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Warcraft 3: Defense of the Ancients 101

By: Kevin Tok - Published January 25, 2006 at 4:48 PM EST - Writer Archive
So CAL has finally created a division for Warcraft III’s most popular custom map, DotA Allstars. DotA is quickly becoming popular in the Counter Strike circle, isn’t it time to check it out?

Origins and Concepts

Defence of the Ancients (DotA) stems from the map design of the Starcraft custom map Aeon of Strife. Two bases are placed on opposite corners of the map. Three lanes branch out from the bases, and armies for both sides will spawn along these lanes at intervals.

The opposing armies meet in the center and battle. The Sentinels are the red Night Elf based team located on the bottom left, and their opponents are the Scourge, the green Undead based team located on the top right. Both sides are vying to destroy the Ancient of the other; the World Tree is the Sentinel Ancient, and the Frozen Throne is the Scourge Ancient.

Every lane has two barracks, one producing melee units and one producing ranged ones. Destroying a barracks will produce strong creeps capable of pushing the lane. Destruction of all barracks will produce mega creeps, which usually decides victory. Technically, the battle will be drawn even and no side will make any ground. This is where you come in to turn the tides.

Finding a Game

There are generally two types of public games to join. One way to join a game is through the custom game join screen. This list has DotA games as well as many other customs to play. These games are good places to learn the basics without the worry of many players beyond your skill level. Though finding games to join from this list is easy, you have no idea about the location of the host or whether players will randomly leave.

TDA games, on the other hand, are run by Team DotA Allstars. These games are exclusive to active members of the DotA-Allstars forum, players with an icon and selected safelisted members deemed to have an appropriate skill level. TDA runs active banlists, which prevents spoofers and leavers from entering your game. Though the system is effective, it is not flawless. You can find more information on becoming safelisted at  

Play Modes

The different play modes of DotA are important to note. The most common modes are:

All Random (-ar) Player’s heroes are randomized from a pool of all heroes. Heroes can be repicked for a cost of 400 gold and you will receive another random hero.

All Pick (-ap) Players are allowed to purchase heroes from either side.

Short Game Mode (-sm) Creeps give more experience and towers are weakened. This allows heroes to level more quickly.

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