This week, Valve will continue to unveil features for the beta program Dota 2: Reborn, a project the company is undertaking to completely enhance every facet of the popular and critically acclaimed MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) video game. This enhancement includes an overhaul for the game’s user interface, making it easier to use, as well as improvements to its already innovative in-game spectating feature, such as the ability to discuss and share matches.
Perhaps the biggest addition accompanying Dota 2 Reborn, which will be fleshed out later in the week, is the addition of custom games possibly anchored by the new Source 2 engine, which is absolutely huge.
Where Creativity Is Rewarded
When Dota Allstars was just a popular, competitive mod of the WarCraft III expansion The Frozen Throne, it had multiple modes and custom game features, themselves included with the aforementioned WarCraft title. These were a nice change of pace from the typical 5 vs. 5 games of Dota, which, despite their intrinsic depth and vast capacity for replay value, could grow stale for many after prolonged sessions.
The engine for Dota was a bit limited since the game itself was a mod of a preexisting game, but the custom games that resulted were nonetheless celebrated for their creativity and the variety they gifted the celebrated mod with. Now it seems these custom games are being added to Dota 2, Valve’s own take on the game that instigated the MOBA craze.
Though based on a mod, Dota 2 is a fully-fledged game undertaken by industry veterans who have blessed the game with their Source game engine. Custom games in Dota 2 are exciting because of the comparatively unfettered power of the game’s engine, which might soon be replaced by Source 2, given Valve’s announcement of the engine earlier in the year and their subsequent claim that Dota 2 Reborn will be run on a new engine (It could even be that Dota 2 Reborn’s beta is also serving as a testing ground for Source 2).
To have the freedom of custom game mods and modes created by a game’s community with new technology implemented and fully authorized by the game’s creators is a formidable offer. Just imagine what could be done with Dota 2’s new custom games if something like this were possible with WarCraft 3.
Why This Is Good For Dota
The potential of custom games to enhance the experience of playing Dota 2 is immense. Having the ability to create, play and possibly share innovative new game types framed by Dota’s format will undoubtedly extend Dota 2’s already impressive lifespan by years. This irresistible new feature is also sure to rake in tons of new players and perhaps even make converts out of players of other MOBAs, like League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm.
What’s more, new game types and modes could create opportunities for Valve to collaborate with content creators to come up with new cosmetic items for these custom game modes in the game’s marketplace (I’m not hoping for microtransactions for the custom games themselves, of course: that’s ridiculous). Finally, if custom games are innovative enough, they could influence the continuing development of the primary game itself.
It is difficult to overstate just how wicked this whole deal is. There are already hundreds of custom games sitting on the Steam workshop for Dota 2, ready to be modified and implemented into Valve’s brand new custom game mode as soon as it is ready. It’s also reasonable to assume the game types from WarCraft 3 and Dota All Stars shouldn’t be too difficult to bring to Dota 2 either.
The only way such a promising and highly anticipated feature of an already vastly populated multiplayer game could possibly fall through or disappoint is if it never materialized at all. Since Valve has no reason not to launch the custom games feature they’re preparing to unveil, one should feel secure in becoming excited for the game’s times to come.