In an attempt to bring you something a little different, guest writer Vlad Alexandru has penned an editorial that covers Warcraft III's popular Defense of the Ancients scenario and the three biggest RTS/RPG hybrids it's influenced - Demigod, Heroes of Newerth, and League of Legends. Something to whet your appetite:
With DotA's rising popularity and its inclusion in many prestigious gaming championships (such as the World Cyber Games and the Electronic Sports World Cup), game developing companies took notice and started to create DotA-inspired games. The first big budget DotA clone was Gas Powered Games' Demigod. When Demigod was first announced, long-time players were psyched that the game would finally get its own platform. However, Demigod failed to provide exactly the things that made DotA a great game. Although fun and engaging at first, providing a much more powerful graphics engine (compared to a game developed 6 years before) and a more dynamic approach to gameplay, it quickly becomes a bore, lacking diversity (only eight heroes were available at launch, with two more added recently) and the more dynamic gameplay often becomes chaotic.
Even though it is DotA-inspired, Demigod has some very different features. First of all, it offers the possibility of playing single-player games and tournaments, which is a pretty good training tool for new players. It also has an achievement system, letting you keep count of your total kills, assists, deaths, etc., and giving you rewards from which you can choose to improve your hero in a specific match.
Demigod has a slightly different map layout. Instead of using the classic 3-lane map, connected by a center path and a maze-like forest, it uses a much simpler map, with lots of open ground to fight your epic battles on. One of its better features is checkpoint capturing, a feature that allows the player to capture certain strategic points of interest on the map, such as creep-spawning structures and shops with advanced items, giving his or her team a distinct advantage in the match.