I remember years ago when LANS were the only real place to go to for true multiplayer gaming. I set up my pc with the thought of several hours of Counter Strike and various other games ahead of me. I remember how countless times I browsed through the available servers expecting to find dozens of maps or games happening, only to find one or two servers, and they weren’t even full.
WHAT WAS GOING ON?! A quick glance around the room gave me my answer. Every damn gamer was in a game of Dota. At the time the only thought in my head was that I was there to game and to game now. I didn’t want to learn how to play some new game, especially if it wasn’t a shooter! Years passed, and I never once tried it out.
What is Dota you ask? “Dota” stands for Defense of the Ancients. The basic premise is that there are two teams and each team consists of up to 5 heroes and their own base which they have to protect. There are constant “streams” of AI controlled units which push towards their enemies base along three pathways. The player controls a single “hero” unit which has its own set of unique abilities and spells. As the game progresses, gold is earned, each hero levels up and gets stronger, and items can be purchased with the gold that is earned. The game ends when one of the bases key structures (known as the ancient) is destroyed.
Now that we are both on the same page, fast forward a few years and the first Dota inspired game I tried out was Heroes of Newerth (HoN) during its beta run. The learning curve was steep, with the community being one of the most unforgiving I have ever witnessed. After a good long while, I finally knew exactly what each hero did, and what each item was useful for. Even then, trying to perfect a specific item build for the dozens of heroes was overwhelming. I have racked up over 2000 games now (oh the humanity!) and I still feel like I’m a novice compared to the pros. Yet, I keep on coming back for more of the addictive gameplay. It’s a definite love hate relationship happening with that game. I love winning and I love doing well, but If things just don’t go to plan, I am often tempted to strangle my screen with my mouse and beat it with my keyboard.
HoN has been out for a long time now and League of Legends (another Dota inspired game) has been around a little longer. The original Dota still has its own fan base that plays regularly. Yet in the near future, new games will be thrown into the mix; namely Dota 2 and Blizzard’s DOTA.
The Dota 2 Beta has been around for a while now so there are loads of videos on YouTube that one can use to see what the gameplay is actually like. This is reportedly the true sequel to the original mod for Warcraft 3- and it’s also being developed by Valve who are known to release one game every few centuries, but make sure the game itself is damn polished and top notch. I’ve loved every single game from Valve, so when this comes out, I may be tempted to distance myself from the HoN I know and love.
Blizzard Dota (BD) is being developed by the other powerhouse gaming company (Blizzard… duh!). Perhaps now that Diablo 3 is all but complete, more news of BD will become readily available. Blizzard are taking their formula of “Easy to learn, difficult to master” and applying it to this game. This is interesting because as I have said above, the learning curve of this genre is rather steep. Easy to learn can be a difficult formula to apply, yet I can totally understand the difficult to master part. I can only imagine how enticing this game may be to me when it too is launched.
My question though, is where will you be putting all your time in the next few years? All of these adaptions have their own unique gameplay mechanics and style, even if the premise is more or less the same across all of them. I’ve already spent 2000+ games in one specific flavour of a bigger dish.
Which spin on the original Dota are you going to be putting your time into?
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Defence of the Ancients? More like Defence of the cabbages! Have you seen my head? I look like a Merino Sheep on pole. NO SHANGE only SHAPPIES! :D