When was the last time that you watched a bunch of people play a video game on an international sports channel? Personally, I have never seen it before, except on YouTube where pro Starcraft players from Korea competed. But this time it was on ESPN2! That should tell you right away that there is something very different about Defense of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2). The game is one of the few multi-player combat games that have attracted followers from around the world, and offers them the opportunity to form teams and play tournaments at gaming conventions. The surprise popularity of this game has led to the tournaments being broadcast live on cable and over the internet, such as Twitch. The main DotA site has much to offer in the way of video action, commentaries and forums to help you build a team and take your playing to the next level. It is definitely a different kind of online gaming experience.
The game is a simple, standalone adaptation of the popular Warcraft 3 map DotA Allstars. The layout is an oblique overhead view and each player controls one hero. The hero begins the game centered around a structure that holds an Ancient. The Ancient is what powers that teams health and regenerative abilities. The goal is to break through the other team’s line of defenses and destroy their Ancient, while not letting them close enough to harm your own.
Gold Farming, Leveling, and Items
All kills are rewarded in gold in the game, which is one of the best ways to level and advance your character. You can use your game gold to purchase a variety of items that can do everything from increase your abilities to add to your strength. If you are playing with a team, who you kill counts. When another player character is killed, you and all your nearby team mates receive a gold bonus. If you and your team are attacking NPCs then only the player that strikes the final blow will receive payment. This can have a significant effect on how you manage your strategy. If you are up against NPCs, then get them down to their last breath and let your weakest member strike the killing blow. Then they can power up with the gold and become more of an asset.
The gameplay is based upon two warring factions, the Radiant and the Dire. The more you play together in a 5 person team, the better your team can become. As each player amasses 25 points, they complete a level. Your best bet in defeating the Ancients is to have as many experienced players on your team who are versatile with different Heroes, not just those with one powerful one. The staged global tournaments that are broadcast on ESPN2 and the DotA 2 site are serious events, some of the rules call for a randomization of hero assignment so it is better to know how to play all the Heroes instead of just having one you rely on.