Dota 2

Dota 2
Dota 2
The logo for Dota 2
Developer(s) Valve Corporation
Publisher(s) Valve Corporation
Distributor(s) Steam (online)
Director(s) Erik Johnson
Designer(s) IceFrog
Composer(s) Jason Hayes
Tim Larkin[1]
Engine Source Engine
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
Release date(s) TBA 2012
Genre(s) Action RTS
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Media/distribution Optical disc, digital download

Dota 2 is an upcoming action fantasy strategy video game being developed by Valve Corporation. The stand-alone sequel to the popular Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne mod Defense of the Ancients, it was formally announced on October 13, 2010 via the website of magazine Game Informer.[2] The game is currently undergoing a closed beta phase and is scheduled for a full release in 2012.[3] Dota 2 will be released through both retail and download by Valve's content delivery platform Steam, which the game has been developed to exclusively run on for both game launch and update delivery. Dota 2 will operate on Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.[2]

The game consists of session-based online multiplayer activity, with the primary objective of each match being for the teams to destroy their opposing team's fortified stronghold. Each player controls a player character called a "hero", who is given the responsibility of participating in team combat, which generally takes place along a series of lanes that connect their opposing bases, lined with defensive towers. The gameplay elements are largely incorporated from Defense of the Ancients, with the game's lead designer, "IceFrog", being the longest-serving and current developer of the Warcraft III mod.[2]



A game of Dota 2 in progress. Team coordination is critical during late gameplay, as base encroachment generally becomes more frequent.

Dota 2 combines the real-time strategy element of traditional top-down perspective, while also incorporating the leveling and itemization system of a role-playing video game. Players are pitted against each other into two distinct factions called the Radiant and the Dire. The Radiant is a faction based at the southwest corner of the map, while the Dire is a faction based at the northeast corner. Players assume the role of a "hero" - a strategically-powerful unit with special skills, who, through combat experience, may progress to a maximum level of twenty-five.[4] The heroes' methods of combat are heavily influenced by their primary property, which can be physical strength, agility, or intelligence.[5] The basic setup of Dota 2 places two strongholds guarded by defensive towers and waves of units which traverse the main paths leading to their base with critical structures called "Ancient Fortresses" at opposing ends of an evenly-balanced map with multiple connecting regions identified as "lanes", in which enemy units primarily traverse, while also combating the towers along the way. Players are split into two teams, each consisting of up to five players, to compete as the primary defenders for each Ancient Fortress.[6]

The overall objective of each match is to battle through the opposing force's defenses, in order to arrive at and destroy the opponents' Ancient Fortress. Because Dota 2 is highly team-oriented, players must coordinate with their teams in order to achieve victory. The towers and stronghold defenses are invulnerable to attacks so long as the towers nearest to the enemy side still stand. Periodically, groups of weaker units commonly referred to as "creeps" are spawned, which move along their lane attacking any enemy unit or structure upon sight.

The currency of the game is gold, which is granted periodically, but typically accumulates at a more practical level by killing enemy units, which grants a distributed amount of gold to the killer's team, with the greater portion being retained by the killer themselves. A common technique utilized to prevent the opposing faction from accumulating gold from a kill is "denying", which constitutes killing an allied unit or destroying an allied structure and can be employed when the unit or structure it is about to be used on is close to death or collapse, respectively. Players also gain experience, which accumulates to gain higher levels. The greatest proportion of gold and experience comes from destroying higher priority forces, such as enemy heroes and towers.


According to Valve's founder and managing director, Gabe Newell, Valve's investment in DotA was sparked from the collective interest of veteran employees who had attempted to partake in team play at a competitive level. As their interest in the game grew, they began corresponding with DotA's developer, IceFrog, over a series of emails, inquiring what long-term plans the scenario's developer had.[7] The emails eventually culminated in an invitation from Valve's project manager, Erik Johnson, offering IceFrog a tour of the company's facilities and as a result, claimed to have "hired him on the spot".[8] The first public notification regarding the development of Dota 2 was a blog post made by IceFrog, stating that he would be leading a team at Valve.[9] No official word was given until its official announcement on October 13, 2010, when the website of magazine Game Informer revealed specific details about the game and its development,[2] creating traffic on the website nearly to the extent of crashing their servers.[10] Later that day Valve released the official press release for the game.[11] Erik Johnson addressed the confusion over the written form of the brand name, citing it as "Dota," rather than "DotA," due to its increasing context as a concept, rather than an acronym for "Defense of the Ancients".[8]

