Dota 2 Local Play – FAQ

September 25th, 2013 by Cyborgmatt Leave a reply »

One of the newest features recently added into Dota 2 thanks to the First Blood patch was the addition of local server support. This post is a quick FAQ on the new feature covering some questions that a lot of you have been asking me.


Dota 2 Local Play FAQ

Engage in close quarters combat with nine of your nearest friends. Now you can create a local lobby and use your computer to host a rousing round of Dota 2 through your home or café network!

What is local play?

Local play allows players on the same physical network to connect to a locally hosted Dota 2 private lobby game.

Who is local play for?

The local play feature was added in to help accommodate the rising use of Dota 2 in cybercafés around the world. It can also be used by people wanting to play a locally hosted match on their home’s local network or even their work’s local network (if you’re lucky).

Do I need to be connected to the Dota 2 network to use local play?

Yes. In order for the Dota 2 servers to keep track of your match, allow you to make use of the existing private lobby system and integrate future Dota TV support you are required to be connected to the Dota 2 network in order to make use of the local play feature. As mentioned above this feature has been introduced as a feature to be used on a live network such as one in a cybercafé.

How do I create my own local server?

By selecting “Create Local Lobby”, the leader of the lobby will become the host for a match by running a local server, the lobby leader can either take part in the match as a player, broadcaster or spectator.


Which lobby slot should the lobby host take?

Due to the increase requirements that the server will put on the system it is recommended that the lobby is hosted by someone such as your tournament admin or a caster/dedicated broadcaster.


How do I join a local server?

Players can see Local lobbies available on their physical network by going to “FIND A LOBBY” and selecting the “LOCAL LOBBIES” tab.


Is it possible to modify any of the game settings on my local server?

Yes. The lobby leader will have full access to the lobby settings UI allowing them to change a number of options including the game mode.


How do I find the replay for a match I played on a local server?

The full match replay will be stored on the lobby host’s PC, you will be able to find the replay in your “dota 2 beta\dota\replays\<match-id>.dem” folder and from there it can be shared over email, a file host or other media.

As a player, broadcaster or spectator you can also manually record your own match replay by using the command:

record filenamehere

Can I watch my friends play on a local server via Dota TV?

Currently Dota TV is not supported by the local servers. This feature is pipelined to be introduced at a later stage.

In the mean time it is possible to have a number of spectators and broadcasters in your local server which can be used by any one wanting to spectate from in game.

If I lose connection to the server can I reconnect?

Yes. Due to the fact that the server is communicating with the Dota 2 servers it is possible to reconnect to the game just like you would in a normal matchmaking match by using the reconnect button on the play page.

Can I customise any elements of my locally hosted Dota 2 server?

For the adventurous hosts you can custom the Dota 2 script files which control the heroes, abilities, items and more by extracting the script folder from the Dota 2 VPK, placing this folder into your “dota 2 beta\dota” folder and using the launch option “-override_vpk” to use the local version of the script files. You can then change and explore the values in the text files located in the “dota 2 beta\dota\scripts\npc” folder.

These modifications are only required on the lobby host’s system and not the clients who are joining. It’s also an unsupported modification so use at your own risk.

Further Questions

If you have any further questions regarding the local play system feel free to leave me a comment below or via the contact me form on the site.

  • slugonice

    Looks like bad news for those who were expecting Dota 2 LAN to be the same as Warcraft 3 DotA LAN (no internet connection required)

    • Cyborgmatt

      You’re still playing on a local server with a miniscule ping which is what matters to these large cybercafés scattered across the world.

      • alto_angelo

        it’s still a bad decision..

        LAN offline mode is one of the essence of WC3 dota..
        people love it because it’s easy to setup game to play with your friend, even without internet..

        i really hope valve decide to give offline LAN mode, maybe a separate/different system that works differently than real server to prevent hackers and data miners.. i don’t care about cannot using hats in LAN games, people use LAN mode because they don’t have internet at that moment and just want to play with their friends..

        also another feature i really hope they implement is LAN client updating, it will really help Asian’s Net Cafe since they have a very slow connection and updating 500mb per computer can takes days..

        people love WC3’s LAN because if your dota is outdated, you can just create a LAN room and download the latest dota map through lan [which is far more faster than downloading it from internet]. I’m from SEA and these features will really help

        • abconline

          Second point is a good idea but I do not understand the first point, it is still easy as ever to host a game. The only problem in SEA is we have lag when we play, now with minimal connection you can play lag-free.
          So what is the problem? And yes, I am living in SEA right now.

