Dota 2 is a free-to-play real-time strategy game developed by Valve for the PC, Mac and Linux platforms. It is the official sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA: Allstars), a custom scenario for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos that originally popularized the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena sub-genre. Dota 2 is built on the Source engine and is headed by IceFrog, one of the designers of the original DotA: Allstars.
Dota 2 was first released as an invite-only beta in November 2011, during Gamescom 2011. The game was officially released in July 2013.
Dota 2 plays similar to its mod predecessor DotA: Allstars, where five players control individual hero characters and defend their base against waves of computer-controlled monsters, or creeps, and five opposing player-controlled heroes. The objective is to destroy the opposing team's towers and ultimately, their Ancient. Players earn gold and experience by killing creeps and other heroes, and can buy items and equipment to boost their heroes and aid their team within each match.
DotA: Allstars and Dota 2 developer IceFrog has promised gameplay and patch parity between the 2 versions for the foreseeable future.
There are many different game modes available in Dota 2, each affecting how a player chooses (or not) their hero. Players also have the ability to randomly pick a hero in most modes, which gives them extra gold to start off with.
- All Pick: Each player can choose any hero. The most common mode in matchmaking.
- Captain's Mode: Each team has a captain who take turns in banning heroes from the game and choosing heroes for their team. The standard mode of all major tournaments.
- Single Draft: Each player is given one Strength, Agility and Intelligence hero to choose from.
- Random Draft: Each player takes turns to choose a hero from a pool of 20 random heroes.
- All Random: Every player gets a random hero, and receives extra gold to start off with.
- Reverse Captain's Mode: Captain's Mode where the opposing team picks and bans heroes for the other team. (only available on private games)
- All Mid: Optional mode limiting all heroes to the center lane. (only available on private games)
- Least Played: Players are banned from picking their top 40 most played heroes.
- Diretide: A special Halloween only mode, where players battle over candy and then try to kill Roshan in the fastest time possible.
- The Greeviling: A special Christmas only mode where teams race to be the first to kill 11 camps of Greevils, with the ability to change to their own Greevils at any time.
- Captain's Draft: Assemble a squad from a randomized pool of twenty-four heroes. Each Captain take turns banning two of the available heroes from the match while picking and counter-picking to compose their lineup before battle.
In an effort to encourage communication between players, Valve implemented a feature called the "chat wheel". Based on a similar interface first seen in Left 4 Dead, players can hold down a key and move the mouse cursor in one of 8 directions. This command puts a corresponding line of text into the normal chat box field. Some commands have corresponding voice lines from the champions, particularly the missing command. The "Missing" chat option is also context sensitive and will change based on where the player's hero currently is.
Although many MOBAs, like League of Legends, feature multiple maps, Dota 2 (for now) only has one map, and all games take place on it. The map of Dota 2 follows the same non symmetrical structure as the original DotA Allstars map. Both factions occupy opposing sides of the map: the Radiant, in the bottom left most corner, and the Dire, in the upper right most corner. Their Ancients lie at the corners of their respective territories, and the opposing team must destroy it to win the game. A river divides these two territories, and holds two "Rune Spots", where special time-limited power-ups spawn every 2 minutes.
Central to the game are three lanes which computer-controlled creeps will continuously follow, usually called the "top lane", "middle lane", and "bottom lane". These creeps will spawn from the Dire or Radiant Barracks every 30 seconds after the game starts, and will continue on their path until they hit an enemy. Heroes will intercept these creep waves, fight over killing these creeps, and try to push the creeps towards the enemy base. Killing an enemy creep will give heroes gold and experience, and enemy heroes can try to "deny" their creeps by killing their creeps themselves.
Spread around the map are neutral creep camps, used by heroes to supplement their income. Neutral creeps are stationary and spawn every minute unless something is blocking that camp, be it other neutral creeps, heroes, or wards. Near the center of the map is a giant creep camp, holding the game's "boss", Roshan. Heroes can kill Roshan to obtain an item, Aegis of the Immortal, which will revive its when carrier upon death. Roshan also drops a powerful healing item (Cheese) after being killed thrice.
