Defense of the Ancients (Warcraft III map)
Defense of the Ancients, commonly known as DotA, is an Aeon of Strife-style custom map created for the game Warcraft 3. Originally developed for Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos by Eul (US West), the map was later unofficially ported into the Warcraft 3 expansion pack, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Currently, several variants of the map exist under the name of DotA.
Since DotA (Defense of the Ancients) is a custom map, some of the game concepts are very different from the original Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or the expansion The Frozen Throne. The original game and the DotA custom map, however, do share some similarities, such as usage of modified Warcraft characters, adaptation of Warcraft spells such as Heal, and items such as Boots of Speed.
For the DotA map, two bases are set at opposite corners of the map. In each base is situated a central building known as the Ancient, from which the map derives its name. The goal of the game is to destroy the Ancient of the opposing team and to defend one's own ancient. Ancients used for each team are commonly The Frozen Throne/World Tree (in the variants Classic, Allstars); and the normal Town Centers for either side (in the variant Outland). Three lanes join the two bases. A river runs diagonally through the center of the map, perpendicular to the three lanes. Each team has a number of defensive towers in each lane, placed on their side of the river.
The teams consist of up to five players, each controlling a single hero, and a computer which controls creeps. Standard variants do not support the artificial intelligence (AI) for computer controlled heroes. A variant known as DotA Mercenaries has allowed more computer controlled players, and is commonly used for training purposes or when other human players are not available to play with. Some developers are coming up with test versions of DotA maps with variable-skill AI players. The latest being Cloud_str who created dota allstars 6.27b AI.
The opposing bases produce troops, known as creeps, every 30 seconds, beginning at 1 minute 30 seconds, except in league mode and random draft, in which creeps spawn at the 3 minute mark. The creeps are produced in sets (also known as waves or spawns) composed of a number of melee units and a single ranged unit, and path down the three lanes available on the map towards the opposing team's base. The creeps for the Scourge are composed of several Ghouls and a single Necromancer, while the creeps for the Sentinel are composed of several Treants and a single Druid of the Talon. As the creeps travel along these lanes they will battle any opposing creeps, heroes, or towers they meet. Towers possess superior firepower compared to the creeps, so it is difficult for creeps to advance past towers without assistance of a hero.
Certain versions of DotA (e.g. Allstars and Mercenaries) have Runes in the river which can be picked up by any hero to gain bonuses for a short time (such as Double Damage, Regeneration, Haste, Illusion, and ), while other versions have different uses for Runes (e.g. challenge activation in Outland).
Without the influence of heroes, the game cannot quickly be won by either team. Creeps will battle each other and then sacrifice themselves in futile attacks on the towers. However, in practice, there will usually be a slight imbalance of power over time due to the specific placement of towers, creep paths, and other variables (due to slight tweaks over a number of versions, the "advantaged" side varies). This imbalance, however, is so slight that the presence of even a single hero for any amount of time will negate it.
Introduction to Heroes
Heroes are ranked by level. Upon gaining a level, heroes receive bonus attributes (see below) and a skill point to be spent in learning a new or upgrading an existing skill. Heroes may gain levels during the game by earning experience. Experience can be earned by killing creeps, which is known as creeping or farming and by killing enemy heroes which is known as pawning which lets a hero earn much more experience points. Neutral creeps of varying difficulty are also planted throughout the map, and they may also be killed for experience and gold. Neutral creeps are not programmed to do anything except battle other characters who come too close; as such, they exist only to be killed for experience and gold. These neutral creeps vary in strength from very weak level one creeps, to very powerful ones which a whole team of high level heroes needs to fight in order to win (e.g. Roshan, in DotA Allstars). Although some heroes posses the capacity to defeat Roshan by themselves even at low levels(e.g. Ursa)
Heroes possess three main statistics, known as attributes (Strength, Intelligence, and Agility) with every hero having a Primary Attribute. The Primary Attribute can be determined based on icons shown on the status panel, as depicted here (Strength depicted by a "fist", Agility by a "foot", and Intelligence by a "mind"). Increasing the Primary Attribute of a hero will increase the hero's damage. In addition, increasing the attributes of a hero will enhance corresponding statistics for that hero.
- Strength enhances hitpoints and hitpoint regeneration. 1 Strength point = 19 HP, 1 Strength point = 0.03 HP/sec regeneration increase
- Agility enhances attack speed and armor rating. 7 Agility points = 1 armor, 1 Agility point = 1% IAS (increased attack speed).