          • AmidoriA

            as i am a former university student, his first point about non-internet connection is reasonable for me. because somewhere, especially school or university, they have limit the internet connection (block port, etc.). so we can’t login to steam (even if our internet is very fast). and we can’t play DOTA2 anyway.

          • dd

            You’re not supposed to play DOTA2 in your school.


          • Dunadan

            It’s not just blocked in classroooms, it’s blocked in dorm rooms too. So even when your done with classes for the day and “at home” you still can’t play.

            Not to mention LAN parties that are often hosted in buildings on campus.

          • Mikael Reichler

            You need to use VPN-tunnels to connect to the service. the schools I’ve been to have only blocked the first connection to a game or service but once connected I could turn off the VPN and go on like normal :) try if that works

          • Nair

            Try doing it with TOR. You can get steam online and play on LAN. But only LAN no Online play. you wont connect and be kicked out by steam for leaving games.

          • AmidoriA

            6 month respond ;___;

            however thanks for advice.

          • alto_angelo

            with WC3 Dota, you could just set up adhoc/hotspot system and host a game through it..

            in dota 2, you need to login internet and most university/school’s hotspot block steam login. If valve allow dota 2 offline LAN mode, people can just connect to the hotspot and use it as LAN platform to host and play dota 2..

            there are a lot of people playing WC3 doing that..especially here in SEA..
            [idk but i think i’ve seen someone used his android phone to create LAN or something?]

          • SSS

            You realize you can update one client, then use Steam’s “Backup and Restore” feature to update the other clients a lot faster by using a flash drive. Try it, it really works and is very useful for internet cafes with slower speeds.

          • 6oLsh0i_6o0z3

            Agreed with SSS

          • Nuryandi Khairunanda

            it took 20 minutes / computer

        • kill_niggers

          you’re a moron and don’t understand how the real world works

          heres the gist of what your shitty idea will do

          1. valve makes lan work without steam interaction
          2. someone cracks dota 2 client
          3. people play dota 2 cracked, pirate it, give out cosmetics
          4. valve has no business model anymore

          stop talking

          • Bwahaharmin

            Sorry but can’t you already mod your own local dota2 to change HUD’s, sounds, and cosmetics… >_>

          • Vince

            pathetic argument! you can already mod dota 2! I can even replace juggernaut with an anime character, look up SABER mod! (it’s only visible on your own game client)

          • Doomroar

            Juggernaut why… WHY?!!!

          • para9

            1. Nice

            2. Who cares, it’s free.

            3, If you knew half as much as you think you do, you would realize those cosmetics would only work online, as the real ones are bound to a steam ID that is on cloud.

            4. True story bro.

            I can’t believe you still remeber how to breathe.

          • alto_angelo

            cant you read?

            “i really hope valve decide to give offline LAN mode, maybe a separate/different system that works differently than real server to prevent hackers and data miners..”

            just make a stand alone dota 2 mode that works differently with the real server one.. it only serve purpose as real offline mode, also it won’t have the hats and cosmetics code which means it’s vanilla mode..

            even with local play right now, hackers can hack and data mine it..

          • LAN Party Forever

            Read better the text you answered to, he said “a separate/different system that works differently than real server to prevent hackers and data miners”. That means that a true offline mode shouldn’t feature hats or stats. Who cares of hats if you are playing with real friends in LAN!

          • Shockwave

            You’re an even bigger moron.

            1. Dota 2 is free.
            2. Client not server, clients can’t hack unlockables which are stored on the server.
            3. Dota 2 is free. Stop living under a damn rock.

          • <.<

            “2. someone cracks dota 2 client
            3. people play dota 2 cracked, pirate it, give out cosmetics”

            uu are stupid as fuck piece of shit

        • aQ

          DotA 2 is not allowed for poor people like you

          • kenny

            How can you be such a b*tch? theres a lot of poor people that want to play a FREE game. shame on you

      • Lan Party Forever

        I still hope for a LAN offline mode for the local mode, activated after going in offline mode with Steam. No need to keep track of stats, because if you play an offline LAN (and I played a lot with my friends on Warcraft III) you are playing with friends, so you don’t care of getting items or points, you just play for the fun.

      • Rafael Hirt Vozniak

        Cyborgmatt remembering that you avoid concurrent programs like Garena (full of maps hacks.), Hamachi, etc..

      • Captaan^

        Someone like me who uses a VPN to access Dota 2 network in my college it is BAD. We were happy that a LAN patch was going to come but the fact that we need to connect to steam. This is bad as when all of us connect to Steam via the VPN we are not really on the same network and hence the LAN patch is a failure for us.
        Still its good for the community.

    • Chiablo

      Seems to me that if you want to play DOTA on a deserted island somewhere where internet access does not exist, you’d be playing WC3 DOTA. It’s the same exact game.

