Blizzard DOTA First Look Preview - Playing With Stitches

Blizzard hopes to simplify the MOBA genre while staying true to its roots. We play a few rounds and see how much has changed.

"Hardcore games for everyone." That has been Blizzard's mantra, and at this year's BlizzCon, it is sticking to it with its upcoming massive online battle arena game: Blizzard DOTA. This game stays true to the genre's established format while streamlining some of its more cumbersome areas. It also brings together an all-star cast of Blizzard heroes and villains. Thrall, Kerrigan, and even Diablo III's Witchdoctor are all included. We got the chance to play a few matches here at the show; read on for our impressions.

A relatively young genre, a MOBA game is about you and your team of allies leading individual heroes into battles. They level up, collect gold, equip items, and (most importantly) try to kill the enemy team's heroes. Along the way, they must destroy enemy turrets and, ultimately, the enemy's keep; thereby, ending the game. Waves of lesser units are deployed on both sides to support the heroes. Compared to the genre's other entries, the moment-to-moment combat in Blizzard DOTA is very familiar: Heroes have clearly defined roles and teamwork is a must to achieve victory. Where it differs is in the other mechanics--items, last-hitting minions for gold--that could be seen as cumbersome by new players.

In our first game, we loaded up Stitches, a damage-soaking tank modeled after Warcraft III's abomination unit. Its abilities were hook, a skill-shot projectile that physically pulls the target toward Stitches; shockwave, a cone-shaped burst of damage; devour, which consumes an enemy minion (doesn't work on ally minions) and heals Stitches; and putrid bile, which is its ultimate skill that slows and damages enemy units near Stitches. We didn't see a passive skill for any character.

The scoreboard only displays each team's cumulative score.

The first thing we noticed was that the map was very similar in layout to Summoner's Rift in League of Legends. There were three lanes lined with friendly and enemy turrets, as well as jungle areas between the lanes with brush for characters to hide in and neutral monster to slay. There was even a river cutting through the middle of the map. The next thing we noticed was that we were completely broke. Lacking any starting gold, we summoned our mount and road off to the top lane.

Each character in Blizzard DOTA can summon a mount to increase its movement speed. The summoning takes about three seconds and lasts until the champion attacks or is struck. Once we started killing enemy minions, we found the focus on last-hitting has been reduced. In other MOBA games, if you don't land the killing blow on a minion then you didn't get the gold. Here, all we had to do was be near an enemy minion when it died to earn some currency. However, if multiple allies were present, the gold earned from the kill was split among them, even if we made the last hit.

With some coin in our pocket, we teleported back home (another ability shared among the cast) and visited ye olde item shoppe. This could be the game's most controversial split from the genre. Instead of having dozens of items for players to analyze and memorize, the shop consisted of three stat-boosting items and a handful of specialty items (most with active effects). The stat-boosting items provided a permanent enhancement to health, damage, or mana/cooldown reduction and could be purchased multiple times. Most of the specialty items could also be purchased multiple times to increase the item's rank (and its effectiveness).

The user interface was clean and easily conveyed information.

In the jungle space between lanes, there were monster camps that, when captured, would supply our team with powerful new minions. Our enemies could capture these camps as well--four camps total--so we had to keep an eye out for it. Our match with Stitches ended in a tie (the demo had a time limit), but from what we experienced, matches were shorter than in other MOBA games. Whether this is from a lack of experience or a design decision remains to be seen, but we're thinking Blizzard wants to keep it shorter. And in true Blizzard fashion, a release date isn't set, but you can expect news of a beta in the coming months.

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Discussion

61 comments
MrMoita
MrMoita

pretty good .... like it

x-TwilighT-x
x-TwilighT-x

Also. Coming Soon...Ish (Seriously) Lmfao

x-TwilighT-x
x-TwilighT-x

@Ardus isn't that what Valve is doing? Considering Riot has some of the originals... Maybe Valve does as well? Possibly even Blizzard hired an original creator from Wc3's Defense of the Ancients? I am not 100% certain on any of those comments however, Dota is fun, I am glad to see Blizzard working on their own Variation. Also it's not like the Warcraft team is working on Dota.

Ardus
Ardus

I have to admit it looks good, but Blizzard should be focusing on making a Warcraft 4 with an open source custom map system so more games like DotA can be created rather than just stealing ideas from the community and trying to cash in.

