Valve to market DotA: Does anyone care though?

So according to the water cooler chatter, super-giant Valve’s next title is to be based off of the community-heavy modification known as Defense of the Ancients. For those of you who don’t know what that is, then allow me to provide a brief (I promise it’s brief) overview. Defense of the Ancients, or DotA from henceforth, is a popular mod that any RTS that includes a map editor of sorts likes to sport. The objective of the game is to push around your units known as “heroes” that level up much like in an RPG-ish sort of way to destroy the opposing enemy’s base. There are two teams to the game and AI units that spawn periodically to help you in your attacks. Basically it’s Base Assault with player perks.

The first known documentation of the mod started in Starcraft, but its “true” mutation and concept is proclaimed to have stemmed from Warcraft III. Indeed, the mod was so popular within the WC3 community that it spurned numerous reiterations in everyone’s own vision of how the game should work. From this spawned a metric-ton of alternate game modes, with DotA Allstars prevailing above them all to what the norm should be for the genre.

Now, to anyone who doesn’t play WC3, very few people really care about the mod, especially considering it can be found in every walk of life in every other modern RTS out there today. However, that hasn’t stopped the popular mod from claiming a community that is hailed as one of the worst. Known for its brutal treatment of newbies, DotA quickly fell into a niche when years passed and everyone else realized some other RTS games besides WC3 had come out. Either way, it’s been a free mod for some years now. Which brings the most obvious question: who gives a shit?

If you’ve played DotA and you’re not a rabid fan, then you understand that DotA is much like any other popular custom game—it’s solid with its rules and structures, but you’re not going to sit around days on end playing it until you’re 67 years old. After all, there’s very little variety to a straight-shoot objective-based game type that’s as simple as Forrest Gump. Of course every rabit DotA fan would vehemently disagree, which brings me to my second point.

One of Valve’s “brilliant” ideas to make this more than just a selling of a free mod is their plan to include a “Coach” system that allows experienced DotA players give tips through chat or through the use of a mic to new players. Of course anyone who has played DotA can tell you what a terrible idea this is. It’s the veteran DotA community that is the worst. Why exactly would anyone want some neckbeard screaming in your ear at how much of a noob you are for idling for a single second? Although I suppose since the DotA community is in an uproar over this might save us of that trouble. Then again, the game may turn out to be completely different.

I think the biggest problem to this whole thing is that Valve actually picked this up and is trying to make it out to a marketable game. Is Valve capable of producing a title that wasn’t first conceptualized by the community? Considering the Half-Life series remains their only original title, I guess the verdict is no. Which brings a better question: where the hell is Episode 3? Still no mention to the finishing of Half-Life 3’s Half-Life 2’s story, as Valve seems more concerned with creating another throwaway multiplayer mod game (Day of Defeat and the L4D series would like to know when they will be getting TF2-esque updates). Please Valve, stop making two-hour tech demos and four-map multiplayer games that you quickly forget about and focus what you’re good at—the Half-Life series.


There's a good idea! Just had to adjust the Valve...


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About Agamemnon
Started blogging back in 2007 amidst that whole Hellgate: London fiasco on a blog known as Eventually moved on to do my own thing in December 2008 at and started Caveat Emptor there. Wrote there for six months, gained some notoriety, and then left. Now I'm back.

2 Responses to Valve to market DotA: Does anyone care though?

  1. rossc90 says:

    Don’t worry. Valve is working on some iteration of Half-Life. Just because they haven’t announced it with ribbons and confetti doesn’t mean that they’re just ignoring production on it. It’s completely possible to run a company that is working on multiple projects. As for picking up Dota, it’s a good deal. I see it not as a way of making it a marketable game, but polishing a already existing genre of community mods. Majority of other Valve IPs are based off other ideas from other people. More importantly, I believe Dota 2 will be a way to showcase how Steamworks and other Steam features can work in order to encourage more independent developers to publishing their games on Steam.

    I’m totally cool in being patient for the next iteration of Half-Life. I’d rather them take their time than rush out something to please people.

    • Agamemnon says:

      Is there something I’m missing? It’s been three years since Episode Two. What would warrant a “rushed production” in your eyes? If the game was put out before I qualify for AARP discounts? Episode Two was announced a year and a half before it was released. If they were actually working on it, they would have said as much by now, especially around the holiday seasons. All the video game expos have passed and there wasn’t a single mention–I think it’s pretty safe to say they’re more focused on Portal 2 and now this as well.

      I’m a little tired of power hitters like Blizzard and Valve claiming the reason they delay games to ungodly lengths is because they are “perfecting” the product. When you have an army of professionals and enough money to buy a couple of countries in Africa behind you, I don’t expect five-year production queues, especially for a two-hour Episode.

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