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9/7/2023
MOBA Dota 2

The Dota Series Legacy: From Mod to Esports Phenomenon

The legacy of the Dota series of strategy video games began in 2003 when Valve developed and published Defense of the Ancients.  Technically termed DotA, it was a fan-developed multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game.  This came about as a mod for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion pack, The Frozen Throne.


DotA 1

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The first DotA mod pitted two teams of five players each to compete against each other to assume control of the opposition’s central base structure.  Known as “Ancient,” whichever team was able to destroy the enemy’s base won.

Along the way, the ownership and development of DotA continued to change hands until Valve brought Abdul Ismail (IceFrog) as the mod’s lead designer.  While Warcraft III technically belongs to Blizzard Entertainment, the Dota name was brokered to ensure Valve would be able to use it as a trademark.


DotA 2

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Released by Valve in July 2013, Dota 2 would be the first standalone installment in the series.  This was a sequel to DotA as it retained the same gameplay elements.  However, it introduced new mechanics and support that would separate it from the Warcraft universe.  In 2018, Artifact became a digital collectible card game that had mechanics inspired by Dota 2.  In 2020, Dota Underlords was released as an auto battler game that was based on Dota Auto Chess.  DotA 2 were mainly community-created mods that brought Valve these popular video games.


Dota’s Legacy

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The original DotA is considered one of the most popular mods of all time as several million players have used it throughout the 2000s.  Even at esports tournaments, this was used.  DotA was responsible for the development and popularity of the MOBA genre.  Scores of developers used DotA to create some of the most popular MOBA-style games.

DotA 2 shares the same legacy.  Dota 2 has been recognized as one of the greatest video games of all time.  Esports has hallmarked it with record-breaking prize pools that include annual championships such as The International.  Spinoffs by Valve have been positively received, except for Artifact.  The blame fell on Valve’s decision to stop developing the game shortly after it was released.

Adding to Dota’s legacy is the animated television series, Dota: Dragon’s Blood.  It premiered on Netflix in March 2021 and was produced by Studio Mir and Kaiju Boulevard.  There was also “Vi sitter i Ventrilo och spelar DotA,” a Swedish song composed by Basshunter that made reference to the infamous voice chat program used in Defense of the Ancients.

The mechanics of DotA have been applied to some of the most popular video games of all time.  These include League of Legends by Riot Games and Blizzard Entertainment’s Heroes of the Storm.  While there have been many Dota-style clones to make their mark, Dota remains on top as the king of mods when it comes to the MOBA genre of video games.

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