What is Dota?

The name “Dota” can, depending on who you ask, refer to two separate entities of the same origin. The first is DotA Allstars, which was a mod for the real-time strategy game WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne. DotA Allstars is known for kickstarting the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre in the mid to late 2000s, which was followed by similar titles such as Heroes of Newerth and League of Legends—the latter of which is now the world’s most popular esport.

The other is Dota 2 (yes, with a small “a”), the “sequel” to the original DotA Allstars developed by Valve. Dota 2 retains the same core gameplay as its predecessor, albeit with many quality of life enhancements such as custom keybinds, a fully-fledged spectator and replay system, and of course, tons of slick cosmetics to customize your heroes with.

But no matter which one you’re referring to, the goal of Dota is the same: be the first to destroy the enemy’s “Ancient”—a large structure in each team’s base that serves as the team’s flag. To this end, you and your teammates command five heroes against the opponents’ five, with each character having its own set of unique attributes and abilities. The map itself has three lanes traversed by AI-controlled units called “creeps”, which automatically attack enemy units and structures.

History of Dota

DotA Allstars started out as an offshoot of a similar mod called Aeon of Strife—which was made in the StarCraft map editor by a user named Aeon64. Many of the concepts from Aeon of Strife, including the three lanes and having players control only one hero for the duration of each game, were adopted for DotA. Unlike DotA, however, Aeon of Strife had human players competing against the AI, instead of a player-versus-player environment.

The first edition of DotA was published by a map creator named “Eul”, just a few months after the release of The Frozen Throne. Steve “Guinsoo” Feak, now of Riot Games, developed Allstars as an offshoot/alternate version of Eul’s original work. Allstars quickly became the favored variant of DotA on Battle.net, and other private gaming networks.

Guinsoo continued development on Allstars until 2005, when he passed the job onto IceFrog and another developer known as Neichus. Neichus left the two-man development team soon after, leaving IceFrog to go at it alone. The latter continued to work on the map until he was hired by Valve to do Dota 2, of which IceFrog has been the lead developer since 2011.

Dota Meaning – What Does “Dota” Stand For?

Before it became Dota 2, Allstars had an acronym in its name. It stood for “Defense of the Ancients”—an obvious reference to the object of the game. Due to a naming dispute between Valve and Blizzard, however (back when Heroes of the Storm was known as Blizzard DOTA), the former decided to drop the acronym altogether.

Nowadays, the name “Dota” doesn’t actually mean anything on its own. Dota 2 is simply Dota 2, therefore.


FirstBlood™ is NOT AFFILIATED, AUTHORIZED, LICENSED OR ENDORSED by Dota™, Dota 2™, Steam™, Dota 2™, the Dota logo® and Steam™ are trademarks of Valve Corporation.


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