Dota 2 Solo Mid Heart Rate Analysis

Yuxuan Liu, Yuanchu Si

Dota 2 is usually considered one of the most competitive digital games ever because it requires complex real-time decision making and super quick reactions. In this analysis, we try to investigate how the heart rate variation changes as the gaming phases shift in Dota 2.

Our hypothesis is that when a player is attempting to kill an enemy hero, the player’s heart rate will rise significantly, compared to laning and last-hitting. 

We collected the data by setting up 2 players playing Solo Mid mode with Shimmer HR sensor installed on them to record ECG during the game session. The game lasted about 5 minutes and we got synced data of heartbeat records and screen recording video, by which we can inspect the heart rate variation with what’s happening in the game. 

The data from the Shimmer sensor is in the unit of mVolts, and about 200 records compose a single heartbeat. We detected all the peaks, calculated the time difference between peaks, and calculated the heart rate variation among different game phases.

These results are in the table below. 

Game phaseHeart beat variation
Before game starts (Phase 1)93.22
Before the first fight (Phase 2)208.78
During the first fight (Phase 3)206.32
During the second fight (Phase 4)115.11
During the third fight (Phase 5)81.41

We can see in Phase 1 and Phase 5, the heart rate remains steady, while the heart rate is significantly higher in Phase 5 than Phase 1. In Phase 2 and 3, we can see the heart rate gradually increase towards a high-frequency level. It might be because right after the game starts, the player gradually gets more intense and focused on gameplay. 

The result is that once the game heats up, the player’s heart rate would hold steady at a high level, rather than jump between high and low depending on different scenarios. We can see that once the game begins, the player’s heart rate begins to rise and hold steady throughout the entire game session. It probably means that the player is constantly stimulated and ready to tackle any challenges that could happen in milliseconds. Fighting with an enemy hero is only one of the scenarios in Dota 2 and it’s nothing too different than other in-game behaviors in terms of the degree of stimulation to players. 

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