Much like the original Defense of the Ancients title, Dota 2 combines the real-time strategy element of traditional top-down perspective, while also incorporating the leveling and itemization system of a role playing game. Players assume the role of a unit categorized as a “hero”, who through hostile interactions, may progress to a maximum level of 25. The basic setup of Dota 2 places two strongholds with “ancients” at opposing ends of an evenly-balanced map with multiple connecting regions identified as “lanes”, in which enemy units primarily traverse, while also combating powerful defensive towers along the way. Players are split into two teams, ideally in a five-on-five format, to compete as the primary defenders for each ancient.
The overall objective of each match is to battle through the opposing force’s defenses, in order to arrive at and destroy the opponents’ ancient. The towers and stronghold defenses are invulnerable to attacks so long as the farther distanced towers still stand. Periodically, groups of weaker infantry units commonly called “creeps” are spawned, which move along their lane until they reach an enemy unit or structure, which they will then attack.
Defeating enemy forces grants a distributed amount of currency of gold to the offending team, with the greater portion being retained by the player who made the final blow. While also gaining gold, the players will gain experience as well, which accumulates to gain higher levels. The greatest proportion of gold and experience comes from destroying higher priority forces, such as enemy heroes and towers.
Dota 2 will utilize Valve’s Steam software in order to provide social and community functionality for the game. Steam accounts will save personal files and settings on the online accounts using the Steam Cloud. Dota 2 will also feature free-camera live spectating, in tradition of competitive Valve titles. The game host has the option to fill open slots with AI bots. Another option allows the host to determine if AI bots or other human players will be used to fill the vacated slot of a disconnected player. Valve is introducing a coaching system to allow for more experienced players to tutor newer players. The game will also feature tutorial sessions for further assisting players to mount the steep learning curve before competitive play.