Themes
Report article RSS Feed Blizzard DOTA isn't More of the Same

The story of DotA, or Defense of the Ancients, is an odd one. It started as a Warcraft III mod, spun off into bigger games like Riot's League of Legends and S2's Heroes of Newerth, and a sequel, called Dota 2, is coming soon from Valve. Many companies, from Petroglyph to Hi-Rez Studios, are trying to get in on the emerging genre, including, for the first time, Blizzard. Blizzard DOTA doesn't yet have a release date, but it's already a lot of fun.

Posted by St0rmified on Oct 22nd, 2011

The story of DotA, or Defense of the Ancients, is an odd one. It started as a Warcraft III mod, spun off into bigger games like Riot's League of Legends and S2's Heroes of Newerth, and a sequel, called Dota 2, is coming soon from Valve. Many companies, from Petroglyph to Hi-Rez Studios, are trying to get in on the emerging genre, including, for the first time, Blizzard. Blizzard DOTA doesn't yet have a release date, but it's already a lot of fun. 

It also has a number of key differences compared to the standard Dota formula, though the basic gameplay should be familiar to any DotA fan. Two teams of five compete on a large map. Three main paths cut across the map from one base to the other, each populated with towers that attack any hostiles in range. Your job is to blow up the other team's towers and eventually their base. 

Blizzard DoTA Footage

Swarms of AI-controlled monsters periodically spawn at each base and run along each lane, fighting any hostiles along the way. You control one hero, and by fighting alongside the monsters, called creeps, you can advance the battle lines and, ideally, knock out a tower so your team can push forward. In Blizzard DOTA, you get a few ways to power up your creeps to give you a better chance. 

Situated around the map in between the lanes are mercenary camps. When active they can be captured, giving you a better chance of winning as your creep waves are enhanced. Capturing the camps isn't permanent though; your opponent can come in and take camps already under your control, which swings the momentum of a game a great deal. It's a complicated game to begin with, from proper movement and positioning mechanics to learning the intricacies of every ability, and managing mercenary camp control certainly doesn't make it any easier. 


That being said, a lot of the fun of Dota-style games is the sense of reward derived from successfully managing a chaotic situation. In Blizzard DOTA, you'll also need to consider how every tower in the game has a limited amount of ammunition. Tower ammunition reserves will gradually recharge, but if one particular tower is assaulted often in a short period of time, it'll run out of shots. Without the damaging fire of the tower to help out, it'll be a lot harder to defend, and a lot easier to blow up, potentially leading to much faster, unpredictable style of match. 

There are ways to replenish ammunition too. By killing enemies you'll earn gold and experience, even if you don't last hit them, and with the gold you can purchase items for your hero. These include permanent health boosts, rings that aid with health and mana regeneration and more, along with an item that recharges ammunition and provides a temporary defensive bonus to towers. 


In the BlizzCon 2011 build, twelve total heroes were playable, separated evently into four classes. Blizzard characters like Stitches and Arthas were in the tank class, Zeratul and Kerrigan in the damage dealing class, Tassadar and Thrall in the support class, and Diablo III's Witch Doctor in the siege class. Like in DotA, you get four core abilities that can be unlocked and leveled as you gain experience. I played two tanks, Arthas and Stitches, and both had unique styles of play. 

Stitches, an abomination, has an ability that was able to shoot out and hook enemy targets. This was especially useful for snagging enemy healers hiding behind a line of creeps, though it doesn't auto-hit its target. Instead, the hook will shoot out to exactly the point you indicate onscreen, meaning if your intended target moves, you'll miss. Also, if another enemy is in the way, it'll pluck them up instead, meaning there's a degree of skill associated with using the skill effectively. Stitches can also eat creeps to regain health, blast out shockwaves for area damage, and perform a big area of effect move that slows and damages enemies. 


I liked Arthas a bit more, who can summon a minion that will attack, then sacrifice the minion to regain health. The ability is on a cooldown so you can't just spam sacrifices. One ability was an area of effect attack that did major damage over time to anything close by, he could freeze targets in place, and his ultimate ability combined a pull, a heal and dealt damage. 

Like most Blizzard products, Blizzard DOTA won't be ready for a while, and the current plan is to include it into the often delayed StarCraft II marketplace, which is now just called the StarCraft II Arcade. The Arcade launch, which will be sometime around when Heart of the Swarm is ready, will allow you to rate mods and more easily find the good ones. From the looks of things, Blizzard DOTA will be one of the good ones, and at least part of it will be free. Though more heroes will likely be announced in the time before launch, Blizzard wants quality over quantity with this one, so don't expect a flood of new heroes. There's no word yet how a payment structure may be implemented.

Post comment Comments
Maxen1416
Maxen1416 Oct 23 2011, 6:46am says:

2003: a guy named Eul creates a map on Warcraft III called DotA,

Blizzard: whatever

2005: Project went over to IceFrog where he made this a widely successful free game. People were buying WCIII for DotA alone.

Blizzard: still...

2007: Several Companies started making their own version of the game (Demigod, LoL, HoN, you name it)

Blizzard: o.0

2010: IceFrog works with Valve to bring DotA 2, promising somehow what others didn't bring to the table yet.

Blizzard: OH LOOK WE MADE A GAME CALLED DOTA!

+11 votes     reply to comment
IceIYIaN
IceIYIaN Oct 24 2011, 8:45am replied:

As a modder, that's really insulting that they're taking a mod's name... Even in acronym form. At the end of the day, a trademark is a trademark. Gotta register it or make money off of it. Cutting Defense of the Ancients to DotA was a smart move.

-1 votes     reply to comment
sappy_nirv_bg
sappy_nirv_bg Oct 26 2011, 11:47am says:

No one is stopping the W3 mod community of using the name event though it's under trade mark. IceFrog mey not have invented dota but he perfect it and he kept working on it, so I see no big deal about it, Valve ain't seemingly doing anything to prevent Blizzard from using the "DOTA" in their iteration so... I don't see a valid point here. If Blizzard were to take action first they would have done the same, that Valve did.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Post a Comment
click to sign in

You are not logged in, your comment will be anonymous unless you join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) which we encourage all contributors to do.

2000 characters limit; HTML formatting and smileys are not supported - text only

News
Browse
News
Report Abuse
Report article
Related Games
Dota 2
Dota 2 Multiplayer Real Time Strategy
Related Engines
Source
Source Commercial Released Oct 31, 2004
Related Groups
Valve
Valve Developer & Publisher