Team vs. Team: Success Factors in a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Game

Julia Neidhardt, Yun Huang, Noshir Contractor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


There is a small but growing body of research investigating how teams form and how that affects how they perform. Much of that research focuses on teams that seek to accomplish certain tasks such as writing an article or perform a Broadway musical. There has been much less investigation of the relative performance of teams that form to directly compete against another team. In this study, we report on team-vs-team competitions in the multiplayer online game Dota 2. Here, the teams’ overall goal is to beat the opponent. We use this unique setting to observe multi-level factors influence the relative performance of the teams. Those factors include compositional factors or attributes of the individuals comprising a team, relational factors or prior relations among individuals within a team and ecosystem factors or overlapping prior membership of team members with others within the ecosystem of teams. We also study how these multilevel factors affect the duration of a match. Our results show that advantages at the compositional, relational and ecosystem levels predict which team will succeed in short or medium duration matches. Relational and ecosystem factors are particularly helpful in predicting the winner in short duration matches, whereas compositional factors are more important predicting winners in medium duration matches. However, the two types of relations have opposite effects on the duration of winning. None of the three multilevel factors help explain which team will win in long matches.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Proceedings
StatePublished - 2015


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