Last week Valve announced a shiny new way of delivering content through Steam, the technicalities of which you can read in their blog post, but it essentially means downloads are going to be quicker. No doubt that news was favourably received but it is what was hidden away in the final paragraph, where Valve tells us “Soon, Dota 2 will be delivered using it”, that really got people excited . Rumours had already been circulating about a reveal at the upcoming GamesCom in August and sure enough a few days later Valve showed up on the official GamesCom website with a strategy game listing on their exhibition page.
Fan site Dota-Two has added fuel to the fire by claiming a tournament will take place and that top Dota teams from around the world have been invited to participate and compete for a five-figure sum. There’s no way to confirm if it’s true but it would seem an excellent way to display the game to the public for the first time.
Dota, or Defense of the Ancients, began life as a Warcraft 3 mod that has proven extraordinarily popular. You control a single hero unit in a team based game of intense strategy and cooperation. Battling opposing players, AI creeps and defensive placements to reach the opposite side of the map and destroy the titular ‘Ancient‘ to achieve victory. The mod proved so popular it spawned a genre all of its own with full games like League of Legends, which was aided in its development by prominent members of the Dota community, or Heroes of Newerth replicating the concept with success.
The original mod continues to be supported, with the duty of development being passed on over the last eight years. The latest Dota supremo, IceFrog, assumed developmental duties in 2005 and continues to release updates to this day. In 2009 it was announced he would be leading a development team at Valve and that he was “very excited about Dota’s future”. Over a year later the IceFrog and Valve collaboration was officially announced as Dota 2 which, despite some initial concerns from Blizzard and ex Dota developers over the trademarking of the name, is being feverishly anticipated by many.
Outside of a few promotional images and a Q&A on the official website, nothing has been seen of Dota 2 as of yet which explains the community’s desire for a showing at GamesCom. Valve has a history of turning mods into quality fully fledged games and supporting the communities around their games but Dota has grown into the behemoth it is on the back of its own strong community. It will be interesting to see how well they receive a game that will essentially be an update on a free to play mod they already adore. Hopefully we will learn a little more come August 17th when GamesCom opens its doors in Cologne, Germany.