Defense of the Ancients (DotA) came out in 2003 as a mod for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (Blizzard Entertainment). It was a critical success and is now widely considered as one of the cornerstones of the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre.

Fast-forward to 2009, Valve hired Dota’s lead designer to direct a sequel, which would become Dota 2. It wasn’t a smooth ride for Valve, however. Their ownership of the rights to the Dota name was challenged over the succeeding years. Blizzard and several of the DotA mod creators disputed Valve’s claim to the Dota trademark. Eventually, all the legal hullabaloo was settled and Valve was able to secure its ownership of the franchise. Like its predecessor, Dota 2 garnered universal acclaim. It’s become a popular esports title and a cross-media hit as well.

For a title that came out in 2013, Dota 2 still has a considerable number of live stream viewers. The game has over 12 million hours of watch time on Twitch as of the writing of this article. If you want to jumpstart your live-streaming career, then Dota 2 is a very good place to start. As always, we’re here to help you set up your first Dota 2 live Twitch stream.

Dota 2 PC and Mac Requirements

Dota 2 is not a new game and doesn’t require a lot of computing juice. Most, if not all, computers today will run this game without problems. Nonetheless, here are the minimum requirements for playing Dota 2 on PC and Mac.

Minimum requirements for PC

OS: Windows 7 or newer

CPU: Dual-core from Intel or AMD at 2.8 GHz


GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8600/9600GT, ATI/AMD Radeon HD2600/3600

DirectX: Version 9.0c

Network: Broadband Internet

Storage: 15 GB

Sound: DirectX Compatible

Minimum requirements for Mac

OS: OS X Mavericks 10.9 or newer

CPU: Dual-core from Intel


GPU: NVIDIA 320M or higher, or Radeon HD 2400 or higher, or Intel HD 3000 or higher

Network: Broadband Internet

Storage: 15 GB

Dota 2 Twitch Streaming Guide

We’ll use OBS Studio as our Dota 2 streaming software since it’s 100% free and highly customizable. It also conveniently connects to your Twitch account for added functionality and ease of logging in. Let’s get to it.

  1. Create a Twitch account and set up your profile.
  2. Download and install OBS Studio. It’s available for both PC and Mac.
  3. Allow OBS administrator access to your computer.
  4. Run OBS and cancel the “Auto-Configuration Wizard”.
  5. Go to “Settings”.
  6. In “Videos”, set both “Base” and “Output” resolutions to 1080p. Click “Apply” then “OK”.
  7. Go to “Output”, then “Output Mode”, and select “Advanced”.
  8. On the “Streaming” tab, select your GPU (Nvidia or AMD) if possible. You can choose to have your CPU (x264) as your encoder but we recommend using your dedicated graphics card even for not-so-demanding games, like Dota 2.
  9. Set the bitrate to between 3500 to 5000 kbps. This is the recommended range for Twitch. Your internet connection must sustain an upload speed of 6 Mbps.
  10. Click “Apply” then “OK”.
  11. You will be sent to OBS’s main dashboard where you’ll compose your scenes by setting audiovisual sources.
  12. Rename the preloaded item in the “Scene” box on OBS’s main interface as you see fit by right-clicking and selecting “Rename”.
  13. Run Dota 2 on your machine in fullscreen or windowed borderless mode.
  14. On the “Sources” box beside “Scenes”, add your gameplay video by clicking the “+” sign. You can also right-click then “Add”. Select “Game Capture”.
    • In properties, select “Capture any fullscreen application” from “Mode” then “OK”.
    • OBS should detect the game as a fullscreen program. You should see it in the preview box.
    • If, for any reason, “Capture any fullscreen application” doesn’t work, double-click “Game Capture” on the “Sources” box. From the “Mode” dropdown, choose “Capture specific window”. Select Dota 2 from the “Window” dropdown. Then hit “OK”.
    • Right-click on it, then go to “Transform”’, then select “Fit to Screen” if your video doesn’t take up the entire screen in the preview area.
  15. Adding a facecam is optional but recommended for better viewer engagement. Connect a webcam to your computer. Add another video source within the same scene as your gameplay and select “Video Capture Device”. Choose “Create new” then “OK”. Select your webcam from the “Device” dropdown then “OK”. The webcam input will pop up in the preview box.
  16. Click on the camera feed on the layout and drag the red border to resize your webcam capture. Hold down the ‘alt’ key to crop.
  17. Click on the webcam display in the preview box and drag it to wherever you want it on your layout.
  18. Layer your facecam over the gameplay by selecting it on the “Source” panel and then dragging it up so it’s above the game capture source on the list.
  19. Hide and unhide sources by clicking on the eye icon next to their label.
  20. Add a placeholder or intermission scene by creating a new scene and using whatever display source you want.
    • Your “Sources” choices are single images, image slideshow, media files (audio and video), and even a web browser.
    • Switch between scenes by clicking on them on the “Scenes” box.
  21. If you have a microphone connected to your machine, OBS should detect it automatically. The controls will appear on the “Audio Mixer” panel where you can control the volume or even mute each audio source.
  22. Add your mic manually by going to “Settings”, then “Audio”. Select your microphone from “Mic/Auxiliary Audio”. You can have more than one active microphone.
  23. Adjust the volume from the game’s audio controls.
    • Disabling your OS’s system sounds is recommended while live-streaming.
  24. Set your audio levels/volume.
  25. Go to “Settings” in OBS then to the “Stream” side tab.
  26. Select Twitch from “Service” then click “Connect Account”.
  27. Put in your Twitch credentials when prompted. This will automatically input your Twitch account’s unique stream key on OBS.
  28. Click “Apply” then “OK”.
  29. Twitch docks will pop up on OBS’s main dashboard. You can either close them or reposition them anywhere on the interface. Twitch docks on OBS include Twitch chat, stats monitor, and stream details editor (title and description).
  30. Hide or show docks by going to “View” on OBS’s main menu bar, and then “Docks”.
  31. To input your stream key manually, click on your profile icon on your Twitch homepage.
    • Select “Settings” then go to the “Channel and Videos” tab.
    • Go to “Stream” on the sidebar.
    • Copy your primary stream key and paste it on OBS’s “Stream” window.
    • OBS will not remember manually-encoded stream keys. You will not have access to Twitch docks on the streaming software.
  32. Ready up your Dota 2 game.
  33. If you connected your account to OBS, you can edit your stream details right on OBS using the dock. If you used the manual method, you can do the same by going to “Stream Manager” in your Twitch profile’s settings.
  34. Once you’re ready, click “Start Streaming”. Your Dota 2 stream should go live on Twitch after a little while.
    • Click “Start Recording” if you want a copy of your broadcast saved on your computer.
  35. Click “End Stream” on Twitch and “Stop Streaming” on OBS when you’re done with your broadcast.

