Defense of the Ancients, better known as Dota, is one of the most massively multiplayer battle arena games in the past few decades. Originally a mere mod of the third Warcraft, it quickly became a franchise in its own right. This led to an eventual sequel, Dota 2, which was released in 2013.
Dota 2 has been a massive success for developer Valve and is generally considered one of the best games of all time due to its increasing presence in esports. This popularity eventually earned it an animated adaptation in the form of Dota: Dragon's Blood. With the anime now on Netflix, here's a look at the history of Dota and the franchise's most popular game.
Defense of the Ancients
Defense of the Ancients originated as a mod for Warcraft III and is the unofficial progenitor of the MOBA genre of gaming. It was created through that game's "world editor" by Kyle Sommer, with others adding more characters and elements to the mod afterward. The gameplay has two groups, the Sentinel and the Scourge, fighting each other on a vast map. Unlike real-time strategy games, the focus is on strengthening individual characters and not on gathering resources. Though the player chooses one individual hero, the action is still team-focused and oriented to have players whittle enemies down together.
The goal is to destroy the opponent's "Ancient," which is the large structure within their base, all while keeping the same from happening to a player's own Ancient. The game's addictive, team-based gameplay eventually made it massively popular, even earning it a hit song from Swedish DJ Basshunter. This would lead to the release of a sequel ten years after the original came out.
The free-to-play Dota 2 came out in 2013 after starting life four years earlier as an enhanced remake of the original game. It boasts 120 different playable characters, all with unique strengths and weaknesses that can be upgraded throughout the game. Starting with only one special ability, heroes quickly gain more as they level all the way up to level 30. These powers and abilities are tempered through a magic system that costs a player mana points. Building off of the previous game's successes, Dota 2 has numerous different game modes that alter how each hero is used and the basic gameplay itself.
Most notable is the "Arcade" feature, which allows modification to the point where entirely new games can be made from it. The most popular of these has been a variant on chess, with both Valve and Chinese company Drodo Studio developing their own standalone versions. The game was updated in 2015 with Dota 2 Reborn, which brought the title to a new server, upgraded the game through patches and utilized the new Vulkan graphics API.
Dota 2 has been critically acclaimed among fans and critics, who see it as one of the best video games ever made. It's been particularly big in the esports scene, not just at conventions and tournaments such as Dreamhack. The rise of Twitch and game streaming can be attributed to Dota 2's massive success, especially in other countries such as South Korea.
Dota: Dragon's Blood
Despite not being a story-based franchise, Dota has recently crossed over into the world of anime via Dragon's Blood. Produced in Korea, the TV series hit Netflix at the tail end of March, utilizing an art style that emulated Eastern and Western animation. The story follows Davion, a Dragon Knight whose hunt for the giant lizards reaches an end when he's merged with the soul of an elder dragon. From then on, he fights to ward off the evil Terrorblade, who vows to destroy all dragons and harness their power for his own nefarious ends.
The series has several notable voice actors, including Yuri Lowenthal, Tony Todd and Troy Baker. Both old fans of the games or interested newcomers should definitely stream the series in between streaming their favorite online gamers defense their team's Ancients.