Online gaming: Jumping on the Dota bandwagon

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When the custom scenario map called Dota Allstars for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos was first developed by Steve “Guinsoo” Feak, a new force in online gaming had spawned. After being ported to the Warcraft III expansion Frozen Throne by IceFrog, it became
so popular that more games with the Dota map were being played on Blizzard’s servers than the original Warcraft games.

Available for free and a steep learning curve coupled with infectious gameplay it, has grown into a global phenomena with millions of games being played daily. Constant updates and new content has kept up the communities’ interest levels with new versions
released monthly to balance the gameplay and introduce new heroes.

With such a huge community it was only a matter of time that companies started jumping on the bandwagon and creating their own knock-offs to satisfy a community that loves the game yet wants something much more visually appealing.

Currently, two alternatives to Dota are available, League of Legends developed by Riot Games under the guidance of the original Dota creator Steve “Guinsoo” Feak and Heroes of Newerth developed by S2 games with the blessing of IceFrog.

Both spin-offs took the original Dota concept and combined it with new features such as the ability to reconnect to a game already started in case a player gets disconnected and matchups between players who are at similar skill levels was well received by
the Dota community and also attracted new players. League of Legends is the more popular of the two as it combines Dota’s elements with its own concepts of Summoner points and experience allowing players to unlock new abilities and skills the more they play.
League of Legends also is more newbie (term to describe a new player) friendly with tool tips and item build recommendations available in game. Heroes of Newerth however borrows heavily from the original Dota with most characters exact copies of their Dota
counterparts. It appeals to the more veteran Dota player since it provides the visual experience that the outdated Warcraft III engine cannot deliver.

Valve Studios developers of games such as Half-Life also showed interest in Dota and have developed a stand-alone sequel to the game DotA 2 hiring IceFrog the lead designer for the new game. After being announced on October 13th 2010 with screen
shots for a new look Morphling, Traxex, and Blood Seeker, Valve took the whole gaming community by storm and DotA 2 became one of the most highly anticipated games for 2012. Currently DotA 2 is in the closed beta phase of development with weekly updates of
new heroes and balance fixes after Valve scrapped the entire release plan it had earlier announced after receiving feedback from the Dota community in lieu of their sensational “The International” tournament at Gamescom. Dota 2 beta keys are under high demand
and those lucky enough to play the game have given rave reviews for the sequel which will mark Valve’s first entry into the Fantasy RTS genre.

Another Dota spinoff is also in the making with Blizzard entertainment the developers of Warcraft III and World of Warcraft releasing a reveal trailer for their game “Blizzard Dota” at Blizzcon 2011. This game will feature characters from across Blizzard’s
game universe and released according to Blizzard very soonish.

Even the initial creators of Dota would not have imagined that their small custom map will go on to become a genre in its own right.

Disclaimer: The ideas expressed in the article are the writer’s own personal views and have nothing to do with’s editorial policy.

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