From the studio that brought us Half-Life, Portal and Team Fortress, the next big thing will be DOTA2. That's a new Defense of the Ancients game coming to PC and Mac in 2011.
Valve describes the game as "a massive sequel for one of the most played games in the world".
Dota is shorthand for "Defense of the Ancients", a style of real-time strategy game that requires players to channel and protect herds of computer-controlled minions as they attack an opposing force. DOTA games have been popular since they were birthed as a mod for WarCraft III.
GameInformer.com spilled the first official details, saying that the game runs on Valve's Source engine and includes voice chat. Gameplay appears to be faithful to the series' roots, supporting three-lane maps and focusing on multiplayer competition (with artificial intelligence taking over for players whose connections drop.) Graphics are upgraded, though said to follow in the original cartoony style birthed in the original. Steamworks-based achievements will be able to reward players for actions in the player community as well as in the game.
Also intriguing is Game Informer's description of a coaching system:
By logging in as a coach, veteran players can do their part to help out newer folks. Valve hasn't entirely decided on the specifics of how newbies and coaches will be matched up, but once they're together a few things happen. The coach sees the pupil's screen, and gets private voice and chat channels to communicate with them. The coach probably won't be able to take control of anything directly (once again, the details are currently under discussion), but information is power in Dota 2 and having a mentor whispering in your ear can make all the difference in the world.
IceFrog, one of the lead developers behind DotA games is making the Dota 2 project for Valve, the company said. IceFrog was hired by Valve last year. IceFrog has been maintaining the most recent version of the core game, DotA Allstars.
Rumours about a DotA game from Valve have been intensifying lately, since the revelation that the company was trying to trademark the DotA acronym, a move that did not go down well with all fans of the genre.