Blizzard did announce one new game (sort of) at Blizzcon this year… it’s DotA! The *game* is basically a Starcraft 2 mod, with lots of new units and maps, but it’s sort of a new game too. Plus one of the main hero characters is the Witch Doctor, who appears to use abilities similar to his Diablo III skills, so it’s got that going for it. There’s a trailer with some tongue-in-cheek humor and nice visuals, if you’re curious.
The history of this project is colorful. Check the wikipedia article for much more detail, but basically Defense of the Ancients was a Warcraft 3 map/mod that became much more popular than Warcraft 3 itself. The game is played with a focus on hero units that level up by bashing creeps, earn gold, buy item upgrades, fight the other team, and try to destroy their “Ancients,” all during each fast-paced game. Essentially it’s an RTS that’s just about combat, without all the harvesting and mining and base construction and tech tree upgrade stuff.
The weird part is that the acronym has become a proper noun, pronounced “doe-tuh.” Also weird is the fact that Valve is developing a game called Dota 2, led by IceFrog, the long-time developer of the original DotA project. AFAIK no one at Blizzard had anything to do with the formation and popularity of the original DotA, other than their development of War 3 and its map editor, which made the mod possible. That’s why this project is “Blizzard’s DotA.”
Update: There was much coverage of Blizzard’s DotA during one of the Blizzcon 2011 panels. Click through to see the whole panel video.