DotA Origins: Part II

May 30 2019 8 min read

DotA Origins: Part II ⚡⚡⚡ Esports and gaming news, analytics, reviews on WePlay! The latest news on WePlay!

Hello everyone! Today we return to our history lesson with the second part of a brief insight into the DotA Allstars. In the first part, we were looking into the period betweenAeon of Strife custom map and DotA AllStars 6.37, you can read ut here. In this artcile, we will talk about the esports phenomenon of "Defense of the Ancients."

6.37 — Fast-push Era

DotA Allstars v6.37 was released on September 10, 2006. This version became stable, usable for the competitions and marked the transition from AoE-strategies to fast-push.

Team Pandemic had influenced the community a lot. During the ESL DotA Nations Cup, the team used Bristleback - Enchantress - Twin Head Dragon (Jakiro in Dota 2) - Beastmaster - Holy Knight (Omniknight in Dota 2) combination and crashed the opponents one by one.

LighTofHeaveN in Say Plz team

However, that tPD squad did not win the tournament: Say Plz used the opponent’s strategy against them, sending Team Pandemic to the lower bracket, where Team Q finished them. This is how Team Pandemic's sunset began. SwissBeatz went to play World of Warcraft (now it certainly sounds strange, but the times were different), and we didn’t see a lot of new strategies.

Another significant change was the gradual transition to the All Pick mod. Previously, the parties chose heroes only from the taverns of their side. Therefore, Sentinel (Radiant in Dota 2) had some advantage because of heroes like Chen and Enchantress. The -AP mode allowed the teams to omit these restrictions and to increase the number of possible combinations by orders of magnitude.

6.41 — The Calm Before The Storm

In February 2007, DotA Allstars v6.41 version was released. Even though the map lasted only a month, a large number of tournaments have passed during this time, and from the balance point of view, 6.41 became an excellent foundation for further 6.43. All Pick became the official mode for competitive matches.

MYM PriDe series played a huge role in the development of the DotA. The fourth (March 2007) and fifth (April 2007) tournaments were attended by 137 and more than 200 teams respectively. The level of the organisation set standards for many other competitions.

As always, not without scandals: Say Plz, MaGe and SD were disqualified from the fourth tournament. The reason is that a player named HoroN represented each of the three teams. The identity of the two sides (Say Plz was one of the strongest in Europe, and MaGe immediately began to show decent results) did not allow to avoid severe punishment. The levels of judging only grew in future, showing that "competitive integrity" is not just a word for the DotA community.

From a tactical point of view, a mini-revolution took place in the "defense of the ancients". Loda and his Team_Team used a global strategy with Zeus, Furion (Nature’s Prophet in Dota 2) and Spectre. While ganks all over the map will come into fashion a little later, the future champion of The International 2013 created a way to terrify opponents with just three heroes with a sixth level.

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6.43 — Ganks from

DotA Allstars v.6.43 was released in March 2007. Then the new -xl (Extended League) mode was introduced, in which teams could ban some heroes, and the choice took place in turns.

The leading team of that era was Based on MaGe and DoTa [], the six from the CIS terrorised the whole world with their aggressive game. The team put enormous pressure on an opponent, driving him across the map with Kelen’s active use of Dagger of Escape (Blink Dagger in Dota 2). Two lanes with two stuns at each allowed VP to get an advantage at the beginning of the game.

In 2007, vigoss, ARS-ART and NS became popular (the first two killed everything that moves, and Yaroslav NS Kuznetsov was the pioneer to show the importance of the well-set Observer Wards). The Russian team won half of the six major international tournaments (DreamHack Summer, ASUS Spring, ASUS Summer, MyM PriDe # 6, MyM PriDe # 7 and TFL), while no one was able to win more than one.

Left to right: Admir, Jolie, vigoss

At the same time, DotA in China was only gaining momentum, though it was not a large-scale jump. So, World Elite was supposed to be the first in China to sign contracts with the top five doters who won the special tournament, but the champions from IFNT have never seen the money in the end.

6.48 — Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!

DotA Allstars v.6.48b was released on September 6, 2007. The community was discussing which mode should be considered competitive. While -rd (Random Draft) was popular to play for fun, the main tournament mode was -cm (Captains Mode), known to us to this day.

