Dota 2’s Frostivus event is a series of merry mini-games


Frostivus ain’t what it used to be. This year’s Christmas event for Dota 2 launched last Thursday, and it’s the product of a community contest rather than Valve themselves. The winner, VicFrank, has eschewed the traditional format in favour of mini-games: each match consists of ten separate games that are pulled from a pool of 30. I’ve thrown myself into the festivities, and had a surprising amount of fun.

First, some caveats. It’s understandably less polished than Frostivuses of seasons past, and some of the games work better than others. There’s also the spectre of spec work hanging over the whole event, which I recently spoke to some of the participants about – including VicFrank himself. If none of that bothers you though, then it’s certainly worth checking out.

VicFrank has taken abilities and mechanics from Dota proper and built a game around smart combinations of them. One game has you advancing across a field of invisible techies mines as Zeus, using lightning bolts to momentarily make them appear. Another is the playground game ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’, but with a rupture inflicting Bloodseeker rather than a small child.

Truth be told, many of the games are one-note affairs that get tedious after a minute – but that’s absolutely fine when each round only lasts for 3 minutes at the most. Besides, for every game like that there are several that are inventive and playful.

My favourite might be the zombie survival one, where each player spawns as a Sniper that has to shoot, run and hide from escalating waves of zombies. There’s an interesting semi-cooperative dynamic to it, where you might find yourself with your back to the wall with several other players as you all try to thin out the approaching hordes. One time, I managed to hide in a corner just to the left of the main group – zombies would begin to approach me, then get distracted by the nearby gunfire.


Another favourite was a game that reminded me a lot of a game we used to play in school, which was basically football but where 8 people each had their own goal to protect. Imagine that but with Earthshakers and a rock, and fewer shrieking 14 year olds. Perfect.

I can see why Valve picked it: the variety on display shows off what’s possible with custom game modes, and how much fun can be had with a simple formula. While the festivities will end at some point, Valve haven’t announced exactly when that will be.


  1. Scytale says:

    IMHO, this is not a Frostivus event, its just mini-games with snow.

    Baumi does an excellent job to explain the controversy around this year: link to

  2. Jack Johansson says:

    Please, stop writing compliments and admit that this was the most sucky event of the entire DoTA2’s history. Waited a year for a “Dota Run” mini-game which already exists in the custom games.

  3. HexagonalBolts says:

    I really do not understand how they always manage to make something as fun as DOTA so incredibly un-fun in these events.

    The fun of DOTA comes from cleverly combo-ing abilities with teammates and choosing builds dependant on varying situations. This is never taken into consideration for these events.

    • Scytale says:

      Re: combo-ing – exactly!

      The joy of these events has been the Coop nature where you come together as a group rather than opposing another team. This year was all-vs-all.

      As Baumi explains, even the entry submission rules asked for an event where people come together – which is not what we got.

  4. azurerush says:

    Biased and opinionated publication. Out of touch with the zeitgeist of the gaming community. Made an account just for this comment. :D

  5. harciogmeister says:

    It’s been three years.Three damn years since a damn f**** decent event!Wake up everyone!We’ve been cryin our asses out since then and we got so fck*** tired we just end up giving up, and we gave up a lot of times and we tried once again then gave up again.That’s why I moved up to League Of Legends,That’s why I no more play DotA2, and sometimes when I look back on my 4K hours I have memories SO AMAZING that JUST DON’T LET ME ENTER THE TRASH THIS GAME BECAME.Now I can’t say the game is dead or smth,but it’s getting to that point.I can’t say that the matchmaking isn’t good,maybe great,maybe the best.But still.A game needs to award you.If you’re not awarded and you don’t feel awarded why u play?League awards players with divisions(wich dota2 started as well,and it is disgusting to see how bad they did,not to mention we won’t be awarded anything neither for achieving them), all the events are PURE GARBAGE.I bet nobody can tell me an event that hasn’t been complete garbage sh** since 2014 except those pre-battle pass ones.And oh yes,those event still give no prizes.Still don’t award you anything.I bet if you’re on steam since 2011-12 and you’ve had like 400-500hrs in TF2 or CS:GO you remember that at least 25-30% of the dota2 community moved in for TRADING, MAKING ITEMS and MAKING MONEY on steam WHILE HAVING FUN.I’ll stop here,I just frustrate myself and most probably nobody will give a s***.Peace

    • a hundred boners says:

      say what you will but don’t brag about playing league, you have to have stockholm syndrome to play that game

  6. linkharden12 says:

    u have to rember that making new game is pricey and takes money witch vale will never have enough of so they let u make it for thim

    • linkharden12 says:

      P.s yes playing games if fun but i have played better f2p games thin that mini game allso better moble games i guss i expected to mutch