Red Versus Blue: Blizzard DOTA

By Adam Smith on October 24th, 2011 at 9:53 am.

Good God!

Sometimes games brood, sitting in a corner and calculating their every internal component with a die that has unlimited sides. That can be agreeable, but it’s much more agreeable when a new game approaches wearing a jester’s hat and jigging merrily into view. Such is the case with Blizzard DOTA, the trailer for which has all the appearance of a wonderful parody. But this is reality and you will indeed be able to play a DOTA-styled game, pitching Blizzard characters against each other, with no regard for lore or legacy. It is to be an officially released Starcraft 2 mod, although you won’t even need to buy Starcraft 2 to play it.

Imagine the new Syndicate had a trailer a little something like that.

It’s not clear how Blizzard DOTA will be monetised, but it is clear that I hate myself for using the word monetised. From what I can gather, the mod will be free to play for owners of Starcraft 2 but will also run on the trial package, StarCraft II Starter Edition, which includes a basic multiplayer mode of the core game, as well as some single player missions. Playing this way will require “some costs” to be paid, although it’s not yet clear what those are.

Owning the full version of Starcraft II will provide advantages and owning liberal wings or swarm-hearts will confer even greater advantages, most likely in the form of characters that are monetised for non-owners. Enough about monetary monetisation though, it’s all too nebulous for now. I really need to develop an interest in at least one of these games, as they are apparently 95% of all upcoming releases. Any recommendations for the best place to start?

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69 Comments »

  1. Syra says:

    I dont like dota, but this looks nice.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Can someone please explain why every company is trying to make DOTA game ?

      Is this holy grail of gaming finally found ?

      One game to rule them all ?

      I tried playing some of them. but just cant understand what the fuss is about ?

    • Calneon says:

      It’s not the holy grail, it’s just a relatively new genre which is popular. Just like any other genre, you might like it or you might not, that’s no reason to get uppity and start looking down on the people who do like them.

      You need to play more than a few games to really get into them and decide if you like them or not. The first ~10 games you play, you will feel lost and confused but the more you play, the more you learn, the better you get, I think the progression of player skill is one of the reasons the genre is so popular.

    • Nevard says:

      I can, off the top of my head, think of two existing DOTA games, one in development and this one which, when you get down to it, is a fancy scripted map for a different game
      I’d hardly call that “every developer”

    • Calneon says:

      Well, there’s League Of Legends and Heroes Of Newerth on top of those two you mentioned.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Wikipedia says there’s roughly 8: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Dota_based_games

      Though i think there’s probably a few more hanging out.

      I think the thing is, that it’s a new style of PvP, so you can create an easily replayable/money source… unlike similar genre-origins like Tower Defense.

      Though in this instance, I’m pretty sure Blizzard’s is a direct response to Valve’s.

    • cyrenic says:

      “Can someone please explain why every company is trying to make DOTA game?”

      Because they look at how much money Riot Games is making with League of Legends and start drooling.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Monday Night Combat & Bloodline Champions are missing from the Chronology page on Wikipedia & Rise of the Immortals has been released on Steam for about a month (listed as being in closed beta).

    • shoptroll says:

      I could see myself giving this a spin. I have a fledgling interest in giving one of these MOBADOTA games a try but I think at this point I’m just waiting for either Blizzard II Dota or Dota 2 since I don’t need to jump through the hoops of signing up for an account with Riot.

    • crizzyeyes says:

      Bloodline Champions is not even close to DOTA except for the fact that it has selectable characters with unique skills. I’ve actually played most of these games. That being said, I will be very sad if the Diablo 1/2 characters aren’t heroes. I will definitely be playing Paladin.

      “…since I don’t need to jump through the hoops of signing up for an account with Riot.”

      Huh? You seem to imply that signing up for an account with Riot is some kind of daunting task. It’s not any more difficult than, say, signing up for a forum account.

    • shoptroll says:

      I know it’s not hard to sign up for an account. I’m just being lazy and I’ve already got accounts with Steam and Starcraft II. I have a burgeoning curiosity in the genre, but not enough craving to want to go out and look into it on my own. If someone were to drop a MOBA game in my lap (ie. Blizzard DOTA) I’d probably play it immediately.

  2. Echo Black says:

    I actually feel this will be better than DOTA2. Not that Valve can’t make a decent DOTA-like, but Blizzard’s strategy pedigree is just insane

    • Calneon says:

      Only the fact that it’s tacked on to SC2 puts me off. If it was standalone I would be more interested (I own SC2 btw).

