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News video games 06 January 2020, 19:15

author: Jacob Blazewicz

Dota Underlords has Lost 90% of Players; Dota 2 in Retreat

Dota records a rather poor launch into 2020. In the last 30 days, Dota 2 has recorded the lowest number of people in the game in over six years. That said, only a fraction of the more than 200,000 players who checked Dota Underworlds at launch are playing it now.

The spin-off of the Dota series still has many players, but it has clearly lost following in the past months.

A popular online joke says that Valve not only doesn't know how to count to three, but it also can't make video games anymore. The second of these rumors seems to be false in the light of announcements of Half-Life: Alyx or Artifact. However, if Gabe Newell's company really has some kind aversion to new projects, this may be due to the relatively small success of the publisher's latest titles. This card game is a crowning example of this and, unfortunately, not the last one. As Reddit users have noticed, Dota Underlords also failed to capitalize on its initial success. Within thirty days, the number of people present in the game at the same time did not exceed 19,000, which is less than 10% of the first month's score (via Steam Charts).

Dota Underlords has seen better days. Much better.

It's not a sudden drop. The spin-off of the Dota series has consistently been losing players since its launch. If you want to find the reasons for this, Reddit users point to two issues. The first was the stagnation of the metagame, resulting from the lack of significant changes. For several months, one tactic was enough to prevail in most games, which is not particularly appealing in this type of production. As a result, many people quickly got bored of Dota Underlords, especially as the competing titles regularly modified the balance of the game.

The second problem was the ill-considered changes introduced by the devs, headed by the October Grand Update, which added new characters and the prison system. The latter made it impossible to select certain heroes from each alliance at a given day, which was supposed to force players to experiment with many hero combinations. However, the system turned out to be flawed (some alliances lost almost no efficiency, while others were hardly playable), but it also unnecessarily complicated the fun for newcomers. Valve tried to modify this mechanics in subsequent updates, but eventually gave up in December.

However, before we begin to announce the imminent end of Dota Underlords, it should be noted that the game is still doing well. After half a year, the game remains in the top fifty most popular titles on Steam, which is hardly a shame for the creators. Suffice it to mention that Artifact performed much worse in the first month after launch (although it should be remembered that it was a paid title and not free to play). In addition, the same players who have criticised the development of the game so far seem to have taken a more positive attitude towards the game after the recent modifications.

Dota 2 is still better off than Underlords, but the times of its greatness are probably behind us.

Unfortunately for Valve, it wasn't just Dota spin-off that recorded a drop. After a short rise in popularity in February, Dota 2 started to lose players again, which was visible after weak (for this game) November. Over the last 30 days the game has been played by a maximum of just over 627,000 players at the same time, which is the worst result for this game since the end of 2013. The title is still in the top three most popular game on Steam, but it is far behind Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The latter, after switching to free-to-play, is experiencing a real renaissance, gaining more players in recent months.

Jacob Blazewicz

Jacob Blazewicz

Graduated with a master's degree in Polish Studies from the University of Warsaw with a thesis dedicated to this very subject. Started his adventure with in 2015, writing in the Newsroom and later also in the film and technology sections (also contributed to the Encyclopedia). Interested in video games (and not only video games) for years. He began with platform games and, to this day, remains a big fan of them (including Metroidvania). Also shows interest in card games (including paper), fighting games, soulslikes, and basically everything about games as such. Marvels at pixelated characters from games dating back to the time of the Game Boy (if not older).