Started playing a little bit of DotA before patch 6.48 but became really active as soon as it was released and continued for about 2-2.5 years. I shortly stopped playing after Windrunner was released (or was it before Slark
...). Here and there I would go back to play to see the new heroes but never got interested again since I was so frustrated, poor games and personal problems. A few of my other friends got me into WoW so I didn't pay much attention to DotA afterwards.
My interest in DotA was revitalized as soon as I heard about Dota 2 and got the BETA key. I started playing when there was about 150 players (most likely less) but playerbase quickly rose and had a ton of fun. The reconnect feature reduced my frustration by a landslide and the pause button blew my mind away. I was like "did Valve read my mind?!", I was so happy that Valve kept the game true to its predecessor and actually listened to feedback. It ultimately changed career goal from working for Blizzard to Valve.
Check out my channels if you want to help support me, I sometimes stream and would appreciate if you said hi!