    • Dragon Master says:

      There’s truth to that, but there is also the fact that the guy who developed the orignial(and pretty much started the MOBA…uhhh…”genre”) is on Vavle’s side. Still, time will tell, both are scheduled for Soon(tm).

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Actually, I wouldn’t say Blizzard’s history with other products is really relevant… what’s more important is that rather than simply ape the original mod, they’re actually looking at the mechanics and trying to design the game from the ground up.

      Valve is basically making Dota2 as the original with better graphics, including all the “issues” that go with it, and a lot of support for “that game”.

      Obviously Blizzard is going to run into constraints with the SC2 engine, that may effectively force them to streamline the mechanics, but I don’t really think it’s such an advantage to stick to some kind of “dota design bible”… Maybe it’ll be a worse game for it, but I’d like to see someone try something different (not to say other people haven’t tried before).

    • Starky says:

      As mentioned though, anyone can play it as a F2P with the starter edition of SC2 – and been part of SC2 makes sense – it already has an amazing matchmaking system and everything DotA needs. Any standalone they did make would just be a reskinned cut down SC2 engine anyway.

      That and it doesn’t make sense for Blizzard to split the community when it is in their interests as a company when their goal was always to make SC2 more than just a game but a gaming “platform” they were hyping up pre-SC2 launch.

      Seriously the map editor is actually amazing and can do some really great stuff.

    • dontnormally says:

      “the guy who developed the orignial(and pretty much started the MOBA…uhhh…”genre”) is on Vavle’s side. ”

      Icefrog was a curator. He didn’t create the map or come up with the idea.
      It’s as old as SC1 at least (Aeon of Strife).

    • coolz says:

      To tack on to this, Steve Feak (who made DoTA “Allstars” variant), is working at Riot Games on League of Legends.

  3. MaXimillion says:

    LoL is the most newbie-friendly game in the genre (at least until DOTA 2 comes out, possibly even then). If you’re just looking to get a bit more familiar with DotA clones it’s the game to play.

    HoN is currently the best DotA clone for mechanics, skill level and competitive scene, but it’s a bit more difficult to get started with than LoL, and you will get more hostile comments from other players until you learn to play.

    • Polysynchronicity says:

      This is about right. I’ve played pretty much all the dotas. Start with LoL if you know nothing about them.

      A friend who is not inclined to rage-fits when you do poorly is recommended for those learning the game – having a helpful advisor around takes a lot of the edge off.

      If you enjoy LoL, give the others a try too. They’ve all got their own variations. I feel LoL is the most casually enjoyable, and HoN has the most tactical/strategic depth, but demands more seriousness and involvement from its players if you want to do well. Sometimes I find that challenging and fun, sometimes it’s just stressful and aggravating.

    • FalseMyrmidon says:

      On the contrary I think HoN and DotA’s mechanics are retarded. It’s obviously very much based on opinion.

    • Polysynchronicity says:

      LoL made a lot of mechanical improvements, especially from the view of a non-dota player. The real problem is that right now the balance is really in favor of a very slow and boring farm-and-poke game which can last an hour or more.

      I love playing both games, but I fall asleep watching competitive LoL while HoN games keep me interested. Likewise, I get more excited (or angrier) playing fast-paced HoN, while LoL games are slower and more relaxing (or boring).

      In the end it really comes down to personal preference tho, and what your friends play. Most of mine are doing LoL right now, so that’s what I play the most of, but I still hit up HoN on a regular basis.

    • man-eater chimp says:

      LoL is definitely worth a shot even if you’re interested with the genre. Dominion changes the original game enough so that its a completely different ball game, and only takes up 20-25 minutes rather than a possible 50 minutes with the classic version.

    • MaXimillion says:

      @FalseMyrmidon, By mechanics I meant Replays, Pausing, Leaver protection, Client-Server architechture etc., not game mechanics like denying and couriers, since those are more of a personal preference. Although for an interesting competitive game I find it hard to argue that HoN does not have superior game mechanics in comparison to LoL.

    • Eamo says:

      Just started playing LoL recently (having pretty much no DOTA experience) and I am really enjoying it. The main thing annoying me about it is the launcher app though, the constant bouncing between two applications is incredibly jarring and the constant loading when you are probably just replaying the same map over and over again is just silly.

      This is where I can see Blizzard demolishing them, the UI in their games is always so well designed and laid out.

      The main problem is the sheer amount of heros you need to know just to play well, 85 heros, 4 abilities each, most with a couple of different builds which change very much which abilities are the nasty ones thats a lot to learn before you can start doing well. The fact you start at a pretty big disadvantage with no masteries or runes available is also pretty harsh, especially when the nature of the game turns a small disadvantage into a big one pretty fast.

