Valve have announced their new game. As expected, it's to do with Defence Of The Ancients. But it's not a remake - it's a sequel. It's Dota 2. (Except it's a remake really.) The details are over on Game Informer, which is inevitably struggling with traffic at the moment. More details below.
The game is the work of Dota coder IceFrog, made from within the grey walls of Valve HQ. He worked on the more popular version of the original 5 vs 5 Warcraft III mod, DotA: Allstars, and was hired by Valve in 2009.
Game Informer reports that the core game remains almost untouched. So rather than a radical redesign, the changes here are more for the game's tech. In fact, everything, from the maps, the heroes, items, skills and upgrade paths all remain identical. It's a remake, really.
Of course it's being made in Source, so it looks dramatically different than the ancient Warcraft III engine. And GI says that Source is getting an update with this release, with new lighting, and the all-important true-cloth simulation, the lack of which has been holding back gaming for years. They're also building AI bots to replace missing players, and of course therefore for training, but not making a single-player game.
The intriguing feature appears to be how the Dota 2 community will impact upon the game. Improvements to Steamworks mean that there will be in-game rewards for participating in the community. Says GI,
"The idea is to have everything a player does in or out of game tie back into their online identity."
This includes posting on forums, contributing to strategy guides, which seems to be intending to keep the community all in one place, and making it much easier for players to get into the game. And indeed incentivising other players to make that easy. There's even a "coaching system" where veteran players can train newer players.
For all the details of how Valve is attempting to fix the issues of newbie baiting that plague DotA, and to make entry to a game that relies on experience and skill to win at, check out GI's detailed article.
Valve says it plans to devote as much time and updates to Dota 2 as Team Fortress 2 has received over the years, so it could well be a game that evolves over time, and seemingly one whose evolution will be driven by the community of dedicated players.