Bad_Gamers83
Bad_Gamers83

They're making their way into the genre/ sub-genre by making a game of their own. In doing so, they're also trying to get new people into the genre. To do this, you need to have a level of familiarity, especially since a lot of their gamers aren't "hard core" (I apologize for my recent misunderstanding). I think it's fun and a very clever way to market it. Also, if Valve has the rights to the original DoTA, then they have the rights to the characters and Blizz wouldn't have the rights to use those characters. For one, I'm kinda psyched this is happening.

The_MaiN_MeNu
The_MaiN_MeNu

@mayaju your use of the letter k puzzles me.

Halloll
Halloll

who is nova? is she dwarven sniper? and why is Arthas there, there should be Omni knight and Lord of Avernus. blizzard is just advertising its own 3 games and it doesn't look as good as any of the other dota games and clones.(their witch doctor from diablo3 and not dota)

mayaju
mayaju

This goes to the fanboys, firstly people who kompare LOL and DOTA are stupid ... Both game follow the same goals and same genre, but in many different ways... I played both and honestly both games are Awesome ... In a serious game, if all the players are pro, then both game requires very best team work, otherwise you can go solo in LOL Sekondly, Everything in LOL is FREE except for the skins, it does not give you an advantage over normal skins ... DOTA is also FREE until when release date when VALVE steps in, but that won't stop me from buying it ... Thirdly, DOTA is more komplikated with the deny and pickup abilities while LOL is simpler with a 5th Skill and no Deny but have the Brushes Now tell me, why would you kompare these two? A reasonable komparison would be between HON and DOTA ... PS: HON is the worst I have played .. out of these three games .. Blizzard DOTA will also be a good game, and do take in mind that DOTA bekame what it is through regular updates, if Blizzard gives us regular updates then who knows it kan be right up there with those two games ... The only reason it will get popular is bekause of the Hero Line Up, really kool line up ... Edit: Both DOTA and LOL gives me tremendous fun ... Besides, DOTA made the genre famous and popular .... So, Winner: Skyrim

PsyBlaster
PsyBlaster

men games are not made for everyone ... we are the one who choose games that suits us so stop comparing them since they aim at different players. I'm a dota player, i find this game kinda less challenging but i might try it becuz i love blizzard's universe :D

megakick
megakick

The no last hit mechnic is broken. IMO it will make it way to easy to farm and Solo lane will be rich, rich, rich. This will probably be changed. The Items can be fun but if there are less items the game will have less variables and be easier to balance. Don't Leave me for Valve? You do know that DotA is a Mod right? A mod for a Blizzard game? Valve is just trying to cash in on the DotA craze. DotA was already revamped. HoN

megakick
megakick

LOL does have deny but it is not the brianless unbalanced deny mechanic like DotA. Did u even play LOL? At all? I don't considering playing a couple matches, raging and crying LOL sucks as playing LOL.

faceless-mask
faceless-mask

Can't believe they don't have many shop items. Gonna be a lot harder to adapt without many items.

adilejaz
adilejaz

@Vegeta-Ouji Hey thank you for atleast admitting that you dont know if I am noob or Pro!! "(if your a noob then ofc your gonna get reamed )." anyways I am also in the upper middle class Dota!! not at the top!! And I really believe that Dota is a great game and everyone must follow!! But calling them noob wont make them switch!! And dude I know the potentials of Dota and I started off with it when I was 17!! :-p Now I am 24 :-D I usually play LoL because it has different mechanics and sometimes I feel curious on learning it and see how things workout!! I am not really interested in LoL but I love it!! Dota is my passion!! enjoy the day!!

mortaleclipse
mortaleclipse

Quadsrakill@ man your post is lulz, if youa re talking about heroe pool HoN has that covered. It has arounr 90 heroes and Dota 2 is getting heroes released every week. During Gamescon international is had 52 and now we up to close to 60. Best part of dota2 is the heroes are ports so they can get heroes out quickly. LoL is a completely diffrent experience then HoN and Dota, its made for people not to have to think so much while playing. As far as maps goes id rather take 1 good map (which dota 2 map is by FAR the best map out of any moba genre) then 3 half crap maps.

