For the past two years, Dota 2 has been on the decline. Valve’s hugely popular game ended February 2017 with 1.04M peak players but by the end of 2018, it had lost more than 26% of its players. During the entire 2018, it peaked above 800,000 only four times, two of which were August and September: the months surrounding The International and the release of the latest hero, Grimstroke.
But now, Dota 2 is in a popularity renaissance. The game is putting in numbers it hasn’t seen since that February 2017 peak. According to SteamCharts, the last 30 days have seen an average player count of 567,557. And its peak numbers? SteamDB recorded a peak of 1.007M on Mar. 3.
Dota 2’s current numbers are still a far cry from its best days. In March 2016, the game peaked at 1.29M players, while the month before had the highest average of 709,178. But maybe, the good is yet to come (again) for the father of MOBAs.
The Auto Chess effect
When you Google Dota 2 these days, there’s a good chance Dota 2 Auto Chess appears as a suggestions. The Dota 2 mod made the headlines at the start of 2019 as the new craze. In less than two moths, Auto Chess hit 4M subscribers. Fast forward another three weeks, and it is at almost 5.7M subscribers. Reports are even indicating that Valve might bring developers Drodo Games in-house to develop and commercialize Auto Chess as part of the Valve family.
Read more: Valve eyeballing Auto Chess for potential acquisition
The easy-to-learn, hard-to-mater gameplay of Auto Chess has also attracted players for various scenes outside Dota 2, most notably ones from the Hearthstone community due to its strong likeness to deckbuilding games.
Mars to cross the finish line
What might consistently hold Dota 2 over the 1M line is the release of the new hero Mars. The Sparta-inspired fighter has been out for just one day, but already the Dota 2 community has accumulated 40 years worth of playtime.
Dota 2 fans also have several big tournaments to look forward to. The DreamLeague Major is coming Mar. 14-24, preceded by the already ongoing SLi Minor.
With a new hero in the roster, a flaming-hot mod bringing in new fans and Major tournaments on the calendar, this might be the month Dota 2 goes back to having regular seven-figure numbers