      • LAN Party Forever

        WC3 DotA has to be stopped. Valve is not earning from it, only Blizzard (you have to buy a copy of RoC and TFT).
        Instead, someone that is playing in offline mode with friends (who still requires Steam to be installed) will also sometime play alone on the Internet and buy hats.

        • The Guy

          That is not a good move for Valve actually,
          many of DotA fans still play the WC3 DotA because
          1.They do not have computer decent enough to play source game (dont gimme “EVEN TOASTER CAN RUN IT”)
          2.Some D1 fans actually HAte/dislike the art approach D2 took
          3.If Valve/IceFrog did pull the move of stopping service of WC3 DotA, it would bring hate against original dota fans and someone would just mod it themselves and no actual gain comes for Valve

          • B|Stuna

            they mod it themselves and it will never be accepted as real DotA by the community.

  • Yoshi

    How rough is it on the hosting computer? Any estimates on the system requirements for hosting?

    • aphocus

      haven’t tested much, but it can’t be any worse than a local bot match.

      • Yoshi

        Local bot match is only hosting for yourself though. It doesn’t increase system requirements like hosting a local game does, as far as I’m aware.

    • Abdul

      It shouldn’t be a problem, i used to host a server using the old way (seperate server program) and it has minimal CPU usage, but it does take a bigger chunk of your ram.

    • Cyborgmatt
  • Xin update = Love valve

    lets vote which concept are the best.
    no.1 for all out samurai look
    no.2 hybrid dota 2 style with badass flaming sword
    no.3 slightly fat like Storm Spirit with remove kebab face.

    i go for no.1 – badass dual flaming sword (since single flaming sword is Doom’s trademark , give him 2 flaming swords! , and imaginable with his skillsets)

    • Yoshi

      Looks too similar to Juggernaut, imo. I like #2.

    • Doomroar

      I like #2 more, but #3 will be hilarious to see!
      All in all he needs the 2 badass flaming swords is a must.

    • Kaolin, the Earth Spirit

      Xin number 2 and Xin number 3 in that artworks looks the same to me. Anyway I vote “badass flaming sword with chinese hat”. Anyway, Ember Spirit is supposed to look a bit like Storm Spirit, because they are both embodied forces of nature, they belongs to the same specie.

  • JIDF

    Will the inclusion of LAN upport apps like Tunngle, Garena, or Hamachi?

  • Yoshi

    Another question: What happens if the host computer gets disconnected from the internet?

    • Vince

      gg = remake = the server dies

    • Cyborgmatt

      If the host loses connection to the local network then the server will drop. If the host loses connection to the Dota 2 network the game will continue.

  • Shaymin

    Do you think that in a later stage they will be allowing local play without an internet connection?

  • Abdul

    So its “Local Play” not “LAN”. also by asking further questions, are you going to direct them to Valve? because please, this is not even useful to the least, non of my friends at our small Uni community (read: 300+ users) find this useful, we need actual LAN to be able to play. I’m not even sure that anyone asked for this, high “ping” is not something people suffer from this day and age, and I know, living in South East asia right now!

    So please, at least tell them that some people are not happy about this.

    • abconline

      So what is the problem with local play? You mean you do not have internet to play, then how did you post this? I am living in SEA too and I do not see any problem with this.

      • Abdul

        I think we agree here, I’m saying that Local play is not necessary since ping isn’t an issue so its not solving any problem. However, Not having an internet connection at all is a problem and local play does not help at all when it comes to that.

      • SEA-dweller

        his post is all but not confusing… but i think the gist is;
        people who can already play dota 2 over the internet will definitely have no ping issues (referring to the lowered ping played in Local Lobbies), so this “lowered ping” will have minimal effect on them.
        But people who have no internet connection at all are the ones at a loss here, as they expect a fully playable dota 2 offline through internetless-LAN (which is not yet implemented and still underway, i hope)

        • Sebastian

          Again, high ping is not an issue FOR YOU, not for everyone. I’m from Argentina and believe me, ping is a BIG problem down here, not only in my country but in all South America. The problem is that most countries over here are not interconnected with each other, most ISP are directly connected to the USA and from there to the rest of the world. So in general most of us have “better” ping ( around 250 ms) with USA servers than with the Brazilian server (around 380+ ms in most cases…)

          So for us this patch is great news. Of course a full-offline version would be awesome but this local play is useful anyway. Just think of this: we can use our regular crappy internet connection to loggin to steam (even with a 3g connection using a smartphone), then host a local game and that’s it, almost 0 ping for you and your friends on your LAN party =)

          Let the local tournaments begin =D

    • Cyborgmatt

      High ping is affecting a number of areas in the world. Just because it’s not affecting you doesn’t mean it isn’t affecting any one else.

