Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2) is a Free-to-Play (F2P) multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game by Valve. The original DotA game was created by the Warcraft III community as a mod of that game, based on Warcraft’s custom map feature. Some of the reasons for its creation, included the desire of players to have a matchmaking system that would factor in internet connection speeds, as well as player suggestions and contributions, among other aspects. Valve then took the DotA concept and turned it into a franchise with the release of DotA 2 in 2013. The original DotA game released in 2003, meaning that it predates both LoL (2004) and WoW (2004). It remains the most downloaded F2P game on Steam.
Match-Making and Team Formation
As with similar battle-arena games, such as League of Legends, the goal is for each team to destroy the opposing team’s base before their own base is destroyed. Each team is comprised of five members, although it is possible for a team to play against bots. These teams are called ‘Radiant’ And ‘Dire’ respectively, and there is no option variable team sizes. Solo-play is only possible with bots in practice mode.
Players are free to form their own teams, or use the match-making feature to find both teammates to play with and opponents to play against. This system works both on skill level, as well as internet connectivity. The system queues new players, so that they are matched up into games and teams according to those who logged in first. The system gives each player a certain amount of time to confirm the match-up. If they fail to do so, the computer places the waiting teams to the top of the queue to be matched wit the missing player.
All heroes are F2P, which means that players can try out any class and character that they would like to. Any real-world currency purchasable skin enhancements or accessories are purely aesthetic, meaning that this is not a play-to-win title. Some accessories can be won during the game, but all new skins can only be purchased. All heroes have minimally four abilities, which will influence the type of strategy the player will needs to adopt. Items that are found during the game can be traded with other players in-game. Skins cannot be found or traded. Items do provide player enhancements, so they could provide an advantage to players during battles. They are also purchasable, and tradeable. There are also different damage and attack types, such as magic and physical.
The heroes can be divided into three primary attributes, and two main roles. These are specified in the game, so the players do not have to guess which categories the heroes fall into. The attributes are Strength, Agility and Intelligence, while the main roles are Support and Carry. Each hero has its own stats and abilities.
Carries are initially weak but earn strength and skills as the game progresses which allows them to ‘carry’ their team to victory during the later stages of the game. They achieve this through acquiring gold by defeating enemy forces and using it to buy upgrades. They are usually powerful against barracks and towers throughout the game. Support types are strong from the beginning of the game and are therefore better suited for accomplishing early advantages for the team than for earning gold and items. They require far less gold than carries to provide useful contributions for the rest of the team.
The main goal is to destroy the opposing team’s Ancient, before their own is destroyed. Each team’s Ancient is located in their base. Allies can chat with each other in-game to work on a strategy. They can also request to pause and un-pause the game. This prevents AFK players from potentially causing their team to lose.
As with LoL, Dota 2 also has minion-style auto-generated AI creatures called Creeps. Some are neutral, while others are assigned to each team and assist with battles. The team-specific Creeps are known as lane creeps, as they only spawn and operate on the main lanes. There are three types of lane Creeps, namely melee, ranged and siege. Each of these have differing spawn times, abilities and attack and defense strengths. Some are stronger against buildings, and others against enemy Creeps or heroes. They still relatively weak in contrast to the Heroes and award gold when defeated. They do incur real damage on opponents and towers, though. All Creeps operate automatically and cannot be controlled by players in any way.
There is only one map option in Dota 2, and it is similar to the Summoner’s Rift map in LoL. It is divided into three lanes, with two jungle sections. The map varies in that are four shops in the game, which are located outside of the teams’ bases. There are three lanes in the game; bottom, middle and top. Players can find runes in the game that will award their character with certain buffs. There are five types of runes, one of which spawn automatically every two minutes. On two points along the river.
There are four shops located on the map, one on the top-left of the top lane, and one on the bottom right of the bottom lane. Near those locations, there will also one Shrine. Shrines are team-specific can restore heroes’ health. The secret shops are located in the top right and bottom left of the jungle-zones. Items can also be bought at the team bases. If a player owns a Courier Animal item, they can use it to purchase and deliver items to them anywhere on the map. Some items are shop-specific, and so can only be purchased from either side- or secret- shops, but not both.
Heroes respawn and can regenerate health at the fountain in their team’s base camp.
The map dynamics change as the game progresses, with the map automatically toggling between day and night. This affects some of the heroes’ abilities.
There are various neutral creep camps within the jungles. They won’t attack unless provoked and will award players with gold when defeated. Roshan the Immortal, the main Boss Creep, is found in the middle-left section of the map. It usually requires at least two players to be defeated and respawns every ten minutes. Once defeated, Roshan will drop 150 gold for each player and the Aegis of the Immortal item. The Aegis allows the hero carrying it to be regenerated where it was killed after 5-seconds, rather than in the base camp. However, it can only be carried by a player for five minutes before disappearing from their inventory.