- Intelligence enhances mana points and mana regeneration. 1 Intelligence point = 13 MP, 1 Intelligence point = 0.04 MP/sec regeneration increase
(The effects of an improvement of a hero's attributes may vary between different heroes. Check this page for complete information about this issue: http://www.ibaam.com/wc3/stat_analysis.shtml)
Heroes also possess a variety of statistics that may be altered by inherent skills, purchased items, or changes of attributes:
- Attack Damage indicates how much a hero's attack subtracts from the recipient's hit points. Increasing the Primary Attribute of the hero will increase its attack damage, where every point of increase in the Primary Attribute increases the attack damage by one point.
- Attack Speed determines how fast the hero uses their attack. A hero with double the attack speed of another hero would, therefore, strike twice as often in a given window of time. Attack speed is determined by a base speed for each hero, and it is increased by agility.
- Hit Points represent how much damage a hero can absorb before he is killed. Hit points regenerate with time to a maximum number. The maximum number of hit points a hero has and the rate at which it regenerates is a function of the hero's strength attributes. Higher strength heroes have a higher maximum number of hit points and regenerate faster. Hit points are indicated by a current and maximum value.
- Mana Points - A hero's mana is the amount of energy the hero has for utilizing abilities or casting spells. Most (but not all) abilities are powered by mana. Mana is also regenerated over time. The maximum amount of mana and the rate of mana regeneration is a function of the intelligence of the hero. Mana points are indicated by a current and maximum value.
- Armor Rating - A hero's armor rating is how much physical damage to the hero is reduced, where physical damage excludes damage from spells, however magical damage done to a hero is reduced by 25% (which can also be stacked diminishingly with specific items and skills). The amount of physical damage reduced by armor is viewed as a percentage and will have diminishing returns as the armor count becomes higher.
- Movement Speed - Determines how quickly the hero travels over a given distance, excluding the effects of spells. The movement speed is a base value of roughly 300, which is different from hero to hero, but may be modified by abilities or items. There is, however, a specific cap around 522 to movement speed that cannot be exceeded, though most heroes will not encounter this cap.
(A few heroes can attain this movement speed without a haste rune which causes the hero the move at the 522 movement speed mark regardless, those being Balanar the Night Stalker who has a passive run increase at night, Slardar the Slithereen Guard with his Sprint ability, Barathrum the Spirit Breaker with his Charge ability, Strygwyr the Blood Seeker who easily reaches 522 with his Strygwyr's Thirst ability, Anub'seran the Nerubian Weaver with his Shukuchi ability, Bone Clinkz the Bone Fletcher with his Windwalk ability, Syllabear the Lone Druid with his Rabid ability, and Banehallow the Lycanthrope while in his Wolf form.). Note that speed also increases by use of boots of travel and Sange and Yasha (DotA-Allstars).
Summary of Attributes vs Hero Type and Statistics
A summary of the hero types based on Primary Attributes:
- Strength - usually a powerful melee attacker.
- Pros: High Hit Points, fast HP regeneration rate, high damage, usually have a stun/disable spell
- Cons: Attack is melee range only, low armor, slow attack speed, slow movement speed, weak early game
- Examples for Outland: Dragon Turtle, Spinewrath, Dominator
- Examples for Classic: Commander of the Abyss, Dragon Knight, Mannoroth, Garrondel
- Examples for Allstars: Rogue Knight, Skeleton King, Centaur Warchief, Slithereen Guard, Tidehunter, Doombringer, Lifestealer, Butcher, Chaos Knight, Treant Protector, Spiritbreaker, Lord of Avernus, Lycanthrope
- Agility - usually archers, assassins, or rapid attackers. Can be either melee or ranged.
- Pros: High damage, fast attack speed, high armor, passive abilities such as Critical Strike or Evasion
- Cons: Low HP, lacks disable ability, weak early game
- Examples for Outland: Disintigrator, Aquasoul, Lividus
- Examples for Classic: Mageslayer, Zuljin Andorhall, Troll Warlord
- Examples for Allstars: Drow Ranger, Bone Fletcher, Juggernaut, Lightning Revenant, Phantom Assassin, Stealth Assassin, Bounty Hunter, Dwarven Sniper.
- Intelligence - usually spellcasters.