Shortly following a Q&A by IceFrog on the website of Defense of the Ancients, elaborating on his recruitment by Valve, a trademark filing claim was made by the company on August 6, 2010.[12] Steve "Guinsoo" Feak, the original developer of the DotA Allstars variant and Steve "Pendragon" Mescon, the creator of and director of community relations for Riot Games, expressed their concern that Valve should not trademark the DotA name, due to their views that it should remain as a community asset. On August 9, 2010, Mescon filed an opposing trademark for "DOTA" on behalf of DotA-Allstars, LLC, in order to "protect the work that dozens of authors have done to create the game".[13] Rob Pardo, the executive vice president of Blizzard Entertainment, the developer of Warcraft III, expressed a similar concern, explaining that the DotA name should remain within the Warcraft III community, while soon afterwards, Chris Sigaty, StarCraft II's Lead Producer, stated that a trademark dispute was not a concern, considering Blizzard and Valve's amiable relations.[14] During the game's unveiling at Gamescom 2011, Gabe Newell explained Valve's perspective on acquring the trademark, which was that IceFrog wished to create a direct sequel to DotA and that players would likely recognize it as such.[15]

As the sequel to Defense of the Ancients, the development cycle of Dota 2 has been concentrated primarily upon fully transferring the aspects of its predecessor to the Source engine, as well as building upon the core gameplay. Dota 2 recreates the factions of the Sentinel and the Scourge from Defense of the Ancients with the Radiant and the Dire, with cornerstone features of the characters' alignment reserved, while ultimately re-establishing the familiar qualities in a new form from Valve. Warcraft III composer Jason Hayes joined Valve to collaborate with Tim Larkin for developing Dota 2's musical score.[1] Character names, abilities, items, map design and other fine details remain virtually unchanged, but the integration of these features to the Source Engine allows for continued, scaled development to bypass limitations from the Warcraft III World Editor. Further support for the competitive experience is developed through the use of Dota account matchmaking, which scales a player's automated placement in accordance to their estimated skill level. Non-computed and unranked practice matches are made available through the use of either human players, AI bots or solo games. In the debut Q&A, IceFrog stated that Dota 2 will serve as the long-term continuation of the mod, building upon the original gameplay without making too many significant core changes that may alter the overall experience.[8] According to IceFrog, in order to further emphasize Dota 2's premise as a continuation of DotA, contributions will remain consistent from sources outside the main development team.[16]

To accommodate Dota 2, Valve has worked to upgrade the Source engine to include high-end cloth simulation, as well as improved global lighting and improvements to Steamworks, which includes a wider expansion of utilities, such as player guides and the coaching system.[2] Dota 2 utilizes Valve's Steam software in order to provide social and community functionality for the game. Steam accounts save personal files and settings on the online accounts using the Steam Cloud. Dota 2 also features multiple options of live spectating, in tradition of competitive Valve titles. The game host has the option to fill open slots with AI bots. Another option allows the host to determine if AI bots or other human players will be used to fill the vacated slot of a disconnected player. Valve is introducing a coaching system to allow for more experienced players to tutor newer players. The game will also feature tutorial sessions for further assisting players to mount the steep learning curve before competitive play.[2]

To coincide with Dota 2's public debut at Gamescom 2011, Valve opened the sign-up for invites for the beta, with invites being sent out following the conclusion of Gamescom.[17] During the debut, Gabe Newell revealed that Dota 2 would likely ship in 2012, despite original plans for a full release in late 2011.[3] On September 23, 2011, Valve scrapped its previous development and release plans for Dota 2, which would have kept the game in its beta phase for over a year, in order to accommodate the full transfer of creative materials developed for the original DotA. The new plan described by IceFrog looked to release the Dota 2 beta at the nearest possible date and to implement the remaining heroes afterwards.[18] At the same time, Valve announced that the non-disclosure agreement for the beta was being lifted, allowing testers to discuss the game and their experiences publicly.[19]

Cultural impact


Following the first public showing of Dota 2, it won IGN's public opinion-based People's Choice Award, defeating other anticipated games, including Battlefield 3, Diablo III, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Guild Wars 2.[20]

Professional competition

A crowd watches a Dota 2 match during The International at Gamescom 2011.

