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One chart shows why Dota 2 remains so popular

Droning on about the intricacies of Dota 2 is a sure-fire way to put the people around you to sleep. Sort of like listening to audiophiles argue over proprietary music formats, the way fans of Dota talk about Dota is is part of what makes the game seem impenetrable to outsiders. The patch notes for updates might as well be written in an alien language.

Thankfully, data engineer Joe Kelley found a more elegant way of representing the game and how it has changed over the past two years. Using statistics from datdota.com, Kelley graphed the changing rate at which different heroes were being picked or banned from play in professional matches. With 112 characters for players to choose from, it’s interesting to see how certain ones remain relevant month after month (I’m looking at you Batrider) even while others are left virtually untouched (sorry, Warlock).

Though fans will debate the merits of who is and isn’t getting benched, the chart makes clear why they stay devoted: Valve’s regular shake-ups have helped keep the experience fresh. The precipitous drop-off of one crowd favorite is replaced by the renewed viability of another. Coming back to Dota after a few months off is like picking up an entirely different game, which is probably part of why its player base keeps growing. You can’t ever step in the same river twice, and so it is with Dota.

Check out the full interactive chart here