Yes, Valve. Not Blizzard. See, Valve likes to do awesome things, and among those awesome things is offering awesome jobs to awesome modders. So after Defense of the Ancients became the second most addictive landmark in Warcraft history (you know, after
that one thing
), Valve scooped up one of the gametype's more prominent creators – a guy who goes by the name of “IceFrog” – and set to work on scraping away the crusty remains of the fittingly ancient Warcraft III engine, giving the whole production a nice, even coat of Valve polish, and adding some potentially game-changing community features.
The gist of DotA, for the uninitiated, goes like this: players each take control of a single super-powered fantasy hero, who they then evolve and level-up over the course of RTS-style matches full of constantly spawning CPU armies. Basically, think Demigod and you'll be on the right track.
So, aside from graphics that won't leave your eyes feeling like you just took a dip in a pool full of lemon juice, what's Valve bringing to the table? Well, with the exception of snarky voicework and bots to replace players who disconnect, most of Valve's biggest contributions are focused on the community. Most interestingly, the developer's adding a coaching system that rewards experienced players for taking defenseless newbies under their wings. In-game rewards will also be handed out for other aspects of community participation, although Valve hasn't quite finalized how the system will work just yet.
"I think the interesting thing is us adding a second layer where the community is a service to each other. That's the real shift that we're trying to build here. Valve is going to keep building software around Dota and around the community and around Steamworks for Dota, but we're also going to build this system where the community can bring service to each other and be recognized for it," project lead Erik Johnson told Game Informer .
Valve also compared its plans for post-release support to Team Fortress 2, which is the kind of promise we'd scoff and dismissively readjust our monocles at if it wasn't coming from Valve. The bottom line? Whether you're a diehard DotA fan or you just scanned MPC, saw the word “diehard,” and started daydreaming about Bruce Willis, this is one to watch. 2011 can't get here soon enough.