Familiar with Defense of the Ancients, the popular multiplayer mod for Warcraft III? It’s a unique take on an RTS (real-time strategy) where two teams of five players fight for a minimum of 40 minutes, trying to destroy the enemy’s base. Leveling up lets you stockpile equipment and money. It’s crazy popular on Battle.net, Blizzard’s online gaming service, where a variation called DOTA-Allstars has become top dog. DOTA-Allstars is maintained and updated by a man who goes by the handle “IceFrog,” and we’re now learning that Valve hired IceFrog back in 2009 to work on DOTA 2.
Valve might seem like an odd fit to legitimize DOTA with a fully-funded, professionally-made sequel, since it’s primarily known for first-person shooters like Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress, and Left 4 Dead. But don’t forget that Valve also gave us Steam, the game-downloading/updating service for PC users that rivals Xbox Live in quality and quantity of content. And it’s made a habit out of finding great modders in the fan community and hiring them to create professional content.
Valve’s DOTA 2, which was just announced today by Game Informer, is described as “basically DOTA-Allstars with new technology.” Namely, a newly enhanced version of Valve’s “Source” game engine, which is significantly more advanced than Blizzard’s old Warcraft III engine. Integrated voice chat, professional voice actors for the NPCs, and graphics that retain the feel of the original while upgrading them with new ideas are just some of the innovations to be found in DOTA 2.
The biggest change is that active participation in the DOTA 2 community will somehow be rewarded in-game, though Valve has yet to explain how this will work. Valve is also adding a robust coaching system and interactive guides to the game, which are expected to add a lot to the experience.
There are no screenshots yet available, only the character artwork seen below. Game Informer has lots more details about the game in their exclusive feature.