Defense of the Ancients (2003)

by Ji-yeong
7 minutes read


Defense of the Ancients: The Birth of a Genre

Defense of the Ancients (DotA) is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) mod for the video game Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. It was developed using the “World Editor” of Reign of Chaos, and was updated upon the release of its expansion, The Frozen Throne.


DotA is played by two teams of five players, each controlling a hero unit. The objective of the game is to destroy the opposing team’s Ancient, a heavily guarded structure located in their base. Players use their heroes to kill enemy units, earn gold and experience, and purchase items to make their heroes more powerful.

Heroes in DotA have a variety of abilities, both active and passive. Active abilities require the player to activate them manually, while passive abilities are always active. Heroes also have attributes, such as strength, agility, and intelligence, which affect their stats and abilities.

Players earn gold by killing enemy units and destroying towers and barracks. Gold can be used to purchase items from the shop, which offers a variety of items that can enhance a hero’s stats, abilities, or survivability.

Experience is earned by killing enemy units and creeps. As heroes level up, they gain new abilities and their existing abilities become more powerful.


DotA was originally created by Eul, a Warcraft III player from Singapore. Eul released the first version of the map in 2003, and it quickly gained popularity among the Warcraft III community.

Over time, DotA was updated and modified by a number of different authors, including Guinsoo, IceFrog, and many others. IceFrog eventually became the lead developer of DotA, and he has continued to update and improve the map for many years.


DotA has had a profound impact on the video game industry. It is credited with popularizing the MOBA genre, and it has inspired a number of other games, including League of Legends, Dota 2, and Heroes of the Storm.

DotA has also been a major force in the esports scene. It was one of the first games to be featured in major esports tournaments, and it remains one of the most popular esports games today.

Gameplay Features

  • Teamwork: DotA is a team game, and it requires players to work together to achieve victory. Players must communicate with each other, coordinate their strategies, and support each other in battle.
  • Strategy: DotA is a game of strategy. Players must make decisions about which heroes to pick, what items to buy, and how to attack the enemy team. Players must also be able to adapt to the changing circumstances of the game.
  • Skill: DotA is a game of skill. Players must master the controls of their heroes, learn the abilities of each hero, and develop a deep understanding of the game’s mechanics.


There are over 100 heroes in DotA, each with their own unique abilities and playstyles. Some of the most popular heroes include:

  • Anti-Mage: A powerful carry hero who excels at farming and killing enemy heroes.
  • Invoker: A versatile hero who can use a variety of spells to control the battlefield.
  • Pudge: A tanky hero who can hook enemy heroes and pull them into his team’s base.
  • Queen of Pain: A high-damage hero who can quickly kill enemy heroes with her spells.
  • Shadow Fiend: A powerful late-game hero who can deal massive damage with his ultimate ability.


There are over 200 items in DotA, each with its own unique effects. Some of the most popular items include:

  • Black King Bar: An item that makes the hero immune to magic damage.
  • Blink Dagger: An item that allows the hero to teleport a short distance.
  • Force Staff: An item that can be used to push enemy heroes away or save allies.
  • Scythe of Vyse: An item that can be used to disable an enemy hero for a period of time.
  • Town Portal Scroll: An item that can be used to teleport the hero back to their base.


There are a variety of different maps available for DotA. The most popular map is the original DotA map, but there are also a number of other maps that have been created by the community. Some of the most popular custom maps include:

  • IceFrog’s DotA: The official DotA map, which is updated regularly by IceFrog.
  • DotA Allstars: A popular DotA map that was created by a number of different authors.
  • League of Legends: A MOBA game that was inspired by DotA.
  • Dota 2: A stand-alone sequel to DotA that was developed by Valve Corporation.


DotA is one of the most popular esports games in the world. It is played by millions of people around the world, and there are a number of major esports tournaments held each year. Some of the most popular DotA esports tournaments include:

  • The International: The largest DotA tournament in the world, with a prize pool of over $20 million.
  • The Dota Pro Circuit: A series of tournaments that lead up to The International.
  • The Major Championships: Four major tournaments that are held throughout the year.


Defense of the Ancients is a legendary game that has had a profound impact on the video game industry. It is a complex and challenging game that requires teamwork, strategy, and skill. DotA is also a very rewarding game, and it can be incredibly fun to play with friends or compete against other players in esports tournaments.

Review Score



Cover Art


This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More