DotA 2 is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena or MOBA game developed by Valve Corporation which was based on the original game Defense of the Ancients or DOTA. The game is played by two teams of five players whose primary aim is to take over the opponents’ base located at the corner of the map. It was released to all the major PC platforms in July 2013 and has since grown to become one of the most popular games both in the games sector and on the Esports scene.
The game has been that popular in fact, that it has been the subject of machine learning experiments where AI has developed the capability to defeat professionals. Some have veered away from DOTA 2 and have gone for alternative MOBA’s such as League of Legends with the main reasons being the learning curve in DOTA stats which has been said to be very steep in comparison and it’s overall complexity in comparison to League for example. However, it is this challenge that some players take in their stride.
HOW HAVE THE PROFESSIONALS FARED AGAINST THE AI?
The team responsible for developing the AI application that is facing some of the best DOTA 2 players in the world is that of OPEN AI. Now you might be wondering just how has the AI managed to get so good? It is through machine learning; the AI will play hundreds of thousands of simulated games of DOTA 2 not necessarily winning each time but learning from its past mistakes. The total playing time between human players and the Open AI 5 was a staggering 10.7 YEARS.
Once the developers thought it had got to a good enough stage to be pitted against the professionals, the battle was on. There have been a total of 7,257 matches between humans and the ‘Open AI Five’ in which the AI won a total of 4,075 games. The humans on the other hand only won 42 times forfeiting a staggering 3,140. Yes, the Open AI Five had a win rate or 99.4%. Once they had overcome this obstacle, they started allowing players to mix with the AI players in a co-operative game mode. This might seem like a humiliating defeat for the human professionals; however, the AI still lacks a game plan.
Despite it having learnt plenty of ways to counter nearly every strategy with the game, with every update arrives a new learning curve or an opportunity for the human players to get ahead. It should also be noted that specific in-game mechanics had been removed for the games that the AI played in including invulnerable couriers which previously had been a viable option for couriering essential items such as healing potions to the player so that an attack could be sustained.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Away from the AI side of things, DOTA 2 has a very bright future. Just last year The International tournament had the biggest pot in the whole of E-Sports exceeding a staggering $25,000,000 with the winning team taking home over $11,200,000.
Many of the wealthiest E-Sports players in the world, for this reason, are DOTA 2 players, and despite its relatively low player base in comparison to other games such as League of Legends, the player base remains loyal, competitive and motivated to see the game succeed in the E-Sports world.
DOTA 2 has stayed ahead of the rest when it comes to E-Sports; it is just ahead of CS: GO in number one spot, and it doesn’t look like it will be knocked off its perch anytime soon.