      • Abdul

        Wouldn’t it make more sense to make it fully offline then? save everyone the trouble of connecting to the steam server while on dial up? also, if you dont get 10 players then you need to add bots, which are very limited in terms of hero’s and style.

        I’m not sure why you are defending this Matt, sure its a “feature”, but not a fully usable/usful one. I think Valve dropped the ball with this one.

    • Raziel

      Never go full retard.

  • fee

    Will true offline LAN mode ever be implemented?

    • yea

      Most likely.

  • Jhon Charles

    Onda dota 2

  • Leo

    yeah..i hope no need internet acces..but this is good improvement.. 😀

  • Capn

    what’s good about this LAN,your ping is reduced and it’s stable.

    • lubricant

      I’ve got 1000ms ping in local lobby. What the hell is wrong?

      • Solenark


  • Erico Alexandre

    It is a good feature, however it will not change a thing for me at least. The one thing i miss on Dota 2 is a offline mode, where i can enjoy the game fully offline, playing in Lan and small tournaments in my city. Because of the lack of good internet connection around here, we only play Dota 1 tournaments, and not even big one since nobody is willing to go back to dota 1 again, the scene(at least here) is dying slowly which is sad. I don’t know if it is even in Valve’s plan to make Dota 2 playable offline, i hope they do it eventualy, i love this game and i love to play it with my friends, but well, if this is the end of this chapter, well, what can i do? Never the less, thank you Matt for doing this post, it cleared my question about the subject, you are the best!

    • Hidden Name

      Well, to find/play a game, you do not need good internet access. you just need one long enough to connect to lobby, though host needs one longer I guess. But the point being its not playing the game through that connection, so a very poor connection is probably fine.

  • Shinnsohai

    Can I use hotspot for this?Anyone tried before??

    • Cyborgmatt

      Should be able to. The only connection you need is the one to the Dota 2 network to get the lobby created, get everyone in and then launched.

  • Daniel

    In a LAN lobby. If I (player) disconnect to Steam, do I lose my connection to the lobby?

    What if I was host and I lost connection to steam?

    • Cyborgmatt

      If you loose connection to Steam as long as you’re still in the server then the match will continue. If the host exits Dota 2 then the server would shut down as a result.

  • Kiel

    when the game ended. can i still get experience points or items?

    • Cyborgmatt

      Local play uses private lobbies so it’s just like a normal private lobby game which means no XP or items however there will be a record of the match in your played games list.

  • Abstrution

    i go with the srcds way .. and play dota2 offline it works juzz try

  • Doomroar

    Or we can all use D2Ware haha.

    • Cyborgmatt

      D2Ware is fun however you won’t be connecting to a local server, so ping will be a factor.

      • Doomroar

        I know, is a hopefully the day we can get such a thing implemented into Dota 2 will arrive.

  • Mac

    Are you expecting dedicated servers any time soon? This stuff is awesome, but dedicated servers would make offline tournament life a lot easier for tournaments with less admins (and admin PCs) than there are games.

    Thanks for all the hard work Matt, much appreciated!

  • mostafa

    Can we play dota 2 Lan using another Client beside steam like Garena ?

    • Cyborgmatt

      Seeing as Garena doesn’t have a client designed to use with Dota 2. No.

      • morumo

        thats why LOL have more player bcoz they got more server and client. bye the way I dont play LOL.. but I wish dota2 have more client or server. im from qatar and playing in EU EAST 170ping minimum. or SEA 290ping. i want to play like 90 ping or below

  • Lance Gray

    Matt, is it possible to have a server that does not make use of the Dota 2 UI? I mean like a dedicated server in which the host does not need to have ultra-high end graphics specs (but has good CPU)? It’s already a hassle having 10 machines that run Dota 2 (on my place) so a single mid-end machine to host the server might be a good addition to the LAN feature.

  • Karusaman

    Well this is the first LAN local game who needs to be online that i ever saw!! kkk but serious i really dont understand that if a game have the LAN Network option i guess this should work offline too, Am i right?

  • pRrNt

    Ridiculous… once that is “LOCAL” game why do we need to connect to steam network? I really would like if was as WarCraft. There are people that dont have internet access at home and want to play with friends…

  • mamkaadmina

    what happened with Seth on POTM? Why you delete it?

    • Cyborgmatt


  • Christian Dieu

    Can u play against bots?
    Like me and my brother, we want to play with each other against bots without ping.

