You want to know what Dota is? Or you wonder whether it is something for you or your friends? You are in the right place here! For these and many other questions, are answered right here.
What is DotA?
DotA in full stands for Defense of the Ancients. Dota is a fantasy online real-time strategy multiplayer-based PC and Mac game with RPG elements. This means that this game is not just about how quickly you can target and click, but puts many focus on your tactics and strategy, players will have to learn to think well to outsmart the others. You can play the game solely (thanks to the AI versions of Dota) and then you'll play against the computer, but the game is specifically intended to play with friends or other players online. The game can be played with up to 10 people at the same time, pitting two teams of 5 people against each other. Simply said, the team who destroys the enemy base; known as the "Ancient" of the enemy, wins the game, further on you'll read that there is a lot more involved. The game takes place in a very special map that uses the features offered in the game Warcraft III, this map you can play (including online) as well as download for free if you own Warcraft III and its expansion. There are regular updates and you can also download these for free. Read the section about the history of DotA to see how it is made possible that this game is offered free. But fristly read on to see why the game is so very popular.
What makes DotA such a popular game?
Exactly how populair is DotA? DotA is played by millions of players that are devided around the world. Each update is on average downloaded about 3 million times, but that is only the small group that does this directly from the main site. It is even the theme and name "DotA" of one of the better known songs of the musician Basshunter; "Vi sitter i Ventrilo och spelar DotA".
How is this possible? It helps a lot that the game is basically free of charge, besides the little buy price of Warcraft III and extension The Frozen Throne. The game is very accessible but also has great depth so that you never fully master the game (read more about this below). The enormous range of items and heroes to choose from with their great variation in style and tasks make sure there is enough variation not to get bored while the game also has regular and free updates with new possibilities. Because you can easily play the game with friends, you will soon want to show it to them or even better play it with them. There is not much that offers as much fun as thinking out strategies with your friends so that you will boss your opponents. This game has many of the nice properties of an RPG without the disadvantages that are normally included. At the beginning of the game, you choose the game mode and a hero, during the game you choose the items and skills in the order that you want. but, if you make a mistake, this only account to the current game and you'll not have to lie awake for the rest of the year for a past mistake. Also novice palyers do not have to take into account a huge difference in level when they start playing the game, only mistakes or good decisions they make during the current game are relevant. If you can't make it work, you can set it right even in the very next game!
There is a lively Dota community, where players help each other and give tips and advice, players can even give suggestions of what they like, such as a new hero design or redesign. There also are adapted DotA maps that for example offer AI functionality so you can play against or with both human and computer controlled heroes, or 6v6 maps that offer an extra spot for one more player on each side, the DotA OMG maps offer a large choice of pickable abilities for each hero. There are even many well-made Dota videos viewable on youtube etc. that often feature funny moments, extremely lucky moments and skills of the players. The more you know about Dota the more you can appreciate them.
The beginning of DotA and history
Since the beginning Dota was made by players for players. Guinsoo and Eul started with DotA, but abandoned it for other projects. In recent years IceFrog has done almost all the work, he produces work of high quality and ensures that players can download the latest map for free. Every new version is play tested by a team of Beta-tester players.
DotA has become so popular that games manufacturers have tried to piggy-back on this success, first with the failed game Demigod. Later, Guinsoo (the old DotA maker) launched a game called League of Legends or LoL, a simplified version of DotA. Then Heroes of Newerth or HoN was launched, this game plays almost like DotA in a new specific game engine, but the selection of heroes, balance and depth are still somewhat limited compared to DotA.
DotA 2 has been announced by IceFrog, together with Valve a games manufacturer they are creating a new game, planned for 2011. This game will feel exactly like DotA with its famous heroes and items only it will reduce the current weaknesses a lot. Graphics, ingame team talk / team speech, interactive guides, coach systems etc.
DotA gameplay and depth
We already described Defence of the Ancients in simple terms and with little depth let's get down to what DotA Allstars is all about. DotA pits two teams of players against each other; known as the Sentinel and the Scourge. Players on the Sentinel team are based at the southwest corner of the map, and those on the Scourge team are based at the northeast corner. Each base is defended by towers and waves of units which guard the three main paths leading to their base. In the center of each base is the "Ancient", the key building that must be destroyed to win the game.
Each player controls one Hero, that functions as a powerful unit with unique abilities. In DotA, players on each side can choose one out of a pool of 95 (and counting) heroes, each with different abilities and tactical advantages over other heroes (Click here to view some hero types.). The scenario is highly team-oriented; it is difficult for one player to carry the team to victory alone. Nevertheless, some heroes, given enough experience and money, can change the outcome single-handedly, while countering the opposing team's heroes. Defense of the Ancients allows up to ten players in a five versus five format and an additional two slots for referees or observers. The game is normally played with an equal number of players on each side.
Because the gameplay revolves around strengthening individual heroes, it does not require one to focus on resource management and base-building, as in most traditional real-time strategy games. Killing computer-controlled enemy or neutral units and especially enemy heroes kills earn the player experience points; when enough experience is accumulated, the player gains a higher level. Leveling up improves the hero's stats, and allows players to chose and upgrade their spells or skills. In addition to accumulating experience, players also manage a single resource: gold. Gold is accumulated by combat-oriented money system; in addition to a small periodic income, heroes earn gold by killing hostile units, base structures, and enemy heroes. Using gold, players buy items to strengthen their hero and gain abilities. Certain items can be combined (often with recipes) to create more powerful items. Buying items that suit one's hero and allies and works well against the enemies he faces is an important tactical element of the game scenario.
DotA offers a variety of game modes, selected by the game host at the beginning of the match. The game modes dictate the guidelines by which people will choose their hero or even if they are assigned one randomly or chosen by the captain (host), among other options. Many game modes can be combined, for example, getting a new hero once it dies (deathmatch or dm) instead of keeping the same one and a random hero pick (allrandom or ar) will be entered as -dmar, these combination allow much more flexible options.
Some words to grasph the depths of DotA. There are things that can keep you busy no matter how experienced you are in this game: Picking the right heroes to match your playstyle as well as balance your team, and at the same time can counter or overcome the enemy team's strengths. Choosing the right items for your hero and adapting them to your role, game circumstances, as well as your allies heroes and itembuilds and enemy heroes and itembuilds, on the fly during the game. Keeping all that in mind once you play a different mode things are different and your choices will often have to vary accordingly. Think of it as chess with 95 possible different pieces that can be custom build during the game. Like real life, everything stands or falls by tactics and an adaptive strategy.
DotA as a teamgame, from friendly to competition level
The game lends itself nicely for playing sessions among friends. Those that seek a bigger group form clans of friends and others alike. Because of the competitive fun and value of the game, players will often join in tournaments from online games, LAN parties to big events. The DotA tournaments have grown in size and the prize-money has risen accordingly, leading to official teams that play the game on a professional level. Because the game is played on so many levels this helps the game to become increasingly balanced and fun with each update.
Okay after all that information you might want to see for yourself if DotA is worthwhile. Click here to read how to get started, in a simple step by step description.