Dota 2 also features differing levels of height, something carried over from its roots as a Warcraft III mod. Units on a lower level will not have vision of higher levels unless a friendly unit or an Observer Ward is on the higher level. Additionally, when attacking from a lower level, attacks have a 25% chance to miss.
Heroes spawn at the top-right (for the Dire) and bottom-left (for the Radiant) of the map, at special areas called Fountains. These areas are protected by an invulnerable super tower, the Fountain, and allows players to recover their health and mana, and to buy items. They serve as an area for heroes to shelter from the enemy, but they can still be killed if they are not careful.
Three towers defend each lane, and an additional two defend a team's Ancient. Towers are invulnerable until the previous tower in the lane has been destroyed, and the Ancient is also invulnerable until both its towers are destroyed. Towers will target the nearest unit attacking them and are a formidable source of damage. The third tier of tower also sits on a high ground, making it more difficult to siege.
Similar to other MOBAs, Dota 2 also has special buildings that effect creeps in each lane. Barracks (more commonly referred to as "Rax") are behind the third and final tower of their own individual lanes. There are two different types, a Ranged Barracks and a Melee Barracks. Both have 1500 HP and will award gold to whoever last hits them. When a barracks is destroyed, all future creeps of the type that it represents will become Super Creeps, which are far more formidable then regular creeps (doing double the damage and having an increase in armor - regular creeps have 0). When all six barracks are taken by a team, all lanes will begin to spawn Mega Creeps for that team, which have over 1000 hp and do 100+ damage.
Inside of the base of each team are several buildings that award gold to whoever last hits them. They serve no significant purpose other than to distract the creeps on the way to the Ancient.
Runes are special power-ups found in 2 specific spots on the river in the middle of the map. A random rune will spawn at the start of the game, and at every 2 minutes, unless there is another unused rune in 1 of the spots. The rune will only spawn in 1 of the 2 spots. Any hero can pick up the rune and use it immediately, or store it in a Bottle for use later. Bottling a rune will also recharge all charges on a Bottle, and runes in a Bottle will be automatically activated 2 minutes after storing it. There are 5 types of runes, each giving a powerful bonus for a short period of time.
|Double Damage||Gives the hero and any controlled illusions +100% base attack damage bonus for 45 seconds.|
|Haste||Gives the hero maximum (522) movement speed and immunity to slow for 20 seconds.|
|Illusion||Creates 2 illusions of the hero, which lasts for 75 seconds. Illusions deal 35% damage and take 300% damage.|
|Invisiblilty||Makes the hero invisible for 45 seconds. Invisibility is broken upon performing actions, and the hero can be spotted by units with true-sight.|
|Regeneration||Gives the hero 100 hp/sec and 67 mana/sec regeneration for 30 seconds. It ends if the hero takes damage or their health and mana are full.|
Heroes are the main units a player controls in Dota 2, each player controlling only their hero. Each hero can level up to level 25, and learn special hero abilities, at one per level. A hero gains levels and gold killing creeps and other heroes, and loses gold if killed. Heroes also get a gold boost for killing many heroes in a row without dying, or killing two or more in a short period of time. Gold earned is used to buy items to further improve a hero and aid the team. Levels, gold, and items earned in a match are not persistent, and players start each new match afresh.
Heroes in Dota 2 are separated into three categories (Strength, Agility, and Intelligence) and two factions (the Radiant and the Dire). A hero's placement in the three categories reflect the hero's primary attribute, and will normally be its highest attribute. Strength increases a hero's health and health regeneration, Agility improves its armor and attack speed, and Intelligence increases mana and mana regeneration. A hero also gains a point of damage for every point of its primary attribute. Hero attributes can be improved by leveling up, buying some items, or putting additional skill points in "Attribute Bonus".
