the Christmas holiday with friends and family. It’s much-needed time off for pro players who have to give a lot to stay competitive in Dota 2.
After the Christmas break, the DPC continued and featured some of the most hype matches of the Winter Tour.
The Tour ended with multiple regions having to go through a grueling tie-breaker series, most notable being Western Europe’s four-way tiebreaker to establish third and fourth place.
Dota 2’s ever-growing prize pool continues to attract new players, especially younger ones. Such examples include Team Spirit carry player Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk, who won last year’s International at just 18 years old. With daily DPC matches being broadcast, more and more people are getting into Dota 2.
While January 2022 was a certainly a big month for Dota 2, there's a lot more to look forward to in February. The DPC's Winter Regional Finals, which replaced the canceled Winter Major, will take place on the weekends of 11 to 13 February and 18 to 20 February. Following that will be the release of the much-awaited 7.31 patch, which is expected to bring some major changes to the game.
Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.