Dsolow5
Dsolow5

This article reads like an april fool's joke. What is even left in this genre if you remove last hitting? It's bad enough that LoL doesn't have denies. As far as the items go, either they're just placeholders or blizzard is intentionally making this game a joke. Either way, I'm going with DOTA2.

darkagent7
darkagent7

Blizzards way of saying " Don't leave me for valve ='( "

_GRIM420_
_GRIM420_

very few shop items is a turn off for me. but we will see

taidalwave
taidalwave

if this was a new ganra i would call it "dota clons" not "moba"

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

@Barnman2205 yeah just noticed it when u mention, and thats fine, you know as long as they dont shoe-horn in some cheesy premise, itl be a thrill, like every other blizz game

Quadraskill
Quadraskill

Honestly I think it's going to be hard for any upcoming MOBA games to compete with LoL in terms of quality and content. LoL already has 80+ champions and 3 different maps to battle on, and they're all very fun in their own unique way. My guess is at best DOTA2 will have maybe 50 champions and 1 map at launch, and that's being generous. Personally, I think the direction Blizzard is taking with this game is smart. It seems instead of trying to compete with the other hardcore bigwigs of the market they're just making a simpler stripped down version that's easier to just jump into and figure out how to play rather quickly. There isn't nearly as much content or as complex strategizing about your item builds so it can just be purely about duking it out with your favorite Blizzard heroes and playing for fun rather than to show off your skills and get all hardcore. It will provide a different experience when I don't feel like playing something more complex like LoL.

adilejaz
adilejaz

@Vegeta-Ouji This is the thing I talked about!! I don't mind playing LoL as long as it gives me time to play and relax sometimes!! I dont always feel like competing for my skills but I dont call it bad!! you can never steal a customer base off a game until the customers want to!! and when comments like these appear high up the forum threads people will get annoyed as you in general are calling every person playing a game noob!! they have their own learning curves and are potentially good gamers but will never switch because of the hate created by you fanboys!! And please define noob for me!! as far as I understand, is the word used to degrade other people when you know they are not playing right!! for one thing I know you neva eva get to win every game and be the man of the show or be good enough to atleast play a good game!! For me noob is nothing but just an insult that I neva pound on others!! you were not born PRO and if you dont understand that then you are still you know in your words!! :-p

adilejaz
adilejaz

lolx!! I just admire the way when fanboys of a specific genre or game spill out hate in their comments for other products making their own game hated by the community!! instead of marketing the game they play, they demarket it fully!! what aholes!! I love DOTA and I love LoL too!! so tell me!! am I a casual gamer or a Pro you dirty little fanboys of Dota!!

dmn_fox
dmn_fox

im so sure tht this dota and the dota2 will be 2 different experiences. i think its time u ppl realise tht.

jrhawk42
jrhawk42

This looks much better than Dota2, but I don't really think it can compete w/ LOL.

stEElyDaN909
stEElyDaN909

Simplified format, easier learning curve, less focus on micromanagement and more on having fun: I can already see the Dota fanboys screaming at this game and calling it easy mode. As far as I'm concerned, they can stick to Dota2/Hon and keep their horrible communities there. The rest of us will be having fun with this.

Barnman2205
Barnman2205

@SauhlGood If you watch the trailer, you'll notice that Blizzard are completely aware of how rediculous the premise is... What shreds of plot do exist aren't really being taken seriously!

megakick
megakick

LOL is pretty damn popular, IceFrog has very little to do with that game, Guinsoo left DotA for LOL and Riot. IceFrog is not the reason why MOBA exploded and if you do believe he is the reason MOBA exploded then you believe that he has being selling Dota to everybody and telling lies.

Pride_of_Hiigar
Pride_of_Hiigar

STFU all u kids about the UI If u don't like DotA.. Ur just not smart enough to get it. IceFrog \m/

megakick
megakick

This game will poop all over DotA 2. DotA 2 UI looks like garbage. IceFrog didn't make DoTa... Guinsoo did and he is at RIOT, LOL. You give IceFrog too much credit. Turn DotA into a cash cow? What do u think IceFrog is doing? HoN? DOTA2? Why and how do you think S2 and Valve have a game that look almost identical and not have a stack of law suits against one another? Don't 4get that DotA is a W3 Mod, why isn't Blizzard taking IceForg, S2 to court? DoTa, HoN and DOTA 2 are 3 games from this genre that almost look identical.

Ryoushi06
Ryoushi06

*Sigh* no Originality what a waste, All Hail IceFrog

0transfat
0transfat

@mortaleclipse so you mean to say you've been playing the original dota since there is no difference between that and dota 2...

