Who could have possibly predicted that a regular Warcraft III mod would eventually become one of the biggest games on Steam today? Valveâ€™s DOTA 2,
the sequel to what is now known as Warcraft III (WC3) DotA, currently holds the record for being the most played Steam game for 2012. Conisidering that the previous holder of that title was Skyrim, this is not a shabby feat at all.
DOTA 2â€™s world and game play is heavily based on its predecessor WC3 DotA, which is also still continuously being updated. Working on both DOTA 2 and WC3 DotA is the same anonymous man known only to the community as â€œIceFrogâ€. To date, 98 of the 110 WC3 DotA heroes have been ported to DOTA 2 and so far, there hasnâ€™t been any sign that WC3 DotA will not continue to add new heroes over time. However, since WC3 DotA iss just a custom map made for an already existing game, Valve has to redesign several aspects for DOTA 2 due to copyright and ownership restrictions. This includes redesigning and renaming of heroes, skills and items.
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges during the development for DOTA 2 is how to make it appealing to new players without having to ruin it for the existing player base. How do you make a game that will feel fresh and new, but still have that familiar tinge? As it stands, Valve seems to have found the answer. DOTA 2 retains almost 100% of the game play and mechanics of WC3 DotA down to the last detail for the existing players and showcases new features and elements that can be enjoyed by old and new players alike.
So what can you expect from DOTA 2?
For existing and experienced WC3 players, DOTA 2 retained the core elements that affect game play to make it easier for WC3 DotA players to transition to DOTA 2. Even after revamping, the current heroes still resemble their hero counter parts in WC3. Key features like weapon designs and color schemes among other aspects that were used to identify a hero were redesigned as close as possible to the originals so they can easily be recognized by WC3 DotA players. Earthshaker, for example, though no longer designed as a Tauren, still has the dark-brown color scheme and was able to keep his signature totem. For existing and experienced WC3 players, DOTA 2 retained the core elements that affect game play to make it easier for WC3 DotA players to transition to DOTA 2
Careful attention was also given to even the smallest important details such as the fog, the trees on the map, the time the trees respawn, the hero movement speed, turn rate, attack animation, tower projectile speed and even the distance of one map element to another. This way, you will still be able to dodge stuns with Blink on Anti-Mage, fake Fissure with Earthshaker or dodge and duke around trees in DOTA 2 as you did in WC3 DotA.
Valve has also made an effort to make DOTA 2 a friendlier game to new players and beginners alike. There are various interface improvements such as the simplified shop interface, the addition of suggested items and in-game recipe trees. This allows newer players to easily get into the game without having to memorize and familiarize themselves too much. DOTA 2 also now offers in-game voice chat for easier and faster communication.
Once you open the Steam client and run DOTA 2, everything you need is there â€” from the settings and the friends list to the hero information and community portal. It has a wide variety of settings to enable to the user to play the game as close to his preference as possible. The hotkeys are fully customizable not only for items, but also for skills, actions and interface. For the older players who still want to retain the old hotkeys, DOTA 2 gives players the option to use the WC3 skill hotkeys by toggling the â€œLegacy Keysâ€ option.
DOTA 2 also features various ways to play the game with other people. Players can now form teams and parties, choose which regions of the world they want to play in and even select language preferences for better player communication. Public matchmaking can be done in various modes such as All Pick, Captainâ€™s Mode, Random Draft, Same Hero Mid, All Random and a new mode called Reverse Captainâ€™s Mode where you ban and pick for your enemy team and vice-versa. Whether you are alone or with a group of friends, clicking on one button is all you need to find a 5-v-5 game every time. DOTA 2 also features team matchmaking to ensure that your team will get matched against another team instead of a random 5-man stack. Lobbies for private matches and bot or AI matches are also available.
Another interesting thing about the matchmaking system is that it works in such a way that players get matched with people who play within the same skill bracket.Another interesting thing about the matchmaking system is that it works in such a way that players get matched with people who play within the same skill bracket. After all, who would want to have an advanced player flaming you like hell for something noobish you did because you started playing the game some 3 days ago? DOTA 2 also gives users their very own DOTA 2 profiles where they can check their match history, wins, losses, abandons, statistics and even watch replays of their games.
DOTA 2 also has features that support the community and the competitive scene. The DOTA 2 client allows organizers to sell online tickets to tournaments that allow users to watch game tournaments in the game client. There are also team pennants that fans can buy to support their favorite teams who receive a portion of their pennantâ€™s sale.
The introduction of the cosmetic items and couriers not only allow for some eye candy coolness, but also a chance for the community to contribute and earn. In DOTA 2, players can equip different kinds of items or sets on their heroes. These items may be bought from the store, traded with other players or received as item drops from public matches or from watching tournament matches. In the Steam Workshop, fans can also submit their cosmetic creations, which will then be rated by the community. The highest-rated cosmetics are then added to the store and the designers earn a commission for every sale their design makes. Except for some visual changes and improvements, all kinds of cosmetic items do not give any kind of game advantage to the players.
So what does DOTA 2 not offer at the moment? DOTA 2 does not support LAN yet although there have been previous statements that the game will incorporate LAN. At the moment, however, players can only play the game online.
Although it is free to play, it is still not completely available to the public. While you can watch games in the client, you will still need to get a beta key or an invite in order to play the game. One way to get an invite is by taking a survey in the DOTA 2 website. Invites usually arrive in a few weeks or a month granting that you have followed all procedures properly and that you have given a working e-mail address. Alternatively, Valve gives existing players DOTA 2 invites to give out to their friends. Most DOTA 2 communities and personalities also give away DOTA 2 invites and beta keys. Getting into the game isnâ€™t really that difficult if you know where to look.
Overall, DOTA 2 gives its players an amazing enhanced experience of an existing game whose foundations were laid by its very own player base. And as it stands, DOTA 2 is continuing to grow and improve with the help not only of the people from Valve, but also from the members of the community. One of the biggest questions that remain now is when is this going to be publicly available? And this is often answered by the usual: â€œWell, in Valveâ€™s time.â€