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Hrothmund's random ramblings.

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Author: Hrothmund

DotA - possible blueprint for point and click PvP MMO?

Posted by Hrothmund Thursday June 19 2008 at 3:07AM
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I'm sure many of us are familiar with Defense of the Ancients. For those of us who aren't and have the patience to do a little self-study, here's a link to the Wikipedia article about this insanely addictive Warcraft 3 custom map. DotA in essence is a minigame, where two teams of five players try to defeat the opposing team by using a hero picked at the beginning of the match to assist the continuous waves of computer controlled creeps that set out from each base to raze the opponents town.

Most of the action, however, is spent trying to kill the heroes controlled by the enemy players. Killing an enemy hero gives your team the opportunity to have a man advantage for the duration of that hero's resurrection timer.  This is a perfect time to destroy a tower or an other structure, as the opposing team is somewhat ill-fitted to counter your team's attack. Basically, most matches are won with coordinated teamplay and a strategy comprised of a good mix of 'pushing' (focusing on attacking the enemy structures) and killing enemy heroes.

Some might even argue that a good DotA player is more worried about staying alive and being aware of where the enemy heroes are than attacking the enemy base. I won't spend more time explaining the gameplay mechanics and strategies, but if you were able to follow my line of thought you should have a good idea about how a game of DotA works. There are a lot of details which I didn't cover, if you want to find out more about the game http://www.dota-allstars.com/ is also a good source of information.

DotA is immensely popular, and has become an official event at many e-sport tournaments over the years. The first version of DotA predates WoW and EQ2 and yet still the map is only gaining popularity. There's a good reason for this. DotA is a bit like the WoW of custom RTS game modes. It is extremely well balanced, addicting and has a high replay value. A typical game of dota lasts around an hour, and depending on how your team does, the instant gratification level is extremely high. No matter what the outcome, a balanced game of DotA is something I will definitely enjoy. No wonder some people have dubbed the game 'the ultimate RTS'.

With the wondrous display of fanboyism over, lets get back on subject and examine the possibilities of an MMO with DotA like gameplay. I am aware there are some titles out there that already feature simplistic point-and-click gameplay. However, a DotA MMO would need to be based on PvP, I was thinking something a bit like the RvR approach from DaoC/WAR. I don't think such a game exists at the moment.

I will not go into detail about any distinct features such as world structure, classes, PvE, level cap, itemization and so forth. A lot of hard work and thought would be needed to transform a one-hour, level 25-capped custom map into a full blown MMO, of course, but my question to everyone here is, if all of this was pulled off with flare by a developer, would you be interested in the final product? I most definitely would!

There is already a standalone game in the works utilizing the DotA concept, Demigod by Gas Powered Games, however it will most probably not include any MMO elements besides an interactive lobby and ranking system. This is something I will probably have a look at, but to me it seems like the developers ignored all of the potential dimensions a standalone title could expand into. To me it looks like they are only recreating the same game and polishing it up with some eyecandy.

To conclude my little write-up, I would like to know your thoughts on this. Do you think we could see a DotA MMO in the future?