Dota 2 Basics

Dota 2 is free-to-play and only available on Steam—Valve’s digital storefront. This game can be overwhelming for a beginner but we’ll try our best to explain the basics as simply as we can for your first Twitch Dota 2 live broadcast.

The gist

Dota 2 is all about the battle between two factions—the Radiant and the Dire. Each faction has its set of heroes. There are 122 playable heroes in the game so far. You play in teams of five to drive back the opposing forces that originate from the other end of the map until you destroy their base’s Ancient.

Your base has barracks that spawn basic NPC allies called “creeps” automatically. They are generated constantly with a cooldown period between batches. Ally creeps move down the three lanes where they fight creeps from the opposing team.

The three lanes on your half of the map are lined with several offensive towers that auto-attack enemies. The opposing team also has towers on their respective side of the map. Destroyed towers are lost permanently for the duration of the match but they can be repaired using an item. A base’s Ancient has two high-tier towers protecting it.

It’s your job to help NPC allies and player teammates push the enemies back and overwhelm their base.


Heroes are divided into core and support characters. Core heroes are the main attackers. The support class has a low attack stat but has abilities that provide buffs to allies, including creeps, and debuffs to enemies. Heroes are also divided into three subclasses according to their strongest attributes—strength, agility, and intelligence. The first two belong to the core type, while intelligence heroes fall under support generally.

Heroes have a basic attack and up to four special abilities that consume mana and have cooldown periods between usages. If you die, you will respawn in your base after a cooldown. You will lose some of your gold with each death.

Once a specific hero is selected on the drafting board, it becomes unavailable to other players.

Equipment, items, gold

Your base has a set of merchants that sell gear, crafting materials, and consumables in exchange for gold. Equipment can improve a hero’s base attributes or give status buffs to allies. You can upgrade items, such as weapons and armor, by combining them with crafting materials or other gear. There are also secret shops all over the map that sell powerful, expensive items.

You begin the game with a bit of gold so you can have a starting inventory of items. You gain more gold by killing enemies and destroying their structures. There are pockets of neutral creeps on the map that you can kill for gold. They do not attack unless attacked first and respawn after a set duration.

The player who deals the killing blow gets the gold. Kill-stealing is a thing in this game.


Fortune favors the bold. There’s a neutral creep on the map called Roshan, and he’s a real toughie. If you manage to bring him down, your reward is the Aegis of the Immortal, which grants you a second life if you die. With this on you, you respawn at a random area on the map after five seconds with full health and mana.

The Aegis of the Immortal can’t be dropped and is used automatically upon death.

Roshan respawns after about 10 minutes. He gets more powerful and drops more items and gold after every reincarnation.


You can play casually or join ranked matches. You can also hold private games with customized game modes and bot heroes in case you can’t fill up the player roster.

In public matches, the game tries its best to keep things balanced. Players will be matched with other players who are similarly experienced. The number of participants is also balanced. For example, a solo player will be matched with another solo player, and so on.


As we mentioned, Dota 2 is free-to-play. Unsurprisingly, it has microtransactions. But Valve only sells cosmetic items, such as character model customizations and audio packs. None of the purchasable goods alters in-game character attributes and game mechanics.

Wrapping Up

A game of Dota 2 almost always starts slow, with each player doing their own preparation ritual. It eventually turns into utter chaos when players become armed and buffed to the teeth and start bringing down creeps, towers, and enemy players left, right, and center.

The contrast between the chill beginning and the ensuing warzone certainly makes for a great show, which is why Dota 2 is in Twitch’s top ten most viewed titles constantly. This extremely popular game, without a doubt, has the potential to bring a fledgling Twitch channel into the spotlight.