Valve has stated that Dota 2 will include all 110 heroes from DotA: Allstars.
Strength heroes are generally the tankiest characters in the game, with the ability to absorb damage and disable enemy heroes. However, they are often hampered by their low mana pools and slow attack speeds.
Agility heroes are some of the most powerful physical attackers in the late-game, especially if they get their needed items and levels. They are some of the weakest characters in the early game, however, and can be easily killed if surprised.
Intelligence heroes are primarily spellcasters, and rely heavily on their skills to win the game. Like most mages, they suffer from weak physical capabilities, but can unleash massive magical mayhem in the early- and mid-game.
Abilities are special skills that each hero and some neutral creeps can learn. A hero normally has four abilities, although some heroes, like Invoker, have up to 14 different abilities. Abilities are separated into basic abilities, which are the first three abilities, and ultimate abilities, which take up the rightmost spot on the skill bar. Basic abilities are available to be learned from the start, and can be upgraded three times. The ability to upgrade to higher ranks of basic abilities unlock levels 3, 5, and 7. Ultimate abilities, however, are only available from level 6, and can only be upgraded twice. They can only be upgraded to their higher ranks from levels 11 and 16.
There are two types of abilities: active and passive. Active abilities must be activated by the player to be used, and normally cost mana, have cooldowns, and have to be targeted at a unit or a spot (area or point). Passive abilities, on the other hand, are active as soon as they are learned, and do not usually cost mana or have cooldowns. Some active abilities can be autocasted, and can be toggled on or off by right-clicking the ability in the skill bar.
Unique Attack Modifiers
Unique Attack Modifiers, previously known as Orb Effects, are special effects that can modify a hero's basic attack to provide an additional effect. Unique Attack Modifiers can be found on items, or be part of a hero ability. All items found in the "Artifacts" column of the shop have Unique Attack Modifiers. A hero can have only one Unique Attack Modifier active at a time, and additional Unique Attack Modifiers will not stack with each other. Not all attack modifiers count as Unique Attack Modifiers, and can be checked by looking at the tool-tip to the ability or item in game.
If a hero has more than one Unique Attack Modifier active, the priority of which modifier will activate on the hero's next strike will depend on this order:
- Conditional Modifier: Chance- or cooldown-based modifiers.
- Ability Modifier: A hero ability modifier.
- Standard Modifier: An item modifier, based on purchase priority, oldest first.
An activated Ability Modifier will be only overwritten by a Conditional Modifier if the Ability Modifier was set to autocast. If manually cast, it will not be overwritten. There are also two exceptions: Eye of Skadi will stack with both lifesteal granted by Unique Attack Modifiers, and Clinkz's Searing Arrows.
Items and Shops
Like a role-playing game, items and equipment can be bought for all heroes, and often come with active abilities to supplement a hero's skill pool. These items can be bought using gold in shops, found both in the faction bases and spread around the map. A hero can carry up to six items in its inventory. Many items can be combined with other items and recipes to form more powerful items. Items cannot be shared between heroes, with few exceptions: all items in the Consumables category, health and mana regeneration boosters, the Gem of True Sight, and the Divine Rapier.
These items have no relation to the in-game item store, and will affect gameplay greatly. They will also not carry over between matches.
These items can be bought in base and in side shops found on the top and bottom lanes.
