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The Gift is here to discuss Defence of the Ancients, and how it has affected Warcraft III as a whole.
The Influence of DotA on Warcraft 3Today I would like to take a look at a debate that I find somewhat interesting. Many games in the past have spawned hybrid games or parallel games that have had success. Half Life gave us Counter-Strike which was arguably more popular than its predecessor. More modern games like Call of Duty have given us maps that create whole new games and spread like wildfire. Out of all of the mods and sub-games that have come in the video game world in the past 15 years I believe that DotA (Defence of the Ancients) is the largest, or at least has the potential to be the largest. Many people that know me probably find it very weird hearing me say that because I am known as the opposite of a DotA fan, but I cannot deny the popularity and influence it has had. I have to admit that most of the following DotA knowledge is coming from friends that play and know a lot more about it. The question I would like to pose is whether or not DotA has had a positive effect on Wc3 overall. There are some positives and some negatives so let's break them down.
There are a few obvious positive effects that the DotA craze has produced. There is no doubt that more copies of Wc3 were sold because of DotA. It is obvious that the overall Wc3 community has grown a great deal because of DotA whether or not everyone that is part of the community has bought the game. Beyond these basic reasons it gets more complicated. Your opinion on whether or not a lot of the other effects DotA has had on Wc3 depends on your perspective. I am someone who has played the game since its release and have barely touched any custom games throughout my playing days. I sometimes have discussions with my dad about many of the trends in sports and pop culture. We discuss some of the more modern aspects of sport and how they have changed. He still enjoys watching them but wishes some things were “like they used to be”. I find that in the gaming community I fall into this category. I feel like I started playing the game a long time ago and have a hard time accepting this new young mans game. I liked Wc3 for what it was and do not want to play any other form of it. I realize that's just me and I am part of a minority. The following points could be considered positive or negative depending on if you're more like me or if you are really into the game.
Some other aspects of DotA have most likely had a positive effect on Wc3. It helps people develop a more mechanic knowledge of Wc3 game play. There is no doubt that playing the game will help you learn how units move and a general idea about how the game works. It also encourages team play and forces people to work together. It is not a requirement but it can be compared to a random team game. Working together in these games makes you a huge favorite over a team that doesn't. There is no doubt that the community is much bigger because of DotA, but it also seems like it is not really one community. I have found that many of the people that play DotA do not really seem to be RTS fans in general. I do think that DotA has more of an RPG feel to it than an RTS. I do not agree that just because the community is bigger it is inherently better. I am not saying that DotA players have made the community any worse, I just mean that it is more like two communities forced to act as one because they started from the same template.
Other people have considered the fact that Wc3 ladder has suffered because of DotA. I do not totally agree with that but I do to some degree. I think you would be hard pressed to find any legitimate pro player that has quit ladder to focus on DotA. Even if there has been a select few, who's to say they may have felt it was time to move on to something else anyway. One thing that you could consider is how it influenced the number of middle range players that we have playing ladder. A professional player is not going to quit, because they have a large stake in the game itself. They have probably made money playing the game at some point, and have spent years playing to perfect their craft. A middle range player does not share these experiences. It is very easy for someone who is only decent at the game to pick up and switch to DotA that has become widely popular. Maybe those players feel they can make their mark more easily in this new type of game, or maybe they just find that DotA is a better fit for them. I personally find ladder far more appealing for more reasons that I can count, but I can see why some people feel like DotA is more for them. I think it is hard to calculate how ladder was affected and exactly how many players were lost because of it. If I had to make a judgment I would say that DotA did not have a positive affect on the overall skill level of ladder, and am interested to hear what others have to say.
One other idea that I am unsure of is what exactly caused this massive amount of popularity that DotA has. I have some ideas but am mostly unsure. I think that it is definitely safe to say that it is an easier game to pick up and play than ladder is. DotA has action from the start and is fairly simple in concept. I am not saying that it is easy to be great at but I think there is a lot more information to be processed to be a good ladder player. The speed it takes to be good at both games is probably fairly similar but to me ladder is an art form as DotA is more of just a skill. I think it also could have been just the perfect combination of timing and balance of things that make something fun. Maybe it's kind of like a book or movie that you just can't stop watching or reading, and you can't figure out why. I have not personally played much so it is hard for me to judge why people have liked it so much. It could also be the large variety of heroes and the fun of playing each new one. Maybe it is all Basshunter's fault, I have no idea.
Has DotA increased the size of the Wc3 community? Without a doubt. Did Blizzard increase their sales because of DotA? Of course. After thinking about it I don't really feel like it had much of an affect on ladder itself, but I am also sure that we will never really know. It will also be interesting to see if newer games and games of the future experience a similar type of thing. One thing is certain, DotA will be around for a while for better or worse.
Did DotA expand an empire or weaken its core of ladder players? Perhaps we will never know.