      That said, the game is a lot of fun, it’s free and depending on how busy you are the fact that you have a very good idea how long each game will be is a big advantage for scheduling.

      Blizzards big advantage will be leveraging the characters people already know, it’s just going to be so much easier to learn when you know the characters, thats Arthas, he has frost and undead spells, thats Diablo he has that fire ring and flame breath thingy etc.

    • zergrush says:

      “LoL made a lot of mechanical improvements, especially from the view of a non-dota player. The real problem is that right now the balance is really in favor of a very slow and boring farm-and-poke game which can last an hour or more.”

      Take away denying, make jungling even easier, have spells / heroes deal relatively low damage , plus easily available scape mecanisms and that’s what you get. For anyone who’s able to play DotA decently LoL is simply boring.

      HoN is better, but the interface and most heroes designs are so fucking ugly and overdone I can’t play it.

      So I’ll stick with the regular old DotA until Dota2 comes out.

    • adonf says:

      Are you guys sure he didn’t mean an interest in Starcraft games ? That’s how I understood it.

  4. acidtestportfolio says:

    how many renfair swords are required to play this game

  5. CaspianRoach says:

    Stitches!
    I still have his femur in bank back from vanilla WoW! <3

  6. Johnny Lizard says:

    Soonish (TM)?

    [The most interesting thing about DOTA games is all the trademark nonsense.]

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Blizzard’s version of Valve time is known as soon(tm). :)

  7. Echo Black says:

    Also, is that Galactus?

    • Polysynchronicity says:

      I thought it was Optimus Prime when I first saw it.

  8. Joof says:

    I like how they made fun of themselves for taking forever to make things with the Coming Soon… ish(tm).

    I guess I’ll play 3 or 4 games of this and then be done with it. DOTA isn’t really my thing.

  9. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Vaguely interested in this for all the additional artwork it’ll provide for modders.

    Also, I remember when DotA was just another AoS. Bah!

    • misterT0AST says:

      When I first heard the name “Aeons of Strife” on The Hive Workshop forums I wanted to find out more about it, and couldn’t find a screenshot or basic information anywhere on the internet.
      It’s a shame because it would be very interesting to know more about the birth of this kind of game.
      I found the actual map, but I don’t own the original starcraft so I guess I’ll just have to deal with it.

  10. apocraphyn says:

    Pity they’re only using their obvious properties. What about Kyle, the badass shotgun wielding shaman from Blackthorne? What about the Lost Vikings?! So many lost opportunities.

  11. skyturnedred says:

    Needs more Vikings.

  12. Bhazor says:

    I have a somewhat serious question.

    Why is it always Red vs Blue? Isn’t Red/Blue colourblindness one of the most common types? IOr is it just one of those traditional things now?

    • Drazilek says:

      Probably just stems from way back when, most games are Red and Blue, plus I believe Red and Blue are the peoples favourite colours as a rule, plus the two better colours of the 3 primary.

      I just waffle. And make stuff up… or do I?

    • Subatomic says:

      The most commom form of color blindness is actually red-green with a 7 to 10% prevalance in males and 0% in females (damn you, y-chromosome!). Forms of color blindness involving the color blue are extremely rare.

    • westyfield says:

      I think red/green colour-blindness is the most common.
      Edit: oh, ninja’d.

    • Bhazor says:

      Huh, Red and Green is just as popular (its the defacto choice for allies and enemies on in game radar/minimaps) as Red vs Blue. Now I’m even more confused.

      You’d think there’d be some kind of response to this or even just accesibility options in game. But that would probably make the Daily Mail declare that Politcal Corectness has gone mad.

    • Agrona says:

      It’s not as if all reds and greens look exactly the same. As I understand it, the problem is that the hues are hard to distinguish. If a game uses reds that are consistently very desaturated and greens that are consistently saturated, it should be easy enough to tell them apart. (Imagine distinguishing light and dark greys or blues).

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      The red/blue distinction goes back at least to ancient Rome, where the chariot races were divided between Red, Blue, Green, and White factions. (source)

  13. Kollega says:

    “A tiny pocket universe of two gods, one red and other blue”? Does this remind anyone else of the Silver Age of Comic Books? Anyone?

    • Sirbolt says:

      Yup! My first reaction to the top image was “that sure looks like a Celestial”!

  14. Arcanon says:

    It’s too soon to say anything about the game, but really! With League of Legends and the upcoming Dota2, the only reason any MOBA player would have to play this is that it’s free and that it has the word “Blizzard” written on it.

    We’ll judge it “”"Soon”"”, but I doubt it will bring anything new to the table.