|Clarity (50g)||Iron Branch (53g)||Ring of Protection (175g)||Magic Stick (200g)|
|Tango (90g)||Gauntlets of Strength (150g)||Quelling Blade (225g)||Sage's Mask (325g)|
|Healing Salve (100g)||Slippers of Agility (150g)||Stout Shield (250g)||Ring of Regen (350g)|
|Smoke of Deceit (100g)||Mantle of Intelligence (150g)||Blades of Attack (450g)||Boots of Speed (450g)|
|Town Portal Scroll (135g)||Circlet (185g)||Chainmail (550g)||Gloves of Haste (500g)|
|Dust of Appearance (180g)||Belt of Strength (450g)||Helm of Iron Will (950g)||Cloak (550g)|
|Animal Courier (150g)||Boots of Elvenskin (450g)||Broadsword (1200g)||Gem of True Sight (700g)|
|Flying Courier (220g)||Robe of the Magi (450g)||Quarterstaff (900g)||Morbid Mask (900g)|
|Observer Ward (150g)||Ogre Club (1000g)||Claymore (1400g)||Ghost Scepter (1600g)|
|Sentry Ward (200g)||Blades of Alacrity (1000g)||Javelin (1500g)||Talisman of Evasion (1800g)|
|Bottle (600g)||Staff of Wizardry (1000g)||Platemail (1400g)||Blink Dagger (2150g)|
|Ultimate Orb (2100g)||Mithril Hammer (1600g)||Shadow Amulet (1600g)|
The side shops can be found on the Dire side on the top lane and the Radiant side on the bottom lane. They sell several items found in the basic shop and the secret shop. This allows heroes better access to several items in the early game.
|Page 1||Page 2|
|Town Portal Scroll (135g)||Slippers of Agility (150g)|
|Magic Stick (200g)||Quelling Blade (225g)|
|Stout Shield (250g)||Boots of Elvenskin (450g)|
|Sage's Mask (325g)||Belt of Strength (450g)|
|Ring of Regen (350g)||Robe of the Magi (450g)|
|Orb of Venom (275g)||Blades of Attack (450g)|
|Boots of Speed (500g)||Gloves of Haste (500g)|
|Cloak (550g)||Chainmail (550g)|
|Ring of Health (875g)||Quarterstaff (900g)|
|Morbid Mask (900g)||Talisman of Evasion (1800g)|
|Helm of Iron Will (950g)||Ultimate Orb (2100g)|
|Energy Booster (1000g)||Blink Dagger (2150g)|
These items are made by combining items and, often, recipes. Item recipes can only be bought in the base shops, although upgraded items can be assembled anywhere. Some items that do not require recipes to create, and some upgraded items can also be dissembled into their constituent items for further use. The cost shown here includes the cost of their constituent items and recipes (if needed).
Wraith Band (485g)
Ring of Basilius (500g)
Force Staff (2350g)
Hood of Defiance (2125g)
Helm of the Dominator (1850g)
Null Talisman (490g)
Armlet of Mordiggian (2600g)
Blade Mail (2200g)
Mask of Madness (1900g)
Eul's Scepter of Divinity (2700g)
Skull Basher (2950g)
Magic Wand (509g)
Urn of Shadows (875g)
Shadow Blade (3000g)
Soul Booster (3300g)
Poor Man's Shield (550g)
Ring of Aquila (985g)
Veil of Discord (2650g)
Battle Fury (4350g)
Black King Bar (3900g)
Soul Ring (800g)
Tranquil Boots (975g)
Rod of Atos (3100g)
Ethereal Blade (4900g)
Shiva's Guard (4700g)
Diffusal Blade (3300g)
Phase Boots (1350g)
Medallion of Courage (1075g)
Aghanim's Scepter (4200g)
Manta Style (5050g)
Heaven's Halberd (3950g)
Power Threads (1400g)
Arcane Boots (1450g)
Orchid Malevolence (4125g)
Monkey King Bar (5400g)
Monkey King Bar (5400g)
Oblivion Staff (1675g)
Drums of Endurance (1725g)
Refresher Orb (5300g)
Linken's Sphere (5175g)
Sange and Yasha (4100g)
Vladmir's Offering (2050g)
Scythe of Vyse (5675g)
Assault Cuirass (5350g)
Hand of Midas (1900g)
Divine Rapier (6200g)
Heart of Tarrasque (5500g)
Eye of Skadi (5750g)
Boots of Travel (2450g)
Pipe of Insight (3628g)
Abyssal Blade (6750g)
The not-so-secret secret shop can be found on the map, on both sides of the river. Items sold in the secret shop are often more powerful then basic items found in normal shops, and are essential in making most of the more expensive upgrades. They are also more expensive than basic items due to their power.
