According to a recent interview with Eurogamer, Blizzard DOTA's Senior Game Designer Jonny Ebbert said the version of Blizzard DOTA that was shown at last year's BlizzCon has been completely rebooted to make the StarCraft 2 mod more accessible to newcomers. Blizzard DOTA is a fast-paced StarCraft 2 mod that's a variation of the original Defense of the Ancients map mod that originated in Warcraft 3, another Blizzard title. At BlizzCon last year, Blizzard announced Blizzard DOTA for the first time much to the delight of Dota fans everywhere. But since then the company has said little about the official mod, only that they hope it's ready by the time the first StarCraft 2 expansion, StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm launches.
"DOTA's a very addictive game that chases the vast majority of people off because their team mates are screaming at them." said Ebbert. "We've always felt DOTA has a very accessible, easy to approach fun game deep down inside that's just waiting to come out." According to Ebbert, what Blizzard showed at BlizzCon 2010 was completely flattened and it has now been rebooted to make it in to the best product possible that will appeal to both casual and hardcore DOTA fanatics.
"Getting it right and just meeting the Blizzard quality bar, and questioning a lot of the assumptions behind the genre," have all been challenging when creating Blizzard DOTA, Ebbert said.
"One of the important things to note with that space is the DOTA everyone plays on Warcraft 3 is not particularly accessible to the novice," said Frank Pearce, Executive Vice President of Product Development and Co-Founder of Blizzard Entertainment. "One of the game development philosophies we have at Blizzard is, easy to learn and difficult to master. That mod for Warcraft 3 doesn't really fit that description."
"That's a big challenge for us: taking this concept that doesn't really fit that philosophy and adapting it to a philosophy that's important for us," said Pearce.
And he's got that right. One of the major complaints that followed Valve's one million dollar Dota 2 tournament was that no one just coming in to the game understood it. With so many heroes and items to choose from, it makes sense that Blizzard would want to take a more casual, user-friendly approach than just throwing gamers into an intricate game.
That said, as the other three mods that Blizzard announced at last year's BlizzCon have been released, I'd love to at least get some details on the reboot of Blizzard DOTA. What exactly are they reconfiguring? Unfortunately details are extremely sparse, but at BlizzCon in October we'll hopefully get more details.