It is worth noting that DotA began to increase in popularity globally. In November 2007, 400 teams played in the eighth tournament of the MYM PriDe series. At the same time, Kingsurf, led by Malaysian YamateH, made its way to the final four. The fact that the team members often visited the Chinese forums and periodically wrote some feedback there led to a DotA-boom in the Celestial Empire.

An interesting fact: the Chinese community knew only five "gods of the first generation": YamateH, BurNing, Loda, Vigoss and YaphetS.

As for the western scene, there was some kind of madness. Internal disagreements tore, ARS-ART moved to SK Gaming to play along with Akke and Loda.

Left to right: Akke, Loda, ARS-ART, Bogdan, Hailo strengthened with LighTofHeaveN and dropped the aggressive style in favour of a"four should protect one" tactics. MyM managed to break the curse and win MYM PriDe # 9, beating Wolk3R Gaming in the final. It was a pity not to win a final match for a young, but already extremely talented Danil "Dendi" Ishutin.

Well, in those days there was no dominance from a single team. The main tournaments favourites were, Meet your Makers and SK Gaming.

In 2008, one of the most popular esports portals of those times, GosuGamers, distributed the first awards to the best players in DotA. The best carry player was KuroKy, captain — Maelk, and the title of the best support and ganker was awarded to NS and Vigoss respectively.

On October 7, 2008,  League of Legends was announced. The game that mostly managed to bypass its parent. It was a whole year to go before the start of IceFrog and Valve cooperation.

All Hail China!

In 2008, DotA's development was becoming more and more smooth, and the esports scene was already entering the level of constant gradual development. Therefore, it becomes difficult to distinguish any individual stages.

After some time, the Chinese teams began to show their strength and were the main faces of international tournaments. Speaking about Western DotA,, led by KuroKy, were the guys to rule in the first half of 2009. But the team broke up, and so there was no monarch again. 

However, in a number of tournaments with relatively large prizes, the Chinese team made their name. EHOME has laid the foundation for its further global domination. The 820, QQQ, BurNing, KingJ and Dai (better known as MMY) five became a formidable force. At ESWC 2010, EHOME destroyed everyone: the team statistics was 259 kills with 73 deaths.

By the autumn, EHOME had victories in seven different tournaments. The Chinese team dominated in 2010, adapting the 3-1-1 strategy for themselves. EHOME showed all the power of a slow game, focused on farming. Actually, since then, it was decided that the Chinese Dota was slow-paced and boring.


Finally, our story would be incomplete without mentioning another team. While EHOME showed the world who's the boss, the best representatives of the CIS Dendi - LighTofHeaveN - Dread - NS - ArtStyle gathered to form DTS.Chatrix and turned out to be the only western team that could provide decent resistance to the overlords from the east.

DTS denied EHOME from successfully winning the group stage at World DotA Championships 2010 (there was a time-rating system at the tournament, and the slowness of the Chinese played against them). Then the Ukrainian team failed to win first place: the players received only bronze medals, but one could say that by 2010 the main striking force had formed in the West: three ASUS Open titles, gold at MYM PriDe # 12 and ESWC 2010 silver confirmed this.

At the end of 2010, DTS would fall apart: ArtStyle and Dendi went go to Natus Vincere, and the Russian trio joined Moscow Five. In less than six months,  there would be a huge scandal of Dmitry Kupriyanov transferring to Na'Vi to eventually win The International, but that’s another story.

The End Of An Age

On October 13, 2010, Valve announced that together with IceFrog they are developing a standalone version of DotA with a brand new engine. By that time, "Defense of the Ancients" was already technically outdated: reconnecting problems, no matchmaking built into the game, and graphically the game was stale.

At the same time, there were a lot of competitions held. When Valve announced The International for Dota 2 on August 1 with an unimaginable $1,6 million prize pool, it became clear that this was a turning point not only for the DotA community but also for the whole esports scene.

But since day one Dota 2 was not stacked with people as there was a closed-test system with keys and direct invites (in November 2011, the average online was about 2,500 players). DotA tournaments were still running, but in 2012, after the successful ESWC 2011 and Dota 2 Star Championship, the community finally switched to Dota 2. portal says that the latest version of DotA WarCraft III map is 6.83d.

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