Warcraft 3:Defence of the Ancients
Or: Confessions of A DotA Addict
Hi, my name is CodexMatt and I'm a DotA addict.
It started on Saturday night around 9. I was entering the 8th hour of gaming at the LAN party that I'd organized. Scenes from UT2004 and CS, displayed on the dozen-or-so screens in the basement hall of the restaurant I'd rented, began to merge together with the ones burned into my cornea and fixed in my memory. I shook my head and squinted my eyes to focus on the crosshairs of my MP5 (blurred by the affect of a half-a-dozen draft beer) only to recognize the HE grenade roll under my feet a second before it removed my lower extremities.
"Anyone ready for some Frozen Throne?" I asked the crowd, hoping to move to a more comfortable, and more forgiving, environment.
"How about some dota?" My good friend (HE grenade tossing) Bishop suggested. He had suggested it before"… a few months before, to be exact, during an MSN conversation when he was still away at college. At the time I had dismissed it as a fly-by-night "˜mod' to Warcraft 3, the kind I had seen before; choose a hero, buy some items, fight other heroes, level, money, items, fight, blah, blah, blah. I would rather play some D2:LoD again.
But Saturday, with another few hours (and brain cells) to kill before closing time, I said "Sure."
After that one seemingly innocuous word, the next few hours were a blur of frenzied hero management, creep killing, skill casting, and a good deal of swearing. I had become a DotA addict, and I loved it.
Warning: Slightly more serious review follows.
DotA is a custom map for Warcraft 3:The Frozen Throne with more triggers than an NRA convention.
Players begin by choosing a side before the game starts, either Scourge or Sentinel. These side are equal and opposite as far as gameplay is concerned. The only difference being what choice of heroes you have and whether the dead are buried or eaten.
Once the game begins, you notice that there are 2 buildings in the centre of your screen. Each one contains 12 different heroes available for purchase. You heard correct, you have a choice of 24 heroes. There is an option for the creator of the game to enforce random choice of heroes, but usually this will be advertised in the game name.
After selecting your hero, he\she\it will appear next to a fountain in the corner of the map. This is the spot you will return to for healing and buying items during the course of the game. There is one building shop and 2 merchants with items for sale.
At the start you will only have enough money for very basic items (like boots of speed). Some people get an item right away, some save for better stuff, it's a matter or personal preference and strategy. Once you aquire more cash, you will be able to buy high-power items, weapons, and armour. Eventually, you can combine items to create the uber-items. There are 3 units (peon, peasant, acolyte) standing near the spawn area that provide the recipes for these combos.
The objective is to move your hero from your start point in your town, to the enemy's town and kill his main structure (World Tree/Frozen Throne) while protecting your own. The enemy heroes are, of course, not happy about this and are likely to kill you any chance they get.
I could go into a more detailed explanation of how exactly everything works, but it's been said before and better, so I will provide a link to get you started and you can go from there. The best teacher is to just go online and get in a game. Or, you can download the map and play by yourself (AI doesn't work obviously) to see how the game works.
This game can be frustrating at times as well. The biggest problem is attrition. When one person drops from the game, it is unfortunately very likely that it will start a chain reaction that leads to an aborted game. People just hate managing more than one hero it seems. If this starts to happen in the game you're in, don't leave unless you are the last person. I have played many games outnumbered 2-1 and, win or lose, they are always fun!
Hope some of you try this; it is a lot of fun. Be aware that 90% of the games that go past the first 5 minutes last for over 45 minutes and upwards of an hour.
Feel free to post comments about the game, or critique my little write-up here.