In a 2008 article of video game industry website Gamasutra, editor Michael Walbridge cited Defense of the Ancients as the most popular mod in the world, as well as one of the most popular competitive titles, with its strongest presence in Asia, Europe and North America.[21] To ensure the transition of DotA players to Dota 2, Valve invited and sponsored of the most accomplished teams to compete and showcase the game's capabilities with its public debut at The International, a global championship hosted at Gamescom 2011, with a grand prize of one million dollars.[22] According to IceFrog, The International global championship will be an annual event, with a prize purse at least equal to the debut tournament.[23]

Following The International, several electronic sports tournaments have begun to transition from the DotA to Dota 2, including the Electronic Sports World Cup, which is noted as being one of the most internationally-convergent competitions that maintained DotA a cornerstone title since 2008.[24] DreamHack, the world's largest computer festival, would also support Dota 2 in 2011, following a year without support for the original, on account of other competing action RTS titles, including Heroes of Newerth and League of Legends.[25]


  1. ^ a b Napolitano, Jayson (2011-08-23). "Composer Jason Hayes joins audio team at Valve". Destructoid. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Biessener, Adam (2010-10-13). "Valve's New Game Announced, Detailed: Dota 2". Game Informer. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  3. ^ a b Yin-Poole, Wesley (2011-08-18). "Newell: Dota 2 won't ship until 2012". Eurogamer. 
  4. ^ Dota Team (2010-11-01). "Welcome to the Dota 2 blog". Valve Corporation. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  5. ^ Kolan, Nick (2011-09-16). "The Heroes of Dota 2". IGN. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  6. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (2011-08-19). "Dota 2 - Preview". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  7. ^ "Gamescom 2011: DOTA 2 Interview (PC)". GameSpot. 2011-08-18. Retrieved 2011-08-21. 
  8. ^ a b c Onyett, Charles (2011-01-08). "Valve's Next Game". IGN. Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  9. ^ "Great News For DotA Fans". 2009-10-05. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  10. ^ "Game Informer Show 43: Dota 2, Medal of Honor". Game Informer. October 14, 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Valve Announces Dota 2". Valve Corporation. October 13, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2010. 
  12. ^ Funk, John (2010-10-13). "Valve Files Trademark for ... DotA?". The Escapist. 
  13. ^ Augustine, Josh (2010-08-17). "Riot Games’ dev counter-files “DotA” trademark". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  14. ^ Leahy, Brian (2010-10-25). "StarCraft 2 BlizzCon 2010 Interview: Lead Producer Chris Sigaty". Shacknews. Retrieved 2011-01-10. 
  15. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (2011-08-22). "Dota trademark: Blizzard, Valve respond". Eurogamer. 
  16. ^ IceFrog (2010-11-01). "Dota 2 Q&A". Valve Corporation. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  17. ^ Onyett, Charles (2011-08-17). "Gamescom: When Do We Get to Play Dota 2?". IGN. 
  18. ^ Horton, Samuel (2011-09-23). "Valve accelerates Dota 2's release". SK Gaming. 
  19. ^ IceFrog (2010-09-23). "I Said Good Day Sir!". Valve Corporation. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  20. ^ MacDonald, Keza (2011-08-23). "IGN People's Choice Award: And The Winner Is...". IGN. 
  21. ^ Walbridge, Michael (2008-06-12). "Analysis: Defense of the Ancients - An Underground Revolution". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  22. ^ Reilly, Jim (2011-08-01). "Valve Goes Big with Dota 2 Tournament". IGN. 
  23. ^ Root, Matthew (2011-08-21). "Valve Plans for Annual DotA Tournament, Comic Series". Pikimal. 
  24. ^ Strisland, Jonas (2011-10-25). "ESWC: DotA 2 Final". Cadred. 
  25. ^ Horton, Samuel (2011-11-02). "DreamHack Winter to feature Dota 2". SK Gaming. 

External links

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