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

Good, Blizzard isn't afraid to take out its thinking hat and artist's brush for this one. Maybe because the original DOTA was too well made, subsequent mimics, from major developers or otherwise, have shown a disappointing lack of vision or willingness to experiment. MOBA is now nearly synonymous with DOTA even though there has been little exploration of whether DOTA has all the features desirable for a competitive arena-style game or if all its own features are the best suited. If you are trying to create a genre, don't rely on the talent of one person.

dkdk999
dkdk999

hmm so valve and blizzard are going against eachother. This should be interesting.

wexorian
wexorian

@Vegeta-Ouji you forgot 1 thing every map created in warcraft 3 or starcraft editor map is Opens source ad everyone can create or use map name and whole idea for themself so i don't see any cash in for icefrog :D

Vestia
Vestia

EPIC SUPER NINJA TWO THOUSAND DOTA 2 THAT NO ONE WILL BEAT, LIKE EVER!!!!!1! (This is, the immortal words of the same toddlers that also believed that their Lego men could fly in real life, just like they did in the commercial.) Right now, the game is what the developers wants you to believe it is, and that's about it. Yes, i'm sure it'll be good, but unless you're in the closed beta, stop yammering on about how it will molest every other game in history. I'm not the one to talk about looking forward to games, but some of this blind fanboyism is just getting more stupid every day =p

Vestia
Vestia

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

mortaleclipse
mortaleclipse

Icefrog is the only reason this genre has exploded into what it is today, Guinsoo made a pile of crap game with some cheese on it, Icefrog turned into a cake with strawberries. Dota 2 will be the king of the moba genre (I know im in closed beta) within 3 months or so the game im sure will be close to a open beta. This game I think will be for the lulz and a time killer, nothing more.

ihl0700677525
ihl0700677525

So "...matches were shorter than in other MOBA games... ...we're thinking Blizzard wants to keep it shorter". I don't know how long veteran/pro match is. Mine always done within 40-70 minutes and I think it's ideal time-span to fully enjoy the match. I hope Blizzard's idea to shorten the match turn out to be good.

Draken_Domingo
Draken_Domingo

@PointlessFool My God, does anyone READ before they call 'YOUR A TROLL"...just saying that threw everything you said out the window. Icefrog really helped keep DotA going while Guinsoo decided to try and cash in on it, hence LoL being created. All he did was take Dota, slap fees everywhere and made the game much easier to play to attract a much more general audience. Please don't LoL fanboy when I called LoL a copy of DotA, true DotA fans know LoL is just a casual version of a moba...

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

dota always felt like a game without a story, so as long as they dont make up some cheesy long-winded explanation why SC/WC/Diablo chars are in one game it should be good for what it is.... a excellent arena game

AxMxH
AxMxH

I dont like involve Heroes from games however good graphics I prefer they make New WarCraft instead of Upgrade DOTA only

adilejaz
adilejaz

"Activision Blizzard" If they just did not have that Kotick thing in the name!! Although I think I will be looking out for DOTA 2 more than this!! but you neva know what attracts you more!! This game gives me the feeling that it will balance out the Good players and bad players in the same team by their new gold rewarding system on minion kills. some added strategy for jungling monsters to spawn as wave!! Lets see how it turns out to be!!

TheDarkNut
TheDarkNut

Stitches is almost the same as Pudge right? I mean, it has hook and devour.

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

@Bad_Gamers83 Read this that i wrote in the first line of my post: "its cool how blizzards makes good games that also caters to newcomers and "casual" players as well as the hardcore gamers. " why would you ask me this "how do you know there won't be more hardcore modes?"?? LOL!

Wladxq
Wladxq

so what? hahaha haha

THE_LAN
THE_LAN

@Bad_Gamers83 "unfairly leaching"? Are you serious? The only thing Blizzard did for Dota was supplying the map editor and Bnet. Icefrog spent years developing Dota into what it is.

PointlessFool
PointlessFool

@Draken_Domingo Guinsoo, the original creator of DOTA Allstars, has been working on League of Legends since giving the original DOTA to Icefrog in version 6.01. If anyone has the right to develop a true sequel to DOTA, it's him. In addition, DOTA 2 is a sequel in name only, it is identical to the original game in almost every respect aside from the graphics and actually presently has MUCH less content than the original DOTA. It's also developed by Icefrog and VALVE, the latter of which has zero experience in the genre and scooped up DOTA purely for monetary gain, and who actually don't own the rights to "Defense of the Ancients", as Riot Games (League of Legends) secured them right after Valve grabbed the name "DOTA." You'd be a lot safer calling it a remake. The only thing Evilbunz goofed up was calling DOTA 2 a copy of League of Legends, as that would be giving it too much credit, but indirectly he was totally right in calling DOTA 2 a copy of DOTA. Get your facts straight before you troll and, if you're really going to smack him down like that, at least hit the strongest part of his point instead of pointing out a semantics error.