While Blizzard scrapped its original follow-up to the Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients and is now rebuilding the effort from scratch, Valve's own successor to the mod, Dota 2, is going full-steam ahead. Today the publisher posted an update to the official Dota 2 blog saying that it has drastically reconsidered its original launch plans for the game and now hopes to release it much earlier.
According to the post, Valve originally intended to keep the game in beta testing for a year or longer, until it had added enough new features and heroes to the game that it was on par with the original Defense of the Ancients. However, after careful consideration of gamer feedback, Valve "decided [the] original plan was dumb," the blog said.
The new plan will see the company launch Dota 2 as quickly as possible, with the core roster of heroes that was used for The International tournament held at Gamescom 2011 earlier this year. The beta will still be invite only for a time, but Valve is planning to provide a steady flow of updates with additional heroes and features.
Dota 2 combines action and real-time strategy elements in multiplayer matches that pit teams of player-controlled heroes against one another. The game will run off of Valve's Source engine and include integrated voice chat, and computer-controlled characters will take over for players who disconnect during play sessions. These AI bots will also be available to play against in training matches, though Valve does not intend to create a single-player campaign for the game.
Dota 2 will also feature a coaching system, where veteran players will have the chance to tutor newcomers. In return for their service, coaches will gain in-game glamour items and titles. These rewards can also be gained through creating interactive walkthrough guides and offering other out-of-game community contributions.
For more on the game, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Dota 2. To sign up for the beta (which requires Valve's Steam service), visit the game's official site.