BlizzCon 2011: More details on Blizzard DOTA gameplay and mod tools finally come to light

Saturday, 22 October 2011 19:12 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Blizzard not only debuted a trailer for DOTA at BlizzCon yesterday, but it has offered up a few extra details on a game it’s been rather quiet about since it was announced at BlizzCon 2010.

Inspired by the Defense of the Ancients custom map for Warcraft III, much like other MOBAs, the game will be team-based where players will control heroes with various abilities. The purpose of each team is to take over and destroy the other team’s base.

Over the course of each match, waves of AI creatures for each team will automatically appear on the map to fight alongside players. Points of interest will be guarded by neutral, albeit hostile creatures, and upon capturing and controlling the points, teams will be granted bonuses.

Heroes will gain experience and gold, which will allow players to upgrade as they level.

In order to make DOTA familiar to players, yet at the same time differentiate itself from other MOBAs, Blizzard plans to change the learning curve up a bit. So, instead of players starting out in a game with a “demanding learning curve,” Blizzard has applied its “easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master,” philosophy in its place. It has also added gameplay elements which will “encourage more aggressive, fast-paced gameplay,” as well as team fights all over the map.

The way towers are handled in Blizzard DOTA also sets it apart from others in the genre, as each one placed in map lanes “are powerful entities that can quickly decimate enemy heroes that wander into their range.” Towers will have a limited amount of energy that will recharge over time, which is pretty much standard in other MOBA games. Jungles will have power nodes as primary features, and will be guarded by neutral creeps. Teams which take control over the nodes, will be awarded with strengthened AI creatures in the lanes.

“We don’t think players should feel compelled to spend an inordinate amount of time researching game guides and item builds before they’re even comfortable trying a different hero,” said the firm. “Primarily, we’re interested in adding clarity by eliminating redundancies in hero abilities and items, and we think players will find this reflected in the design of the heroes and in-game item shop.”

The version of the game shown at BlizzCon includes 12 different heroes present in four different class types: tank, damage-dealer, support, and siege. More heroes will be added before the official release of the game, and at launch, players will have access to a small group of heroes to start with.

As you play matches, more heroes will unlock. Once all heroes are earned, cosmetic “prestige” items can be unlocked by winning games with specific heroes.

An automated matchmaker based on skill, will be present and various stats such as the number of takedowns, towers destroyed, gold earned and experience gained per match will be tracked.

Blizzard’s present plan is to offer the game for free, “possibly by including it as part of the StarCraft II: Starter Edition,” but has yet to determine what type of content restrictions would be placed on those playing for free.

It is also discussing the possibility of offering exclusive content to owners of Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm, but still, nothing has been finalized.

There still isn’t a date set for Blizzard DOTA, but the firm has plans in place for a beta, which is scheduled for launch “in the next few months.”

According to a panel today, the game will also come with various mod tools, which are detailed through here.

DOTA is currently on the show floor at BlizzCon, and a video was released for it yesterday. You can watch it through our liveblog of the opening ceremony, here.

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