Early Life and Career
Though little is publicly known about the man who goes by the pseudonym of IceFrog, there is some personal history he has disclosed. Born sometime between 1983 and 1984, IceFrog grew up playing strategy games like StarCraft and later, Warcraft III. Early on in the lifespan of the now-famous Warcraft III scenario called Defense of the Ancients, he was an active member of the DotA clan called TDA, which was based around the DotA: Allstars variant created by Steve Feak.
Defense of the Ancients
Needing skilled programmers, Feak recruited IceFrog and another member known as Neichus to handle the computer science portion of the mod. On February 25, 2005, however, Feak departed from development of DotA: Allstars, passing the torch on to Neichus, who kept IceFrog as a collaborator. Not long after, however, Neichus left the project as well, leaving IceFrog as the lead designer.
Utilizing www.dota-allstars.com, created and administered by Steve Mescon, over the years, DotA-Allstars became the most-popular unsponsored mod in the world. Gradually, IceFrog has come to bring the balancing and quality standards of DotA-Allstars to an unprecedented degree, inspiring many companies to emulate him. In 2009, however, IceFrog disassociated himself from the official DotA-Allstars website and staff, due to a falling out with Mescon. Since then, he has established his own community at www.playdota.com.
In 2009, IceFrog was contacted by Erik Johnson, the project director of Valve Corporation, who had been experiencing a great interest in DotA, in unison with other senior employees. Johnson was interested to know what IceFrog wanted with the game, which was ultimately to have a stand-alone port that would serve as the sequel. After Valve programmer Adrian Finol created a successful role-playing game build on the Source Engine, Gabe Newell approved of an offer to hire IceFrog and develop a sequel. IceFrog was flown to Valve's headquarters in downtown Bellevue, Washington, where he was hired on the spot.
Coordinating with a team of professionals, IceFrog served as the lead designer for the official sequel to DotA called Dota 2. Valve has since secured the franchising rights to Dota, including the original mod's name, despite legal opposal from Riot Games and Blizzard Entertainment, at the behest of Steve Mescon. Today, Dota 2 is by far the most-played game on Steam.