Dota 2 has been on active release for nine years as of today. It exited its beta testing phase on July 9th, 2013.

Dota 2 celebrates a major anniversary today as the game official left beta and was released fully on Steam nine years ago. Dota 2 left the open beta testing phase and was released on Steam on July 9th, 2013. 

The game released alongside a post on the Dota 2 website titled “The Beta is Over.” This piece of Dota 2 history is thankfully still available on the Dota 2 website, and you can nostalgically pour over the post yourself. 

There are some interesting artifacts in that post, such as references to a cluster of servers in Korea. Dota 2 famously never had the success in Korea it hoped for, losing out in the MOBA genre to rival League of Legends. As referenced in the post, publisher Nexon would handle distribution and server management in Korea, similar to how Perfect World does to this day in China. Nexon ended its support for Dota 2 in 2015, and Korean Dota 2 players are now served through the Steam Client. 

There are also pictures of the servers in Luxembourg, which we can only assume are the objects to blame for every lag spike we’ve ever experienced in EU servers.

Dota 2’s servers in Luxembourg (Image via Valve)

Dota 2’s monumental launch

The game left beta on July 9th but continued to receive rapid-fire updates for much of the year. Can you believe that five heroes were added to the game after the official release during the rest of 2013? The first game was just three days after release, when Abaddon was added to the on July 12th. Earth Spirit, Ember Spirit, Legion Commander, and Wraith King were all added in the months following Dota 2 leaving beta testing.

Dota 2 launched with a server capacity for around 550,000 total players: Around 100,000 from the closed and open betas and 450,000 on release. But Dota 2’s popularity exploded beyond that scope rapidly, eventually rising to peak players of around 700,000 in 2013 before growing to 900,000 in 2014, 1.2 million in 2015, and settling at approximately 1 million per month in both 2016 and 2017, according to numbers on Steamcharts. The game averages around 450,000 players a day on Steam.

Nine years on, and few games in the world can claim to still retain the popularity that Dota 2 has. And with an animated series, new heroes still releasing, and TI11 on the horizon, it feels like Dota 2 could have at least another nine years of life in its old (for a video game) bones. 

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Michael Hassall -

Michael Hassall

| Twitter: @hoffasaurusx

Michael is a UK-based content creator who caught the esports bug in 2010, but took eight years to figure out he should write about it. Throwing away a promising career in marketing and PR, he now specialises in MOBAs, covering League of Legends, Dota 2, and esports in general since 2019. When not glued to tournaments taking place on the other side of the globe, he spends time nurturing an unhealthy addiction to MMOs and gacha games.