    • misterT0AST says:

      I actually can think of good reasons to play it:
      Dota, Dota 2 and HoN are the very same game, so the only real choice at the moment is between LoL and Dota (whatever the variant).
      Blizzard will come out with a third different option, which hopefully won’t be just another carbon copy of the original (like Valve’s), and knowing those clever sons of a gun it will integrate all the improvements made by LoL.
      Basically it will be the very first time a MAJOR company comes up with a dota-like game which does not copy and paste every single statistic from the original.
      Although it could fail miserably: Blizzard already tried to develop a dota-like mod for Warcraft III called “Extreme Candy War 2009″ and it was just dull and boring. Yet it already was very different from vanilla Dota.
      Then there’s the characters: playing with random heroes like “Amumu” or “Magmus” is ok, but they can’t even be compared to Arthas Menethil, Zerathul.
      It’s like a Super Smash Bros. Blizzard with all their characters in it. That alone is pretty neat.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Well no, the problem with this article is that it’s got no actual information in it beyond what’s shown in the trailer. Blizzard DoTA has a number of interesting changes vs any of the games currently on the market, including.

      No boots, instead you have various different mounts which can be activated to ride around the map at speed, you dismount while in combat. Mounts make roaming and ganking more viable, encouraging a more aggressive game.

      Towers have ammo and will power down for a short time when they run out, making hiding under a tower for long periods of time a bad idea, encouraging a more aggressive game.

      Neutral camps will instead of just giving you gold and xp, join your next way of attack as more powerful minions.

      The big Roshan/Nashor/Kongor boss also does this, following your party after you defeat him and stomping around the map as a giant supercreep which outranges towers.

      Minions drop health/mana orbs when killed which have to be picked up, this encourages players to actually get close to each other rather than passively farming from either side of the creep wave, again encouraging actual fighting.

      Those are the changes I can think of off the top of my head, there are more of them, there was a detailed explanation at Blizzcon. Those changes are enough to get me interested in playing it.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      ^ Why the hell has no one mentioned this! The DOTA2 gameplay Blizzard hosted showed NONE of this! Are they two seperate titles? Is there going to be a dota with all these improvements, and a shitty dota thats just a carbon copy of the original?

      I’m confused. I watched that tournament. I only saw vanilla dota in a new engine.

    • Arcanon says:

      I stand corrected Mr Biscuit, thank you for the information…..oh, and for the Guild Wars 2 coverage!

    • Joof says:

      @TsunamiWombat

      DOTA2 is being made by Valve, while Blizzard DOTA is being made by Blizzard. They are separate games.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      DOTA2 is being made by Valve, while Blizzard DOTA is being made by Blizzard. They are separate games.

      Shouldn’t they be suing each other over that? No, seriously. I don’t know who owns the trademark (edit: it’s Valve and/or DOTA-ALLSTARS, LLC), but the potential for confusion is ridiculous.

  15. Arcanon says:

    *wrong reply*

  16. Freudian Slip says:

    This looks awful and from the play experience of friends who work in/around the MOBA community sounds like it’s even more casual than LoL. Spammy spells, kill creeps to regenerate health (wtf at that one).

    Not to mention the worst thing about a DOTA game on the SC2 engine, atrocious hitboxes.
    I’ll be avoiding it.

  17. iviv says:

    So does this mean that DOTA2 is going to be released before DOTA?

  18. MadTinkerer says:

    I really hope Blizzard include Blackthorne and all three Lost Vikings as playable heroes.

  19. westyfield says:

    Looks fun! On the “and more” (1:07) frame, what’s the green fish-thing wearing Terran marine armour?

    • Anarki says:

      It looks like a murloc (from WoW) wearing Terran armor (from Starcraft). Universe crossovers hurt my brain.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      ninja’d: It appears to be a Warcraft Murloc wearing Space Marine armour

  20. actionthom says:

    LoL is fun! I don’t have much more to add than that really. The character design is great and it’s so obvious when you’re affected by an ability/what they do from the design that learning is really easy. Hooray!

  21. Kandon Arc says:

    … heroes forced to fight to the death with no purpose other than ladder points. THIS IS … every Blizzard game ever.

  22. Synesthesia says:

    Why are they not being sued by using the dota acronym? Isnt this like calling a zune a WINDOW’S IPOD?

  23. MythArcana says:

    An elite game coming from an elite software company. Oh, the irony.

  24. Shodex says:

    “Some costs” probably mean your soul, knowing Blizzard. If they’re not out for money, they’re out for blood.

  25. Moraven says:

    They always had the idea of the Map Marketplace. It is unknown if Dota will be used on it.

    They are putting a ton of work into the Map.