Dota 2 is an Action RTS game developed by Valve Corporation. After a lengthy two year beta period, the game was officially released in July 2013 as a free-to-play game supported by cosmetic microtransactions. Dota 2 is the standalone remake of Defense of the Ancients, a WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne custom game that continues to be developed by IceFrog. Though not the same original DotA that first appeared on WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos, IceFrog’s version of DotA and consequently Dota 2 represent the archetypical MOBA game.
A typical Dota 2 match is played 5v5 with each player selecting a hero character with unique traits and abilities. One team claims victory by destroying the opposing team’s Ancient, a building located deep within enemy territory. At the start of each match, heroes start off fairly weak and must become more powerful by accumulating gold and experience. This can be achieved by defeating AI-controlled creeps and buildings, and occasionally opposing heroes.
Dota 2 is built in an extensively modified Source engine. As such, the game has very generous graphics hardware requirements. All in-game graphic options were set to their maximum settings while VSync was disabled. The console command “fps_max 1000” was used to virtually uncap the maximum framerate. Dota 2 has arguably the best replay system ever implemented in an RTS making it easy to benchmark the game. FRAPS was used to benchmark a particularly intense replay sequence popularly called the $6 Million Slam during Game 4 of the grand final set at The International 2015 tournament.
Benchmark Results: The ASUS STRIX GTX 950 DirectCU II OC 2GB video card and the XFX Radeon HD 6950 1GB had nearly identical graphics performance replaying the intense $6 Million Slam in Dota 2. We see the GTX 950 averaging 85 FPS and the HD 6950 averaging 84 FPS. CPU bottlenecking is likely occurring.
Benchmark Results: Frame times for both the Radeon HD 6950 and GeForce GTX 950 follow the same pattern though there is slightly more variance from the GTX 950 which has a standard deviation of 2.80 compared to 2.63 from the HD 6950.
We opted not to use Dota 2 Reborn, a mostly functional port of Dota 2 in the Source 2 engine currently in beta testing. It’s buggy and its spectator replay features don’t always work nicely. Yet, we won’t forget about it and it may be worth examining again in the future.