For the last five years, Dota 2 [official site] players have travelled far and wide to compete in The International. Now, Valve are launching a series of Majors, the first of which will take place in Frankfurt.
RPS Feature The artist hopefully formerly known as MOBA
Battle Arenas is a series in which Cara looks at Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games, and tries to answer why they might have become so popular. She used to play DOTA. A lot. Like, from back in 2003 when it was first released (she is old). Now DOTA clones are everywhere! THEY MUST BE EXAMINED. But first: a little musing on the intricacies of DOTA, the first, the best.
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Well, that was close. When last we checked in on Blizzard and Valve’s legal frontlines, the two were arming up for all-out war over the DOTA name. Blizzard was adamant that it owned the “Ancients” part of “Defense of the Ancients,” and therefore, Valve had no right to trademark “DOTA” for use in DOTA 2. Happily, however, neither side will be drafting up a legal defense (of the Ancients), as the PC gaming empires have called off their cold war. Hands have been shaken and babies kissed. So then, let’s have a look at the terms.
Well now, this is quite the thing. In its never-ending march to assimilate all the games, Minecraft has turned its gaping, block-toothed maw on DOTA. The resulting map (no mods required, amazingly) has it all: towers to defend, a colorful assortment of creep(er)s, and the single most overblown trailer soundtrack you’ll ever hear. The mere act of its war drums caressing my ear drums transformed my arms into swords and my legs into chain flails. I really wish it would’ve been the other way around, as I’m now functionally immobile. Anyway, you’ll find the absurdly impressive trailer after the break. Fair warning: side effects may include feelings of general inadequacy and the inability to ever touch the things you love again.
RPS Feature Counter-Defense of the Ancients
I was thinking the Blizzard/Valve cold war over DOTA had gone tellingly quiet of late. Here’s why – because it’s gone to the courts. Valve are, of course, gearing up to release Dota 2 as a standalone game of their own, but DOTA – or Defense of the Ancients as it was originally known – sprang to life as a Warcraft III mod. Valve were already facing a trademark-off with some of DOTA’s original team, but now, after some passive aggression in the media, Blizzard have stepped fully into the fray. They have lawyers. And they are contesting Valve’s registration of the Dota 2 trademark.
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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.
I note there was a lot of surprise that Valve would offer a $1m prize for their Dota 2 tournament at Gamescom: maybe this goes a little way to explaining why that sum is perhaps not so extraordinary (y’know, other than the fact that Valve live in houses made of platinum).
Chinese DotA 1/StarCraft 2/Warcraft 3 team Catostrophic Cruel Memories, aka CCM, was earlier this week bought out by businessman Sicong Wang, director of Wanda Enterprises, for the sum of 40,000,000 Chinese yuan – that’s about $6.2 million. Whaaaaat.
Valve hired IceFrog, a developer of Warcraft III mod Defence of the Ancients a while back, and since then there have been persistent rumours that they might be making the mod as a full game. This then seemed far more likely with the surprise announcement of Alien Swarm a couple of weeks back, having hired the mod team who made that too. And now a tweet from voice actor Jon St. John seems to confirm the existence of a DotA project.
Jon St. John is the gravel-voiced man behind those Evil Dead-nicking Duke Nukem remarks. If voice actors are being hired on the DotA project, then you have to wonder at the scale of the project. Perhaps Valve will be moved to reveal some news by the leak… Ah ha ha ha.