Warcraft III: DotA Allstars (Defense of the Ancients)

dota I was one of the many gamers addicted to World of Warcraft a few months ago. I have recently kicked the habit and have headed back to my Blizzard roots (well, more like my Blizzard upper trunk/lower branches) and have dusted off my Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne cds. But its not to play Warcraft III…

DotA Allstars is my draw to those Warcraft III discs. DotA is a home-made mod for Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne that has taken Battle.net by storm over the past few years. Here’s the official DotA site’s description:

DotA stands for “Defense of the Ancients”, it’s a free mod for Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne. The purpose of the game is to defend your Ancient and try to destroy the opponents Ancient. The ancients are located deep in both bases, which are located at the top right and bottom left corners of the map. There are over 70 heroes that differ greatly in play style. Each of these heroes have been carefully designed so they are both balanced and unique. The map is updated frequently, sometimes to add new heroes, fix bugs or to make a balance update. The strategies possible with DotA are pretty much endless, choosing the wrong item and hero combination can mean the difference between a win and a loss for your team. The gameplay in DotA Allstars can be classified as relatively fast because as the game progresses any small mistake you make can be fatal to the overall team.

This WCIII mod has picked up enough following that Blizzard – Warcraft III’s creator – hosted a DotA Allstars tournament at their last Blizzcon…thats saying something! :) The mod has been well developed over the years and is currently in the hands of IceFrog (some dude’s alias) and he’s doing some good things. The game seems fairly balanced and new heroes are added every once in a while. I think the real draw to the game is how different each one can be…with 77 heroes and a crap ton of items you can totally suck out one game then turn around and own the next! The key is to find that happy medium and slowly work towards owning every time. Needless to say…I’m not there yet.

The way the game works is this: there are two teams – the Scourge and the Sentinel – consisting of up to 5 players each that start at the top right and the bottom left of the map respectively. Each player chooses a Hero to control, level up, and attack with. The goal is to advance on the opposing team and destroy their Ancient (a large structure in each base). Along the way, players are pitted against a constant barrage of spawned creeps (which originate from the opposing side’s base), enemy towers, other players’ heroes, and world creeps. To aid in the advancement in levels up to 25, players can purchase items from various shops and combine many of them into stronger items.

The game is fast, fun, and addictive…and boy can it piss you off at times. The average game lasts about 45-60 minutes so you play for a couple of hours you can try out a few different heroes in a single sitting.

During the summer, a group of friends – Al, Bude, Keith, Nate, Ryan, Zach, and I – gather together once a week to either LAN it up or play on Battle.net. We stock up on caffeine, chips, and subs, then play until the wee hours of the morning. Good times. Bude and Nate are our best players so are never allowed on the same team…I’m a fairly sucky player so I think I’ll start doing a little strat research and playing more Battle.net games on my own. My goal: To get better so I can start pissing my friends off because I’m good rather than pissing them off because I suck :). We’ll see if I get there…

If you have any interest in trying DotA out, you can get the latest map from here or GetDotA.com. Don’t bother trying to join games without the newest map…you’ll get booted faster than the game prep UI loads.