Dota 2 is an upcoming action real-time strategy fantasy strategy video game being developed by Valve Corporation and the stand-alone sequel to the popular Defense of the Ancients mod for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne. Formally announced on October 13, 2010 via the website of magazine Game Informer, the game is currently undergoing a closed beta phase and is scheduled for a full release in 2012. Dota 2 will utilize a free-to-play business model, with a social network based around the game and its community. Dota 2 will be released via download by Valve's content delivery platform Steam, on which the game has been developed to run exclusively for both game launch and update delivery. Dota 2 will run on Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. The game consists of session-based online multiplayer activity, with the primary objective of each match being for the teams to destroy their opposing team's fortified stronghold. Each player controls a player character called a "hero", who is given the responsibility of participating in team combat, which generally takes place along a series of lanes that connect their opposing bases, lined with defensive towers. The gameplay elements are largely incorporated from Defense of the Ancients, with the game's lead designer, "IceFrog", being the longest-serving and current developer of the Warcraft III mod. (Quoted from Wikipedia) Game Status Currently, the game is playable in its closed Beta phase. Invites are being given away every once in a while to current players as well as players who complete the Dota 2 Survey. Note that is it not guaranteed that either of those happen. There are currently 75 released heroes, with a new one coming about every week. A new hero first enters the "Dota 2 test" phase, which can be played on a separate game client for a day, and then gets released in the full game client. The available modes in public games are: All pick Random Draft Single Draft Captain's Mode Additionally, the fun mode -wtf is also available as a cheat in private games. Functionality Dota 2 uses a public matchmaking system in order to rank players of similar skills together. It has currently not been revealed how the matchmaking algorithms match the players, but it's definitely in effect. The game is currently divided into 3 public "levels", which are Low, Medium, and High. The matchmaking system automatically selects a level for the player, and matches him with players of his level, although the player is also subject to a "hidden" matchmaking rating. This rating is ultimately what ranks the players between their levels of skills. A player who leaves a game has 5 minutes in order to reconnect, otherwise he gets a loss and abandon. The first abandon is harmless, though the subsequent ones will bestow upon the player the "low priority" status, which means that he will get matched with players who have this same status for a whole day. Dota Versus Dota 2 Right now, the main difference between Dota 1 and Dota 2 is the number of heroes available. A significant number of heroes haven't been released yet on Dota 2, and that affects balance a bit as some unreleased heroes are direct counters to some that are already available. Still, what draws people to Dota 2 is their favorite competitive game being ported to a new engine with better graphics, and that is the core difference between the two games. Dota 2 character designs are very nice, most heroes are cool and their abilities too. Also, a number of engine limitations imposed by the warcraft 3 engine have been worked around by Valve developers. Also, a huge feature which has been praised by players is the current replay system. It lets players watch a game from almost any angle, at any speed, or even watch the game in the perspective of one of the players. You can download the replay and watch any game you've played in the past, as well as recent games and "popular" games. The replay system is a key feature of Dota 2 and deserves a mention of his own. Apart from that, there are subtle differences between the first Dota and this one. Anyone with a reasonable playtime of Dota 1 will feel comfortable playing Dota 2, as the interface and gameplay feel very similar to Dota 1. The shop system is what first comes to mind. All the items are located within one shop interface on the right side of the screen, divided into a number of categories. Also, the courier is now automatically shared with the team, and has a number of useful quick commands. Within the shop are a number of "recommended" items for your hero, from starting items (like potions, quelling blade) to core items (blink dagger on Earthshaker, for instance) to late game items (i.e. butterfly on riki). Also, a number of small functions are located in the bottom-right corner of the screen right now. The first is the Town Portal scroll, which provides a quick-buy opportunity when facing imminent danger within a shop location. The fortify button is also located in this corner, at the very bottom. The heroes are all grouped into one big group during the picking phase, which effectively reduces the confusion regarding taverns and which heroes are located where. Your team can see which hero you're about to pick (provided you clicked on a hero portrait), which helps regarding team composition and setup. Dota 2 Videos Dota 2 Top 10 plays, weekly This is a work in progress, feel free to input your own observations/links on the subject of Dota 2! I also plan on including screenshots. If you know of good ones regarding key aspects of the game, please let me know! Thanks!