DotA is a custom map from Warcraft III – Reign of Chaos and it’s expansion, Warcraft III – The Frozen Throne. The date of the first appearance of the map is not 100% clear, but it was sometime in 2003.
There were many different maps that developed on the first DotA mod, but the one that eventually become dominant was developed by Steve Feak also know under the nick “Guinsoo”.
After about 2 years the development was handed over to a mapmaker under the nick “Icefrog”, who was been working on it ever since.
Unlike most RTS games you do not control a race and have to build a base, gather resources, expand, etc. At the very start you get to pick one of 104 unique heroes, which are sorted under 3 main attributes; strength, intelligence and agility. There are different games modes which give you a certain pool of heroes to choose from or similar, but I won’t go into detail as it would take to long to explain every single mode.
After having picked a hero you buy item from you start gold and move to a lane. About 1 minute and 30 seconds after the game having started your allied creeps will spawn from your base. There are 3 different lanes which the creeps will enter, on each lane there are 3 towers. These towers are very strong at the start, but loose importance the longer the game lasts since the heroes grow in strength as well. So from both teams, “Sentinel” and “Scourge”, creeps spawn. The creeps are controlled by the computer and evenly balanced if no heroes interfere.
The main aim of the game is to push one, or all, of the 3 lanes, enter the opponents base and destroy their main building, for the Sentinel it’s “The World Tree” and for the Scourge it’s “The Frozen Throne”. Before you actually destroy the main building of the opposing team, you can also destroy their “barracks”. Each lane has 2 of these, and for every 1 you destroy you own creeps will get stronger giving you an advantage.
To achieve your goal you have to level up your hero, you do this by standing close to enemy creeps to gain experience. For every level you gain, you get a skill point. You have 3 different skills and 1 ultimate skill. You can level each skill up to level 4 and your ultimate up to level 3. The other 10 skill points are used to upgrade your stats.
Besides leveling up you also have to farm gold to buy yourself powerful items. You do this by last hitting enemy creeps, or neutral creeps which are positioned around the whole map.
Average DotA games take around 40 minutes even though some are decided after 10 minutes and some take about 90 minutes! There are a lot of games hosted on b-net by players and host bots alike, but like any other major e-sport there are also leagues and tournaments with considerable prize pools.
To be able to play DotA on Warcraft III’s very own battle-net you simply have to buy Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne. Both are available for 10 euro each in close to every major PC shop.
I hope you enjoyed this short review of DotA any maybe you are inspired to give it a try.