Dota's perpetual novelty in one chart
Some games become legend, some games fizzle out, but 12 years after the original Dota mod was unleashed on unsuspecting Warcraft 3 players, people still can't get enough of the game that started a genre. Now one rather clever individual thinks he knows why.
Joe F. Kelley, mathematician and programmer, has created a table plotting the popularity of all Dota heroes from January 2013 through patch 6.83 using data from community statistical mainstay, datDota (you can view a static version of the chart below, but click through for the full experience). At first blush, the silly-string forest of rising and falling plots is nothing more than opaque data porn, but mousing over one hero at a time tells a more subtle story.What Kelley's plot unwittingly reveals is that Dota's pool of popular heroes is in constant flux, creating a fresh experience from month to month. There are exceptions—Spirit Breaker's gimmicky kit can't seem to catch a break—but even Batrider, who sat at the top of the charts for 10 solid months, eventually took a nosedive in lieu of other options.
The whole chart is a chronicle of the competitive sphere, telling robust stories for those with knowledge of the timeline. For those with a less obsessive memory of Dota esports to date, it's still a really cool look at the ever-changing nature of the original MOBA at its highest level.
H/T Kill Screen | Illustration by Jason Reed