    • Cyborgmatt

      Yes. The lobby host needs to enable the option that says “Fill the empty slots with bots”.

  • t8

    Why was this not up for the international?

    • Cyborgmatt

      The International already runs on a unique setup which works fine.

  • Own

    So to make that clear:
    As long as the host is still in the game, we can play on? So if 9/10 people dc, but the host is still in it, it works? But we all need to be online for getting in the lobby, you can’t see lobbies if you are offline right?

    • Cyborgmatt

      That is correct.

  • aQ


  • Hidden Name

    Is this actually working for anyone on their home network? I am trying to play with 1 other person and bots. When I host, the game starts and waits, my friend tries to join but can’t load. Says “Unable to connect to server.” When my friend hosts, I don’t see the lobby in Find a Lobby (any tab). I can join the lobby with my password. However, on starting to load I fail to connect very quickly, instead it just says “Disconnected from Server. Bad challenge.” Our home networking works just fine so..? No idea where to start debugging this.

    • Matindas Prasetyo

      change your dota 2 start up with different clientports

      • Hidden Name

        totally worked, thanks so much. +clientport 27006 ftw

        • jjjj

          how do you change your clientport?

          • Hidden Name

            actually had to use console . With console up you just type “clientport 27006″ or whatever number (27005-270015).

            To get console you need right click on dota 2 -> properties -> set launch options -> -console. Also you need to have a key bound to open console in game (though it opens by default too)

          • Hidden Name

            Just want to follow up on this, in case anyone ever views this again — Changing clientport did not fix all my issues.

            Due to enabling console though, I noticed that during the failed/timeout attempts to join my friend’s local hosting, dota attempts (repeatedly) to connect to a server at

            This can be fixed (instantly) by issuing a Connect command in the console with the correct ip address of your host. I.e. for me connecting to my friend: connect

            There are a few ways to tell your friend’s computer’s IP address, but the way I did/do was that it shows in the console log sometimes. Specifically, my first connection attempt gets a response “bad challenge” and fails instantly. When this happens it’s logged next to the correct ip/port.

  • Yudidudidha

    I understand all your Pros and Cons but i think it’s good to be fully
    offline,why? there is steam cloud,that’s why steam cloud made. The simpler,if
    someone crack the cosmetics it only work when offline when they going online
    steam cloud will overwrite all data on our local data.Any concern

  • v1zal

    I don’t get why u people are crying about ..
    valve made dota 2 . and plus its giving it for free not like BLIZZARD.
    For valve to make profit out it , it needs players to be online.
    The other thing is valve can make it paid . that is people have to buy it from there store.
    Then valve can allow free offline LAN play for sure.
    Support games by buying them . but if u cant buy them then please the F2P games u have don’t say to them that they are not offline LAN playable

  • Steven Quah

    both of my pc’s connected to the modem with cable. i tried changing the port. i still don’t see any games coming up in either of any accounts. Help D:

  • dota2 wew

    I have a question i played dota 2 offline, but when the dota 2 start why it display a “Connecting dota 2 Network?” but i’m in a offline mode ? Sorry for my english.. Tnx

  • DoomBringer

    For some reasons my game doesn’t start with -override_vpk set in launch options. It just closes after the dota logo.
    Any advice?

  • Astrobazooka

    καργιοληδες βγαλτε για χωρις internet!

  • @dastanDoto

    Matt is theres a problem with the replay files i share over emails people trying to watch it get access denied is there any way around this?

  • Shockwave

    If they expect us to still have internet during a ‘LAN’ mode then they might as well not even bother. Valve is off their rocker.

  • POTM

    Hey guys. Need some help. So we’re hosting a dota2 tournament of sorts in our university. Naturally, we’ll be using local lobbies. My question here is, how do we save a game when we want? Say, after an important gank, like we used to in Dota.
    Saving is needed because, if by bad luck, all 5 PCs of one team shut down, the team will automatically lose. Help would be appreciated:)

  • LairenyX


  • wkm

    how to host a offline lan game?

  • nightstalker77

    do i need to be connected to the internet to play dota 2?

  • czcz

    If server maintenance , for example this 17 january we can use local lobby to ply smoothly ?? pls answer me as soon as possible , it urgent , thank you

  • siva

    How to play PvP with my friends as my teammates

    • siva

      I AM LEVEL 4

  • Shadow Beam

    Need help. I created a local lobby and ask 1 of my friends join to play with me. I click the settings to have all empty slots filled with bots. When the game starts, the bots are all in and my friend also, but I cant pick any hero. It seems like 4 vs 5. My name doesnt appear on top of the player’s list. Anyone know whats the prob?

  • pinochle

    Is there any way to play lan using console?