For other uses, see DOTA (disambiguation).

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The Dota genre is a sub-genre of real-time strategy video games, characterized by their likeness to Defense of the Ancients, a hybrid of real-time strategy and RPG modded for the Warcraft 3 engine. The objective of such games is for the player's team to destroy the opposing side's main structure with the help of periodically spawned computer-controlled units that march towards the enemy's main structure. The genre traces it's roots to the Starcraft map called "Aeon of Strife".[1]



The Dota genre takes its name from Dota, a Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne Mod popularized by Icefrog.

Alternative Terminologies

Other commonly used terms used to refer to the Dota genre include but are not limited to "AoS style games", "Dota style games", "DotA based games", "Dota games", "DotA Clones", "Dota-Likes", and various other combinations of words pertaining to a game inspired by DotA. Dota games can also be simply referred to as DOTAs.[2]


Maps and Modifications

Features of Dota existed in early mods like the "Aeon of Strife" map for StarCraft but it was the Warcraft III custom scenario, Defense of the Ancients that brought the spotlight to the niche genre.[3][4]

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty's Galaxy editor has allowed map designers to continue the tradition of creating Dota variants like Storm of the Imperial Sanctum.

The immense popularity of Dota inspired Blizzard Entertainment to create an official Starcraft 2 custom map called Blizzard DOTA.[5] In an interview, Chris Sigaty - Lead Producer of Starcraft II stated that Blizzard DOTA "is a take on the DOTA genre if you will. It gives you the opportunity to see some of the heroes we've made, we've made some heroes that are cross genre. Not just SC2 heroes, we've got some Diablo characters in the works, we've some Warcraft characters and Starcraft characters and they're fighting together." [6]

Stand-alone Dota based games

Demigod, a video game developed by Gas Powered Games was the first released stand-alone title in the Dota genre.[7][8] This was followed by Riot Games' League of Legends.[9][10] In May 2010, S2 Games released Heroes of Newerth.[11] On October 13, 2010, Valve Corporation announced it's official entry to the genre with a sequel to DotA entitled Dota 2.[12][13] At Blizzcon 2010, Activision Blizzard officially announced their entry to the Dota genre with Blizzard DOTA.[14][15] Aeria Games will be publishing Tian Online in North America. [16][17]

Although majority of the released games in the Dota genre employ a top-down perspective, Uber Entertainment's Crossfire mode of Monday Night Combat breaks away from the trend by introducing a third person shooter spin to the concept. [18]


There are typically two teams of five, sometimes teams of three or four, and each player controls a single unit called a hero, which can level up and stockpile gold to purchase items which improve that character. Each player constantly receives a small amount of gold per second from their base and moderate amounts of gold are rewarded for killing creeps and large amounts for killing enemy heroes. Teams split up into lanes and fight the enemy heroes and creep waves,which are computer-controlled armies that continually spawn from each team's base.[19] Common Real-time strategy elements such as base management, resource collection and army building are not emphasized. [20]

Game Design

Games classified under the Dota genre possess the following basic elements: a player-controlled hero, periodic spawns of computer-controlled creeps, towers and a main structure which must be destroyed for a game to end.

Hero Concept

A player controls a single powerful in-game unit called a Hero. When a hero kills an enemy unit, it gains experience points which allow the hero to level-up. Heroes have the ability to learn skills and abilities which can be used to turn the tide of battle in your favor. When your hero dies, you have to wait a designated time, which increases as your hero levels up, until you revive at your base. [21]

AI-controlled Creep Waves

Creeps are the computer-controlled units that fight alongside the heroes to "push" a lane. These armies spawn from the base at fixed time intervals and generally follow a pre-programmed path to the opposing base, attacking any enemy it encounters on the way.[22]


Dota genre games are sometimes erroneously referred to as Tower Defense games by the media because of the presence of in-game defensive tower structures. [23]

Main Structure

Destroying the main structure, located within the enemy base, is the primary objective. The team that is able to destroy the structure wins the game. [24]

USPTO - Trademark

On August 6, 2010 - Valve Corporation filed for a trademark for the term "DOTA" with serial number 85102245. [25]

See also


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