- Orb of Venom (275g)
- Ring of Health (875g)
- Void Stone (875g)
- Energy Booster (1000g)
- Vitality Booster (1100g)
- Point Booster (1200g)
- Hyperstone (2100g)
- Demon Edge (2400g)
- Mystic Staff (2700g)
- Reaver (3200g)
- Eaglesong (3300g)
- Sacred Relic (3800g)
Spoils of War
On May 31, 2012, Valve announced that Dota 2 will be free to play, with an in-game item store and drop system similar to Team Fortress 2. All heroes will be unlocked from the start, and players do not have to pay to play any hero in their game, unlike League of Legends.
Players can purchase customizable items for their heroes with money through the in-game item store. The store also sells courier skins, keys to open dropped treasure chests, announcer voice packs, and name and description tags to rename items. All purchasable items can also be found for free. At the end of a match, players will sometimes receive a free item drop or locked chest. All purchasable items in Dota 2 are cosmetic only, and will not affect gameplay in any manner. Items received or purchased in the beta will not be wiped, and will carry over to the game's official launch.
Players will also earn some Battle Points at the end of every match, which goes towards their Battle Level. Every level up will give the player a new item. The in-game store sells point boosters which increase the rate of Battle Point generation for several days. To encourage users not to leave matches early, these point boosters benefit not just the buyer of the item, but all players in game and spectating. Players can also trade items with other people using the Steam trading interface, and can trade with items and vouchers from outside of Dota 2.
Dota 2 will also use the Steam Workshop, the third Valve game to do so. The community can contribute their items similar to Team Fortress 2, and vote on their favorites. Valve will pick highly rated items to sell in their in-game store, and contributors will earn a cut from sales of their items. Valve has stated that over 80% of items in the store are from the community.
Spectating and Tournaments
From its first showing at The International, Dota 2 was always aimed at the competitive eSports arena, and comes with a inbuilt game spectating and broadcasting system, DotaTV. All matchmaking games are automatically sent to a DotaTV spectating server, and any players can spectate these games (with a two-minute time gap) at any time. Spectators can move their camera freely, view hero skills and items, and check graphs that show how each team is performing. They can also use an automatic director, which focuses on any major action happening at that time. Games are saved after it is over, and players can download to view them at a later time.
DotaTV also serves as an in-game broadcasting system, and broadcasters can use it to stream and commentate on tournament matches. It will not replace existing web-based streaming services like joinDOTA, but gives them another way to stream their games. On June 19, 2012, Valve added the "Tournaments" tab to the game client, where players can follow any current tournaments, check upcoming matches with the in-game calender, and view the games with added commentary from the broadcasters. Valve also sells tickets via the in-game store to unlock tournament viewing in-game, giving tournament organizers a way to make money off spectators. Team pennants were also sold as part of the The International 2, which allowed players to support their favorite teams financially. Supporters also get a chance of receiving a rare drop when watching live games of their teams in DotaTV. The International 2 and The Defense are the first tournaments to use the DotaTV system.
On August 17, 2012, Valve released the Dota 2 Spectator Client to all Steam users. It allows anyone with a Steam account to download and watch any match of Dota 2 (including tournament matches), and comes with all the inbuilt spectator features of the normal game client. It will upgrade to the full client when the game is officially released to the public.
The International 2012
The 2nd International tournament, held in Seattle between August 31 and September 2, was the first major event in Dota 2. Free spectator clients were distributed to all Steam users, and players could participate in the event by buying pennants to support their favorite teams. Matches could be viewed in-game via DotaTV, and spectators had a chance to receive a rare drop when a special play occured. The winners, Invictus Gaming, won against the former champions, Natus Vincere, to win $1 million and the Aegis of Champions Trophy, displayed at the Fountain at both the Radiant and Dire bases.