- Pros: Usually ranged, high maximum mana, fast mana regeneration rate, powerful spells, strong early game
- Cons: Low HP, low armor, weak late game
- Examples for Outland: Stormweaver, Iviyst, Voodoo Shaman
- Examples for Classic: Drenia Darkhaven, Wavebreaker, Soulrender, Purity's Disciple
- Examples for Allstars: Crystal Maiden, Necrolyte, Witch Doctor, Lich, Lord of Olympia, Slayer, Shadow Shaman, Ogre Magi, Dark Seer(Ogre Magi and Dark Seer being the only melee Intelligence heroes) Demon Witch, Enchantress
Different Flavors of DotA
This series is the original DotA, which began with Eul, the creator and first editor. This RoC map is considered by some DotA players to be the most balanced and best map series for DotA. Eul, the original editor and creator of DotA, has since declared his map to be open-source, and currently there is no official editor for the RoC DotA maps.
However, there are still unofficial editors whose maps are hosted frequently. The most notable current editors are Quantum.dx (3.6d, as well as 3.95C and 4.0 for TFT), Fluffy_Bunny (3.7, 3.8x, and 3.9x series), Ryude (3.7x series), and Danite's (Rumble 3.x series, Danites Hell and Multimode 4.0). DotA Classic for RoC has clans that continue to play against each other and also hold tournaments.
The most popular version on most servers is 3.7 (created by Fluffy_Bunny), while 3.6d is still played in Asia. The 3.7x, 3.8x, and Rumble series are all played in decent numbers in public games.
CHAOS is a Korean-language port of DotA, and is not popular outside of Asia, though it enjoys cult-like popularity there.
- Main article: Defense of the Ancients: Allstars
Currently, in most versions of Allstars, the map contains many more heroes and items than does the original DotA and is updated frequently, which may explain its ongoing popularity. However, this popularity sparked a controversy over who ought to be credited for its fame. For instance, a number of Classic players resent Guinsoo for having "stolen" their game, especially since he is alleged to have similarly "borrowed" most of his triggers, spells, heroes, and items from other people; Guinsoo, for his part, maintains that the map was created from scratch (besides the map layout) and based only spiritually on Eul's work. Regardless, Allstars remains widely played on The Frozen Throne and is the most popular Warcraft 3 custom map.
Bugs in version 5 of AllStars prompted many to offer fixes to Guinsoo, but the development of the code was opaque and release schedules were discretionary. As such, the map forked in version 5.84b. Guinsoo joined the mass movement to the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft and IceFrog has taken over as head of project since version 6.
Current player trends
Currently, players have shown increasing interest in the 6.xx versions as with each consecutive version, more bugs are fixed and the map is believed to be more stable and balanced. Version 6.30, the most current official version, is the most frequently played on Battle.net and LAN parties. It has been noted that only the Malaysians and the Turkish still frequently play 5.84c on the Battle.net servers. Many of the Turkish people prefer to stick to the 5.84c version due to the great changes of the map , the new balance of the heroes and the new items. The omni-present mode is the -allrandom (-ar)mode.
Currently, DotA Allstars is popular among many players around the world, as observed on the Battle.net servers and the PvPGN network of private servers. Players of DotA Allstars, particularly in the Asian region, sometimes go to cybercafés for friendly matches and cash tournaments.
DotA Allstars was also featured in the Malaysian and Singaporean World Cyber Games 2005.
DotA Outland is another Frozen Throne variant of DotA, mostly maintained by Softmints and JackOfBlades, but now work has passed onto emjlr3 for the time being, who is very experienced with JASS, and will be able to bring a new dimension of hero making to Outland. It is less well-known than Allstars, but updated far more frequently. It is more hero-based than item-based, a slightly slower-paced game than Allstars, and the heroes are entirely different. Development has re-started after much time was taken in fixing the lag spikes created in 4.4b. The next version will be released very soon.
Comparing Outland to other Aeon of Strife maps
- Compared to DotA Classic: It's a more hero-based Aeon of Strife, with less emphasis on buildings and upgrades, and a faster game.
- Compared to Allstars: Less emphasis on crushing the opponents with powerful items; though victory through powerful item builds is still very possible.
- Compared to Tides of Blood: More heroes and less emphasis on buildings.
Unique characteristics of DotA Outland
Some information partially adapted from the DotA Outland page (as written by the Outland creator).
- Items are far less powerful and more character-specific. (e.g. don't use a Lothar's Annihalator with a hero like Iviyst or Lividus.)
- Recipes located outside the entrance of the fountain, three books on pedestals. Level 3 items aren't imbalanced, considering generally high gold costs and only moderately strong bonuses.
- The "Challenge" aspect (see below).
- Usage of Waygates for teleportation.
- Switches control the ability to raise/lower the bridges, which change the possible escape routes and pathways.
- The amount of items a hero carries decides the gold bounty gained for killing him. For example, if a hero was carrying 6000 gold worth of items, 600 would be added to his bounty, because he was harder to kill.
