In the first of a series of articles on the popular Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne custom map, DotA Allstars, guest writer Wilson “d4rkw1sH” Tang, team captain of ExsequoR We Cook Grass walks us through the format of competitive DotA games today. xqR WCG is one of the top DotA Allstars team in Singapore today, recently adding the World GameMaster Tournament 2006 Singapore Championship to their list of achievements.
In the Cyberathlete Amateur League, hero selection is by league mode (-LM). League mode works in a way such that teams would only be able to pick heroes on their respective side, Sentinel or Scourge. Sentinel would get to pick one hero first. Scourge would then be able to pick two heroes. Selection would go back to the Sentinel who can pick 2 heroes. This selection of two heroes goes on until a team has five heros. The Scourge ends the selection with their last hero.
The local World Cyber Games rules, widely used in Singapore, uses the all pick mode (-AP) and drafting. For those that do not know what drafting is, the drafting process starts off by a coin flip. The team that wins the coin flip gets to decide whether they would like to pick the side of the map (Sentinel or Scourge) or pick a hero first. Most teams would prefer the choice to pick a hero first, as they can then pick the hero they need in their strategy first while at the same time denying their opponent access to that same hero. After a hero has been picked, the opponent would then get to pick a hero. This process goes back and forth until all five heroes have been chosen.
As for sharing of items, basic regeneration items, wards, consumables and gems are allowed to be shared in the CAL but only in a timely manner, which is not defined. Items such as sentry wards and observer ward being shared would not affect the game as after all the whole team would be able to gain vision when the ward has been planted. Rather, items such as Ring of Regeneration and other regeneration items would make a difference. For example, when you are on a lane against a nuker (a hero that spams his spells), by passing the hero that is getting nuked rings, he would regenerate at such a rate that the nuker would not want to nuke at him any more. This could be said to be a strategy but it also can be seen as making the game unfair. Perhaps we do not see item sharing allowed at all in the local WCG rules because it would be easier to define the rules and at the same time making the game more even.
At the very least both sides agree that pooling shall not be allowed. During the 5.84c period when pooling was allowed, the speed that a Medusa was able to purchase a Divine Rapier and Aegis of the Immortal was unbelievable and it really makes the game too solo based instead of teamwork based. One may say that there is teamwork in pooling too as all the members are working to provide items to a hero but is that the type of teamwork that competitive gamers are looking for? By disallowing pooling, teams would have to assign roles such as support and assaults and both would compliment each other perhaps to enable farming or to gank heroes that are too rich to control them. The coordination and the understanding between teammates on their moves plays an important part in the game.
Looking at the different rules used from the CAL to our own local WCG rules, it is hard to judge whose system would be fairer or even better. Some may say that DotA was originally made for Sentinel versus Scourge play, therefore there is the league mode (-LM). Then again, all pick mode (-AP) gives a fair chance for both sides to pick the hero that they want. This means that more creativity in hero combinations and it also gives teams opportunities to counter each other as some may say that Scourge is slightly more imbalanced than Sentinel.
No one knows how competition rules could change in the future and what maps could be released. We can only wait for time to tell.