Four 'Dota 2' characters. Photo: AFP
Dota 2, the follow-up to one of gaming's biggest trendsetters, and a Marvel spin-off in the same mold, are both heading for Asia according to recent reports.
Dota 2 is based on a fan customization of the intense strategy game StarCraft, and one which turned StarCraft from a task of army creation and control into one in which players took charge of just one character apiece.
That StarCraft modification, a 2003 release called Defense of the Ancients, became a staple at professional tournaments, and eventually led to the creation of League of Legends by the Chinese-owned Californian studio Riot Games.
While Riot has been studiously increasing the appeal of 2009 release League of Legends -- a staggering 32 million monthly active players, 12 million playing every day by October 2012 -- two other companies have been working away at a DotA successor.
Activision Blizzard, whose StarCraft and WarCraft III started the DotA craze in the first place, has Blizzard All-Stars in the pipeline, while Valve hired key DotA staff for Dota 2, currently in a public testing phase.
Already bound for China thanks to an October distribution deal with Perfect World, Valve annouced on November 8 that Korea and Japan are within the reach of Dota 2, having nominated Nexon as regional publisher.
Not long after, news broke of a deal between Disney-owned Marvel Entertainment and Korean developer Smilegate, for the development of another Dota-style game, this time starring Marvel characters (according to the MMOCulture website).
And as if by magic, Warner Bros.' Dota-style venture, Lord of the Rings console spin-off Guardians of Middle Earth, issued its own news update, adjusting the Xbox 360 download date for December 5, with the PlayStation 3's December 4 debut remaining intact.