The International 2013
The third International tournament was held in Seattle between August 7th and the 11th. This year an interactive compendium was introduced which allowed players to keep up to date with the tournament, predict the result of matches, participate in community polls and be eligible for special item drops throughout the tournament. For every compendium sold $2.5 was added to the prize pool to a sum total of over $2.8 million. In the end Alliance won the tournament over last year's runner-up Natus Vincere after a dramatic best of five series that went the distance.
Diretide was the first Dota 2 event to introduce an entirely new game mode, Diretide. Held during Halloween 2012, players must battle to gain the most Greevil Taffys, while dodging Roshan, who is also hunting for these sweets. Players then have to take down a powered-up Sugar Rush Roshan in the shortest time possible. Players can play this separate mode to gain new items and essences, which are used to power up Greevil Eggs. Each player gets a Greevil Egg for free, and can buy extra ones in the in-game store. The eggs can eventually be hatch to give a Greevil courier, customized based on the essences it received while it was an egg.
The Greeviling was held during Christmas 2012, where players play a new mode to see who can kill 11 camps of Greevils first. The river is now frozen and hinders movement, and no normal creeps spawn during the duration of the game. Players start with only a set of items (a flute, a pair of random boots, and a recovery item), and only gain additional items through presents dropped by the Greevil camps after clearing it. Players can also change to their Greevil form using the flute, which gives them an additional set of stats and abilities based on the type of Greevil. Finishing the game gives all players a present, a good one if they won, and a bad one if they lost.
The longest serving and current DotA: Allstars developer, IceFrog, announced on his blog in October 2009 that he had "great news for DotA fans" and that he had been hired by Valve. A year later, Dota 2 was formally announced in a Game Informer article. In an August 2011 interview with Gamasutra, Gabe Newell and project lead Erik Johnson revealed that the game has been in development for two years. Erik and a few other Valve employees' passion for DotA: Allstars was cited as the project's genesis. Gabe has stated that Dota 2 will be free to play, but with a "twist", and the free to play system was introduced in the end of May 2012.
In August 2010, Valve trademarked the word "Dota", rather than the title acronym "DotA". This means the "Dota" in Dota 2's title is a word and does not technically stand for Defense of the Ancients, a term that has links to many people and Blizzard itself. This trademark was the cause of a legal dispute between Valve and Blizzard that was finally settled in May 2012.
Dota 2 ran an invite-only beta that started in early November 2011 and ended in July 2013. It updated almost every Thursday, and Valve normally added new heroes every week. On February 24, 2012, Valve added a Dota 2 test client that updates a day before the actual beta, to limit bugs affecting the actual beta (which is also used for tournaments). Players could get an invite by signing up for one, or by purchasing an Dota 2 early access pack in Steam, which included an invite. Valve also periodically gave out additional invites to players that were already in the beta, allowing players to gift these invites to anyone they wanted.
Dota 2 officially launched July 9th 2013. As a result the beta invites were retired and new training features were added to ease new players into the game. To avoid the problems that often face releases of popular multiplayer games, Valve started letting new players in to the game in waves. People could sign up to be added to the game from it's official website. Signing up would add you to a launch queue, from which you would eventually be granted access to the game.
- OS: Windows 7
- Processor: Dual core from Intel or AMD at 2.8 GHz
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: nVidia GeForce 8600/9600GT, ATI/AMD Radeon HD2600/3600
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- Hard Drive: 8 GB available space
- Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
- OS: OS X Lion 10.7
- Processor: Dual core from Intel
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: nVidia 320M or higher, or Radeon 7000 or higher, or Intel HD 3000 or higher
- Hard Drive: 8 GB available space
- OS: Ubuntu 12.04
- Processor: Dual core from Intel or AMD at 2.8 GHz
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: nVidia GeForce 8600/9600GT, ATI/AMD Radeon HD2600/3600 (Graphic Drivers: nVidia 310, AMD 12.11), OpenGL 2.1
- Hard Drive: 8 GB available space
- Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible Sound Card