Last October, a lead designer on the popular Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients announced that he had been tapped by Valve to lead development on a new project. It didn't require a particularly plastic mind to guess that the designer--known publicly as IceFrog--would be expanding on the tower-defense project, and the dots seemed to line up in August, when Valve trademarked the term "DOTA."
Today, Valve connected those dots, announcing that DOTA2 will arrive for the PC and Mac in 2011. According to Game Informer's first look at the title, DOTA2 will essentially be a re-creation of the original title, which saw a continuous stream of minions flood toward opposing sides' bases. Players are given control of a unique hero character with upgradable special abilities to aid the minions in their task.
Valve also told the GameStop-owned magazine that DOTA's entire roster of more than 100 hero characters is being imported to the new title. The studio also hasn't made much of a change to the original DOTA's field of play, with items, skills, and upgrade paths also falling in line with the Warcraft III mod.
However, there will be a few changes under the hood. Namely, DOTA2 will run off of Valve's Source engine, rather than the engine Blizzard Entertainment built for Warcraft III. It will also 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.
DOTA2 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 walk-through guides and offering other out-of-game community contributions.