“When developing Blizzard DOTA, we started with things we already had”
The Blizzard of today is insanely different from the Blizzard of 11 years ago, and this old video of the Blizzard DOTA concept shared on the Heroes of the Storm reddit from the Arkentass YouTube channel proves it.
Embedded below, you can watch footage from BlizzCon 2011, where the team showcased a build of Blizzard DOTA: the MOBA that would eventually be released as Heroes of the Storm four years later. Keep in mind this was back in 2011, when the MOBA genre was still very fresh and League of Legends had barely been out (it was just two years old and Riot wasn’t quite the empire it is now); and there was some actual MOBA competition going on. By the time Blizzard actually shipped what became Heroes of the Storm out of the door (mid-2015), it was a little late.
Here are some choice quotes and takeaways from the Blizzard DOTA presentation:
- The game was “coming soon-ish ™” back in 2011.
- The team was “playing around with the cyber world area…the main idea is that the heroes are abducted to provide entertainment” (this evolved into a unique setting called “The Nexus” with its own fantasy lore).
- Blizzard DOTA was going to originally have a [Goblin] shop (this was removed for Heroes).
- Kerrigan “had every function [they] needed to start making heroes” directly from Starcraft, as well as the Dwarven Marauder, which was crafted from Starcraft Marauders.
- Tassadar was built from a Sentry.
- Uther was chosen as the natural first healer, as one of the preeminent healers in the Blizzard universe.
- Arthas was put in the game “because he was awesome,” and there was no real agenda for him being there: the art informed the gameplay.
- Thrall used to be mounted permanently on a wolf, but that was changed because he didn’t look “epic” and appeared small on-screen: this led to the design of using mounts in the game in general.
- Replenishment (healing/mana) globes picked up in lane were always part of the design.
- NPC camps and bosses that went into lanes were always part of the design as well (rather than bosses that provide buffs in other MOBAs).
- The character of “Warfield” used to be a different version of what ended up becoming the Siege Tank hero: Sgt. Hammer.
As any Heroes player can attest to, it’s a pretty wildly different game in many respects. The thing that intrigues me the most is the “cyber world” concept, and how different that could have been from the in-game universe of the “Nexus,” which never really caught on the way some other Blizzard worlds did. The idea of a Blizzard “Mojoverse” is not only delightfully silly, but it’s a blank canvas to bounce creative ideas off of. At this point, I think I would have preferred it, as the team could have gotten a lot weirder and further differentiated themselves from the mostly fantasy-heavy MOBA fare.
At the risk of preventing anxiety out there, I’ll refrain from calling 2011 “retro.” It made you shudder to think about, right?