- Destroying enemy towers gives Energy which can be used to upgrade friendly towers or troops. Energy is also gotton from hero kills or can be traded for gold at one of the shops, and is also used for upgrading items.
- A reputation for some unique and original heroes with varied skills, rather than the more monotonus other versions. (Little is known about Dota CHAOS in this reigon)
Challenges, much like the Rune powerups in Allstars, are an interesting aspect of Outland. A player picks up a rune, and is then given a challenge to complete. If the player succeeds, he/she gains 750 gold; failure will cause the loss of a level, which is more significant in Outland than other versions. This puts pressure on the player to complete the objectives.
The current Challenges are:
- Slaughter - A hero on the enemy team is singled out, and must be killed within 3 minutes.
- Survival - Survive for 3 minutes, with a 1000 gold bounty on your head, you are enemies to both your creeps and towers, and their creeps - no hiding in your base. Your location is pinged for all players every second.
Only one challenge of each type can be active at any one time, but two challenges can be held at the same time by a single player.
The hero variants of Outland differ from other versions in many ways. Firstly, experience gain is slower at the start of a game, and items take priority. Secondly, the heroes are much more functional towards their purpose, for example, the Red Stain is an excellent "hero-killer", yet its "pushing" (See Lingo below) skills are weak, unless its entire item build (order and selection of items) is focused upon it, causing it to become only moderate at both.
Hero killing is also a harder task to perform, as heroes are generally more resilient, and all heroes have access to an "escape move" (ability which aids in escaping from a hero trying to kill another hero). There are many "special" hero types in play from other heroes, most notably the "Shadowdancer" whose movement style is based on "blinking" (short distance teleportation) and Focus Monk, which needs to go into a "Trance" every 60 seconds to replenish his energies. This takes 5 seconds to activate, and his skills gain bonuses upon activation of this skill. Heroes with these abilities are designated by red text displaying the abilities when selecting the hero.
- Moving with a lane into enemy territory, attempting to kill towers/get into the enemy base.
- Escape move
- Teleportation, activated Invisibility, and others allowing you to get away from certain death.
- Rax or raxing
- Known to be a type of manouvre in which team players quickly take down the enemy barracks
- Stacking, or Pooling
- Practice of having one or several members of a team purchasing items for another member on their team in order to significantly increase that teammate's power.
- Practice of converging onto a single enemy target with multiple friendly units with the goal of overwhelming that enemy unit.
- Act of killing/destroying a friendly non-player character(NPC) or building to prevent opponents from gaining experience or gold.
- A player who pre-emptively leaves a game-session, potentially causing imbalances of power, gold distribution, and player count.
- A term to describe an item in the game officially known as "Guinsoo's Scythe of Vise". It is commonly referred as sheepstick because it has the ability to turn an opponent into a sheep; thereby incapacitating them for a brief amount of time.
- A level 25 non-player character located near the central river of the dota map. Roshan takes the form of a large Stone Golem that drops a rare-item called Aegis of the Immortal. Sometimes players refer to Roshan as "Rosh".
- Map hacking
- Using a maphack to allow the player to have complete sight over the entire map. Used for tracking down single or multiple heroes hiding in an area or moving in for an ambush so the player can retreat before the enemy reaches him/her. Also for tracking down heroes hiding in areas so that the player can catch him/her off guard for an ambush. Usage of this usually results in the user's team being victorious as they have a huge advantage. The effects are rather obvious and usage of this cheat can easily be detected by players.
- Using a bug program to allow control over an enemy hero usually for suicide or making the controlled hero drop items. Can be detected easily by players as the effects are obvious.
- Using programs that show opponents discussing strategies like meeting together for a ganking. The user can retreat before they arrive in the process.
- Ban lists
- This is not a cheat program but a program used for banning players who use cheats or leave when the game is starting or when the game starts. The program will report to the user if a player is a banned leaver or cheater so that he can be booted from the game to avoid causing unpleasant gameplay. The program can also find out what country a player comes from to avoid lagging during gameplay and ping a player for the same purpose. It is a useful program that helps to improve games and make them more fair for the players.
Swedish musician Basshunter has had chart success with a song about Defense of the Ancients entitled "Vi sitter i Ventrilo och spelar DotA" or simply "DotA" internationally. The song has been released with alternative lyrics now and is called "All I Ever Wanted". The original song featured sound samples from the Defense of the Ancients addon and screenshots and action taken from the game are featured in the early video release of the DotA song as well as in the more mainstream video of the same song although to a lesser degree. There are no obvious references to the game in the video of the English remake.